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Play Programmes

Lots 4 Tots

Our Lots for Tots Parent and Toddler group provides great opportunities for your children to play and to learn how to share toys and socialise with other children. It is also an opportunity for parents to meet in an informal and friendly atmosphere and to have a cup of tea and a chat. We encourage parents and carers to get involved and participate in their child’s play and learning. The session includes lots of activities such as sand/water play, arts & crafts, singing, imaginative play etc and a healthy snack is provided. . Our Lots4Tots session also includes a wide space for babies so even if you have a young baby who sleeps throughout the session you are welcome to come along and meet others.

Play Explorers

Play Explorers is a play programme that encourages children to explore the world around them, through participation in a variety of activities. Children will engage in messy play, construction, creative play, playdough, moon sand and gloup. The programme uses lots of low-cost resources so that parents can extend their children’s learning from play at the group, to the home environment. Play Explorers also gives the children opportunity to play with others, encouraging turn taking and sharing, to promote their social relationships and social skills. Children will experience play by exploring and experimenting with different objects and materials without any end goals to restrict them. This group will allow children to explore how things taste, smell and feel which will provide a deeper understanding of the world around them. The group is aimed for 2-4 year olds, but younger children are welcome to come along with their siblings.

Creative Sounds

Creative Sounds content to follow

Toddler Yoga

Toddler Yoga is a 6-week physical activity programme that is suitable for children aged 18mths – 2.5 yrs. Each session encourages early movement skills. It involves simple fun activities to encourage young children to develop their muscle strength, special awareness, balance and coordination. Involving music, nursery rhymes, balls and scarves, this is a fun way to develop physical confidence and competence. Toddler Yoga classes are much more than a music and movement session. These classes draw parents and their children together in a playful, loving environment, promoting respect and self awareness. The together aspect of this class is an important way to sustain loving and playful contact, to continue a mutual focus between parent and child, and to provide a positive shared experience. This helps to carry young families through what can be a challenging time, as they tackle tantrums and boundary testing. Classes provide an opportunity for parents to exercise and have fun with their children, promoting strength, flexibility and balance, with relaxation to contrast with energetic activity. The activities taught in class will transfer to the home environment easily and become part of how the family relate to one another and the wider world

Breakfast 4 Dads

We are partnering with Twist and Splits Academy in Kilkeel to provide soft play benefits for our Breakfast for dads programme. While children are enjoying the freedom in the soft play hall dads can get a hot breakfast and socialise with other dads.
The soft play environment helps children engage and react to stimuli, such as different textures, materials, and colours. This includes stimulating their sense of balance (vestibular) and increases their awareness of their emotions, body, and surroundings (proprioception). In turn, this helps children broaden their development skills, supporting them for independence in later life.
If children are using the soft play area as a group, they will face new dynamics to share and practice teamwork. Having plenty of opportunities to interact with other children is a great way to enhance your child’s emotional development. This has been especially key as we emerge from the lockdowns. Children learn valuable skills through play, including how to deal with conflict and how to understand other children’s emotions. As children grow from babies to toddlers, they start to problem solve and develop their minds. Children learn two types of motor development: gross motor development and fine motor development. Gross motor development includes things like running, jumping, skipping, and climbing. Fine motor development involves learning delicate tasks, such as balancing or moving small things with their hands. Soft play helps children develop both skills as there are so many activities on offer. Climbing over obstacles and navigating the twists and turns of the play gym is a delicate task that requires athletic ability and fine motor skills. Playing in a soft play area is often a time when children get to be independent of their parents. It offers a safe place for them to explore the world and start building friendships with other children. One of the biggest benefits of soft play is that it offers year-round fun which will never be hindered by poor weather.

Sensory play

Sensory play is one of those terms that you might hear quite a lot when you have a young child. Sensory Play provides children with the opportunity to explore, discover, and make sense of the world around them through interesting and stimulating experiences in a calming environment. You might have seen other parents using play dough, cold pasta or making their own sensory box. But sensory play can be a lot simpler than that. Painting with your fingers, splashing in the bath and even jumping in piles of leaves during a trip to the park are also examples of sensory play. From the moment they’re born, your baby is ready for sensory play. Even in the womb, your baby uses their senses to understand the world. By the time they are born, they’ll already be able to recognise your voice and your smell.
The play session will incorporate:

  • Touch
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Movement
  • Balance
  • Sight and Hearing

Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction through activities that naturally encourage children to use scientific processes whilst they play, create, investigate, and explore. Exploring the world through their senses can help children understand lots of different things, such as “cause and effect” and to develop their emotional awareness. Through sensory play, some children will discover which senses are more calming for them. For some, it’s music. For some, it’s a more tactile feeling, like being wrapped in a blanket. Then for others, it’s having certain smells around them. Understanding what soothes you is a really useful skill for children to have as they grow up. Sensory play also helps your little one’s attention span. When a child is hands-on with an experience, they’ll stay engaged with it for longer than if they just listen to someone talking.
Our sensory play sessions focus on letting the child do what they want with the resources provided- sensory play does not focus on your child doing an activity in a set way. Our sessions also focus on letting your child take the lead and promoting simpler sensory activities.
The programme runs as a 4-week program lasting 1 hour each session.
The programme is suitable for children aged 1 year to under 4 years old.