A new Zumba-inspired program for babies and toddlers aims to adapt the fitness craze’s high-energy dance moves to introduce music, singing and movement.
According to instructor Cathy Morabito, although Zumbini is not promoted as a fitness class, many parents and caregivers are looking for an activity that gets them moving with their toddlers. Zumbini classes are 45 minutes long and engage the caregiver along with babies and children under the age of 4.
“Kids are free to move around to express themselves as they wish,” Morabito said. “We’re moving around, being silly, but we also do structured dances. We dance, sing, and play musical instruments like bongo drums, bells, egg shakers, tambourines and maracas to jam along with the music.”
The program was created by the Zumba fitness brand and the BabyFirst TV network and toymaker. Classes combine dance moves with simple, kid-friendly songs and stories. The program is new in Quebec, with the first instructors having completed their training last fall.
Pricing and session lengths vary, with most classes ranging from six to 16 weeks. As an example, Morabito said she charges $165 for a 10-week class, which includes a CD, a code to download the Zumbini app, a book that includes the lyrics for all the songs learned in class, and a plush toy. There is also a television program that children can watch with the same songs and characters as in the books and classes.
Instead of nursery rhymes, the program features original music inspired by various traditions around the world, including rhythms and melodies from Latin America, Africa and Japan.
According to Morabito, the biggest benefit of the program is the way it encourages bonding between children and caregivers. “Parents dance with the child, and if the child is very young, parents help them hold instruments,” Morabito said. “It’s a time for the child and parents, relatives or grandparents to do something together.”
Several instructors offer Zumbini classes throughout Montreal and surrounding areas. Morabito said many offer free demonstrations or trial classes.
For more information, visit zumbini.com.