In a time when the national obesity epidemic is talked about on a daily basis, it is important to get kids active at an early age. Rolly Pollies of WNY aims to start kids as young as six months to instill a healthy and active lifestyle. 

The infant program is just one of many programs offered at Rolly Pollies, but was one that I could tell owner Jim Fleckenstein loved to talk about. The program aims to help infants build their gross motor skills and strengthen their core for balance as they begin to explore walking. The group classes that include Mommy and/or Daddy often open parents eyes to what their young ones can do.  

All classes (offered at various age levels) are non-competitive and usually run in 9 week sessions with a specific curriculum. Class size is kept fairly small, working with a 6:1 ratio of students to instructors. Most classes max out around 20 participants to allow staff the chance to work with each student. 

In addition to all the gym classes offered for ages 6 months – 12 years, Rolly Pollies offers music and creative arts programs. During school breaks they offer short sessions to keep the kids moving, and offer other specialty classes & workshops throughout the year. They also have open gym hours where parents can bring their kids to play with any of the equipment in the gym ($10 – $15 per hour depending on age, $5 for each additional hour). 

One other great option for parents are their birthday parties.  Instead of trying to find a few hours worth of activities to keep a group of young ones occupied, Rolly Pollies offers the open gym and staff to help them with the equipment. 

They truly offer programs for all levels and work hard to not only give kids the time to exercise, but teach them about muscle groups, nutrition, and learning how to make healthy choices. Each class ends with a homework assignment where students are asked to keep track of healthy choices they made and then share them with their friends next week. 

I visited the East Amherst facility on Transit Road (they also have another location in Orchard Park) and was impressed by the colorful gym filled with so many wonderful pieces of equipment. Kids have the chance to work on the balance beam, trampoline, zip line and more. Rolly Pollies isn’t your traditional gymnastics program, they offer so much more for students and parents. 

“Rolly Pollies has really become a tight knit community.” Jim told me. “Families quickly become friends outside of the gym. Getting to watch kids come in when they were infants and still be with our program now makes them a part of our extended family.” 

For owners Jim & Danielle Fleckenstein, owning a business in Buffalo was an easy choice, it was home. After living around the country, they both wanted to move back to Buffalo to be around family and to start a family of their own. There were no other gyms offering the services they could provide in Western New York, so they moved back and have continued to grow for the past seven years!

You can find out about all the programs they offer on their website and stay in touch with them on their Facebook and Twitter pages. 

If you have children and want to get them on the right path to an active and healthy lifestyle, a call or visit to Rolly Pollies should be on the top of your list! Now, especially as the winter months tend to leave us indoors more, Rolly Pollies can open a whole new world for the young ones in your lives. 

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Pictures from around the gyms