After trying a wide variety of mommy and me classes, I found the one that worked best for me, and my daughter was Queencity Zumbini. It offers the perfect balance of music, movement, and bonding that leaves me coming back month after month.
What is Zumbini
Zumbini is a music and movement class that incorporates upbeat diverse music with instruments, dance, and song. The class promotes cognitive, social, emotional, and motor skill development. Aimed at children ages 0-4 this fun-filled 45-minute class is designed to get you moving and grooving with your little one.
In a nutshell, it is Zumba for kids and babies. Don’t fear if you don’t have any rhythm, if you can roar like a lion and walk in a circle then you are set.
Music has been shown to help children identify what different emotions may “sound” and “feel” like. During the Zumbini class, there are shifts in music tones that promote relaxation or boost their energy levels. A perfect example is there is a slow lullaby at the end of the session that signals to children to calm down and relax.
Social Skill Development
Social interaction with peers during class provides little ones the opportunity to learn age-appropriate social skills. Dancing, playing instruments, and singing songs allows all ages to interact with each other. Older children tend to become nurturers and teachers to tinier participants, while the little ones watch and learn through older children. A consistent class schedule will also allow your child to make friends with other classmates.
It is known that music and movement stimulate neural connections in the brain, especially in young children. Repetition of sounds and syllables can enhance a child’s language development. We not only listen to the songs in class but on the go with the Zumbini CD that comes with your session enrollment. My daughter can now sing along to many of the songs at 18 months old! Not to mention it is a welcome break from Old McDonald and Baby Shark.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
All that moving, shaking, and instrument play stimulates both small and large muscle groups. Shaking maracas, taking little steps, or just sitting up and clapping utilizes an array of muscles. As your child matures they can use more advanced instruments, do more choreography (aka hopping/jumping), and move more throughout the class.
What To Expect At Zumbini
Class begins with everyone in a circle. That is after we have corralled the little ones from running amuck. Which they tend to do throughout the class, so don’t think that this an intensely structured class. There are roughly 10-15 songs in each class with Dana guiding you every step of the way.
If you have a small baby or an injury, have no fear, there are plenty of ways to modify every dance move or movement. You will be sitting down and getting up a few times during class and will be using instruments and scarfs.
Movements are very basic, which are great for those who are lacking rhythm like myself. Walking in a circle, hopping and swaying will be your toughest moves. There may be an occasional cha-cha to master as well.
Class concludes with the lights dimmed and everyone sitting in a circle. A lullaby is sung, the goodbye song follows and class is dismissed. Depending on where you sign up, there are great play areas that kids can explore afterward. Red Balloon and Learning Through Play Cafe are a few of our favorites.
We started our daughter in Queencity Zumbini when she was nine months old. Had I known about the class sooner, I would have enrolled her around six months old. She absolutely loves it. Seeing her squeal and smile during the dancing and then watching her figure out the instruments was a delight. We have been going for about a year now and my daughter is a Zumbini Pro. She doesn’t shy away from the other children, she goes and gets her own instruments and has started learning and following rhythms. It is truly phenomenal to watch how she has blossomed. We still have lessons to learn in sharing, but what toddler doesn’t. As a mother, it has been refreshing to meet and mingle with other parents as well. Never underestimate the joy of finding like-minded parents to add to your tribe.
What Newcomers Should Know
It takes a few songs for children to open up and get involved. Especially those two and over. They tend to be very skeptical and clingy at first and then by the end of the class they are dancing and playing. Don’t feel like your child has to participate in every song, move, and dance. Letting children “free dance” and explore can be the best way for them to learn and participate.
Expect your child to put the instruments and scarves in their mouths. This is a natural way for them to explore and learn. The good thing, all the instruments, and scarves are washed and sanitized after every class!
It is inevitable that your child will want to eat right before, during, or after class. Don’t feel bad if you have to step away from the action to take care of business. Quite honestly, it is expected! I have spent many songs off on the sideline with a bottle or a snack bar.
Queencity Zumbini is offered at a variety of locations across the city. They also offer it throughout the US! To find a class or enroll check out the Zumbini website.
Don’t be discouraged if this class isn’t what you were looking for. Diversity is what makes the world go round, and this class might not be a good fit for you and/or your child. Check out a few other Great Things To Do In Cincinnati With A Baby.