||Reviews of Specific Programs
My active 18 month old toddler needs more opportunities to jump and climb than what we
are offering him.
Do you know of any gym that has the right space for free play or classes for toddlers?
Even though he is only 18 months, he has been walking since he was 11 months, so by now
his balance is excellent -- he jumps, runs (boy does he run fast), walks on narrow
surfaces, climbs, etc.
He is my first munchkin and most of my friends have no kids, or have kids my son's age or
younger, so I'm not familiar with classes or places to take him.
Life with an active toddler
Kids N Dance N Theater Arts in Oakland and Lafayette has an awesome Parent & Me
dance/gymnastic class starting at 18 month. Super fun gym room, sweet energetic
teachers. Dance part is gender neutral. Check them out: kidsndance.com
The amazing Dawn Margolin runs a fantastic kindergym program at Temple Beth Abraham in
Oakland. http://tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym/ I took my granddaughter there each
week from the time she was about 15 months until she was 3 (she's 5 now). It's a great
place with lots of space and toys and things to climb on and through. Dawn is probably
the most energetic, warm, welcoming person you could ever hope to meet and is a genius
with little ones. Free play with each adult watching over his/her kid followed by an
organized get together at the end of the hour with Dawn reading, singing, putting on a
puppet show -- whatever she does is beloved by the kids, and so is Dawn. I can't wait
to bring my second granddaughter this fall when the program begins. She will be 15
months, a perfect time to start. Pre-walkers are also welcomed. (The fact that it is in
a Temple should not signal it is limited to Jews. On the contrary, it is diverse and
Zach Fischer and Marria Grace Kee will be running two weeks of an afternoon summer program at Athletic Playground, in Emeryville, CA, from August 19th-30th, for kids ages 7-12 and 13-18. They are professional hoop acrobats (Ninja Hoops) who travel the world teaching and performing, and they are incredibly charismatic, effective teachers, very thoughtful about pedagogy and child development and physical and emotional safety--and their classes are completely fun. I can testify that they can teach the most reluctant learner! Their classes include Parkour, acrobatics, aerials, hula-hooping, human pyramids, slacklining, obstable courses, games.... Zach also sometimes teaches ''Spider Man Training'' --look out for it in the future--to ''give you the strength and speed of your favorite comic hero''--swinging, climbing ropes, running up walls, hanging upside down. Check out ''Ninja Hoops'' on the web and you'll see some of why they are very appealing role models for kids. But in addition, they are true TEACHERS. Susan S
Gymnastics for low-income 7 year old girl
What gymnastics classes are there for 7-year old girls in Berkeley/Oakland? Weekends would be preferable, and financial support/scholarships would be very helpful.
The University of Berkeley has a great gymnastic program for children of all ages and is very affordable. Here's their site: http://camps.berkeley.edu/youth (I think it is $70 for January - June. Another parent
I recommend Golden Bear Gymnastics (on the Cal Clark Kerr Campus in Berkeley) with great enthusiasm. My daughter has been taking classes there for nearly two years and has loved every teacher she has had. The teachers are kind and very attentive and well trained. The kids learn a LOT. They have a very full range of classes from beginners to serious high level competition. But the gym feels very low key (which I like) and the kids always seem very happy. I am not sure about financial support but I do know the Golden Bear costs are lower than those of commercial gyms. gymnastics mom
Try one of the YMCAs. I believe they do offer scholarships and sliding scale classes.
Seeking gymnastics class for 5 year old
We're looking for a gymnastics class in Berkeley, Albany or Oakland that is appropriate for a 5 year old with no prior gymnastics experience. We also belong to the Berkeley Y, but their offerings are meager for movement-based classes for his age group. I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
My child went to Flips-n-Flops Gymnastics, he loved it. Great talented teachers, reasonable price, not too big place. We tried other places and prefered over there. www.flipsandflops.com/ Flips-n-Flops Gymnastics. 5327 Jacuzzi Street, Suite 3-I Richmond, CA 94804 (510) 525-3313. fax (510)525-3315.
If you're located nr. highway 24 then a trip through the tunnel to Lafayette is as close as Albany or Oakland. Offering classes for 5 yr olds. www.flipnfungym.webstarts.com good luck in your search
Gymnastics/dance/martial arts/yoga for 4 yr old
What are the best and most current gymnastics or dance classes out there for older preschoolers? El Cerrito resident, but can go all around. Our son naps from 2-4, so would be best on either side of those hours Thanks everyone!
The El Cerrito Recreation Center has gymnastics classes for kids ages 3-10 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Drop-in rate is $10 per class, but if you are an El Cerrito resident and purchase a packet of 4-8 classes, the rate is cheaper. Call the recreation center at (510) 559-7000 for details. El Cerrito Mom
Try Kinetic Arts in West Oakland. Not the best location but absolutely the best gymnastics for young kids in the area (and we've tried a lot of them). It's fine safety-wise if you park in their lot. Their teachers are friendly and professional circus performers for the most part. Highly recommended. Ron
Our 4 year old daughter takes classes in University Village in Albany (http://services.housing.berkeley.edu/VillageRecreation/gymnastics_plus.htm). We have been taking classes there since she was under 2 (the parent participation) and since age 3, she has taken the instructional classes. They are absolutely great classes, and the teachers (Matt and Victoria) are wonderful with the kids and handle all the different personalities and shyness levels so well. We highly recommend it for 4 year olds! Cara
Gymnastics for a Less Physical 5 year old
Hi there, My 5 year old son has just ''graduated'' from occupational therapy aimed at helping him with gross motor skills. He's very bright and not considered special needs, but has been very reluctant to be physical, although he desperately wants to be. The OT recommended that we try a smaller gymnastics class for him to continue to encourage him to be physical. I'm wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a class where the instructors would be patient with a 5 year old who a little scared of the physical stuff. He really blossoms with a patient teacher, but would likely shut down in the face of impatience. Any recommendations? Anne
My kiddo tends to be the less physical type and went through a phase of being afraid to try *anything.* We had a good experience at Head Over Heels once I found the right class and teacher for her. (She is almost 5, this was just last spring.) It may depend on how full their classes are and maybe their Feb - March sessions are less crowded (I'm not sure...), but the first class my daughter tried was too large for her and the teacher (I think Anthony?) wasn't sensitive to what she was going through. But then I switched her into a small class (2 kids!) with Brittany and that ended up being one of the best things we've ever done for our less-than- physical child. Brittany was amazing with her - playful, patient and upbeat and it really helped that it was such a small class. After that class, my daughter really made huge strides in being more physical and trying more things: climbing, jumping, etc. So that is my recommendation: HOH w/ Brittany and if you can enroll your child in a class no bigger than 2-3 kiddos. Good luck! anon
My 4 year old has been taking gymnastics for the past 2 years at University Village in Albany, and it is wonderful. Matt Schwey and Victoria Bryant are the teachers, and the classes are small. Matt and Victoria are both very patient, and there are always all different skill levels in the class and Victoria will often sit with a child and be more one on one with them if they need that extra support. I would email Matt and ask him your questions and what class he would recommend for your child -- he is very helpful and responds quickly to emails. You can look up the classes online as well as his contact info if you google university village Albany recreation program. Cara
My son (6 years old) also graduated from OT last year and the therapist suggested either gymnastics or judo. He, like yours, is not special needs, but had gross motor skill problems. We decided to try the judo place she recommended because her own son went there for many years and she had great things to say about it: (Hanabi Judo in Albany). My son has been going there for almost a year now and it has been so great for him. He has developed a real confidence in himself physically that he never had before, as well as being able to do all kinds of things physically that were hard for him before. I love the atmosphere here because it's not high pressure at all. The teachers take each kid where he/she is at and work with them. Also the older kids help the younger kids in a way that is really nice. I think they have created such a warm, accepting family-like feeling here it has been exactly what my son needed. Good luck to you! Mom
Whatever you do, do not go to Head over Heals in Emeryville. It's a total zoo and your son will get no individual attention. If he's reluctant to participate, the high school age instructors will just ignore him. It would be worse than not doing a class at all. Bad experience
Gymboree Substitute for 8 month old
Hello, I have an 8 month old baby boy who is very social. I think he would adore going to something like Gymboree where he could play and (most importantly) be around other babies and kids. Gymboree, however, is out of the question because we can't afford the price. It is around $70 per month, plus an initial fee of $50. They don't let you pay for a single class, only for the monthly memberships. Does anyone know of something similar where we could pay per visit? I like the idea of a ''free play'' type situation (I think at Gymboree it is called ''open gym time''). Any ideas would be great! I live in Berkeley, but would be willing to drive a bit. Perhaps though the tunnel might have some options? Excited to hear any ideas! THANKS!
The city of Lafayette has a kinder gym program that my daughter enjoyed. We did sign up for a session, but I think that I read that they have open time too. Have fun!
My kids adored Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. Despite the location, it's not religious. It's a lot like Gymboree playtime - running around time with slide, ballpit, etc.; a few simple games with parachute or whatever; a little singing and bubble-blowing. The leader, Dawn, is fantastic. They offer drop-in or multi-class rates, with no pressure. More info: http://www.tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym JP
I've been taking my 10-month-old to Gymboree for a month, and I would love to find a substitute as well; I keep taking her there because it's her only chance to interact with other babies, but I hate how gimmicky it is. However, I just wanted to let you know that if you sign up online with the code 59MOS (it's on all the banners on the website), they waive the $50 new member fee, and you just pay $59 for the first month. Also, starting this week and for the next 2 months the classes are unlimited; so, while you sign up for just one class, you can take your baby to as many of that particular class (Play & Learn 2, for example) as you want throughout the week. The open gym time that you mentioned is my favorite (happens 3 times a week) because you don't have to sing the stupid songs, and it exposes my baby to different age groups. Perhaps you could just do the next month for $60 and go unlimited, then cancel the membership if you feel it's really not worth it? Sarah
Check out the Albany Y's Babygym - Tuesdays and Thursdays, either 9:45 or 10:45 depending on your child's age - $7 drop-in fee. Very popular and fun. Epworth Playgroups might also be a great fit. Searchable on BPN or check out http://www.epworthberkeley.org/children-youth/playgroups/ Enjoy!
Kindergym with Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland sounds perfect for you. We have been going since my first son was ten months old and it's one of my favorite times of the week. Dawn is amazing with the kids, the toys are great, and it's been great to connect with other families while the kids play. Depending on which class you go to (there are five dollar and ten dollar drop in classes) there are songs and storytime and bubbles. You can get all of the info at the website: http://www.tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym. Ashley
Check out Kindergym with Dawn. It is lots of fun! I think it starts at 9 months. http://www.tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym See you there!
I will probably not be the only one to suggest Habitot in Berkeley. If you haven't been yet, try it! We started going there when my son was about 6-8 months old. At this age, your 8 month old will probably enjoy the padded area that is reserved for crawlers called the infant-toddler garden, the wind tunnel and the water play area (bring a complete change of clothes, so they'll have something dry to wear home.) On a per-visit basis, it can be a bit pricey (sort of like going to the movies), but discounts abound. There's a great coupon in chinook book and a AAA discount - their web page tells you where to look for these. They occasionally have a free day, but those can get crowded. The membership is a great deal if you think about it - it comes with access to the toy lending library, so you can check out toys to take home, including new walker & ride-on type toys that take up so much space that it's great to have them just for a couple of weeks at a time. The membership makes a fantastic birthday/holiday gift for a toddler, since it essentially comes with unlimited visits PLUS a year's worth of borrowed toys. The only downside is parking in downtown Berkeley. We live 1.3 miles away, and found it to be a good stroller walk - it counted as exercise for me. http://www.habitot.org/
Your solution is Kindergym with Dawn! It's held most days of the week, and one Sunday a month, at Temple Beth Abraham near Lake Merritt. It's cheap ($10 per class, no monthly membership or anything), and the best part is that if you miss a class you can make it up at *any* other time - so no worries about signing up for something that you're not going to be able to use. It's a big open-gym area with a water table, play-doh, small toys like dolls and doll-houses, and bigger, jungle-gym type areas with little slides and trampolines. They don't allow big kids so no worries about your kid getting trampled, and at the end there's a parachute and bubbles. What more could you ask for! All the parents (and grandparents) who go are really nice, too. Love Kindergym
When my son was 2 & 3, up until I became pregnant with my daughter, I taught baby gym at the Albany YMCA. Lots of safe, fun padded play-on equipment, and circle time with a giant ''parachute'' with singing & storytelling, all in a big gymnasium. So much fun. We loved it. People paid per visit then, and weren't required to be Y members. Try Berkeley Y, too. Baby Gym is Fun
I'm a huge fan of Kindergym, which is at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. It's drop in, so there's no commitment. My daughter loves it--there's always something new for her to do, lots of kids to see, toys to ride, slides, mini trampoline and the super-fun ball pit. Check out the Kindergym website for dates and times. Happy Kindergym Mom
Tumbling class for toddler
My 2.75 yr old daughter loves to tumble and jump and climb. I'd like to find a a fun class in tumbling that is age appropriate as she approaches 3. Maybe it's gymnastics, maybe not, and I don't know if it's really dancing that she likes, maybe a little, but it's more a physical challenge with her whole body. Sometimes she'll accidentally fall off the couch in some way where for a moment I'll think she might have hurt herself, and it turns out it didn't hurt too much, and she found it exciting, the slight element of danger and she wants to recreate it and fall in the same way. Anyway, I'm wondering if others have found some sort of class that channels this, and could help her to learn to jump, tumble, roll in a way that protects her body, neck, back etc. I can also see she wants to stand on her head, and I keep telling her to use her hands for support (she does kind of a down dog on her head). Thanks for any recommendations you might have. mommy of tumbler
Head over Heels in Emeryville offers exactly what you are looking for. I've only done one class with my son, but it was awesome, and the classes are specifically designed to be age appropriate. The class I went to, which included 3 year olds on the high end of the age range for the class, included jumping on trampolines, learning how to do various funny walks and rolls that then got used on a low balance beam, a cushion obstacle course with a crawl through tunnel, and assisted help swinging around a bar. The grand finale of the class was being able to jump or slide into a pit full of foam squares. It was GREAT fun. Mom of a tumbler too
I highly recommend kindergym with Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland (you do not need to be Jewish or affiliated with temple to go)! It's not a class per se, but rather a large room full of climbing structures, toys, play dough, and painting for the kids to play with. The parents supervise their children and it's a great way to see what your child is naturally drawn to. Dawn provides a wonderfully warm, fun environment for parents and their children to have a great time in. We've been going for the last several months and my son loves it. http://www.tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym Bekah
I would highly recommend Kindergym, at Temple Beth Abraham, on MacArthur Blvd near Lake Merritt. My daughter will be 3 in May and absolutely LOVES it there. It's like an indoor playground. The first time we tried it out, she ran around from activity to activity with a huge smile on her face. They have a ball pit, a slide, monkey bars, a trampoline, trikes, slides, see-saw, play-doh, painting, puzzles, gymnastic mats, etc. There is so much to do and explore in a safe and fun way.
My son (who is almost 11 months now) is starting to really enjoy it and take advantage now too, and siblings are free! Dawn Margolin, the director, has an amazing presence and makes every effort to get to know you and your child. Check out the WEb site for more information.http://www.tbaoakland.org/education/kindergym Also, Dawn personally responds to your emails if you have specific questions. It costs $10 for a trial; it's worth every penny! Enjoy! Happy Kindergym mom
Kindergym with Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham (near Lake Merrit and Piedmont) in Oakland is the best. I have been going there at least once a week for the past four years, first with my older daughter and now with my two-year old. Not only is the play equipment ''just right'' for that age, the group of moms (and grandparents, dads, and nannies) is just amazing. I sometimes feel like I'm going there as much for myself as for the kids, which is not something I can say about the majority of our activities. www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym I Love Kindergym!!!
I saw that someone suggested that you take your child to Head over Heels in Emeryville and I wanted to share my experiences. My son hated HOH and I ended up pulling him out and forfeiting the enrollment fees. It's an absolute zoo there. No one helps you figure out where your child should go and the instructors make no effort to make the children feel safe and welcomed once you do the find the class. They just send the kids out onto the equipment with long (way too long) spoken instructions about what to do. Three year olds should receive one instruction at a time. New things should be added slowly. Thus, once the first skill is mastered, you start teaching the second. Then you try them together. At that point you can add the third skill, etc. At HOH, they give them instructions for about 6 things at once and then expect the kids to go and do it. It did not appear to be a very effective teaching strategy to me.
I never saw instructors ask any of the kids' names or make any attempt to get to know them. And forget about talking to the instructors to see how the kids are doing. They're all in high school with no social skills. I would attempt to talk to my son's instructor and she would look away and pretend that she didn't know who I was. But if there a problem with my son, she knew exactly who I was. I was pretty disgusted by the lack of customer service.
I raised all of these things with the program director and she made an effort to help out. However, when I was at HOH speaking to her about it, she cut me off mid-sentence and ended our conversation when a cute dad walked by. The way that she fawned over him was really inappropriate in a work environment. She never returned to finish our conversation but she and the dad did stand in front of me and block my ability to watch my son until I finally asked them to move. I was stunned by how unaware she was of what was going on around her and that she thought that her behavior was appropriate. That was the last class that I attended. Between not agreeing with the teaching style, not being treated with respect by the instructors or the director, and the fact that they had no idea where my son was during one class (he wandered off and they had no idea, he could have walked out the front door or gotten hurt on their equipment, I finally had to walk onto the gym floor and retrieve him), we finally gave up and figured out that it would be better to forfeit the registration fees ($170 + a registration fee!) than put ourselves through any more of it.
If you are going to do the class where the parents are on the floor with the kids, it will probably be a better experiece. But I won't go back there at this point and am looking for a better program for my son with instructors who can/will deal with parents and actually know the kids and keep track of what they're doing. Super disappointed in HOH
Just wanted to chime in since I too have been looking for toddler tumbling classes for my little monkey. The best luck I've found so far for a formal, structured ''class'' is at Oakland's Kinetic Arts Center. Not sure how old your little one is, but they have classes that accomodate 18- 24M as well as 2-4/5. I had a parent recommend the ''tiny tumblers'' class at Kids in Motion (also Oakland), but it seems that they're likely out of business as I haven't been able to find a website or working phone number for them. I also wholeheartedly agree that Kindergym with Dawn is great - my son has a BLAST there - although it's not a formal tumbling/gym class. If you find a great one, would you mind dropping me a line? And if you're interested I can report back on how the KAC class is - we're going to try it out next month. Happy tumbling! Cara
I've heard that Ruby's tumbling just off Park St in Alameda is great. It's affordable and has classes for pretty much every age group at multiple times (my daughter is 11 months and they don't start until one year, so I don't have personal experience yet). Several parents have recommended it to me as a fun, non competitive activity for an active toddler. Good luck! anon We've been happy with the University Village rec program tumbling for 3-4 year olds. The instructors aren't super-warm but it's fine; our son looooved it. I saw a previous poster mentioned Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda, which I tried with my 3 y.o. last fall .(She offers a free trial class.) Ruby struck me as much more of a ''coach'' than a ''teacher'' - she calls out moves (some might say barks) and the kids have to quickly do them in sequence. It was way above my little guy technically and I didn't care for her style. Take advantage of the free trial class before committing. Tumbler's Mama
Rory Connor Gymnastics in El Cerrito
Hi - Anyone had any experience with their child taking a tumbling/gymnastics class from Rory Conner (or O'Conner)? He teaches in El Cerrito frequently. We're considering it for our 3 y.o. (who has taken a beginning class at University Village). Is it rigid or fluid? Chaotic or calm? Thanks! Wondering
I sent my 4 year old to 7 sessions. I didn't care for the program. When his asst. was there they spent most of the time talking to each other. He did a nice warmup with the kids, and set up a nice course for which to do rolls, hops, swinging etc., but not much learning was really happening. I would consider it pre-gymnastics. Overall I wasn't thrilled and didn't choose to sign up for another session.
We live in EC and the convenience of Rory's classes at the community center was appealing. Unfortunately we had to stop because both my husband & I really didn't like his approach at all. Let's just say, you get what you pay for and in this case, it's not a lot. He pretty much is hands off and his assistant doesn't help or support the kids much at all either. For the most part we found that Rory seems to go through the motions & that he seems bored and completely unenthusiastic about teaching little ones. Overall, I wouldn't encourage anyone to take his classes, but you may want to check it out for yourself to see what you think. anon
Gymnastics party for 8 year old
I'm looking for a place to have my daughter's 8th birthday party that focuses on circus arts, gymnastics or similar activities. Head over Heels, Kinetic Arts Center, Skilly Circus, and Big Island Gymnastics all do parties. Would appreciate hearing good/bad experiences or strong recommendations for any of them (or any others!). Thanks Mom of an active 8 yr old
I only know head over heals and kinetic arts center of those you listed. Head over heals teaches good classes, and has some fun teachers. However, the venue is a large hall, and I cannot imagine a birthday party in that place in between other people still taking classes. Kinetic Arts Center is much more intimate. I have been to a birthday party there. It was lovely. Nice atmosphere since it's a small place. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, and very eager to make this a special event. The guests were welcome to participate in all or some or none parts of the program. There was no pressure, but a lot of support. My child who is a year younger, would prefer a venue where her's is the only party. But yours might like the sports hall atmosphere better. Have a fun party.
Gymnastics Class for 4 year old
I have a 4 year old daughter who is very active and flexible. She is trying to turn forward rolls, loves to hang upside down, jump and balance. I think a gymnastics class would be really fun for her. She is very strong in her upper body but needs to work on her core strength (OT recommendation), so I'm looking for coaches that really know what they're doing and are careful how the kids use their bodies. I'm looking for something with more active coaching and supervision. Does anyone have any recs in the El Cerrito, Berkeley, Albany area? The archived recs. seem to mention only a couple of programs. I'd love updated recs. And would love to hear if anyone has experience with the program at the EC Community Center.
My son has been attending the gymnastics classes at the University Village in Albany since he was 9 months old (now 4) and LOVES it! http://services.housing.berkeley.edu/VillageRecreation/ scoles
we like flips and flops on jacuzzi, near Central (next to I 80). they are having some major personnel changes but the preschool age classes are untouched. parent of would-be gymnasts
Gymboree class for 8-month-old or not?
been thinking of taking my 8 months old son to gymboree but they're really expensive. can you recommend other classes or activities for us? thank you! happy mommy
You should check out Kindergym classes with Dawn Margolin. Her classes have everything that Gymboree has in a more spacious location, and a fraction of the cost. She has been holding these classes for something like 25 years and is a great resource when you need parenting help or advice. My daughter (now 3) has been going since she was 9 months or so, and really loves it. There is free play time with tons of great toys, and then 15 minutes of directed circle time with stories, songs, parachute, movement and bubbles. There is an earlier session for the older toddlers that goes for an hour.
I tried out Gymboree and never felt it was a good match for me. There tended to be more nannies at Gymboree in my experience, so the social dynamic was quite different. Kindergym has been primarily parents while I've been going there and I've made some great friends.
Classes for the littler kids are Wednesday and Thursday from 11:15 to noon, and they are located in the social hall at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland (on the frontage road to 580 between Harrison and Grand). (The classes, though held at a synagogue, are non-denominational)
http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym/page2/page2.html Jeanne S.
You're right - Gymboree is much too expensive. I've been taking my son to Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham since he was 8 or 9 months old. He's now 2.5 and has loved it this whole time. http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym We started out doing the drop-in classes on Wednesday morning and now we do the earlier Toddler class and stay for the drop-in as well. They have climbing structures, slides, a ball pit, rocking horses, and tons of stuff for babies and toddlers to enjoy. In the drop-in class, the first half hour is free play and the last 15 minutes the teacher, Dawn, leads singing and parachute games. The kids love her. The drop-in classes are only $8 or $56 for an 8 class pass, so it's pretty affordable. I also have a yelp review here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/kindergym-at-temple-beth-abraham-oakland Caitlin
Not. Go to a park. it's fine for an 8 month old, 1 year old and even 2 year old to just play. They don't have to take classes, be in structure, or have a teacher. They learn by playing, and if you meet other moms or dads at the park whose kids play well with yours, you can make more time for the kids to play together. Your child will be fine if they don't take Gymboree or some other program that the marketers have convinced us are essential to our child's mental, emotional and physical growth. Believes in Play
You know Gymboree is at its cheapest for you right now, because classes for 10month olds (and younger) are unlimited for the monthly fee. You might want to try it for two months while you have this option. While I can't say I like going, my baby really does!
Have you tried Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham? http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym/
I took our first son for almost two years and loved it. Dawn, the teacher does a great job at providing a great variety of play for the kids, and she's got a great background in child development to help with all those crazy developmental questions that come up. Both my son and I met some good friends in the class. We just recently stopped going - he's a smidge too old and rambunctious (3 1/2 years old); his little brother is going to start going soon though - he just got mobile, and I really miss the class! I can't say enough - its a great place to play, meeting others, learn more about parenting, etc. We usually go on Friday's because we like to do the tot Shabbat (we're Jewish) but there are lots of other families that are not - its a great way to teach your kids about other cultures!
Good luck with your search! cmzwerling
minkim: A lower-cost alternative to Gymboree with no product placement is Kindergym with Dawn Margolin. The classes take place at Temple Beth Abraham, all are welcome. On Fridays there is a brief Shabbat celebration for the children but on Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is no Jewish content, just stories, songs, and bubbles at storytime. The room is spacious with mats, climbing structures, toys, blocks, playsets, a mini-ball pit, and for older toddlers, safe paints, puzzles, and homemade playdough. Dawn is full of positive energy and loves interacting with both the children and their adults. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. I attended for six years when my two sons were under age three. They looked forward to it and so did I! I hope you will give it a try. More information and photos at http://www.tbaoakland.org/kindergym/ Karen Bloom blooms
I am really thankful to Gymboree . We signed up when our child was 6mo old and it was a life saver for me. Not only was it a lifesaver as I was able to get out of the house and have something to do with my baby. But I also made some really great friends whose children were all very close in age and will probably be friends for life (for us and our children). At the time all of my friends were working and I didn't know anyone with a baby; it was very isolating. We signed up for a whole year because it was cheaper (per class) that way and you could go unlimited times each week. That meant that Dad could go on the weekends with baby and give me a break or at times it was also a nice family outing. At that age Gymboree also has a Q/A portion where they ask a question that pertains to the group and everyone gets a chance to answer and get to know one another. It's often advice Qs or Baby or Mama firsts... it's very nice. They also work on motor skills and you learn songs/games etc you can do at home with baby.
Our son is now almost 2yo and we did re-up for another year. He's active and at this age it's a looser class format so he can burn some energy. Judy at the Lafayette Gymboree is very nice and always has good advice if you're in need and there are some nannies, but there are also a LOT of Moms and Dads.
I would encourage you to try 2 months and see what you think. The 'open gym' times are also nice for when your child won't sleep or it's a rainy day or you just want to be somewhere contained to have them burn some energy. Happy To Have Met Gymbo
I am looking for a very low-key tumbling class for my 2.5 year old daughter. She is very athletic and physically adventurous, she LOVES to climb and is good at it. Normally I wouldn't do a class for a child this age but, her twin brother is a little less physically advanced and I am looking for a place she can explore her physicality with some fun equipment and a little guidance. I don't want anything too structured. Weekends and some weekday afternoons would work. Thanks for any ideas! natalie
You should look into Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda. It's perfect for active little kids and they have classes for all ages. Very low key, no competition, just lots of tumbling, climbing, jumping and fun! http://www.rubystumbling.com/classes.html Mom of a Climber
Does anyone have a recommendation for a gymnastics class for my 4-year-old daughter. She is a little lacking in coordination and arm an abdominal strength compared to what I see with the other kids at preschool (i.e. can't do a sit up, or even hang on the monkey bars for more than a second), so I want to help foster that without too much pressure. We are not looking to make her a future olympian! I was always terrible with upper body strength, and I'm hoping to avoid that. We live in Oakland. Any comments about experiences good and bad are appreciated. Thanks! Not monkeying around
Try Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda. It's totally zero-pressure on the kids, but they have a lot of fun and learn a lot. My 3 1/2 year old loves it! http://www.rubystumbling.com/ Mama of a Tumbler
I am not sure where you live, but Kids In Motion in Oakland on Piedmont is terrific. What is nice about that facility for beginners is that there is a seating area right in the gym for parents to watch the classes. And Golden Bear Gymnastics has good classes as well. A bigger facility and ultimately, a competetive program for older children. I would encourage you to try one of these over a community center program, as there is more equiptment available to the children in the classes. Trampoline, bars, ropes that may not be offered in a communtiy center room where mats, etc. are brought in by the gym teacher. Mom of a gymnast
I have a four and a half year old son who also is not the most coordinated or the strongest guy (would much prefer to look at a book). Anyway, we have been looking at and trying classes for a couple of years now.
We first tried a session with Head over Heels and were very disappointed (this was about 2 years ago; as they moved in to their new facilities). The facilities are very nice, but they had so many classes going on at the same time that it was VERY NOISY and hard for the preschoolers to hear their instructor and to then try whatever they wanted them to try.
Most recently we tried Kids in Motion on Piedmont. We actually went to several sessions (maybe 3? 4? each session is about 8 weeks long). The first session was great; and then they kept going downhill. The biggest problem is that even though we stayed consistent on the time we went; we got a NEW instructor every single time (usually they were new to KiM too). Felt like our son never got consistent instruction or learned anything.
So, recently (about 3 months ago) we tried martial arts at Bay Mountain Martial Arts on Grand Ave (near Safeway) and we LOVE it. The Sensei (teacher) is very focused on the kids. He knows all of their names from day one. It is AMAZING how much our son has changed is such a short time. They are working on ''life skills'' not just martial arts. Each week has a different focus (coordination was this week, then there are things like memory, self control, discipline, focus, etc.). They have a whole thought through system that really motivates the kids. The preschool teachers also cannot believe the changes he is making esp in terms of his confidence and his abilities on the playground.
Best of luck! James' mom
I am looking for a place where I can take my daughter to gymnastic class. She is 1 1/2 year old. I want to keep her busy with activities. Any suggestions? gabriela
They have classes at head over heels in emeryville - www.hohgymnastics.com, or kids 'n dance in oakland has gymnastics/creative movement classes - www.kidsndance.com. have fun!
My daughter and I (parent participation until 3 years old) have been taking gymnastics classes at Head Over Heels (www.hohgymnastics) for the last 9 months. A new session starts in early November (although you can also join a class mid-session (tuition in pro-rated). The coaches are great. My daughter works hard, but has a good time too. Gym Mama
Check out the creative movement / gymnastics classes at Kids N Dance in Oakland (www.kidsndance.com). There are fun ''parent-and-me'' participatory classes for the under-two crowd, and the teachers do a great job keeping the kids engaged and participating. Enjoy!
Hello, We showed our 5 y/o boy gymnastics and diving from the Olympics and he seems to have the bug! All the reviews about different places are a few years old. Where should go, which should we avoid? We live in Oakland. Many thanks, Bobbie
Hi, I had great luck with Kids in Motion on Piedmont Avenue. My daughter was 3 and 4 when she went there (last 2 years), and she loved it. The teachers were very enthusiastic and attentive, the class sizes were small, the difficulty of the exercises was age-appropriate, and they kept things moving along and lots of fun. I highly recommend it. Oakland Mom
My boys (3 and 5) have done a few sessions at Head Over Heels in Emeryville and love it there. They do gymnastics and also circus classes, which include some trapeze, clowning, juggling, etc. More info at www.hohgymnastics.com Gotta Tire Them Out Somehow
My daughter has been attending gymnastics at Head Over Heels in Emeryville for a year now. They have great coaches from beginners gym tots to the competitive classes. happy with Head Over Heels' offerings
This isn't straight gymnastics, but very fun for a 5 year old. Trapeze Arts is a wonderful circus school in Oakland, where he can learn tumbling, trapeze, trampoline, etc. It's non-competitive and fun, with close attention paid to safety. The family that runs the school are wonderful, caring people who hire the same. Have fun! Heidi
Our son took a week long gymnastics camp at BayIslandGymnastics.com . I was a bit apprehensive but he LOVED every minute of it. I've since taken him for a weekend class and he chose not to participate until Ashley coaxed him to the mat. She proceeded to give him a private lesson that day. All the other staff have been fantastic with my son, too. Don't let the location avert you, they're near the 24hr fitness/Home Depot at 880/High St. Tumble Heaven Close to Home
I thought I'd post to get suggestions for good places for my daughter and her friend to attend a weekday morning gymnastics class. I was most curious about experiences with Head Over Heels in Emeryville and Kids in Motion on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Thanks so much. Gym Momma
Kids in motion was great for my daughter when she was little. The only thing I would recommend is that if your little one really enjoys gymnastics and does it for a number of years you may want to explore a gym where they compete, like Golden Bear Gymnastics at UC Berkeley or Head over Heels in Emeryville. Kids in Motion is a non-competitive gym. The standards are very different. My daugher did eventually begin to compete and wished she had moved to the more competive gym before she did. She thinks she would have been further ahead but Kids in Motion was a great place to start.
We've been going to the Tiny Tumblers class at Kids in Motion on Piedmont for about 6 months and my two year-old loves it. The class is not very structured, which works well for that age group. Most of the time the kids are free to play on the equipment and with other toys/activities that are set up in advance by the staff. There are also two ''circle times'' called during the class when the kids come together as a group for stretching or a game and for the kids to take turns demonstrating different ''moves'' (somersault, crawling through tunnel etc) for each other. It is a really enjoyable class and I highly recommend it. Eve
My 2yo has been doing Head Over Heels in Emeryville since last fall and we love it. Lots of variety in activities; fun, friendly teachers; accommodating of his various 2yo moods. The best thing for me is that we can take both kids (ages 2 and 4) to classes at the same time in the same big room, and I stay with the 2yo while the 4yo does his thing. Mom of Two Bouncing Boys
Does anyone have any recommendations for a gymnastics class for a toddler/preschooler? oakland dad
Head Over Heels in Emeryville. Just google Head Over Heels to get to their website. My 2 year old is in their gym tots class. It took 4 or 5 classes for her to display interest. Even though she's paid attention to everything they've done there. Because when you ask her to show you the stretches, she can do them. Now she gets excited when we head over to class. Crystal
Great classes at Bay Island gymnastics - the teacher's name is Darcy & he is really fabulous. I can't say enough good things - he varies the routine, does stuff that gets the kids moving & having fun & using their imagination. He is a dad himself & I think that makes a big difference. It is a fabulous facility. They are right across from Home Depot in Oakland. love our gymnastics class!
I have to say we have tried both HOH gymnastics and Kids in Motion. We LOVED HOH, the instructors are amazing and the facilities are primo!!! Kids in Motion was a terrible experience. The instructors were trying to make kids do things they weren't interested in, pulling arms, using inappropriate analogies, etc. When telling the owner of my bad experiences she told the instructor, and also pointed out who I was, even though I had asked my complaint to be anonymous. In the next class the instructor harassed me, wanting to know my specific concerns. I was very uncomfortable and told the director, she told me she would refund me money. To be short, we had to fight for our refund, the owner repeatedly failed to return our calls. It was an AWFUL experience. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. oakland mom
I am looking for a gymnastics class for a 2.5 year old in either Piedmont or Rockridge. The reviews on the site didn't have any for classes in these areas. Thanks! the couch is not a junglegym
Hi. We go to Kids in Motion for gymnastics. It is located on Piedmont Avenue. It is perfect for little ones. Nancy
I have a few recommendations for toddler gymnastics: Kids in Motion on Piedmont Ave is always great (510-601-8424), Gymboree on the corner of Lakeshore and Mandana is brand new but I don't know the quality yet, there is also a combination gymnastics/jiu-jitsu class called ''Gym-Jitsu'' on Grand Ave for ages 3-7 (510-207-6640) stephan
My daughter attended Kids in Motion Gymnastics classes and camp programs from age 3 until she grew out of Kids in Motion and joined the Golden Bears Gymnastics team located on UC Berkeley campus. While I loved Kids in Motion for many reasons, if your child really loves gymnastics and wants to compete you will need to move them to Head over Heels in Emeryville or Golden Bears in Berkeley. If they truly want to compete the sooner you move them to a team the better off they will be. Kids in Motion is a non- competitive gym and is a great, safe, place for your toddler to have fun and learn the basic moves for gymnastics. But if they stay there too long they will not get the skills to compete at the higher levels -- at least that is what we found. Mom of a jumping bean
Try Kids in Motion gymnastics on Piedmont Ave. - http://www.kimgymnastics.com/. The City of Piedmont also runs some programs (definitely in the summer and maybe year-round), though in my experience they fill up fast. Call 510-420-3070 for a catalog. JP
Looking for a fun toddler gym for a 13 month in the Berkeley area. sr
The gym class at UC Berkeley Village is great and affordable, much more reasonably priced than Gymboree. anon
We enjoyed the Kindergym/babygym classes at the Albany YMCA at that age. Open to non-Y-members. It's drop-in, so there's no commitment. They offered it 2-3 times/week. Berkeley Y also has kindergym, but i'm not sure if they're open to non- members. Mary
Kids in Motion on Piedmont Ave in Oakland has toddler gymnastics classes. Our daughter goes there and likes it. There is also something over at Cal. www.oski.org
Hi, I'm looking for a great, fun, small gymnastics (or lively uncomplicated dance) class for my energetic 6 year old son who has some attention and social deficits, but who is also a very exhuberant and friendly guy. He loves to tumble, jump and hop around, and since his O.T. at school has recommended that he better his lagging gross motor skills, we thought a gymnastics class might be a great way for him to use his abundant energy and learn some skills in a fun way. I'm particularly looking for a really good teacher, ideally with some experience with special needs kids, but much more importantly skilled and sensitive and patient! Thanks, Julia
My 6 year old son has been taking gymnastics classes at Kids in Motion (kimgymnastics.com), on Piedmont Ave., for a few years now and the staff seem quite aware of a variety of developmental issues and have been able to help redirect my son (sensory intergration issues and language delays). He's been in classes just slightly under his actual age-level which has worked out fine for us socially and developmentally (eg. he's in a class for 4-5 yr. olds right now). I would avoid Sat. midday classes because the studio is quite noisy and distracting, and try for a day when there is maybe only one other class going on at the same time. Good luck. Tracy
I have a really active 3 year old who's very in touch with her movements and I would love to join her up in a low-cost weekly TUMBLING class in Oak/E'ville/Berk areas. I've looked into some classes but, they're all pretty pricey for the generally free-form activity of a 3 year old. I'm not looking for anything regimented...just a 30-45 minute session of jumping, summersaults and general energy release in a controlled atmosphere with other kids. Thanks. Alena
- Montclair Rec Center
- University Village Gymnastics
Can anyone reccomend classes for a 2 1/2 year old that loves to tumble? I would be very interested in a program that is located close to Berkeley, Kensington, Albany or El Cerrito. Thanks in advance. Julie
- University Village Gymnastics
We recently went to a great party at Bay Island Gymnastics (BIG) in Alameda for a six year old that was terrific. Check them out.
3 yr. Birthday party: The Golden Bear Recreation Center , east of Clark Kerr Campus at UCB has a fun gymnastics birthday packet. Their number is 642-9821.
From: a mom
The past couple years I reserved the gym at the Albany YMCA (on Kains and Solano): that way the kids have a great indoor place to play, a brief time for refreshments and gift opening, and presto! it's over. Two years in row is enough for my little one, though, so this year I'll have to come up with something else.
From: Karen (11/97)
Our daughter wants to have her 7th birthday party at Head Over Heels Gymnastics in Emeryville. Head Over Heels is quite expensive--$280 for 25 kids; we're willing to spend this kind of money if the parties are staffed by interactive, well-trained party teachers who are able to create a fun, well-paced celebration.
Last year we had a very disappointing experience with a gymnastics party at Golden Bear Gymnastics (low energy teachers, no effort made to make the birthday girl feel special, kids spent a lot of time standing around, etc.).
Has anyone hosted or attended a birthday party at Head Over Heels? What was the overall quality of the event? Thanks for your help!
From: Michael (11/97)
we haven't used head over heels, but we've used the albany YMCA, just off solano, for two years running. the teacher is great, there's a separate party room for food and presents, and the activities and equipment keep the kids engaged for the duration. the organized activities single out the birthday boy or girl.
it's a good deal cheaper than head over heels, as well. tipping the teacher is recommended -- twenty bucks at the end of the session is conventional.
From: Barbara (11/97)
My daughter had a birthday party at Head Over Heels when she was a student there. As I recall, the kids had a great time and the teachers at that time were a group of energetic, young people who really organized the kids well and gave them a workout. I have also been to a couple of parties at the Albany YMCA on Kains and they did a pretty good job but it is better at the level of Kindergym because it is small. This was a number of years ago but, for that price, I think Anne Marie would tell you how many teachers will be with your kids and you could ask for the activities you want. They played lots of fun games (very active).
From: Deborah (11/97)
Re: Head Over Heels
We went to a party there for 6 yr olds and I really didn't like it, nor did many of the kids. The teachers were TOO involved--tried to make it like a gymnastics class, rather than a birthday party. All structured activities and no time to just play around on the equipment (supervised of course). We've had 2 parties at the kids gymnastics place on Piedmont Ave (can't remember the name but in yellow pages) and liked it much more.
From: Donna (9/98)
Head Over Heels in Emeryville does kids parties. I went to a party there and it was great (its a gymnastics place - the kids loved it) but I believe its a little pricey. Its probably worth checking out.
From: Barbara (9/98)
Windmill Gymnastics in Richmond does birthday parties, as does the YMCA in Albany.
Can anyone offer comparisons between gymnastic classes at Windmill v. Head over Heels v. Albany Village? My 6 y.o. did the Albany Village program last year, and while she enjoyed it, there seemed to be an awful lot of sitting around. I'm wondering if the other programs are superior. Thanks, Monika
We were disappointed in Windmill gymnastics. Briefly the instructors were young (in their early teens), distracted and bored. My child left after completing one session even though she wanted to leave after the third class. Most everyone in my child's class left and went to Golden Bear gymnastics at UC Berkeley. By comparison Golden Bear is so professionally run and they have unrivalled equipment and sp Liking the Gold Bear
To Mary Carol on the subject of toddler gymnastics: my daughter (4 yrs. old) goes to a preschool in El Cerrito (Keystone) where they bring in people from Windmill Gymnastics once a week for an additional fee. My daughter absolutely loves the class and comes home showing me how they learned to do stretching exercises and some tumbling. So far, she hasn't gotten hurt, and she has an elbow that dislocates easily. I also know that some kids in my son's 2nd grade class take classes from Windmill Gymnastics on the weekends, and also have excellent things to say about them. I believe they are located in either El Cerrito or Richmond. Hope this helps! Helen
My best friend happens to be the assistant head coach at Windmill Gymnastics in the Richmond Annex. The telephone # is 527-0570. I've been around that gym for about 5 or 6 years now, and everyone there is really nice. I haven't seen what they do with the little kids as much as I have seen them work with the team. I would be happy to find out more information about what they offer for younger kids (my friend is the team coach, for the older kids).
We have no experience with Richmond, but we have done the Cal program and Kids in motion, and a neighbor has done the head over heels program. I'll bet kids in motion is your best bet. Both the Cal program and head over heels are located in big, cavernous rooms which can be really great for the energetic, whooping-it-up type but if your child is shyer than most, probably a more intimate atmosphere might be better. Also the Cal program is staffed by a number of different Cal students and a very jolly no-nonsense older woman -- Tamara, who is great, but a shy child might not respond to her that well. Good luck.