Toddler classes and activities

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Toddler classes and activities

One of my long time readers, Irina, suggested that I write a post about the classes/activities Lexi takes/attends and the effect that it has on her and her development.

I thought that would be a pretty fun topic to discuss since I love going to organized activities with her, just like I did when I was a kid myself. Usually , most of our mornings are taken up by these activities and evenings are full of free play and book reading at home. I should do another day/week in life post, now that I think of it.


I always day dreamed about taking my daughter to different classes, even though you often see this particular part of parenting made fun of : “Soccer Mom” or “Carting your kids around“. The way I see it is it’s a perfect way to allow her to interact with children her age, get exposed to some sports and concepts early on to gauge her interest in them and foster life long love for being active and being busy.

Looking back on my school year (since I can’t remember much beyond that), the busier I was, the happier it made me and surprisingly the more I was able to get done. Activities make you more organized and efficient.

As another bonus for me personally, going to classes and activities broke the mundane routine and got us out of the house, prevented boredom, tantrums, even though it’s often hard to get out.


When it comes to Lexi herself, she absolutely adores going to classes, as would any toddler, except for maybe the ones who don’t take to new places and people well. And in that case, I think it’s even more important to gently expose them to those situations while giving the security base of  a parent and lots of comfort.

Our very first class was a 6 months, which is where we met our future what we all hope to be life long friends, parents of Alexa, the Lexitwin. We sat next to each other and exchanged obligatory “What’s your daughter’s name?” “How old is she?”. You should have seen the look of shock on our faces when we found out that both our girls have the same name (Lexi) and moreover, were born on the same day. That’s another perk of organized activities – meeting families you would otherwise never know and becoming close friends.

Beyond the social aspect of classes and experiences, there is something to be said about being exposed to equipment and concepts that she might or might not experience for a while on her own . Balance and physical development were clearly pushed further and harder by attending the gym class. Things like tumbling, flipping, walking the beam, hanging off a bar- they would all eventually be there, but the classes give her the environment to practice such things, as well as watch older kids and model after them.  I’ve seen that be a catalyst to so many “milestones” with Lexi. Parents see a similar thing when they have two kids, one older than the other.

It’s been pretty interesting to watch her develop self-control in a class situation, where she is supposed to sit and watch or take her turns. Again these skills don’t get developed until the child is ready AND is given an opportunity to practice.
We are still having trouble differentiating open gym and gym class because they are held in the same facility, but we are working on it and seeing decent success.


Gymnastics Class

{I will be writing a separate post with photos and videos I took at the last class, describing the class and Lexi’s progress in more detail.}

At this time this is my and Lexi’s favorite. Note: this isn’t one of those Jumping Jacks gyms, this is a real gymnastics facility with competitive teams. It holds a class for moms and tots starting at an early age and introduces the kids to all the gymnastics equipment. Basically a standard class consists of a beginning stretch, which is pretty fun and catered to toddlers.

Then they get to go to a bounce house (Lexi always skips that one due to the noise that the pump makes). Afterwards, they move to different equipment like high bars, low bars, beam, tumble track, foam pit, tumble floor, trampoline and even the rings (which happens to be Lexi’s favorite along with the beam). Exercises are along these lines: walking on the beam with support, jumping on the beam, hanging on the bar and doing flips, obstacle course on the tumble floor (with tumbles, flips, hopscotch, tunnels and back flips), jumping and landing on your butt on the tumble track, jumping to a 10 count on the trampoline. This is probably the most fun Lexi ever has at a class. She gets to see how other toddlers do and mimic them if needed. You can see what a class look like below:

Gymnastics Open Gym

The open gym is held in the same facility, which creates a sort of issue of trying to explain to them that one day they are to follow the instructor’s commands and another day they can do whatever they want. You can use all of the equipment and we usually divide our time between the beam, the tumble track and the rings.

Music Class (Kindermusik)

I’ve written about the music class before here. We started at 6 months which is where we met Lexitwin and her mom and have continued going for the last year and a half. It’s a lot more social because it’s held in a smaller room and kids get to interact and bump into each other more often. At this point I feel it could be more about music and musical instruments to challenge the kids a bit more, rather than about movement and small noise-makers. Still though, it’s fun enough that it warrants the cost and the once a week class.


Library Story time

It’s a very short 20 minute activity but we extend it by staying at the library afterwards. The class usually consists of a story and some crafts and is just another way of exposing kids to new things and people and stimulating them, plus it’s free. After story time, we always spend an hour or two drawing at the tables and reading library books


Youth Orchestra Magic Carpet

This isn’t really a class and it only has 3 performances a year, but it is definitely worth mentioning. It’s an orchestra performance and an exploring opportunity for 3-5 year olds that is held each year and features strings, brass and percussion. We went to the first performance a few weeks ago and it was WONDERFUL. The teaching part of it was a bit beyond a 2 year old, but the performance and seeing different string instruments play together and one at a time, showing how they can sound soft and loud, fast and slow- was just perfect for Lexi. She is obsessed with orchestras as it is and this, taken down to (almost) her level, was one of the best things we could have attended. A funny thing happened at the performance that I wish I had my iphone video camera on for: when everyone was settled in, lights were starting to dim and the audience quieted down to complete silence. This was the moment that Lexi decided to use her loudest voice in a chamber that carries sound really well, to announce to me that she wanted to “MAMA, GO POOP!”. This would have been mortifying if it wasn’t so funny! Probably one of my favorite moments of her being a two year old! Anyways, here is a short video of her enjoying the violins, violas, harps and bass.

Not currently doing:

Music Class ( Formal Music Education) – I looked into getting Lexi real violin lessons. She was so in love with the violin that I thought I needed to not lose the momentum. It was right around Christmas and we were so busy. I actually talked to a Suzuki teacher, since no class would take such a little one and she suggested that we do lessons with me and Lexi would watch and mimick. I still want to explore that option, even though her interest waned a bit and see if we can pick up some formal music classes whether it’s drums, piano or violin.

Sports/Soccer – I was always big into sports (soccer, volleyball) and that part really excites me. Of course one of the earliest sports that you can send a 3 or even a 2 year old is soccer. I just signed Lexi up for a 4 week class that is designed to introduce 2 year olds to a few types of sports: soccer, basketball, t-ball, track. We will be going next week so I am very excited for it, even though it starts at 9 am and then we have gym right after it (whew!)

Dance/Ballet – Another activity/class that I am looking forward to doing. Most places don’t accept kids till they are three. I did find two dance academies that do have classes for 2 year olds and I am looking to explore that further.

Non-gymnastics gym –  This would be any type of MY GYM, Jamboree facilities, where little kids get to play on the pseudo-gymnastic equipment, climb around, play with toys. We used to go there for a while when Lexi was one but very quickly she grew out of it and wanted something more serious than song and dance in a circle and 10 minute of climbing time. So we “upgraded” to real gymnastics facility (see above)


My goal for this season was to get into quite a few classes, but it didn’t work out, though I feel we have enough to keep us busy. I am still looking to add formal music training and dance to our schedule, so that should probably happen before the summer.

Here is what our week looks like at this moment:

Monday  –  no organized activity, though I am looking to either start going to story time or seeing if there is a dance/soccer class available.

Tuesday – morning open gym and afternoon open gym at the gymnastics facility (we don’t always make it to both)

Wednesday –  Music class (Kindermusik) and afternoon open gym (that we don’t always make it to). Kristy and I also started going on a long walk after the music class which is fun for us and the girls.

music class

Thursday – time for two at the library and then some book reading there.

Friday – family open gym in the evening

Saturday – gym class in the morning

Mornings that aren’t taken up by classes are often spent at the library or on the playground or riding a bike around the neighborhood.

We used to have another option which was children’s museum but she would get sick after visiting it every time so we stopped going completely.

Now that Lexi is older and can sit in a stroller for a small period of time, I need to start taking her to the zoo and the Botanical gardens more often before it gets too hot.

In the end, the biggest benefits of the classes that I see are:

  1. Social interactions
  2. Unique experiences and exposure to new situations
  3. Self-control ( when the child is developmentally ready to exhibit it)
  4. Physical development
  5. Role modeling
  6. Change of “scenery”

Our classes is the only place where Lexi can practice group social skills, which have been developing seamlessly as she grows. They have helped us introduce her to a concept of taking turns and patience, as well as sharing. It’s hard to see how these classes influence her in precise detail, because she has been attending them since she was 6 months, so a lot of progress could be and is easily attributed to development. Since I am a big believer in letting children develop skills like self-control, patience, social skills at their own pace, it’s difficult for me to see where the classes help and where it’s just her growing up. I know her gym classes have taught her to move in ways that she hasn’t been before and explore equipment, including playground equipment, she was afraid to use. One thing certain: these activities are a big part of our day, something she always looks forward to and continues learning from and getting the exposure she needs at least until she enters school. We live good 30 minutes away from pretty much any of these facilities, so it’s a lot of driving, but it’s worth it in the end.

I am sure I am preaching to the choir though. So on that note, what classes/group  activities do you take your toddlers to and how have you seen them influence your child’s development?


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  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    We take C to a Tumble Buddies class Tuesday mornings. It has helped her with patience and taking turns as well as following direction. And her physical ability, of course, is growing leaps and bounds! We go to a variety of activities Mondays and Wednesdays, from story time at the library, a bounce house facility, open toddler play at a sports facility, and playdates. She also goes to (an in-home) daycare Tuesday and Thursday 11:30-5. Watching her independent play and imaginative play take off is amazing!

    • Reply
      Allison Wear
      March 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      AH! Botanical Gardens! That was the BEST money that we as a family have spent! I say it every day! And it was tax deductible! We are definitely on a budget here and while many of the so cal theme parks are amazing, the family membership can be costly. We decided to go for a membership to the LA Arboretum and are so happy! They have reciprocal memberships with many other gardens around here and the US so we can use it elsewhere. They have classes, camps, beautiful grounds for exploring, walking, wildlife…incredible! I bet there are some cool botanical parks in Florida! I’m imagining swamps and everglades…are those close to you? Anyway…cool post!

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        March 3, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        Yes, we have a great Botanical Garden (Unfortunately much further away from us than I’d like to but not really a big deal) and a few sanctuaries that we go to. We haven’t been going to Botanical garden for some reason, I keep forgetting about it, so I need to make more of an effort.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    We just started swimming classes with my 16 month old. He LOVES the water so this is great. The class is pretty basic, but they have some good methods to get them paddling and kicking and there is song-singing — it’s great!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Fun post! Gym time looks like the most fun! We don’t have a gym near us (closest is 40 miles away… We live in a small town, lol) and its the one things wish my daughter could go to.

    We do go to library time, have a moms group meet up at the park once a week, music class, and dance. I try not too get her involved in more than one “class” at a time, as I don’t want her to be too overwhelmed with schedule and demands. Even if it is fun. Lol.

    I totally understand the border tantrum thing though. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. What do you mean when you say it’s often hard to get out– like, b/c of nap schedules,, or b/c of Lexi just wanting to chill at home, or b/c of your work schedule?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 3, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      40 freeway miles or small town roads, cuz from our experience I have to say professional gym facility is well worth it a 40 minute ride (if it’s freeway miles), at least once a week. At least I know we’d do it. Right now we drive 30 minutes each way 3-4 times a week for our gym class.

      Anyways, to answer your question, it’s hard to get out, because sometimes I am feeling lazy and want to stay home rather than go out, but knowing how much Lexi loves it gets me out each time. I don’t work during her awake time (unless daddy is with her), so that’s not even an option 🙂

      • Reply
        March 4, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        40 miles= about 50 mins driving time for us. Way too far/takes up too much of the day. But I should look into free gym time, and maybe go once a month or something.
        But wow, for someone who doesn’t like to be contained, that’s great that Lexi is ok in the car all those days. Ipad helps pass the time, I’m sure.

        Yes, there are many days that I would rather just chill in my yoga pants (aka pj’s, lol) then go out. Do you guys have a fenced in backyard?

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          March 4, 2014 at 11:11 AM

          Yeah 50 min is a bit too much. Doable but a stretch.
          Lexi has been getting better and better at being in the car as she grows. She understands we are going somewhere she wants to go and doesn’t mind. As long as there are books and music.
          I usually don’t give her the iPad if the drive is under 35 min because she can handle it without. If she asks after that, she gets it and she usually does ask if it takes that long to get somewhere.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          March 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

          Oh and we have a backyard but not fenced. Andrew is getting ready to build a gym set there. It will awesome!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Great post! It’s nice to read about what other moms and toddlers do to keep busy. My son is two and we have activities for almost everyday. We also go to our local library for a play and learn class. He goes to a gymnastics club for an into to gymnastics (loves the balance beam and trampoline!). Our local theatre has a monthly program for toddlers which introduces them to musical instruments. Swimming and soccer classes (his favourite!!) as well, in Ontario we are blessed with free programs at Early Years Centres. We attend French classes and Toddler groups. Busy but so much fun!! He’s never going to be two again!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    We are pretty much the opposite! I try hard to keep us NOT busy. My son is also two and we spend a lot of time playing in the backyard with the dog, taking long walks, going to the park, coloring, reading all of the books, cooking and cleaning together- that kind of thing.

    We play with friends a lot. We do very little in the way of structured activities. He has never had a boredom tantrum, though. I have noticed that if I keep just a few toys out, he will play with them a lot more. If everything is out, he flits around and doesn’t play with anything and gets frustrated and upset. I hadn’t thought of that as a boredom tantrum, I was thinking of it as an overwhelmed tantrum, but maybe it is the same thing.

    We do go to the library for storytime occasionally and we go to the children’s museum a lot. He hasn’t gotten sick from that. He goes to the nursery at church about twice a week, so he has some practice listening to other adults and playing with kids without us around.

    We don’t do music classes because my husband is a musician. He and my son play a LOT of music together. We have a lot of professional musician friends and they all advised us not to start lessons until he is at least 7, possibly even later. They say that starting too early with formal lessons can be detrimental.

    I would like to start dance classes when he is three or four, depending on his interest and focus.

    Do you have any language immersion preschools or elementary schools in your area? We have one for Spanish and Mandarin (elementary school) as well as a few preschools that offer Spanish immersion. I have thought about doing that, when he gets older.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 4, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      It took me a while to understand what boredom tantrum you’re referring to. I had to go and search in my post. I am not sure that I meant to say boredom tantrum. Lexi has never had one, so this must have been a typo of sorts (or some kind of slip). What I think I was trying to say is when she stays home for too long, I feel she is bored. She goes from one activity to another, not really interested in either. But if we go out and play outside- that’s a different story. I get that way too- not in the mood to do anything lol.

      Anyways, I love the “idea” of lazy days too, but then I get lazy myself and I don’t like that feeling. I like feeling really productive and active, she seems to have a similar personality too (minus the productive part of course)

      I have not seen any immersion schools, though that would be way cool. I need to research it a bit better.

      • Reply
        March 4, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        I am so honored to be mentioned in the post 🙂 – thank you, it is really interesting to read what other kids/parents are doing! I do not think Tarynkay was referring to “lazy’ days – she is just saying that they do not have scheduled activities like you guys do. I think they are still busy and productive, just in a different way 🙂

        My kids are in daycare, so they mostly get the activities there. Things like taking turns, sharing, co-existing with others generally is something that they practive a lot there. During the week we have a couple of hours of together time a day, during which we have breakfast together in the morning and plan a little, then at night it is usually a litle play/dance/snack and bedtime. On weekends, we play a lot, and since my 2 year old does not get to play with toys at home all that much, she is usually not bored. We do go to outdoor playground and sometimes we visit the zoo. We go shopping, cook, clean and do stuff around the house too. Since we have a baby as well, a lot of activities are centered around her schedule, so the 2 y.o. has to adjust a little. Most tantrums we have a not due to boredom; she is crancky if she is sick, tired or hungry. Or not getting her way 🙂
        Eventually, we will probably try to enroll the girls in the soccer program – my husband is very interested in this, plus, I really would like to get the girls started on capoera. It all depends on what they naturally are inclined to do… When they get a little older, I would like to have one (or two) sports, and one artistic activity for them, if possible.

      • Reply
        March 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        It’s ok to admit it your child is having a tantrum. They can be cause by many things, boredom, frustration, tiredness, developmental-mental- jumps; although some can be considered annoying (lol), they are actually healthy and lets the child eat feelings out that they might not be able to express otherwise.

        If she is feeling bored, I really recommend putting a lot of toys away (like hiding) and each day have a few special ones set up. Like a tea party set up in the table, or a game out and ready to play. Lexi is very fortunate to have the most amazing toys, but it can sometimes be overwhelming.

        The outdoor play set your husband is building will be great to get her energy out, I asked about the fence, because sometimes its nice to know they can play out there and not run away, 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          March 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

          Oh no she def. has tantrumish moments. She’s 2! Just not boredom tantrums. Usually her tantrums are connected with having to do something she doesn’t want to at the moment.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      I went to edit th boredom tantrum part if the post and it dawned on me. It was supposed to be “prevented boredom, tantrums” with a coma. Bwahahahaha. That makes MUCH more sense than “boredom tantrums ”
      Hahahaha. Cuz getting out definitely prevents both. She almost never has tantrums when we are out, except for when it comes to getting into the car seat which is often a struggle. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 5, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Who doesn’t love a nice, lazy day! Isabelle goes to gymnastics and a Spanish immersion class once a week. I highly recommend language immersion classes. She can already say many words in Spanish and she is not even 2! She has been a very early talker though just like her older sister. Our nanny takes her to play dates, story time and park often. But there are days when they just hang out at home.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    We’re kind of like Tarynkay and don’t do a lot of classes with our two-year-old right now. We do attend plenty of concerts with her though, and we’re lucky enough to be involved in a parents’ group that gives her lots of socialization. My mother and sister are always asking me why we don’t sign her up for more stuff, and I guess it’s just that we’re kind of crunchy and attachment parenty and tend to steer more toward unschooling and child-directed play. Anyway, gymnastics looks like a lot of fun, and I could totally see us doing an open gym kind of thing. Lexi obviously loves it!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 7, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Before i finished reading your comment, I was already thinking that you would love open gym if you’re into child directed play! It’s really great to have access to a real gymnastics facility.

      Also most classes at this age aren’t structured. They are very loose and kids sort of do their own thing encouraged by the “instructor” 🙂

  • Reply
    March 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    I’m expecting my first child in September but there are some obvious activities that are already planned for our future toddler child (not because I’m a Tiger Mom or anything haha) based on our lifestyle:

    1) Skiing – This will happen when he or she is two (or 1.5 depending on how they can walk/balance themselves). I married into a family of skiiers so this is non negotiable.

    2) Mandarin immersion preschool – This will also begin once he/she turns two. This is also non negotiable because we want our child to be multilingual like us and to know “useful” languages. Spanish immersion will come later once he/she has a handle on Mandarin and can do Mandarin immersion as an after school program. Mandarin takes precedence since it’s a harder language to learn.

    Book Babies (story/sing/play at the library with other babies), swimming, gymnastics, mommy/baby yoga will be done when baby is still an infant. 🙂

    Martial arts like Muay Thai is for later on. Many of these places don’t accept kids until they are older than toddlers.

    Living in a city like Portland is nice because we don’t have to leave it to find all these programs. It’s a lot more expensive than living in a suburb but the convenience of being able to walk/bike or drive a very short distance somewhere is wonderful. 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Wow sounds amazing!!!!!!

      • Reply
        July 11, 2018 at 11:02 AM

        OMG this was so long ago. Many things have changed. This reply probably isn’t as exciting or interesting to you since Alexis is so beyond toddlerhood now! I just wanted to reflect on this post and see how my own plans changed.

        So…We haven’t even taken my daughter skiing yet and she’s almost 4. My husband learned how to ski at 2. I don’t care anymore about having married into a family of skiiers. She will go skiing when she is ready, if she is ever ready or interested. Her happiness is what matters most. She’s also very introverted and just observes the world around her. So we gave her ice skating lessons and while she did relatively well, she also would just stand there and be fixated on all the excitement around her.

        Mandarin Immersion preschool is still happening. But it didn’t happen as soon as I’d hoped since she wasn’t potty trained at 2. I thought she’d potty train at 1 but she didn’t potty train until she was 3. Anyway, she will be doing 3 days a week of Mandarin and two Waldorf this fall. She has been going to two days of Waldorf preschool every week the last school year and she loves it. I wanted to put her in for five days because Waldorf turned out to be a great environment for her but at the same time, I really wanted to give her a hopefully fun and enriching opportunity to learn the hardest language there is to learn while she’s still a sponge. But a part of me knows that she might never need it and it might be me just being a worrywart, thinking she’ll need it someday along with Spanish, which is obviously a more utilized language here in the US (and many other countries obviously) but because Mandarin is so difficult when learning characters, that took precedence. I’m currently learning Mandarin myself. It’s not as hard as I thought it was but I’m not learning characters (only pin yin which is the phonetic spelling of the words).

        I struggled with whether or not to send her to preschool since I’m a stay-at-home mom but I ended up deciding that I needed those 4 hours (only two days a week at the time) to get stuff done that would otherwise be hard for her and/or to do with her (like a doctor’s appointment or something).

        A lot of the stuff, besides book babies, I ended up not doing with her until she was 2 or 3 because I became hardcore into “letting babies be” and giving them the freedom to explore on their own, etc.

        Still want to do martial arts but right now that’s too structured for her so I’d like for her to hopefully do it when she’s older….only if she wants of course.

        Oh my god I need to have my own blog instead of just typing comments. HA!

        • Reply
          Elena @ Every Avenue Life
          August 26, 2018 at 12:42 AM

          I second the blog thing… I found it very interesting to read your comments. Daily Mom is launching DM Blogs if you wanted to try that out

  • Reply
    March 6, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    my daughter just turned 2. we do gym as well and she really loves it.
    as we live on the north pole, we started taking her ice skating. she has ‘cookie cutter skates’ and a little hockey stick. we have only been 5 times or so, but it’s finally starting to kick in and i am not feeling like i am holding a bag of sand anymore!
    we looked into skiing as well, but seems that is something to start around 3 years old as it can damage their knees. i am already excited for next winter! ( but right now i am dying for this winter to be over)

  • Reply
    March 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    My older kids go to a real gymnastics center like Lexi. I liked it until they turned 5 and then the class started being treated like “serious business.” I’m not looking to raise gymnasts (my kids haven’t vocalized wanting to be gymnasts I should say), so they’ll probably stop after their current session ends. One of my kiddos also does ballet/tap, we do library every week, usually a swimming class in the spring, and zoo every other week once it warms up a little more. My youngest kiddo is almost 3 and I haven’t put him in any activities yet. Since I have multiple kids, no family with in a 700 miles radius, and my husband is a surgeon who works ridiculous hours outside of the home, I have to wait until they can do the “independent” classes. I also put them in a week long art camp in the summer which they love. It starts at age 4.

  • Reply
    Mrs Loquacious
    March 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    We are so so opposite on this one, E! I think maybe it has to do with our girls’ temperaments. I’ve tried music class, dance class, gym class, and library time. Not sure if it’s a maturity thing but DD hated every. single. class. She always tolerated the first two (novelty?) but would then loathe the remainder, loudly vocalizing her desire to go home (“I want mommy pick me up! Go home! I want to have nye-nye!!”). Always a scene, so now we only do playgrounds and parks and aquarium and the occasional open playtime at the community centre. I suspect that DD doesn’t like the loud noise and chaotic nature of having so many (sometimes unbridled) active kids everywhere, and in our experience, even though every class required parent participation, this didn’t always guarantee that there wasn’t some little one getting in DD’s way or following her around and cramping her style! She does fine with her cousins (all boys) and is getting better with parallel play with other kids her age in 1-on-1’s.

    Like your other crunchy commenter, I am ok with this level of attachment. I’ve really enjoyed reading Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s “Hold On to Your Kids” and it’s on my top- 5 must-reads for parents!! In it, he argues that the extra social contact is actually not necessary (and is sometimes actually a bad thing) in the context of developing a secure parental attachment. It’s in his “Don’t Court the Enemy” chapter. Lemme know what you think of the book!! It really informs my approach to discipline etc, and reinforces a lot of the parenting choices that I’ve made ????

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 10, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Ha!That’s so funny, because Alexa (Lexitwin) is EXACTLY the same way. It’s usually a struggle for her parents to take her to classes that have a lot of rambunctious kids. They have been taking her and being patient and she seems to just take some time to get used to the environment. She still does try to stay away from other kids and gets upset when they approach her (Even Lexi), but that’s just her personality. She does enjoy the classes, once she gets used to them.

      Lexi is rambunctious herself, so the level of activity is perfect for her.

      Now the book you’re talking about- sounds like something I’d love to read. I’ll add it to my list. I’ve been reading several books, but have lost interest lately cuz I got busy. maybe this one will pick up my interest.

      As far as social contact, the way I feel is this: Whatever the baby wants at this age is right. So if they crave social contact (like Lexi does), that’s great. If they shy away from it, that’s great too. Lexi is VERY attached to me, and is getting more and more attached to daddy now too, however any new person in our circle and she looooooves hanging out with them, both kids and adults.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Great post, Elena! Watching Lexi at the gym, made me want to search for a real gym in our area right away! I took my daughter (Milana – 16 months) to My Gym last week, and while we enjoyed it, I can’t justify paying $80 every 4 weeks (and enrollment fee of $75) for basicallly 15-20 minutes of gum activities. The rest – story time, singing, playing – she does in variety of other setting (local library, playgrounds). I completely agree with you on the importance of social skills development. Milana has been in daycare since Janary, and I noticed that she is better with following the instructions during the organized activities I take her during the weekends. Of course, it’s probably also her getting older, as in this age every month counts.

    I work long hours, so it’s not much during the week. We go to the mall playground ones a week and get dinner at the food court (it’s set up with low toddler friendly tables and there are usually tons of other kids, so sometimes toddlers from different families gather together at the same table to eat, which is very funny to watch). She has classes at her day care – music, English, Russian, and crafts (she brings her “art” home time from time.:-) Still not sure what they are really doing during Russian and English classes for 1.5-3 year-olds, but I’m determined to “crash” the class at some point. Th day care is Russian, so they definitely favor more formal approach to toddler classes.i probably would be more in favor of more pretend play and physical activities, but since we really want our baby to speak decent Russian, we have to go with what Russian daycare offer in our area.

    As to the weekend activities, I’m a it can of annual memberships. And we are so lucky to have many toddler friendly places in LA relatively close. Right now, we have passes to the LA Zoo (25 min), Skirball Center (15 min) and Hungtinton Library and Gardens (30 min away). Skirball has Noah’s Arc museum, which is just amazing. It’s playground and educational center in one, and the have organized activities throughout the day. Just last week, Milana played and participated in orderly exchange of 3 different “instruments” there – “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”). Hungtinton library has art museums, variety of gardens (including kids garden with fun fountains and tunnels) and featured special events (performances, exhibitions). Memberships are great as we can do as much or as little as we want or can without trying to make it worth the money. We just go for an hour, and if she gets tired or crancy, we can leave right away. But usually we spent most part of the weekend out. I’m like you on this: I need to be busy and productive to feel that I’ve had a good weekend and “have life” outside of work. My baby seems to be taking over me on this.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    Hi Elena! I’m writing to you from New Zealand

    DD is just one and we only go to a playgroup (freeplay) at the moment. We did a term of swimming but won’t go back until she’s 3 as they do the same thing all the time and she was happy splashing in her paddling pool this past summer (or the bath).

    My neighbour takes her boy (2 months older) to free gym, music (like your Kindermusic), playgroup with us, swimming and found he’s happier being at home now that’s he’s busy.

    Once DD starts walking I want to take her to a different gym that is parent directed (instructor there to help and guide the parents but not formally teach a class) but uses proper gym equipment. Then when 2/3 I want her to start dance class.

    We have a park next to the school very close by (approx 400m) that has a playground, our place backs onto a local reserve so there’s a huge area for her to run and kick a ball, go for walks along the river and up to the big park that has a cafe, kids train ride and great playground too.

    We don’t have a second car so organising anything has to fit around when the hubby works in town and we drop him off at 8am for work.

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