Do you have children who enjoyed watching the gymnastics at the Rio Olympics? If so, why not book them in for some fun activities at your local gymnastics centre around Canberra.
The Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club in Erindale, 20 minutes south of the city, is a popular choice in the Tuggeranong area. It is a large venue for boys and girls of all ages to learn gymnastics for fun, exercise and to be trained to compete in national competitions. It is also a hub for local kids to socialise with their friends, as well as make new friends in the variety of classes they offer. During weekday afternoons, the building is absolutely crammed with school aged children, some in glittery outfits, all ready to go through the routines in their high energy classes. For younger kids the venue is also the perfect place to learn balancing skills and have a play on their soft and colourful gymnastics equipment.
For toddlers and preschoolers, there are fun and interactive one hour classes during term times, when you have the centre to yourselves. For children between 18 months and 3 years there is Kindergym which focuses on early learning development including hand eye coordination with bean bag tosses, hoops to spin, balls to throw, catch and roll and more. For kids 3 to 5 there is also Gymstart, which enhances gross motor coordination, developed through the use of balance beams, mini trampolines, bars, rings, tunnels, spring boards and tumbling mats.
Padded and colourful circuit for Gymstart and Kindergym
The kids thoroughly enjoy these programs as the teachers are patient and fun, creating a safe environment for them to try new things and to also learn the importance of waiting their turn. To teach them balance on the beams there are eggs on spoons to concentrate on, frog toys to step over and ribbons to swirl - all with the protective hand of the teacher close by and soft padding underneath. Kids are exercising, learning and having fun, all in just a one hour class. In this secure environment, it gives them confidence to try things they may never have before.
As the kids get older there is Pre-Levels for kids over 6 , and then they start to move up through the National Levels to compete at a higher level. These classes develop co-ordination, strength and flexibility, while promoting concentration skills and self-discipline which then crosses over to other areas in their life. If your child is interested in joining, there is an annual membership fee to cover insurances as well as the class fees. Each school holidays there is a school holiday program you can enrol in, where kids are divided up in ages and have fun trying out different pieces of equipment. To see the happy faces of the kids who go to this centre, check out their Facebook page.
Gymnastics, like all sports, teaches children more than just the skills they need to learn the sport. As well as being great exercise, it teaches them other skills that can be used in all areas of their life. It gives them the confidence to succeed in whatever they choose to do and learn the value of teamwork and encouraging others. They are attributes that will take them confidently through the teenage years and beyond.