Open Gym

The kids waiting in line for the spring board at the gymnastics open gym.
The kids waiting in line for the spring board.

Every parent knows that it can be difficult to find things for the kids to do in the winter to keep them off video games, and get them moving. We found out that the local gymnastics club was having an open gym time so of course we went. All of our kids, and I think most kids at their age, love to run, jump, swing, and tumble their way through life. It is far safer to let them do it in a space prepared for it, rather than in my living room. Some day my couch is going to give up the ghost when someone is relying on it to cushion their landing and it will be off to the hospital again.

The whole idea of the open gym time was brilliant. It got kids out during the Christmas break, and it must have made the gymnastics club a decent amount of money, because the place was full. When we finally made it to the door to pay, they were already at capacity and had to post the fact on their Facebook page. At $7 for one hour per kid, it was money well spent. We’ve spent more on indoor playgrounds in the past where the kids had little to no fun. The only drawback was the waivers at the door. It doesn’t seem so bad, except for the fact that we have four kids, and I couldn’t just send them all in to play while I filled out forms.

At first the kids kind of dispersed, which had me almost getting whiplash trying to keep track of everyone. I was by myself, because Rebecca was at work. The older two did their thing on some bars as if they were on the monkey bars, and jumped off some smaller blocks with the younger two for a while. There were some lower bars from which Isaiah and Naomi could hang from. Then they moved on to the balance beam.

At this point they shifted their attention to a set-up where they could run and then jump from a spring board up onto a tall mat, then do another run to spring over a block. They did that for more than half the time. Of course, I had to help the younger two to make it onto the tall mat, but it was so much easier because they were all doing the same thing.

From there the older two found some rings, and the younger two found more bars that they didn’t need me to reach. By then our hour was up, although we could have gotten away with staying longer as the time limit was more of an honour system. I figured it had been so much fun for the kids already, and lunch time was coming along quickly.

Naomi on the low bar at the gymnastics open gym.
Naomi on the low bar.

We made it through with no major injuries. Noah landed poorly twice, hitting his face on a mat once and hurting his wrist for a few seconds before he was back at it. This is the kid who last summer fell two feet and broke his wrist, so I was quite happy that there was nothing serious, I didn’t want to go to the hospital with everyone by myself.

The kids had so much fun and used so much energy that we made it through lunch, and me writing this without having to mediate any fights.

Money, and time, well spent I say.

Published by jrdobbin

I am a father of four, married for eight years. I live and play in Alberta, Canada.

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