Hartbeeps is my go-to baby class. It tops them all without a doubt. I honestly think I love Hartbeeps more than India does herself. But I do love seeing her face light up every time we attend. Hartbeeps is a magical, interactive multi-sensory production for babies and young children. The music is original and remixed nursery rhymes, the theme changes each week and we put silly hats on the babies. I have been taking India since she was about 2 months old (classes start from newborn) up until now. What I love most about Hartbeeps is that it integrates a bit of everything. Baby yoga, massage, signing, sensory, music and more! You can book a whole term which is about 5/6 classes or a one off free trail/drop in session.
Another one of our favourites is messy play. This is something I didn’t think I would enjoy, as I didn’t like the thought of deliberately getting our hands and clothes dirty . But I put my pride aside and realised how important it is for India to learn through messy play. It gives her full freedom develop her motor skills and make sense of the world around her. There is everything from foam, paint, coloured spaghetti, soil, sand, bubbles. Everything used is non-toxic of course but you still shouldn’t allow your baby to eat copious amounts of paint. Instead of doing it at home we go to messy play groups and parties. This way I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess at the end.
We have attended weekly sessions at The Creation Station where you can book a term or do an introductory class. We have attended messy play parties with Mess Around UK. The classes/parties are suitable from 6 months onwards and don’t wear your Sunday’s best as you and your baby will get messy.
Now this one is more for the parents, than it is for the babies. But who knew their was such thing? You probably though you’d never be able to go to the cinema again without a babysitter well think again. There are cinemas across the country that hold baby friendly cinema screenings for under 1s. Where you can watch an adult film WITH your baby. I think best time to go is when your baby is quite young. That way they’re more like to sleep throughout the film after a feed. Myself and India went with a friend and her baby to see Gone Girl at the Watermans Art Centre. It was £6.50 per ticket, which includes a seat for baby too. Odeon, Everyman and Cineworld also provide Parent and Baby screenings.
I have always know how important it is to read/talk to your baby. Although they can’t understand or talk back yet, they are most definitely listening. I started reading to India when she was about 2 weeks old. I bought black and white books, childhood classics and soft books for on the go reading. We went to our local library for rhyme time, through this I decided to sign India up for her own library card so that she could borrow books of her own
We recently went to the UK’s first story centre for 0-11 year olds, called Discover Children’s Story Centre. This is a story world consisting of interactive exhibitions, creative play spaces and a team of dedicated story builders. I was a little skeptical about a 7 month old sitting through a storytelling, but India loved every moment of it and was absolutely mesmerised. We will definitely be heading back to the Story Centre, as this place is incredible and such a credit to East London.
I heard about baby massage when I was pregnant, whilst I didn’t know much about what it I thought I’d give it a go when India saw 6 weeks old. I signed her up to a free 5 week course at our local children centre. The babies were made to feel as comfortable as possible. The room was warm and the lighting was dim. We only massaged our babies if they were awake and we had to ask for their permission first. Cold Press Rapeseed oil was the recommended oil for baby massage the babies by The International Association of Infant Massage.
There are many benefits to baby massage, not only does it calm and relax babies but it is a great bonding experience parent and baby, help promote a good nights sleep and improve discomfort. I am glad I learnt the technique of baby massage as we still use it as part of our bedtime routine.