Since my daughter was about 6-months old, I felt the desire (pressure) to enroll her in some kind of “Mommy & Me” program. Of course, my desires and best intentions often have fallen to the wayside – along with my plans to wash my hair and clean my basement.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Lily is now 18-months old, and the perfect age to sample a fun new experience. We were excited to receive an invitation to our first Zumbini class, hosted by the awesomely energetic Jody Hares.
For those unfamiliar with Zumbini, it’s a movement and music program geared towards kids 0-4 with their parents, grandparents, or a family member. The class is designed as an educational dance party from the creators of Zumba and BabyFirst TV. With engaging original music, dances, and interaction between group and child, Zumbini has been applauded for its soothing qualities to kids of all ages. As any parent of a toddler can attest, finding an activity that encourages constructive self-expression is a valuable resource.
Our instructor, Jody, shared how she was inspired to launch a new Zumbini class in Western New York because of its positive impact on her own life with two young daughters. As a lifelong singer and dancer, she knew the value of music and hoped to share that gift with her own kids. She felt drawn to the Zumbini program, and recently was licensed to teach it herself. Now, she’s able to fulfill her lifelong dream of creating a healthy and fun bonding experience between kids and their families.
When Lily and I arrived at Shannon Connor’s Fitness in Depew, Jody greeted us with a smile and encouraged us to make ourselves at home in the large, open space. I’ll preface this description by mentioning that Lily is currently transitioning from two naps to one. The girl needs her sleep, and at 11 AM on a Saturday morning, she was not thrilled that I was keeping her from her crib. Despite her clear displeasure with Mom, she did begin to enjoy herself as she warmed to the excitement and activity.
During the 45-minute session, we sat in a circle and clapped, sang introductory songs that included every child’s name, danced, lunged, hopped, and spun. I’m going to be honest about something. The real workout is for the parents. Wear sneakers and exercise clothing (especially if you think you might end up holding your cranky 18-month old for the majority of the lunging and jumping!)
The most fun was had when Jody brought out props for certain songs: colorful, flowing pieces of fabric for one, drums and bells for another. I watched as babies as young as seven or eight months old swayed with their parents and kids around age four or five danced and sang along. Everyone seemed at ease, regardless of age or budding interest level. It was a pleasant and inclusive atmosphere (and newbies were welcomed with open arms!). Another perk of joining a six week session is each participant receives a Zumbini Bundle, which includes CDs and digital downloads of original Zumbini music, a story and song book, plus a sweet plush toy to take home.
For all the moms and dads looking to try something new, energetic, and whole-family friendly, I would definitely recommend checking out Zumbini. Classes are forming now for Jody’s upcoming session at We Rock the Spectrum in Williamsville, starting November 8th. For more information or to sign up, visit zumbini.com.
WRITTEN BY LINDSAY
Lindsay Hyatt is a proud Buffalonian, former teacher, current Technology Specialist, and a first-time mom to a sweet baby girl. She loves to travel, sing in her band, and write for her blog, The Daily Sampler. Connect with Lindsay on Twitter @thedailysampler.