Immy is slithering around the floor pretending to be a snake, with the biggest grin on her face.
“Now we’re crocodiles!” calls the class leader Alex, who is laid on the floor in among all the toddlers.
‘Snap, snap, snap!’ Dozens of little snapping hands swim around my knees. A few seconds later, they turn into prowling tigers, pouncing and growling, then just as quickly, they’re elephants, stomping through the jungle with trunks blaring. Everybody in the room is smiling and giggling - all the little people and all the mums who are slithering, stomping and prowling right along next to them.
Imogen and I have come to visit Minimovez for the morning, based at Tapton Masonic Hall. The team at Minimovez run fun and upbeat fitness classes for under five, with each 40 minute session carefully planned to meet the physical needs of little ones, developing fine and gross motor skills and promoting healthy habits.
Class leader Alex explained: “Using a mixture of music, games and fun equipment such as pom poms, ribbons, bean bags and balls, we get their bodies moving and their hearts pumping. We always begin with a warm up and finish with a cool down and strike the balance between giving children structure as well as the freedom to explore and play.
“Overall, the emphasis is always on having fun and building confidence in a friendly and inclusive setting.”
After we’ve pretended to be every imaginable jungle creature, and done a fair amount of dancing and jigging with pom poms, we break out the hoops, pads, tunnels and nets to create a circular assault course for the little one. The music comes on and there’s lots of giggling as the mums guide them around the course, making sure everybody takes turns and helps one another through the maze of obstacles. It looks like so much fun, I almost wish I could fit through those little tunnels myself!
Alex added: “Our aim is to promote safe, healthy and fun fitness for your child. All the minimovez activities are designed to encourage children to be energetic, using the full range of skills to develop self-confidence and self-esteem. Our varied programme incorporates elements from the school curriculum for the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ framework, and is tailored to suit the ages and abilities of the children attending.
“Our overall goal at minimovez is to introduce physical activity to children in a friendly and safe environment where the emphasis is firmly on having fun.”
And it certainly is that. - the perfect way to have fun with the little person in your life!