PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2012, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like schedules and pricing.
PLEASE NOTE: My Gym Glastonbury has moved to 256 Oakwood Drive in Glastonbury effective 10/28/14. Although the space will look a little different, this post will still help you get a good feel for an Open Play session.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season. I know we did. It was so much fun to check out all the great holiday events going on in the Hartford area, and we hope we inspired you to try out a couple yourselves. Of course, with the glitz and good cheer of the holiday season now behind us, January can look like a bleak month indeed. And it can be quite a challenge to keep the wee ones busy as the mercury continues to fall. When I saw high temps in the 20’s forecast for this week, I finally resigned myself to the fact that Boo and I would have to find ourselves some new indoor activities to get us out of the house.
Despite the dozen or so bright, shiny, musical (I use that term loosely) new toys that Boo received for Chanukah this year, his favorite games remain: climbing on the sofa, climbing on the ottoman, climbing on the bed, climbing up the stairs, and climbing (unsuccessfully so far, thank goodness) over the baby gates. Do you see a pattern here? Of course you do. So, you can imagine my excitment when Mandy told me about a birthday party she had been to with Bruiser and Sparkles at a place right around the corner from my house called My Gym. I knew we had to check it out…and fast!
My Gym is quite literally a gym for kids. It is a great place to find age-appropriate fitness classes for infants, toddlers, and young children. But it is also a super place to visit for their regularly scheduled Pay to Play sessions. These sessions are a perfect way to get acquainted with the proprietors and the facility in a laid back, no-commitment-necessary fashion. And if you like what you see, you can sign up to try a class for free.
We decided to head over for a Pay to Play session last Monday. There are several sessions throughout the week and they fall on different days and at all different times (see Momsense for details). This session happened to be in the evening at 5:45. The website only lists the start time, so we weren’t really sure if you had to get there right at 5:45 or just come anytime after 5:45. We got there just a few minutes past 5:45 and the place was hopping! Turns out Pay to Play lasts about an hour, and although you can show up anytime during that hour, it costs $10 per child so you probably want to get there right at the start time to make sure your kiddo gets the maximum activity time. Now, I know you probably just took a quick breath there and are perhaps in a little bit of sticker shock from the cost of admission to a one hour play group. But let me tell you, that was the best $10 I have spent in a long, long time. Just to put things in perspective, here are a few items you might regularly pick up for around $10 that are enjoyed for one hour or less:
A venti mocha latte with a brownie from Starbucks
A cup of frozen yogurt with toppings (and one for your hubby) at one of those new weigh and pay locations
A fruity martini at your last girls’ night out
A small pizza
You might not even think twice before shelling out for those treats, right? Certainly an hour of non-stop fun and physical activity for your child in a friendly, safe (and heated!) environment is worth at least that. Not to mention the residual benefits–nap time anyone?
Anyway, like I was saying, we arrived at My Gym around 5:50 and easily found a space in the large parking lot.
My Gym is located in a little shopping center called Buck’s Corner Plaza off New London Turnpike in South Glastonbury.
It is almost smack dab in the middle of the storefronts, with a big sign overhead. The gym also has big picture windows in front, so once you get close there’s no doubt that you are in the right place.
Now, I have to admit that I had obsessed about Boo’s footwear while we were getting ready to go. You see, he has the biggest, widest feet EVER for a 16-month-old. Seriously. We just ordered him snow boots in a size 7. Needless to say, finding shoes for him has been err, problematic. Mostly because he refuses to let us try them on him at the store…and sometimes at home too. I wanted to do a little dance for joy when we discovered Skidders shoe-socks (we got Boo’s at Target).
Perfect indoors. Great outdoors. No wrestling them onto Boo’s feet. No high-pitched screaming. Excellent. Anyway, since we don’t currently own any “real” shoes for Boo, I was afraid they were going to turn us away due to our lack of proper footwear. Not so! The kiddos go barefoot at My Gym. And the adults wear socks (so make sure yours are respectable before you leave the house because you will have to take your shoes off).
Mini-crisis averted, we headed toward the counter to pay for our visit. As I mentioned before, the cost is $10 per child (no charge for the adults). Just inside the door there is this little area with benches and hooks where you can leave your coats, shoes, and bags.
Pay to Play is a session that requires adult participation (i.e. you must run after your own child and make sure that he or she doesn’t find any trouble). So in we went through the baby gated-entrance.
I wish I had been able to capture a picture of Boo’s face when we put him down in the middle of the gym. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more delight in anyone’s face, ever. He hardly knew which way to go. The gym is arranged into what could be referred to as different fitness stations. Although, the staff rearranges them periodically to keep things fresh for their pint-sized clientele. Today, in one corner there was a trampoline, in another there was a big slide. Toward the back of the room was a balance beam, and in the front and off to the side there were some gymnastics bars. All throughout the room were tumbling mats and lots of giant soft “blocks” for climbing over or building into forts.
There were also big rubber balls for bouncing on…or in Boo’s case, just running around with.
Boo loved this padded ring too. He kept coming back to it again and again…and again.
But the place to be was most definitely the ball tub. The kids were loving it, Boo included.
Since it was such a popular attraction, we had to wait our turn. Happily, the other parents there were super courteous and encouraged their kids to rotate activities so other children could try out the popular ones too.
Of particular joy to us was the slide with the staircase. This is the first slide that Boo has been able to navigate on his own (he’s not quite ready for ladders), and you can see the pride written all over his face.
While Boo and hubby were playing, I was fortunate to spend a few minutes chatting with Amy, who owns this location (My Gym is an international franchise) along with her husband. She explained to me a little bit more about the structure of the classes and how the membership works. Basically, to join My Gym you pay a one-time $75 fee and that’s good for life, at any My Gym location. So if you move to another neighborhood/city/state/etc. you won’t have to pay that again to join another My Gym.
The classes are essentially rolling admission. There is no “first” or “last” class in any age category, so you can sign up and join any time. That means no waiting for a new session to start, which is super news for procrastinators like me. The fee covers a time period instead of a number of sessions, so you pay $75 every 4 weeks to stay enrolled in the class of your choice PLUS you get FREE, unlimited access to these Pay to Play sessions (currently, there are four Pay to Play sessions weekly). If you plan to frequent My Gym twice a week or more, it actually works out to be a pretty economical investment. And of course, you can end or suspend your enrollment at any time after a complete payment cycle if you decide not to participate in the classes any longer. You will not have to pay the membership fee again if you decide to re-enroll in the future.
Another nice thing about the class schedule is that there are multiple times for most classes, so you can sign up for the one that works best with your schedule. And also, if your child is sick and has to miss a class, you are welcome to make up that class on another day. That is a big bonus during this time of year (cough, sniffle, sniffle), don’t ya think?
A particularly great tip is that if you choose to enroll in a class the day that you try it for free, My Gym will knock $50 off your membership fee so you can join for just $25. There are additional discounts and special events for members, including sibling discounts. My Gym also hosts birthday parties.
By the time the “good-bye song” started playing over the loudspeaker, Boo looked like he was ready to curl up and take a little snooze right there on the mats, so we hurried to get him home before he fell asleep in the car half an hour before bedtime (disaster!).
Suffice it to say, we cannot wait to go back and try our free class. Most of us rank fitness pretty high up on our own list of New Year’s resolutions, so maybe we should do the same for our tots. Besides, chasing them around My Gym for an hour totally counts as a workout for you too 🙂
Wishing you a happy, healthy 2012!
2249 New London Turnpike, Glastonbury
Email contact: email@example.com
Get directions here:
Other (independently owned & operated) locations in CT include West Hartford, Orange, Fairfield, and Stamford.
Hours & Admission
Pay to Play Admission:
General public: $10/child (no charge for adults)
Members not currently enrolled in classes: $5/child (no charge for adults)
Pay to Play Schedule (as of 1/5/12):
Monday, 5:45-6:45 PM
Tuesday, 12:45-1:45 PM
Wednesday, 1:30-2:30 PM
Thursday, 4:30-5:30 PM
Check the online schedule for the most up-to-date info.
One-time membership fee (required for class enrollment but not for Pay to Play): $75
Enrollment fee (includes one class per week and unlimited Pay to Play): $75 every 4 weeks (2 cycle minimum).
Click here to see the class schedule.
Please call My Gym for additional details on pricing and discounts.
Hints & Tips
1. No need for any special apparel or gear. We saw kids wearing everything from jeans to leggings to sweatpants. Also, kids go barefoot at My Gym so no athletic shoes necessary.
2. Although Pay to Play is open to kids of all ages, if you have a small baby you might want to check out the Little Bundles class for ages 6 weeks to 6 months (only $5) instead. This is a drop in class and membership is not required. Also, if you are considering whether to bring your crawling baby, be aware that Pay to Play is typically a busy, high energy play session.
3. Call ahead to schedule your free class as it will be subject to availability.
4. Please, no sick kids at My Gym!
5. Check the Glastonbury My Gym website for updates or call to inquire about when an open house might be scheduled at this location (we hear that Elmo made an appearance at the last open house). This event is free and open to the public. (The West Hartford My Gym location is holding their FREE open house on Friday, January 20th 2012 from 2:30-6:30 PM. Call 860-521-2822 for more information).
6. My Gym also offers “Parent’s Night Out” for older children (starting when they are potty-trained and up to 9 years old) one Friday every month from 5:30-8:30 PM. This event is open to the public, so membership is not required (although members do receive discounted admission). Drop your kids off for a fun evening that includes a pizza dinner. “Mini camp” drop off for kids ages 2-4 is also held one day a week and is open to non-members as well. See website for details, cost of admission, and most up-to-date schedule.
7. For about two months in the summer, My Gym Glastonbury offers unlimited classes with enrollment. This means, in addition to the one, weekly class that you sign up for (and the unlimited Pay to Play sessions), you can bring your little one to any other session of this class on another day/time. As many as you want! Just call ahead to make sure there’s space available that day. For summer 2012, the unlimited classes run from June 25th-August 28th.
Check back next week when we’ve got more ideas to beat the winter blahs. Plus, we’ll debut our Tiny Diner series where we’ll turn a mommy’s eye on the local restaurant scene.