Head over heels about Gymnastics is a set of DVDs and written books that introduce gymnastics skills. I was sent a copy of Volume 1: Boys & Girls Floor Skills to try out with my littles. Please note I was given this product for the purpose of review, but the opinions here are entirely my own.
We were thrilled to have the chance to try out this product as the Littles love to practice their gymnastics moves in the back garden, but they don’t really know what they are doing so I am always worried that they will hurt themselves. I have spent time looking up gymnastics moves so I can at least prevent injury, but Head over heels about Gymnastics has done all that for you so you can get cracking learning some new skills and having great fun whilst doing it.
I should say from the get go that the Head Coach featured in the DVD (whose brain child this programme is) does explain that this is not meant to replace formal gymnastics coaching, but rather support it by allowing continuing development and practice at home with the photos and examples on the DVD to remind the children how to execute the moves correctly.
My girls are only two and have not started gymnastics yet so we very much stuck to the basics. The boys are doing gymnastics at school each week so were more familiar with the movements and able to get more stuck in. As the weather was so good last week we tested this out in the garden and so largely relied on the book and photos/ descriptions of each movement, but I watched the DVD in advance so that I would be clear on what needed to be done. One of the great things about the Head over heels about Gymnastics volume 1 is that you don’t need loads of space to do it. I would recommend not doing it on a hard floor as of course when trying out new moves you are likely to fall. We have artificial grass that is padded underneath and I put down foam mats as well so felt we were well protected. Our garden is small and we had four kids getting stuck in.
I have to say I found that you can use the book independently of the DVD as the pictures are really clear and the explanations very straight forward. We didn’t get to the more complex moves like a one handed cartwheel, but I think at that point the DVD would probably be more essential. I like the idea of having both options though so that you can be a bit more flexible about where the activity takes place. You can buy Head over heels about Gymnastics on ebay, online bookstores and Amazon. I have included product links below. These are affiliate links so if you click on them I will receive a small reward from Amazon, but this does not affect the price you pay at all.
The DVD format and filming isn’t anything fancy, but it honestly doesn’t need to be. The presentation of all the skills is done very professionally and as the viewer you can clearly see what the gymnasts are doing. The coach changes the position of the gymnast so that you get to see different angles and also points out where things could be improved. In some instances she has younger children do more basic versions and then more experienced gymnasts show how to progress and perfect that move. I liked this as it means that the children got to see kids their own age doing the moves and then also see the perfect form. However, I really liked the book more than the DVD as it was just great to be able to work through it at our own pace and not have to keep pausing the DVD. I think we will use that more as a reference tool, but will use the book every time we run the activity.
Now here is genius part of the book…. it stands up on its own! This means you can just glance over at the next move and that my elder son who can read was able to move onto the next move without having to wait for his sisters who needed more help an instruction. Such a great idea that really added to our ‘pretend’ gym class vibe as I could act as if I knew what I was talking about and I was being ‘Coach Mummy’ which they found very entertaining. Not as entertaining as the fact that I couldn’t do most of the positions whilst they were bent like pretzels though….
In our first go at using Head over heels about Gymnastics we concentrated mainly on stretches, shapes, headstands and forward rolls. The kids had such a lot of fun and I have to say I did too. It worked brilliantly as an activity that we could all join in with. The older boys (7 and 5) used it as a great opportunity to show off to me and their sisters as they already do gymnastics at school and so are clearly experts (they are experts who were very camera shy that day too and they refused for me to take their pics) The girls were all in on the photo front though!
It was a really great activity for the toddlers too which was perfect for me as it can be hard to find things that they can all do together. They loved doing the jumps and trying to make the shapes. They were able to do a forward roll by the end of our activity so skills were learnt. I could also see how the exercises and shapes they were trying would really help to strengthen their core and develop their balance systems if we keep doing it.
All in all I think that Head over heels about Gymnastics is a great fun way to spend some time being active with the kids. We loved it and I know we will use it again and again. It was an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon in the garden with the kids and it felt far more productive than the usual ‘let’s pretend we are power rangers’ games. It got us all moving and doing something active together which is perfect. We also laughed a lot whilst having a go. Mostly they laughed at me trying to demonstrate, but I will take my kids doing something active whilst being happy and laughing any day of the week – even if it is at my expense. I would totally recommend giving Head over heels about Gymnastics a go if your little ones are enthusiastic about gymnastics, but you don’t know a lot about what is correct form or if you just want to have a great fun time with your littles doing something positive and active. Do take care though and heed the advice from the Head Coach – supervise your littles when they are doing this and as with any exercise be cautious when trying new skills.