Young kids can learn gymnastics in a park

A local company is offering workshops in parks around Montreal to get kids moving outdoors

After more than three months at home with young kids, many parents are struggling to find ways to keep their youngsters busy and active. But thanks to a local company, parents of young children have the option to enrol their youngsters in a new outdoor activity this summer.

Founded in 2017, Les Bougeottes offers gymnastics workshops for kids 2-5. Under normal circumstances, the staff teach gymnastics activities at childcare centres in and around Montreal, and and host events like birthday parties or other family celebrations. With the pandemic, the company is offering the activities at parks around Montreal. Each session will be 45 minutes with a maximum of nine kids, ages 2-6. First, the kids do some stretching to warm up and then will be taught one or two gymnastics moves, either on a mat or on a beam. Then, they do a mini gymnastics routine with the moves they learned, and finish with yoga during a relaxation period at the end.

The goal of Les Bougeottes, says founder Isabelle Chung, is to keep kids active, especially at a time when screen time use is increasing among children, as well as to make kids discover gymnastics. She says the program, geared to beginners, helps kids improve their coordination and balance.

Chung says she did gymnastics and cheerleading as a kid and has a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She decided to combine all of her skills to create her own company. “I used this mashup [of experience] to help kids stay active and to create something that is mine, that represents me,” she says.

The purpose of having these workshops in the park is so kids can spend some time outside after being cooped up in their houses since March.  The sessions will take place in several parks in Montreal, Terrebonne, Mirabel, Mascouche, Blainville and Laval, and have various time slots available during weeknights and on the weekend. The classes will be held once a week from June 29 to August 16 and costs $132.25 for seven classes. Parents can also book sessions one class at a time for $20 plus tax.

Because of social distancing restrictions, the workshops are adapted so the kids are two metres apart and don’t touch each other. Each kid will have his or her own beam. All equipment will disinfected before and after each session.

Les Bougeottes also has an online catalogue of products for kids to learn gymnastics. Kids who enrol in the workshops will get a pack of gymnastics cards for free or they can be purchased  online for $30. In the deck, there are 17 gymnastics movements kids can practice at home, either on a piece of tape on the floor, on a beam (that can be purchased on the website for $100), or on a floor in the house. Each card has a different animal doing the pose, so the kids can copy it.

For more information on the workshops or products, click here.