Entertaining an active toddler in lockdown has been a unique test of both my resourcefulness and my patience. So thank goodness then for the wonderful ToddlerSense classes moving online whilst we are still unable to get together for classes in person.
My little boy (now 2yr 10m) and I had been ToddlerSense regulars for over a year by the time lockdown kicked in, and it was one of the things I was most gutted about being Covid-cancelled. In “normal life” it’s a very lively interactive class with lots of props and mini activities, so I initially wondered how it would translate into an online class with just Wilf and me in the living room. I needn’t have worried! The ToddlerSense franchise very quickly stepped up to the plate.
Each week has a different theme – think Animal Safari, Dinosaur Dig, World Party, Castles & Dragons – but every class follows the same sort of template: warm up activity, welcome song, a series of short activities around the theme, then the Goodbye song. In the last few weeks, we’ve enjoyed a teddy bear’s picnic; excavating dinosaurs from ice; going on a “safari” with a homemade cardboard box jeep and a cast of random safari animals plucked from the toy box; “beach volleyball” with a balloon; lounge discos; and making our own dragon puppet show.
Classes are run on Zoom, so you can see all the other families participating too. Danielle who runs the York classes does a great job at engaging the children through the screen, and her energy and enthusiasm is infectious. She has a preschooler of her own, who also participates like her mini assistant, which is great for my little boy to see what he’s supposed to be doing.
The classes are very interactive and do require parental involvement both prior to the class and during, as well as a little preparation. Don’t expect to be able to leave your child alone in front of Zoom for half an hour whilst you get on with other stuff! However, it’s lots of fun and the prep is not too onerous – a list of things you might need to hand during the class is emailed out a few days before the class, and it tends to be a mixture of items you can find in the average toddler household, or simple things that you can print and cut out from templates sent. The basics can be pulled together easily, and you can get your little one to assist in some of the prep as an extra activity in the days before the class – a scavenger hunt to find items around the house, or making a flag or simple puppet to wave.
ToddlerSense @ Home has been a real high point of our lockdown week, and helps us to shake off the Monday morning blues and kick off the week in energetic fashion.
Classes run live on Zoom 3 times a week (Monday, Thursday and Friday mid mornings), and you can choose to attend more than once a week if you wish for no extra cost (useful for rainy days!). Currently running in 4 week blocks, at £20 for 4 weeks, but you can start at any time for £5 a class. Contact Danielle Taylor via the links below for more details.