Fresh ideas, insights, and tips from

The Little Gym 


Convention The Little Gym 2017


The Little Gym Europe has organised in October 2017 its biennial convention held at Phantasialand (Germany) where the European network of The Little Gym Franchise Owners had a chance to meet up and network. 

This year’s convention “Springboard to your Success” focused on making ​the franchisee's business grow in a changing world.


A massive congratulations to all of our award winners, but especially owner Kate from The Little Gym Harrogate & Leeds who won the franchisee of the year award.




Franchisee of the year​

Kate Henebury
The Little Gym Harrogate and The Little Gym Leeds​
Read more about Kate's story.


Ambassador to the network

​Peter Paul​ van Reenen
The Little Gym Amsterdam and The Little Gym Den Haag
Read more on Peter-Paul's journey.


From Bugs to Jets

Vivian​ Verstraelen
Gym Director at The Little Gym Den Haag. 
Read more about Vivian. 


Growth from within​

Pierre​ Follebouckt
The Little Gym Uccle, The Little Gym Wavre & The Little Gym Wezembeek
Read more about Pierre.


Full steam ahea​​d​

Martin​ Petrov
The Little Gym Sofia
Read more about Martin.

DIY Halloween Treat Bag


DIY Halloween Treat Bag



With Halloween just around the corner, this month is filled with creativity and imagination. Here is a fun Halloween treat bag craft to help you and your child get into the Halloween spirit!

Supplies needed:

Coloring sheet, click here to get yours!

Crayons, Markers, or Colored Pencils

A paper bag (turn a grocery bag inside out – or use a gift bag you may have had laying around the house – be creative!) or a Pumpkin!

Tape or Glue

Your Imagination!


Print and color the coloring sheet

Carefully cut out the shapes on the sheet. If your little one is too young to use scissors on their own, parents complete this part for them.

Use your shapes to create a cat, a ghost, or a unique, imaginative Halloween creature! Stick the shapes on your paper bag with glue or tape.

Take a picture of your child’s creation and share it on our Facebook page!

Rainy Day Indoor Activities for Kids

 If it’s raining and your day has shifted from fun to booorring, try one of these rainy day indoor activities for kids to keep them learning, moving and having fun - all without screens!

  1. Use your brain and your body with an indoor scavenger hunt. You can determine how easy or how hard the hunt is, how much time you want to kill, with how many items you have on the list and what fun add-ons you’ll tack on to the game.

  2. Recycle old those old mismatched socks and make sock puppets. Grab some old socks, stray buttons from those pants you don’t own, and other arts and crafts materials to create your very own puppet! Bonus: for extra fun, have a puppet show with the finished product and then watch the Muppets! 

  3. Have an indoor picnic or tea party. This is a fun way to eat snacks and meals while stuck inside. You can bake or create some fun and healthy treats to go along with your tea party or picnic. Pinkies up!

  4. One of the ultimate indoor activities for kids, build an epic fort with pillows, blankets, chairs, and couch cushions from around the house. Grab books, LEGO® bricks, actions figures, dolls, or stuffed animals for hours of fort-fun! Check out these 9 creative indoor forts!

  5. Have a family fashion show. Raid the closets and find the classiest (or tackiest) dresses, suits, ties, and costumes to dress up in. Put on some tunes and walk down the cat walk. Equal parts glam and fun.

  6. Get the band back together! Make music using kitchen utensils like pots, pans, wooden spoons, plastic cups, rubber bands and make music. Play familiar tunes and sing along to the beat.

  7. Get the kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch of cloud dough. The kids will have fun making the concoction and playing with it!

  8. Write a letter to a friend or family member. A day stuck indoors is a perfect day to write a letter to a friend or a faraway family member that you are thinking of. Everyone loves getting mail, this is a perfect time to sit down and take the time to show that person some love!

  9. Have an indoor beach party. Put on your swim suits, grab some sunglasses, and lay down your beach towels and pretend you are lying in the sun! Have your kids take a warm bath in their swimsuits and goggles to take the fun to the next level.

  10. It’s the indoor games! Create an indoor obstacle course and pretend you’re at The Little Gym! Lay down cushions and have your child go around the house doing different kinds of obstacles. Just make sure they are doing their obstacles in a safe area!

  11. Whatever the weather may be, these boredom-busting indoor activities for kids are sure to turn a rainy day into a memorable one. The sun will (hopefully) come out tomorrow!

If you’re looking for an indoor playground near you, kid-focused activities like The Little Gym can be another great option for busy families on those rainy days. Bul. Bulgaria 118

7 Simple Ways to Bond With Your Baby

As a new parent, you’ve got tons of questions. There’s so much you need to know, like how to deal with separation anxiety as a working mom or how exactly to travel with a newborn. Sure, you read dozens of books about how to parent while pregnant, but now that your babe is here, you don’t have time to read the millions of parenting books out there. You want to spend quality time with your kiddo, but beyond bath time, you’re wondering what you can do to squeeze the most learning and fun into every minute. We chatted with Randy McCoy, the curriculum director at The Little Gym, about seven simple ways to engage your baby in some developmental learning that’s fun for both of you.

  1. Divide and conquer. With the many responsibilities that come with parenthood — diaper changes, baths and meal time — chores such as doing the dishes and sweeping suddenly seem like Herculean tasks. Split the household duties with your partner so that one of you is with the baby and the other is taking care of the little things that keep your house running. “If moms and dads make a concerted effort to divide up and share these responsibilities, then some dads might find themselves with more quality time with their children,” says Randy. If you’re a parent of multiples, consider hiring a housekeeper so you can spend more time with your little ones. It’s totally okay to have a messy house too!
  2. Class it up. It can be tough those first few months without another adult to talk to other than your partner. Look for Mommy, Daddy + Me classes in your area that are age appropriate to socialize with other new parents who are going through the same joys and fears as you. “Not only do Parent/Child programs offer activities that parents can do with their child at home, they also provide valuable developmental information too,” says Randy. Plus, you can bond with other parents about milestones like crawling, eating first foods and rolling over.
  3. Get chatty. From newborns through the first year of their lives, babies are adorable little sponges who absorb every detail, sight and sound around them. So the best thing you can do to boost their language skills is talk to them often, even if it feels a little silly. “Playful speech — higher pitched with inflections — helps develop language skills in babies,” says Randy. “Your baby is listening, watching and taking it all in. They are hearing the sound of your voice, watching the movements of your mouth and tongue and hearing the individual sounds of the words you speak.” Pick up board books to read out loud to your baby. Narrate throughout their diaper change. Talk about your day. Have fun and don’t be afraid to bust out some silly voices too.
  4. Give ’em a song. Music for babies doesn’t have to be limited to nursery rhymes. You can make a playlist of your favorite tunes and sing while giving them a bath. Make up songs about anything and everything. Your baby isn’t judging your not-so-American-Idol voice. They just enjoy the sound of your voice, since they’ve been listening to you since day one from the womb.
  5. Get down on the floor. Play time is learning time for your kiddo and is a great way for some quality one-on-one time. “Putting your baby on the floor with a variety of colorful and interesting things to reach for and look at accomplishes two things. One, it’s a great way to exercise the muscles of their back and core. Two, it stimulates their sense of touch and sight,” says Randy. Randy suggests cuddling, rocking them back and forth and trying out different movements and motions. In short, play like you’re a kid!
  6. Cuddle up. If you’re a working parent, you might be stressing out how to squeeze in all of this quality time before and after your full-time job. Randy says that at least one hour every day will go a long way. Daily activities like diaper changes, getting your baby ready for bed and story time are all times to focus solely on your baby with plenty of kisses and cuddles afterward. “Holding, cuddling, kissing and hugging are all quality moments that allow for maximum parent-child bonding,” says Randy. Those sweet baby cheeks are practically begging for unlimited smooches from Mom and Dad.
  7. Feast for the senses. Your baby’s brain is developing every single day. Provide them with lots of sensory input to get their five senses working. “Make their environment interesting and stimulating. It’s one of the best things you can do with your baby,” says Randy. Let them hang out in their high chair while you cook dinner to engage their sense of smell. Play different types of music or offer musical toys. Give them different textures to feel. Offer colorful toys that make sounds when shaken. Talk about your day with them. Even if they don’t respond to every single thing you’re doing, just know that they’re taking it all in.

Even with a busy schedule and a messy house, you can still make quality time with your baby productive and fun. To learn more about The Little Gym or to find a class near you, visit

Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids


If your kids are experiencing the mid-summer boredom blues and you’re running out of things to do with kids, it’s time to get them outside for some awesome, outdoor, summer fun. Playing outdoors has more benefits than just getting the kids out of the house; in fact, research shows that outdoor games and play promotes social skills, increases attention span, helps to reduce stress, and kids can get their daily dose of vitamin D! Need we say more? Check out some of our favorite outdoor summer activities for the whole family.

Backyard Fun

  • Craft a backyard obstacle course using items you have on hand like water hoses, pool noodles, or even brooms! Have the kids do monkey-jumps over the hose, forward rolls through a line of pool noodles, and hitting a ball with a broom to the finish line! Have your own ninja warrior course!

  • Put together a backyard scavenger hunt and let your kids go wild. There are so many things kids can find in the backyard, like friendly bugs, plants, flowers, rocks or even feathers. 

  • Plant a garden. Not only will planting a garden teach children about responsibility (think watering and weeding), it will help teach them how things grow. Gardening is also proven to help with cognitive functions, socialization and language skills.

  • Turn on the sprinklers or craft up a DIY slip ‘n slide. The kids will spend hours outside frolicking in the water and they might convince you to take a slide yourself.

Nighttime Activities

  • Summer activities like backyard camping, equipped with s’mores by the campfire, is a special experience for a child. Grab the tent, sleeping bags, flashlights, and lanterns and camp without the worry of forest creatures (depending on where you live). The kids will have fun having a real camp experience along with delicious, ooey-gooey s’mores!

  • Host a backyard movie night. Project your child’s favorite movie onto a hanging white sheet and make one of these delicious popcorn recipes and you’re ready to go!

  • Catch and release - fireflies! If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where fireflies are visible at night, take this opportunity to catch (and release) these whimsical bugs. 

Outside the neighborhood; exploring the great world out yonder

  • Live near a pond or lake? Head out on a mini fishing trip fully equipped with your child’s own fishing pole and bait. If your kids like creepy crawlies (worms), let them go digging in the backyard before you head out! Looking for something less time consuming? Feed the ducks some halved grapes or thawed frozen corn!

  • Explore good ol’ mother nature with a trail walk or scenic hike. This is a great way for kids to get out their energy and to learn about the world around them. Be sure to pack easy-to-access snacks and lots of water. Don’t forget the sunscreen too…  Here’s are great tips and a packing list broken out by age.

  • Head to the local park, splash pad, or community pool. Pack a picnic lunch and head home just in time for a good afternoon nap!

With these fun, outdoor games and activities your family is sure to have a fun summer. Too hot for outdoor fun? Then come play with us at The Little Gym Sofia

How to Talk to Kids: 10 Questions to Ask Your Child


Sitting down and having a conversation with your child, no matter their age, is no easy feat. With the hustle and bustle of the workday, school, homework and extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to sit down and have an uninterrupted one-on-one conversation with your child.

Parent-to-child interaction is a critical child development component for learning and language development and retention. So, if you’re missing or struggling with implementing the verbal piece of the puzzle, put down your device(s) and make time to talk with your child one-on-one. Not only will this help your child learn how to have a one-on-one conversation, it will also teach your child how to listen, reply, and formulate their own thoughts, ideas, and answers. If you’re wondering how to talk to kids in a way that fosters child development we’ve put together 10 questions to ask your child each night to help build conversations and relationships with your child.

What made you smile today?
Is there anything that made you feel sad (or mad, or glad) today?
What are you looking forward to most tomorrow?
Who did you play with today (at school, camp, The Little Gym)?
Who did you enjoy spending time with today?
Did you help anyone today?
What was your favorite part of your day?
What are you going to dream about tonight?
Did you learn something new today? or Did you learn something you already knew? If so, tell me about it!
And be sure not to forget million dollar questions like…. Did you brush your teeth? And, did you use the bathroom?
When raising children, making the time and effort to converse with your child and providing them with opportunities to talk with you, will not only foster language development, it will also help to increase your parent-child relationship. Need some more questions? You can also check out this list of 50 more questions to get those tough little nuts to crack.

One more conversation starter could be, “how was your time at The Little Gym?” Kid-focused activities like The Little Gym can be a great option for busy families providing age-appropriate programs available after school, on weekends, and even when school is not in session.

Why Your Kid Needs Summer Camp



Parents want their kids to have the best experiences possible. They want their children to be happy, healthy, and to find success. While there are many activities for kids to help your children achieve these life goals, enrolling them in summer camp programs can help. Summer camps for kids offer children a fun, nurturing environment where they are given opportunities to interact with positive role models, work together with their peers, develop creative skills, build independence and so much more. Check out these 5 benefits of summer camps for kids:

1. Unplug from technology: Studies show that children spend a whopping 7.5 hours on average, per day engaging with technology. Camps provide children with technology-free hours where they are able to rediscover their creativity and engage with their peers.

2. Promotes independence: Camps give children the opportunity to grow more independent, whether for a few hours, a day, or a week at a time. The separation from parents allows children to learn to rely on themselves, their peers, and others in a safe and secure environment.

3. Engage in more physical activity: Kids spend so much time sitting at desks, on the couch, or at the kitchen table; summer camps provide children with physical activities for kids, a chance to have fun and get moving with their peers through running, jumping, climbing and more.

4. Learn teamwork: Camps provide children with the unique opportunity to work together for a common goal; whether during a game or activity, kids are communicating, learning, and benefitting from one another.

5. Builds self-confidence: By removing competitive activities and tasks, children are given the opportunity to gain new skills and accomplish tasks and experience success. This type of success is directly correlated to gaining self-esteem and self-confidence. 

Summer camps are a great way to provide children with the opportunities to gain important life skills to become happy, healthy and successful adults. To learn more about The Little Gym’s Summer Camp programs for kids 3-12 years call us at: tel: 0888594441

Make a business out of making a difference

Make a business out of making a difference
Team up with The Little Gym Europe and become an owner of a franchise for children by bringing ‘Serious Fun’ to the children in your own community!

The Little Gym® prepares kids – and kids at heart – for life’s adventures. We promote growth in individuals, families and our communities by serving as a trusted partner on the journey of developing well-rounded, confident kids. You could be next!

We’re continuously looking for passionate and motivated entrepreneurs to join our family. Whether you’re looking to open a new location or are interested in an opportunity within an existing location, there are plenty of ways to become a The Little Gym® franchise owner.

Take the next step!  We make it easy to become a franchise owner to bring The Little Gym programmes to more children in more communities.  


Meet our team at The Little Gym Sofia!


We are the team of The Little Gym Sofia in Bulgaria! Our gym is the first one to open in Bulgaria and we are super excited to be the ones to introduce the magic of The Little Gym to the kids on our city.  We feel privileged to do our internship in The Little Gym The Hague and can’t wait to meet you and your children later this week! In the meantime, here is a little information about us:


Martin: I am the owner of The Little Gym Sofia. I discovered The Little Gym through my younger daughter, Martha (7 yrs), who has been following the program in The Hague for 3 years now. I fell in love with the program, the philosophy and the teaching methods of The Little Gym. I have always wanted to find a way to help children, to do something that helps them develop their full potential. When I discovered The Little Gym, I realized this was the thing I had been looking for. Having gone through extensive training in The Little Gym program and philosophy, I have not only learned about gymnastics and teaching concepts, but  I feel I have also become a better father. And here I am today, with a background in international law and criminal justice, I am bringing The Little Gym to my home country in order to enable the kids from Sofia to experience its magic.


Radoslav (Rado): I am thrilled to be part of the very first The Little Gym in Bulgaria. I am crazy about sports. I have been chasing the ball since I was 3 years old. As a kid, I started with football and after that I tried almost every sport – from handball, to gymnastics, athletics, martial arts, swimming, rafting... Practicing sports is like breathing for me. I love kids. I have been teaching different sports to children of different ages and love working with them.


Gergana (Gery): I just love being part of The Little Gym family. With a bachelor degree in special education, practicing various sports has been a major part of my life since I can remember. In addition, I just adore children. I am a proud mom of three and also a passionate kids photographer. I love working with children, they inspire me and motivate me. Having the chance to combine all my loves and passions at The Little Gym makes me genuinely happy.


Lilyana (Lily): I feel privileged and super happy that I have become part of The Little Gym. I have graduated from the National Sport Academy in Sofia as a Sport Coach and a master degree in Karate and Sport for High Achievements. My sport career started with karate when I was just 9. I became part of the National Karate Team at the age of 13 and earned my black belt at 18. But my real passion is soccer – I played it professionally for 7 years. I love working with kids. I have been a karate coach since 2007 and a soccer coach of boys and girls. Children inspire me and make me a better person."




How you can help your kid to focus

3_New discoveries at The Little Gym!

It is true – kids nowadays find it hard to focus, can’t keep their eyes on what they are doing and sometimes miss important details in instructions. Usually, in group activities the little ones actually learn how to pay attention, to listen carefully, to respond to verbal guidance and to become more engaged.

Here are some activities (group and individual) your child can benefit from:

1. Kids may not respond to direct instruction when it comes to everyday activities, like brushing their teeth, for example. They may resist, which could lead to an angry parent and we don’t want that to happen. So, next time consider making up a song or a rhyme to bring attention to the task. This will help the kid remember what he is supposed to do. It could also be used for academic purposes – when you are trying to teach your child a certain concept.

2. It is very useful to have your child repeat instructions back to you. This way he engages different brain structures and builds strong neuron pathways, important for learning.

3. Clapping to indicate the sounds in a word, stomping feet to count – these will help your child be more engaged and make stronger memories.

4. Learning and playing with hands-on materials, play dough, etc. – this will help the child who loves to touch and be touched.

5. Children need to move in order to learn. Use balls and bubbles to promote body awareness and perceptual motor skills, body positions and balance.

6. You can engage movement in learning when possible. Use the space you have to make the kid move around and may be pick up flashcards which he has to memorize. Or tape different parts of a puzzle on the walls and make your child jump in order to reach them.   

The most important thing is that learning can happen in a fun and natural way for the kid in a safe environment, where the child feels independent and valued.

How do I imagine the ideal place for my kids’ development?

It was the Sunday evening of a really cold day. If you have stayed at home with your child or children during these long winter days, you probably know how overwhelming and energy-consuming that could be sometimes. Well, this particular Sunday was different for my family because we played a game. Not a calm game, nope. But one, which requires lots of running, coordination, good motor skills, planning and, of course, lots of laughing (and, as a bonus, results in a deep sleep at night).

I learned about the Mr Fox game earlier that same weekend during a very dynamic and creative recruitment meeting of The Little Gym Sofia which I was invited to observe and evaluate. This game was played and directed by the future instructors and the management team. When I observed how these enthusiastic, happy, positive young professionals became consumed by the activities, not spearing their energy but dedicating their full potential, I immediately imagined how they would interact with my own children. And I realized that I want this to happen for several reasons.

The Little Gym embraces the philosophy that every child needs someone who has faith in their success and who guides them through the process with patience and love. Games, fun and gymnastics are the tools which the instructors (imagine the guys I described above) use to develop motor skills, coordination, flexibility, body awareness which are essential for our children participation in any everyday activity, not only sports. The program is structured in such a way that the kids will acquire essential skills for their particular developmental stage and, through sport and movement, they will actually become more confident, socially engaged and capable of taking risks.

As a psychologist and a parent, I have always dreamt of such a place where the role-model figures will evoke warm emotions in my children and there will be trust to be gained and attachment to be developed. I imagine a place where I will be able to look from not so far, staying in the same hall (it is really good to stay and observe the class, it is worth it!) admiring the efforts of my 4-years old boy (who is a very active little beast) and the complex activities that my 9 years old (an elegant tween) demonstrates. They will look for me in the hope that I have seen their accomplishment. And I will be proud.

So, that night when we finished playing Mr Fox countless times and my daughter gave me a breathtaking hug, saying: “Hey, mom, I want us to play more often like that!”, I knew that The Little Gym is our place. We can’t wait for it to open in Sofia.

[Anna Joukivskaia, a mother of two, is a family therapist, who has been working in the field of education, development of social, communication skills, emotional intelligence, healthy self-esteem in individuals. She has been involved with the well-being of parents and their children for 12 years. Anna holds a degree in Clinical Psychology from Richmond University in London (2005).]

Why you should let your kid explore the world?

6_Almost there!
To be exploring the world without fear is one of the first and most essential signs of confidence that a healthy child develops. When mom and dad are not over-protective and let their kid learn about their surroundings, fall and get up again at times, but still eager to try new things, then they are in the process of raising a confident child.

When do parents actually start worrying about their kids’ safety? When they learn how to crawl. And later, when they learn how to walk, when they are around 1 year old. With walking comes the wider world. The wider world means more trouble, some might say. May be true, but when we are close enough to react if something happens and not so close for the child to feel he is constantly watched over, we have a great chance to succeed in dealing with hazardous situations. When the child falls, for example, our instinctive reaction might be to run across the room to “save” him. My advice is – count before you run. You will have seconds to assess the intensity of the situation and in most cases the kid will not cry (if we haven’t induced this reaction in him) and will start up again. This is how our children learn their early life lessons and develop independence.  

“I know” and “I can” are the words we want to hear from toddlers. It is our job as parents and professionals to develop the passport for a lifetime of social well-being – a healthy self-esteem. How people value themselves, get along with others and perform in school and work later in life all depend on their self-esteem. Setting the grounds is essential.    


Get Up and Get Moving!


The times, they’re changing, and it’s becoming even more difficult to keep our kids engaged, happy, and well, out of our hair. I know I’m not alone when I say that I have used my friends: television, computer, and tablet as a distraction for my children when I need 30 minutes of peace.


As parents, we know it’s not always easy, but are kids being exposed to too much technology? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children spend an average of 7 hours a day using media including television, computer, internet, video games, and cell phones. In an ever growing media driven world, it’s becoming even more important to make sure your child is getting active every day.


So, how can you encourage your child to get active? Show them that being active is fun! Exercise as a family by going for a nightly walk, jog, or having a family soccer game in the back yard. You can also get your children involved in activities outside of the home like The Little Gym to help them appreciate a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come. Whether you’re running, jumping, or tumbling, get moving with your child to build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits!

Our Top 5 Family Dinners


You know how important it is that your kids eat a healthy dinner every night and we know how hard it is to get your kids to eat the food you want them to eat. If you’re tired of mac & cheese and frozen chicken nuggets, here’s a list of our top five healthy dinners that the whole family will enjoy.


  • Looking for a way to pump more vegetables into your kids’ diet? Let’s start with Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs. The spaghetti squash is packed full of nutrients. The recipe also includes a healthy amount of celery, carrots, and tomatoes all disguised in the sauce. If you want to make it even healthier, try trading the ground beef for ground turkey.
  • These Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls are stuffed full of healthy things like black beans, spinach, and corn. If you want to make them even heartier try adding some cooked chicken breast. These save so well you might even want to make a double batch so your kids can eat them the next night, too!
  • We love burgers! As a parent you’ll love these Ultimate Turkey & Black Bean Burgers even more because not only are they made with healthy ground turkey but there is also a serving of protein- and fiber-rich black beans in each one. Add some sliced avocado to really make it healthy to the max.
  • We love this recipe for Sesame Chicken Salad because it’s a little out of the ordinary and easy as can be. Your kids will love eating the carrots, snow peas, chicken and pasta, especially when they’re the ones who mix the peanut butter dressing.
  • Your family will beg you every week to make these Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers, a fun play on the traditional chicken pot pie. You’ll be surprised how easy it they are to make. This recipe calls for chicken breast, celery, and carrots, but don’t be scared to add other vegetables to the mix.

Happy eating!

Benefits of Chores


Do children need chores? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, young children who are given household chores “build a lasting sense or mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?


The article also found that those who began chores around ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have positive relationships with their families, higher academic success and were also found to be more empathetic and responsive to others needs. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ideas for encouraging your child to help out around the house:


  1. Turn on some music while your child sweeps the kitchen or picks up their toys. Adding music to the mix will make doing chores more enjoyable for both of you.
  2. Kids love a good game – set a timer and motivate your kids to do their chore as fast (and efficient) as possible.
  3. Consider the way you approach chores – make it fun and let your child know that they are “helping” you by completing a certain task.
  4. Keep a chore chart - once your child has filled their chart let them choose a “prize” of their choice like staying up “late” on a weekend, ice cream with mom & dad, or a trip to your local children’s museum or zoo.
  5. Have fun with it. Making chores fun is the best way to encourage your child to complete their chores now and for years to come.


To read the full article, click here.

Nice Kids Finish First


The Little Gym helps kids develop social skills, which studies find may be the most important factor for long-term success.

Science has confirmed it: nice guys don’t finish last. At least not according to a new study which suggests that kindergarten students who display pro-social behavior may be more likely to graduate college and have steady jobs. The 20 year national study tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten through age 25. The researchers found that young children that scored highest in social competence skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and listening, were four times more likely to graduate from college than those who did not. The study also found that, in some cases, these types of social skills may be better predictors of future success than academic skills.

Positive social skills are something that can be learned and improved upon throughout childhood. Programs at The Little Gym help children grow and develop social skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning. Games are purposefully designed to enhance social development and the non-competitive environment encourages children to play with each other rather than against each other. Children learn to become more considerate of one another, more aware of the feelings of others, and more willing to work together for mutual benefit. These essential life skills help children learn how to interact in positive and socially acceptable ways which helps them become well-rounded little people so that, as research now confirms, they grow into well-rounded adults.

Oh where, oh where have our dear manners gone? Oh where, oh where could they be?


Good manners are not something that children will naturally pick up. Children need to be taught, reminded, and reminded again of the importance of having good manners.  Good manners help children become well-rounded adults. The trick is to teach your child manners that are age-appropriate so they are able to understand why manners are SO important!  Here are 6 manners that are at the top of our good-manners list.


  1. “Thank you” is a word that both parents and The Little Gym instructors cannot stress enough!  A simple thank you sends a powerful message of gratitude. When someone does something for you, gives you a compliment, gives you a gift, etc. it is important to always say thank you. When a child is old enough, a good practice is for children to write their own personal thank you notes when receiving a gift or spending time at a friend’s house. A written note goes a long way!
  2. “Please” or “the magic word”, is an important tool for children to get what they want. Please is a great manner to learn for even children who are not yet talking. If a child wants something it is important for them to use their manners by expressing ‘please’ and following it up with a ‘thank you’.
  3. “Excuse me” or “pardon me”, at a certain age children should learn not to interrupt adults when they are having a conversation. Rather, they should learn to wait their turn or say ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ if they need to interrupt. These phrases also work when in public and your child needs to get around a person who may be in their way, or when your child bumps into someone by accident. By using ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ your child will not only be heard but will be doing this in a positive manner.
  4. “Hello” and “goodbye”; Greetings and goodbyes are basic functions of communication. Beginning at a young age children should learn the appropriate way to address people when they enter and leave a room. Greetings and goodbyes are a great way to teach children how to interact with one another.
  5. Table manners; starting at a very young age children can learn table manners. Starting when children begin eating solid foods they are often re-directed when throwing or spitting food. This helps children learn what is acceptable and what is not. When children get a bit older it is important for them to learn basic table manners; knowing how to use your utensils, asking for things to be passed when they are out of reach, and asking to be excused when they are finished with their meals. Basic table manners follow children throughout their lives and helps parents enjoy their mealtimes as well!
  6. Be kind to others; it is important for children to learn how to be kind and positive. Teaching children that mean words and teasing is hurtful helps a child understand the importance of kindness.


Practice makes perfect – keep practicing and reminding your child of the importance of having good manners. Be repetitive, if your child does not say please then simply make them ‘say the magic word’ and they will begin to catch on! Often times role-playing is a great way to have your child experience the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Great manners go a long way and it is best to begin good practices at a young age!

Cold and Flu Myths

Cold and Flu Myths

It starts with a sniffle – next thing you know, the whole household is sneezing, coughing, and passing tissues. If you’re feeling confused about how to treat colds and the flu, you’re not alone. Separate the facts from the fiction and check out the top 3 cold and flu related myths.


Myth #1: The flu vaccine causes the flu: Getting a flu shot may cause symptoms that feel like the flu, but the viruses contained in the flu shots have been killed, or “inactivated.” which means they can’t cause infection. While there may be some achy side effects that can sometimes follow the flu shot, it just means your immune system is responding and processing the vaccine.

Myth #2: You’re more likely to get sick if you’re cold: Despite mom’s warnings that you should bundle up, being cold does not cause a cold. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, infections prevail in winter months because they are spread when more people stay indoors for longer periods of time and are in closer contact with each other.

Myth #3: Hugging and kissing are great ways to spread cold and flu germs: Cold and flu viruses like to enter the body through the nose or eyes, so a hug or a peck on the cheek isn’t likely to be dangerous. Don’t be afraid to give your sick child plenty of affection, and don’t worry that a kiss or hug will spread your germs to him (or vice-versa).


Many parents recognize The Little Gym as a safe and clean place in which to bring their children. We work hard to ensure each and every visit lives up to your expectations. Daily and weekly cleaning and sanitation helps keep our environment sparkly and keeps the germs away.  And if your child is feeling a little under the weather, our generous make-up policy allows you to attend a make-up class by simply calling us prior to the absence.

6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.


  1. Consider the compliments you give your child. Words of praise mean more when they refer to a child’s specific efforts or new abilities. Try using Specific Positive Feedback to focus on specific feedback rather than simply saying “Good Job”.
  2. Nurture your child’s special interests. Every child is unique, as parents and caregivers it is your job to help your children feel confident about those interests.
  3. Provide endless encouragement for your child. Your child will never forget the way you make them feel – that’s why it is important to be supportive of your child. Encourage them to reach for the stars!
  4. Do not label your child as anything – this may limit them and the way they feel about themselves as they grow.
  5. Extend trust in your child and let them make decisions.
  6. Focus on the glass half full – teach your child optimism. Teaching your child how to have an optimistic mindset will allow their confidence to shine!


Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident. 

The Importance of Reading Aloud


It’s no secret that reading to your child is a good thing – but do you know the positive effects reading has on your child’s development now and in the future? According to a recent study in Time Magazine, reading at home with your child early and often activates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language. The study also added that reading has been proven to expand a child’s vocabulary and helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child! Need we say more? Check out these four tips to help make reading together a daily habit:


  1. Read to your child in the morning when they wake up and each night before they go to bed. Setting aside special time to read together will help make this a daily routine you and your child will cherish forever.
  2. Keep books in every room throughout the house; in the bedroom, bathroom, living-room, and even in the kitchen! Exposure to books throughout the day will encourage your child to read more frequently.
  3. Introduce new books. Check out your local library and let your child explore all of the books they have to offer; your child will enjoy the ability to pick and choose new books each week.
  4. Most importantly, make reading fun! Create silly voices for different characters or actions; this will help keep your child’s attention and will even encourage a giggle or two!

Physical Activity can Boost a Child’s Attention, Memory, Self-control & Goal-setting


Everyone knows that physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that it can also go a long way toward children’s brain development? The results of several studies involving grade school children suggest that daily vigorous physical activity can greatly improve children’s development in areas such as a child’s attention, memory, self-control, strategies and goal-setting.


In general, these skills develop rapidly through the elementary school years and then develop at a slower pace during adolescence.[1] The more vigorous exercise a child gets, the more the development of these skills increases and is reinforced. Think of kids on the playground who learn that by pushing themselves to run faster, they can catch who’s “it.” Or consider children shooting hoops who learn that, though it may be frustrating when they miss, the more they practice, the more consistently they’ll make it.


One researcher suggests that:


…in a period when greater emphasis is being placed on preparing children to take standardized tests, these studies should give school administrators reasons to consider investing in quality physical education and vigorous activity programs, even at the expense of time spent in the classroom. Time devoted to physical activity at school does not harm academic performance and may actually improve it. [2]


So what can you do to help boost your child’s brain through exercise?


  • Train as a family for a charity run or walk
  • Celebrate special occasions—like birthday or anniversaries—with something active such as a hike, a basketball or soccer game or a bike ride.
  • Play tag, jump rope, dance, or even play a dancing video game.
  • Get Moving at your local The Little Gym


[1]Davis PhD, Catherine L, and Norman K Pollock Phd. "Does Physical Activity Enhance Cognition and Academic Achievement in Children? A Review." Medscape. (accessed February 6, 2014)

[2] Tomporowski, P.D., Lambourne, K., & Okumura, M.S. (2011). Physical activity interventions and children’s mental function: An introduction and overview. Preventive Medicine, 52(Suppl.1):S3- S9.

Pediatricians Call for Parent to Read to their Children Everyday


Do you read aloud to your child every day? After numerous studies have been conducted to measure the importance of reading aloud to children, The American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy in telling parents to read aloud to their children daily.


Reading, singing, and talking to your child starting at birth has a significant impact on your child’s literacy development. During the first three years of a child’s life their brain is like a sponge, soaking up information and growing at a faster rate than any other time in their lives. That is why it is important to begin conversing with your child to enhance that brain development, and to ultimately set your child up for a lifetime of success.


The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to use the five R’s of Early Childhood Education to help boost your child’s development. The five R’s are;


  • Read together. Again – read aloud to your child EVERY DAY starting at birth. This will help with your child’s literacy development.
  • Rhyming, playing, talking and singing together.
  • Routines and regular times for meals, play, and sleep which allows children to know what they can expect and what is expected of them.
  • Rewards for everyday successes – praise is a great reward!
  • Relationships that are reciprocal, nurturing and enduring.


Reading aloud to your child daily has so many benefits that will help your child enhance their vocabulary and communication skills at a very young age. Use the 5 R’s of Early Childhood Education from The American Academy of Pediatrics to help give you ideas on how to boost your child’s development starting at birth.

Let your Child’s Imagination Run WILD!


Imaginative play is more than just fun and games. In fact, young children learn by expressing their imagination. Picture a child caring for a doll or stuffed animal, or a child pretending to be a fireman and saving the day. These children are creating life-like scenarios and acting them out. With pretend play, children are able to take on different roles, giving them the unique opportunity to learn social skills, problem solving skills, communication, and empathy.  

How can you encourage your child to use their imagination? Join the fun! Observe your child’s interest and get on their level, sit face to face with your child and imitate his actions. Keep it simple and take turns. Your child will likely mimic your actions as well.  Let your child’s imagination run wild and get playing today!

Is Your Child Getting Too Much Screen Time?


In this day and age, it is impossible for children not to be exposed to screen time. From tablets, phones, computers, and television, technology is everywhere.  But how much screen time, if any is appropriate for young children?

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

As easy as it may be to place your child in front of a screen, there is no evidence showing that electronic media has developmental benefit. Instead, put the electronics away and offer your child non-electronic formats of fun such as books, board games, and active play. Taking a “electronic diet” doesn’t need to be grueling, rather see the developmental benefits in limiting screen time now and in the long run.

Read the entire article from The American Academy of Pediatrics here:

5 Ways to Make New Mom Friends


Making friends as a new mom is not always an easy feat. It’s like standing in the cafeteria on the first day of school surrounded by strangers wondering where you fit in – but this time you’re at the playground, you have a baby on your hip, you just finished singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 1000th time, and you just want to have an adult conversation. Is that too much to ask?!


Whether you’re at the grocery store, the playground, or at The Little Gym, as a new mom you’re constantly scoping out potential mom friends, eager to strike up a conversation about ANYTHING. No matter where you are, making new mom friends does not have to increase panic or stress. Here are 5 tips for making mom friends with ease.


  1. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. No seriously. How are you going to meet an awesome new mom friend if you’re cooped up in the house all day? Put yourself out there by getting involved in a mom’s group or mommy meetup. Enroll yourself and your little one in a Parent/Child class at your local The Little Gym. Or head on over to the playground and scope out a mom that looks like you may have something in common with. It could be the start to a beautiful friendship!
  2. Find a friend? Get her contact information! Don’t be shy! Finding a new mom friend is like dating… if you find a mom you like get her number so you can see her again. If you guys don’t connect the second time around you can’t say you didn't try!
  3. Plan a play-date. Find a mom you like? And she has a little one the same age as yours? SCORE! Plan a play-date! This is the best way to get moms talking – to each other.
  4. Plan a “Mommy” play-date. Find a sitter or get your significant other to take the baby reigns, it’s time for a mom’s night out. Grab some drinks or dinner and enjoy a kid free night with your new friend. Moms deserve off nights too!
  5. Be yourself. This is the best way to find genuine friends that will last a lifetime.


Finding new mom friends may not always be simple, but having one or two really awesome mom friends can make a world of a difference. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, playground, or even your local The Little Gym, don’t be shy – strike up conversation and see where it takes you! There are plenty of fish in the sea and soon enough you will have a group of great mom friends that will last a lifetime.