4 answers

Karate, Dance, T-ball.... Too Many Choices

My daughter is about to turn 4 and I'd like to put her in an activity or class where she can have fun, learn something new and make new friends. But there are so many choices. She has interaction with other kids but not a whole lot her age- she is in a home daycare and there are 2 are 3 that are her age and the rest are younger. I think it would be good for her to have more interation wtih kids her age and have fun learning something new. She really enjoys music but I'm not sure dance is going to be right for her- also I worry a little about the cost of all the little dance clothes. Karate really appeals to me because of the self dicipline factor and I like the idea of the teamwork involved in t-ball. I would love to hear from some mom's and their experiences with 4 year-olds extra curricular's. If you are in the Richmond/Sugarland area- I would LOVE your specific reccomendations too.

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More Answers

All the choices are overwhelming! I have a 4 year old daughter. Some of the activities that she enjoys are gymnastics, swimming and dance.

She's interested in trying out soccer, so she is going to a soccer class this summer. I think as far as sports go for a 4 year old, it is better to take a class rather then have her join a team. In a class they will do fun activities and games centered around the sport making it really fun for the kids. Teams can be kind of boring for kids at this age.

I think gymnastics, art class(if she enjoys it) or a sports class would be a good place to start. See what she enjoys and go from there.

I have my daughters in gymnastics and they LOVE it!

They would like to do dance as well... so I'm considering a 6 week summer program (then I don't have to worry about recitals). Some of the studios near me have dance classes for the younger kids that don't participate in recitals at all.

I would love to sign them up for t-ball... but usually t-ball is a couple nights a week, and I couldn't do it with my schedule.

My girls did soccer last fall... only 7 weeks. I like the short sessions rather than dance where you have to make a full year commitment.

Every kids class will let you bring her for a free trial class... so you could take her to some trials and see which one she wants to do!

We do Dance (combo of ballet and tap) on Monday, Soccer practice on Tuesday, Tumbling class and gymnastics class on Wednesday, on Thursday we usually have a T-Ball game, Saturday the 3 yr. old has Micro Soccer at the YMCA and a Buddy and Me Gymnastics class that his 2 yr. old sister also attends. On Sunday the girl rides in BMX races.
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Here's my opinion on team sports and a 4 yr. old:
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T-Ball:
Usually costs under $50, our fees for this includes a team tee shirt. We provide shorts, gloves, hats, anything else we want to purchase like T-Ball bats or T's for home practice.
It's all about learning a few simple rules, hit the ball and run to first base, stay in a general area while the other team bats. You can pick flowers if you want and turn cartwheels but don't bump into any other players picking flowers and twirling around.
The kids learn some teamwork but not until they just finally "get it" about Kindergarten age. It is a fun sport and the kids really respond to the one on one work to teach them to hit the ball without the T. It is worth the time.
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Soccer:
It usually costs under $50.00 and then the uniform, ball $10, shorts $5-$10, shin guards about $7, etc....but they usually have the same team year after year if it's a good fit. They wear the same uniform so they may be able to wear it more than a year.
It's lots of running back and forth, they learn some teamwork, more than T-Ball but not to the extent they are a well oiled machine...they learn kicking and running and getting over "it's not nice to take toys away from others", they get to activly play when they are on the field not just stand around hoping someone will hit the T-Ball to them.
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Dance:
Price varies greatly. Parents are usually NOT allowed to observe class.
One thing that is an option you can check into is a combo class that combines tumbling and dance, the class does about half an hour dancing and then half an hour tumbling. It's usually for the itty bitty ones and they learn better because they play things like the Hokey Pokey, left foot in teaches them to follow directions and left from right, following the teacher, etc...it's learning in a laid back easy setting.
We do a combo class of Ballet and Tap, my other grandson takes Hip Hop too, it's $48 a month and as we add more classes the cost goes down until it's only about $15 a month to add another class. We have to buy a specific leotard for the class because the teachers need to focus on muscles and positions. If everyone is dressed diferently the teachers eyes are distracted. Quality leotards are going to last for years. Most of the ones ours wear to class have been through several other kids. The tap shoes were about $25 and the ballet shoes were about $30. There is also an enrollment fee per family per year. So far this year K has had a growth spurt and we are onour 3rd pair of tap shoes.
For a recital year the Costume fees can be astronomical, $100 per dance number isn't unheard of and is most common. Plus you have to pay a fee to particiapte, the studio owner has spent countless hours planning, writing, choreographing numerous dances and getting buildings etc...and they need to pay so much out. Dance can be expensive but what can compare?
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Gymanstics and Tumbling
These classes are add ons for us and if individually they are about $50 a month. Our teacher does not require any particular "uniform" and the kids can wear any leotard they choose. We have quit the wardrobe for the classes. The kids are in smaller groups and work on many different area. it is well worth the time.
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BMX is awesome, we had to by a bike but a friend found one for a small fee. He added hand brakes and we are going to paint it for her. Her friends all ride and she is finally able because she learned to ride without training wheels. She is required to wear a specific style helmet but they have some at the track she could borrow, she is required to wear long pants and long sleeves. Some wear a chest plate to protect their chest of they crash. It's not that expensive, $40 to the ABA, American Bicycle Association, and she can race at any BMX track. It costs just a few dollars each week and she either gets a trophy or a ribbon if she comes in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. BMX is now an Olympic Sport so it is picking up in popularity.
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I don't know anything about Karate. But I am sure it could be something you try out for a month and see what you think, or just go and observe the class.
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I know this is long but we stay very active, the kids can choose for themselves as they get older but right now I want them to develop habits of staying active and busy. I am grossly overweight and was not until a few years ago, I played Softball in college until I had a knee injury, I can't run 5 miles every night anymore and I regret not being more active.
I will add some links aobut some of the above sports:
http://www.ababmx.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bmx
This is our track:
http://www.soonerstatebmx.com/
http://www.ymcasports.org/ittybitty.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnastics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumbling_(gymnastics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tee_Ball

at age four my twins wer ein ballet (i had buy one get one free so very cheap for me, and the costume was pricey, about 100 each otherwise i paid 45 a month for both at a very reputable place. all in all not expensive). same age they took tae kwon do. very expensive. it was about 180 for both a month then outfit then this and that, i paid over the roof. my kids got tired of ballet by the end so they didn't want to continue. we stuck with tae kwon do another year and quit when one of my daughters has a surgery. didn't go back. this year my children (almost 6) want to do soccer. i am all for european football so yayy. at least it will be interesting for me to watch. so that is it.

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