On Thursday nights I’ve been taking Bella to Family Playtime though the Anoka Hennepin ECFE. It’s $2 per night and no formal registration required. The flexibility is nice for nights we can’t make it. However, I try to go as much as possible because Bella really enjoys it. She calls it going to “play with new friends”…even though we’ve been going for a year now. When she was really young I took her Monday nights to baby playtime (birth-2 years), but ended up enjoying the family playtime better (birth-6 yrs). Here’s the schedule for the night
6:30 – sign in, get name tags, wash hands, pay, say hello to the teachers Ann and Nancy
6:30-7:00 – playtime in the general playroom. The playroom includes some standards – a kitchen with play food, little people with houses and cars, random toys, a playbox that has something different in it each week to scoop/play with (sand, water, rice, chick peas, etc), art tables (painting, playdough, stamps, coloring, crafts, etc) and an easel for painting.
7:00 – move to the gym for parachute time. Bella’s favorite! She talks about this parachute all week. She loves to “pop” animals in the parachute and sit in the middle while the adults spin them around
7:05-7:30 – we usually stay in the gym to play for a bit. They have balls, riding toys, a slide, a tower to climb, swing, etc.
7:30-7:50 – back into the playroom for more general playing
7:50 – circle time to sing songs. Bella loves this part too, although she’ll often just sit and listen and not sign along/do the hand movements. For 1-2 songs she’ll participate, otherwise she is content with observing.
8:00- time to go home!
The amount of kids can really vary. In the winter there could be 10-15 kids (plus 1-2 parents for each) so it’d be really busy. But last night there were 4 kids total! So once the weather gets nicer I think it’s a smaller group. That’s fine with me as it gets me some one-on-one time with the teachers. Last night I was able to have a good conversation about how to handle Bella’s tantrums (thankfully they support my approach of ignoring her until she calms down and that time outs aren’t effective when they are this young. Also gave me some good tips to handle fussiness at meal times when she doesn’t want to eat what we’re eating).
It’s also nice to connect with some of the other moms, but it can be touch and go. There are a few that are friendly and a few that seem to have no interest in talking to anyone outside of the few people they already know. They usually have the most annoying kids too because mom isn’t watching them and they’ll do things like hit Bella and I’m the one that has to say something. Poor Bella doesn’t have any concept of hitting or pushing people around so she just gets confused when this particular bully of a girl is around …but I guess it’s a way to learn the realities of life!
A couple of the other moms are pregnant with #2 as well or have 2 young kids already, so it’s really nice to talk to them about that. My biggest concern right now is getting Bella used to the idea that she’ll have to share everything once baby comes, but I know that’ll be an adjustment no matter what we do to prepare her!
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