When considering structured playgroups, you will invariably learn of Gymboree or Little Gym. Both franchised programmes, each with multiple branches, are available in Bangkok, offering classes that enhance a child’s development. What is the difference between the two?
For children ages 0 to 5 years, Gymboree offers a combination of physical play and learning, encompassing Play & Learn, Music, Art and School Skills classes. Each features age-specific activities that focus on and support specific developmental milestone, from sensory explorations for infants to cause and effect, two-way communication, imaginary play and linguistic skills for growing babies.
Catering to kids ages four months through 12 years, Little Gym provides a range of activities in a gym-like setting, with zip lines, gymnastics equipment and open areas for running, tumbling and flipping – with aim of augmenting a child’s overall development. Compared to Gymboree, which has a focus on babies and toddlers, Little Gym is more suitable for growing children.
As for cost, Little Gym charges an annual membership fee of 3,200 baht per child, while Gymboree requires a one-time payment of 6,000 baht. Both offer different class packages; the more classes you buy, the lower the cost per class. A single class at Little Gym starts at 650 baht for babies and toddlers up to 3 years, and at 710 baht for kids 3 to 12 years old. At Gymboree, the most basic 12-class package, which is valid for 3 months, is 9,600 baht or 800 baht a class.
Based on parents’ comments from our Facebook community forum, Little Gym offers more space for the development of a range of skills, as well as greater opportunities for independent movement. Its classes also get particularly active kids to expel a lot of energy – a good thing! Gymboree is great for developing gross and fine motor skills and early language skills in 1 to 2 year olds. However, classes can get crowded, as there is no limit to the number of nannies and family members that can accompany each child. Also, Gymboree groups are quite structured, which may not be ideal for very active tots.
Still not sure? Gymboree and Little Gym both offer free trial classes (which must be booked in advance), so you can see which offering best suits your child’s temperament and needs.