It still weirds me out that I have a five-year-old daughter. It just doesn’t feel like that long ago I was meeting her for the first time. And then all of a sudden I was planning a fifth birthday party. What the what?
Last year I decided I didn’t want to host birthday parties at my house anymore. Tee’s birthday is in early March which is usually too cold and wet to go outside, and that means keeping an unruly mob of excited kids busy in my house for the afternoon. So when we started talking about a party, I knew I wanted something that would get the kids moving and help burn off some of that endless five-year-old energy – somewhere else!
There’s a My Gym Children’s Fitness Center in my neighbourhood, and they kindly offered to save me from the stress and chaos of a home party by hosting a birthday party for Tee at their house.
If you’re not familiar with My Gym, they offer structured weekly classes incorporating music, dance, relays, games, special rides, gymnastics, sports, and more, to children six weeks through to ten years old. At the Langley location near me, they also offer perfectly planned celebrations specially designed for the child’s age and interests. Exactly what I wanted!
So we invited a bunch of Tee’s friends to come out and celebrate with us. My Gym staff Kayla, Emily, and Cynthia got the party started with a quick muscle stretch and warm-up, then some free play to the Frozen soundtrack. They led the kids in organized play and games interspersed with periods of free play. I loved how they adapted all the games to fit our Frozen theme. For example,they got out the bubble wands and set up a big floor fan to create a blizzard of bubbles for the kids to catch and pop. The kids LOVED this game the most and clamoured to play Snowstorm again! Again!
The staff set up swinging punching bags as gates for the kids to race through to get to the ice castle on the other side. Then the kids got to dance their little hearts out to the Frozen soundtrack, have a snowball fight with small rubber balls, and take a trip down the zipline.
The My Gym space is carpeted and has lots of child-sized equipment: climbing wall, bubble pit, ladder wall, trampoline, gymnastics horizontal bar, slide, plus various pieces of padded play equipment like a padded barrel that the kids took turns climbing into and getting rolled around the floor. Everything felt clean, comfortable, and in good repair. I saw staff wiping down equipment and generally taking care of the space.
What impressed me the most was how amazing the staff were at engaging all the kids in the fun. They learned every child’s name right away and paid careful attention to the group dynamics. They watched for any kids who seemed shy or nervous about participating and found ways to encourage and involve them in other ways. Nobody was ever left out, nobody had a tantrum. That’s one hell of an achievement for a group of kids like this!
I’ve attended lots of kids’ camps and organized events in my day, and I’ve never seen one this well facilitated. The staff were absolutely fantastic and kept the whole thing running smoothly. All the kids had an absolute blast! Tee wants to go again next year, and I overheard one little girl telling the other kids it was the “best party ever!”
After lots of fun and games, it was time for the birthday parade. The staff pulled Tee aside and decked her out with some flower leis, a flower crown, and a wand. Then they led the kids in a round of “Happy Birthday” as they pulled her around the room. This child loves being the centre of attention – she was in heaven!
All the kids were happy and engaged in the fun. The staff really focused on keeping the birthday girl in the spotlight without leaving the other kids out at all. Parents were able to relax, sit back, and chat or watch from upstairs while the kids had a blast. Our party was an hour and a half long which was lots of time to get everybody moving and laughing, but not so long that anybody got bored. For older kids, there’s an option to extend the party time to two hours for an extra charge.
My Gym has a separate party room space overlooking the play floor where parents can hang out and watch the kids enjoying themselves. This is where we moved to enjoy some Frozen birthday cake. We brought the cake, and My Gym supplied the table coverings, plates, forks, and napkins, all in blue to match our Frozen theme.
After the cake, the kids got in a few more minutes of playtime, then we all said goodbye and headed home. The best part for me? Tee had a wonderful time, and I got to enjoy it with her. I didn’t have to be the hostess, I didn’t have to organize the entertainment, and I didn’t have to do any clean up!
Follow My Gym Langley on Facebook and Instagram to be first to know about their new classes, contests, and fun promotions. Learn about the birthday party packages that My Gym Langley offers. Packages start at $185 ($210 for non-members) for up to 15 kids plus the birthday child. Contact My Gym Langley at 604-628-6567.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary party package for the purpose of facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.