When people hear that I live in Val d’Isere for 5 months of the year they are often really interested and I am sure imagine up how fantastic it must be! The reality is that living in Val with a toddler is a little boring! There isn’t a huge amount to do for very young children and I often feel like I am living in a permanent state of ‘Groundhog Day’.
So it was with great excitement I booked my flights to Leeds Bradford, to spend two weeks with my family in Harrogate.
As a visiting Mum I found the Harrogate Mumbler was super helpful. The Mumbler is a fantastic resource run by Sally Haslewood. If you live in Harrogate and have kids, have a look, it was invaluable for my stay. It also shows what a great place Harrogate is to live! There was so much on and I just wasn’t able to sample all of it. However, the three activities I have listed below are the three that really stood out to me! If you have any suggestions for my next visit I would love to hear from you!! Add your suggestions in the comment box at the very end of the post or PM me!
Thanks, Emma and Ruars xx
1. Doodlebugs. Mondays at 10-11.30am. £5.
I bloody loved Doodlebugs and so did Ruaridh. Doodlebugs is run by the loveliest team of volunteers and for £5 is a bargain. It runs from a room above Costa Coffee (handy). There are two rooms. The first is a room full of sensory activities. My little boy was all over this room. He played here happily for the entire session and it was lovely to see him getting a chance to interact with others around the same age. The other Mums were really lovely so it’s also a great place to make friends. One highlight was when one of the volunteers brought out his guitar and played contemporary music quietly. Some of the toddlers were absoloutely enthralled, with one even going over and twanging the guitar string! Next door was a room full of art activities. You could put overalls on or strip down to the nappy, we did the latter. I noticed one little boy painting on the wall, which were white tiles so perfect for messy play. Large rolls of paper were laid on the floor, a plasticine station, a craft station and whatever the children created was put up on the wall which was such a nice touch. At 14 months my little one still hasn’t got into the messy play but I managed to get one picture of him after he managed to paint his hair yellow. Even if your kids aren’t into arts and messy play yet, do not miss this group! If I could bring Doodlebugs back with me to the Alps, I really would!
For more information contact Julie on 07817 032498.
2. The Little Gym
Ruars started walking at 10 months and has always been incredibly active. I wanted to find something that would tire him out as well as develop lots of skills. This was when I came across Little Gym and decided to give it a try. It was a bit pricey at just over £12 a session, although the first session is free, so if you don’t like it there’s no obligation, so definitely worth a visit!
The Little Gym is basically a room full of soft play and gymnastics equipment suitable for kids from 6 months to about 5. Ruars was in the Little birds class which run for 10-18 months and last 45 minutes. Lorna ran 3 of the four sessions I attended. The idea is you book a term, so you would go every Thursday and your child would learn a new skill each session and develop from the previous session. They start with a warm up sing song, then there’s some gym activities – forward rolls, walking along the beam, holding on to the bars. My little one has not stopped trying to do forward rolls since going here and I’m certain his climbing of furniture has increased! Whilst we were there they also played with balls, hoops, the bubble machine and sang nursery rhymes. The classes are well structured and the activities are short enough to keep the little ones entertained. They can also wonder/roll/crawl off with you and explore the equipment. I believe that children learn through routines and structured classes like this are perfect. Lorna would sing the same song when it was time to return the balls and my son would dutifully give the ball back (with no tears!).
If I felt there was demand for this in my area I’d be buying into the franchise!
Call or 01423 701560 or email email@example.com for more info.
3. Harlow Carr Gardens
So living in the snow,with no garden I feel like I move from one indoors place to another. I miss the fresh air. So one day, I drove up to Harlow Carr gardens. I had been to Betty’s there before but never into the gardens. I wasn’t entirely sure what there was to do but the lady on reception gave me a map and pointed out all the kids play areas. So helpful!! If you get a yearly membership the cost is about £40 but I paid about £9 for a one off visit. Ruaridh loved the play areas and the duck lake! In fact it was quite difficult to keep him away from the waters edge…I think we are getting to the point of attaching some reins to him. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking for Harlow Carr gardens! I had such a lovely afternoon and was lucky enough to narrowly miss the worst rain storm after. Instead, we looked in the gift shop which is stacked to the roof with lovely childrens books. I spent a further £17 here (an expensive day!).