Swimming Like A Mermaid!

 

The Little Mermaid was my favourite movie growing up and still remains at the top of the list today. However, as Ariel desperately longed to have legs to walk on land, I have always been eager to soar deep beneath the surface of the sea — perhaps this is what led me to become a Scuba Diving Instructor. Recently, there has been somewhat of a mermaid takeover in the media and pop culture, but it came as a surprise to find out that Ottawa actually has a Mermaid Academy! That’s right, at Aqua Mermaid, you can learn to swim like Ariel.

Aqua Mermaid is the world’s largest mermaid swimming school where people book mermaid swimming lessons, private events, celebrate special occasions or simply join for fitness. Families love bringing their friends and kids to Aqua Mermaid because of how fun and great of an experience it is. I brought my two nieces (ages 9 & 11) and nephew (age 6) to try out their fun beginning class and explore exactly how it feels to sport a mermaid tail and propel yourself through the water!

The class was held at the YMCA downtown, right in front of the Canadian Museum Of Nature. Upon arriving we were greeted by a super friendly instructor, Marielle (sounds a bit like Ariel doesn’t it?) Marielle explained what types of activities the class would hold and the outline for the hour we were there. She then gave each child their very own mermaid tail and explained how to wear and take care of their tails, then it was time to hit the pool for a quick swimming test to assess their comfort level in the water! Over the course of an hour she had them swimming laps in their tails first supported by floaties, then without, followed by a series of fun games and activities, finishing off with a photo shoot in the warm pool.

The kids were smiling the entire time and it was wonderful to see them try something new, that was equal parts fun and challenging!

Aqua Mermaid hosts group events (or have discovery mermaid swimming lesson for smaller groups) that range from 1 – 2 hours of mermaid fun. Every event includes mermaid swimming, time for photos and a dedicated mermaid coach that will teach you how to swim with a mermaid tail while playing fun games. If you’re looking for an awesome time, a unique experience and a challenging workout, definitely check them out!  Book today.

Play, Learn and Explore At My Gym Ottawa

This Fall our six week Mini Movers group was incredibly fortunate to be hosted by My Gym Ottawa. Nestled in the suburbs of Barrhaven sits this amazing space where babies, toddlers and children alike can run, play, learn and explore. Recently, a friend and I were invited to bring our daughters (18 & 20 months) to sample their Tiny Tykes/Waddlers class and I am so glad we did! Not only is this a great place for drop in free-play, but the classes offer educational components in a safe and exciting setting, perfect for curious little ones and parents alike.

The Space

My Gym features a soft, padded floor which makes learning basic gymnastics skills that much safer for your little one. The first thing I noticed upon entering the facility was the cleanliness. The play structures are made of wood and you can tell by looking at them that they’re impeccably maintained; all of the high quality equipment looks brand new. 

Their play structures are also taken apart and redesigned every two weeks which promises a unique experience for the child that visits often. This is a feature that can also be customizable to those renting the space for a birthday party.

The space features a rock climbing wall, play structure and slide, ball pit, various gymnastics obstacles, an area that features six detachable swings, specifically for babies and toddlers; a feature that my little one was thrilled about! It also boasts a very clean restroom facility complete with complimentary diapers, wipes and a diaper genie (if you’re anything like me and always forget to restock your diaper bag, this feature comes in VERY handy).

My Gym is bright, spacious and clean. It is the perfect size for children to run around and burn off some steam, while not being so big that the parent can lose sight of their little one.

The Classes

My Gym engages infants 6 weeks of age to children 11 years of age with fun and captivating physical/cognitive activities, music, songs and free play. Their classes are designed to help your child grow confidence and strength in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere.

The teachers create a fun filled hour full of age appropriate activities where children will learn new skills, make new friends and have an amazing experience each week.

The (Tiny Tykes) class we participated in began with circle time and songs to get the little ones up and energized. Throughout the hour the little ones stretched, danced, and exercised their problem solving skills. After the opening circle time, we were sent for some free-play as the teacher set up various obstacles. When we regrouped, the first skill was to have our toddler do a supported back flip. My little one wasn’t overly keen on trying this and I loved the way the teacher both encouraged her, but also accepted that she wasn’t into it and supported her by offering a modified skill to try. Other skills included climbing through the different levels of a flat ladder, into a foam circle in the middle and jumping from a mat into a hula hoop — all the skills promoted strength building, coordination and spacial awareness.

My Gym classes are curriculum based, but do not have a set beginning and ending point so children are welcome to join at any time.

Membership

In order to take advantage of My Gym Ottawa, families must purchase a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $75. This gives you access to the classes and drop in play as well as special discounts on Birthday Parties and special events. The membership can also travel with you as My Gym is a Global franchise.

Special Events

In addition to My Gym’s classes, they also offer Birthday Parties, Practice and Play (drop-in play), Summer, March Break and PD Day camps.They also offer the unique Parent’s Night Out, where Friday nights from 5:30-8:30 pm, parents can enjoy a night out while their children are having a great time running, climbing, playing and eating pizza! Finally, My Gym also offers their Mobile Program where they bring the gym to you! This is a great feature if you are a day care/child care provider looking for something new.

I feel very fortunate to have partnered with such a supportive establishment whose goal is To create an environment where all children of all abilities feel loved and supported so that their self-esteem and confidence can flourish.

If you’re in the Barrhaven area (or not), this place is a must on your list of activities with the little ones.