Are you considering different activities for your children, and not sure what to pick? We have got a great guest post from the very talented Lauren over at Outnumbered to tell you all about gymnastics and why its such a great choice.
If you’re thinking of trying out gymnastics for your child, I think you’ve made an excellent choice! It’s a very popular extra-curricular activity, with thousands of children and young people taking part each week across the UK. It’s also really good fun, with the chance to use some of the apparatus you see on TV, like the bars, beam and rings; and maybe even to learn some really impressive tricks that you can show off to grandparents and other family when you visit them!
But that’s not the only reason I think gymnastics is a fantastic sport for young children to have a go at. Here are some of the other reasons I think it’s so great:
It Develops Agility, Balance and Coordination
The ABC of gymnastics, these are key skills for all children to learn as they grow. In the past, children would spend hours playing outside- climbing trees, jumping over streams, or navigating home-made obstacle courses. These days, that type of play is much rarer, so the control of the body that many children just developed naturally through their play doesn’t always happen for modern kids. Gymnastics encourages all of those movements, and helps children to become more aware of the many ways in which their bodies can move.
It improves gross and fine motor skills for writing
To write neatly at school, children need a good control not only of the muscles in their hands and fingers, but also in their shoulders and core. Before they can develop the fine motor skills necessary for holding and manipulating a pencil effectively, they must be able to control their gross motor (whole-body) movements, such as crawling over and under equipment, kicking a ball, or balancing on one leg. These type of activities help to strengthen a child’s core muscles, so sitting upright to write becomes much easier.
The activities your child will try in gymnastics are great for improving gross motor skills and encouraging coordination of both sides of the body together- another key skill for writing. Whether swinging from bars, doing preparation drills for cartwheels, or jumping over a vault, your child will be working on their motor skills without even realising it!
It complements other activities well
Gymnastics is a sport that exercises the whole body- every muscle group is exercised during a session in the gym. Strength training and stretching are both key parts of every gymnastics class, not just learning skills on the apparatus. Some sports focus more on strength or on speed (think football or rugby, for example). Children who take part in these activities may be very strong, or able to move very quickly; however, having strength in these areas may mean that they can lack flexibility.
By contrast, activities such as dancing often focus on stretches and flexibility, so children can be very bendy, but perhaps not as strong. Gymnastics focuses pretty equally on both strength and flexibility, so may help to ‘balance out’ other sports and activities children take part in.
To find out about gymnastics clubs in your area, visit the ‘Discover Gymnastics’ section of British Gymnastics’ website (https://www.british-gymnastics.org/discover/club). To read more about life as a gymnastics parent, head over to my blog, www.outnumberedbygymnasts.com.