A Great Day at Great Play
After three rainy days in a row, we headed over to the Glendale area for a trial class. Lillian is almost 2 now and she has done a gymnastics type class before so I was eager to see how she would do in this gym. Great Play’s mission is for every child to develop a love of physical activity, leading to an active, healthy and confident life.
The first thing that stood out was how many different age groups there are for classes. Instead of being lumped together with kids who are much younger or much older, Lillian was with a group just for 20 to 30 months. They are very intentional about keeping the activities and structure of the classes appropriate for the specific age groups.
After the beginning of class and “free play,” it was time for introductions and then we launched into the different stations. Coaches were manning each station and caregivers stay with their kids up to age 3. There was so much variety that a 50 minute class kept moving and Lillian was good and tired when it was over!
I learned from owner Laura L’Herault that everything in the curriculum is based in occupational therapy. The kids don’t even realize that they are learning and building on spatial relations, hand eye coordination and motor skills like balance. Having fun and playing is great, but to know that each activity is helping to develop their physical abilities is even better!
Laura has firsthand experience with using occupational therapy as a parent. Her son walked at 9 months without ever crawling and years later he worked on the skills that are ordinarily learned through crawling. She was drawn to Great Play as a place to provide fun ways to build strength and coordination, like the monkey bars and also to give kids who might be shy on a playground a place to grow in confidence.
I heard from a caregiver taking the class that she has seen major improvement not only in her toddler’s motor skills but also an following directions and waiting her turn. NOTE: I did not include the pictures of my child protesting the short wait for her turn on the swings.
I also heard that “while the facility and equipment are amazing, the best thing is the level of excitement her little charge shows every time they go there. She has so much fun and she talks about it all week!”
Another mom noted that the variety kept them coming back week after week. The curriculum here is 4.5 months long so each class is new and exciting.
Even More Classes…
The sports classes are great for learning the basics in an easy, non-competitive environment. By basics we are talking about throwing and catching, dribbling, and shooting baskets. Get your kid feeling comfortable and confident. Think rec league not competitive baseball for 4 year olds!
They also have a class called Play 50 where kids get to play team games but not sport like capture the flag. Imagine field day meets gym class. How perfect to keep kids active who may be aren’t interested in playing a sport but still want to play with other kids.
Great play also does private lessons, birthday parties and parents night out for kids 5 and older. Why not drop them off where they get to run around and have fun while you have your date night?