Activities and Classes for Little Ones
One of the main reasons many parents go to activities is the chance for you and your children to socialise with other local parents and children. It's never too early to start!
With all activities and classes we recommend calling beforehand to check times and costs. Some activities have a waiting list or require advance payment so, again, worth checking! Also, ask if you can come along to try the class before committing to a number of sessions.
Check out our guide of 10 Free (or nearly free) things to do!
Antenatal and Postnatal classes
Before your baby even arrives there are a huge choice of classes and courses to help your physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy.
To keep active you could try aqua natal classes or pregnancy yoga. To help understand the changes to your body during pregnancy and get all the facts about labour and breastfeeding you can contact your health nurse or local Community Health. Plus, there are now courses you can attend that focus on the emotional journey to parenthood.
Suitable from birth, baby massage gives your baby the most precious start in life. Regular massage with your baby has been proven to help with a host of infant issues such as colic and sleep, as well as helping your baby's developing body systems to thrive. Infant massage is also wonderful for parents to bond and communicate with their babies even from the early days. Baby massage can be taught individually or in groups, which means it is also a lovely way to meet other parents with their babies and make life-long friendships.
What is baby signing? Babies typically use all kinds of signs and gestures as a natural part of learning to talk. Encouraging your baby with extra signs like milk, more, change nappy or tired will help your baby communicate. Learning baby signing in a class is fun for both you and your baby and is a great way to meet other mums. Baby signing is wonderfully rewarding and many classes combine signing with music which adds to the fun! You will be amazed by what your baby is capable of telling you before being able to talk. It is a lovely activity to do with your baby and which has the added benefit of encouraging their speech development.
A great all round activity that helps you also meet parents in your local area. They are often run by volunteers and held in church halls and other community centres. They usually provide a good assortment of toys and have other activities such as painting or craft available. Expect to finish with some songs! Read more here about Baby and Toddler Groups.
Older children can learn basic yoga techniques to focus and stimulate your children. Yoga can improve concentration levels, better sleep patterns, greater self-esteem and a stronger immune system.
Junior Master Chef has a lot to answer for! A great way for your little one to learn about food and the joy of cooking - and of course eating! They introduce difference ingredients and simple cooking techniques in a fun way with no cleaning up on your part! For slightly older children (3 years +)
Dance is a wonderful way to introduce your babies and children to physical activity, whilst promoting good manners, behaviour, discipline and self respect. Your child will learn basic skills such as balance, agility, coordination and rhythm whilst increasing their self-confidence and having lots of fun!
Classes are equally suitable for boys and girls as both can benefit enormously from dance and movement. Boys love to dance and have fun just as much as the girls! Read about Leanne Stojmenov from The Australian Ballet's start in ballet here.
Drama, dance and singing are proven to help build confidence and social skills in all children as well as being lots of fun so don't think these classes are just for little starlets. Traditionally for slightly older children (usually 4+), there are also lively and colourful sessions for babies and toddlers that can help developments such as crawling, walking and talking. Some offer a free trial session to try out the class.
Family school holidays are something everyone looks forward to each year. A break away whether it be for a few days or a few weeks is a great way to escape from work for parents and for the family to have some quality time together. We are spoilt for choice in Australia with holiday options to the beaches, cities or even out back Australia for a real adventure. Suitable family accommodations could be very expensive in some destinations; so it is always advisable to compare the prices before you book.
Gymnastics and Kindygym for little ones often feature soft play equipment, climbing apparatus and structured games and activities. There are even classes for tiny babies which feature sensory exploration and gentle movement designed to stimulate baby in new ways. Some classes are offered in community venues and others take place in dedicated gymnastic centres.
Usually from 4+. A good riding school will help build riding confidence and respect for the horses.
Learning a new language at any age is an enormously rewarding and enriching experience in many ways. Children understand intuitively that language is something to explore, to play around with, and to enjoy. Their enthusiasm is both infectious and effective. You can find a specialist to teach your child a language in a group class or club or through an online program or home tuition.
These are usual free sessions and introduce your children to books with the aid of songs and actions.
As your child becomes increasingly 'into everything' there is no better way to nurture their curiosity and need to discover than through art and craft messy play sessions. These fun and often-educational sessions provide safe 'hands on learning' about the world around them with no stress or mess for you. Your child will be able to experiment with a wide range of suitable tools and materials, and explore painting, pasting, sand play, water play, printing, threading, modelling and return proudly home with a unique masterpiece!
Young children love to run, jump, hop and skip, crawl, slide, swing and spin. Pre-schoolers are curious, impulsive explorers, learning all the time and in their early years most of their learning is connected to movement. Movement to music classes allows children opportunities to explore what, where and how their bodies move. In addition to the child’s physical development, co-ordination and body control, creative movement classes encourage children's, language, colour recognition, number work, and social interplay skills. Dancing to music develops sensitivity to sounds, melody and rhythm. The use of stories and songs allow children an outlet to express feelings and emotions through gesture, movement and dance. Adventures through imaginative movement and creative mime make learning enjoyable and fun. Early exposure to the active class environment helps children acquire skills and attitudes that will stay with them through to their adult life encouraging a healthy physical lifestyle.
Music classes vary but generally they introduce children to music in a structured way. Children learn songs with actions and use a range of music instruments suitable for the age group. Some classes also incorporate dance and movement.
It's important to take time for you after your baby is born and one of the ways to do this is by attending postnatal exercise. You do need to ensure that your Doctor has agreed you are physically ready to start exercising again but the postnatal exercises will help ensure you don't over do it! There are even classes available that you can do with your baby and your pushchair!
In a similar way to football, rugby will help with physical and social development. And even at this young age basic skills of running, kicking a ball and catching can be developed. This is quite a new type of activity for this age range but growing in popularity.
Sensory play is crucial to baby learning and development from birth. Sensory play fuels healthy brain development and is an essential component for normal intellectual and physical development. Parental interest and involvement in the play enables babies to develop important social and communication skills that will help them throughout their lives. Parental interaction also enhances the baby’s drive to repeat the pleasurable activity, which drives learning forwards.
Everything is learned through sensory play. Mouthing, for example teaches the baby about taste, smell, temperature, size, shape and weight. Handling a toy stimulates curiosity, imagination, decision making and the thinking skills necessary for later success in the classroom and the workplace. Rich sensory play stimulates a positive attitude towards learning and gives babies the best developmental tool for the future.
A good place to burn off some energy! Soft play Centres or Activities Centres are usually at a permanent location and cater for a wide age group with specific area for young children. They have a range of climbing equipment, slides, ball pens and may also have play houses. Usually they have a café for you to relax in!
There is a wider range of general sport and fitness classes than ever before including aerobics classes and introduction to sports of all kinds. Encourages an interest in physical activity at an early age and develops fitness and co-ordination.
Introduce your baby or children to swimming at an early age. Swimming classes will start to introduce water safety and build confidence. Some classes even offer underwater photography which will capture a truly unique moment in your baby's development!
Find activities local to you at www.whatson4littleones.com.au