Hunter, Playdates PLAYGYMS & PLAYSCHOOLS 24 February 2012

My gf is on a mission going through various play-groups/schools/gyms for her little one… so Hunter and I got the awesome benefit of hitching onto all her good research and tagging along for them! I don’t know what all the various things are called.. play gym, play school, play group, etc etc etc.. It’s basically those ~1 hour things that people bring kids to, for them to interact and play. Can be in a class setting, or can be ‘free play’ with no formal agenda.

#1: playgym class. This was at a place called My Gym at Rochester Mall. It’s basically a big, padded playground where the class involves singing and actions/dancing. Hunter HATED it. He was not a fan of the really shrill, loud female teachers.. and just hates people getting in his face in general. He was most unimpressed with all the tumbling, swinging etc that was involved.. and spent 99% of the time CLINGING onto me for dear life and wailing miserably whenever he was taken out of my arms. Incidentally, this is why all the photos below were taken before the class and just outside the gym area.. it was impossible for me to get a free hand to take pics during the class 😛 That said, to give him benefit of the doubt, the class was schedule smack bang on the time he has his lunch and then his nap.. so he was hungry and exhausted, and really in no mood for all the madness round him.

"Wachoo looking at?"

 

Practicising his squats

 

Doing the side-ways walk

 

#2: playschool class. This was at Bibinogs, which is pretty famous in Singapore. This one focuses on songs and dance as well, but in a classroom setting. Really liked how they had story time, and arts & crafts session. Hunter actually rather liked this – no meltdowns, no clinging to me (he actually wandered off BY HIMSELF – whooooaaaaa!). He did like Snacktime the best (LOL) and Chinese 15-min storytime the worst (immediately wandered off to find something else to do).

Freeplay time at Bibinogs

 

Kids flinging around this gauze material thing, that Hunter really hated to touch!

 

"Is it snack time yet??"

 

Waving their paper dragonflies around

 

#4: playgym free play. This is at Gymboree, where there’s no formal class or setting. You simply pop your kid in and they can climb/play on all the equipment. I think Hunter enjoyed this one the most. It was very chill with no shrill voices in his face, and he could explore and scramble all around the place. You could argue that he could do the same thing at home, but I feel it’s quite different because I don’t fear for his safety in a padded environment like this, and it contains a lot of equipment for him to check out. He was very pleased with it all and the 1 hour totally zonked him out afterwards!

Walking across the 'bridge'

 

Why do babies always like to climb UP slides instead?!

 

TOO CUTE!!!!

 

He spent most of the time chasing the various balls around the gym

 

It's a crawl train!

 

Hunter with his 3 favourite girls. Except he didn't like them in the boat with him and wanted to sit there by himself!

 

So I hope that helps if you’re a parent and looking around for this sort of thing for your kid. Frankly, I don’t think these 1 hour classes do much considering they are so pricey – partly perhaps because our kids are a bit young, but also because at the end of the day, it’s pretty basic stuff that they do in these classes! I personally feel that Hunter absorbs/learn more through me talking to him and spending so much time interacting with him, than if I take him to these classes. For this reason, I wouldn’t sign up for a package with these places.

However, Hunter and I enjoyed the playgym style stuff like Gymboree. This was just going in by yourself, with no formal class, and it’s a fraction of the cost since you’re really just paying to use the padded equipment. I think it’s perfect for kids his age right now, because provides them with a safe environment to scramble everywhere and get rid of all their excess energy. For that reason, I’ll probably sign us up for a membership ($50/year) so it’s $10 entrance fee each time.