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More about Activities and Classes
We love activities for our children!
There are so many benefits for both you and your children and you can start from when they are babies and continue up to school age and beyond.
One of the main reasons many parents go to activities is the chance for you and your children to socialise with other local parents and children. It's never too early to start!
With all activities and classes we advise calling beforehand to check times and costs. Some activities have a waiting list or require advance payment so, again, worth checking! Also ask if you can come along to try the class before committing to a number of sessions.
And please check out our guide of 10 Free (or nearly free) things to do!
We hope this gives you a feel for the different activities available. Have fun!
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Before your baby even arrives there are a huge choice of classes and courses to help your physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy.
To keep active you could try aquanatal classes or pregnancy yoga. To help understand the changes to your body during pregnancy and get all the facts about labour and breastfeeding you can contact your health nurse or local Community Health. Plus, there are now courses you can attend that focus on the emotional journey to parenthood.
Baby disco is a great way to introduce your baby and young children to different genres of music and dance. It's a great social event and good way for parents to meet other parents and children to meet new friends. Dance is a great form of exercise for you and your child. Baby Disco is a family event so the whole family can join in, dads included.
Suitable from birth, baby massage gives your baby the most precious start in life. Regular massage with your baby has been proven to help with a host of infant issues such as colic and sleep, as well as helping your baby's developing body systems to thrive. Infant massage is also wonderful for parents to bond and communicate with their babies even from the early days. Baby massage can be taught individually or in groups, which means it is also a lovely way to meet other parents with their babies and make life-long friendships.
What is baby signing? Babies typically use all kinds of signs and gestures as a natural part of learning to talk. Encouraging your baby with extra signs like milk, more, change nappy or tired will help your baby communicate. Learning baby signing in a class is fun for both you and your baby and is a great way to meet other mums. Baby signing is wonderfully rewarding and many classes combine signing with music which adds to the fun! You will be amazed by what your baby is capable of telling you before being able to talk. It is a lovely activity to do with your baby and which has the added benefit of encouraging their speech development.
A great all round activity that helps you also meet parents in the local area. They are often run by volunteers and held in church halls and other community buildings. They are also very good value and are sometimes free. Refreshments are usually provided. They usually provide a good assortment of toys and have other activities such as painting or craft available. Expect to finish with some songs! Read more here about Baby and Toddler Groups.
Baby Yoga teaches gentle soft stretches and yoga inspired movements that can assist your baby's neural development and build his or her sensory-motor skills. Practising baby yoga from the early days can also help with a host of issues such as digestion, colic, immunity and sleep. Attending a baby yoga course is also great for mothers to get back into shape safely as it will include gentle post-natal stretches for mums. Baby yoga classes will also give mothers and babies the opportunity to genuinely relax - perhaps the most precious gift in the early days of parenthood!
Older children can learn basic yoga techniques to focus and stimulate your children. Yoga can improve concentration levels, better sleep patterns, greater self-esteem and a stronger immune system.
Junior Master Chef has a lot to answer for! A great way for your little one to learn about food and the joy of cooking - and of course eating! They introduce difference ingredients and simple cooking techniques in a fun way with no cleaning up on your part! For slightly older children (3years +)
Dance is a wonderful way to introduce your babies and children to physical activity, whilst promoting good manners, behaviour, discipline and self respect. Your child will learn basic skills such as balance, agility, coordination and rhythm whilst increasing their self-confidence and having lots of fun!
Classes are equally suitable for boys and girls as both can benefit enormously from dance and movement. Boys love to dance and have fun just as much as the girls! Read about Leanne Stojmenov from The Australian Ballet's start in ballet here.
Drama, dance and singing are proven to help build confidence and social skills in all children as well as being lots of fun so don't think these classes are just for little starlets. Traditionally for slightly older children (usually 4+), there are also lively and colourful sessions for babies and toddlers that can help developments such as crawling, walking and talking. Some offer a free trial session to try out the class.
An early opportunity to learn football-inspired skills as well as developing fitness and co-ordination. Equally as relevant to boys and girls!
We're told that the younger you learn a language the better and languages will now be part of the primary school curriculum. Some classes start as young as 2 and 1/2 years and include action songs and games to make learning fun!
Gymnastics and movement classes for little ones often feature soft play equipment, climbing apparatus and structured games and activities. There are even classes for tiny babies which feature sensory exploration and gentle movement designed to stimulate baby in new ways. Some classes are offered in community venues and others take place in dedicated gymnastic centres.
Usually from 3+. A good riding school will help build riding confidence and respect for the horses.
Learning a new language at any age is an enormously rewarding and enriching experience in many ways. Children understand intuitively that language is something to explore, to play around with, and to enjoy. Their enthusiasm is both infectious and effective. You can find a specialist to teach your child a language in a group class or club or through an online program or home tuition.
These are usual free sessions and introduce your children to books with the aid of songs and actions.
As your child becomes increasingly 'into everything' there is no better way to nurture their curiosity and need to discover than through art and craft messy play sessions. These fun and often-educational sessions provide safe 'hands on learning' about the world around them with no stress or mess for you. Your child will be able to experiment with a wide range of suitable tools and materials, and explore painting, pasting, sand play, water play, printing, threading, modelling and return proudly home with a unique masterpiece!
Young children love to run, jump, hop and skip, crawl, slide, swing and spin. Pre-schoolers are curious, impulsive explorers, learning all the time and in their early years most of their learning is connected to movement. Movement to music classes allows children opportunities to explore what, where and how their bodies move. In addition to the child’s physical development, co-ordination and body control, creative movement classes encourage children's, language, colour recognition, number work, and social interplay skills. Dancing to music develops sensitivity to sounds, melody and rhythm. The use of stories and songs allow children an outlet to express feelings and emotions through gesture, movement and dance. Adventures through imaginative movement and creative mime make learning enjoyable and fun. Early exposure to the active class environment helps children acquire skills and attitudes that will stay with them through to their adult life encouraging a healthy physical lifestyle.
Music classes vary but generally they introduce children to music in a structured way. Children learn songs with actions and use a range of music instruments suitable for the age group. Some classes also incorporate dance and movement.
It's important to take time for you after your baby is born and one of the ways to do this is by attending postnatal exercise. You do need to ensure that your Doctor has agreed you are physically ready to start exercising again but the postnatal exercises will help ensure you don't over do it! There are even classes available that you can do with your baby and your pushchair!
Pottery Painting combines fun with a making a lovely present for family members! You can start with doing baby handprints and footprints on plates and then let older children just have fun painting a piece of art! You will treasure these items forever! Most studios cater for very young children and often provide refreshments aswell.
In a similar way to football, rugby will help with physical and social development. And even at this young age basic skills of running, kicking a ball and catching can be developed. This is quite a new type of activity for this age range but growing in popularity.
Sensory play is crucial to baby learning and development from birth. Sensory play fuels healthy brain development and is an essential component for normal intellectual and physical development. Parental interest and involvement in the play enables babies to develop important social and communication skills that will help them throughout their lives. Parental interaction also enhances the baby’s drive to repeat the pleasurable activity, which drives learning forwards.
Everything is learned through sensory play. Mouthing, for example teaches the baby about taste, smell, temperature, size, shape and weight. Handling a toy stimulates curiosity, imagination, decision making and the thinking skills necessary for later success in the classroom and the workplace. Rich sensory play stimulates a positive attitude towards learning and gives babies the best developmental tool for the future.
A good place to burn off some energy! Soft play Centres or Activities Centres are usually at a permanent location and cater for a wide age group with specific area for young children. They have a range of climbing equipment, slides, ball pens and may also have play houses. Usually they have a café for you to relax in!
Somewhere around your child’s first birthday, they’ll amaze you with their first word. Chances are that word will soon be followed by a second and a third word – and before you know it, your little one will be chattering away so much you can hardly get a word in edgeways! However, new research shows that almost half of all children arriving at primary school don’t have the communication skills they need to learn effectively.
The good news is that it’s possible to boost your child’s communication skills and social confidence through the right combination of encouragement, play and practice.
Kids soccer is an easy to learn, safe and fun programme to introduce your child to sport. It provides a great introduction to ball games for little ones that is fun and social. Soccer is the most popular team sport in the world and can be enjoyed by boys and girls.
There is a wider range of general sport and fitness classes than ever before including aerobics classes and introduction to sports of all kinds. Encourages an interest in physical activity at an early age and develops fitness and co-ordination.
A child is never too young for stories. Bringing a story to life through imaginative play develops a young baby's language, concentration and listening skills. As their personalities start to blossom, stories will fire their imagination and inspire their pretend play.
For generations children learned about their world through oral storytelling, but it isn't just a thing of the past. Taking part in a storytelling or dramatic play session will delight your child and inspire you... that's not a buggy you're pushing... It's a magic carpet!
Introduce your baby or children to swimming at an early age. Swimming classes will start to introduce water safety and build confidence. Some classes even offer underwater photography which will capture a truly unique moment in your baby's development!
Walking is the perfect way to introduce your children to the great outdoors and provides entertainment, education and physical activity all at the same time! Anyone can go from babies to grandparents as our beautiful countryside holds something for everyone and there are a multitude of walks suitable for pushchairs, papooses and little legs. There is nothing to stop you taking the baby out for a walk from birth and this is a great way for new mums to regain their pre-pregnancy fitness. Or use up some of your toddlers boundless energy exploring parks and reserves. There is always plenty to see and do on route from spotting trains to feeding ducks and it's all for free!