Rugby Tots – For the love of F.U.N
Make exercising more fun, make learning more fun, make developing crucial skills more fun – at Rugby Tots everything is just more fun!
Ever since Aryan’s birth I have been hunting down fun and exciting extracurricular activities for us to do together. It all started with moms and babes when Aryan was about 4 months old, and I really got to experience the incredible bond we formed together while he got to play, learn, develop, and socialize, and mama got to take a breath and build incredible friendships with moms in and around my area. Ever since then we have done it all together – Moms and Babes, Clamber Club, Funky Kidz, Zumbini, Swimming Lessons, Dance Classes, etc. all of which played a huge role in his development as well as the special bond we share as mother and son.
So when we entered a new season in our lives, I went on the hunt for yet another fun extracurricular activity, but this time I wanted something different and unique, and definitely something we haven’t tried before. Then the advert of Rugby Tots popped up on my Facebook feed and I immediately knew that this was our next adventure together, and it has been such an amazing experience thus far!
So what is Rugby Tots really?
Rugby Tots is a fun, innovative rugby program for toddlers between the ages of 2-7 years old, with classes divided into different age groups (2-3.5 years old, 3.5-5 years old and 5-7 years old). Each age group consists of fun, structured play sessions that takes the children on a journey of sporting imagination, with engaging and energetic coaches supporting them every step of the way whilst teaching them how to catch, pass, kick, run with a ball as well as play as part of the team. BUT that’s not all, Rugby Tots is so much more than your average rugby program, since they also teach our kids much more than just ball skills. Rugby Tots also teaches our toddlers about different shapes, colors, numbers, counting and how to listen to and follow instructions while they are having fun and staying active – it’s a win-win in every aspect.
Why I believe Rugby Tots is an incredible program for toddlers
- It Develops Gross Motor Skills, hand-eye coordination, and ball skills.
Your toddler will practice his/her gross motor skills such as kicking, throwing, running with a ball, crawling, jumping and so much more as he/she tries to complete the fun and exciting obstacle courses, and follow the coach’s instructions on how to kick the ball over the mini rugby poles, throw the ball through the hoop, jump like a bunny or squeeze the ball into the ground. Other than that Rugby Tots also helps to develop hand-eye coordination, as well as ball skills in your toddler.
2. Develops listening skills and the skill to follow instructions
Your toddler will slowly start to learn how to listen to and then follow multiple instructions at once, as the coaches shout out instructions that need to be executed by your toddler. “Run and squeeze your ball in the blue hoola hoop”, or “run with your ball and go stand on the red circle” is just a few of the instructions given to the little rugby tots on a Saturday morning.
3. So much more than just a ball game
What I love most about Rugby Tots is that they also focus on other important skills such as teaching the little ones about colors, shapes, and numbers. This may seem small and futile but is in fact incredibly important, since this helps our children to describe the world around them, which opens up new and exciting avenues for verbal communication – our world is literally made up of colors and shapes. It also teaches them to sort and classify objects around them, all of which are cognitively complex tasks for our little ones. At Rugby Tots they are taught all of this while they are playing and having fun, and that is just amazing! Learning through play is so so important for our little busy bodies at this stage of their lives.
4. Develops their social skills
At rugby tots they get to play and learn while being surrounded with kids more or less their own age. This provides the opportunity for them to socialize with each other and build new friendships. Things like a team haka at the end of the class and clapping for our friend’s achievements also encourages teamwork in our toddlers and makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
5. An opportunity to bond with your toddler
The youngest class requires full parent participation, which offers a fantastic opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your toddler. If you are not busy running around with them, you most definitely will be busy holding their water bottle or encouraging them from the side line.
6. Encourages independence and builds self-confidence
Independence is also an important skill that our little ones need to be taught, and Rugby Tots helps a great deal with that. Just like teamwork is encouraged, Rugby Tots also encourage our little ones to work independently. The coaches are amazing and engage with each child on an individual level as well, and I have truly seen such an improvement in Aryan’s independence since the beginning of last term . Aryan loves the coach’s energy and he tries to impress him with his kicks and passes just to receive the awesome reaction from his coaches. They truly start a fire of excitement within each child that cannot be described in words. Rugby tots also helps your toddler to develop self-confidence and a positive self-esteem.
7. Positive Reinforcement
Rugby Tots include a lot of positive reinforcement which I think is great. Each child receives their very own sticker chart to stick to the fridge and after each and every training session receive a sticker that they can stick to their chart. For every 10 stickers on their chart they receive a special prize ranging from a sports bottle to an awesome Rugby Tots jersey. The kids love to stick their sticker to their chart and see it fill up, but even more so they love it when all their friends clap hands to say well done on a good training session. Each training session also has a “player of the week” award and every child gets a turn to receive this encouraging reward. Last but not least Rugby Tots have also introduced a progress report for each child to help track your child’s development throughout the term.
8. A Fit toddler = A Happy toddler
At Rugby Tots your toddler exercises without him/her even noticing it. Exercise is so important in young kids since it not only helps develop your child’s movement skills, but is also develops muscle strength which helps reduce risk of injury, decreases body fat, keeps their bones strong, improves cardiovascular capacity, enhances self-esteem, increases concentration and alertness, boosts energy levels and so much more! There are so many benefits to having an active, fit toddler.
9. Fun for everyone
Although rugby specific skills are gently introduced through Rugby Tots, the program is really suitable for everyone! They use equipment that are specifically designed and selected for toddlers, such as soft, colorful and bright sponge foam balls, mini rugby poles, bright and colorful shapes and hoola hoops, etc. Rugby Tots sessions are also non-contact based which means it’s safe and fun for girls too.
10. Mom gets a break
Not only does mom get an opportunity to meet other moms, and build new friendships, but mom also gets a break when – 1. coach takes over, because your toddler is way more interested in impressing the coach than old, boring mom and 2. After class, because a nap is mandatory! A long, effortless nap, because exercising, playing and learning might be fun, but it can also be exhausting (wink, wink). Nothing better than having a toddler get rid of all of his/her excess energy on a Saturday morning.
All-in-all this extracurricular activity really exceeded my expectations and I am so excited to watch Aryan grow and develop while doing what he loves. Rugby Tots is really extraordinary and the love and passion that the coaches have for these kids shine through in everything they do. Term 4 of Rugby Tots start this coming Saturday, so come and join us and see for yourself at Rugby Tots East Rand! To read more about Rugby Tots or to find a class near you just tap on the link -> https://www.rugbytots.co.za.