Most mornings I wake up with two clear goals in mind: 1) make it to bedtime with both kids fully intact and 2) do whatever it takes to make sure they are authentically tired when their heads hit the pillows. I am ashamed to say it took me more than a year to discover Flipz, a Columbia, Missouri location that caters to mothers who share my goals.
On a normal day Flipz appears to be a high-end gymnastics facility – the kind that might call itself an academy. But on most Friday mornings (occasionally on Thursdays and sometimes in the evenings) they let the amateurs take over. (They update their website regularly, so you always know when a Fun Day or Fun Night is scheduled.)
Flipz Fun Days are seriously, seriously fun. The entire gym is open with no restrictions. The responsibility lies with parents to help their children make good choices and, boy, are there a lot of choices. From balance beams and parallel bars to trampolines and rope swings, all kids can find something to love.
The gym is large enough that it truly can absorb dozens and dozens of children, so don’t let a packed parking lot make you nervous. My children and I always find a space to explore and some equipment to climb, jump or swing on without feeling crowded.
I love watching my kids create new games for themselves or master new skills while burning a ton of energy. I love throwing them through the air and watching the expressions on their faces, the perfect mix of thrill, fear and delight as they fly into the giant foam pit.
It seems that most parents, including me, allow their children free-range while they are in the gym. In general, this works out surprisingly well. However, on occasion, things seem a little more dangerous or chaotic than even I am comfortable with. Usually this is just a result of older kids (in the 5 to 8 year range) not recognizing their need to tone it down a bit around the toddlers and pre-schoolers. Ultimately this is the parents’ responsibility and if I am there, I am quick with a dirty look or even a direct confrontation. (Yes, I am THAT mother.) So please, if you really just want to chat with your friends and not pay attention to your kids, head to your local park, or stay in your own backyard. The things that make Flipz awesome also require that parents are fairly vigilant.
Now that I have made my plea for better parenting, I must insist that all responsible parents check out Flipz. Your kids will love you for it.
And if by chance you see my kids there and they are misbehaving, feel free to confront me. In all likelihood you will find me stuck in the giant foam pit and you will have to help me out before you can give me a dirty look.
Flipz USA, 900 Hillsdale Rd., Columbia, MO 65201
Fun Days are $5 per hour, or $8 for a full two hours. All kids younger than 6 are welcome, no charge for kids that are not yet walking.
Fun Nights include childcare and cost $15. Fun Nights are open to kids 4 and older.