Looking for things to do with your little one in Barry? Here are a few ideas that ensure your baby is left suitably stimulated and you don’t go bat shit crazy at home. No one here will care if you’ve brushed your hair/teeth, either. Score.
1. Musical Minis at Adventure Island, on Barry Island
When: Every Thursday during school term at 1030am
Where: Adventure Island children’s activity centre, in the Esplanade Buildings, Friars Rd, Barry Island CF62 5TJ
Cost: £1 for 0-1 years. £3-odd for 1+. Bargainous.
I’d tried to attend a taster music class with Tennessee twice before stumbling across this gem. The first time we tried to get to a hotel near Cardiff and arrived as it was ending. My mistake, but in my defence I was so sleep deprived I didn’t remember my own name. The instructor had a face full of make up and looked about 12. At the time, I was still struggling to find the time to brush my teeth and maternity jeans and an Asda T-shirt had become my new mam uniform.
I don’t even remember how I missed the second session. Suffice to say, it wasn’t working out for us. But it was about £50 for a group of sessions anyway so I wasn’t too upset. I’d tried, right?Then, the grandmother of a child in Tennessee’s swimming class told me about a kids’ music class running at a soft play centre on Barry Island called Adventure Island. The class, she told me, was just £1 and you didn’t need to sign up to a group of them. Just pay and go. It also didn’t start until 1030am on a Thursday and was a hop, skip and stumble from our house (well, not quite, but a five-minute jaunt in the car seemed amazing after weeks and months of driving to classes in Cardiff). No brainer.
This fun music session became an instant favourite for us both. Firstly, it’s just £1 and there’s no committal. You just pay and go. Apparently the organisers do charge more at other venues but there’s some deal with Adventure Island. Whatever. It’s affordable and if you have to miss one here or there you don’t lose out financially. Ker-ching.
Secondly, it runs for about 45 minutes and it is chock-a-block full of lovely mums and brilliant kids, from newborns right through to pre-schoolers.They play all the classics – from Superman (you know, “Comb your hair, go for a walk, ski….”, that one) and Knick Knack through to the Okey Kokey, so you won’t feel like a twat because you’ll know all the words and the actions. And if you have older kids who get bored within two minutes and start looking for things to attack, you can just point them towards the soft play area where they seem to have fun charging about.
Of all the classes, the parents at this one have been the loveliest I’ve met and Tennessee has been the most engaged and happy. He loves when they bring a big parachute out covered in toys for everyone to hold the edge of while they sing, and the musical instruments section always raises a smile, too. The organisers are great and the location is brilliant: it’s really clean.
They also have a cafe where you can grab snacks and drinks afterwards while the kids burn themselves out in the soft play. There’s a 0-2 years play area too, with a door that closes firmly enough to ensure the big kids don’t start causing merry hell in there. It runs during school term and if you’re in the area I’d highly recommend popping along. I’ll be shocked if you don’t make friends.
Tip: If you can get away without taking a pram, don’t bother because it’s on the first floor, the steps are steep and there’s nowhere
Baby will love the gentle singing, scarf and rattle props, and baby signing. You’ll love meeting other new mums and cooing over the tiny newborns. It’s a really chilled out class in a lovely library that just makes you really happy to be a mum. Oh, and it’s free. No brainer really.
3. Discovery Tots, Coconuts soft play centre, Barry
When: Wednesday’s, 1040-1120am
Where: Coconuts Play Centre, BarrySully Moors Road, CF64 5RP
Cost: £12 for three tasters and then £4.75 per class (£2.75 per additional sibling)
I can’t give a personal account of this class unfortunately because, frustratingly, I only discovered it as I was finishing maternity leave and it falls on a day I work. But I have been reliably told by a mum I trust that it’s excellent and welcome any reviews from anyone who’s been along.
In the meantime, here’s some information on the class, courtesy of organiser Rachel.
Discovery Tots is a 40 minute weekly class, for babies from around eight weeks until confidently crawling or starting to walk. Sessions are filled with lots of different movement and sensory experiences to stimulate and encourage your baby’s development in a variety of ways, and are a wonderful way for you to cuddle, play, connect and make new discoveries with your baby every week.
Through the classes babies will develop and improve;
Body awareness and gross motor skills.
The functions of the brain through a wide range of stimulus for all the senses.
Social awareness through the group environment.
Communication skills through the use of sign language, songs and rhymes
Bonding between parent and child.
Plus you will be introduced to simple songs and activities that can be carried on at home to continue the learning and development process.
Each class consists of a number of activities including baby yoga and movement, multi-sensory play and baby sign language Each week brings something new, while including elements that are repeated each week which your baby will come to recognise and respond to. A whole world of love, laughter and learning.
We want Discovery Tots to be a relaxed, happy place for you and your baby. All our activities encourage close interaction between the two of you, as you sing, rock, bounce and play together. Experience has shown that the more you participate in an activity, the more your baby will want to be involved. However, please feel comfortable to join in with as much or as little as you would like during the class and take each activity at your baby’s pace.”
4. Bilingual baby massage class, Barry
Contact: Sioned Stephens, Cymraeg for Kids officer for Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan on 07931 652 092 or email email@example.com
What: Still waiting for the details on this one from organiser Sioned, so sorry for the vague. But I’m suitably intrigued and irritated I’m so late finding out about this, so wanted to make sure others benefit before their baby starts crawling and them lying still becomes a vague memory.
If you’re looking to immerse babi bach in Cymraeg asap, and fancy trying out a baby massage class, then give this bilingual one a try. You don’t have to be a Welsh speaker to go along and the atmosphere, I’m assured, is relaxed. You’ll discover lots of great massage techniques that help make baby feel more comfortable and, as well as bonding with the baby, you’re likely to find yourself making firm friends with other mums too.
When: Baby and toddler classes run Monday to Friday. Check out the timetable here.
Where: Earlyversity, 71, High Street, Barry
Cost: Classes for babies and toddlers tend to cost £6.95, with classes for older pre-schoolers up to four cost £7.50
Contact: www.earlyversity.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; 01446 734160
This is a gem of a new find in Barry that I’m really excited about getting to know better. Run by two fabulous former teachers – one of whom was a deputy head – Earlyversity not only runs a variety of baby and toddler classes throughout the week but it’s also a stylish place to enjoy a catch up with friends while baby plays in the toddler area. Their hot chocolate selection is amazing. One of the owner’s daughters also makes beautiful clothing that is available to buy and order. And there is a great selection of toys on offer if you need a birthday or Christmas gift, or want to spoil your little bean.
Tennessee and I haven’t tried the classes yet but I’m confident that, as former teachers, they’re going to be as great as everything else on offer. Go check it out.
6. Babi Bach
When and where:
Mondays 10am at Adventure Island – Esplanade Buildings, Friars Road, Barry CF62 5TJ
Wednesdays 945am (term time) – Highlight Park Community Centre, Stirling Rd, Barry CF62 8NX
Thursdays 10am and 2pm Giggles Toy Shop – High Street, Barry CF62 7DX
Cost: £5 per class
Contact Penni on 07739 504 744; email email@example.com or visit www.babibach.co.uk
What: I’ll make sure we go along so that I can review it myself, but I’ve been wanting to get along to this bilingual Welsh/English music class since I had Tennessee. We listen to the CD in the car incessantly. There are classes scattered across Barry all week so it’s pretty easy for mums to find one that fits.
Babi Bach aims to introduce your little one to music and language from birth up to the age of 3. It is suitable for fluent Welsh speakers, rusty speakers or complete learners – the class material will help you to bond with your child through music and language. Each 30 minute class includes songs and nursery rhymes in both languages and you don’t need to understand Welsh to join in with your child.
It’s a chilled out class that enables kids to embrace another language. And you can pay as you go along so no hefty up front commitment that is often a challenge for new mums to keep to. I’ll be sending my mum along with T in the new year so will post an update when that happens.
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