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Best Gymnastics for Toddlers and Kids in Newton Area

gymnastics Newton Needham Metrowest Boston ILoveNewton.com I Love newton

A toddler gymnastics class was something that all my three kids did. I think I did it to tire them out and for my own sanity because it got us out of the house into the company of adults. Over the years, we’ve been to most of these places either for a class or a birthday party. There are a few requisites that I now have on my list as I select a gymnastics studio:

  • Good parking.
  • Safe, clean gymnastics space.
  • Friendly instructors who can get my kid to come inside.
  • Adequate space for waiting with younger siblings including seating for me.
  • Adequate space to store kid’s shoes.
That’s it. I went to high school with a world class gymnast named Rhonda Schwandt. Her dad taught Driver’s Dd at the high school and he actually taught me to drive. She placed 6th in the Pan Am games one year prior to the Olympics. She was slated to go to the Olympics too but that was the year we boycotted because the then Soviet Union was the host country. By her senior year, Rhonda’s knees and one shoulder were shot and she had been through numerous surgeries. I met her on the swim team because she was only allowed to swim as rehab exercise. It turns out that she was a fast sprinter and an amazing diver. Rhonda went on to UCLA on a full ride but I heard that she was never healthy enough to compete again.
That’s my cautionary tale against hard core gymnastics for girls. And here is a list of all the great places for kids to do gymnastics in Newton.

Energy Fitness and Gymnastics, 70 Jaconnet Street (off Needham Street)

We’ve gone here for years. It has all the requirements including great gymnastics classes for toddlers and they don’t have a competitive team. They are very nice too!

Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing, 88 Wells Avenue

This is the place if you do want to do a competitive team. They also do lots of birthday parties!

TumbleKids, 201 Arlington St in Watertown (near Target)

I went here when I lived in the city. If price point is an issue, this is the place for you. They are very nice and the prices are very reasonable.

Needham Gymnastics, Needham High School’s “New” Gym

Creative Movement and Arts Center, 145 Rosemary Street (Needham)

We took a class here and the set up is very nice. It’s has all the elements for keeping a toddler or preschooler happy!

My Gym, 188 Needham Street

We took classes here and my kids still love going here for birthday parties.

Gymboree, 225 Highland Ave, Needham

There was one in Newton but it’s gone. We used to go there for birthday parties. It’s similar to My Gym.

Rhythmic Dreams Gymnastics, 1137 Washington Street

My daughter spent a year here doing Rhythmic Gymnastics. They are very successful at training Junior Olympic hopefuls!

Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton Street, Newton

They offer beginning gymnastic classes.

p.s. More Guides to Newton:

Best Preschools in Newton

A Fairly Comprehensive List of Birthday Party Locations and Ideas for Kids in Newton and Boston

Best Martial Arts Schools for Kids and Adult in Newton

A Fairly Comprehensive List of After School Supplemental Math Classes in Newton

A Fairly Comprehensive List of Dance Studios in Newton

Best Caretaker and Child Music Classes in Newton

Best Tutors, Music Teachers etc in Newton

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Comments
9 Responses to “Best Gymnastics for Toddlers and Kids in Newton Area”
  1. Rhonda Schwandt says:

    While hard core gymnastics isn’t for everyone, basic gymnastics is a great way to develop muscle strength coordination and spatial awareness. Most kids who spend any amount of time in gymnastics at an early age go on to excel at any sport that they try later on, no matter what the sport. The list above is right on with the emphasis being on the SAFETY not only of the gym and it’s equipment but of the staff and the knowledge and focus of the instructors.

    As that former gymnast spoken of above, I now coach that high level hard core sport in Tustin Ca. at Wildfire Gymnastics. Since my day the equipment has evolved and become safer and more tolerant of the the pounding and repetition the sport requires as well as the knowledge of the coaches of how to avoid injury and wear and tear on their young bodies. My own daughter did gymnastics from 8 mos until 13 yrs old when she decided that she wanted to try other sports. She now plays varsity volleyball at her high school.

    After recovering from knee surgery I went on to compete two years at UCLA then retire from competitive gymnastics and began coaching and dancing in a company back East.

    No more for me these days…now I live vicariously through the talented young girls I coach and do my dancing through choreography.

    • Pragmatic Mom says:

      Hi Rhonda,
      It’s good to hear from you! Thank you for leaving your insightful comment. I always think of you when my kids were doing gymnastics, especially the one who was built like a gymnast. It’s good to know that the equipment has evolved and coaching as well to prevent injury to young gymnasts. And also that it’s a great sport that transitions well to other sports. I think I know several top women soccer players who played for Boston College (my neck of the woods) that came from a gymnastics background.

      I’m glad to hear that you are still able to do gymnastics as a coach and happy to hear that you were able to compete at UCLA. I had heard (incorrectly) that injury had prevented you from participating in college.

      I think you were the first world class athlete I had met personally besides gold medal swimmer Shirley Babishoff who actually gave me swim lessons at McGaugh! You are a real inspiration for kids of the world of possibilities if you train hard in a sport that you love. Thanks again for stopping by!

      p.s. Your dad taught me driver’s ed. Don’t tell him that I got a moving violation today for a rolling stop at a stop sign (Newton: warning. It was at Chestnut and Valentine streets near the fountain. There were honestly no other cars around at 11:00 am and I was a bit day dreamy. Did not see the moped cop who said this is a dangerous intersection with lots of accidents. So please. Full stops!)

  2. WW says:

    Dear pragmaticmom,
    I wish that you had been “mom that researches modern-day gymnastics” before you posted this blog entry.
    As a gymnastics fan, I was very upset at the lack of factual content in your “cautionary tale”.

    Comparing the results of the 70s with those of later decades has about the same validity as comparing safety in cars before the invention and mandatory use of seatbelts with results afterwards. As Rhonda notes, there have been many changes in equipment since the 1970s, along with a change in coaching techniques, attitude to gymnasts and the difficulty level in the sport.

    If you had done a little googling, you would have found that there are currently some very high level international gymnasts competing well into their 20s. Chusovitina has just celebrated her 38th birthday at a World Cup event. Many elite-level athletes go on to successful NCAA careers, and some are even hungry to continue afterwards. Witness the comebacks of Laura-Ann Chong of Canada and Anna Li of the USA. Anna Li was US team alternate in 2012, while Laura-Ann is now with Cirque du Soleil (following in the footsteps of international champions, including countrywoman Stella Umeh).
    I would be greatly dismayed if girls were discouraged by their parents from participating in this amazing sport because of outdated ideas held by parents.

    • Pragmatic Mom says:

      Hi WW,
      How many elite gymnasts are there each year? You have three examples of gymnasts who were able to continue their sport into their 20s and 30s.

      Also, I am not saying that kids should not participate in gymnastics. In fact, all three of kids did gymnastics. My middle daughter also did Rhythm Gymnastics and continues to do handless back handsprings and aeriels in our back yard. But as a competitive sport, I will leave it to elite gymnast Jenniefer Say to tell her story via NPR or her book.

      Elite Gymnastics Not All It’s ‘Chalked Up’ to Be:

      “Jennifer Sey, the 1986 National Gymnastics Champion, says the road to this high level of achievement is paved with unhealthy perfectionism and pressure.”

      Excerpted from Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics’ Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic Dreams by Jennifer Sey

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90105904

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