Babies grow and learn at a fast pace and one area which they can benefit greatly from is attending physical activity classes. Here’s why.
Developing physical skills and becoming physically active is an important part of life. Getting babies off to a great start will serve as a good foundation for the rest of their life, helping them gain skills and abilities that will prove very worthwhile. Although they of course gain physical skills through the activities you carry out as a family, they can be improved upon and developed further by attending classes.
As soon as a baby has begun crawling or walking, they’re at the stage where physical activity classes become an option. Classes are usually held during the school term time, for about 10 or 12 weeks a term, and there’s usually just the one session each week. In some areas, there may be a special centre that runs the classes, but often they’re held in village or church halls, or anywhere else where a good sized room can be hired on a regular basis.
Classes are geared up for all ages of baby, from the new crawlers and walkers, to toddlers and children up to pre-school age. In the case of babies, the idea of the classes is to help you, the parent, learn about new ways in which you can play physically with your baby, to help build up their strength, co-ordination and confidence. So there’s lots of hands on involvement and parents are expected to be actively involved.
When babies are developing and beginning to walk, the type of activities in the classes move up a gear and include lots more variety. It’s a time when children are beginning to get to know their own bodies and abilities, so there are games and play to help them with this. For example, physical activities for this age group typically include aspects such as:
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Playing stepping stones
- Crawling through tunnels
- Catching and throwing balloons
- Learning to jump
- Games involving balance
- Basic gymnastics, such as doing forward rolls
What Is The Format of Classes?
The format of the classes will vary a bit, depending on who they’re being run by. But they will tend to have some familiar aspects.
At the start of a physical activity class, many groups often get young children warmed up with some music and basic movement. They may be encouraged to dance to the music, move slowly and then more vigorously, to sing along or follow the actions of a group leader. Depending on the ages of the attendees, the group may be split into several sections – such as for babies, walkers and older pre-school children.
Ideally, there should be a good ratio of staff to children and they should be well trained in teaching physical activity classes to children. If you’re not totally sure if your baby will be able to gain much from physical activity classes, then why not go along and observe a class or two in action first, to get a better idea of what happens. It may be that you see one class in action and don’t like the feel of it, or where it’s held, but could then move on and find a class elsewhere that seems better organised.