Once in a while we get a great opportunity – when we were asked to look at the new smart app for the book Head over heels about Gymnastics – Volume 1: Boys & Girls Floor Skills, we were thrilled. Both Stuntboy and Chatterbox have gymnastics awards so anything that mentioning head over heels gymnastics was something we wanted to take a closer look at. KiddyCharts are keen to find resources that introduce others to the joys of gymnastics, as well as developing existing skills. Clearly, the app is for kids though, so don’t worry – you won’t see me pulling any shapes in this review… *audible sigh from readers*
What is the head over heels gymnastics app and book?
Gemma Coles is the author of the book, and a gymnastics teacher, as well as a mother of three. She wrote the book, and is now producer of the new App which provides more interactive ways to give kids interested in gymnastics access to help on performing some of the basic floor skills within the discipline.
The App is an extension of the book, offering instructional videos alongside the diagrams which show kids how to perform a number of different gymnastics moves; from warm-ups and stretches, to balances, jumps and rolls.
There are even a couple of routines, and judging sheets for users to fill out for their kids – though my daughter was keen to get me to try some of the exercises, so we missed that bit out! ;-) The head over heels website offers more downloads for you to continue to develop the kids enthusiasm for the sport, including certificates and further judging sheets. Once you have run out in the book, there are more you can print out!
As soon as we downloaded the App, my daughter wanted to get stuck in, and naturally went for the most challenging of the stretches in the warm-up *eyes water*…
The wonderful thing about the app and book though is that stretches like this ARE possible if you work hard, and the app is designed to give your kids the tools to help. Not sure mums are meant to be able to do this though; well not this one anyway *too much chocolate* ;-)
What did we think of the head over heels gymnastics app?
This app retails at £3.99, which is cheaper than the book, yet provides a lot of functionality for its relative low price. There are videos along with each of the sections within the Smart App, which show each of the activities in a clear and concise fashion. The children providing the tuition are also not perfect which was wonderful for my kids to see:
“She looks like me, mummy.”
I actually think that this is really important, as it means that the children looking at the videos won’t be put off by the “perfection” of the stars. They will feel that the activities are attainable with practise.
The app is clearly set out, in the same way as the book. Enabling you to jump from the contents page to the relevant sections within the app. There is a list of sections available within a small menu bar at the top of the app which enables you to move easily around the book. You can also bookmark and share info within the app too.
We tried lots of the activities from jumps to shapes like this long sit….
…to some of the cartwheels – with me even being allowed to take a quick video of her trying a one handed one out before her gym class
We were most pleased with the candlestick, as she called it, which seems to have the official term of “shoulder stand”…
“That’s not what I call it, its a candlestick…”
That told me… ;-)
She was determine to try all of the different activities, and was keen to watch the videos too, to make sure she was doing her skills right. She felt it was a:
“Really useful and helpful app that gives good instructions to us. I like that there are lots of things to do too, and a routine. Can you judge me, mummy?”
Videos are accessed with the sheet for each tutorial, so very easy to use if, and when you need them. We used them on the iPad before my daughter’s own gym class – so you can have a go anywhere there is space. The judging section at the end of the app is perfect for the X-Factor generation, and I can see that being very useful for families to encourage their children, particularly in combination with the certificates on the website.
This is an excellent, informative app, which for those kids that are into gymnastics offers great opportunity to consolidate skills they already have. For those kids that aren’t into gym, the £3.99 price point is excellent, and provides a wealth of resources for kids to learn a new skill. The price makes it accessible to many who perhaps can’t afford the more expensive gym classes that are available. This means that kids that perhaps wouldn’t have been introduced to gymnastics have the opportunity to learn, through the app, from a top gymnastics coach. Sometimes it is hard to know what sports a child will stick to as well. This app offers a way for introducing kids to the gymnastics ideas, and if they are keen; perhaps a class would be the next stage to develop that interest.
The book complements the app, but isn’t necessary for understanding, particularly with the videos that are available in each section:
This is a still from one of the videos (on cartwheels), and as you can see there are pointers even within the videos to help kids understand. The only downside is the length of time that the app takes to download through WiFi – don’t do it on 3G or 4G. I would expect this is because of the video content, but it probably took us 20 minutes to download in total, though I know my internet connect isn’t necessarily the fastest.
Overall, we would recommend this as a great app for kids and parents to help encourage children into gymnastics, as well as consolidate skills they have already learnt.
We were provided with the head over heels gymnastics app for the purpose of this review; all opinions are our own. And my daughter really is this bendy… ;-)