Even the tiniest babies enjoy music class, so this is often the very first Mommy & Me experience parents sign up for. Fundamentally Music is a perennial Houston favorite, thanks to reasonable prices and a super-flexible make-up schedule.
They've got three convenient locations across Central Houston: Bellaire, the Heights and Upper Kirby. The curriculum comes from the national music education program The Music Class. Weekly classes last 45 minutes; a typical day includes singing, dancing and playing with sensory toys such as colorful scarves or tiny musical instruments (all sanitized between classes). You can choose from two kinds of classes: mixed age Music Pups (4 months-4 years) and babies-only Music Infants (4 months-14 months). Free demo classes are available at all locations.
2. Little Gym and Gymboree
When babies get more mobile, many moms add gym class to their schedules. The two major options in Houston are national franchises Little Gym and Gymboree. The prices are comparable, and both offer convenient schedules, flexible make-up policies, and free open gym time when you sign up for a weekly class. Little Gym, however, might offer a more convenient location for your family. If you're in Central Houston, attending Gymboree means dealing with Galleria traffic each week. Little Gym locations are more conveniently located in neighborhoods such as Bellaire and the Heights. In the suburbs, both franchises have multiple locations—so check here and here to find the closest for you. All Gymborees and Little Gyms offer a free trial class, so check out both and see which you prefer.
3. Baby Swim at Swim Jim
SwimJim stands out among Houston's swim schools by offering free swimming lessons to babies eight weeks to six months. During these 20-minute classes, babies get familiar with the water, spend time on their back and tummy, and get the opportunity for some physical bonding with their caregiver. The student/teacher ratio is 8 to 1. As babies age out of the free classes, they can move up through a three levels of (paid) swim classes for babies and toddlers.
4. Parent and Me Dance at The Houston Ballet Academy
Is there any better place for your little one's first dance class than the nationally-renowned Houston Ballet? Parent and Me classes for two-year-olds encourage mental and physical development, focusing on muscle strength, coordination, rhythm, social skills and more. Parents sign up for a semester of weekly classes at a time.
5. Baby Sensory
Sensory stimulation is widely acknowledged as one of the best ways for babies to learn about and explore their new world. Baby Sensory offers unique experiences that bring together many of the activities available in other Mommy & Me classes. These sessions, which vary each week, incorporate activities such as infant massage, music, sign language, exploring scents and textures, exploratory play, tummy time and social play. A toddler class is also available.
6. Baby Toddler & Yoga
Thanks to the Houston Public Library, your baby or toddler can attend weekly yoga classes absolutely free. These 30 to 45 minute classes are available at several library locations, including the Central Library downtown, the Heights Neighborhood Library, and the Carnegie Neighborhood Library. For dates and locations, search for "baby yoga" (up to 18 months) or "toddler yoga" (18-36 months) in the library events search here.
Who says Mommy & Me classes have to be all about your baby? These stroller fitness classes are designed for women with stroller-aged children, including pregnant and postpartum moms. The 60-minute classes combine cardio, strength and core; while you sweat, baby hangs out in the stroller. Classes are available at multiple locations all around Houston.
Mommy confession: I totally failed at teaching my newborn baby sign language. It sounded interesting while I was pregnant, but then came the nursing and the naps and the diaper rashes... and learning signs dropped to the bottom of my agenda.
If this sounds like you, consider some baby sign language support through classes at Words by the Handful. In these small weekly gatherings, babies learn sign language through songs and music, while parents learn how to incorporate sign language into their daily routine. If you have a group of moms lined up, Words by the Handful can travel to your home for private classes.
Want to splurge on a one-of-a-kind Mommy & Me experience? Studio June is a unique, lovingly-designed space that hosts a variety of Montessori-inspired classes. The "Bake With Me" class is particularly fun (and tasty), offering toddlers age 18 to 36 months the opportunity to try a new recipe each week with their parents. Participants work with special tools made for tiny cooks and learn to collaborate with other children to bring recipes to life. The class is offered in English or Spanish. Or, for a more affordable alternative, check out a one-time holiday cookie baking class.