Commitment issues stopping you from signing your kids up for extracurricular classes? What with kids’ fickleness and most classes costing around $20 a pop, it’s easy to understand the hesitation. Luckily, you and your youngsters can try many of them out for free before devoting time and money to something that, well, let’s just say might clash with your personality. Whether you have a budding gymnast, swimmer, chef or engineer, the following places let you give it a whirl gratis. For most, getting the freebie is as easy as signing up online.
Photo: Kidville Bethesda
Gym, music, art, dance and enrichment classes cater to infants through 6-year-olds. Enrichment classes include cooking, languages and STEM. Bonus: The Bethesda location also has a boutique and salon that also cater to kids.
Where: 4825 Bethesda Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
Children ages four months to 9 years can work on mind and body strengthening through eight different activities at each weekly class. In addition to tumbling, painting and dance, this place offers Family Yoga for parents and ch ildren to do together.
Where: 3223-B Duke St. (Alexandria, Va); 2499 N. Harrison St. (Arlington, Va)
No, not the Gymboree in the mall with the $12.99 and under sales we all covet. This is the gym part of Gymboree, although art and music classes are available in addition to physical challenges.
Where: Eight locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Great Play of Fairfax
Classes at this 3,000-square-foot gym focus on motor and sports skills plus fitness and coordination for ages six months through 10 years. The gym uses screen time to foster activity. The Interactive Gym involves six computers controlling eight projectors, a sound system and 12 sensing systems that encourage movement, aim and other skills.
Where: 11395 Government Center Pkwy. (Fairfax, Va)
Check out a Music & Movement class during which little ones ages six months through 5 years sing, dance, play musical instruments, do obstacle course and play all while learning at the same time. To get this free trial, call ahead.
Where: 442A S. Washington St. (Falls Church, Va)
My Gym has about 15 locations in the Virginia and Maryland area and caters to kiddos ages six weeks to 10 years. Sure there’s tumbling on mats, balancing on beams and bars, and strength work, but a favorite is the zip line – although there’s no promise that it will be part of the class you try out. It’s a special treat, not a staple.
Where: Multiple locations throughout the region
Photo: Goldfish Swim School
Goldfish Swim School
Just sayin’ — Ledecky and Phelps are local swim phenoms. To see if your kid is the next Olympian or just enjoys paddling around, new customers can try a class. Babies as young as four months can make a splash.
Where: 12340 Pinecrest Rd. (Reston, Va)
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy
The Gracie Bullyproof Program targets kids ages 5 to 13 and teaches them non-violent techniques to fight back against bullying. In addition to self-defense, the program also emphasizes verbal assertiveness and ways to stop threats without punching or kicking.
Where: 800 S. Hanover St. (Baltimore, Md)
This studio doesn’t offer free trials in the traditional sense, but there is an open house Sept. 8 through 17 during which potential students can try creative movement, African dance, ballet and tap, and hip-hop classes for free.
Where: 3225 8th St., NE, and 3305 8th St., NE (Brookland)
Music Together of Vienna
The basic premise of this program is that music supports all learning and that parents’ or caregivers’ involvement is crucial to furthering things along. Classes meet weekly for 45 minutes and are geared toward little ones ages newborn to 4.
Where: Multiple locations in Vienna, Reston, Herndon and Fairfax
This place offers tons of options, but only the Future Farmers and kids’ fitness classes have free trials. The former is sports basics for budding ballers as young as 18 months. (Call ahead for the freebie.) Fitness classes include kickboxing, yoga, bootcamp and Rollercise for fitness fans ages 2 to 12. (Check in with the front desk.)
Where: 14550 Lee Rd. (Chantilly, Va)
Photo: Flying Kick Fitness Center
Flying Kick Fitness Center
At this 20-year-old center, children as young as 3 can start training in tae kwon do and continue on through adolescence and even adulthood. Parents and/or siblings can get their kicks together through the family programs.
Where: 4711 Chase Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
This firehouse-turned-martial-arts-training-center offers kids’ classes in Muay Thai (kickboxing) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Kids as young as 4 can start learning the fundamentals of the Warrior Kids’ program, including character and physical education.
Where: 1041 S. Edgewood St. (Arlington, Va)
MEA Piano Studio
Tikes as young as 4 can begin to learn to tickle the ivories at this studio, owned by a graduate of D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Besides learning to read music, students also study music history and appreciation and work on skills such as improvisation and composition.
Where: 6210 Old Franconia Rd. (Alexandria, Va)
With six area locations and programs through other places, such as Kidville, it’s easy to find a place to check out the play-based immersion classes in Spanish, Mandarin, Chinese, Italian, German and French. Classes and programs are tailored to the toddler through fifth-grader set.
Where: Multiple locations throughout the region
This one is for wannabe scientists and inventors. During 10-week units, kids in preschool through fifth grade explore science topics through play, Legos, robotics and coding, depending on the age.
Where: 43135 Broadlands Center Plaza, Suite 123 (Ashburn, Va)
In Kiddie Kitchen, 2- to 5-year-olds learn cooking basics and take home a new recipe every week, while the toddler class (ages 1 to 3) focuses more on singing, dancing and art, and the preschool class (3 to 5) introduces subjects such as math, science, social studies and more.
Where: 1371-H Brass Mill Rd. (Belcamp, Md)
Are there any other kids classes that offer free trials? Tell us in the comments section below.