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.
Usually from pre-school age up, these classes introduce early academic subjects like maths and reading in a fun way to keep little ones interested. Click here to find Academic Classes in your region now.
Before your baby even arrives there are a huge choice of classes and courses to help your physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy. Click here to find courses in your region now. To keep active you could try aquanatal classes or pregnancy yoga. And to help understand the changes to your body during pregnancy and get all the facts about labour and breastfeeding you can contact your health visitor or the NCT.
Art & Craft / Messy Play
The benefits of sharing creative play with your child are well documented, it builds many of the essential core skills, including problem, understanding their world and social skills which all help to build a strong foundation for each developmental step.
However, it can be tricky providing your baby or toddler with hands-on arts and crafts activities at home. As busy parents we can all struggle with ideas, time or energy. We totally understand this. In fact, that’s precisely why The Creation Station was established - to give you quality, fun, creative experiences with your child in a safe, nurturing and friendly environment.
Now you can help to inspire you children through weekly award winning ‘Baby Discover’ for 6 months to 14 months and ‘Little Explorer’ classes for 15 months to 5 years the perfect solution for all your child's creativity needs, with no stress or mess for you! As well as this, these weekly session are so much fun! Not only do you share some great creative fun with your child, the classes are very social and full of laughter and giggles too! Click here to find classes in your region now.
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. Click here to find dance sessions in your region now.
Suitable from birth, baby massage 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.
Imagine if instead of screaming your baby was able to tell you exactly what was wrong or what they wanted. Using simple sign language with your baby could open up a window into your child’s mind. Moreover you will learn a beneficial skill and entertain your baby!
The most frequently asked question about this growing phenomenon is “will signing with my baby inhibit their speech?” Research shows, that in fact the opposite is true - baby signing provides a platform for your baby to develop language and it also reduces frustration. Look at it this way - signing and talking is similar to crawling and walking – they don’t carry on crawling once they’ve learnt to walk!
Meet like-minded parents and experience for yourself the benefits and joys of signing with your baby. Click here to find Baby Signing groups in your region now.
A great all round activity that helps you also meet parents in the local area. 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! Click here to find toddler groups in your region now.
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! Click here to find sessions in your region now.
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. Click here to find sessions in your region now.
A great way for your little one to learn about food and the joy of cooking - and of course eating! Introduce difference ingredients and simple cooking techniques in a fun way and no clearing up. For slightly older children (3years +). Click here to find classes in your region now.
Young children love to run, jump, hop and skip, crawl, slide, swing and spin. Pre-schoolers are curious, impulsive explorers and in their early years most of their learning is connected to dance and movement. Dancing classes give children a chance to explore 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. Early exposure to this type of activity helps children acquire skills and attitudes that will stay with them through to their adult life encouraging a healthy physical lifestyle. Click here to find dance classes in your region now.
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. Click here to find drama classes in your region now.
An early opportunity to learn football-inspired skills as well as developing fitness and co-ordination. Equally as relevant to boys and girls! Click here to find football classes in your region now.
French and other languages
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! Click here to find language classes in your region now.
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. Click here to find gymnastics groups in your region now.
Usually from 3+, and a good riding school will help build riding confidence and respect for the horses. Click here to find courses in your region now.
These are usual free sessions and introduce your children to books with the aid of songs and actions. Click here to find Library Activities in your region now.
Dancing and physical movement is suitable for any child as it improves both physical and mental well-being, releasing endorphins which are the body's natural 'feel good' chemicals, helping maintain physical fitness as well as helping to prevent and combat obesity and diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in later life. Allowing children, mainstream or special needs, to learn through music, movement and mime is of fantastic benefit. Click here for a class in your region now.
Music classes are an excellent way to keep your child amused and focused, building vital skills for the future. Classes are highly educational, great fun and everyone makes new friends!
Widely recognised 'cult hit ' - Monkey Music classes are a now rite of passage for thousands of families across the UK. Monkey Music classes are: Aimed at 4 separate age groups, taught by highly trained teachers, and are based on our award winning Monkey Music curricula. To book your first FREE class visit www.monkeymusic.co.uk and search for your local venue. Click here to find music classes in your region now.
As forerunners to "big school" these groups help your child's transition to school. Often held in community building, you can usually leave your child for around 3 hours in the care of OFSTED registered groups. A lot of pre-schools and play groups are charities so you could even get involved on the committee with fundraising and supporting the day-to-day running. (WO4LO founder, Sam Willoughby, does this and learnt a lot about early years education of her daughter)
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! Some classes are available that you can do with your baby PLUS pushchair! Click here to find courses in your region now.
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. Click here to find courses in your region now.
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. Click here to find classes in your region now.
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.
An environment rich in sights, sounds, scents, tastes and touch experiences encourages babies to explore and experiment, which builds independence and confidence. 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. Click here to find a local class now.
Soft Play/Activity Centres
A good place to burn off some energy! Soft Play 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!
Speech and Communication
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.
It is however possible to boost your child’s communication skills and social confidence through the right combination of encouragement, play and practice. Click here to find classes to help with speech and communication in your region now.
Sport and Fitness
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. Click here to find courses in your region now.
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. Exploring a story through dramatic play at preschool and school age allows children to problem solve, cooperate and most importantly, in this multimedia day and age, play in a safe, fictional world with their peers. 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!
Water Babies, the UK’s leading baby swim school, have plenty of experience when it comes to baby swimming. Water Babies is the only programme accredited by the Amateur Swimming Association and includes the National Plan for Teaching Swimming. Some tips for you:
Babies can swim from birth. We recommend getting them in the water as soon as you feel ready to do so. Drowning remains the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK and we want to beat this! From birth, get into the bath with your baby and let them experience the benefits of water whilst in your safe embrace – it is a magical experience.
The recommended water temperature for babies over 12 weeks or 12lbs is 30 degrees. Under this age or weight, babies need to swim in a hydrotherapy pool (between 32-36 degrees). Don’t be afraid to call the pool to ask. You will know if your baby is cold as their lips and finger nails will go a blue colour; if this happens, get out of the water and warm up your baby under a warm shower or by cuddling them. To avoid any leakages, we suggest all little ones to wear a double nappy system consisting of a disposable swim nappy or reusable equivalent, with an over nappy on top. Wetsuits are also available. To find out more check out www.waterbabies.co.uk. Swimming is a lifeskill to be enjoyed by all the family. Click here to find swimming lessons in your region now.
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 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 secret woods and hidden glens - and it's all for free! Click here to find courses in your region now.