NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I was really hoping the NHM Community could help with. I know that there are groups on NHM but thought maybe there were other support groups that could also help: “I have 2 children, a 2yr old and a 4year old. My 4 year old is very shy and I do not have any friends with children. I feel really isolated. I would love to find out about some groups (regular ones that I can keep going to) to give my 4yr old an opportunity to mix with other children and me to make some friends.”

Thank you so much for all the responses and also for the kind offers to meet up. The group suggestions are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

Edie said “Sherborne St John baby and toddler group on a Wednesday in term time at 9.45-11.30am in the village hall is a very friendly group that is a good way to meet other mums.”

Shirley said “Sycamore Halls Community Centre has two parent and toddler groups… Monday 10 til 12 and Thursday 10 til 12… term time only”

Hannah said “Basing beans is a lovely friendly group. They have a Facebook page. Also places like fun house are good as the kids kind of gravitate towards each other.”

  • Stephanie asked “Hi,is basing beans still running? We’ve been twice(term time) in the last 2 months and the building was in darkness and locked”
  • Jenni replied “Hi Stephanie, I’m not sure if you know but Basing Beans moved to Lychpit Village Hall a while ago, it’s still great fun!”

Rebecca said “Mini Professors is good for 2-4 year olds.”

Allison R said “Two friendly toddler groups held at St Mary’s Church, Goat Lane Eastrop. Tues and Thurs term time, 10am – 11.30am. Many parents bring pack lunches and stay on for more chats and social ‘indoor picnic’!”

Lene said “I run Little Learners Basingstoke (aimed at 5 months to 5 years). A messy play group developing early writing skills and mark making. The classes are small and very relaxed. https://www.facebook.com/LLBasingstoke/

Joanna said “BusyBees Hook is a lovely craft toddler group, Friday mornings at 9.45am”

Laura said “I really recommend Muddy Puddles forest school. Being outside gives shyer children space to make friendships at their own pace. And brilliant for my 2 who are almost 2 and almost 4.”

  • Edie said “Second that actually, we’ve just started our second term”
  • Sarah said “Muddy Puddle Forest School is amazing!”

Erica said “Come and join the fun at Pop Up Play Village on a Wednesday morning in Beggarwood Community Centre. We’ve had a few people come who have felt like that… It’s hard feeling like that. Once your 4 year old gets school visits underway that might help as they meet Classmates. Www.facebook.com/popupplayvillagebasingstoke

Mary said “Do you use your preschool hours? If you find the one where most children go to the school your child will go to you maybe able to benefit for the rest of the term and then meet up with people in the holidays. My issue with lots of groups is they stop in the holidays so you might need to arrange to meet people through the holidays to maintain friendships.”

Mandy said “The Link, Newchurch Road in Tadley have various toddler groups on, all very friendly. Monday 1.15 to 2.45pm cheeky cherubs, Tuesday Little Squigglers Messy Play 9.30am to 11am, Wednesday Cheeky Chimps 9.30am to 11.30am, 2nd and 4th Thursday 9.30 to 11.30am Little Explorers Soft Play. There is also groups run by others like Totcross Buns on Thursday Mornings and Caterpillar Music on a Friday. All the groups are really friendly.”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) replied “Thank you for the recommendation Mandy. We have spaces on Thursday and love meeting new mini bakers and their grown ups.

Wendy said “Basingstoke gymnastics run classes everyday that would accommodate both children.”

Rachael said “Sherfield Park community centre 0-5 toddler group on a Tuesday 10am-12pm. Very friendly group. If you want a smaller group to get her used to people first there is also Bumps into mums every Friday morning at Sherfield Park community centre just pay for drinks and cakes. Runs every week throughout the year (apart from bank holidays and Christmas) 10am-12pm. Kids ages range from newborns through to school starters”

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat, Friday mornings 10.00 at Brookvale Village Hall”

Rachel said “TinyTalk Basingstoke – Baby signing and Toddler Talking classes have a social time as part of the class and I have had so many Mummies and little ones make firm friendships in class!”

Katie said “Join us at Cookery Doodle Doo – with a max preschool class size of 6, the children sit together and cook with me. You’re welcome to help her, or sit at my kitchen table with your littler one and watch/chat/drink coffee. Whatever works for you on the day. Trial class only £5 if you contact me to book. Or try our short pop-up on Thursday 10th May at the Overton Coffee Shop – all the adults join in and help at this fun Flowerpot Cheesecake class for little tots (walking/talking) up to preschool. Both your kids could do that one Www.Cookerydoodledoo.Com/northhants

Naomi said “Melrose Hall has two tot groups running one on a Tues and one on a Friday. The Friday one is very small in numbers so all are welcome”

Sasha said “Oakridge hall does a lovely playgroup on a Tuesday 9:45 -11:15 I have a 4yr and 2yr old and moved here not knowing anyone and felt isolated too.”

Juliet said “I started taking my shy boy to Tot Cross Buns about a year ago when he was two, the class size was perfect for him and the involvement has done wonders for his confidence. It‘s great for meeting other mums too”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) said “Thank you for the recommendation Juliet. We love our mini bakers and enjoy meeting new faces”

Jaz said “Caterpillar Music is suitable for both ages and siblings are free too. I hated playgroups as would sit on my own and not be brave enough to talk to anyone. Structured classes I find much better and less scary. Being a mum is so daunting when you go to new places. I’m only more confident now I have a 3rd and even now don’t dare try playgroups!!!”

Kim said “‘What’s Inside The Box’ Story Time Sessions with Routine Riots. Teas and coffees for mums and dad’s whilst we explore a story, sing, dance and play. Themed each session. Every two weeks and next one is Thursday 3rd May from 1-2pm at Viables Community Centre. £4 and you’ll need to contact the Centre to book”

Yvette said “I went to caterpillar music this morning and usually I find new places and groups daunting. Being a structured class eased my uncomfortable side! Little ones 5 months and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!”

Kelly-Lauren said “Jiggy Wrigglers is a great class for all your children’s ages and is priced per family and not per child. All children love the music, dancing, props and bubbles! There is also social time with toys at the end where you can relax and have free tea/coffees and biscuits whilst your little ones play.”

  • Emma asked “Where is this one please? I have a baby and need to find classes to go to. All the ones I used to do with my first had stopped coz of the children’s centres cutbacks
  • Kelly-Lauren replied “Hi Emma, we are currently at Hook Home and Garden Centre on Tuesday 10-10.30 and 10.45-11.15 (no refreshments here or social time but there is a free play area you can use afterwards inside) which is £3 per child, Thursdays Melrose Hall in Popley 10-11am and Fridays Crookham WI Hall 10-11am. It’s such a shame about the cut backs as a lot of people are missing out on vital connections and support!”

Kath said” Zoe runs zingtastic and mumbaba. Zoe would definitely make you feel welcome and introduce you to other mums”

  • Hayley replied “Another recommendation for Zoe. I’ve been to her groups with both of my children and she will absolutely make you feel welcome”
  • Lisa said “I second that, Zoe is lovely and we have been going to Mumbaba for 3 years now.”
  • Julia said “Zoe is awesome and so welcoming – as a first time mum I went along to Mumbaba having had no mummy friends. My little girl and I were given such a warm welcome and made wonderful new friends”

Lizzie said “I run forest school sessions in Bramley and in morgaston woods at The Vyne. We have a few parents who bring 2 children along as the child led nature of forest School means children of all ages can join in. The parents are all lovely and welcoming and it’s a great place to make new friends as people attend every week. Facebook.com/muddypuddleclub

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes suitable for both ages and siblings. It is a structured class with lots of fun. Classes in Hook are on a Tuesday morning and I have a special offer of 3 introductory classes for £12.00 on at the moment. sarahjp@hartbeeps.com https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Hayley said “Little angels in hatch warren on a Thursday morning is good for mixed ages too. My 4 year old and 19 month old go every week. It’s very relaxed and a nice bunch”

Louise NHM said “I was thinking, maybe we need a “code word” for Mum’s who are a bit shy or nervous, so that when they turn up, the organisers know to make them feel very welcomed and introduce them to others. Would that be a good idea?”

  • Rachael said “I think it’s a great idea just a shame it needs to be done, why can’t people just be more welcoming and introduce themselves when they see a new face walk in the door”
  • Jade said “This has never changed. I first had my first child 7 years ago and I was always the one sat on my own at baby group. 7 years later I take my 8month old little girl to one for her sake. Not mine. I don’t feel welcome no one wants to chat they’ve all got their friends I just go purely to get out the house now and no longer worry about having any ‘mummy friends’”
  • Rebecca said “I know exactly how you feel. This is why I prefer structured classes rather than playgroups.”
  • Mary said “I actually think the organiser needs to be more obvious so you know to introduce yourself to. Also most people who are talking in groups will let someone into the group.
  • The other thing to do is get there early and help to set up or put stuff away, that’s another way to get chatting. I don’t think I’m overly confident but i won’t sit on my own either.”
  • Helena said “Our village playgroup had a designated ‘welcomer’ who would instantly spot a new face, explain the set up and introduce them to the adults who she knew would be friendly and chatty Because let’s face it, not everyone is! It worked really well and no one was ever sat alone.
  • Sasha said “Louise NHM that’s a really good idea, make it easier for people”

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Busy Bees Toddler Group in Hook

Collage created using TurboCollage software from www.TurboCollage.com

Busy Bees Toddler Group in Hook

I am a mum to a three-year-old toddler. Every week, we go to a toddler group called Busy Bees in Hook.

It’s brilliant and it provides a great range of activities for little ones including painting, play-doh, two crafts on a theme each week, a healthy snack, and songtime.

9.45am – 11.15am –
Children of all ages welcome up to 5 years
Elizabeth Hall, Raven Road, Hook, Hampshire RG27 9HH.
£4 for children over 18 months. £2 for those under 18 months who are unable to do the crafts. Includes snack for children and hot drinks for adults.
Drop in, pay-as-you-go, no joining fee.
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Drama Tots Basingstoke

Hi, my name is Kate and I run Drama Tots Basingstoke, an award winning preschool activity for 18mnth-4 yr olds. Having trained professionally in musical theatre, I have worked extensively with children, both in a theatrical and teaching capacity.

Our classes use original music, props, puppets and our imaginations to take you and your little ones on new and exciting adventures each week. Having been designed with the EYFS curriculum in mind, many of our activities have educational benefits as well as being lots of fun. Our nurturing environment means that our classes help to bring confidence to shyer children as well as harnessing the creative sides of those who are already more extrovert.

Classes start back from Monday the 10th September and run on a weekly basis during term time. We offer 3 week trial packages for £12 which give you a good overview of what it is all about.

I will also be doing a taster session at Playdays soft-play on Tuesday the 18th September at 10am, (normal entrance fee applies) where you can take part in a class and have time in the soft play as well.

For more information and to book a trial please see our website: www.dramatots.co.uk
Facebook page – Drama Tots Basingstoke
Instagram- @dramatotsbasingstoke
or contact me: kate@dramatots.co.uk

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with a question I had received: “just wondered if you could ask people about clubs/meets etc for a baby and toddler.? 1 month and a 2 year old.”

Many thanks for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

Naomi said “Melrose Hall run a tot group on a tues and fri”

Claire said “Coffee & Chat at Brookvale is lovely. Toddler section and baby section. Just £2 donation. Friday’s from 10am https://www.facebook.com/NCTCoffeeandChat/

Debbie said “Michelle runs tots play plus helps (I think) at coffee morning on Fridays at Sherfield Park.” www.facebook.com/totsplaybasingstoke www.facebook.com/bumpintomums

Any said “Basing Beans on Tuesdays 10-11.30 is great. It’s at Lychpit village hall. Lots for toddlers plus baby area and a cup of tea or coffee for you…https://m.facebook.com/groups/204635339562838

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes for newborns through to preschoolers in Hook on a Tuesday morning. You can bring your little one to Happy House Class with your older one. https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Jo said “Caterpillar music”

Hayley said “caterpillar music is perfect, took my little one from about 3 weeks old with my 2.5 year old:)”

Jaz said “www.facebook.com/CaterpillarMusicBasingstoke Even better- siblings are FREE!”

Steph said “I run netmums Basingstoke meet ups once a month for people to get out with the little ones and make new friends…you can find the group here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1833762103604347

Rachael said “Under 5’s at Sherfield Park on a Tuesday morning and bump into mums on a Friday morning both 10am-12pm and both very welcoming and friendly”

Allison said “Two year olds are welcome to Tot Cross Buns…mummies are welcome to bring younger siblings too Www.facebook.com/totcrossbuns

Kelly said “Www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke

Anna said “I’m a midwife running a newborn and baby massage courses in Camberley available to book now https://www.mummasandbeans.co.uk/camberley/

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Lynsey’s Little Stars

Lynsey’s Little Stars

Lynsey’s Little Stars is a new parent, baby & toddler group, which started in February 2018.

10-11:30am every Wednesday term time only at St Mary’s Church Old Basing.

£3 for the 1st child 50p for each extra child

Tea and coffee for the parents and a fruit snack for the kids.

There is craft making which the children can take home, and singing songs just before the end.

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Update from Ooh Mama

Originally set up in 2012 as a choir for mums, Ooh Mama aims to provide “me time” for ladies who love to sing.

Whether or not you’re a mum you are welcome to join.

We maintain our original ethos and our mantra of fun, social, support and me time, meeting weekly on Tuesdays in Basingstoke.

For more information email oohmamachoir@gmail.com or visit our website www.oohmamachoir.org.uk

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs and Groups in Old Basing

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend clubs or groups for 3 year olds in Old Basing. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend Clubs and Groups in Old Basing

Tracey said: Old basing and Lychpit NCT coffee groups group is worth joining their Facebook page sure some in this group will have children going to school next year.

Aimee said: I’ve never been but I know of the Basing Beans toddler group which I think runs on a Tuesday in the Legion. Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about making friends before school….my little boy has just started at OBIS and the induction programme is fab, they have lots of settling in sessions before the summer holidays so get to know lots of people before they even set foot in the classroom. Xx

Kerryann replied: Basing Beans is the village toddler group. Please find our Facebook page or message me. Would be lovely to have you come along!

Louise Nhm Smith said: https://www.facebook.com/groups/basingbeans

Heather said: Have you thought about preschools? My son is nearly 3 and goes to Bolton Under 5s preschool. Lots of children from there go onto old basing infants. Other than that we go to basing beans which is great for meeting people.

Heather replied: Why don’t you go along to the nct coffee mornings too? They are on Wednesdays between 10 and 12 at houses around the village. I can aďd you to their Facebook group i think. They have babies and toddlers there. It’s a great way to meet lots of people.

Natalie said: Hi, Yes there’s a facebook page on here called mummy meetup Basingstoke, lots of new mums, next meetup is on friday 12.30-2pm in playden at sports centre. also there’s a group of us on mummy social, we are meeting on thurs for coffee at 11.30 in town if you want to come too?

Louise Nhm Smith said: Mummy meetup Basingstoke or Last minute mums Basingstoke.

Louise Nhm Smith said: or try NHM – A safe inclusive group for mummies who don’t know anyone

Hannah said: Basing beans is great fun. My son is also starting next year so feel free to message me as quite often we have preschool get togethers with other mums at our preschool. I’m in basing but my son is at preschool in lychpit.

Claudia said:  Cathy Rowe runs Music with Mummy classes in Old Basing. Fab musical classes for preschoolers!

Pam said: We used to go to the playground behind the Millstone pub so my son could get used to lots of children as they stop off after school at about 3.30-3.45. The introduction sessions at the school were brilliant too. Familiarity so no anxiety of the unknown really helped confidence. We also enjoyed sessions at the Active Life centre for preschool children. We did a preschool freestyle session with a class structure without Mum which I thought would help him with the idea of following instructions and behaving independently of my guidance. Good for me too as able to watch what he was doing in the class on their screens too.

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Safe and Friendly Playgroups with a code word!

I think it was last week when there was a discussion on “Louise nhm Smith” about some new Mum’s feeling very intimidated at baby and toddler groups. I’ve put a bit more thought into the “code words” idea and have come up with the following. (Yes, I know it’s a bit cheeky using NHM in the “code words” but there have to be SOME perks to what I do here 😂😂😂).

The code words will be:

“NorthHantsMum sent me”

and when a new Mum says that to someone when she arrives, the organisers of that group will know immediately to take extra special care of her and ensure that she feels welcomed, etc.

If you run a local play group, toddler group or somewhere where Mum’s meet and would like to be included in the post that I am putting together of “Safe and friendly” local Mum groups, please drop me an email at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

Hopefully this will help those Mum’s who are new to local baby and toddler groups. Thanks!!

You can find more details for the playgroups and classes on the Activities pages on NorthHantsMum.co.uk.

Playgroups

Munchkins, Thursday 10-11:30 term time, sycamore centre, winklebury.

Basing Beans Lychpit Village Hall: Basing Beans, Lychpit Village Hall, Great Binfields Rd, Lychpit, Basingstoke RG24 8TF, Every Tuesday 10-11.30am, £2

Tuesday Tots: every Tuesday (term time) at Hall for all in Oakridge from 9:45-11:15am

Pop Up Play Village Basingstoke

Lynsey’s Little Stars parent,baby & toddler group – Old Basing

Classes

www.yogababes.co.uk

Jiggy Wrigglers classes in Basingstoke, Hook and Fleet.

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‘What’s Inside The Box?’ Interactive story times with KIM – TODAY!

Each week is based on a different story and theme followed by an interactive session around the book with Kim from Routine Riots.  We take a look inside the box to find clues, which lead us to the story! The session in very interactive and lots of fun, and includes dancing, singing with the ukulele, rhyme times, drama activities, music, puppets, parachutes, games and more. Stories can be from favourite, well known books or indeed Kim’s own stories that she has written.

The sessions are aimed at predominantly 2-6 year olds, though siblings are welcome to join in the fun too!  The cost is £4 for one child, £6.50 for 2 siblings. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Teas/coffees and Squash/water are available for a small donation.

Booking is ESSENTIAL! Please contact Viables Community Centre directly on 01256 473634 or email office@viables.org.uk if you would like to come along for some fun.

The NEXT ONE………. Thursday 3rd May 2018, 1-2pm – ‘PIRATE’ Story Time

Calling all shipmates…….Join Kim for her ‘What’s inside the box?’ PIRATE story time. A 60 min interactive session based around the book ‘Helping Polly Parrot – Pirates Can Be Kind’ by Tom Easton and Mike Gordon. Find the clues within the box to discover the theme of the story. Poor Polly the parrot doesn’t have a home on board the ship and she’s expected to be a great look out. Find out what happens to her, does the ship crash? Get ready to go on a treasure hunt and bring a hearty set of lungs for some pirate singing. With games, dancing, fun and much more! Yaharrrrgh!

The sessions are currently running every two weeks but Kim would love to expand this if the sessions prove popular.  To keep up to date with all the story time events and details you can join the Routine Riots (‘What’s Inside the Box?’ Story times with Kim) group on Facebook

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