NHM Readers Recommend: Meet-up Apps for Parent/Baby Socials

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “”Could you please ask your NHM community what apps they use to meet up from a parent/baby perspective?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Meet-up Apps for Parent/Baby Socials

Erin said,  “Hoop is pretty good.”

Claire said, “There is Mush.”

Kelly said, “Hoop and Mummy Social.”

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Based on the much-loved book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Thursday 28 – Sunday 31 March
Thu & Sat 4.30pm
Fri – Sun 10.30am & 1.30pm

The Haymarket, Basingstoke

Credit: Anvil Arts

The smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt comes to The Haymarket from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 March.  Based on the much-loved book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, the fun-filled adaptation is set to Benji Bower’s versatile lively score.

Join our intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear; as they wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes, plenty of adventure and a few surprises along the way.

This mischievous celebration of play is the perfect treat for families with children aged 3 and up.  It is just under an hour long with no interval.

WE’RE GOING TO THE THEATRE
WE’RE GOING TO SEE A BEAR HUNT
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLAY!
WE’RE NOT SCARED!

Tickets are priced at £12.50 (includes £2 booking fee).  Call the Anvil Arts box office on 01256 844244 or visit anvilarts.org.uk.

Credit: Anvil Arts

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Early Steps – a Preschool Developmental Programme

If you have a child that has autism, social communication delay or other developmental disabilities we offer a child-friendly course that can help you learn ways to support your child develop the skills they need and get them school ready.

We work with children up to the age of 5, and tailor our groups to meet their needs – whether its developing early communication skills to playing cooperatively with other children.

We are Early Steps and we can help you and your child get on the right path in time for school.

“We have been put on the right path. Early Steps is a life changing course. I highly recommend this to anyone – we are a new family now”
Family of four year old.

We offer small groups, that allow pre-school children with additional needs the opportunity for repeated practice within a safe setting and learn how to get better at following instructions, communicating, friendships, group activities and more. 

Each child is assessed on intake, given individualised goals and parents are given the techniques to help their child learn.  

The first session is free, to allow you and your child to see if the group is right for you.

Join us today and you can:

  • Understand how to teach your child
  • Give your child the skills they need to reach their potential
  • Take back control of your child’s progress
  • Access a support network of other parents as well as experienced and understanding professionals
  • Access skills-based assessment and a termly report
  • Get your child ready for school!

We also offer free information in our blogs and advice that you might find useful. Please see our Facebook page or find our useful parenting tips on our website

“The support I received from Early Steps made me feel confident that I am a good mum and I can handle and understand my boy’s behaviour. I have coping skills now thanks to Early Steps.”
Mum of two boys

Our first group this year starts on the morning of Friday 1st March in Bracknell. Dates in both Crowthorne, Reading and Basingstoke coming soon!

To find out more about how we can help you, or to register for our free session, please call us on 07824 366802 or email us earlysteps@behavioursolutions.net for a free chat about how we can offer you assistance.  

www.early-steps.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/EarlyStepsSchoolReady/

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Local Dad is a record breaking beatboxer and is bringing his family theatre show to Basingstoke

Local dad Simon Shlomo Kahn, professionally known as SK Shlomo, grew up in Buckinghamshire and now lives in Hook with his wife and two young children.

His breathtaking vocal skills gained him early recognition as a world record breaking beatboxer and world looping champion, and he has worked with superstar fans like Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Rudimental and Bjork.

“Beatboxing is the art of creating unbelievably rich music using nothing but your voice” says Shlomo. “Beatboxers can create the sound of a full orchestra or electronic track – the drums, the keyboards, the basslines, all performed using nothing but a mouth and a mic.

“It’s an amazingly empowering way for people from all walks of life to express themselves and I love teaching people how simple it is to make vocal rhythms”

SK Shlomo is bringing his family theatre show “Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids” to Basingstoke Anvil this Easter on April 16th, where everyone young and old can become one of his superstar sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music.

“Hook is a great place for families. We’ve made lots of lovely friends here on the school and nursery run who keep asking me to bring my kids show to a local theatre so we are finally doing it! The Anvil is a great venue and I’m really excited to share my love of music with the next generation of music makers. My own boys are excited they can finally come to a show too but I know the parents will have just as much fun!”

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids is currently on tour and is at Basingstoke Anvil on April 16th 2019
Find out more: skshlomo.com/kids
Book tickets now: anvilarts.org.uk or Box Office: 01256 844244

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Organising a children’s party

Thank you very much to Shona who put this post together!!

Organising a children’s party

Parties can feel like a nightmare to organise, especially if you are on a budget. Here we will share all the information we have gathered about birthday parties, including cheap ideas, venues and entertainment.

So, first you need to decide where it is you want to do your party. Is your home suitable for the amount of guests you will have? If you have a younger child’s birthday, remember parents will stay with their children so there does need to be enough space. In the summer you will be able to use the garden, but in winter you need to ensure there is indoor space.

If your house isn’t big enough, here are some venues in North Hampshire that you can rent.

St Lawrence Church Hall

St Lawrence Parish Centre provides a venue for private hire. It is conveniently in the town centre and popular for parties, meetings and conferences.

Cost: £15 per hour on weekdays and £12.50 per hour on weekends.

Contact: 0142082442

28 Park Close Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2HA

Crookham War Memorial Hall

There are 2 halls for rent here, both have kitchens and large off street parking. Ideal for weddings, christenings, parties and dances.

Cost: upon enquiry

Contact: 07784830989

Sandy Lane, Fleet, Hampshire, GU52 8LD

Hatch Warren Community Centre

There are daytime and evening slots for parties and you can rent either the main hall or the lounge. Hire of the kitchen is included in hall hire cost.

Cost: £22 per hour for main hall and £18.10 per hour for the lounge (reductions available if you live locally and can join the Community Association).

Contact: 01256811262

Longcross Lane, Hatch Warren, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 4XF

Hiring Hatch Warren Community Centre

The Cross Barn, Odiham

An absolutely stunning building built in 1532 and converted in 1997. There are two rooms, a large hall and a small room available for meetings.

Cost: £26.50 per hour for the Great Hall during summer or £27.50 per hour during winter.

Contact: 01256701803

Palace Gate Farm, Hook, Hampshire, RG29 1JX

The Cross Barn

Hook Community Centre

Newly refurbished, Hook Community Centre offers a range of spaces for hire. There is parking for around 100 cars. There are 3 different rooms of different sizes.

Cost: Varies from room to room. Cheapest is £32.50 to Hook residents and £36.50 to non residents. This is for a 3 hours children’s party (based on 2 hr party and half hour either side to set up/clean up).

Contact: 012567604000

Ravenscroft, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 9NN

Hook Community Centre

Alton Community Centre

Located behind the High Street there are rooms to hire at Alton Community Centre. The room recommended for children’s birthday parties is the Garden room which has a kitchen area too.

Cost: For the Garden room for a 3 hours slot (2 hour party and half an hour either side) the cost is £35.

Contact: 0142085057

Amery Street, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1HN

Alton Community Centre

Oakley Village Hall

There are two halls available for hire: The Committee Room is suitable for up to 20 people and the Main Hall is suitable for up to 120 people. A kitchen is available on site.

Cost: available on request

Contact: 01256780918

Andover Road, Oakley, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG23 7HA

Westside Community Centre

Westside Community Centre in South Ham has 3 different rooms available to hire.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 01256464571

Paddock Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6QB

Westside Community Centre

The Sycamore Centre

There is a hall available for hire at the Sycamore Centre for a variety of functions.

Cost: Available upon request

Contact: 01256330375

Sycamore Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG23 8AB

Westside Community Centre

Westside Community Centre in South Ham has 3 different rooms available to hire.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 01256464571

Paddock Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6QB

Westside Community Centre

Bramley Village Hall

There are three rooms available to hire at Bramley Village Hall.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 07464749997

The Street, Bramley, Tadley, RG26 5BP

Bramley Village Hall

Chineham Village Hall

Cost: from £8.20 per hour

Contact: 07935328172

Thornhill Way, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8YE

Chineham Village Hall

Next up you will need to decide on party games (if your child is old enough for these).

Here are some ideas of cheap/free games you could play:

  • Pass the parcel – You can buy many things to put in the middle of a pass the parcel with a sweet in each layer as you unwrap it.
  • Musical chairs – FREE
  • Musical bumps – FREE
  • Musical statues – FREE
  • Scavenger hunt – Use clues to help the children find what you want them to find. This could be done even more cheaply by hunting items found in nature i.e. pine cones, rocks. Then the winners get a prize.  
  • Fancy dress – If your children have lots of fancy dress items, you could put a fancy dress box in at the party for all the children to use.
  • Simon says – FREE
  • Pass the balloon – split into 2 equal teams and sit in lines. Each person has to hold the balloon under their chin, no hands and pass it along to their team. Whichever team gets it to the end of the line wins.
  • Dead ants – for older children. The children dance around the room until you shout a number from 0-4. When they hear the number they put that many body parts on the floor. If you shout 0 they have to lie on their backs with their limbs in the air like dead ants.
  • Pin the tail on the donkey – print out a donkey picture and make a tail out of paper/material. Here you have pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Sports day type activities – egg and spoon race, three legged race or a water balloon toss.
  • The chocolate game – a bar of chocolate, knife and fork and a dice. Sit in a circle and roll the dice. If someone rolls a 6 they have to try and cut up the bar of chocolate and eat some with the knife and fork. The other guests continue and when someone else gets a 6 they swap in.
  • Pinata

You can also have some activities set out around for children to do such as:

  • Bubbles – many parents have a bubble machine at home already.
  • Colouring books / printable colouring activities i.e. masks
  • Decorating cupcakes – you could have cupcakes and part of the party activity could be decorate your own cupcake to take home.
  • Decorate your own party hat – see below
  • Pasta necklace making – string and dried pasta tubes create great pasta necklaces.
  • Ball pit – many parents will have these knocking around, even if it’s a small paddling pool filled with plastic balls.
  • Disco – just use your own music on a stereo or smartphone with speaker. Much cheaper than hiring a disco.
  • Skittles – using empty drinks bottles, you could fill them with various things to make them a little heavier then use a ball to try and knock them over.

Decorations can also be made economically:

  • Decorate your own party hats – rather than buying party hats you could use paper for children to make a cone and decorate their own party hat with crayons, pens or even sticking sequins, buttons or feathers on.
  • Pre decorated party napkins – buy some napkins, a rubber stamp and an ink pad, then you can stamp anything onto your napkins!!
  • Make your own happy birthday banner – using things around the house i.e an old bedsheet and some pens/paint.
  • You don’t need helium balloons – children are happy with normal balloons so if you want a helium one, then just perhaps get one in the number of the child’s age.
  • Make your own party favours – in place of a party bag, each person could go home with a homemade sweet cone. Sweets can be bought in bulk and cellophane cones can be bought from eBay.

If you want entertainment, here are some options in the local area:

Routine Riots

Specialising in children’s entertainment for parties, events and shows, all the performers are trained and experienced in working with children. You can choose from Magic Shows, Princess Parties, Face Painting and many more!

Routine Riots Facebook Page

A Message From.

A Message From. is run by Jade who dresses up as your children’s favourite princess characters to provide entertainment for children’s parties and events. You may have seen her as Elsa from Frozen as she has attended many local events. She also provides personalised video messages for your little ones.

A Message From. Facebook Page

Website – A Message From.

Silly Scott

Silly Scott is a popular children’s entertainer in the south. He can provide a comedy magic show, games, competitions, balloon modelling, dancing and music. You can also book face painting through the website too. There are also party tips and suggested venues.

Silly Scott

All Puffed Out

All Puffed Out provide balloon twisting entertainment within the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and parts of Hampshire areas. They combine 1, 2 and 3 balloons to make models, wands, hats and swords if they are booked to attend. You can also just ask them to provide pre-made balloons for the day, perhaps as prizes for a game.

All Puffed Out

All Steps First Dance

All Steps First Dance provide children’s birthday dance parties within the chosen venue. All dance teachers are fully qualified and have a DBS check as well as insurance. You pick from a theme such as Street Dance, Bollywood, X Factor or Disney (these are just a few) and you can also pick your own. They do games and learn dance routines.

All Steps First Dance

Juggling John

Juggling John is a children’s birthday party entertainer, magician, party clown, juggler, jester and much more. He is fully police checked and insured as well as a member of the Magic Circle.

Juggling John

Miss Sunshine

Miss Sunshine has an enhanced CRB check and has previously entertained at previous pre-schools, in holiday parks as well as on P&O Cruises. Wearing bright colours she makes children laugh with her silliness. Popular for both boys and girls. She provides a magic show and can also do music and games.

Miss Sunshine

DNA Kids – Hampshire

DNA Kids is a nationwide provider of children’s parties from age 4 – 13 years. They host a variety of different things such as discos, Princess, Heroes and Pirates Parties, Magic Shows, Beach Parties, Monster Parties, Soccer Superstar Football Parties and Popstar Parties.

DNA Kids

Bouncy castle hire can also be good for little ones because they don’t need any entertainment. NHM recommends JV Bouncy Castle Hire.

If you are looking for face painting, NHM recommends Neon Fairy Face Painting

Top tips

  • You MUST decide on a budget and stick to it. Perhaps try and work out how much you want to spend on food, decorations, cake etc.
  • If you have a theme, not EVERYTHING has to go with the theme. Napkins, plates and decorations can be very expensive. Just use the theme for invitations and cake, the children won’t notice all of the extras as long as they are having a good time!
  • You can save money by having a birthday party for a time where you don’t need to provide food (e.g. 2-4pm).
  • Having a reasonable limit on the amount of guests can save money as then you don’t need to spend as much on favours and invitations
  • Can you find a template to print out party invitations online? Then you could print your own.
  • Keep it simple!
  • Can you host a party at home rather than rent a venue? If not, shop around for a cheaper venue but still local.
  • Search for pre-filled party bags – you can often get these cheap if buying a couple or you could go to the pound shop and get some cheap fillers for party bags.
  • Ensure there is easy cleaning floor if you are serving food!
  • Ensure there are tables and chairs for adults to sit on as well as refreshments such as tea/coffee
  • Don’t forget a knife to cut the cake!
  • Check if anyone has any allergies to food/latex balloons
  • Remember if you have a venue to take: Rubbish bags, balloons, sellotape, blu tack, napkins, tea towels, scissors
  • Ensure there is public liability and insurance if you hire a bouncy castle.
  • Double check with your venue if they can use their plates, cups etc.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Classic Pop and Rock Music Tracks Suitable for Children

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I’m trying to introduce my son and daughter to really good music, especially the classic tracks (not classical) from the last 50 years. What specific tracks would you recommend?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.  All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Classic Music Tracks Suitable for Children

Holly said, “Queen!”

Matthew said, “Acdc just get out classic rock and 80’s etc there are loads but just play them in car that’s what we do and kids love them.”

Natashia said, “Bee Gees/ Fleetwood Mac / Roxette / Bryan Adams / ABBA ……that’s just pop……or depending on their age they may prefer rock….otherwise ACDC, Crash Test Dummies, The Doors…list goes on …”

Emma said, “I love a bit of rolling stones! Though don’t listen to the lyrics too much so couldn’t say how appropriate they are.”

Hayley said, “Requested in our house:
Levellers – One way, Beautiful Day, Angels.  (They’re one of our favourite bands, we’ve taken the kids to the Beautiful Days festival for the last few years – they love it)
Most songs by Bryan Adams.  Guns’n Roses – Sweet child of mine. 
Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil, Paint it black. 
Aerosmith – Pink, Crazy.
Most songs by the Beatles. 
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a prayer, Always. 
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t fear the reaper. 
Madness – Our house, One step beyond.
Specials – Ghost Town
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain, Landslide. 
The girls also like a bit of Metallica, Rob Zombie, Oasis, Coldplay & Pearl Jam too.”

Melrose Hall said, “Love the Levellers, been a fan since 92! Saw them last week in Bristol as part of their 30th anniversary tour, just as brilliant as ever.”

Cerys said, “My teenage boys are huge Stones fans. We took them to see them live in Southampton earlier this year and they loved it…
My 15 year old is sick of Queen! He likes 2 door cinema club, the Killers, the Gorillaz, 21 Pilots, Jimmy Hendrix, and all sorts of people I’ve never heard of.”

Kym said, “Michael Jackson, Beatles.”

Cat said, “My boys’ current favourites: Nickelback rockstar and MJ bad. We have Amazon prime music and I often ask varied playlists: classic rock, 80s rock, disco, 90s etc…”

Wendy said, “Radio 2!”

Allison said, “Don’t forget the Sergeant Pepper album – that’s a real classic with a mass of musical styles and instruments.”

Laura-Leigh said, “Fleetwood mac
The eagles
Abba
The carpenters
The beatles
The beach boys
Queen
Eva cassidy
Simon and Garfunkel”

Genni said, “The jam, blur, oasis, pulp, nirvana, the list goes on…”

Wendy said, “Just buy now 100, see what they like on it and go from there. My kids love the Smiths. The ministry compilations are also pretty good for trying out different types of music and kids love songs they know from films.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Dance Classes for two-year-olds

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Hi, I am trying to find a dance class for my little girl who is 2, I’m struggling as most seem to start at 3, do you know of any?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Dance classes for two-year-olds

Lisa Beaumont School of Ballet

Jo said, ” I would highly recommend Lisa Beaumont ballet class on a Friday. My little girl started there and is 2 year 4 months. It’s a parent and baby class so parent does it alongside.”

Hayley said, “I second Lisa Beaumont School of Ballet too.”

Lottie said, “Another vote for Lisa Beaumont here too! Marnie has just turned 3 and started back in April and loves it!!!!”

Marion said, “A fourth vote for Lisa Beaumont. She’s very good. I danced professionally for a while in my youth (and still teach Zumba now) and I’m really flipping picky about who teaches my kids to dance. I recommend her highly.”

Tracey said, “I’ve just been to Lisa’ Beaumont’s class in Cliddesden painting pottery presents with everyone and they all have such a lovely time at the class and there were 2 year olds dancing too!”

The Lynden School of Dance & Gymnastics

Sarah said, “The Lynden School of Dance & Gymnastics take them from 2 and a half and have a parent and toddler class before this. They’ve been great for both my girls”

Debbie suggested, “Www.lyndendance.co.uk”

Moo Music

Ellie said, “I took my daughter to kids kan dance but she was a bit too young for it. I’m now taking her to moo music and she enjoyed it so much fun.”

Footsteps Dance School

Lindsey said, “Footsteps Dance School – my daughter and nieces have been there since they were 2 and half and Kelly who teaches the class is just fantastic. Would highly recommend.”

Kids Kan Dance

Kat said, “My daughter loved kids kan dance when she was younger.”

Lucy said, “Kids kan dance is great.”

Katie said, “Kids Kan Dance we have two classes for two year olds. Dance with Mummy and Twinkle 2’s…”

Leanne said, “Kids Kan Dance dance with Mummy classes are the best!!”

The M&M Academy of Arts

Lauren said,  “The M&M Academy of Arts in basingstoke take from 2 and a half and is on a Saturday.”

MG School of Dance

Jessica suggested, “MG School of Dance

Angela said, “MG school of dance at Popley fields community centre are a local dance school catering for all ages and abilities. We run classes in Modern, Tap, Ballet and Acro We have places on our Saturday classes offering the First lesson free.”

*Please note, in December 2018, MG School of Dance changed hands and became Poppies School of Dance*

Basingstoke Tappers

Kimberley said, ” Basingstoke Tappers is a good one.”

Basingstoke Tappers replied, “Performing Arts Tots from 18 months ….Also Classes for all aged children & Adults…

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Snow!!! House Bound Things to do

If you’re going a bit stir crazy in the house and can’t face taking everyone out in the snow again because it means tonnes of coats, socks, boots, etc. that you need to dry after (no, just me? :-D), these are some historical posts from NHM that might be useful today.

Older children will also find some of these fun, as sensory activities don’t have an age limit.

What suggestions do you have?

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NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

In July 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I was wondering if you know of any local crash swimming courses for children?” 

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

Joanna said, “The sports centre do crash courses.”

Sarah said, “Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Becky said, “My daughter has just done a crash course at the Sports Centre and she really enjoyed it.”

Karen said, “I recommend the Sports centre too.”

Andrea said, “We go to Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Amanda said, “Aquadrome and tadley pool both do intensive courses, so five days a week for one week at a time. They learn faster as there’s no gap to forget things. Highly recommend.”

Ruth said, “We did it for our eldest, age 7? over a half term and he hasn’t looked back – Joanne is brilliant.” (Sports centre)

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NHM Readers Recommend: Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

In August 2018, an NHM reader asked: “Are there support groups or meet ups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy in the area.”

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

Wendy said, “May be worth asking Spotlight UK if they know of any others.”

Debbie said,HPCN Basingstoke Share Together  is a Facebook group which may help.”

Colleen said, “There’s Barntots SEN at Viables too. I second Debbie’s suggestion to ask on HPCN Basingstoke Share Together .”

Shirley said, “Hazie Days run by Marti Hayes .”

Louise said,  “New epilepsy group starting 28th August please do come along for a coffee and chat”


Clare said, “Yes! Lovely bunch of people supported by amazing staff  Tree tots at the Firvale centre in Rooksdown.

Every Wednesday 10-12. Term time

It’s free. Sensory room can be accessed. 

Aimed at 0-5yrs but some mums come by selves whilst children at nursery etc. Happy to answer any questions or meet you outside on 1st time trying it.”

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