Since my girls stopped napping, I’ve been trying hard to fill more of the days with outings and groups to keep us all entertained and not go stir crazy in the house. I definitely try and get out everyday if only for an hour, sometimes for no other reason than to stop looking at the toy explosion.
This being said, I’ve recently struggled deciding between toddler groups. There are so many options and as we are living on just one wage, I know I need to be thrifty with our outgoings. However much I’d love to take my girls to lots of the popular franchise sessions, realistically I know that with two, I need to be picky and choose just one of these type of groups and then fill the rest of the week with other free or cheap activities.
Here are some of the sorts of toddler groups we’ve already tried:
- Creative sessions
- Toddler sensory
- Meet the animals
- Wriggle readers at the library
- Music and movement
- Local stay and play
- Messy play
- Surestart sessions
If I can only go to one ‘premium’ group I need to pick carefully. I’m also reluctant to join groups where you have to sign up for long blocks. If a mummy friend invites me to go to the farm or even just for lunch, it irritates me that I’m otherwise committed. Swimming is out of the question with toddler twins unless I can convince my mum to tag along. So what is it I want?
Ideally what I’m looking for is a local group, where I can meet friendly folk and have a cuppa (and bonus points for cake). There should be a variety of age appropriate activities rotated weekly and some opportunity to develop gross motor skills (flagged at our 2yr check). Then a structured led session to introduce new concepts in a fun way. Oh and if it could be pay as you go and under a fiver that’d be fab too. I think I’m dreaming but I’ll keep searching.
Really this is such a silly problem to have. I’m know many children don’t get half the opportunities mine do. It’s funny how much thought I’m putting into this when in fact they’d be happy playing with a box or my coffee pods. I guess it’s just about getting the balance right so they have lots of time to just play and also time to socialise and learn new things that they wouldn’t at home.
What’s you’re favourite toddler group? Are you a ‘different group everyday’ or ‘once a week if that’ kind of parent?
39 thoughts on “Choosing between toddler groups”
Toddler groups sound so lovely! My friend who lived in London used to take her kiddies to those groups & also to the play rooms at the museums. The Science Museum has a really fun room for little ones in the basement. There aren’t toddler groups in the West of Ireland where I live! I think my kids would have enjoyed them though. Thank you for linking up with us at #BloggerClubUK
No toddler groups??? They are at every community centre, village hall and leisure centre and run every day of the week. I’ve no idea what I’d do with my days if there weren’t any groups.
I found a lovely little group near to where I live and made some great friends. When you find a good group, it can make a world of difference. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky
Absolutely. It’s the people that keep you going back.
I used to do a mixture of a music group, reading drop-in a the library, having a hot chocolate with mummy. There was also a sure Start group near by which was amazing. For a premium group, I’d go for one that offers the most variety. Or start your own! #bloggerclubuk
This is kind of what I’m doing – guess I’ve just not found my perfect ‘premium’ one yet.
I must admit I’m not great at toddler groups, my girls love them though and that’s all that matters! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx
As I’ve done lots of trials and the odd session here and there, I don’t really get a chance to chat and so always feel a bit if a spare part but like you said if the girls enjoy it, that’s what matters.
We have a local charity that runs groups based around singing which I loved when my four year old was a baby and which I plan to go along to with my new baby. They just take a donation, and have other groups for toddlers too. And with my teenager my mum took him to a lot of the free groups when I was at uni. I never did any of the premium groups with either as they’re so expensive. This time around I have signed up for baby sensory, and I’d love to do baby swimming too…but the cost when we’re on a maternity pay budget is a bit scary!
It’s the cost that puts me off somany of these groups…I have to be careful with the pennies
This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
Simple but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.
A must read article!
I tried to find a group for everyday when the Tubblet was a toddler. So even if we decided not to go, I had somewhere to go if I wanted too. I went to the cheaper church ones and only did one premium group – baby Yoga. And the baby Yoga one I went to because the people were fab 🙂 It’s the people that make the groups worth while
Absolutely…when you make a few friends the the stuff is less important
I’ve never really done the groups you have to pay for…again, we are a one wage household. I paid for a French lesson…but decided as she wasn’t even speaking English at the time, I wasn’t going to pay for her to do French classes! I go to a lot of the Sure Start groups…mostly because the centre is right behind my house!!
We used Surestart a lot when they were smaller but as toddlers I’ve found the rooms are generally quite small and restrictive
I HATE and emphasise HATE groups, however when we went to Bluestone, Ben got to go to a sensory class and he had an amazing time!!! Since then we’ve been doing more stuff at home along the same lines and I found out you can get the floor trays for less than £20 from amazon! So much cheaper and convenient to skip the bitchy mums part hahaha!
Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. i hope to see you back next week.
You’d think by putting lots of mum’s in the same room, it’d be easy to make friends but it’s really hard.
I’m lucky because we have a fab NCT group so often meet at each other’s houses with cake. I do like to get out most days though.
I’ve heard those NCT groups are great for making friends. We didn’t do them but I bet it’s great to have that little club.
Gosh you’ve tried so many! I did a few with Erin but we just haven’t been able to afford it second time around #humpdaylinky
Most of these were free trials or one offs. It did look a lot when I typed them all out.
I was a parent with the same dilemma after sure start cancelled some, so I set up my own group at a cafe.( Miss Tinas cafe Washington UK). All are either free or under £2pp ! Variety of sessions and something different every week.
The cafe also has a good variety of kids toys and outdoor space with good food and drink and yummy cakes!
Sounds great – good for you for starting your own. Finding cheap but varied groups is really hard.
I have managed to take my toddler twins swimming twice by myself. It’s actually not that bad now they aren’t babies anymore.
You should give it a try. Only works if they both wear armbands though.
I realised I could do it my self when I went with my MIL and both the girls wanted me and only wanted me to dress/undress them ‘No mummy!’ it dawned on me I was actually doing it all myself. It takes them about 5 min of being in the pool to relax and realise they can let go of me and still be safe.
After going with my mum,I’m feeling a lot more confident with the changing part but the pool got deeper and Jess kept trying to escape. She’s so quick so would have really struggled on my own. Which pool do you use and can they touch the bottom?
I loooove all toddler groups, as you know😂Never though I’d get roped it into running any but here I am ha ha
I think they’re fantastic way to meet other parents and make new friends. Toddler groups kept my sane when I first became a mum, they got me out of the house and gave me something to look forward to. I think they’re great way to keep the community spirit going too🙂
Absolutely…love our groups. I’d go crazy without them.