Saturday, April 24, 2010

We love MyGym

,My plan for the winter was to enroll Colin in a Gym class to help with the 'cabin fever', but the only ones I knew of were smack dab in the middle of nap time. While we were at the Kids Fun House I overheard one of the other moms say something about MyGym so I looked it up and found one not too far from us, with a class early enough in the morning that I could get Colin home by nap time. As an added bonus they have parking (although it isn't free parking but it is in a garage so there is no driving around to find a spot). Thanks to a late February snowstorm our free trail class was canceled so we didn't start until March, when a special promotion waived the lifetime membership fee (saving me $75!)  We are nearly done with our 8 week session so I thought I would post some thoughts and pictures before it was over. I took pictures on two different days trying to get good pictures. He moves so much while we are there that it is difficult to get good pictures.

Colin really enjoys the ball pit. I'm a little creeped out by the germ potential of this thing (because how often can they realistically clean all those balls?!) but I try to remember that challenging his immune system is a good thing. We have been a bit sicker since starting MyGym, but this time of year is always sickly for me. The season change gets me every time.  

On this particular day we were there for a 'free play session' so it is mixed ages, enjoying the gym without structured play. When you enroll in classes you are also allowed one free play session a week. This is a BIG bonus for me, since taking advantage of the free play once a week really increases the value, making it $11 an hour instead of $22!  Another thing I like about MyGym is that the gym set up changes every week. So you can see here that there is a ramp going into the ball pit here, the next week the gym is reorganized so the ball pit might be on a different wall and the ramp used in a different application. This makes it look like a different gym every week, really decreasing the possibility of  boredom.

Flashing a smile while he bounces a ball off my head. In this picture you can see the rock climbing wall in the background. Colin is way too young for this but it shows the potential for the gym to become more challenging for older children.

Before joining my gym, you'll remember Colin could not jump. Now he is a pro, thanks to all the jumping toys he has played with at MyGym. This is the smaller of two trampolines. Some days it has a mirror and some days it doesn't but I think watching himself jump with the assistance of the bar really helped him understand the concept. 

Here is the larger of the trampolines. Colin's favorite thing to do is "jump jump jump boom" where he throws his feet out and bounces on his butt. I caught him doing this on my bed this morning. Be careful what you wish for I guess!

This is the view of the entire room. It isn't a huge place, (this is NYC afterall) but I don't think it needs to be. They use the space very well.

Colin paused to flash me a 'cheese' face. On this day we were doing a make-up because our recent trip caused us to miss our normal class. However the make-up class allowed Sean to go with us (he took an extra day off since we got in so late at night).  Colin thought it was so much fun to have Daddy there with us. He kept dragging him around to show him everything. It was very sweet. It also allowed me to take more pictures since I didn't have to monitor and photograph at the same time.

On our first day (not pictured), Colin could not support his weight while hanging but now really enjoys doing so. We will often catch him on the playground dangling from things. I'm sure this is another recipe for a fall, but it is nice to see him developing physically so quickly. His agility on the playground is immeasurable better now than it was before we started at MyGym.

During class days, free exploring of the gym is interrupted by different group activities. There is:
  • circle time during which (among other things) we learn a 'practice skill' which is something that can be done at home 
  • an adventure (a novel set up for the kids to explore together e.g. car wash was hanging tube mats and pom poms that they drove toy vehicles through while a teacher filled the place with bubbles),
  • 'a big deal' activity- Something each child gets one turn at and is a very desirable activity, once it was riding a swing down the zip line, another time it was riding a pool raft into the ball bit.
  • a gymnastic type activity- shown here, there are two different activities going on at the same time, one with each teacher.

These pictures are of Colin doing some age appropriate 'gymnastics' with Mr. Jamel. Colin (as per his temperament) had some trouble with the teachers at first, Mr. Jamel in particular made him a bit nervous. After seeing him a few times, Colin did warm up, but you can almost read what he is thinking in the picture above. "I'm watching you mister!" It doesn't really look like it but Colin is actually a foot and a half off the ground in these pictures. I was so impressed with how long he was able to hold on, and he was so proud of himself when he dropped down.

Colin demonstrates his ramp technique. He loves to walk up and then slide back down on his belly.

Overall, our experience with MyGym has been very positive! Colin absolutely loves it and asks about it all the time. It isn't cheep but I think we've gotten a lot out of it. Colin really needs extra exposure to different situations because of his slow-to-warm temperament and this really was great for him. About every other week they have "separation time" where parents/caregivers go into the lobby area (still in view of the kids) while the kids all play together with a bunch of toys. Other than one time when I didn't prep him properly before I walked away and then ended up out of his eyesight for a minute, he has done VERY well with separation time. He isn't ready for one of their 'drop off' periods yet but I'm very encouraged by his progress.
So why are we stopping? Like I said, Colin benefits from exposure to different situations so I like to switch things up a little bit. Last fall we took a music class (which I never blogged about officially), and we are enrolled in that again this spring (so I promise I will write about  it this time), and then in the summer we will participate in swimming lessons again. He is a toddler, so I don't want him to 'specialize' into only music or only gym just yet and these classes cost money and take energy so doing more than one at a time would just be TOO much. There is plenty of time to "over-schedule" him, I would rather wait until he is older for that!  However, in addition to free play periods which are for enrolled members, MyGym also has some "Open Play" periods for $7 an hour that anyone can attend. We will be back.


Julie said...

mygym looks like so much fun and they really seem to put a lot of effort into making it interactive and interesting for the kids. those pics of colin hanging don't even look like him! i took a closer look and realized that it is because i cannot see his ears. his ears are such a distinguishable "colin"(sean) quality!

i know what it is like to have a child who is slow to warm up to new situations. i think that annabelle has a lot in common with colin. but the more that we encourage them to be independent, the better it will be for all of us! good job mama!

Elaine and Brandon Carder said...

I think it is a great idea to expose him to a bunch of various activities in order to be exposed to different types of situations and people.

I think it is also great to return to old activities so that he can have familiarity with the skills and the environment.

He seems to enjoy the scarves that you have that are similar to the ones from music class.

I also agree over scheduling too young is NOT good because it can become stressful on everyone. One structured activity is great because kids are only kids for such a short time as it is.

Erin said...

I liked the MyGym class I took the boys to, but it is prohibitively expensive for 2 kids (even with their "twin discount") and impossible for one parent to be there monitoring two kids.

I'm glad that you are doing a bunch of different classes, it will really let him learn a lot of different skills/areas of interest!

Sarah B. said...

That looks like so much fun!!!! Colin looks like he really enjoys it there.. There is a MyGym in West Hartford CT.. I think I may check them out!!! Thanks for such a great post!

AbbeM said...

We've been taking Natalie to the My Gym here in Leesburg since last summer! They only charge us the equivalent of $16/week (includes one class and one free play), and she loves it so much that we kept doing it. However, we've stopped now with the new baby as I wasn't sure we'd be able to do it - we may start back up again after we settle in with Henry. They do let you (as members) come to free play for $5, so we did that this week and she was SOOOO happy!! I'm glad Colin liked it too; like him, going to the gym has helped Natalie in her physical development (climbing, jumping, etc). I'm so glad you've had one up there to have him go to!

Erin said...

Sarah -- the MyGym in West Hartford is the one that we've gone to -- the staff is really nice, it is a good place!

Becky said...

Our gym charges equivalent of $22/week. Which is pretty competitive for the area. The ones in Manhattan are $35/week.