Tots Play classes incorporate a range of baby massage, baby yoga (dance routines to music), baby sign language and sensory play. Depending on the age of your baby you can go to different types of classes.
When Annabelle was six weeks old we attended our first Baby Development class, the first one was interesting as Annabelle enjoyed the first 20 minutes then fell asleep. We tried the next week and same thing. By the time the third one came around, I spoke to our session leader Fatema and we agreed it would make sense to wait until Annabelle was a bit older.
After each class we came home with new dance routines to practice and the more we did them the more Annabelle would laugh and squeal with excitement. It was a lovely way to grow our bond and have some fun.
We also took away some of the sensory play ideas to put into practice but nothing has been quite the same as having the other babies to look at.
It was why we had no doubts in signing up for Discovery Tots. The class is for ages 2-9 months and follows a similar structure to Baby development. We start with a welcome song, move on to dance routines / baby yoga, then on to a group activity - like playing musical instruments, having some sensory play time with the other babies and then come back to the group for a wind down song and bubbles.
Oh the bubbles are at every class and Annabelle is mesmerised! Strangely I tried them at home and the reaction was underwhelming but at class she will sit and stare as they float towards her. Occasionally a little grin will appear but mostly she's transfixed. Who knew something so simple could be such a win!
I think that's one of the benefits of this class. What you are taught is simple, you can replicate it at home with minimal or no cost. You can also take what you do in class and enhance it at home. We use some of the dance moves we have learnt to dance to other songs. I have taken some of the sensory ideas and found things that we already have at home.
Another benefit is the confidence it has given Annabelle. I know this will sound strange but put her on the mat next to a baby she knows and she'll be engaging with them, touching them, smiling and interested in what they are doing. This class has given her a group of babies she has learned to recognise. We even have play-dates with one friend. In contrast, we occasionally attend a general playgroup and the situation, and Annabelle's reaction, are very different. There are kids of all ages and while Annabelle is happy watching other kids run around there are only a few babies for her to interact with. I don't feel like she gets as much from the session.
It's crazy to think that we have been attending Tots Play classes in one way or another for almost 7 months. Alongside the regular classes we have had a graduation, pj party for charity and a Christmas party. Fatema has really created a community that we can be a part of. The best thing of all is Laura can join whenever possible or I can take my Mum along so the whole family can be part of it.
At the Christmas party we took the option to get some family photos done by the professional photographer there which was a nice bonus as we forgot to take many as we were too busy playing.
Over the time I have been attending I have also seen a book seller and had the option to purchase some of the sensory toys - it's a nice option but there is little pressure to buy.
As Tots Play is a franchise, classes are run locally, you can see if one is running near you by clicking here.
With so many options of baby classes we were glad to find one that incorporates a number of the elements we wanted. It's also been nice to learn from Fatema and the other parents about what works for them. The social play part of the class allows the parents to chat while the babies focus on discovering the new toys and items. For someone socially awkward like me it has become a highlight of Annabelle and my week.
If you have one locally it's definitely worth a trial session if you are at home with a baby of any age.
Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way nor received any gifts/classes to write this review, it is based on my experience of Tots Play.