A Toddler Sense Adventure

I was extremely excited to hear that Toddler Sense (the Baby Sensory next step) was coming to Southampton recently and jumped at the chance to go to a free taster session.
I took Little O to Baby Sensory in his first year and struggled to find class that matched in terms of just how fantastic it is, so I had high expectations when Toddler Sense came to town.
The session last for 50 minutes and starts by letting the tots explore the Adventure Play Area which quite frankly looks like toddler heaven.  Little O enjoyed playing in a huge ball pool, a mini bouncy castle, crawling through tunnels, climbing up steps and sliding down the other side to name just a few!
Charlene (the Class Leader) then gave the tots a 5 minute warning that we would soon be tidying up and moving on to some exciting activates.  And would you believe, that with a little team work from everyone, this huge play area was cleared within minutes.
We then moved on to the activities starting with a very sweet opening song called ‘How do you do’? where the tots and parents all join.  Charlene told the tots that she had taken a call from Bob the Builder who needed help with building and fixing things and out came colourful bowls of Duplo and a mini tool kit for them each.  Well we have Duplo at home but I’ve never seen Little O move so quickly to dig in and start using his imagination.
Next we moved on to taking a ride on the night train!  Chairs lined up in rows were laid out and we were all given maracas’ to shake, a flag to wave, a torch to see in the dark and of course, our own ticket.  This was no ordinary night train as we chugged through thousands of bubble and enjoyed laser lights on the celling.
We finished with a colourful finale which involved waving chiffon scarves and ribbons to the music, watching petals and balloons float to the floor from above and to a toddlers delight – MORE BUBBLES!
The upbeat ‘Say Goodbye’ action song was the perfect way to finish off a fantastic session, in fact all the music was very impressive with that all important feel good factor.
Needless to say we had a one well entertained and happy little boy at the end of it!
3 reasons why we will definitely be going back
  • ALL the equipment is brand new and clean.  Although there is a  lots of climbing equipment Toddler Sense have got the safety aspects covered with plenty of mats to soften any tumbles.
  • Each week brings a new exciting theme.  Toddler Sense has a 2 year programme meaning we won’t see the same thing twice.  Coming in the August Specials is a Hawaiian Beach Party and a Summer Extravaganza!
  • Charlene is a great with the tots.  Friendly with lots of encouragement and praise which is a big thumbs up from me!

As we know from running our Little Pickles Markets, starting up any new business is hard work and personal recommendations and word of mouth is a really huge part of getting going.  So Charlene, Little Pickles Market wish your new Toddler Sense Southampton franchise all the best of luck!  You’ve already won me over!

To find your local Toddler Sense class visit: www.babysensory.com/en/toddlersense

6945380Written by Selina Shrimpton – Hampshire and Dorset Market and Baby Show Organiser

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It’s time to party!

Organising your own little pickle’s birthday party should be stress free and lots of fun – I mean, let’s face it, it’s a PARTY!  But we all know it doesn’t always work out that way and they can end up becoming rather expensive.

For example, I’ve been to many first birthday parties which look a little like a wedding reception for a 1 year old!  Paid entertainment, bouncy castle, helium balloons everywhere and even a tiered birthday cake!  Don’t get me wrong they’ve looked lovely but must have cost hundreds!

For our son’s 1st and 2nd birthday parties we’ve hired a hall and paid for entertainment, given the little pickles lunch and sent them off again, all within the space of 2 hours (to keep the hall hire cost down)!  With Little O being a summer baby we wanted to take a chance and have a Garden Party for his 3rd birthday and although we don’t have a garden ourselves the in-laws have a BEAUTIFUL garden, with lots of space, a climbing frame, sand  pit, paddling pool and space for a bouncy castle!

With no hall hire to pay for our only expenses were the bouncy castle (£65 for the whole day from Bozo’s), lunch and some outdoor decorations which I got from ebay and will be using at some of our markets!

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We all know our summer weather can be a little unpredictable so I wanted some back-up parties games to use if we needed to stay inside and this is where I called upon help from other local mummys and they had some fab ideas I just wanted to share!

  • Old MacDonald had a Farm – asking the children to choose an animal each time
  • Musical Animals – like musical statues but hold up a picture of an animal when the music stops and the children must act/make noises like the animal
  • Treasure hunt looking for their party bags at the end
  • Sleeping Lions
  • Limbo!  Yes, the limbo! – just hold a broomstick or garden cane and ask them to wiggle underneath making a funny face, or holding their ears, wiggling their fingers out stretched, just get lower and lower!

As luck would have it the weather was beautiful and the only games played were pass the parcel and the good old Hokey Cokey!

It was a truly amazing party and we would love to hear your party suggestions so please comment below!

* With thanks to Helen Dicks from Baby Sensory and Caroline Payne from Jumping Jacks Parties & Maraca Jacks Music Workshops for some of the party ideas!

Written by Selina Shrimpton, Little Pickles Market and Baby Show Dorset Organiser

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Potty Time!

Potty, potty, potty!!!  That word has been driving ‘potty’ me for nearly a year.  Some parents can’t wait to get their little pickles out of nappies and then there are others, like me who are quite happy leaving things how they are.  It sounds lazy but I’d much rather leave Little O (nearly 3 yrs) in a nappy because although it still means changing smell bums, carrying around a nappy bag and of course the expense of buying them, there isn’t the worry of ‘where are the toilets’ and nagging him to ‘go’ all the time.

We started ‘Potty Practice’ with Little O last summer where we let him have nappy off time every day and allowed him to use the potty in his own time.  This worked really and by Christmas we thought it’s time to do the brave thing and just ‘GO FOR IT’.  We picked a week where we had no plans and when Daddy was at home for moral support but by the end of Day 1 we had practically given up and it was the ‘number 2’s’ which were causing the problem.  He would be running round the house desperate to go, making an awful noise and he was obviously really distressed, so on went a nappy and that was the end of that.

We decided we would give it another go when he was well and truly ready and for me, that meant doing a number 2 on the potty and declaring that he didn’t want nappies on anymore and pulling them off.  Well, last week we had a break through!  Of his own accord he sat on the potty and was extremely pleased to show me (yuk!) his poo in the potty!!  Cue lots of cheering, cuddling, clapping..Oh and little chocolate button!  So that was the ‘I’m ready!’ sign I was waiting for waiting for, and although a little nervous about GOING FOR IT on round 2 I knew we just had to.

This time our approach was much more relaxed.  We haven’t introduced ‘big boy pants’ yet and he’s been going commando. Less to pull down means more time to get him on the potty before an accident happens.   I look for the cues that he needs a wee (like playing with his trousers’ and fidgeting) and then ask him if he needs a wee.  If he says no I put him on the potty anyway and ‘hey presto’ most of the time he goes!

He’s had the odd accidents, and accidents are he’s learnt, but most of the time I can safely say it’s been a piece of cake!  In fact I was beyond proud when he went to pre-school for the first time without a nappy to find out he had asked to go to the toilet and came home in the same pair of trousers I sent him in!

Although it feels that training Little O has been easy peasy it’s definitely been another parenting learning curve! We’ve learnt from our mistakes and taken our time and that would be my biggest piece of advice to pass on.  There really is no need to rush if it’s not working.

So if any parents are about to go through the same thing or have just gone through it then we’d love to hear from you.  Let’s share, I’m sure our little pickles won’t mind 😉

Written by Selina Shrimpton, Little Pickles Market and Baby Show Dorset Organiser

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Dorset business mums take national awards by storm.

Not even a week after Sky News announced that companies run by mothers contribute around £7bn a year to the economy we find not 1 but 5 Dorset Businesses run by mums are amongst the nominees for the prestigious WO4LO Awards in association with Konfidence. Now in its 7th year WO4LO celebrates the best activities, classes, volunteers and venues from throughout the UK as nominated and voted for by the experts – parents and parents-to-be.

Joanne Dewberry, Dorset Business Mum 2010 and author of Crafting a Successful Small Business is no stranger when it comes to the WO4LO Awards “Charlie Moo’s has been nominated 3 years running. I’m proud that we are held in such high esteem in the Party Suppliers industry – I really hope this year we can make it into the final 3!”

Award-winning ‘Musical Steps’ has also been nominated in Best National Baby & Toddler Development Activity (newborn to 2 years) & Best National Pre-schooler Development Activity (2 to 5 years) Bournemouth Teacher,Heather Smith said Parents tell me Musical Steps classes are the highlight of their child’s week, so it’s exciting to be recognised in this way. My priority is always to deliver an inspiring music class so I’d love for us to win the award and show we really are something special.

Lisa Hagg, mum of 2 & owner of the UK’s leading children’s activity franchise, The Creation Station in Bournemouth, has been nominated for no less than 3 awards! The Best National Baby & Toddler Development Activity, The Best National Preschooler Development Activity & The Best Children’s Party Entertainment Awards. Lisa said I am delighted that our Baby Discover and Little Explorer art classes have been recognised and nominated by parents. We are passionate about providing unique classes that gives parents and their children a shared, creative and educational experience. Our classes develop friendships, social confidence, problem solving skills & imagination in young children as well as providing ideas and activities for parents to help them develop their baby and toddler at home”

Most Outstanding Activity Leader for the Under 5s (South) sees Lisa Hagg, Caroline Kelly and Heather Smith up for this accolade. Joanne said “between my 3 children they have all been to Musical Steps, Turtle Tots and The Creation Station at some point and I think it shows the wealth of baby & pre-school activities available in Dorset and how highly recommended they are.”

Caroline Kelly, Turtle Tots Dorset, teaches aqua natal and baby swimming classes. “To be nominated for any award after less than 12 months in business is something I couldn’t have imagined. Each week parents tell me little things that their babies/toddlers have done at home related to our lessons which is fantastic. Turtle Tots teach babies to swim both above and below the surface teaching water confidence and life saving skills. Our classes also promote a special bonding experience between parent and baby in the water and many new friendships are formed. It would be great to win but to be nominated really is something special.Turtle Tots UK has been nominated inBest National Baby & Toddler Development Activity (newborn to 2 years) & Best National Pre-schooler Development Activity (2 to 5 years) as well.

Best Day Out in Dorset? Look know further than Little Pickles Market 2013 really has been an amazing year so far already collecting a couple of awards and it’s only March. I’m so humbled by the hard work and dedication of the team and all our buyers and sellers over the past 2 years.” owner Jessamine Hislop Newton beamed. The Dorset branch is currently putting the finishing touches to their Inaugural Little Pickles South Coast Baby & Toddler Show in May – with special guests including cbeebies favourite Chris Jarvis. Averaging 200+ people in a normal 2 hour market the baby show is set to be the place to be.

These business mums now need your help from now until the 28th May 2013, parents can log onto www.whatson4littleones.co.uk to vote for their favourite. The winners will be announced celebrity host Lucy Piper at Brighton Racecourse on Sunday 30th June. Everyone who votes or nominates will also be in with a chance to win 2 VIP tickets to the awards ceremony, meet the finalists, sponsors and VIP guests.

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