Activities for busy toddlers



Alice Cranfield explores activity options for busy toddlers who are raring to get out and about

One day you’ll wake up to see that the face of your gorgeous wee baby has changed. A new face now looks at you –its shape has taken on more definition and the personality behind the face is becoming clearer each day. Seemingly overnight, you no longer have a baby, but a cheeky curious toddler.

The term ‘toddler’ comes from the first steps babies take, toddling along as they fi nd their feet. Once they’ve mastered toddling, a toddler’s skills accelerate in leaps and bounds. From ages one to three, your child’s social, verbal, gross and fine motor skills will be on steroids.

This exciting stage of development is a great time to investigate different activities for your toddler. Not only can you help your child to further develop their skills, you’ll reap the benefits of meeting with other like-minded parents. All over the country, activities for toddlers are everywhere. So what’s on offer for one-to-three-year-old children, and what can you expect your toddler to gain from each experience?

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Groove along
Jo Hood began Mainly Music with another mum 25 years ago, when the local children’s music group she was attending with her own kids no longer suited their routine. Seeing the need for another similar group, Mainly Music was born. Skip forward to 2015 and Mainly Music now runs in 400 locations around New Zealand and over 1000 locations worldwide!

What makes Mainly Music unique is the ownership of each session by local churches. While not a religious activity, being hosted and facilitated by the churches provides parents and children with a local, community-based activity. You certainly don’t feel like you are part of a mass-produced programme when you attend.

Each session involves half an hour of music, song and dance for children and parents, followed by time for free play. While children enjoy the chance to play with other kids, parents have the opportunity to socialise with other adults while enjoying tea or coffee, and often home baking!

Jo Hood is proud of the fact that Mainly Music provides families with a community of others in the same situation. “These days, people enter parenthood at different times. Mainly Music is about caring for the whole family (parents and children), not just attending a music session”, she says.

Each music session is filled with life –children are often given props for each song, and both dancing and singing out loud are strongly encouraged. As a parent, you’ll probably find the session very therapeutic yourself –dancing and singing for half an hour can really clear the cobwebs!

Accommodating birth to school age, Mainly Music works well for parents with two or more children, or those with multiples, as one-on-one supervision of each child is not required. Singing, dancing and playing is all that is asked.

The charge varies between centres but the average cost is around $3 - $5 per family, per session.

Check out mainlymusic.org for further information.


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