Activity: Basic Sports Classes
Where to find it: Gymboree or YMCA locations, or check with your local fitness or community center.
What He'll Learn: Ideal for children ages 3 to 5 years, these introductory classes teach kids about sports and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle. Your child will learn the skills necessary for soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, hockey, and more while practicing teamwork, cooperation, and sharing with the other children. You may be able to take the class as a parent-child team at first before letting him branch out on his own to learn independence and make new friends.
Activity: Tumbling Classes
Where to find it: Most YMCA locations offer tumbling classes for kids, or check with your local fitness center.
What She'll Learn: Toddler tumbling classes are a great way to help your child develop strength and flexibility, as well as concentration skills. Your little one will jump, run, roll, crawl, swing, and have a great time! She'll also learn to overcome fear and try things that may seem a little scary at first. Tumbling and gymnastics is also a very social sport, and your child is likely to make new friends along the way. She'll also develop positive associations with exercise.
Activity: Water Aerobics
Where to find it: YMCA locations, or check with your local fitness center or public pool.
What She'll Learn: Whether you try this water-based fitness routine as a parent-child duo, or let your child strike out on her own under the careful supervision of a trained adult, your little one is sure to learn a love of water and exercise. Through organized movement routines and swimming exercises, she'll get her heart pumping and her limbs moving. Some organizations include a play time at the end of the session so your child can splash around with the other children just for fun.
Activity: Art Classes
Where to find it: Gymboree locations, or check with your local art center or museum.
What He'll Learn: Take an art class with your child -- or let him explore his creative side on his own. Either way, your child won't even realize he's learning while he paints, draws, and sculpts his creative side into shape. Who knows -- you may even find you're raising an art prodigy!
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Activity: Music Lessons and Classes
Where to find it: Gymboree locations offer group sessions, or check your local listings for certified music instructors for one-on-one attention.
What She'll Learn: Help your child develop a love of music and sounds early by enrolling in a toddler music class. Whether your little one attends alone or with a family member, she's sure to pick up the rhythm soon and continue her exploration of music in the future. Learning music and playing instruments is great for kids' cognitive development, and children exposed to a multi-year music program have been shown to display higher cognitive performance in reading and language skills. You may wish to move your child into private lessons down the road (which aid in intellectual development and help develop patience and discipline), and group music classes are a great starting point.
Activity: Storytelling Groups
Where to find it: Check with your local library or bookstore for regular storytelling times.
What They'll Learn: Attend a regular storytelling group to teach your child a love of reading at an early age. Storytelling professionals are trained to engage children with voices and sound effects, and to encourage them to interact with the book and each other. Further encourage a love of reading by allowing your child to choose a few books to take home after each reading group. She'll look forward story time and soon be reading on her own!
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