One of the many benefits of being in this job (along with the constant supply of coffee and lovely view of the Inch), is that I quite often find out what’s happening locally at an early stage. I’ve known about Adventure Circus (Perth’s very own circus school) for a while, their adult beginners' classes are on my radar for when I’m feeling a little fitter and less like Coco the Clown.
A few weeks ago I came across their brand new ‘Circus Tots’ class, held on Friday mornings down at their base near Inveralmond. Freya, my own 2.5 year old Monkey (in every sense of the word), knows no bounds at the moment when it comes to climbing, swinging and generally flinging herself off things, so I knew she’d love it.
There’s two classes for different age groups, one at 10-10.45am for 0-3 yrs, and the other 11-11.45 for 3-5 yrs. The premise is to provide a fun class where kids and their parents can explore some of the apparatus and skills used in the circus in a safe environment, and silliness is actively encouraged! They’ve designed them to be a way for you to enjoy some bonding time, while children develop their balance, co-ordination and strength.
Class begins with a sing song, where some of your favourite nursery rhymes have been given a circus twist, although so far Freya has been so keen to get going that she’s more likely to be found circling the equipment at this point (despite her athleticism she still has her mother’s run - a bit like a t-rex doing a fire walk).
The instructors Jo & Rachel are both experienced working with young children, and they’ve been great at making sure activities are tailored for each little one’s stage. There’s usually one main activity happening at a time, where one of the instructors stays, while the other encourages free play with an unlimited supply of circus toys; juggling balls, red clown noses, bean bags, scarves, bubbles, you name it…they’ve got it!
Getting to use the HUGE silks that hang from the ceiling has been great fun; there’s lots of ways to tie them so that the kids and/or adults can get in for a swing, spin or good old game of peek a boo. If you’ve ever watched a circus performer and wondered how they manage to accomplish those amazing aerial feats while holding onto just a bar or a bit of cloth, there’s a good reason. Underneath all that Lycra performers are usually incredibly fit, and while there’s no expectation for parents to be in any way acrobatic you’re encouraged to get as physically involved as you'd like to.
We all know that physical activity is good for us, but there’s actually some science behind the circus. In partnership with the Ecole National du Cirque in Montreal, Dr. Dean Kriellaars (Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Manitoba) researched the impact circus skills have on physical literacy with some very encouraging results. They found in their study that children who were given instruction in circus skills had improved upper body manipulation skills (catch & throw), lower body movement skills (hop, skip, jump etc.), body control skills and balance.
After 45 minutes of activity both Freya and I are ready for a snack and a nap, and the staff even invite parents to stay for a cup of tea and a biscuit. It's been one of the most social classes we've experienced, and as always lovely to meet other people in the same boat!
Adventure Circus do LOADS of classes for different age groups, so if you’re looking for something different to get your kids involved in (or tire them out!), then get in touch with them here>
£24 for four classes, £18 for three classes or £8 for a single class. Email email@example.com for more info or to book.
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