Gymnastics or Tumbling: Which Is Better for Your Kid?

As a mother, you may look for after-school activities for your child, so they can develop physical skills and make new friends. Two activities you might consider are gymnastics and tumbling, which look similar but have more differences than you may think. Read below to determine which is better for your kid.

Photo by Yan Krukau on

The Art of Gymnastics

When athletes perform gymnastic feats, they perform moves such as leaps, flips, and handstands. But when gymnasts perform these moves, they do so on a range of special equipment, including balance beams, parallel and uneven bars, and horizontal bars. People usually recognize this equipment from watching athletes perform at the Olympics.

The Art of Tumbling

Tumbling is a subset of gymnastics. Many even refer to it as “floor gymnastics.” The main difference is that athletes perform tumbling without the use of specialized equipment. Tumblers perform moves such as somersaults, backflips, or handsprings on a floor with tumbling mats that give them proper cushioning. Although you may see tumbling moves in floor routines in the Olympics, tumbling itself does not involve the dance elements of Olympic routines. You also generally see tumbling moves in cheerleading.

Make Your Choice

When deciding whether gymnastics or tumbling is better for your kid, let their age be your guide. If your child is particularly young, go with a gymnastics class since it is a better way to ease your little one into athletics. Their first sessions will mostly concentrate on teaching them to listen to instructions and be attentive. When your child gets older, they will move up to basic skills, including walking on a balance beam. Plus, there are many at-home exercises to improve gymnastics skills that make training easy. 

As for tumbling, it is better to wait until your child is older since it requires more strength. Furthermore, basic gymnastic training will help them in tumbling classes, so there is a natural progression of skill.

With this knowledge, you can make a more appropriate decision for your child. They may not become an Olympic athlete someday, but they will have fun as they make friends and stay active.

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