Starting your kids off on the glorious journey that is gymnastics is so simple: it all begins with some tumbling mats. From tumbling mats you can lead them on with an incline mat, maybe a balance beam, and even some skill shapes and trainers. Once they discover how much fun tumbling is and how much you encourage it, their path to an active lifestyle is off to a great start!
Tumbling mats are the foundation for toddler-hood. Yes, that’s a new word. But think about what toddlers do best: wrestling, rolling, falling, and playing. And those activities are perfectly suited to tumbling mats. While they’re playing on the mats, they’re becoming acclimated to a gymnastics apparatus and they won’t even know it. Then, when you’re ready for them to take their first tumbling class, they’re already familiar with the surface and know just what to do. And you’re way ahead of the game.
Hang on to those tumbling mats, ’cause you’re going to need them when the toddler reaches early elementary age and wants to try the balance beam out. Yikes – a 6 year-old on a beam? No sweat. Bring home a foam core, padded balance beam that sits flat on the floor so there’s no scary heights from which to fall. Your child gets to learn the feel of a balance beam and to master her own balance without the fear of falling so far. You’ll have peace of mind that her practice won’t involve a trip to the ER for stitches, and you’ll both be amazed at how quickly she progresses.
Still have those tumbling mats? Good! Because now that your child is ready for more complex skills, he may just benefit from the use of an incline mat. These mats are shaped like wedges and are fantastic for learning and mastering the back handspring. For even younger ones, they can be a great way to learn some balance and motor control when practicing the forward roll. Depending on your child’s size and skill level, you can choose a small incline mat or a larger one that fits their body type and what they want to do with the mat.
Launching your child into a life of gymnastics is truly a gift they’ll thank you for years down the road. And with the right equipment, you can begin that journey at home today!