With kids, signing-up for more than four classes of beginner ballet, language or music lessons is the definition of long-term commitment. Thankfully, these local, hip studios have free introductory classes where your tiny dancer can practice a proper pirouette or hone her martial arts moves before you shell out the big bucks. All you have to do is call ahead and register your spot for a free first class. Read on for the scoop before you sign on the dotted line.
Gymboree Play & Music Center
Whether your little one wants to tumble, sing, act, or dance, Gymboree has you covered. Creativity reigns free here so kiddos can play till their heart’s content and you’re ready for nap time. With classes like Family Music, where whole gang can sing and dance around with tambourines, to Art, where little hands can create the next masterpiece for the National Gallery, and even Sports, where kids can learn racquetball, volleyball and even golf, Gymboree has enough fun stuff for even the pickiest of kiddos. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2639 Connecticut Ave. NW #113
photo courtesy of Gymboree
Mini-maestro’s in training can listen, sing, dance, and learn the scales of music at Music Together. The teachers will take your child’s natural enthusiasm for moving, shaking and making noise and guide them towards a lifelong (hopefully!) love of music. They can beat on drums, shake maracas, dance in circles and just enjoy being a kiddo in a world full of beautiful noise.
100 E. Windsor Ave.
photo courtesy of Music Together
Boing.Bounce.Tumble.Repeat. If this sounds like your kiddo then Kidville Bethesda might just be the ticket to containing their excitement and channeling it towards something constructive. Gym, art, music, dance and enrichment classes offer a variety of super fun activities that all kids love. For those of us with multiple little ones, it helps to have everyone’s activities in one place, so maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a few minutes of peace and quiet…at least until they beg for ice cream when they’re done.
4825 Bethesda Ave.
photo courtesy of Kidville
Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts
Every so often something so incredibly cool comes along that one free class won’t cut it. Crazy 88 MMA is just that sort of awesome, and they offer a free 30 day trial to find out if your little ones can kick some MMA booty. Classes focus on discipline, strength, encouragement, and respect which means there’s no need to fear that little Johnny or Sarah will only want to body slam their stuffed animals when they get home from class. In fact, Crazy 88 MMA helps to prepare kiddos to face real life scenarios with dignity and grace. So don’t be surprised when those video games start to gather dust and your little MMA warrior starts acting like Mr. Miyagi. Wax on, wax off.
7024 Troy Hill Dr. Suite L
photo courtesy of Crazy 88 Martial Arts
Little xenophiles will love checking out the free class at Language Stars. Whether they dream of Paris, yearn for Berlin, or are just in love with Asian fusion cuisine, kids can test out French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, or Arabic classes designed specifically for their tiny (but ever expanding) minds. Parents can tag along to the tots classes, and then watch in wonder as the fluency progresses through the ages.
6224-C Old Dominion Drive
photo courtesy of Language Stars
Capoeira might be the hottest thing we’ve heard of in a long time. Combining dance, acrobatics, music and martial arts, it’s a UNESCO protected cultural heritage from Brazil. For kiddos who love everything about well everything, Capoeira might take little miss and mr to the front of the line at the cool awards. You could also win most awesome Mom (or Dad) ever. roda Movements let your little one move and shake for free (sweet!) before committing to an intense and exotic training regiment.
7014-A Westmoreland Ave.
Takoma Park, Md
photo: soaringbird via flickr
Ballet de Volee
Sometimes, there’s nothing cuter than a little girl in a leotard and tutu. But since said girls can often be finicky (as are boys) Ballet de Volee is the perfect place to try out some pirouettes before signing up for a season long (often 3-6 months) repertoire of arabesques, brises, and plies. Whether or not your little one dreams of being the next Mikhail Baryshnikov or Anna Pavlova, Ballet de Volee will offer classical ballet training to help foster a love of ballet and proper technique to tiny dancers everywhere.
215 W Montgomery Ave.
photo: Brad Greenlee via flickr
Know a studio that offers free classes that you’ve tried before? Share them in the Comments below!
— Hilary Riedemann