Kamden’s first summer has been full of adventure and new experiences … and it’s just the second week of June! Two weeks ago, we attended a complimentary class at The Little Gym in Burleson. I was skeptical at first, being Kamden is just five (almost six) months old, but I soon realized its benefits, especially physically and developmentally, not to mention socially for both of us.
At The Little Gym, children are divided into groups according to age. Kamden and his classmates (four to 10 months) are called Bugs. Our weekly parent/child classes incorporate the three dimensions of learning found in all levels of classes at The Little Gym::
- GET MOVING — Increased physical strength and muscle control, fine and gross motor skill development, coordination, and balance
- BRAIN BOOST — Spatial and perceptual awareness, introduction to colors, language development and self-expression, knowledge of letters and numbers, and initial problem solving
- CITIZEN KID — Developing independence and feeling comfortable away from parents, early socialization, sharing and taking turns, accepting new environments, following directions, and cooperating with others
Let’s be honest, friends, my child’s balance and coordination is solely based on the direction and momentum of his gut. The kid is a chunk. But hey, he’s built like an ox and I’m sure will be starting linebacker for the Alabama Crimson Tide one of these days. As far as feeling comfortable away from his parents, he’s pretty socially content as long as he has food and sleep. If you feed him when he’s hungry or let him snooze when he’s tired, he’s your best friend forever. Kamden is many things, malnourished is not one of them.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first day of class at The Little Gym for the summer semester. I made the executive decision to enroll Kamden in the 10-week program for several reasons:
- I want him to socialize with children his own age.
- I want to socialize with adults.
- I want him to be comfortable in new and different places and environments.
- I want to get out of the house.
- It’s the perfect opportunity to learn skills and activities we can repeat at home.
- The class time is perfectly between feedings, which means he crashes for a long nap afterwards.
- I can take a nap afterwards.
I asked Jamie (daughter of a friend but more like a niece) to tag-along with Kamden and I so I could take pictures of him in action during his first official day as a ‘Bug.’ Who can resist spending time with Kamden? C’mon, that smile and those fat rolls?! During class, Bugs “explored” different areas of the gym. Kamden is a fan of the inclined mats and the donut. He’d probably eat a donut if you put it in front of him. At circle time, Bugs and their Mamas (or Kamden and Jamie) played with bright-colored scarfs, sang songs, and performed strength exercises. Kamden’s form in the butterfly chest press is spot on.
To encourage Bugs to get out of their comfort zone, they do assisted flips. Kamden is pretty good at touching the mat as it approaches his face and tucking his head, but he really enjoys sticking the landing. He will lie there as long as you will let him!
Will y’all leave me alone so I can take a nap?
Bugs are no where near being ready to perform gymnastic routines, obviously, but the equipment is available for older students and it’s a great way for infants to work on gripping objects and building muscle strength. Kamden held on to the bar but got distracted by the pretty girls next to him. They are twice his age but half is size. Oy!
Another muscle-building activity for infants involves a stick. Simple, right?! I’ve done a similar exercise with Kamden at home using a large wooden spoon. He grabs on to it, as do I, and will pull himself up into a sitting position. Viola, that’s my strong and chunky boy working his core muscles like a champ!
At the conclusion of class, which includes more circle time as a group playing with balls or blocks and singing, the teacher walks and blows bubbles. Kamden loves bubbles.
MILESTONE CELEBRATION: It was during this class that Kamden began sitting UNASSISTED on the big red mat. We were sitting on the floor, he was impressed with the purple ball, and I was suddenly aware that he was not leaning against my leg anymore. I’m one proud Mama!
I am new to The Little Gym and did not realize, until now, the variety of classes and programs available to children up to age 12. There are even summer camps and weekend specials. For locations in your area and specific details on classes, visit The Little Gym’s website and ‘like’ them on Facebook. And if you are in the Burleson area and want to see a room full of cutie-patooties, join Kamden and his fellow Bugs every Wednesday at 12:30!
You’re all invited to his ‘graduation’ in August when he moves up to the Birds (10-20 months) class. I just know my child is going to rock this semester and pass with flying colors. 🙂