Our Tumble Tots Experience

When Elliott was tiny Baby Sensory was most definitely where it was at for us. But as Elliott got older and more active I longed to take him to a group that focused on developing his physical skills which is when I stumbled upon Tumble Tots.

Tumble Tots provides physical activities for little ones aged 6 months to pre-school age. I decided I wanted to wait until Elliott was walking before I enrolled him into the programme so we joined the Walking to 2 years group not long after Elliott started taking his first steps.

Initially we booked two taster sessions before booking an entire term to see if the class was right for us. I must admit that one of the reasons for wanting to sign Elliott up to Tumble Tots was the fact that I was so inept at all things PE when I was at school and I didn’t want that legacy to continue. I’ll also admit that my ineptitude also made me slightly anxious about attending the classes just in case I was equally challenged at mini PE! I needn’t have worried.

Tumble Tots classes utilise a host of different apparatus in their classes, think gym benches, trampettes, tunnels, cubes that you’d find in a soft play centre and lots more. The apparatus is set up in circuits, in our case one large circuit around the perimeter of the room with a smaller circuit in the middle. Parents are encouraged to take their toddlers around the apparatus in an anti clock-wise direction and there are plenty of Tumble Tots helpers on hand to assist you and your little one with tackling some of the more challenging set-ups. Circuits stay the same for two weeks.

In the middle of the session an additional activity may be brought out, for example, hula hoops, balls, or a giant shape sorter. Little ones are encouraged to play with these for a short time before returning to the apparatus.

Throughout the class Tumble Tots CDs are played in the background and at the end of the session there’s circle time where some of the familiar Tumble Tots ear worms are sung ahead of ‘STICKER TIME’ when all of the Tumble Tots receive their stickers.

The class provided a really welcoming environment. Toddlers were encouraged to participate in all of the activities and to challenge themselves and build their confidence, but at the same time there was never any pressure on them to complete a certain challenge or take on a particular piece of apparatus.

Elliott kind of enjoyed the classes. He liked being there, but wasn’t quite as interested in the apparatus as I’d hoped. Instead he preferred to run up and down in the middle of the hall, or maybe take things out of the bin, or stack up the cones, or try to raid the sticker stash. Maybe he was a little young, maybe it just wasn’t for him, or maybe he was just knackered from being at nursery three days a week and doing all of the other extra-curricular activities that we throw at him and just wanted a rest? Either way, we sadly don’t attend Tumble Tots classes any more. It was a fun thing to do, especially over the winter months when it’s more difficult to get out and about for trips to the park etc…

One thing to bear in mind, is once you’ve completed your taster sessions, as well as paying for a block of classes you have to enrol your little one as a Tumble Tots member, at present this costs Β£23 and covers insurance, a T-shirt, a bag and a CD. Not bad if you’re in it for the long-term but a bit expensive for us who only completed one term!

Would I recommend Tumble Tots? Definitely! It may not have been for us, but it’s a brilliant and well-structured class for toddlers who need to burn off excess energy.

To find out more about Tumble Tots and to locate your nearest class, take a look at their website here.

Our Toddler Sense Experience

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We adored Baby Sensory classes and still miss them now. The lady who ran our classes was a total legend and just made the whole experience amazing and so full of joy. I made some fantastic friends through the class and spent many a morning catching up with my newly found mummy friends in the Tesco cafe before the class.

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When Elliott ‘graduated’ and I went back to work there was a big gap in both of our social lives. Sure, we still had Rattle & Rhyme at the library, but we really, really missed our Baby Sensory classes. We tried Tumble Tots for a while (more on that in a future post), but it wasn’t quite the same.

Toddler Sense is from the same company as Baby Sensory and we were desperate to give it a go, but our local class fell on day when I was at work – boo hiss! Eventually I relented and decided to trial a class a little further away from us. A really popular class it would seem. There was no space in the class for Elliott’s age group (13-20 months), so we joined the 20 months – 3 years class instead. I was a little concerned that Elliott would find the older children intimidating. I needn’t have worried. I think playing in the garden with the older kids at nursery had prepared him and every time a crazy toddler bounded into him he just moved out of the way and gave them a look of ‘what are you doing?’. Bless him Β – he’s such a chilled out chappy.

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The format of Toddler Sense is slightly different to Baby Sensory to take into account the boundless energy of a toddler. Where Baby Sensory opens with the Say Hello song and then goes into structured activity before going to a break, then continuing with the structured activities before finally closing with the goodbye song (oh all the feels remembering the cuddles we enjoyed over that song!). Toddler Sense provides free play to begin with, followed by tidy up time and then structured activity – again with a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ song.

The free play activities are brilliant – think bouncy castles, ball pits, inflatables, paddling pools full of things to explore, tents. As with Baby Sensory there’s a different theme each week and the free play activities are curated around this. Tidy up time is a great idea and worked well with the older kids, although was slightly lost on Elliott. The structured activities mostly centred around circle time with little cuddly toy ‘Todd’s’ – the logo for Toddler Sense provided at the start. Unlike Baby Sensory at Toddler Sense toddlers are encouraged to go to collect the toys themselves and then put them away at the end of the activity. Something which Elliott did very well at, especially considering he had to navigate around the older and more boisterous toddlers to do so. There were often bubbles, lightshows, parachutes – all the stuff we came to love at Baby Sensory but in a more interactive and faster paced way. Sometimes the activities were pitched a bit too old for Elliott. Trying to get him to bow to the class leader in order to receive a written ‘wish’ from a box for Chinese New Year just left him baffled.

The classes were brilliant and well worth going along. Unfortunately we had to cut our Toddler Sense journey short as it clashed with Elliott’s nap time and, as a result, caused some hairy scary post class meltdowns. Such a shame as they were so much fun. Hopefully we can go again once Elliott establishes a later nap time, or – dare I say it – drops his nap altogether! Eek!

Find out more about Toddler Sense and find your nearest class here.