I was invited to attend a Tots Play Discovery Tots session at the Linskill Centre in North Shields. Kelly, the class leader, had told me that Discovery Tots was for babies aged 8 weeks to crawling, and that the 40 minute session would be filled with fun activities to appeal to all of baby’s senses.
Noah is a really attentive baby, and seems to take in everything as he sees the world. I had a feeling he’d really love that kind of play time, so we were excited to take part in the session.
When we arrived, Kelly immediately welcomed us and showed us to a space on the mats. As Noah lay there and checked out the other babies in his line of sight, I noticed there was plenty of parking for buggies in the room, as well as chairs to sit on for feeding baby (or for nannas to come and sit on during the session!), and space to go and change babies if need be.
The class opened with a Hello song, where we welcomed each baby to the session. The words were all on a card so that you can join in once you’ve got the tune sorted.
Then we moved on to do some lovely yoga moves, with lots of music and movement for the babies. The class leader, Kelly, has a doll to demonstrate the moves. The doll is slightly more cooperative than wriggly children!
Kelly then invited parents to pick cards with signs on, and she demonstrated those signs before we all sang songs to the babies, including the signs. I know from using baby sign language with James, that signing pre-speech is a fantastic method of communication for babies. I remember going to see James in the middle of the night, and he would sign “milk”, I’d give him milk and we’d all go back to sleep more easily than the days when we didn’t quite know why he was crying. It also doesn’t really matter what your sign looks like, as long as you’re consistent and always use that sign to mean what you want it to mean.
We then sang a song to incorporate all those signs, plus a few more. Then we all moved over to the sensory play area to explore shiny objects.
After a while of crinkling the space blanket and feeling ladles, we moved back over towards where we’d started, though Kelly had rearranged the mats so that the babies could go off on an adventure together… under the sea!
The parents all held a chiffon blanket above the babies, and wafted it up and down to take it closer and further from the babies. I loved the little fishes and plants in the blanket.
Then Kelly walked around and around the group with a bubble machine. Bubbles are just brilliant aren’t they?!
To conclude the session, we sang a goodbye song. Going to a group with a hello song and a goodbye song in the past, it’s a really nice thing to have a clear beginning and end to the classes.
All in all, the Tots Play class was really fun and friendly. Kelly was welcoming and the other parents were chatty too, so it’s a good place to go for some socialising time for you and baby. There was a good range of short activities, so there was little opportunity to get bored, and if your baby doesn’t like one thing, it’s ok, you’ll be moving on to something else soon!
But what really struck me was that there were lots of ideas for things to do at home with baby, which is brilliant. The price is really reasonable too, at £12 for three trial sessions, and then £5 per session for the rest of the half term. Get in touch with Kelly on Facebook or through her website (link at the top of the page) if you are interested in Discovery Tots or any of her other sessions.