I came across this article from ‘playground dad’ on twitter. I thought it fit very well with the spirit that The Little Gym was founded on and it was worth a share. It talks about raising a ‘non-athletic son’, I do not have boys but I feel the points are valid to raising all kids, athletic and non-athletic. I consider myself an expert in non-competitive activities that happens to run a gym that uses gymnastics as its tool to grow skills. This article touches on a few points that can be applied to raising all kids, the only thing I would add is to praise his/her strengths in a specific manner and not a general way (great job=bla, great job using the color purple in your drawing=specific and good).
Enjoy and thanks for reading.
Raising non-athletic kids
Enrolling for Summer Camps at The Little Gym of Edina is going on NOW!
We all know how busy the Summers can be for parents. Why not drop your children off for Summer Camps at The Little Gym of Edina for 3 hours of endless activity! Our Summer themed camps include; Secret Agent: Gyms Bond, Sky Rangers, X-treme sports of all sorts and Lights, Camera, Action. We promise to keep them active with gymnastics, movement challenges, music, Themed arts and crafts and plenty of smiles! This will allow you the opportunity to enjoy 3 hours of crossing some things off your Summer To Do List!
Summer Camps at The Little Gym of Edina will be offered starting June 10th through Aug 23rd from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Monday-Thursday and 11:00am-3:00 Friday. Space is limited, so what are you waiting for???
Call us to get registered at (952) 924-0083, or visit our website at
Thanks for reading,
I feel like I am getting married again, calling this blog my re-commitment but I am calling it that. I guess it is more of a re-affirmation for The Little Gym’s philosophy than a marriage vow. The Little Gym of Edina continues to be a place where kids are nurtured, accepted and embraced for all that they are on every given day. I realize this is a tad sappy but it is the truth, I might have had a small drink of our franchise’s medicine at reunion this last weekend and that is influencing my writing today but it is true. Through thick and thin The Little Gym’s curriculum has never faltered, it has only grown and become one of the best curriculums for kids under the age of 12 if not the best. I just learned that Duplo (Lego’s) wants to be a part of our mission. Toy companies are making new toys with The Little Gym logo’s on them in hopes to be a part of the brand, we hope to see them on the shelves of Target and Walgreens in the near future. Dora’s now has parties with us and with time she might even be going to the little gym in her cartoon (I said might:)).
People and companies are slowly realizing there comes a time in every child’s life when they are told they are not good enough and kids need more options to just have fun. It is a painful day for the child as well as for the parents when they get the word they have been cut. Our goal at The Little Gym of Edina is to push that day as far off in the distance as possible so the judging and competition amongst children is lessened to some degree. Let’s teach the kids to have fun when they exercise and let them learn to play with each other before they compete against one another. My now 16 year old was first she was told she wasn’t good enough when she was 8 or 9 at some traveling soccer try-out that left me wondering what type of parent I was for allowing my child to be put in a situation where cuts were made for 8-9 year olds. I understand the idea of cuts and making teams better, just not at age 8 or 9. Let them turn pro first! or maybe High School….
So once again I realize the system is still in place to help me create Olympic quality children at The Little Gym of Edina. Where we use gymnastics as the tool to grow them in many different ways above and beyond the physical level. So that is my re-commitment, to one of the greatest kid curriculum programs available in town, the little gym.
Thanks for reading and feel free to stop by anytime and say hi.
Thanks for reading,
5, 4, 3, 2, Fun
Parent/Child (ages 10 months-3 years)
This learning unit will offer you and your child a focus on FUN ways of growing your child’s knowledge of counting and numbers. Your class will use music, counting games, and physical skills to tap into “multi-sensory” learning. The idea here is that getting more parts of their brain involved in the learning experience results in more complete learning and comprehension. Did you know that children are born with an innate sense of numbers?! Wow! We’ll even include activity songs that introduce simple addition and subtraction! Plus, find out what the concepts of CARDINALITY and CONSERVATION in math are all about…
I’m a Number Tumbler
Pre-K Gymnastics (ages 3-6)
Each week of this learning unit, we will focus on a math or number concept and a specific tumbling skill. Your child will focus on number recognition, “automaticity” (the ability to do something without thinking about it), counting, and addition/subtraction. By combining counting with physical movements, math functions like addition and subtraction become linked to the concepts of “counting”, “amounts” & “sets” – multi-sensory experiences allow children greater understanding of information! Also, watch for a physical emphasis in these classes on ROLLS (week 34), HANDSTANDS (week 35), and skill combinations.
We’re Number 1!
Sports Skills (ages 3-6)
The kids will be given many opportunities throughout this learning unit to count the amounts of things to improve their “Automaticity” –practicing numbers and counting to the point where it becomes automatic! Just think about how important numbers are when playing sports! We will also add a focus on “sets” or groups of amounts and apply all of this to some addition and subtraction work… all while being introduced to the techniques of FRISBEE, TENNIS, and TRACK & FIELD!
I’m a Number Ninja
Karate (ages 4-6)
This learning unit will focus on applying the concepts of “counting” and “amounts” to the mathematical functions of addition and subtraction. Combining these cognitive skills with karate and physical movements provides a multi-sensory experience which allows the children to gain a better understanding of the information.
Dancing to the Counts
Dance (ages 3-6)
This learning unit will focus on learning number and math concepts through movement, dance, music, and games with a focus on dancing to musical counts and exploring different time signatures. As the dance classes begin working on routines, the dancers will also practice repetition and muscle memory for the upcoming show week!
Focus on the Show from Head to Toe
Grade School Gymnastics Classes (ages 6-12)
And so we begin our quest to work ROUTINES! The Grade-Schoolers will start to learn their routines on the bars, beam, and floor (and rings and parallel bars for boys). The kids will be challenged to start working on memorization and improved ability to focus on always remembering tight bodies, good form, and proper body positions every time they perform their skills. The ultimate goal is to get to the point where the performance of their skills becomes more natural and automatic.
Priority Enrollment is a celebration of progress! Your child has made some great accomplishments this semester. Let's keep the momentum, skills, smiles, and laughter going as they continue to progress. Priority Enrollment allows you to have first pick of next semester's classes so you can select a class time that best meets your needs. Please take advantage of this opportunity now, after May 4th we conduct Open Enrollment.
The Fine Print.
When You Enroll For the 2013/2014 Season During Priority Enrollment (4/19/13-5/3/13) You Get:
First dibs on class schedule 250 Extra Member Points Entered into all raffles (iPad's are here!)
Free t-shirt if you buy Twins Tickets during PE
(We have reserved 200 tickets for the game on June 30th and are having a The Little Gym day at the Twins game-kids under 14 run the bases after the game. All tickets $15)
Bragging rights ?
Sibling discounts of 20% (Normally 10%) Second class discounts of 50% (Normally 20%)
Did I mention raffles?
HOW DO I ENROLL??
1) Call us......952-924-0083
2) Enroll in person during your class time
4) AT THE PRIORITY ENROLLMENT PARTY DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE PRIORITY ENROLLMENT PARTY!
This year the party will mark the end of the priority enrollment and not the beginning. Please come to the party! All raffles will be drawn at the party and you might be a big winner!. If you enroll online or over the phone your name will be automatically entered into all the raffles!!
PARTY Friday May 3rd 4-7pm Be there and wear a wacky tacky outfit.
Raffle items: FREE Birthday Party at The Little Gym, iPads, photography sessions, Yogurt Lab gift cards, massages and MORE!
To enroll online, start by visiting the schedule page on our website. Make sure to choose 8/26/2013 from the pulldown window. Then, determine the appropriate day and time for your child. Once you have found the class you are interested in, click the time link and select "Enroll." The system will lead you through the enrollment process. If you have any technical difficulty please call us! 952-924-0083. If it asks for your "magic number" call us! Let's continue the progress that your child has made throughout this season. Enroll online or give us a call to reserve your class spot today!
Thanks for reading, Slater and the TLG Crew 952-924-0083
Social ME-dia Parent/Child Gymnastics Classes (ages 10m-3)
No, not that kind. Although it won't be long before 2-year-olds have their own facebook pages, I suppose. 'Social' as in SOCIAL SKILLS, and 'ME-dia' because between 12-24 months, children have yet to realize and comprehend that the world isn't his/hers or that they are part of a larger universe. Up until close to 24-months-old, toddlers comprehend other people as extensions of themselves. You'll get to look into the reasons why "NO" and "Me do!" are often favorite phrases at this age, and why that's actually a 'good' thing! You'll also visit concepts like confidence, reducing our fear of failure, cooperation, and teamwork, and how to really promote healthy and positive social development in these age groups as they take on these independent steps!
Cooperation Station Pre-K Gymnastics Classes (ages 3-6) In this learning unit, the Pre-K classes will learn about cooperation and teamwork through gymnastics. These fun activities will tap into their ability to work together and will challenge them to work on sharing, taking turns, and performing skills together. What great ways to build new friendships and work on our communication skills! Watch for the social and emotional challenges in class of working together to accomplish new and bigger goals!
Pre-K Dance Classes The dance classes will tap into their ability to work together with their classmates. Their confidence in their ability to cooperate will be challenged as they perform skills together!
Pre-K Sports Classes Mini-Jacks and Cracker Jacks classes will apply this cooperation concept to the sport of Basketball! Not only will these kids practice basic passing, dribbing and shooting techniques, but this basketball unit will challenge them to work together to accomplish these goals.
Team TLG Grade School Gymnastics Classes (ages 6-12) The grade-schoolers will gain an enhanced understanding and awareness of the demands of teamwork, team unity, and team spirit. As they move towards working more on routines in a few weeks, the kids will focus on connecting skills and using different muscles and momentum to execute those skills.
The next 4 weeks belong to a learning unit that will focus on encouraging an all-around healthy lifestyle through our gymnastics. Using fun gymnastics and fitness challenges, your kids will focus on the "chores" involved in keeping one's body, mind, and home healthy and fit. The following weekly topics will bring more awareness to each child's personal responsibilities to keep their mind, body, home, and environment clean and healthy:
• March 4th-10th : RESPONSIBILITIES. Let's learn about what this word means and how they apply in our community, in class, and at home.
• March 11th-17th : HEALTHY ME. Your children will have lots of opportunities in their gymnastics this week to build confidence in who they are as individuals. All of us are unique and it's important to teach kids to be proud of that!
• March 18th-24th : HEALTHY HOME. A parent favorite! Using our gymnastics to pretend and to inspire us to help with chores at home!
• March 25th-31st : HEALTHY WORLD. This week we focus on pollution. What it is and how to prevent it to keep our world clean and beautiful!
Emotions are strange; they have to power to make you feel sick when you’re scared, feel empty when you are sad, and feel invincible when you are in love. It’s hard to believe all these different physical outcomes can be produced from the same body. I found this story about Tyler Phinney that was inspiring to read. I have raced a few races before and when you realize you are in last place the motivation to continue is low and the emotions make you more and more depressed and then you go slower and slower. That is what happens to most people, Tyler is not “most people”, he rode for his dad and finished the race in ………………place.
I live in Minnesota and there is a rite of passage that happens every March. It is called the Minnesota State High School tournament and it is larger than life. It might be hard for kids from warmer climates to grasp what this tournament means to hockey players. But it is huge, careers are made at the tournaments and many players leave the next week to play in Canada before they go off to college (and then NHL). This is their last time together for many years to come. I think the tournament is bigger than football playoffs are down south, but I might be wrong on this. This year the Edina Hornets won the class 2A finals and got bragging rights for the next year. Here is the interesting thing, after the game when they interviewed past state championships, who went on to win Olympic hockey medals AND Stanley Cups they said the high school hockey title meant more to them then the other medals. Really? more than Olympic gold medals and Stanley Cups? how or why? Their answer came down to one word, friends. The players that make up the High School team have been playing with each other on and off for 10 years, if not more. 10 years of ups and downs and growths and declines all together dreaming that someday it might be their turn to win the title. Playing with friends is that important to them and that winning a smaller title (I think we can agree Olympic medals and Stanley Cup titles are bigger titles) with friend’s means more to them than winning arguably the largest medals possible. So the next time your child says, “I just want to play with my friends” on the next team, it might just lead to something bigger.
It has been a long time coming but we have finally did it!! Hip Hop dance will be offered on a limited basis at The Little Gym of Edina. I wanted to show what this class will look like on paper and in video. The link to the YouTube video is below.
Introducing Hip Hop Dance – Pre/K!
Here are a few informational points to get you familiar with the structure and flow of the program.
Here is a summary of the Hip Hop Pre/K Class Structure:
1. Opening Circle
2. Hip Hop Warm-Up
3. Hip Hop “Move of the Week”
4. Hip Hop Dance Progressions
5. Center Floor Combinations (Among other skills, the kids will learn a new Hip Hop Dance Combo for each Learning Unit! The combo includes all the “Moves of the Week” the kids have helped create during the Learning Unit. They then perform the Combo for the parents on the last day of each Learning Unit!)
6. Creative Movement (Gymnastics in the Gym) W-up/Gr. Act., Stations, Game, Closing Circle
The schedule of when the new class will be offered is still in the 'discussion phase' and will posted on our website soon. Most likely it will be Tuesday evening 5:45-6:45 and one other day around the 1:00pm time frame.
It’s true, you can tell by the tired parents walking around that still need a vacation from their vacation. The resolutions have started and we are all back at the daily grind (or fun) of work. I just read a pretty good article about a present that was a success over the holidays that I thought I would share. Enjoy the read.
It is hard to put into perspective what happened last Friday at the school shooting. Here is an article that does not talk about gun control but talks about mental illness. It is an interesting article that educates many on a world many of us do not know. Worth a read.
We have begun a new LU designed to highlight the importance of music in our curriculum. Research shows that musical experiences improve memory and cognitive brain function in children. It also encourages motor development and creative development as well as body awareness. This is why The Little Gym has always placed an emphasis on music in curriculum - from the Warm Up song to our transition jingles to the Group Song in the Closing Circle. This week we challenge the kid’s memory with our warm up. The song has two verses, the first verse has instructions with animal noises (jump when we hear the frog noise), and then the second verse has just the animal noises with no instructions. We are seeing if they can remember what to do at each sound they hear. So far it has been a blast!
This is our final week of our Coordination Learning Unit, we will concentrate on the hands, specifically hand-eye coordination. The parents will be invited in to participate with their kids during our “Station” time; these stations are filled not only with a gymnastics SOF, but also a sports related, hand-eye coordination activity that the kids and parents can enjoy together!
There is a lot of sports equipment and other items used throughout the lesson plan. These activities will enhance your child’s hand-eye coordination skills as they catch, throw or strike objects with their hands; and also their manipulative skills as they strike or manipulate a ball using a stick, racquet and golf club! These activities also provide a fun ‘change of pace’ to the normal activities and skills they practice in this class. So far the kids have really loved the last two weeks of incorporating sports into their gymnastics class.
Thanks for reading!
I found out today that November 12th is world pneumonia day. Pneumonia is preventable by vaccines and yet it still kills children every 20 seconds. It is known as the silent killer and we have the technology to save lives but need more funding. Here are some preventable steps we can take to start saving more lives and educate others on the silent killer.
World Pneumonia Day
A question I get asked fairly often is “how young should my child start organized sports?”
While I do not really feel like the same answer can be given out to all kids, a lot depends on the sport, the child, their personality etc. but in general I tend to recommend keeping their kids active in many sports for as long as possible and resist the urge to specialize at age 10. It is really, really hard to resist the trend to specialize earlier and earlier to keep a competitive edge on your teammates/competitors. If you are curious just Google all the kid prodigy athletes you can remember and see where they ended up 2-4 years after they were “the next Jordan”. Usually burned out, injured or no longer a good player due to puberty or peaking too young in life. I strongly feel it is better for the kids to be playing in High School and College for the love of the game, regardless of what team they make. In reality we are all on the “B” team, otherwise we would be at the Olympics winning a gold medal so I try to keep it all in perspective so when they do get cut it is not the end of the world for them. I came across this article about two endurance runners’ ages 12 and 10 and it left me speechless. I will track these two girls and see where they are in 4 years, I hope still running and kicking butt!
How can you give your child all the tools they need to survive? Schools, buses, playgrounds etc...can be traumatic experiences for the timid and shy kids. They can even be traumatic for even the self-confident kids who seem to be well adverse in handling difficult social situations. What makes one child so "mean" and "aggressive" and others so "quiet" and timid? I think it is safe to say that it is how the kids are wired from birth, like it or not, but we can change some behavior and form new habits that are life changing. It seems like "Bulling" is a hot topic is schools right now and the only thing hotter is how to stop it. Teaching kids self-confidence can help, and we certainly build self-confidence at The Little Gym of Edina but the other major component that seems to be missing is conflict resolution. There is a program that is starting to gain some steam in the "Bully Prevention" arena, although they do not say "we prevent bullying", they will tell you that the "anti-bullying" is an outcome of their curriculum.
Playworks' success rate on the topic of "Bullying" is off the charts and everyone wants to know what their magic bullet is in bully prevention. The magic bullet is so simple that it is overlooked, it’s called engagement.
Please read the article on Playworks that was addressed to me.
Here is a little Foot Education.
As you all know, we prefer your child participate in our class with bare feet. Playing in bare feet helps strengthen all of their foot muscles. A child learning to walk receives important sensory information from the bottom of their feet. It is important to allow your child to go barefoot regularly to help them develop balance, coordination and posture. This week in class we brought some awareness to their ‘Tender Tootsies’, the role they play in your child’s development and their ability to balance! Your child’s feet undergo many changes as they grow – some of which help facilitate the locomotor stages your child goes through. Flat feet are normal in a young child due to weak muscle tone in the foot, a generous padding of fat and loose ankle ligaments that permit the foot to lean inwards. As your child masters walking, the ligaments and muscles will strengthen and the fat pads in the arch area won’t be so noticeable. By around five years of age, your child should have normal arches in both feet.
And you thought the only reason we had the kids go in bare feet was so we could tickle them and give them stamps!
A few common asked questions that are not on our website:
How much do the classes cost?
This is a common question and the answer is not really on the website. In general the cost is about $18-$20 per class depending on how and when you enroll. Our curriculum for the school year is built around 40 classes with new learning units about every 4 weeks within the 40-week period. While your enrollment can start any week, the ending options are either at our ½ season week (January 14-20th) or June 4-10th.
Yes we allow make-ups classes for missed classes.
Yes you can enroll during any week; you will be pro-rated for classes that you have missed.
Yes you have one other option for classes than the 40 weeks; the ½ season is 20 weeks.
What are our classes?
Basically we are a gymnastics facility, but so much more. While we use gymnastics to grow their physical skills, we are also growing other skills, such as social, emotional and perceptual. Our core philosophy in non-competitive in spirit where we encourage the kids to try their best not be the best. They are kids after all; we have many different age groups in order to offer age appropriate activities and expectations.
Can I try a class?
Absolutely, we understand how kids learn and it would be crazy for us to not understand how parents learn as well. Our introductory class allows you to try a class with no commitment. The cost is $20 to try one class, if or when you enroll that $20 will be deducted from your tuition thus making it free to you.
I could go on for days about all the things our classes can offer, if you are still reading this far down the paragraph that means you are still interested J and I think you can give us a call and we can answer the last few questions over the phone. 952-924-0083.
“Sensory Integration Bubbles”
This week our POP is to go outside and pop bubbles with the Bugs! Bubbles are an excellent tool for working on sensory integration as we saw earlier! The Bugs can see the bubbles as they float to ground, tracking them with their eyes. They are reaching for the bubbles while touching the bubbles with their hands or fingers. Sing a bubble song while blowing the bubbles and they will hear the song as you sing! All their senses working together to sort out what’s going on in their environment and responding to it! You could sing “1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Bubbles”, or “Pop, Pop, Pop Those Bubbles” to name a few. Bubble blowers are usually in season during this time of year, so if you don’t have one, go out and get one! You could also just blow bubbles with a bottle of bubbles and a wand.
As we’ve seen today, the more your child experiments with a variety of objects and stimuli, the more chances they’ll have to respond in different ways and grow from the new experiences. Being a bit more tolerant of them dropping things is one of the many ways you can encourage this more experimenting. It’s also helpful for you to talk about what they’re doing and observing the results of their action: “Look how far the ball rolled that time!” Keep your eye out for other laws of physics your child is interested in, such as putting things in and out of containers; opening and closing boxes; listening to paper crackle when it’s wadded up; and squeezing Jell-O through their fingers! Providing lots of sensory, visual and auditory input helps your Birdie make better sense of their world!
BEASTS AND SUPER BEASTS
“Guess What’s in the Bag”
Get three paper bags and put three different objects in the bags your child would recognize that have different textures - try a ball - a teddy bear and a puzzle. If your child can describe it, ask them too, if not; let them just guess what it is before they take it out of the bag.
FUNNY BUGS, GIGGLE WORMS AND GOOD FRIENDS
We have challenged the kids to GET MOVING this week - 30 minutes outside every day! Walking, riding a bike or even swimming are some great ideas!
GRADE SCHOOL CLASSES
“Frog Jump Sets & Reps”
Parents, this week, we challenged your kids to some frog jump reps! They will choose the number of frog jump sets and reps based on how old they are! So, if your child is seven years old, they’ll do seven sets of seven frog jumps! They are going to be worn out! I challenged them to do them every other day. If you could really be encouraging and cheer them on! By the time they get to the last reps, they’ll need you as a cheerleader to keep them going.
JAZZY BUGS, GIGGLE TOES AND GOOD LEAPS
“Brain Boost Basketball at Home”
This week while your child is at home we want them to practice their basketball skills by dribbling, passing or shooting. However, we told them to add some sort of counting to get a brain boost. They can count how many shots they make, dribbles they perform, passing catches, etc.
“Count By 2’s and 3’s at Home”
This week while your child is at home we want them to practice their shooting skills. However, we told them to add some sort of counting to give themselves a brain boost. We also told them they can count by 2’s or 3’s if they like.
“Body Part Awareness Songs”
This week our POP is to sing body part awareness songs at home with your Bugs! This is an excellent way to reinforce what you learned in class - body part awareness! Many of your Bugs enjoy music and singing along with movement, which is one of the reason we use music throughout our program here at The Little Gym! Sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes”, “Tony Chestnut”, and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (body part version). If you can’t remember the words for some of the songs, just make them up and incorporate body part awareness.
BIRDS, BEASTS AND SUPER BEASTS
“What is this Body Part?”
Have some Serious Fun with your child this week and challenge them with different body parts they are not used to identifying. Some examples are their thigh, shin, forehead, elbows, heels etc. Start with some easy ones they know (their eye, their nose, etc) then challenge them with the harder parts. You can either say the name of the body part and have them show it to you, OR if their vocabulary is there, you can point to the body part and ASK them what it is!
“Clown Feet Rolls At Home!”
Practice forward rolls at home or at the park! Be sure to start with your “Clown Feet” together when you begin!
“Stick Landing Practice”
If it’s nice outside, encourage your kids to get out there and practice their stick landings! Have them find an open space in the grass and go for a fast run. Then, when their ready, they’ll jump up and control that power and momentum and practice their stick and finish!
“Get Moving At Home!”
We want the kids to practice their leaps at home this week!
MINI JACKS AND CRACKER JACKS
“Street Hockey Shootout”
This week when you are at home, we want your child to continue to practice their street hockey skills by having a shootout. There are two different kinds of shootouts you can have.
1. Place objects from around the house in a safe area that can be knocked down. Then, mark where your child should stand and have them start shooting. Don’t worry if you don’t have a hockey stick - just use any type of stick!
2. This is a 1-on-1 shootout. Your child gets to pick whether they want to be a shooter or goalie. Whatever they don’t choose, you get to be. After doing this for a while, be sure to switch roles.
Practice forward rolls at home or at the park! Be sure to start with your ‘Clown Feet’ together when you begin!
“Long Sitting and Straddle Stands”
For younger Bugs, try to do some long sitting at home. Place your Bug in a seated position on the floor with a wide straddle position. Place a toy in front of them they have to reach forward to get. This will lengthen their hamstring muscles! For older Bugs, have them sit in a wide straddle position on the floor facing you. Take them from their bent elbows and slowly pull them forward until they are standing in a wide straddle stand. Then slowly lower them back down. As they get steadier, see if they will balance on their feet for a second or two. These are both great exercises to practice at home with your Bugs!
“Your Little Helper”
This week as you’re doing your household chores, enlist your Bird’s help. Your child will love being part of the action and will learn from the job, even if it’s something as simple as dropping socks into a basket or wiping her high chair with a rag. After she has completed the task, make sure to say “Thank You”! (Avoid saying “good girl” or “good boy”). They’ll learn to feel appreciated for the things they do for others. By praising the action, they’ll want to continue to try to earn your thanks!
“Mom’s/Dad’s Little Helper”
Ask them to help you and LET them help you. Buy them a little broom so they can sweep too - give them a cloth so they can dust with you - empowering them with ‘adult jobs’ is a great way to make them feel like an important member of the family unit. They might not be the greatest ‘sweeper’ but that's ok; it's the feeling that comes with it that counts. Praise their efforts and actions and you will see them want to help you more and more!
FUNNY BUGS AND GIGGLE WORMS
We have asked the kids to work with you this week to come up with a team cheer! It could be a simple saying you all do together each morning to start the day off together. We encouraged the kids to write it down on a poster or paper with your help and hang it on the wall. We hope it will reinforce the ideas of teamwork and cooperation.
We have asked the kids to work with you this week to come up with a team cheer! It could be a simple saying that you all do together each morning to start the day off together. We encouraged the kids to write it down on a poster or paper with your help and hang it on the wall.
“Prep For Game Day!!”
Our POP for the week will be what we’d like to call a “Prep for Game Day”! You might already know, but all this preparation we’ve been talking about it for a fantastic show we’ll be putting on for you during the second to last week of our season! This will be the day we perform all of our routines and skills learned! You’ll want to be sure and invite everyone you know for this. It will be the week of _________. The week after the show will be our “Game Day”!!! This will be the last class of our season and we’d like it to be a celebration of all we’ve learned, all the fun we’ve had and all of our favorite things will be included. This week, we’re hoping the kids can go home and write down some of their favorite games, activities, challenges, drills and skills. We’ll collect these in class next week, so be sure to have the kids bring them back! Thanks again for all of your help and encouragement with the Personal Outside Practice!
Can you work together with your parents or family to create a team cheer? Maybe a fun saying that will encourage you to get something done around the house - or maybe just to start your morning off right each day this week. Write it down on some poster board or paper and put it up on the wall at home!
“Play Defense Around the House”
This week at home we want the kids to play defense around the house. Parents, at any time you can say, ‘D-fense! (Clap, Clap)’, immediately your child should get into a defensive stance. Next, tell them what object they can play defense on - the television, refrigerator, dog, etc. Be creative!
“Family Team Clean”
We asked the kids to organize a “Family Team Clean” session at home; maybe this weekend! The idea is that your family will decide on a room or section of your home to work together and clean as a “Team”. We told the kids that “You may be surprised at how quickly the work gets done – and what a difference it makes when people and families work together!” Maybe you can even take a “before” and “after” picture to see the difference when you’re done!
“Tummy Time, Sitting & Crawling Practice”
For the non-crawling Bugs, practice tummy time at home as long as your little Bug will tolerate it! The more tummy time they do the stronger their upper back and neck will become, which will prepare them for crawling. Put a few favorite toys in front of them to keep them engaged for a longer period of time. Maybe even prop a small pillow under their tummy/chest to get their tummy raised off the floor. You could also try some sitting activities to help strengthen the core muscles. Sit in a chair with your Bug on your lap facing away from you, holding them in the hips. Slowly lean them forward and back. This helps work the muscles in the back and abdomen. For the crawlers, create a crawling course around the house by putting a toy in front of the Bugs, so they have to crawl to get the toy. Once they get it, try again and make the toy further away as an extra added challenge!
There’s a classic mirror test you can try with your baby to test their concept of self-awareness. Put a little smudge of lipstick or marker on your baby’s nose and put them in front of a mirror. Point to the reflection in the mirror and ask ‘Who’s that?’ At 6-12 months, most babies think it’s another baby, they smile and make noise. At 13-20 months, they usually don’t like to see the image, becoming shy and anxious in front of another child. At 20-24 months, they start to realize the image is really themselves by pointing to the spot on their own nose! Try it and see how your baby’s self-awareness is emerging. Being able to distinguish themselves from other people is fundamental to developing social relationships. Try the test every few weeks to see how their awareness of themselves.
This is a game you can do at home to encourage sharing. When you see your child playing with something, go up beside them and play with something else. Mimic “parallel playing”. Every now and again say what you're doing out loud and see if they do the same and continue on their merry way, or if instead they turn around to try and join you. Either way PRAISE them for their choice.
“Cooperation at Home”
We have encouraged your children to work together with a friend this week by taking turns or sharing toys. We encouraged them to tell Mom and Dad all about the great ways they shared with a friend! So hopefully you’ll get an “ear-full”! Providing your child’s opportunities to interact with peers develops social and problem solving skills, exactly what we focus on each week here at The Little Gym!
“What Makes You A Great Team Mate?”
For this week’s POP, kids will go home and write down what they are best at when it comes to being on a team. For example: do they listen really well? Watch their teammates and cheer them on? Suggest ideas? etc. This might be tricky, but will be great to “springboard” our Learning Unit! Parents, you will be key in helping them with this POP!! They can also add some bedpost toe raises right before bed each night! Have them do as many as they are old, five times!
This week when you are at home, we want your child to practice passing with you. First, they have to teach you how to “step-push-point”. These are the performance cues for a chest pass. Then, you have to see how many catches in a row you can do with them before dropping the ball. Try to break your record all week!
If you have a crawler try setting up a crawling station at home with various multi-colored objects, like blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, anything you can think of that promote a fun, colorful environment. For non-crawlers have some daily tummy time placing multi-colored objects over there head, play peek-a-boo and then call out the colors at the same time.
Did you have fun with matching your colored socks last week? Well, keep them out because we’re going to use them again! To continue with the NAMING theme, this week, use your same three pair of basic colored socks. Lay them all out randomly on the floor (separate the pairs). Ask your child to find two matching socks from the six on the floor, then ask him to name the color; continue until he or she has picked up and named all three pairs. You can expand this game to four or even five colors when your child is ready, but take it slow! Remember, it’s easiest for your child to learn and memorize one color at a time.
At home you can play the same game you played last week; matching the socks and clothes to different items in the house, but this time ASK THEM what the name of the color is before they match it up.
Blow up a balloon this week for your child and encourage them to hit it with their hands either keeping it in the air or hitting it against a wall. Maybe you can count how many ‘hits’ they can get before the balloon hits the ground…a great hand-eye coordination activity!
GIGGLE WORMS AND GOOD FRIENDS
Hopefully, we have lightened your workload around the house this week by asking the kids to practice their hand-eye coordination by throwing their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Who knows? Maybe next week it could be cleaning the bathroom!
GRADE SCHOOL AND ADVANCED GRADE SCHOOL
This week we’re challenging the kids to practice their bridges with you, allowing you to ‘master’ the spotting technique we showed you today in the gym! If you can’t find the time, it’s A-Okay, they can practice this move on their own also! Please remind the kids to ‘rock and roll’ their backs out after each bridge.
The POP for the week is for the kids to draw or color a picture and then perform a dance about the picture. We encouraged them to share the artwork with you and perform their dance. See if you can prod them to discuss how they created those specific movements based on their picture.
This week when you are at home, we want you and your child to be ‘passing partners’. Just like at our sports station, spread out and pass the soccer ball to each other without stopping or trapping the ball.
If you saw what we did in our Opening Circle for our Name Activity today called ‘Spin and Splat’, we’ve asked the children to recruit your assistance in recreating that at home this week! We told the kids to do five spin-punches each day before dinner!
Monday, December 26th
TLG Stars on Ice
We’ll use paper-plate ice skates to
glide around The Little Gym...
Tuesday, December 27th
Bring sleeping bags and get ready for some
bird watching and tent-building
Wednesday, December 28th
Holiday Goofy Games
Candy cane spin baseball, snowman slams, ice-castle
building, and parachute snowball poppers …
Thursday, December 29th
Dinosaur Ice age
We’ll take a sled ride across the Arctic, meet a silly stegosaurus, and travel to some of the coldest places on earth
Friday, December 30th
New Year’s Eve Beach Bash
Come celebrate the New Year with a
party on the beach!
For your POP’s this week, converse with your Bug on a daily basis about colors. There are thoughts out there that say you should start with just one color and constantly repeat the same color over and over until they can identify it, but in reality, with our Bugs only being 4 to 10 months old, just starting with some conversation about colors will begin to pave the way to learning them. When dressing your Bug in the morning, say and point to the blue pants, or pink top. Fun little activities like this over time will create a ‘knowledge database’ of colors for your babies to begin learning.
In your daily activities this week, try to focus on colors. You can pick one color and keep reinforcing objects that are the same color. Or you can name and identify different colors as part of your daily conversation. As you dress your baby, tell them what color the dress is; as you cover them with a blanket, tell your baby what color the blanket is. You can also try a simple matching activity. Get three pairs of socks in basic colors (maybe a red pair, a green pair and a blue pair). Lay out one sock of each color on the floor. Give your baby one of the other socks and ask them to find the matching sock on the floor. Continue until they have matched all socks. After they’ve mastered this activity, ask them to choose the sock from the basket to match, or add another color or two.
At home this week, as your Personal Outside Practice, please continue to match and identify COLORS with your child. As they are getting dressed, tell them what COLOR their clothes are and ask them if they can find ANYTHING else that is the same COLOR, or separate some of their socks in piles and have them try to match the pairs. Have some fun and you can try it during dinner too. Did you know broccoli and peas are the same COLOR? YUM!
FUNNY BUGS AND GIGGLE WORMS, AND GOOD FRIENDS
At home, we asked the kids to choose a chore or job to do at home – but try doing it with just their feet. Maybe do a different thing each day. Here are the three ideas we gave them:
- Each night when you put your pajamas on, use only your feet to put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket or hamper.
- If you have a pet dog and a dog brush, use your feet to give your dog a good brushing! Can you hold the brush between your feet and brush your dog?
- Pick up your toys and put them in the toy box – or even try to stack toy blocks using only your feet!
They also know to check with you to make sure their ‘Foot Chore’ is safe to do!
Parents, this week, after the kids brush their teeth, they can find a wall and walk down it backwards with their hands into a bridge! They’ll start facing away from the wall, and arch back to touch wall and walk down it backwards into a bridge! You’ll want to supervise this one to ensure the kids are rocking and rolling and stretching through their shoulders!
During one – or more – nights this week, we’ve asked your child to perform their ‘Color Solo’! We practiced it in class. All they need is a yellow, a green and a purple object to spread out on the floor to serve as their dance ‘color cues’ for their skills! We’ll see if the kids can remember which skill we’ve assigned to each color! We also told the kids, after they show you their ‘color solo’, perhaps you will take a turn to do a ‘color solo’ for your child!
This week when your child is at home, have them practice counting their hits. Use a balloon and a racquet. If you don’t have a racquet, then they can use their hand. How many hits can they do - 10, 50, 100? Can they break their record? Can they hit higher than they can count? Have fun!
We’re asking for you to help the children work on their blocks this week at home by swinging a small pillow or stuffed animal at them to let them practice their blocking motion. If you are comfortable and have the space you can try tossing something at them to see if they can block it out of the air – a rolled-up pair of socks, a small pillow; anything soft and safe!
Try these great parent/child activities at home to carry on our important ‘Do’ and ‘Feel’ learning from this week: Partner log rolls, Back and Front-Whoop-Dee-Doo’s, and maybe even your arm and leg exercises!
Practice walking backward with your child: Get a paper or plastic plate and pretend it’s a steering wheel. Let them drive around the house and when you cue them with a ‘beep, beep, beep’ they can stop and try to move backwards; like a truck backing up.
FUNNY BUGS AND GIGGLE WORMS
Every day before they eat breakfast and before they eat dinner, we’d like the kids to try to three different body positions – demonstrate for the parents – squat, pike and straddle. Count to ten with your child and see if they can hold the pose the entire ten count!
In class, the kids did a ‘Build a Better Body’ Strength Circuit! We are challenging our Good Friends to do some of the same strength activities at home they did in the circuit. They can put their feet on the sofa and their hands on the floor and try to walk the length of the sofa, keeping their torso tight and strong! Or maybe put their hands on the edge of their bed, keep their feet on the floor and try some dips for strong arms! Rome was not built in a day - and better bodies can’t be built in one hour at The Little Gym! So encourage them to move those bodies each day!
To continue working on building up that power, we’ve asked the kids to re-visit the 800 meter runs they may have tried a few weeks ago. Parents, you can take them to a nearby track and see how many 800 meter runs these powerful kids can do!
We’ve asked the kids to utilize their imagination skills and put on an ‘Imagination Show for Mom and Dad’ at home! Your child has been asked to pick three different objects in your house and imagine what it would look like if those objects could move or dance. Then they will find a safe open spot and try to dance/act it out for you in a Three-Part Show (one show for each object they choose)! This is a great example of ‘Think About It, Move About It’ in action! Parents, you know it’s always helpful to provide your child with a wonderful, dynamic demonstration! Maybe YOU can first put on an ‘Imagination Show’ for your child to ‘set the tone’!
“How Fast Can You Do Your Chores?”
This week parents you and your child are going to agree on a chore that they can do. They are going to start that chore when they say ‘HUT’. They will do the chore as quickly as they can (while still doing it the correct way!). You will time them and can even have them try to break their record the next time they do the same chore!
To continue to exercise their minds, we’ve asked the children to enlist your help by reading them a short book or story and having them try to ‘act it out’ as best they can. This is similar to some of what we did in class today by presenting a ‘scenario’ and challenging them to translate it through their movements and actions!”
Provide opportunities for your Bugs to roll and rotate from different positions. You could start in a wheel barrow position moving into a F. Roll, donkey kicks into little handstands then roll at the end. These are great sequencing skills and will assist in creating more body control and development for your Bug.
Daily vestibular challenges are essential! Have fun spinning on the kitchen floor! Use the ‘roll’ sign and do some log rolls or forward rolls on the floor; engage in roughhouse play: fly your baby through the air or rock them quickly from side to side; dance with your Birdie, moving them up and down and side to side.
Another fun activity is to play ‘roll-up’: spread a blanket or towel on your child’s bed, have them lie on top of the blanket on one side of the bed, and gently roll them across the bed until they are wrapped up in a blanket roll. Then unroll them to spin their heads in the other direction!
Take your favorite small stuffed animal for a ‘ride’ by tucking them under their chin when you do your roll. This will teach them great ‘chin-tucking form’ and will work on the balance control center or ‘vestibular system’. Parents, maybe you can try one too.
One of our skills in class was jumping from a platform from two feet and landing on two feet with strong stable legs while maintaining balance. At home, at the playground or in the back yard, find opportunities for your child to safely practice their jumping and landing skills with balance and body control. This skill, being able to jump and land on two feet from a raised surface, is a great ‘safety skill’ as it provides a safe and effective way to get down off of higher areas that are too high to step down from!
We have encouraged the kids to practice their favorite balancing position at home this week. They can practice while watching their favorite TV show or while waiting for dinner or by putting on a ‘balancing pose performance’ for you in the living room! Maybe you can join them and work on your balance, too!
“Bedtime balancing” This week kids will be challenged to go home and do 200 toe raises before bed each night…just kidding!
Just before they go to bed, they can use their bed post or headboard to balance while raising up and down 10 times from flat feet to relevé on toe! A great calf work out and easy to remember if you do it just before bed! Challenge them to even try it without holding on! Tricky business balancing just before bed!
Their POP for the week is to practice their passé while they perform port de bra each morning when they wake up.
“Angle Shooting!” “This week we have a great challenge for the kids at home with your help parents. As you know, in soccer, the ball isn’t always just sitting there for us to score or rolled directly to us. So what we want you to do is have your child line up like they are going to shoot the ball. Your job is to roll the ball, not directly to them, but just off to one side or the other so they must run to the ball and kick from different angles at the goal. Remember to give them lots of praise and don’t let them get frustrated!
During this unit, we’ve mentioned to the children that balance is important in many other areas of their life besides just karate, so we’ve asked them to try some everyday tasks at home on one foot. Be prepared for some potentially odd feats of balance - such as balancing on one foot during a commercial or while singing their ABC’s!
Using a wooden spoon, rhythm stick (if you have one), or wood dowel, have your Bug lie down on their backs with feet toward you. Put the stick in front of them and see if you can play ‘peek-a-boo’ gently lift the stick above and below their head (while they hang onto it). It’s fun and a great for strengthening those shoulder muscles getting them ready for future hangs and swings.
Then try and gently lift your Bug up as they grasp for the stick into a standing position promoting some balancing opportunities to again continue to work on strengthening your little Bug’s lower body.
This week’s Personal Outside Practice will help train your child’s Static Balance, which is the ability to maintain a desired body posture or position when the body is stationary. Have your child stand on both feet and extend their arms. Give them two objects of different weights – maybe a stuffed animal and a heavier toy – and have them hold each toy in a different hand. Ask them to move their arms up and down. Next, ask your child to stand on one foot with arms extended and to hold two objects of different weights.
They may use a chair or table to lean on to help them balance at first, but with practice their balance should become developed enough that they can stand on their own on one foot. Holding objects of two different weights creates a situation where they have to reestablish their center of gravity and focus on stabilizing their core to deal with the imbalance they’re holding – a great balance challenge!!
Spot your child in a wheelbarrow to their bedroom at least once a day; maybe on their way to bed for the night, or going to their bedroom to get a toy! Wheelbarrows are a GREAT ‘Core’ builder! Not only are the kids using their back, neck, shoulder and chest muscles to bear weight on their arms as they keep their head up, they also activate their abdominal muscles to stabilize their spine!
Every time they brush their teeth, they’re going to try and balance on one foot. If it’s easier to brush and then do a 10 second balancing, that’s ok too!
“High Wire Hero Around Town!” We told your children to be a ‘high wire hero at home or around your town this week and work on your balance! Find a safe curb in the parking lot or at the park with Mom or Dad and walk on it without falling off.
GRADE SCHOOL, ADVANCED GRADE SCHOOL, AND GRADE SCHOOL DANCE
This week’s ‘POP’ will include you, parents!
If willing, play the Frozen Popsicle game. REPETITION will lead to the child’s ability to make this body position and “muscle activation” automatic! Be supportive and encouraging with this – but try not to force them. This is completely optional and “Extra” for the kids to do!
Practice being an Amazing Balancing Betty. We encouraged them to practice standing on one foot before going to bed each night. The challenge is to see if they can balance long enough to sing the entire ABC song.
“How Long Can Your Child Balance?”
This week parents, we want you to get out the stop watch and challenge your child to trap a ball for as long as they can without their trapping foot coming off the ball. Maybe they can break their record as the week goes on! They can try it with both their right and left feet. If they need more of a challenge, then you can either have them try it with their eyes closed or you can playfully try to knock them off balance.
To further that development, we have asked the children to practice some balancing on one foot at home this week after they get out of bed each morning. They also know to check with you before they do it to be sure the spot they’ve chosen is safe to practice.
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