What?: What indeed. The first time I happened across this class on the Hoop app I actually loled, such was my amusement at the prospect of doing aerial gymnastics with my one year old. To be honest it was less about doing it with her and more about doing it at all, bearing in mind my total lack of physical coordination, complete absence of upper-body strength and paralysing fear of injuring myself – and I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about heights either.
Despite being called Mum and Baby Aerial, the session was advertised on Hoop as being suitable for infants aged 0-24 months and their adults, though when I checked Flying Fantastic’s website post-class it said it was designed for babies up to 18 months. No one said anything when I rocked up with my 21 month old, though for the first half hour I was the only person whose child wasn’t fast asleep in their pram.
Unlike Flying Fantastic’s Mini Flyers session for 2-4s, the Mum and Baby class is much more geared towards parents, with babies given mats and toys to distract them while their mothers dangle around like inebriated bats. Bab, being Bab, had little to no interest in sitting on a mat or playing with actual toys but was peculiarly well-behaved, spending the duration of the class emptying and re-filling packets of baby wipes, playing with the one other baby that made an appearance and only getting slightly in the way of everything that was going on overhead.
Given that the only aerial work I’d done prior to this class involved tuning the TV, I have to say I found a lot of the moves pretty challenging. The fact that the other three mums had been going to classes for a while and were all really good, coupled with all four babies’ freakish placidity meant that the class was a bit more intense than you might expect of one you can take your child along to. That said, the teacher was so lovely and accommodating I managed to repress the traumatic school PE lesson flashbacks and even flipped upside down for about five seconds before I got the fear and had to return to Earth.
Where and When?: Classes take place on Thursdays from 9.45 to 11am at Flying Fantastic’s flagship location at 229 Union Street. Southwark (Jubilee) is a three-minute walk, Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee, Waterloo & City, mainline) is nine and Blackfriars (Circle, District, Thameslink, mainline) is 13.
Best Bits: Admittedly I don’t get out much but this was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I particularly liked the bit at the end where you wrap yourself in your sling and just hang there like a pupating moth.
Worst Bits: We did this four days ago and I’m still in quite a lot of pain, though I reckon if we went every week I’d be absolutely ripped by Easter.
Facilities: Baby changing, showers, lockers, buggy parking, step-free access.
Cost: £20 for a single session; cheaper if you buy blocks of classes.
Would We Come Back?: While I’d love to I’m not sure we will since Bab is technically too old, although we are going along to Mini Flyers this week.