Gymnastics Classes for Kids
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Gymnastics Classes for Kids
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.
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
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 -
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Our 4 year old daughter takes classes in University Village in Albany
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!
Gymnastics for a Less Physical 5 year old
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
needs, but has been very reluctant to be physical, although he desperately
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
old who a little scared of the physical stuff. He really blossoms with a
teacher, but would likely shut down in the face of impatience.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
Gymboree Substitute for 8 month old
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!
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.
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:
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
pay $59 for the first month. Also, starting this week and for the next 2
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
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
the next month for $60 and go unlimited, then cancel the membership if you feel
it's really not worth it?
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
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.
Check out Kindergym with Dawn. It is lots of fun! I think it starts at 9
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
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
with a water table, play-doh, small toys like dolls and doll-houses, and
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.
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
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
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.
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
Also, Dawn personally responds to your emails if you have
specific questions. It costs $10 for a trial; it's worth
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.
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
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
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
olds. The instructors aren't super-warm but it's fine; our son looooved
saw a previous poster mentioned Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda, which I tried
my 3 y.o. last fall .(She offers a free trial class.) Ruby struck me as
more of a ''coach'' than a ''teacher'' - she calls out moves (some might
and the kids have to quickly do them in sequence. It was way above my
technically and I didn't care for her style. Take advantage of the free
class before committing.
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!
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.
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!).
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
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!
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
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)
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:
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?
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!
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
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!
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!
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
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
Best of luck!
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?
They have classes at head over heels in emeryville - www.hohgymnastics.com, or
kids 'n dance in oakland has gymnastics/creative movement classes -
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.
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
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.
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.
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
My daughter has been attending gymnastics at Head Over Heels
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!
Our son took a week long gymnastics camp at
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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)
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.
Looking for a fun toddler gym for a 13 month in the Berkeley area.
The gym class at UC Berkeley Village
is great and affordable,
much more reasonably priced than Gymboree.
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
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
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!
My 6 year old son has been taking gymnastics classes at
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
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!
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.
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