Getting out and about is so important to me at the moment but as I no longer have a car that I am able to drive (hubby’s car is manual and I possess an Automatic License) I find myself a little stuck with options. I am thankful that we have two stay and plays within walking distance from our house that we attend religiously. Most recently we started a trial at our local Gymboree which only recently moved locations to just down the road from us.
Gymboree is a structured multi sensory session in a safe environment. Tailoring inspiration, fun age appropriate sessions for babies and children aged newborn to 4.5years. At Gymboree every adult is an active participant in the play helping children to learn and have fun. There are venues across the United Kingdom and I feel pretty thankful that there’s one within walking distance for P2.
On our first session at Gymboree Sevenoaks, we were warmly welcomed and issued with our stickers. This happens every week and there’s not been a single time where the lovely ladies are anything less than bubbly and bright. P2 seemed quite excited and as we were a little early we were able to watch the previous session and get a feel of what was expected. I had no idea and generally felt a little apprehensive.
P2 went confidently in as the venue is set out a bit like soft play and she’s used to that. When the real structured part began P2 became a little uneasy. One of the reasons I wanted P2 to join Gymboree was to helo with P2s confidence as we’ve had a few situations where she’s been quite shy and upset. Gymboree helps to teach social and listening skills following an imaginative role play game and builds confidence. The imaginative part goes a little like this; “let’s go and collect all the jewels from the pirate ship” jewels being those link-rings that babies like to chee and there were bean bags scattered up the slope of some apparatus pretending to be sand.
At Gymboree Sevenoaks they change the adventure every two weeks which means the apparatus also gets changed. Our first time was a Pirate Adventure, the second was Fire Engines and recently (as I missed a couple due to illness) was about going camping. All the apparatus is moved about and added to in accordance to the theme. I love it as it gives a variety of play and creates a lovely setting for a child’s imagination to grow. The floor is completely covered in soft mats and there’s plenty of singing and dancing involved.
We have been attending a mixed aged group so that I can attend with both P2 and P3. The age range the mixed group is suitable is from 6 months to 4.5 years. The specific group we attended was full of really friendly people and children which made it easy to feel settled and join in. We all sat round in a circle to do the focused activities where we were instructed to bang maracas, pop bubbles and lift the parachute. It was great fun and P3 absolutely loved it.
P2 was very shy when it came to the more focused parts of the session. Especially on her first one where she spent pretty much the entire time crying or tantruming which made me literally want to crawl into a whole and be swallowed up. Over the month though I have witnessed her go from a timid caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly with much more confidence than ever before. She’s really enjoying herself and that’s thanks to the very friendly and warm ladies that run the class.
Our trial sessions are now over and we’ve got to come to the decision as to whether we want to sign the girls up. I’m actually feeling really upset that we maybe won’t be going next week because it was so much fun and has already helped P2 progress with herself. Gymboree certainly isn’t cheap and thankfully they offer sibling discounts and when you become a member you get to use any Gymboree class in the UK meaning that if you travel, you don’t have to miss out on your Gymboree class.