gAther your kids and get ready. The Little Gym is coming to Olympia. Children from 4 months to 12 years old will be able to participate in all kinds of lessons and fun activities. Franchise owners Melissa and Christopher Lilley are transforming what was previously Sizzler Restaurant into an exciting hub for the community. “Being able to provide a safe place for families to come and have fun together is a priority for me,” says Melissa. With three children of her own, Melissa knows firsthand the importance of developing physical and mental skills for children.
The idea for a small gymnasium was born while living in Fayetteville, North Carolina, when their eldest daughter, Emma, was little. Christopher was busy with his military work and had little time with Emma. The two were heading to the nearby Little Gym on Saturdays. “It was awesome,” recalls Christopher. “I worked a lot,” he adds, and their time together brought them closer together.
The family moved to Washington in 2015, and the couple wanted to put their growing family back in a similar predicament. “We joked that we should open one,” Christopher says. Without talking to his wife first, Christopher applied for a franchise. It was a huge surprise for Melissa when he revealed the news that they had been approved!
It’s not like the Lilley family is running out of things to do. “I have a business,” says Christopher, who is an Amazon delivery service partner. It has a large team of drivers and 40 trucks that deliver over 4,000 packages a day, seven days a week, throughout western Olympia and Tumwater.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom,” adds Melissa, who has a background in child development.
Pandemic restrictions and home schooling with three young children (the youngest is three) were enough to handle, but now she is set to do more. Melissa took the reins as director of The Little Gym.
“Three weeks after the birth of our youngest, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Melissa, adding, “It really highlighted the importance of memory opportunities for people. She knows the power of going through all the small steps with your children. In addition, that year, Melissa benefited from the support of her community. “You need a village,” she says. Melissa wants to create equivalent experiences here. “I also want to provide for those who have no community of their own,” she says. The idea of young mothers meeting with their children, talking about their experiences and making friendships is heartwarming.
The facility in the gymnasium will be complete with mobile equipment and of various sizes. There will be many carpets for tumbling and seating. There will be large and small gymnastics equipment with balance beams, uneven bars, rings, donuts and more. Kids will be able to play instruments, sing songs, roll around on the floor, and play games with qualified instructors. Young people are also introduced to communication with sign language.
Classes will take place Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. and on Saturday morning. Members can book birthday parties for weekends and afternoons. Parents can expect to have their own night with Parents Survival Night on a Friday night once a month where your kids stay in the gym and you can do other things.
Getting kids moving and playing is great for the brain. Motor skills are improved and children learn to interact with others. The Little Gym is designed for the physical and mental enrichment of children, and you can also add that it is useful for parents. Qualified instructors run non-competitive programs that include gymnastics, dance, and other sports. There are parent / child classes. Kids will learn self-confidence, and best of all, it’s fun.
“We want to create these memories,” says Melissa. A new season of trust, friendships and fun begins soon. The Little Gym at Olympia is looking for full time and part time instructors. “The little gym has an awesome workout program,” says Christopher.
The Little Gym is thrilled to support the community and will be participating in events such as the upcoming Lacey Children’s Day on Saturday October 2nd.
For more information on registration, you can call or visit The Little Gym’s website or The Little Gym’s Facebook page.
The small gymnasium
3315 Pacific Ave, Suite A2, Olympia