NHM Readers: Suggested iPad Apps for 2 to 4 year olds

In response to a question from a NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What suggested iPad Apps (Free or Paid) for 2-3 year olds and 3-4 year olds do people recommend? Specifically educational ones, not games.” . (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Minion Rush

Despicable Me: Minion Rush on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Lisa says “If you put in children’s number games there is one kids can trace in the number, there’s the same one for letters…. My son likes Minion Rush it helps with hand eye co-ordination”.

2. Todo Math

Todo Math on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Claire says “Todo Math is brill”.

3. Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App – Jolly Learning Jolly Learning

As recommended by Jason.

4. Bugs and …

Bugs and Buttons on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Numbers on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Bubbles on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

As recommended by Susan.

5. Pirate phonics

Buried Treasure phonics game – Phonics Play

As recommended by Susan.

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What’s on and where to go this February 2018 Half Term

Please email me of any events or activities that need to be added to this post: NorthHantsMum@Gmail.com. Thanks!

Events

The Vyne, National Trust – The Lost Tapestries

May the Toys be with You, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery

A very Debutots Chinese New Year

Charlie’s Storytelling Parties, Basingstoke Discovery Centre

Finkley Down Farm Half Term Fun

Cooking Classes

Tot Cross Buns – Valentines Day Class

Cookery Doodle Doo – Chinese New Year

Soft Play and Trampoline Parks

Gym Tots & Fun Tots, Basingstoke Sports Centre

JJ’s

Play Days

Jump Factory – Mini Jump

Flipout Basingstoke

Swimming

Tadley Swimming Pool

Basingstoke Aquadrome

QMC Swimming Pool

Cinemas

Vue Cinema, Basingstoke

Odeon, Basingstoke

Libraries

Rhymetime, storytime, crafts etc open during holidays, further info on their websites:

Hants.gov – library events

Holiday Clubs

Basingstoke Sports Centre:

Taster bootcamp sessions run Thursday and Friday 11.15-12.15 at Basingstoke Sports Centre. £3.80 with 10% off for members

The Popley Spotlight Centre:

In February we are holding 2 Holiday Clubs: Our OSC Holiday Club (arts and craft, games, free play, playing outside etc) and you can choose either 8am-6pm for £25 a day/£110 full week or 9am-3pm for £15 a day/£75 full week.Spaces are very limited in this club so please book soon.

Secondly is our Performing Arts Holiday Club, the theme in February is fairy tales told from the villains point of view. 9am-3.30pm. Only £50 for the full week if paid before 31st January or £60 thereafter.

Our phone lines are currently down so please email to book your child/ren on. If you wish to discuss on phone please email your number and I can ring you back.

List of days out from North Hants Mum!

http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/important-info/outings/

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NHM Readers: What I would buy if i was doing it all again!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook what they would buy or not buy if they were to have another baby based on their experiences (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

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

NHM Readers: What would I buy or not buy if I was to do it all again?

Mindy said: I probably wouldn’t bother with a breastfeeding pillow as we encourage mums to lean back now and you don’t need a pillow for that. Also you may not need a breast pump, wait and see and buy if needed. Ditto with steriliser.

Jessica said: I wouldn’t bother with a breast pump, electric bottle warmer, cot duvet and bumpers, a pram that doesn’t have a car seat adapter, baby carrier/harness or millions of outfits in newborn or 0-3 months. I would buy again an electric steriliser, bottle warming flask, sleep pods/sleeping bags, pram system with car seat adapters.

Mary said: I would buy a proper sidecar cot and would buy a proper sling or find out about the sling library to see what was best.

Kathryn said: I had my 3rd baby 8 months ago, after my second we got rid of everything except the cot and car seat. Before my youngest was born we bought a new sling and got given some clothes. Nothing else was needed.

Donna said: If bottle feeding, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep is one that I wish I had now and definitely pushchair with car seat attachments.

Shona said: I wouldn’t buy a fancy swing or rocker as he barely used it. I would stick with my Perfect Prep machine every time. I wouldn’t buy a bath seat again but I love my bath sponge that you just lay them on and they stay in one place.

Colleen said: Wouldn’t bother with car seat adaptors as barely used them, and you’re not supposed to leave baby in car seat for longer than necessary anyhow. Nappy bin is a waste of time, just use nappy bags. Change table would have been pointless as all mine moved so much it wasn’t safe to change them past floor height from about 4 months.

Jenni said: Ikea high chair is the best, easy to clean and can get an insert for little babies.

Wendy said: Best buys: Good quality stroller (worth spending money here), Morrck blanket, Ikea high chair, side crib, sling. Worst buys: New travel system (buy them second hand) and anything that takes up space in your living room (rocker chairs, rocking horses etc).

Mary said: Don’t bother with: shoes until they walk (couldn’t get the damn things on his curled up feet), faffy outfits in the first 3 months as you have to change them so often per day, stick to lots of baby gros! Gimmicky toys, they don’t take notice and you’ll be given loads as gifts anyway. Too many clothes in newborn size, in case you have a big baby and never end up using them, again you will be sent loads of clothes. Sit in walker.

Do get: Ikea or Baby Bjorn high chair that is completely wipe clean. All those ones with straps and padding get filthy and you shouldn’t need straps anyway as babies should be able to sit unaided before you wean. A good sling if you are having a second baby, they sleep for ages in them leaving you hands free. Set up a little changing station on both floors with mat/nappies/wipes so everything is to hand. We personally found nappy bins useful, don’t want to traipse out to the bin every 5 mins. If breast/mixed feeding, Medela bottles are great as baby needs to use same motion to drink helping you switch with ease. Grobags – no worrying about blankets etc. Monitor with a camera. Sock ons for no more lost socks.

Donna said: Yes to the sock ons – best buy ever!

Catherine said: Do get sling, zip up swaddle, side crib, ear thermometer, playmat/gym and video monitor.

Don’t get alarm for under mattress (unnecessary hateful thing), any body thermometer other than an earone, stupid light up egg room thermometer, highchair (there are some nice small ones that cost a bit, we got a high padded one which we never used after the first month as I replaced it with £20 one you attach to a chair) and any outfits in newborn that don’t button under nappy, they just ride up.

Jennie said: I’d buy a bath sponge seat, proper sling, cloth nappies and a baby swing. I wouldn’t bother with a side cot for the bed (it got used for storage whilst she slept in our bed), baby outfits, baby shoes, playmat or a change table. I have a bad back so getting upstairs to get to the changing table was as much of an issue as changing on my lap/floor.

Vicky said: Our best buys were the Baby Bjorn bouncer, a mothercare fabric bath support, a decent baby monitor/camera, lovely soft blanket for in and out of the pram, vests and sleepsuits. This may sound a bit strange but I bought puppy pads (cheap from TK Maxx) to put under his bum during nappy off time – they catch the urine and absorb it rather than laying on a wet towel. If you’re breast feeding I found the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads to be fantastic. I’d also buy a decent sling. Personally I wouldn’t bother with baby shoes, dribble bibs, baby outfits, fabric breast pads (just leaked straight through to clothes) and loads of cuddly toys.

Vicky said: Perfect prep is a genius if bottle feeding. Lots of muslins – I found M&S ones the softest and they wash well. Shnuggle baby bath is amazing – 2 free hands almost from birth. Aldi nappies are cheap and brilliant. Lots of babygrows, sleepsuits and vests for the first couple of months. Swaddles and then grobags – I find the Sainsbury’s ones the best.

Lisa said: Think most things I would suggest have been covered. My only addition is to not bother with special tummy time gadgets. Spent a lot of money on a Lamaze toy which was a complete waste of money! I think a good buggy is essential. I bought mine 2nd hand which was fine but chose cost over personal choice.

Gemma said: I’d get a baby sling from day one. I wish I’d got mine for baby number two earlier. I missed out the first few weeks of sling time!  
Wouldn’t bother with a Baby Bjorn as it hurt my back (let alone being bad for baby’s hips) Could manage without moses basket and pram part of a travel system. Only need one or the other, not both, especially if you get a buggy that lays flat for newborns which many do now.

Cerys said: All I needed for no 3 were nappies, a wrap sling, sleepsuits and boobs.

Melanie said: Best buys: Baby Bjorn bouncer (suitable from newborn and last years. Indestructible!) Oxo perfect pull wipes dispenser means you only need one hand to pull them out and keeps them moist. Cheeky wipes are great if your child suffers from nappy rash or you want something environmentally friendly. Monitor and webcam. Nappy bin. Ability to play music wirelessly in their bedroom (so you can put it on without going in). Jumparoo. Vtech Walker.
Don’t buys (based on things neither of my children liked): Crawl ball, door bouncer, sit in walker (but think it would be better on wooden or tiled floors)

Mata said: I would buy: Cot bed that can be used as a 3 sided bedside cot as well as a toddler bed. Nursing bras, breast pads, changing mat, wipes, nappy bin, sling, pushchair, car seat that attaches to pushchair, vest, sleepsuits, large hooded towels (still in use at age 5), sleeping bag and blanket.

Maybe: Moses basket (for daytime naps downstairs)

Wouldn’t bother: Baby bath, sponges/wash mitts, cute outfits, scratch mitts, playmat, bouncy chair/swing, standard cot, toys, lay-flat separate pram, feeding equipment, purpose-made changing bag and Bumbo seat.

Natashia said: Personally I would recommend a “try before you buy” approach where possible for example renting a sling or electric breast pump and attending sales for second hand bits where you can stock up on essentials for your baby’s next phase. For nappies sure Aldi, Lidl or own brands are cheaper but if you like the leading brands then keep a close eye on supermarket offers and shop around as it then works out to almost the same as own brands.

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Kath’s Online Relaxation

Kath from  Relax Kids, www.facebook.com/rkbasingstoke, asked me to join her online relaxation course recently and of course I JUMPED at the chance. Being someone who likes to fill her time (see how I refrained from using the word “busy”) a short relaxation course is exactly what I needed!

Kath sets up a secret group on Facebook that is open for a month (the duration of the course) and every day she posted a relaxation session first thing in the morning.

During the week the sessions are no more than 5 minutes long, which is great for busy “people who like to fill their time” people like me!

On the weekend Kath had some longer relaxation sessions which range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

You can also do the sessions as many times you like for the duration of the course.

You don’t have to do the activities on the same day, you can save them all up and do them in one day. I wouldn’t recommend this though as I got the most benefit from doing each session the day it was posted.

This is the beauty of the course, you can choose when YOU want to do the relaxation techniques. Most people say that you are supposed to do meditation in the morning but this isn’t always practical with busy family life. But with this course you can choose the best time for you.

I loved the breathing techniques, the visualisation, meditation and the focused sessions. I’m still using both the breathing techniques and visualisation now, three weeks later, even though I haven’t got access to the online course anymore! They are that simple that you don’t need to be prompted to remember.

Even if you are a guru at relaxation, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else remind you to stop and take a moment.

The course is only £10 and for that you get a daily relaxation session for a month.

I loved it so much that I’m paying to join the course next month. Definitely the best £10 I will have spent in a long time!!!

You can find more details at the following link: www.bookwhen.com/rkbasingstoke

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Yoga Babes: Five ways to calm a crying or tired baby

Today’s guest post is by Rosanna of Yoga Babes

Five ways to calm a crying or tired baby

One of the ways babies communicate with their parents and carers is by crying. When we hear that cry it can trigger different emotions for us such as sadness, frustration or even anger. It’s usually an adult’s natural instinct when they hear a baby cry to soothe and help the baby back to state of contentment, and to stop the crying.

I’m Rosanna, a mum of two under 5s and the instructor at Yoga Babes mother and baby Yoga in Hook, Hampshire. My children may cry (just a little!) less than they did when they were young, but I sure do remember those days well. I have been practicing yoga since before having my children, during pregnancy, labour and birth, and ever since. There are many yoga-based techniques that have changed my life as a parent, and outside of that. In this post I’m going to share with you five tips to calm a crying or tired baby that I’ve learnt through doing yoga, training as a baby yoga instructor and from my own experiences as a parent.

The challenge – it’s not always easy to know the reason for your baby’s cry, which can be upsetting and frustrating for parents. We have to try and remember that crying is a very normal part of a baby’s early years, and much like adults – all babies are different. Some babies will cry more than others, some babies will laugh more than others and some babies will sleep more than others. They are each beautifully different in their own unique way.

There are many reasons for a baby to cry including hunger, tiredness, boredom, loneliness, pain, feeling too cold or too hot or discomfort from things like wind or constipation.  

Whatever the reason for a baby crying, it’s important to remember the power of physical contact between babies and their parents or carer. Touch reduces stress levels for baby and parent, so holding your baby is a good place to start when they are crying, unsettled or overtired.

The first, perhaps obvious port of call would be checking if your baby is hungry, as that is one of the main reasons for a young baby to cry. It might not matter that you fed them one hour ago or even less, young babies are growing at such a rapid rate compared to the rest of their lives, so their hunger can be extremely regular and have no pattern whatsoever. Even though it can be tiring, feed your baby whenever they are hungry rather than trying to stick to a timetable, as this can cause unnecessary stress for both you and your baby.

Holding your baby

If a baby is fed and changed and there is no other known discomfort, a huge reason for babies to cry is because they want the comfort of being held. Some parents try to fight this fact – so it’s important to realise that after spending nine months being permanently held in your womb, it’s going to take a baby some time to gain independence. Perhaps weeks, perhaps months, or even years, but it’s fundamental for your baby’s emotional development that you support them carefully through this transition to living in the outside world. I know from my youngest son who needed to be held a lot, that it can be exhausting for parents to be attached to their babies for long periods of time, so see if you can get help from your partner, friends and family if you need some time out. Baby wraps, slings and carriers are also a great help so you can have your hands free – I couldn’t have lived without them! Try and enjoy these cuddles and this physical connection with your baby when you can, (rather than resenting it) because it doesn’t last forever.

Holding your baby gives them a deep sense of security, they can usually feel your heartbeat, your warmth, hear your voice and your breathing which is extremely reassuring for a small baby. There are many different ways to hold your baby, many of which we practice in my baby yoga class. Different holds can aid different needs, such as digestion, comfort and sleeping.

Movement

If you can move while holding your baby, all the better! I was so pleased when I found that I could settle my son’s 6pm (and 10pm, and 3am etc etc…!) cries by holding him or popping him in the baby wrap and walking around my lounge. Even though it was small, the little movement I could do by walking or simply rocking him side to side saved me hours of his crying if I had left him crying away from me. The movement can relieve stress for parents too, providing rhythm and mindfulness to relax the body and mind. In yoga we often use different types of walking for strength, balance, coordination and relaxation.

Singing

Even if you don’t agree, your singing voice is the best one there is as far as your baby is concerned! Singing is the perfect way to connect with your baby and release endorphins for babies and parents, which in turn relaxes them when they are feeling unsettled. Singing is also key for brain development in young babies and helps them with the early parts of language development. If your baby is crying because they are bored or frustrated, singing is a brilliant way to engage them and entertain them out of crying. It doesn’t matter what you sing – pop songs, nursery rhymes, lullabies or even (my favourite) – made up songs! Your baby is sure to love the sound of your soothing voice to settle them. In my baby yoga class, we usually use singing with movement which is a great combination to relax your baby and shift them towards a positive mood.

Physical activity

If you have a baby that gets overtired or cries at naptime or bedtime you might find that what you do with them during the daytime makes a big difference. Baby yoga moves are gentle movements you can do with your baby that involve strengthening their limbs, muscles and body, improve coordination and balance and stimulate your baby’s senses. Doing all of these things can make your baby to feel tired, helping them to feel relaxed, settled and fall asleep more easily.

Relaxation

This part is definitely for babies and parents or carers. Babies will pick up on our stress, sadness, frustration and anger and in turn may exhibit similar emotions that make them cry or become unsettled. When we relax it gives our minds the space and time to process emotions in an orderly fashion, rather than over-react to them. Physical relaxation can promote mental and emotional relaxation, and the great news is that you can practice relaxation with your baby, to benefit you both. I remember that when I had small babies, it was too easy to be in a continual cycle of ticking jobs off my list. Laundry, cleaning, tidying, sterilising bottles, responding to emails and messages, getting a changing bag ready for the next outing, even just trying to plan your day. The list goes on… But on reflection I asked myself some questions. How important is it to get ALL these things done today? What will happen if don’t? Do I feel at my best when I have a constant list of to-dos?  Are they more important than spending time connecting and bonding with my baby? Are they more important than spending ten minutes to relax and restore my body and mind before carrying on with the day? Maybe you can ponder your own answers to these questions.

No one is suggesting that you live in a pigsty and throw in the towel on any jobs whatsoever, but more that you aim to get some balance in your daily activities. We can do this by making time for relaxation. A result of your relaxed self will most likely be a relaxed baby by your side.

By doing a short relaxation exercise that involves focusing on your breathing, sounds, your bodily sensations or simply just lying still can create a luxurious feeling of calm for you and your baby. Try it lying with your baby, where they might focus on your touch, breath or heartbeat, or just mirror your stillness. This takes practice for babies too! It might be a good idea to try a relaxation half an hour before your baby’s planned bedtime or nap time, so that they have wound down before bed, rather than trying to do it a time when they’ve been become overtired and worked up.  If you get the chance, if someone else is around to watch your baby, try a relaxation on your own too and enjoy the peace and clarity it can bring you.

It’s important not to try and force a relaxed feeling as that can have the opposite effect, but by practising on focusing on our physical self or perhaps an idyllic visualisation, the relaxation can come naturally. There is no pass or fail here either, some days you may not be able to reach a feeling of relaxation – that’s ok, just try again tomorrow.

We practice relaxation in my baby yoga classes because for many (myself included) this is not always an easy activity to learn. But the more your practice the more you realise the need for this wonderful pastime and its life changing benefits – all you need is yourself.

I’m a Birthlight baby yoga teacher and I teach mother and baby yoga classes in Hook, near Basingstoke, Hampshire every Thursday morning. The class offers gentle yoga movements for mothers and babies aged 3-9 months. For more information visit www.yogababes.co.uk or email Rosanna@yogababes.co.uk

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Anvil Arts, Basingstoke – March 2018

Sun 4 Mar, 12pm & 3.30pm

The Anvil

Milkshake! Live

Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Winnie and Wilbur, Wissper, and Milkshake’s very own Milkshake! Monkey plus two presenters take you on a journey through the world’s favourite fairy tales in an all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza.

TICKETS: £17.50; under 16s £15.50

TICKET PRICES INCLUDE 2 BOOKING FEE

 

 

Tue 27 Mar, 2pm & 4pm

Wed 28 Mar, 11am & 2pm

The Haymarket

Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday

Join Sarah and Duck, and a host of your favourite friends from the BAFTA Award-winning CBeebies show including The Ribbon Sisters, The Shallots, Flamingo & John and Umbrella, as they plan a birthday party for Scarf Lady in their garden.  Told through a fantastic blend of puppetry, storytelling and music, you and your children will be taken on a magical adventure.

TICKETS:  £14.50 (suitable for ages 3 and up)

TICKET PRICE INCLUDES £2 BOOKING FEE 

Sun 25 Mar, 2pm & 6pm

The Anvil

Beauty & The Beast: Easter Pantomime

Starring Bobby Davro and Dani Harmer

TICKETS:  £22; over 65s, under 16s and f/t students £20

TICKET PRICES INCLUDE £2 BOOKING FEE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/

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What’s on at Finkley this half term?

February Half Term Fun

Finkley Down Farm has a massive indoor play barn with different areas for different age ranges. There’s lots of outdoor play as well, with pedal go-carts, mini ride on tractors, sandpit and trampolines. Throughout the day there are animal handling and feeding activities for children to get involved in. Farmyard Crazy Golf and Reptile Encounters have now been added to make a Farm-tastic family day out. Pony rides (extra charge) take place at weekends and during school holidays between the beginning of February Half Term and end of October Half Term.

We have some great family entertainers coming along to entertain you throughout the week with shows taking place at 1130, 1300 and 1430.

https://www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk/

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Review 2018: Desklodge

A big thank you to Lindsey for today’s amazing post:

Review 2018: Desklodge (toddlers need not apply)

Desklodge Website

This isn’t your usual NorthHantsMum review. I can’t talk about play facilities, baby changing amenities, or whether you’re allowed to bring your own baby food. You see, this is a place for (whispers)…grown-ups. Yup. No bouncy castles. No gratis wet wipes. No fish fingers. This is dedicated to the grown-up world of work. But just because it’s for the big girls and boys, doesn’t mean it can’t be playful. So please feel free to hop, skip and jump into the Wonderland that is Desklodge.

Tucked away in Basing View, less than a 10 minute walk from John Lewis/Waitrose, Desklodge describes itself as “an award winning co-working space”. Which basically means it’s an office for people without an office. If you’re a freelancer, p/t commuter, or start-up entrepreneur, you know the agony of working from home. The crippling loneliness. The faltering Wi-Fi. The siren call of ‘Bargain Hunt’. It’s here that the appeal of Desklodge, the salve for the self-employed, becomes apparent. It offers a variety of working environments designed to suit all tastes and requirements, all under one roof. Fancy dropping in and grabbing a hot-desk for an hour or two? You can do that. Want a fixed desk to work on a longer project? No problem. Need a private meeting room to hold an interview? Not only has Desklodge got it, it’s got it with style.

It may be set beneath Belvedere House’s amazing atrium, but you step inside the surf shack themed doors of Desklodge, and you’re not in Basingstoke anymore. With playfully designed work spaces (including a Zen room), phone booths disguised as beach huts, and a high-spec kitchen complete with ‘New York skyline’, dropping in on Desklodge definitely beats working in the library. It’s buzzing with a community of people from across a spectrum of sectors and industries, and networking is actively encouraged through their free seminars, workshops and socials (or just by the good old-fashioned water cooler).

You can choose to drop-in and pay by the hour, take up a monthly membership or become a resident DeskLodger, with prices from as little as £3 an hour. That’s less than a fancy coffee in Starbucks. Oh, and superb 1GB fibre Wi-Fi, car parking (subject to availability) and tea/coffee is included in the price. How do they do it?!

We don’t have anything even close to being like this in Basingstoke, and I sincerely hope this is a sign of things to come. Festival Place can feel a little generic at times, so something as vibrant, creative and collaborative as Desklodge is incredibly welcome.

If you’re a freelancer looking for some space to focus, a business in-between offices, or even a stay-at-home parent needing a couple of hours to write an email, I would highly recommend giving Desklodge a look. And not a ball pit in sight. Bliss.

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Rhythm Babes: Westside Community Centre

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