As a full time mummy, knowing what classes are best to take Eric to has been a huge learning curve. He is a toddler who never likes to keep still so finding a class with the perfect balance of free play and time where he needs to sit and focus has been tricky.
I started taking Eric to Baby Sensory when he was four months old and, although at first it was a little difficult (read more about that here), as he grew he started to get so much out of being there. And by the time he was on the cusp of being too old, transitioning him on to Toddler Sense seemed the logical step.
And now I don't know where we would be without it as part of our routine. It's something we both look forward going to each week and afterwards Eric is absolutely knackered (which is a huge bonus).
So - if you have a little one of a similar age and you're looking for a new class to go to, here are five reasons why I love Toddler Sense.
1. It's Run With Enthusiasm
I'm not saying other classes aren't, but our class leader at Toddler Sense works her socks off during our session and we're only the first of the day. How she finds so much energy is beyond me. But she puts in 110% every week, interacting and engaging with the children, singing her heart out and leading the activities with vigour. And this enthusiasm is infectious. Before you know it you are sitting there smiling and humming away and having as much - if not more - fun as your toddler. And because all the adults are there having a good time, this rubs off on the children. The atmosphere is infectious and you just can't help but be in a good mood (even if your child is constantly running as far away from you as possible.....I'm looking at you Eric!)
2. It's Okay If Your Child Doesn't Join In
So let's talk about that. You know how I mentioned that Eric doesn't keep still? Well at Toddler Sense that's okay. Because he's surrounded by children of a similar age doing exactly the same. It's expected. And the room is set up in such a way that it is pretty much safe no matter where they run. You find yourself catching the eye of the parent next to you and stifling a laugh as if to say 'here we go again'.
The set up of the space we are in at our class also means that even if Eric does run away and has no interest in going back to the main activity, there's plenty of room for us to do our own thing not to far away. Whether that's watching, dancing, or more likely me stopping him from trying to rearrange the furniture. There's no judgement and no embarrassment. And ultimately, the session is so interactive that they absorb everything irregardless of what they are doing.
3. It's Different Each Week
This isn't your average soft play session ... oh no! Every week we have been to Toddler Sense it has been a different theme, with a slightly different room configuration, different toys and equipment and different directed activities. You step into the room each week not knowing just what to expect and it's a feast for your senses. Your toddler never gets bored by seeing the same things and there are naturally going to be weeks that appeal more to them depending on their interests.
4. It Tires Eric Out
A slightly selfish point but I don't care. Eric needs his naps and taking him to Toddler Sense each week is an absolute guarantee that he will get one. He's running around so much and so engaged with everything that afterwards he is just zonked. It'a brilliant. He usually nods off in the car and I gently carry him upstairs when we get home where he carries on sleeping for at least another hour, meaning I get to have a hot coffee and a sit down in peace without being dragged around the house.
NB: I've clearly just jinxed myself by making this point, so I'll get back to you with if this is all still true!
5. Toddlers Learns Through Play
You may just think this is all about playing but it really isn't. Eric learns so much from going to Toddler Sense. From how to interact with other children to independence, understanding his own limits, listening, tidying up, and even getting involved in a bit of risky play. It also lets toddlers direct play for themselves and because everything is open I'm not frantically following after Eric wondering where he's gone. I leave him to it and stay a step or two behind so that I'm there for him to interact with should he want to.
Do you and your little one go to a Toddler Sense class? Let me know what you think of them and leave me a comment below.Images: c/o Toddler Sense North Liverpool