Wednesdays are by far our favourite day of the week.
Every Wednesday my Aunty and Uncle come to spend the day with us and as part of our day we go along to Jumping Beans.
Jumping Beans is a local class for babies and toddlers and it is wonderful!
Esther and William started in the summer term and Matilda just began in September. I wish that we had discovered it a long time ago as it is such a great class and led by a fantastically friendly and supportive team.
Each week we turn up at 10.30 and do not leave until about quarter past twelve. First Esther and William enjoy their toddler class and then they play or help or have a picnic whilst Matilda has her turn. It really is a lovely way to spend a morning. I hope that my Aunty would agree too.
Jumping Beans begins with a sorting activity. Max our class leader has a basket of soft shapes of different colours. The toddlers take a shape from the basket name it and then run with it to the correctly coloured corner. Esther and William love this activity and each week cannot wait to get started. We now do something similar at home with Mega Bloks and coloured squares. Their confidence with identifying colours and shapes has improved so much over recent weeks and I am sure that we owe this, at least in part, to Jumping Beans.
After the sorting there is Circle Time. All the children sit in a circle and Max asks each one to come into the centre, say their name and with her help do a great big jump. Esther and William do not need to be asked, they are always ready and willing to do the jump but seemingly to shy to share their names.
Once all the children have jumped then there is a Hello rhyme followed by some singing and action rhymes. After that there is some physical activity as the children move from corner to corner in different ways and carry out different physical challenges such as jumps, stretches and balances. Each week as they grow more confident the children join in more and more with what they are asked to do.
At the end of this section each toddler can choose a hoop to bring to the circle to sit in.
This encourages decision making, sitting and listening. The children are then encouraged to do more singing, actions and use different props and instruments.
After this section it is time for some drama. This term the topic is The Farm and so we have been putting on wellies, squelching in mud, pretending to be different animals, riding horses and being the Dingle Dangle Scarecrow. The teachers are so enthusiastic that all the parents and carers cannot help but join in and so too do the children. It is great fun.
After this imaginative play session then there is free play time on a range of equipment that is specially chosen to stimulate children’s senses and different learning styles.
Here are some of the things that you can choose to do at Jumping Beans.
Through these activities it is hoped that children will experience
Development of participation skills and self confidence by receiving individual attention in a group environment.
Learning different steps and movements as a basis for later physical activity.
A lively section of group imaginary play, including songs and rhymes for added enjoyment.
A huge variety of colourful equipment used in both structured play and freetime including balls, hoops, tunnels, slides and parachutes
Encouragement to learn new skills such as balancing, counting, throwing and catching, colour sorting etc.
This part of the class lasts for about 15 minutes before the children come back together again for a few final songs and a farewell rhyme. At this time they are also rewarded with a very special Jumping Bean stamp or two that they can have anywhere on their body.
More often than not Esther and William have their stamps on their tummy. Look at that belly!
When the toddler class finishes it is time for Matilda’s baby class. This is for babies until they are walking confidently. It is a lovely class and all the mums and babies who attend are lovely. This is great as there is lots of time built into the session to chat about teething, weaning, sleeping, not sleeping! It is a really great class that is relaxed as us mummies need it to be. You even get tea and biscuits!!
As with the toddler class the baby session begins with circle time and with some singing and movement. There is also some baby massage and lots of tummy time and physical movement. Matilda just loves it and smiles her way through. She particularly likes the parachute with its wonderful surprises beneath.
Esther and William like this bit too. The parachute and the bubbles.
After the circle time there is a circuit of activities for babies to try with their mummies or carers. Each activity is designed to develop a certain skill or stimulate a sense. Each activity is explained and also has a description card at the station. It is so well planned and thought out.
The class leaders are very supportive to mummies and encourage us to be confident and try new things. I always feel good about myself and how we are progressing as a family when we are at Jumping Beans. I feel like they genuinely care about how we are doing each week and that means a lot.
Here is Matilda enjoying some of her favourite activities.
It is hoped that these activities will help children to experience
An environment created to expose your child to a variety of tactile experiences, to enable learning through touch and visual awareness.
Gentle exercises to help your baby to progress from the reflex movements present at birth to voluntary movements necessary for crawling, walking, balancing, etc.
Activities to give your baby the opportunity to integrate the brain, inner ear, eyes and muscles together, in the search for balance.
A chance to relax and chat, to catch up on news, discuss child-related issues and to form supportive relationships with other parents.
Simple action songs and rhymes to help develop a sense of rhythm and pleasure from music.
I think my children gain all this and more.
If you live in Kent or East Sussex and have young children then please do check out Jumping Beans. Their classes are the highlight of our week! They could be the highlight of yours?