One remedy to all the fuss being made about kids being overweight: Start them early with a fun fitness class so they can learn how good it is to get the body moving! But it’s more than just that, according to Brian Kerstine, owner of Gymboree. He explains that their programs focus on the brain and a child’s ability to learn rather just on how to do a somersault or crawl through a tunnel. “They’re using their minds to understand how to get through the tunnel,” he says, adding that this helps tots develop their sense of things like depth perception and spatial awareness.
The following area programs are geared with the idea of physical fitness in mind, and be sure to visit our web site for even more sports opportunities.
Beech Acres Park RecPlex
6915 Beechmont Ave.
Offering a range of classes for tots and kids, including Little Kickers, Little Sluggers, Mini Kicks and Mini Sluggers, as well as Tot Time, and summer programming.
Bi-Okoto Cultural Institute
5601 Montgomery Road
Kids ages 4 – 6 or 7 – 12 can join Intro to West African Dance classes on Saturday mornings, while their parents can study Adult West African Drum or Dance, or take a Zumba Fitness Dance class.
Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center
4244 Hamilton Ave.
CFEC offers a ton of classes for kids, including Parent/Baby Yoga and Family Yoga, Jitterbugs for little dancers, Wiggle Worms for toddlers, and Sensory Play and Crawlers and Climbers for babies, all designed to get kids moving and active.
Cincinnati Recreation Commission
Cincinnati residents of all ages and abilities can take advantage of the CRC’s offerings, whether visiting a fitness center, taking tennis or golf lessons, or just blowing off steam at one of their playgrounds. The “I Can Swim” program is open to all ages, and parents of ages 6 months to 3 years can sign up for parent/child lessons.
Cincinnati Sports Club
3950 Red Bank Road
Programs for children ranging from 10 months to 8 years combine exercise and fun in a recreational, non-competitive environment. Classes meet once a week in six-week sessions during the school year. Three-year-olds learn to jump and jive in Superstars tumbling class that emphasizes specific movements as they master new skills. They then go on to Terrific Tumblers, which combines the flexibility and agility of introductory tumbling with more skill and learning. For budding cheerleaders, the Cheernastics class combines tumbling and cheerleading for ages 3 – 8. There is also a Mini Movers tumbling class for infants, Kinderiffics tumbling for Kindergarteners, and tumbling camp. After tumbling, kids transition to youth yoga, boot camp classes and staffed open play as they grow.
Gym Skills is a mobile gym that brings fun activities like gymnastics, tumbling and yoga to childcare facilities, preschools, after-school programs, and camps and birthday parties during which kids can play and have fun as well as learn important health and nutrition tips.
6209 Snider Road, Mason
Play & Learn classes are organized through seven levels for ages 0 – 6 months all the way up to ages 3 – 5. Each class not only introduces tots to new physical skills, but also instructs parents on different levels of development through the early years so that their play at home can have just as much purpose.
HappyFeet Northern Kentucky
5765 Constitution Drive, Florence
— OR —
3116 W. Mongomery Road, Ste. C, Maineville
Open to ages 2 – 6, HappyFeet uses soccer as the vehicle for gross motor development in very young children. Using a yellow smiley face ball, games, stories, nursery rhymes and songs, kids learn basic moves that help with things like balance, ankle strength. The program is also mobile and able to come to preschools and child care facilities, as well as birthday parties.
Hubbard Family Swim School
Inside Kids First Sports Center, 7900 E. Kemper Road
Teaching children as young as 8 weeks to love and respect the water. Committed to providing swim lessons that build confidence and teach water safety skills in a child-centered environment. As students grow from babies to toddlers to pre-teens, Hubbard’s lessons focus on teaching more advanced skills to help children excel in the water.
Indoor Soccer City
5770 Springdale Road
Along with adult and youth leagues, Indoor Soccer City offers Kiddie Kickers for ages 3 – 4 and 5 – 6, as well as a Lollipop youth co-ed league for ages 4 – 6.
Kids First Sports Center
7900 East Kemper Road
A great place to introduce your tiny tots to a range of sports and healthy activities, including Tumble Bees for little gymnasts, Soccer Shots, Yoga With Pooja, karate, and boys’ and girls’ Gym Jam, a recreational gymnastics program for those who enjoy the sport but don’t necessarily want to pursue it on a competitive level.
The Little Gym
8201 Arbor Square Drive, Mason
It’s all about “Serious Fun” here. Open to ages 4 months – 12 years, The Little Gym offers parent-child classes, gymnastics, dance, karate, flexible summer camps, Parent Survival Nights, birthday parties.
8485 Ridge Road
Offering AquaBabies and Tots classes for ages 6 months – 3 years, which are classes for both babies and their parents to help infants become comfortable in the water and learn basic swimming skills. The “J” also offers year-round American Red Cross swimming lessons to ages 3 and older to develop swimming and water safety skills. Flexible classes and private lessons are open to children of all ages and abilities.
Mercy Health Plex
Anderson, 7495 State Road
Fairfield, 3050 Mack Road
Western Hills, 3131 Queen City Ave.
Mercy HealthPlex offers a variety of options to keep your 3 -12 year olds active and engaged. The KidsFit programs vary a little between centers, and include activities like basketball, dance, gymnastics, football, youth conditioning, karate, soccer, preschool motor gym, and summer camps.
R.E.C. Kids, University of Cincinnati
2820 Bearcat Way
The R.E.C. Kids program keeps kids active with activities like swimming, an indoor climbing wall, and plenty of fun and games. Swim lessons are taught by American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors, including Learn to Swim, and parent/child lessons.
River’s Edge Indoor Sports
5255 St. Rt. 128, Cleves
In addition to soccer programs for little ones, River’s Edge also offers youth flag football leagues, and Little Sticks, a lacrosse program for grades 3 and older.
Silverlake The Family Place
501 Kenton Lands Road, Erlanger
Gymnastics, martial arts and swim lessons are all on tap here, along with the Silverlake Academy, a child care facility that offers activities like a soft playground, rock climbing, swimming, gymnastics, basketball and more, all in an effort to introduce children to a fit and active lifestyle. Families can also check out the Kids Club and Kids Quest programs, and the Sports Academy, which offers Learn to Play programs for ages 5 – 12 to introduce them to sports like soccer, golf, football, basketball, tennis and more.
Various venues in Greater Cincinnati
Cincinnati South: 513-218-2294
Cincinnati North: 513-289-6368
Bringing soccer into day cares, schools, local parks and other settings, Soccer Shots teaches kids lessons in motor skills and character building — as well as soccer skills — through the game of soccer. Open to ages 2 – 8, the program aims for one coach per eight children, ensuring some quality coaching time. Kids learn balance, coordination, agility, as well as concepts like teamwork, sharing and respect through high-energy, fun, and age-appropriate activities. Interested parents should call to find a convenient location, or to ask about establishing one.
A mobile program that brings the fun to child care facilities and preschools, Stretch-n-Grow offers kids an early introduction not only to fitness topics like motor skills, coordination, balance, flexibility and muscle groups, but also in health topics like nutrition, social development and more. Parents who are interested in Stretch-n-Grow’s programs should speak to their childcare or preschool directors.
Teufel Tennis, LLC
Inside Kids First Sports Center
7900 E. Kemper Road
Tiny Tots Tennis is open to ages 4 – 6 in a 10-week session (June 6 – Aug. 10) and teaches kids real tennis using the QuickStart Tennis play format. Classes use smaller and lighters racquets and balls, and courts are sized for kids so they can learn, play, rally and compete right from the start. All classes include a warm-up and a cool-down, team games, and tennis skills that help young kids develop fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills.
Town & Country Sports Health Club
1018 Town Drive, Wilder
Soccer and basketball programs are the most popular for the younger set – a basketball camp begins at age 4, and a soccer camp for ages 3 – 5 is also available. Other camps and the Kids Fitness programs, which include Kidz Fit, Kids Gym, Aeroball, Kids Power Equipment and a Kids Exercise Arcade, are open to ages 6 and older. Swim lessons are also available for ages 9 months – 3 years (group) and ages 3 and older (group, private and semi-private).
YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati teaches thousands of children how to swim each year with parent/child swim lessons starting at six months. The Y also offers soccer, T-ball, gymnastics, basketball, dance and preschool camps for children as young as 2 or 3.
Yoga With Pooja
6011 Tylersville Road, Mason
Classes also held at Kids First Sports Center
Classes for ages 3 months – 15 years teaches children self-esteem and body awareness with a noncompetitive physical activity, that still lays the foundation of lifelong discipline. Kids learn attention and listening skills, self-direction, and the value of being calm and healthy. A sampling of classes includes Mommy & Baby, Mommy & Tots, Family Yoga (for all ages), Little Yogis, YogAmazing, Girl Time Yoga, Yoga for Young Athletes and more.
Your local library branch probably offers a story time or two that incorporates some active fun for kids.
Boone County Public Library
The Boone County Public Library offers a summer story time at the park, a perfect venue for kids to run around and play. Head to Boone Woods Park (6000 Veterans Way, Burlington) for a great story and a cool activity each week during the summer.
Campbell County Public Library
Offers story times for all ages, as well as an Adventure Kids Club that covers a range of fun topics.
Kenton County Public Library
Move It Mondays, held at the Covington branch (502 Scott Blvd.; RSVP required) teach kids in grades 1 – 3 the fun of working out, whether it’s yoga, dance, karate or Zumba.
Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County
The library offers many story times that not only aid in early literacy skills, like Library Babies or Toddler Story Time, but also get little ones moving. Movers & Shakers for ages 1 – 4 are all about singing, dancing, enjoying music and movement, and plenty of fun for parents too. Other upcoming programs that teach kids the importance of play include Get Out and Play with friends from the Cincinnati Recreation Center.
Just want to give exercise a try?
Check out Great Parks of Hamilton County’s family fitness class on June 1 at the Harbor, Miami Whitewater Forest (9001 Mt. Hope Road). Join a Parent & Me Yoga Class at 10 a.m., or bring kids 5 and older for an afternoon of Zumba and CrossFit. Call 513-521-7275 or visit greatparks.org.
Rainy day? No problem.
Strap on your running shoes and head to the local mall in the early morning for some power walking. Checking out the storefront windows can give you ideas for Father’s Day, birthdays, even back-to-school. Or, check out a local play center like:
- Run Jump-N-Play, 8481 Duke Blvd., Mason, 513-701-7529, runjumpnplay.com
- Pete DeLois’ Recreations Outlet, 885 St. Rt. 28, Milford, 513-831-7383, recreationsoutlet.com
- Pump It Up of West Chester, 7724 Service Center Dr., West Chester, 513-829-7867, pumpitupparty.com/west-chester-oh
- Bounce Cincinnati (inside Sports Plus), 10765 Reading Road, 513-769-1010, bouncecincinnati.com
- Jump & Jack’s, 7102 Office Park Dr., West Chester, 513-779-5867, jumpandjacks.com
- Kid Zoo, 2091 N. Bend Road, Hebron, 859-760-0444, thekidzoo.com
- EnterTrainment Junction, 7867 Squire Ct., West Chester, 513-898-8000, entertrainmentjunction.com
- Adventure Station in the Sharon Center, Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, 513-521-7275, greatparks.org
- Pogo Play, 10870 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-432-5593, gopogoplay.com