As you know we’ve been a fan of Tots Play from the day we signed up for the local Baby Development Course. We loved the local leader who was incredibly supportive and has nurtured a fantastic local Facebook group for local mothers who have met on her courses. We went from Baby Development classes, to Discovery Tots and then briefly Social Tots before my maternity leave ended.
Now that I’ve returned to work it’s been difficult to commit to regular classes so we’ve been experimenting with a few organised activities in our local area, the new offering from Tots Play being the latest.
Action Tots is designed for 2 – 4 year olds and aims to teach balance, coordination, gross and fine motor skills – all important for their development and overall fitness. It does this through through games, song, yoga, and equipment like balance bikes. The ultimate goal is to set your preschooler on the path of being able to ride a bike. This really appealed to me as not only have I been a fan of Tots Play for a while, I can’t ride a bike myself. An unfortunate accident resulting in a fracture and a nasty wound when I was ten put me off. I didn’t get back on a bike until I was in my mid twenties and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. It turns out it’s not “just like riding a bike” after all.
We initially signed up for a trial of two sessions, and then half a term to get a better feel for the programme. Only recently two, my little one doesn’t always do well with organised activities, wanting to do his own thing much of the time. Like many toddlers, he can get a little overwhelmed too. The option to initially book for two lessons before committing was very attractive as a result. I also saw on Facebook that they use the same type of Balance Bike that our son has, so I felt confident that we’d be able to practice at home and get the bike set up properly. He hadn’t used it much and I wasn’t that confident with what he should be doing with it either.
Each class is around 45 minutes long. There’s an initial warm up of songs and games, followed by mini circuit stations with various activities to work on balance and coordination. You’ll recognise much of the kit here – bean bags, wobble boards, tunnels and more. There’s also craft type activities to build on concentration and dexterity.
As the kids work their way around the stations, the class leader (Amy in our case) takes a couple of the children for a go on the balance bikes.
There’s also songs, parachute play and bubbles which our little one loves! It’s also nice to see “Totsy Monkey” the Tots Play hand puppet appear at this class too. If you’ve done any of the Tots Play classes you’ll recognise him instantly, as well as the welcome and goodbye songs.
We attended the class in Newport, and found it to be very welcoming. The class leader, Amy, is a former primary school teacher and clearly understands how to communicate with children and understands their development. The venue is bright and airy and perfect for the class. Half the room was set up for stations and the other as a riding area, but it didn’t feel in any way cramped.
The only reservation I have is more about us than the class which I would wholeheartedly recommend. Small Boy is only recently two and isn’t quite ready or open to play that is too structured, so while he enjoyed himself, he didn’t participate for much of it. That isn’t a reflection on Action Tots though, it’s more a case of trying it at the right time for him. The other two and three year olds there love it and are definitely at the stage of listening to an instruction and running with it. We haven’t quite decided whether we will continue for now or take a break until Small Boy is a little older. We’re probably about six months away.
So does it get the thumbs up from me? Absolutely. Classes are held throughout the UK and can be found via their online search.