Playgroundtalk is pleased to announce our first Guest Blogger, Dana! We hope you enjoy her class review as much as we did.  Please contact us at lauren@playgroundtalk.com if you’d like to be a Guest Blogger too.

Hi my name is Dana and I just moved to the area.  Moving from the city to the suburbs is challenging enough, let alone meeting new friends from the area.  I am a stay at home mom with an infant who I call “the drama queen” and after moving into our new house I realized really quickly that I needed to meet other moms to keep myself sane after being in the house with a baby 24:7.  Therefore, I joined many groups and activities which I will be reviewing…my first one is The Little Gym!

The Little Gym (28 Franklin Tpke, Waldwick, NJ):  This gym is paradise for a toddler!  It is a huge room which is all padded with tons of inclines, ropes, bars, zip line, balance beams and swings.  The curriculum each class follows is designed to strengthen the physical ability of each child as well as learning to listen and master new skills based on the age group.  The gym offers classes from 4 months-3 years old.

Our experience:  I enrolled “the drama queen” when she was 6 months old so we have only experienced the youngest group called “Little Bugs” and all I can say is WOW!!  From the first class I was so amazed at what you can teach and do with a 6 month old.  Each class starts off in a circle, sitting on a padded floor with an instructor (ours is Melissa).  Melissa starts introductions by leading you to do a skill and saying your child’s name.  Then we review some skills from last class, for example standing up and walking in a circle while you hold your child so that their feet are pressed against your stomach and you support them under their stomach…this is called a flag pole.  The neatest part about every skill is that Melissa explains why the skill is beneficial for the child.  After reviewing a bunch of different skills the class does a group activity such as the parachute or the inflatable trampoline.  Then there is time to explore the gym’s padded inclines, tunnels and balance beams while playing with bubbles and balls and bells.  Then a new skill is taught to the children such as hanging from the bars or forward rolls.  Recently the coolest activity was when Melissa set up a swing on the zip line and each child got a few turns to zip across the room.  Each class ends back on the padded floor in a circle with a goodbye song.

This gym has been a great experience for “the drama queen”….she now loves to go upside down and do somersaults (with my assistance).  I have never felt as though the skills we were learning were unsafe  mainly because everything is explained to you in great detail and how it benefits the child.  Also, the gym welcomes visitors….both my in-laws and my parents have come to watch and they can either observe through the window from the waiting area or come into the gym themselves.

The gym is super clean and all materials are washed after every class and no shoes are allowed by anyone….not even the 6 month olds!  And I saved the best for last….if you sign up for the membership, you get to go to the free gym hours throughout the week.  This is a savior on the coldest days of winter when your child and you has major cabin fever.  The fee to join is on the expensive side but it’s worth it due to the way it’s run.  You really get what you pay for by joining this gym.