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Twin Cities Parent-Child Classes: Good Enough Stuff

By Erin Garner

Tired of spending your days at home alone with the kids? Interested in meeting other parents with children around the same age(s) as yours? Well, how about signing up for a mommy and me class? Throughout the Twin Cities, parent-child class opportunities abound. And many of these aren't just for mom or dad and one child - lots of organizations offer family classes too. Here are some of my favorite mommy or daddy and me opportunities:

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes are a great way to interact with other moms/dads and children and to gain support and learn new skills for your parenting journey. These classes are offered through each city to parents and children (birth to start of kindergarten) and are taught by licensed early childhood educators. Visit www.ecfe.info to learn more about for metro area ECFE programs.

MacPhail Center for Music is a wonderful place to start teaching your child about music. Their Early Childhood Arts program provides classes for parents and their children starting at age six weeks. Classes are unique in that they teach music through movement, art, and books, in addition to hands-on use of instruments. Even my five month old son enjoys our family music class, which is for children ages six weeks through four years. Their other Early Childhood Arts courses are developed for specific age groups (such as 6 weeks-10 months, 10-24 months, etc.). Although MacPhail is one of the more expensive places for music classes, their classes are worth the price. We tried several other music education programs and they didn't compare to MacPhail's programs. Visit www.macphail.org for more information.

Foss Swim School is a favorite of my friends. If you've taken classes elsewhere, you're probably familiar with the joys of introducing your child to freezing cold water. That will not be the case at Foss. All of their pools are heated, which makes for much more comfortable swimming for mommy and baby. Their parent-child classes start at age 6 months and go up to three years. After that, your children can take classes on their own while you watch poolside! Visit www.fossswimschool.com for more information. The YMCA also offers swimming classes (although in a colder pool). Visit www.ymcatwincities.org for more information on their parent-child classes.

Edina Art Center offers a variety of art classes that parents and their children can take together. Courses include pottery, beading, mosaic and printing. Most of their classes are better suited for school age children and above, but some classes are appropriate for younger children and their parents. Visit their website, www.edinaartcenter.com for more information and class schedules.

JW Tumbles has two Twin Cities' locations offering Tumbles Tykes courses for parents and children ages four months to three years (there are four levels based on the child's age). They continue offering classes for children up to age eight on their own. My daughter and I enjoyed our tumbling class - it was a great way to burn energy and ensure a good afternoon nap! JW Tumbles' website provides information on their current class schedules and gym locations, www.jwtumbles.com.

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory offers unique classes for parents and children ages 4 years and up. You and your child can spend a night out learning about wolves around a bonfire; make breakfast for a tiger and learn about different types of big cats; or learn about different spices and how they are used. These one-time classes are a great way to spend time learning with your children. Visit www.comozooconservatory.org and click on the education link. The Minnesota Zoo (www.mnzoo.org) also offers cool family experiences such as family overnights for ages five years and up (you can sleep with dolphins, but not in the water). If science sparks your interest, the Science Museum of Minnesota (www.smm.org) has parent-child classes for children ages three and up.

Erin Erickson Garner is a writer and a specialist in maternal and child health. She currently is home with her two young children except for Saturdays, when she and her mom co-host the Good Enough MomsTM radio show on WFMP-Radio, FM107.1 in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, Things To Do, Twin Cities Picks,

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