Themes aren't just for preschoolers and holidays events. They are a brand identifier and a child motivator!
As a coach or administrator, finding an overall theme for your classes can have a significant impact on the experience a student has in your program. It's a thread that ties together all the steps or progressions, from start to finish, and helps show people they are on a truly fun path of learning.
A great theme will inspire, and even help kids find an identity.
Take NINJA MONKEYS, for example. The program is designed for boys AND girls, and for kids preschool through jr. high and beyond. Since that's the case we had to find something ubiquitous, loved by all kids, and easy to mold into a complicated athletic program.
So we chose NINJA ANIMALS as our theme! Cheetah, panda, even a ninja owl! From little dudes through "too cool for school" tweens, everyone loves animals, so we started shaping everything we do around the idea of "how do we animal theme this..."
We went through all of our curriculum progressions and renamed skills into "turtle rolls" and "starfish cartwheels". We created animal themed rewards for kids who displayed great character or reached bench marks in their training. We put animals in our proshop and lobby, on our instagram, and on our coaching shirts. Our classes even start with animal walks!
Check out this video to see how we incorporate our animal theme into our advanced tumbling concepts!
It is because of this full commitment to the theme that kids LOVE being a NINJA MONKEY, and identify with it as a piece of who they are as a young person. They ninja, and they are a monkey. Our gym lobby is buzzing with parents talking about "monkey this and cheetah that", and how their daughter's little brother or sister can't wait to be a monkey.
It all ties back to brand identity and mastering your message. What do you want kids (and their parents) to feel when they experience your classes and business? And how can you lean into your theme even more? Posters, floor decals, camps and parties...
Here are just of few ideas for themes in your business:
THE OCEAN: I've seen swim schools use this, but could work for any business!
COLORS: Many gyms use this as a theme with great universal appeal. Join our "Purple Class" sounds more fun than "Level 1".
THE JUNGLE: Great universal colors with an immediate connection to adventure.
OUTER SPACE: Exploring the unknown and reaching for the stars is something that inspires all kids.
MYTHICAL FANTASY: Dragons and unicorns, wizards and trolls could be SO MUCH FUN! Be mindful of playing into gender identifications with princes and princesses (not every little girl wants to be a princess), but all kids can go on an adventure for the Dragon's gold!
If you've got a rockin' theme (another good one! Rock n' Roll or music!) I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment and, as always, thanks for the read!