When Hayden was about 6 months old, we started at baby sensory classes. I hadn’t planned on going to them before to be honest. I had heard about them and thought it sounded a bit naff but I thought I’d give it a go after my fellow antenatal mums and babies signed up. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, Hayden loved it and so did I.
So much so, that I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to give Austin the same experience, now having the 2 of them to look after. However luckily there was a class close by than ran on a Friday in the Bristol East area when Hayden was at nursery.
I was slightly apprehensive about it this time as I didn’t know anyone beforehand and feeling a lot less confident in myself since Austin. I needn’t have worried, everyone is so friendly, I soon made some new mummy friends and we stayed and chatted with coffee and cake in the cafe next door afterwards. Abi our class leader is lovely too, really enthusiastic and great with the babies.
In case you don’t know already Baby sensory is a class for babies from birth-13 months designed to stimulate baby’s senses and help develop movement and learning.
The sessions are 1 hour-long and divided into 3 parts roughly; initial songs/activities, followed by exploratory play and then back for a few more songs/activities.
Each week there is a different theme, including rainforest, under the sea, music, woodland. With Hayden some of my favourites were the Halloween, superhero and teddy bears picnic theme weeks.
The themes Austin and I have been to include music, woodland animals, under the sea, party and the rainforest.
The session always starts off with a song called “say hello to the sun” and is accompanied by signs that are easy to pick up. Be warned though you will find yourself singing it for months afterwards!
After “Say hello to the sun” song, it’s onto a themed activity. The activities are often a sensory mecca, combining singing, with different textures, sounds, smells and lights. Austin is always captivated by everything that’s going on, especially if it involves lights.
Activities can include instruments, singing, signs, balloons, bubbles, lights, different smells, textures, puppet shows, water play, painting, balls etc. I think my favourite week with Austin so far has been under the sea, Austin really liked feeling the seashells and the water play.
Quite often there is also opportunities for a bit of dressing up fun! which I love! Not entirely sure how Austin felt about it though!
After a few activities there is some time for exploratory play with an area alongside. Here they have a variety of age appropriate toys like ball pit, tummy time rollers, playmats, cubes etc. During this time we usually try out a few different toys/activities and have a little chat with other mums. Personally I found this bit really good and it allowed me to suss out which toys the boys particularly liked too!
It’s a really relaxed atmosphere, so no worries if your baby is screaming the place down, or falls asleep or you need to breastfeed or change nappies. This may seem like a strange thing to mention, but I often think that as parents and mums in particular we can often get a bit anxious and uptight about needing to change/feed baby in the middle of something. I certainly do at times, hence why I think it’s important to mention that baby sensory is very chilled.
After exploratory play, its back to the main area for a couple more fun-filled sensory activities before the “goodbye” song and the end of the session.
Now don’t get me wrong a lot of the activities are things that you could do at home with your baby and they suggest this during the class. The emphasis here though is on could! I know that I would’t do it. It’s much easier to go to a class where they actually know what their doing! And it gets you out the house and socialising with other mums, which is never a bad thing I think. Also it would be quite hard to get the same overall effect at home without rope lights, bubbles, music and other props!
There are lots of advantages to going to baby sensory but personally for me getting that one on one time with Austin to bond with him really helped and also the chance to meet other mums with babies of similar age. Austin loves the sessions. Plus a bit like with the swimming he always sleeps really well afterwards! Winning!!
If you’re considering taking your baby to one of the many classes out there, I honestly couldn’t recommend baby sensory more. It’s reasonably priced at £7.75 per session which lets face it is about the equivalent of 2 costa coffees, and for that your Baby is getting an hour of fab sensory play aiding their development and learning and you’re getting a lovely experience with your baby.
We attended Baby sensory classes in Bristol East, here is the link http://www.babysensory.com/en/classdetails/bristol-east but there are baby sensory classes all over the country if you want to find out more about them here http://www.babysensory.com/en
I will leave you with this picture of Austin looking on in awe at the floating butterfly!