Gymnastics Classes for NYC Kids: 17 Spots for Little Olympians
Whether your kids were inspired by the stunning flips, turns, and acrobatics of the Final Five or you just need a safe place for them to get the wiggles out without disturbing your downstairs neighbor, gymnastics provides a great introduction to sports. Often called the "mother of all sports" for its conditioning qualities and focus on strength, balance, and flexibility, gymnastics gives kids an early fitness foundation.
My daughter doesn't care about any of that, of course. She just wants to tumble, jump, and dance, which is how the sport came into our lives. From the traditional artistic disciplines made famous by NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage to the lesser-known rhythmic gymnastics, in which gymnasts use props like ribbons, balls, and hoops while performing acrobatic moves to music, we've got the lowdown on where to find gymnastics classes in NYC. Bear in mind, many of these classes run on a school-year calendar, meaning fall is the peak time to register.
92nd Street Y – Upper East Side
1395 Lexington Avenue
Ages 5 months to 16 years
This community institution caters to gymnasts of all ages, from tiny tumblers to competitive team members and all those in between. Gymnastics is also offered for children with developmental disabilities.
Aviator Sports & Events Center – Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn
Floyd Bennett Field 3159
Ages 1 and up
This massive sports complex offers myriad gymnastics class options, from parent-and-me classes all the way up to advanced teen-level and adult classes, as well as sessions for people with special needs. In addition to providing a solid foundation in gymnastics skills, Aviator also offers free running and parkour classes under its gymnastics umbrella.
Chelsea Piers – Chelsea
Pier 62 at the West Side Highway
Ages 1 and up
Chelsea Piers' gymnastics program begins at an early age, with its Tiny Tots and Tumblin' Tots introducing the basics to wee city kids. The focus here is on artistic gymnastics, and older kids can graduate to a competitive team. The equipment in this gym is ample, but the class sizes are kept small to ensure personalized attention for every budding gymnast.
Columbus Gym – Upper West Side
606 Columbus Avenue
Ages 10 months to 12 years
This facility is housed in a 2,500-square-foot gym and welcomes kids ages 10 months and older into the space to learn fundamental gymnastics skills to set them up for success in other sports down the line. Tiny Tots classes include parent participation and offer kids an opportunity to learn how to use the bars, beams, rings, and tumbling mats. Kids graduate to independent gymnastics classes around age 3.
Dynamics Rhythmic Gymnastics – Coney Island, Brooklyn
3701 Surf Avenue at West 37th Street
Ages 3 to 15 years
This area of Brooklyn is Eastern European territory, and they take rhythmic gymnastics very seriously. The coaches here are certified masters of sport, and stress that this is a "professional school," though there are separate recreational and competitive tracks, as well as a summer camp. Dynamics does offer a free trial class.
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Little kids ease into the sport with Elliott's Classes.
Elliott's Classes – Upper West Side
131 West 86th Street
Ages babies and up
If you just can't wait to get your kid involved in the sport of gymnastics, Elliott's is the spot for you, with a FREE class for newborns to 6-month-olds and their parents. From there, babies (and their adults) graduate to classes designed to stimulate muscles crawlers and early walkers use, and eventually, real gymnastics starts to happen. Classes are broken down into small age ranges to help concentrate on developmentally appropriate skills. Kids then move on to the intermediate/advanced tumbling class for ages 5 and up that teaches USA Gymnastics "compulsory skills." An added bonus: Aside from offering classes in its Upper West Side studio, Elliott's also holds sessions in Central Park, weather permitting. Gymnastics alfresco? Count us in.
JCC Manhattan – Upper West Side
334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street
Ages 6 months to 10 years
This family-centered community space offers Lil' Tumblers classes for infants as young as 6 months. Kids then graduate to Junior Gymnastics and eventually to instruction on apparatuses including the floor, beam, bars, and vault as well as the trampoline. Classes aim to build concentration in addition to physical balance, strength, and coordination.
Jodi's Gym – Upper East Side
244 East 84th Street
Ages 9 months to 14 years
Jodi's Gym offers classes for tumblers up to students ready for team experiences in a non-competitive environment. In addition to traditional gymnastics, Jodi's offers Ninja Challenge classes for ages 4 to 9, which tests traditional gymnastics skills on an obstacle course.
Kidville – Citywide
Various locations, visit the website for details
Ages 6 months to 6 years
Kidville offers a variety of classes to test even the smallest muscles with its Big Muscles for Little Babies classes — and with multiple locations, this is often one of the more convenient options. Older kids can partake in the Big Muscle Builders classes that teach gymnastics skills through obstacle courses and tumbling tracks. Kid-sized gymnastics apparatuses provide a perfect introduction to the nuances of the sport in Kidville Gymnasts classes, too.
LIC Kids Gymnastics – Long Island City, Queens
5-02 50th Avenue
Ages 3 months and up
Classes at LIC Kids focus on the artistic disciplines with work on vault, beam, floor, and bars. Beginning with a Baby Bobcat playgroup and class at 16 months, LIC Kids Gymnastics builds skills all the way up to its competitive LIC Leopards team. Invitations to join the team are handed out only after a tryout, and students as young as 5 can join. More advanced students attend multiple sessions.
MatchPoint NYC helps kids prepare for competitive gymnastics meets.
MatchPoint NYC – Coney Island, Brooklyn
2781 Shell Road
Ages 1 and up
This tennis and fitness center also offers recreational rhythmic gymnastics classes for children as young as age 1, along with a competitive team that's level-based rather than age-based. At least two meets are scheduled a month, and many are out of state, requiring travel and accommodation costs. MatchPoint also offers an aesthetic group gymnastics class, which involves at least six teammates performing routines together during competition.
NYC Elite – Multiple Manhattan Locations
Ages 9 months and up
With three locations in Manhattan, NYC Elite caters to gymnasts of every level. Classes for toddlers to age 4 are co-ed. Beyond that, girls and boys attend separately to hone advanced skills. Students have access to a tumble track and all the artistic Olympic apparatuses to practice.
NY Kids Club – Citywide
Ages 3 months to 13 years
The NY Kids Club curriculum slowly builds budding gymnasts from novice-to-advanced levels following a USA Gymnastics-approved curriculum. Kids begin learning body awareness and enjoy obstacle-course like exercises then progress to strength- and skill-building exercises, and learn routines on the uneven bars, floor, and balance beam. By the time they reach 6½ years, they may be ready for the Gym Club Prep or Gym Club classes, which are invitation-only programs based on skill-level and instructor approval. Classes are co-ed in the youngest classes.
Sokol New York – Upper East Side
420 East 71st Street
Ages 6 to 11 years
Sokol offers classes in both rhythmic and artistic disciplines for children ages 6-11. Artistic classes include work on gymnastics apparatuses, dancing, games, and calisthenics. In Sokol's rhythmic classes, students work with hoops, balls, ribbons, and perform original choreography. Beginner classes are offered in both genres and students advance to higher levels only by tryouts. Sokol school uniforms are required but included in the registration price.
Little Gym – Citywide
Ages 3 to 12 years
This national chain offers an early introduction to the sport with Pre-K Gymnastics starting at age 3. Kids progress into Grade School Gymnastics classes from there. Both classes build the foundation for more advanced training elsewhere.
The Wendy Hilliard Foundation trains kids from babies on up for specialized gymnastics like rhythmic and trampoline.
Wendy Hilliard Foundation – Harlem
Harlem Armory, 40 West 143rd Street
Ages 18 months to 17 years
Founded by and named for the first African-American to represent the U.S. in rhythmic gymnastics in international competition, the foundation offers classes starting with mommy-and-me for 18- to 24-month-olds, to lessons for school-age kids up to age 17, as well as sessions for children with special needs. Rhythmic gymnastics classes are held October through June, and scholarships are available for those who qualify. As children progress, there are opportunities to move on to the competitive team, which competes in artistic, rhythmic, tumbling, and trampoline events. Bonus: All classes are open to girls and boys, a rarity.
YMCA – Citywide
Ages 3 to 12
Many local YMCA locations offer a variety of affordable gymnastics classes to get kids started in their knowledge of the sport and skills and build the foundation for training down the line. Check what's available this season at your local Y.
All photos courtesy of the respective venues.