Friday, January 28, 2011

Gymboree of Forest Hills - Play & Learn Class Review

(EDIT: Please see my third and final Gymboree of Forest Hills review where I fall back in love with the place. So fickle, so fickle... but trying to be as honest as can be!) 

(EDIT: Please check out my Gymboree of Forest Hills - Review Part Deux too. I found some things to gripe about of course!)

I've been wanting to take Andrew to a mommy and me type class for a while now. It can be so hard to meet and get together with moms of other kids in the winter (especially when its always snowing and the standard apartment in the neighborhood is itsy bitsy), so I took him over to a free trial Gymboree Play & Learn class in Forest Hills last week. I'd heard mixed reviews of this particular Gymboree location and class, but Andrew really loved it and--as I'm a sucker for seeing him have fun--I bit the ($300) bullet and signed him up!

My little one just turned one year old and has been walking for over a month (the time has flown!), so he was in a Play & Learn 3 class with kids ranging from 10-16 months. The 45-minute class consisted of a number of group activities--rolling on a big ball (most of the children hated this one), making music, singing songs, blowing bubbles, playing with a big parachute, etc. The other children in the class were super-involved, but seeing as it was Andrew's first class, he just wanted to explore the wonderland of a padded play space (and the plugged-up electrical sockets of course).

If you check out the gallery on Gymboree of Forest Hill's Facebook Page, you can check out the play area and the downstairs music and art studio. While not humongous, the space actually is fairly large and isn't as small as the photos make it out to be, and Andrew had a ball tearing it up. There are tunnels to crawl through, ramps and stairs to climb, and balls to throw around. The only thing that got me about the space is that some of the electrical outlets, while plugged up, did seem like they were old (but I am neurotic when it comes to this.)

Each class is led by a teacher (they all seem to be young aspiring actors/musicians) and we had Miss Amanda who was very nice and extremely adorable. Miss Amanda also updates the Gymboree of Forest Hills Facebook page, which is a good place to find out about weather cancellations, upcoming parties, etc.

Lets get down to the dollars and cents of it: The class is $109/month for one child with (what I believe to be an uneccessary) 3-month minimum sign up period. The one-time registration fee is $40 bucks and the whole package includes free daily 45-minute open gym play sessions. The open play sessions are important to me because I could not otherwise justify paying basically an adult gym membership fee for Gymboree. If you sign up before February 28th, you'll also recieve $50 to use toward the class fees, $50 in Gym Bucks to use at Gymboree retail clothing stores (note: you need to buy $100 worth of goods to get $50 off; $50 to get $25 off), and a free set of Gymboree's super long-lasting Bubble Oodles.

The bottom line for us? We're going to enjoy playing at Gymboree until it gets warm enough for us to head outdoors. By the time it gets cold again, Andrew will be more secure in his walking and we'll be able to hang out in free indoor play places (McDonald's, etc.) and save ourselves a lot of money. If you've got the cash, though, or are in the same situation as us, I'd definitely reccomend you give Gymboree of Forest Hills a try. At the very least, you'll have had a free day of fun if you do a trial and you'll have checked out a great place to host an indoor birthday party for the under five set.

For more about Gymboree and their numerous locations in NY (and beyond) visit


  1. Holy cow. Our Gymboree classes in the Midwest are $56 a month! Both of my girls have loved the class and it's helped so much with their social and physical development. We always take a break in the summer, too. ;)

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  2. Geez! That's pricey! I always wanted to take my oldest to one of those classes and now my youngest but just assumed that it would be way more then I was wanting to pay.

    But, at least for the next three months - your little guy will have somewhere to run and play without getting hurt!


  3. We took my 3 year old for a trial class to the one in forest hills when she was almost 1. I didnt like it. it actually really turned me off to gymboree.

  4. Thanks for the comments! I am so jealous of the Midwest prices. One of the Gymboree teachers actually mentioned to me that the rent for the FH Gym is actually super high--so I think they must be transfering that cost to us. Gar!

    And, Cindy, I can totally see where you are coming from. We recently had a dud of a teacher who made me feel that I had made a bad decision in commiting to the three months. Luckily, we just transfered to another class this week and we're having fun again!

  5. Yes, prices are high but not just because of rents. Salaries, energy costs, advertising, etc. all contribute to higher NY prices.

    And our three month minimum? It takes many children up to 6-8 weeks just to adjust to classes. The 3 months give parents time to see what children can actually learn by attending classes. We see so many children, children that could really use the Gymboree experience, taken out of the program because they were not performing up to parent's expectations by week four! It broke our hearts. Just like us, our children need time to feel comfortable.

    We're so glad you are coming to Gymboree! Soon you will see that we are so much more than a playground. Although Gymboree is a great place to let go of a little energy, we also concentrate on cognitive, social and emotional activities, all designed to support and encourage your child's developmental growth. I'm sure you will see real positive growth in your child in so many areas as you progress through the level program. As well, you will make many loving friends and memories. Make sure you take some pictures and visit facebook to get the song lyrics so you can sing your heart out with your baby at home!!

  6. Thanks for your comments, Mary Ann (to this post and the "Part Deux." I love how positive you are even to criticism. We really do enjoy going to Gymboree and value your comments.