Baby and Toddler Classes and Groups Cheshire – A Mumbler Guide
The new term of baby and toddler classes in East Cheshire – Macclesfield, Alderley Edge, Prestbury, Knutsford, Wilmslow, Poynton, Congleton, Sandbach and surrounding areas – is almost upon us! Baby classes are a fantastic way to help your child’s development and to meet other local mums but the choice can be overwhelming. I remember as a first time mum being faced with concepts such as ‘baby sensory’ and ‘baby massage’ and not having a clue what any of it was about! So, to help you choose, we’ve put together a quick guide to some of the different types of baby and toddler class available in East Cheshire, as well as a bit of inside info on each and a selection of local providers. Enjoy!
Baby and Toddler Sensory Classes
Sensory classes stimulate your baby’s senses through movement, music, sounds, light, textures and colours. They follow the same structure each week – often a welcome song, some group activities (parachute, bubbles, instruments etc), free play and a goodbye song – but the actual content is usually extremely varied incorporating anything from messy play to basic baby signing to baby massage. The classes tend to be really popular, with mums signing up for term after term so it’s a fab way to meet other mums and their children. As well as being great fun there’s scientific evidence that baby sensory classes help to develop your child’s brain structure. Brilliant!
If you’re sold on sensory, the award winning Baby Sensory is the original provider and remains an incredibly popular choice for parents. It was my favourite class with Mini Mumbler 1 and we went until she was too old (classes go from birth to 13 months) when we graduated to Toddler Sense! (see below) The classes are fantastic – the activities are really engaging (for both baby and adult!) and punctuated with lovely songs which are repeated each week so the littles ones really start to respond when you sing them (I challenge you not to start singing ‘Say hello to the sun’ in the car/shower/when hoovering etc etc!) The content is thoroughly researched to stimulate your baby’s brain development and, as well as all the social and developmental benefits, Baby Sensory classes are a really lovely way to bond with your baby and meet other mums – there’s lots of free play time which means you can actually chat to each other rather than just smiling from across the circle!
Baby Sensory East Cheshire runs baby sensory classes locally in Adlington, Wilmslow and Poynton. They also run classes in Romiley. For more information and to book, head to their website here.
Once your child gets a bit older they can hit the fantastic Toddler Sense! Each class starts with 30 minutes free play on the equipment which class leader Rachel painstakingly lays out at the start of every class and which is bounced on, jumped in, thrown around and generally mauled within minutes of arrival – bouncy castles, ball pools, inflatables, soft play bits and loads more. The class then moves onto group activities based on whatever the theme of the week is – one of our favourites was Halloween which involved apple bobbing, a spooky disco and pumpkin parade. For our full review click here.
Toddler Sense classes are a riot and the two older Mini Mumblers love them – they’re also particularly good if, like me, you have children a few months apart since the classes really do cater for toddlers and preschoolers at any stage and Rachel welcomes smaller babies if you need to take them along.
Toddler Sense runs classes locally in Macclesfield and Wilmslow as well as in High Lane. For more information and contact details click here.
If you’d like more details of all local baby sensory classes see here.
Active Baby and Toddler Classes
Active classes are great way to get your child running round and increasing their fitness in a safe, controlled environment. They tend to be fast paced and energetic with an emphasis on enjoyment and developing basic life skills such as co-ordination, balance and teamwork rather than specific sporting skills.
A lot of active classes, by their very nature, tend to cater for slightly older children who can walk or at least toddle. Tumbletots classes, however start at 6 months. Tumbletots is based on the principles of gymnastics, having been founded by a former coach for the British Olympic Gymnastics team. Tumbletots uses equipment which the kids climb on, through and over and slide down, jump and roll around on. The classes are really relaxed and the children navigate the obstacle courses at their leisure and in any order they prefer with help from their parents and the many Tumbletots helpers on hand. The structure of the classes makes them a great way to meet other mums/dads and I’ve met a lot of lovely local parents whilst helping Mini Mumbler to navigate the beam! Mini Mumbler absolutely loves his Tumbletots classes and has really flourished in confidence and agility since starting.
The lovely Megan and her team run weekly local Tumbletots baby and toddler gymnastics classes in Wilmslow and Macclesfield as well as one off Sunday classes – keep an eye on the Events Calendar for details of those.
For more information on Megan’s classes and for contact info, click here.
To see the full range of local Baby and Toddler Sports and Exercise Classes check out the relevant section here.
Outdoor Classes and Playgroups
Outdoor classes are a fantastic way of getting out and about and exploring nature with the kids in a safe way. We’re really lucky in East Cheshire to have loads of fabulous farms and countryside on our doorstep which gives our children the chance to really explore and interact with nature.
Gruff Mini Farmer Sessions are a firm favourite with the Mini Mumblers and its easy to see why – the weekly outdoor playgroup on the farm is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours in the fresh air, whatever the weather. Each week has a seasonal theme and starts off in the lovely barn which is set up with games to keep the little ones entertained whilst they wait for the fun to start, a seating area with chairs for the grown ups and bean bags and cushions for the little ones as well as a log burner which gives the place a warm cosy feel in cooler weather.
Weekly activities vary but usually include a visit to feed the animals, a demonstration by one of the Gruff Farmers and lots of free play in the Gruff Garden – which features a mud potions kitchen, mini allotment and tyre sandpit. There’s also a drink and snack provided- toast with home made jam, home made apple juice and tea/coffee out of tin mugs all add to the wonderful rustic feel.
Spring and Summer are an obvious choice for outdoor playgroups but Gruff is actually a great shout in colder weather as well – you can let the kids run off some energy in the fresh air whilst having the warmth of the barn and a hot drink on hand to keep the chills at bay.
Gruff Mini Farmer Sessions run on Monday and Wednesday mornings at Messuage Farm, Messuage Lane, Marton Macclesfield. Sessions restart in February.
For full listings of outdoor classes and playgroups in East Cheshire check out the website. Make sure you also keep an eye on the Events Calendar.
Baby Massage and Baby Yoga classes
Both baby massage and baby yoga classes are a really lovely way to bond with your new baby. They give both baby and parent a chance to just switch off, relax and get to know each other through gentle movement and touch. Massage and yoga have proven benefits for your baby including better sleep, improved digestion and circulation and even relief from the pain of teething.
Katie from ‘Baby and You with Katie’ runs lovely massage classes from the Tytherington Club in Macclesfield. The classes are really calm and relaxing – ambient lighting, calming music, blankets – and Katie’s easy, welcoming approach encourages input from the mums who before long are happily chatting away to each other. Katie really knows what she’s talking about and explains each movement clearly, giving alternatives if baby isn’t playing ball. The Tytherington Club has a lovely child friendly cafe and Katie and the mums often head down there to carry on chatting over a brew. The classes are the perfect introduction to the world of baby classes and a good shout for groups of antenatal friend
For more information about Katie’s classes and contact information, click here.
If you’re looking for a baby yoga class, the lovely Saffron is a hugely experienced yoga teacher who offers baby yoga courses at both Macclesfield Library and the lovely Mother Nature Sanctuary in Bollington.
For more information on Saffron’s baby yoga classes click here.
For more information on the baby massage and baby yoga classes available in Macclesfield, Knutsford, Congleton and the rest of East Cheshire, see the full listings.
Swimming Lessons for Babies and Toddlers
Mini Mumbler 1 started swimming lessons when she was about 6 weeks old and the confidence she has in the water as a result is amazing (if not at times terrifying…!) We couldn’t take Mini Mumbler 2 due to having an older one to factor in and the difference in their confidence in the water is really noticeable.
Swimming lessons have loads of proven benefits for babies and toddlers, one of the obvious being water safety – most baby swimming lessons will teach your children vital water safety techniques as well as increasing their general awareness of being in and around water. Swimming is a valuable life skill so the earlier your little one starts learning, the quicker they’ll develop skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Other proven benefits include promoting bonding, building confidence and strengthening baby’s muscles.
Puddle Ducks lessons are really popular, with parents describing the child led approach as ‘amazing’. Helping babies and children be comfortable and confident in the water through fun, play, music, movement and rhyme is a key part of their lessons and that goes for both above and below the surface of the pool. Your little one will never be dunked or submerged until they’re ready and the teachers are fully trained in observing each child during lessons, watching for their cues and using them to tailor your little one’s swimming experience specifically to them. As a result babies are relaxed, never feel uncomfortable or shocked and choose to place their face in the water as and when they are ready.
Puddle Ducks run classes throughout East Cheshire including in Sandbach and Macclesfield as well as Cheadle Hulme, Norley and Warrington. For more information on Puddle Ducks lessons in East Cheshire click here.
For details of all local baby and toddler swimming lessons in East Cheshire check out the listings here.
Music Classes for Babies and Toddlers
Music classes are great fun for babies and toddlers. Studies have shown that little ones who are exposed to them not only show an earlier appreciation of music but also smile more and communicate better.Music classes help develop your baby’s motor skills as they grab and play the instruments, encourage language and social interaction as the children ‘sing’ along with their adults and peers, and improve confidence as they get used to loud noises.
If you’re looking for a local baby/toddler/preschool music class, the ever popular Rhythm Time runs classes daily throughout East Cheshire. Over 11,000 children enjoy Rhythm Time classes every week – they’ve won loads of national awards, and having gone along with Mini Mumbler 1, it’s easy to see why. The preschool class we went to managed to be both educational and engaging and I was really impressed by how the class leaders managed to bring Mini Mumbler out of herself – she was singing (or howling) a solo by the end of the class! Rhythm Time run 4 courses – the Young Baby course is fairly unique in that it’s intended for new babies up until 6 months and is based on music, claiming to stimulate baby’s vision and hearing, promote deeper sleep, improve muscle tone, flexibility and circulation, introduce them to ‘tummy time’ and more. There’s also an Older Baby course, Toddler Course and Pre School Course, all of which are age appropriate and aim to develop your little ones’ skills and confidence as they go through the stages.
Rhythm Time runs classes throughout East Cheshire including in Knutsford, Congleton, Macclesfield, Sandbach and Wilmslow. For more detail and contact information click here.
Baby and Toddler Dance Classes
The Mini Mumblers need no encouragement to start bopping around and wiggling their hips so a 45 minute class encouraging them to do just that sounds perfect! Dance classes are a fantastic way for your little ones to burn off some energy whilst improving their overall fitness, flexibility and spatial awareness.
If you’re after a dance class for your little one, we’re lucky that the award winning Diddi Dance runs classes in a variety of locations throughout East Cheshire. Diddi Dance was started by a professional dancer and took London by storm before expanding to other areas, including Cheshire. As one of the leading providers of preschool dance classes, Diddi Dance covers a variety of dance styles and has even been featured on Strictly Come Dancing! Parents, who are actively encouraged to join in and dance with their little ones, call the classes ‘superb’, ‘great fun’ and report how their shy toddlers grew in confidence and social skills whilst having loads of fun. Sounds fabulous!
Diddi Dance run classes throughout the region including in Congleton, Sandbach, Northwich and Middlewich. For more information click here.
Messy Play Classes
My little ones LOVE making a mess. Paint, Play Doh, glitter – you name it, if it makes mess, they love it. Which, in turn means we ALL love messy play classes – them because they can make as much mess as they like and me because I don’t have to clean it up! In addition to that very obvious, messy play plays a really important role in a child’s development. The different materials, colours, textures and sensory experiences involved all contribute greatly to learning and creativity, and encourage the child to experiment and explore to their heart’s content. The fact that the adult can join in without worrying about their carpet, walls or having to tidy up means that they can relax and really enjoy getting messy with their little one!
Mess Around is the UK;s number 1 messy play provider and runs messy play parties throughout East Cheshire. They are fantastic fun – my little girl still talks about the Mess Around ‘Dinosaur Party’ we went to about 18 months ago! We’ve been to a few more since then and none of them disappoint.
The format of the Mess Around parties is super relaxed free play and the little ones really can do, and make as much mess, as they like! The room is set up with a series of stations which the kids can flit between and there’s always a lot of slime, sand, play doh, water, paint – pretty much everything your little ones want to play with the most but which make your pulse race when you’re at home! Once the little ones have got themselves covered in baked beans, mud, slime and everything else, the session ends with a full on foam party and the hall becomes a carnival!
Mess Around run messy play parties throughout Cheshire – the next one is in Macclesfield on Saturday 25th January. For more information and to book click here.
Free (or under £2) Classes and Playgroups
As great as they are, all these baby and toddler classes can get expensive. The good news is that there are a load of free (or at least cheap) local classes and playgroups which you can go along to. Local Children’s Centres run a programme of events which includes weekly Stay and Plays which are free, and there are loads of local playgroups which are always a good bet. For details of all local free classes and groups click here.
We hope that helps you decide which baby or toddler class or group to try! For full class listing broken down by day, type and area check out the Classes and Groups Section. If you decide to give any of the classes or groups a go we’d love to hear from you with how you got on.