Welcome to Sponsor Tumblers Gymnastics

We're so lucky here in Ottawa to have a great selection of gymnastics centres. Some are recreational, while other combine both recreational and competitive options - which means that anyone can participate, regardless of ability (wouldn't it be cool to have an adult gymnastics class? I'll admit I'm rather jealous of my 2 year-old tumbling around on the mats!) Tumblers Gymnastics Centre has been around for 25 years, incorporating in 1989 as a not-for-profit organization. It's now one of the largest gymnastics clubs in the province. Recreational classes follow the CanGym program, and specialty classes include Introductory Rhythmic Gymnastics, recreational trampoline, and Acro for Dance.

We had a chance to go and check out Tumblers' drop-in class, which runs every morning at 10:30 a.m. except Tuesdays.


The centre is GIANT! My daughter was in awe of all the fun things to check out - she had access to all the equipment during the drop-in. For a two year-old, it's better to be free to run around :) Her favourite things to do were jump on the trampoline and walk on the balance beams!


Staff were welcoming and friendly, and interacted with all the kids on the bars, trampoline and balance beams. A viewing area in the lobby is available for parents to watch their child's progress in kinder and recreational classes (a.k.a quiet time for Mommy to drink coffee ;) )


Check out the Fall schedule now for drop-in times, kinder and recreational programs - children can participate from as young as one year in parent-assisted classes.

If you're in the East end (or anywhere for that matter!), come by and check out Tumblers Gymnastics Centre - my daughter is already asking when we can go again!

Swimming Success!

by Amanda Y Well after that teaser week of summer in Ottawa, it has made me start itching for the real thing so we can go swimming regularly up at the cottage.  Since he was 3 (now almost 5) J has regularly been taking swimming lessons through the City of Ottawa.  The first round of lessons was really an adjustment period because he refused to participate for the most of the lessons.  He would get in the water but not cooperate with the instructor.  However, since then he has been quite happy about going, some of the tasks are hit or miss with him, he doesn't love having water in his face or ears, but over time, things have improved.  The spring session started last week and I swear, that was a totally different kid in the water!  He was dunking his head, happily floating on his back, front float has improved drastically, he will actually put his face in the water, tentatively, but he used to outright refuse!  He loves to play the games like "What time is it Mr. Wolf?" and "Red light green light" It's too bad the lessons are only 30 minutes long, I think he would benefit from a longer lesson, even another 15 minutes would be great!

The City of Ottawa's Learn to Swim Program offers the Red Cross swimming levels.  They include Parent and Me classes, Preschool classes, and School-Aged program (up to 12 yrs old).

Not only are swimming lessons fun, but swimming is also a very important skill for a child to have.  Many people have a fear of water and so having lessons in childhood can help to prevent this.  Fear leads to panic and if you panic in the water, the outcome is terrible.  Just knowing how to handle yourself in the water can prevent so many accidental drownings.  Of course, even the best swimmers can drown, and I highly promote the use of life jackets in boats and on inexperienced swimmers in deep water.  Simply knowing how to float and keep your head above water is a critical skill, in my opinion.  I am a strong swimmer, my parents insisted we take swimming lessons and I am doing the same for J.  It is also the kind of class that grows with the child.  They continue to build upon and learn new skills including rescue maneuvers and CPR.  Also something to think about:  teens who become lifeguards and swimming instructors are paid quite well.  They can work at city pools as well as summer camps earning their own money.  The benefits just keep adding up.

For information about how your teen could become a lifeguard visit the National Lifesaving Society's website.

Who knows if J will ever go that far, but what's important to me is that he learn to swim and be comfortable around water.

Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son “J”. Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.

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Tumbling into Fun

by Alison One of the first school birthday parties my daughter was invited to was at Tumblers Gymnastics in Orleans. She was hooked. We signed her up for the next session and haven't looked back. I really enjoyed watching her learn the various gymnastics moves, and have fun running around the gym. Each class would start with a warm-up on the centre mats, including running and stretching. Then the class would move through stations. Usually, there were stations set up in 3 different areas of the gym and the stations related to the theme of the week. This gave the children lots of opportunity to try the apparatus and see what they liked best. The coaches were very good about showing children the correct movement and helping them to the best of their ability.

During the last class of each session, the parents are allowed into the gym area. During a regular class parents are kept outside and can watch through newly enlarged windows and 2 television monitors. On parents day, there's great opportunities for photos and seeing up close how much your little gymnast has learned.

We've done both the TumbleTykes classes for 3 and 4 year olds and the KinderGym for 5 and 6 six year olds. Tumblers also offers competitive programs starting at age 7, and a Kinder-elite program for advanced 4 to 6 year olds. The best part about gymnastics is that they offer classes during the day, and the gym is much quieter. For those under 3, Parent and Tots classes are available. They've added a new Tiny Tots for children 12 to 18 months. I know my son would have loved this class.

Tumblers offers a March Break Camp, either full day or half day. You can sign up for the full week or just a day. I found that the summer camp program had a good mix of gymnastics, crafts, and camp games. The camp is for children aged 4-12. Both boys and girls are welcome, but there were definitely more girls the week my daughter went.

March Break camp registration is ongoing and the Spring session registration opens on February 25th.


Alison is the mom of two wonderful kids, 6 and 2. She's recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest but considers Ottawa home. She blogs at Ali's Adventures 

Winterlude, Winter Sports

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Sue Townley from the Sunnyside Branch.


Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
Tacky the penguin is back to compete at the penguin winter Olympics. While the other penguins train and prepare Tacky is his usual lazy self and continues to sleep through the exercises and eat all his favourite foods, pizza, chips doughnuts. In the end Tacky saves the day and leads his team to victory in his fun and zany way. A fun read aloud, especially during winter Olympics years.


Pearl’s New Skates by Holly Keller
Pearl receives a pair of skates for her birthday and can’t wait to try them out. She practices her twirls and spins and dreams of how she will gracefully skate over the lake. When the lake finally freezes over she joyfully heads out to skate. She soon learns that it is not as easy as she thought, as she falls head over heels and soon wants to give up. With some encouragement from her Uncle Jack she learns about persistence and succeeds in enjoying herself skating.


Hans Brinker by Bruce Coville
A beautifully illustrated picture book version of the classic Mary Mapes Dodge tale. This version is much shortened but keeps the key elements of the original story. Hans bravely finds medical help for his father, finds his family’s missing money, and shows his strength of character during the famous skating race. The illustrations by Laurel Long contribute to the classic, nostalgic feel of the book. A magical wintery classic for the older reader.


Polar Skater by Sally Grindley
With charming, fanciful illustrations by Heli Hieta the reader is captured by the joy of a young girl learning to skate by herself for the first time. She slides off into an imaginary winter world filled with walrus’, polar bears, wolves and snow geese. Her happiness is contagious and the reader is swept up into the wonder of winter. With rhyming text this book makes a wonderful wintery read aloud for the preschool set.


The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
With talk of the Elfstadentocht taking place this year in Holland this is a perfect read to introduce young readers to the excitement of long distance skating. Set in 1941 in war torn Holland, we are introduced to ten year old Piet who must help his young neighbours escape from the Nazis, who have imprisoned their father for passing messages to the Allies. Piet, a strong skater, leads them along the canals the sixteen kilometres between Sluis and Brugge, Belgium, outwitting German soldiers. In the story we learn about Pim Mueller, the founder of the Elfstadentocht, the Eleven City race that takes place on the canals of Holland on winters the weather allows the 200 kilometre race to take place. Filled with action and tension this is a good read aloud for the older reader.


Sam the Zamboni Man by James Stevenson
Young Matt comes to visit his grandfather, a zamboni driver, in this charming intergenerational tale. Matt has never seen a hockey game or a zamboni and when his grandfather takes him to see his first game his gets to see how important his grandfather is. His grandfather, a former hockey player, awes Matt with not only his zamboni driving skills but his skating skills as well, when he takes Matt to visit the stadium on a quiet night. The highlight of the trip is when Matt gets an opportunity to drive the zamboni himself. His grandfather promises to teach him to skate and play hockey next time he comes for a visit. This combination of hockey and machinery will surely be a hit with younger hockey fans.


Just One Goal by Robert Munsch
Robert Munsch and hockey is a perfect combination. A fun filled story of a girl named Ciara who desperately wants a hockey rink on the river so that she does not have to go all the way across town to play hockey. With a bit of determination and some help from her father she builds that rink and everyone comes out to play. Somehow Ciara’s team cannot seem to win a game and by the final game Ciara is determined to score the winning goal. She is in a race with spring to get her goal before spring melts her rink. A rollicking, action filled tale by one of Canada’s great storytellers.


Sophie Skates by Rachael Isadora
Rachael Isadora, best known for her ballet stories, turns her attention to the world of figure skating. Sophie, age eight, is determined to become a professional figure skater. Sophie’s day begins at 5:00 a.m., with skating lessons and continues through school and then back to the rink to skate some more. This book is an excellent balance between story and information with details about how to properly tie skates and ice-skating moves. With action filled illustrations this is a nice introduction to the hard work and dedication required of a young athlete.

Hooray … Hockey!  Hockey … Hooray!!

That’s Hockey, a picture book by David Bouchard. Being a Canadian prairie boy, David Bouchard knows about hockey. That’s Hockey, engages us in the warm camaraderie of a pickup game. The twist at the end may make you smile or laugh out loud. Heads up… there is a Montreal Canadiens jersey involved. Speaking of the Montreal Canadiens, The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, is a Canadian classic must read. Take time to enjoy the wonderful illustrations that support the humour so well. This 24-page book is in the children’s fiction collection.

Everyone can use a little magic, especially if it comes in second-hand skates that have three brand new wishes. If you give it your all, wishes can come true. Yes, there are Canadiens jerseys in this book too.

The Magic Hockey Skates by Allen Morgan is also in the fiction section, but is a great 32 page read aloud, with large, colourful illustrations on every page.

Skating on the Rink of Dreams? Learn more about the Ottawa Senators, who contributed so much to it. Learn about the team, its history, records set, star Senators and try brain teasers too. This is a 24 page non-fiction book for young children. It has large font and photographs, as well as a glossary and index to teach research skills. You cannot start too early! Ottawa Senators by Don Cruickshank Juv 796.962 OTTAW-C

Hockey players dream of winning the Stanley Cup. Lizzy dreams of being a champion figure skater. It does not take long for Lizzy to realize, just as hockey players do, that she needs to practice, practice, practice! Bailey is another Canadian author with a passion for skating.

The Best Figure Skater in the Whole Wide World, a picture book by Linda Bailey.

Sam the Zamboni Man is a collaborative effort of American author James Stevenson and his artist son Harvey. Together they have created a warm story of a young boy’s visit with his grand-father. Grandfather is Sam, former hockey player, now Zamboni driver. Grandson Matt is in awe of both man and machine. But best of all, Sam promises to teach Matt how to skate!