When I started watching the Gymathics DVD, it was just me and the dog in the living room. It didn’t take long for curiosity to draw the girls in, though. (What’s Mom doing, watching a video during math time?)
The dog was excited to see me doing the warmup stretches along with the video. It looked to her like the kind of stretches that take place before getting out the leash and going for a walk. Walks (along with meals) are the high points of her day. She wagged her tail and brought me her stuffed toy just to let me know she was interested.
I kept following the moves on the television screen. The dog didn’t, of course, but she plonked herself down right beside me to offer moral support. Before long, however, Middlest had joined me and was doing the warmup stretches while commenting on the mathematical relationships pointed out in the video. The warmup stretches were easy, even for this out-of-shape mama.
The video doesn’t really teach basic math concepts, but works well for review or reinforcement. We’re talking about lines, simple geometric shapes, patterns, place value, and some skip counting. The math facts target young learners in Grades 2-5. I could see where doing the exercises every day brings a playful attitude to math. In addition, incorporating gross motor activity has been shown to help dyslexic children to learn letters and sounds–why not math concepts?
– warmup stretches, incorporating lines and shapes
– aerobic exercise, such as jogging in place, air punches and kicks, along with counting
– step patterns (sort of reminded me of aerobic dance routines), with a discussion of different types of patterns
– strength training, including pushups and crunches
– cooldown stretches; no math here, but lots of brief statements related to healthy living and positive thinking
Middlest commented often during the video when a move resembled something she’d learned in her Pilates class. I noted elements that could have been taken from a number of exercise classes I’ve taken over the years, including aerobic dance, calesthenics, water exercise (without the water) and stretches.
Neutral background music
Instrumental music accompanies each segment, appropriately peppy or soothing as suited the exercises or stretches. Middlest found the peppy music annoyingly repetitive, but she finds repetition annoying in any event. The first part of the video seems to be set in a small room, while later segments are on a deck in front of a beach setting.
As if to emphasize that the video is appropriate for all ages, there are one or two girls and two boys exercising on the video. They range in age from a little girl (preschool or early elementary) to high school aged boy.
Our girls were enchanted with the little girl on the video, and just a little disappointed that she wasn’t in the segment with pushups and crunches. I wondered if some exercises were age appropriate? In addition, the exercise leader performed a different kind of pushup than the others, and her crunches looked different. It might have been nice to have an explanation of different levels of intensity, or alternate ways of doing the exercises, perhaps in an “additional feature” on the video.
Cheerful role models
The children on the video show varying degrees of coordination and ability, which is reassuring to the klutzes among us. They’re also good sports, high-fiving each other at intervals when called to do so by the exercise leader, and performing all the moves with good-natured smiles.
Gentle, beginner-level workout
The 30-minute workout is appropriate for a range of ages, and gentle enough for someone just beginning an exercise program, though of course the video includes the caution that you should check with a medical professional before beginning an exercise regime.
The Exploracise® Gymathics® DVD is available for $24.99 from the Exploramania website (see link). A second DVD is due out soon, with a higher intensity workout and math facts targeted at students in Grades 4-7. You’ll find other products combining math, exercise, and concepts for healthy living at the website.
Click here to read more TOS Crew reviews of Gymathics.
Disclaimer: TOS Homeschool Crew reviewers received a free copy of the Gymathics DVD for personal use. TOS Crew reviewers receive no monetary compensation.