Classes for Mom and Baby Around Atlanta
As a new parent, eager to share fun experiences with my baby, I ventured into parent/infant classes. Elliot and I test-drove five different programs in metro Atlanta. The verdict: Get going – we had a blast!
First, infant classes are a great diversion from the routine of juggling baby and work, and an easy way to meet other parents with children near the same age. Discussing shared experiences with other parents in person sure beats logging onto baby forums on the Internet.
Second, classes are more affordable than I thought, and most programs will let you take a trial class for free. Some classes require a monthly fee and can be taken up to twice a week, while in others, parents can pay for classes individually. The pricing and sessions all vary by program.
And third, 6-month-old Elliot developed interaction skills, listened to singing as a step toward verbal skills, and played to hone his motor skills.
Oh Baby! Fitness
Founded in Atlanta, Oh Baby! Fitness has more than 30 locations in the metro area. It offers classes for moms-to-be and mom and baby where mom can get fit and baby can participate. Classes include Mom and Baby Fitness, H2Oh Baby!, Mom & Baby Pilates, Mom & Baby Yoga, and Stroller Workout. Prices range from $60-$75/session or $18 a class. They have a really good make-up policy. If you miss a class in one session, you can easily try out another class within the session.
In the H2Oh Baby! Class, Elliot loved relaxing in the baby float as mommy swam around with him. Infants must be at least 15 pounds and able to hold their head up for this class. I enjoyed the opportunity to get a workout and swim with Elliot. Most of the class is spent exercising with the baby in the float, kicking, treading water, and doing water aerobics. Toward the end of the class, we also sang songs and took the babies out of the floats and played with them. The other Oh Baby! Fitness classes allow you to workout holding your baby (or baby can just stay close to you on your mat). And the classes end with a a real treat for your baby, a gentle massage.
Jump Start Gymnasium
This locally owned gym in Sandy Springs is a newcomer to the metro Atlanta area. It offers Just You and Me classes for children ages 3 months and older, and a free parent-infant class, The Moving Monkeys, for ages 3 months to beginning crawlers. Older children can choose movement, tumbling, gymnastics and dance classes.
In the Moving Monkeys class, Elliot was delighted with the trampoline, translucent handkerchiefs, moving mats, balls, and playing peek-a-boo with a colorful parachute lifted over his head. The class offered lots of neat activities and songs for all the babies and parents to enjoy.
You get a good idea of what the facility can offer to develop your child’s motor skills as he grows. The instructors even focus on strengthening the baby’s core and are quite knowledgeable in gymnastics.
Crawling Caterpillars is the next class up for crawlers, and Climbing Crabs is for walkers. Prices range from free to $64/monthly fee, $30 annual registration fee.
Dynamo Swim Club
The Dynamo Swim Club is a fun way to get into the water with your infant on a chilly day – swimming in a nice, warm heated pool. The swim club has five metro Atlanta locations.
Classes help baby get comfortable in the water and learn basic skills like reaching, kicking, blowing bubbles and singing songs. Elliot learned to reach for toys and worked on his kicking and splashing skills. He also went fully under water for the first time – and he wasn’t crying after he came up! The instructor was great at getting the babies comfortable in the water. As children get older, they can progress to floating and the basics of swimming and join swim teams. Six classes/$84.
Gymboree Play & Music, with six locations in metro Atlanta, has been fostering creativity and confidence in children ages 0-5 for over 30 years. Age-appropriate activities help develop the cognitive, physical and social skills of children as they play. Gymboree offers a safe, fun place for parents and young children to play together.
Two classes that meet once a week appeal to new parents. The 0-6 months class explores the senses and supports visual and auditory development with tummy time, flashlight play, first songs and more. The 6-10 months class teaches babies about cause and effect and builds strength through play with ramps, slides and climbers. Both classes include parent discussion. Classes are $74/month and include one class a week. Discounted prepaid options are available.
New member fee is: $40 (the fee is sometimes waived if you sign up during a trial class; also look for discount coupons).
Elliot enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with the parachute and all of the interactive songs. He also discovered balls with easy-to-grab holes.
As a parent, I liked the introduction song and meeting the other parents. In the beginning of each session the group discusses a topic. The week I went it was about babysitters, so it was really handy to hear what other parents are doing.
The verses of the songs are easy to follow and lots of fun. Elliot and I especially enjoyed the airplane song – parents “fly” the little ones as we sing the song, and he grinned as he swooped up and down.
Founded in Atlanta in 1998 by Rob Sayer, a professional musician and teacher for many years with Music Pups, the program is for infants through 4 years old, each with a parent or caregiver. More than 1,700 families participate in classes at 11 locations in metro Atlanta.
Fun-filled classes include singing, dancing, movement and instrument play. Each class is 45 minutes long. Families receive a CD and songbook with a broad variety of sounds and activities designed to stimulate musical learning. You can enjoy classes for almost three years with all new music each session. Mixed-age classes allow siblings to enjoy class together.
Infant classes, for ages 0-10 months, are are $160 for a 10-class session. They’re in a relaxed setting with a few songs and no big kids. Research suggests that the first 10 months are the most important time of all for a child’s music development. You’ll learn how to engage in musical fun with your infant and promote a lifetime of musical enjoyment for your child. Participants in the infant class receive an Animal Tracks Infant CD and The Lullaby Collection CD.
Elliot really enjoys songs with actions, so The Music Class was perfect. The kids in the class develop favorites that they like to sing and play along with. Elliot liked the play-along part of the class where he got to play with different musical instruments such as drums and different types of shakers. He also liked the “little puppy” song where we’d sing and play with blue egg shakers and substitute different animals for the little puppy.
He was enthralled with the scarf dance using traditional Indian music. The classes use an ethnic song every week to expose kids to different languages and types of music. Ten-week session, $160, or four-week session, $90.
Though Elliot and I only sampled five programs, there are many to choose from in metro Atlanta. Here’s a sampling:
Tiny Tunes – tinytunesmusictime.com
Stroller Strides – http://fit4mom.com
The Learning Groove – thelearninggroove.com
Babyloveatlanta.com – babyloveatlanta.com
Aqua Tots – aqua-tots.com
Kindermusik – kindermusik.com
– Laura Powell