You spent nine long months picturing your soon-to-be baby ballerina dressed up in her very first Sugar Plum Fairy tutu. Now that she’s here, you’re already online ordering teeny toe shoes and tiny tights. That is, until you realize the local ballet academy only accepts older kids. That’s okay — maybe your toddler is more the artsy museum type than a prima ballerina anyway. While some classes put a ban on babies (and toddlers), others completely cater to the littlest of learners. Check out which classes are totally for tots and which ones you might want to wait for!
1. Finger Painting Plus: Your pint-sized Picasso can’t keep her hands out of older sis’s temperas, off of her crayons or away from her glitter (ohhhhh, the glitter). If you’ve got an infant, it’s not likely you’ll find a baby art-making workshop anytime soon. But your toddler may very well be ready to get her craft on. Look for a program that features plenty of process. That means open-ended, hands-on artsy explorations, such as finger painting, scribbling or clay play.
2. Gallery Gawkers: While we’re on the subject of art classes for kids, let’s not forget about the viewing kind. That’s right — art isn’t all about making; it’s also about looking. Obviously, your baby won’t get much out of a formal gallery-based art class. If you want to expose her to real works of fabulously famous art, strap her in a Snugli and tote her around the museum with you. Even though your one-year-old isn’t ready for a museum class, your older toddler might be eligible. Gallery classes for tots typically include parent (or caregiver) and child workshops that include storytelling, art-making and maybe a game or two (think Eye Spy).
3. Mini Martial Artist: When your toddler starts kicking her baby brother, it’s time to put those super-string legs to use, right? Before your karate kid is waxing on and off with Mr. Miyagi, take a step back. Your toddler isn’t ready to follow the multi-step directions that it takes to truly pass a belt test (if you’re told otherwise, it’s likely that the McDojo you’ve wandered into is basically handing out belts as long as Mom and Dad pay a testing fee). Instead, look for a specialized program that is designed for preschoolers and under (it will likely have some awesomely adorable name such as Kinder Kickers or Tiger Tots). These martial arts programs help younger children work on basic coordination and balance skills through the use of simple directions set in the framework of age-appropriate expectations. In other words, your child will learn how to kick, but won’t tackle a 32-step form.
4. Dancing Daze: Company soloist? Probably not. Tiny tapper? Maybe not yet. Just because you’re still a few short years away from buns and tutus doesn’t mean that your tot can’t get moving. A creative movement or pre-ballet class is made for kiddos who don’t have the motor skills and coordination to full-on dance.
5. Sporty Shorty: No, your two-year-old isn’t ready to set the soccer field on fire with her mad skills right now. The whole teamwork thing isn’t exactly on her mind, and her motor abilities may leave her frustrated when she tries to kick the ball into the goal or hit it from a tee. While she’s not yet ready for league play, you may find a few local classes that focus on fun, easy athletic play — such as rolling balls to each other or trying to toss a softball into a baby-height basket.
6. Mommy and… : Any class that starts with “Mommy and” is probably one of the best bets you can make. Not only do these types of programs ease your child into the class-like structure without the stress of separation anxiety, but they also offer a bounty of bonding time. Whether it’s arty play or creative movement for two, these duo dates are often easier for the toddler set to handle.
What’s the first class that you want your kiddo to take? Share it with us @BritandCo !
(Photos via Getty)