Tori Cain has a passion for keeping kids active.

Growing up in Texas, Cain would frequent a franchise called The Little Gym, which was had locations throughout the region.

The Little Gym is a national franchise with more than 300 locations that focuses on adolescent physical development. With classes taught by professional instructors for children from 4 months to 12 years old, the Little Gym offers activities to help both children and parents develop skills, both athletically and cognitively.

And Cain, a physical therapist by trade, wanted to bring one to Idaho Falls.

“It’s very eye-opening,” she said. “I love physical therapy, but you can’t cater to the masses like you can here.”

That Little Gym, which opened last week at 3406 S. 25th East, offers a unique group activity for parents and their children.

“A lot of our teaching style is geared on letting the kids lead the activity and letting the parents follow,” Cain said. “For instance, from ages 4 months to 3 years old, the parents and child are socializing in the classes. And those classes are really geared toward parents bonding with their kids, and learning about freedom and exploration.”

This will be the first Little Gym in eastern Idaho.

The gym features gymnastics equipment, including uneven bars, balance beams, and spring boards, to name a few.

The Little Gym will host 28 classes per week, with each class being age-specific.

“The focus is not on competitive gymnastics, the focus is building on self-confidence,” Cain said.

Mental development also is key for the younger children at The Little Gym.

“We have songs and jingles that really help kids realize from start-to-finish sequencing,” Cain said. “It really helps kids take things home and learn how they’re going to clean things up and put them into their every day life.”

For older kids, the gym offers classes to prepare them for an active lifestyle they can use in middle school and high school.

“From age 6 to 12, our grade-schoolers can participate in classes that can prepare them for team sports,” Cain said. “We have a lot of sports built in with gymnastics. We’ll bring out footballs one week, basketballs one week, and incorporate balance, coordination, and all of the strength and flexibility you need to work on you body to prepare for sports.”

Birthday parties and special events also will be held at the gym. Prior to its opening Cain hosted a birthday party for a friend’s child.

Kate Meehan’s daughter attended the event and Meehan said it was a great experience.

“I was really impressed with the facility,” she said. “I thought the teachers were really enthusiastic and did a great job leading the kids.”

Meehan has not applied for membership at The Little Gym yet, but is looking into the option after the party.

“Anything that has family options, especially in such a family friendly town, that give more activities for families and children is a good thing,” she said. “Having a place where children can be active all year is great.”

Reporter Marc Basham can be reached at 208-542-6763.

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Source: Business

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