It’s official….the Zumba craze has taken over thousands of gyms across the country. But did you know that there are now Zumba classes for your kiddos? Yep, that’s right. Get ready to shake it, kiddos!
Zumba is known for its mix of high and low intensity movements that yield a calorie burning (read ENERGY expending for the little ones) dance fitness party that takes the “work” out of “workout.” And no matter what your age, it yields a sense of accomplishment and plain old fun once class is over.
Zumba Options for Kids
There are three types of Zumba classes for the little ones: Zumbini (from babies up through 3 along with a care giver), Zumba Kids Junior (ages 4-6) and Z Kids (ages 7-11).
They are great classes not just because they get kids up and moving instead of sitting behind screens, but they also introduce kids to international cultures through dancing and music.
The Zumba kids programs aren’t just all about dance, however. There is a built in learning portion of each and every class where the instructor leads a discussion about the origin of the music used in the class, the instruments that are used….even the type of clothes one would wear in the native country.
With the Zumba Kids Junior classes, there is more of an emphasis on crafts since the kiddos like to take a break from all of the dancing and do something with their hands that they can take home.
Since the members of the Zumbini classes are so young, there is a “Zumbini Bundle” consisting of a music CD and storybook to extend learning outside of class to reinforce the learning fun that occurs with a care giver in the class.
Zumba as a Learning Medium
My cousin Rene’ teaches all sorts of Zumba classes and specializes in the Zumba Kids program. With a background in education, she places an emphasis on using Zumba as a learning medium and strategically plans her lessons so that her students learn not just about the dances, but also the culture of different countries.
For example, while studying the culture of Colombia, Rene’ and her students danced with scarves to mimic the long, flowing dresses that are worn in Colombia, made Colombian flags, constructed necklaces composed of the Colombian flag colors, learned some basic Spanish terms, and drew outlines of the country, labeling the capital and other important places.
Typical Class Structure
- Warm up of two songs
- One structured dance that they already know (for those enrolled in continuous classes) or one that is super simple to follow
- Lesson discussion followed by the rhythm and then either a craft or activity from that area
- Free dance or dance games (instruments for younger kids and rhythm sticks dance for older kids, for example)
- Cool down of two songs
An entire class from start to finish is 45 minutes and goes non stop so it is a great workout for the kids, as well as the instructor.
Where to Find a Zumba Kids Class
There is an extremely helpful search engine on the Zumba site to help you search for the class nearest to you. Locally, my cousin teaches at her local Park District (Forest Park) and also a Lifetime Fitness gym.
I am hoping to attend a Zumba class without the kids soon so I can have just as much fun as they are….and hopefully shed some winter weight while I am at it.
Looking for other workout options? Check these out.
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