Tumbling vs. Gymnastics. You’ll see classes for kids offered in both, so what’s the difference? In a nutshell, tumbling falls under the larger umbrella of gymnastics, though it has characteristics that distinguish it from other types of gymnastics. Tumbling involves acrobatic moves like flips, jumps, handsprings, and rolls linked together in a choreographed routine. Gymnastics, on the whole, would include tumbling, but also other disciplines that include all the gymnastic apparatus. So which is best for introducing your child to the sport?One of the best things for kids about tumbling and gymnastics is the focus that is placed on body awareness and balance. Kids need lots of physical activity to learn how their bodies work, to learn muscle control, and to develop core strength that enables balance. When we confine them to classrooms too long, or allow them to sit in front of screens for entertainment, we deprive them of the physical activity they need to learn these essential skills. Tumbling and gymnastics are a great way to make sure these important movements and activities have a place in their lives and to introduce the kids to the fun of being physically active.
Tumbling classes will involve very basic body control activities for small children. Balancing on one foot, somersaults, back bends, and other basic movements help children on the way to body awareness and control. Kid-sized apparatus may be used, such as a wide balance beam resting on the floor, to introduce the children to the gymnastics equipment, but generally in tumbling, focus is on the child’s mastery of his or her own body, not on mastery of the apparatus.
Gymnastics, while incorporating many of the facets tumbling includes, will offer children the opportunity to be introduced to that really cool world of gymnastics equipment. Kids love swinging from bars, bouncing off springboards, and that awesome scary feeling of being up high on a balance beam.
So is it safe? In introductory classes, lots of thick mats will absorb and cushion the falls. But as a rule, you’ll find a good teaching facility has plenty of mats, both super-thick and thin for different purposes. Thick pit mats, or crash mats, will be used in training, though not in competition. These will be that extra security measure used during training, when the kids are more likely to fall than not. Gymnastics and tumbling mats will be thin, solid, but with enough give to absorb shock. At this stage of the game, there’s really no difference between gymnastics and tumbling mats; just make sure they’re easy to store, clean and transport! (And ours are!)
Of course We Sell Mats has what you need, whether it’s for a gym or even for the kids to use at home. Check out all our gymnastics offerings here. We have everything from simple tumbling mats, cartwheel mats, and personal aerobics mats to the more specialized gymnastics equipment like incline mats, tumbling octagons, and crash mats.
Whether you choose tumbling or gymnastics for your kids, you can be sure you’re giving them a start toward a lifestyle of strength, flexibility, and balance they’ll be able to use in any sport or activity they choose, for as long as they’re active. What a gift!