Mumma Bear Review: Tots Play, Colchester

Thursday 29th March my Bubba turned 10 months old and what better way to spend it than at a baby group. We left early to give me time to find it but instead of following the great directions given to me by Lisa who runs the Tots Play Colchester group, I put the address from the website in my satnav and got very delayed by the traffic on the Stanway turn off and then I was lost. I figured it out, in the end, missing the first 10 minutes of the class where they sang the Hello song and did a bit of yoga. I really hate being late it stresses me and gets me flustered but it was ok as Lisa immediately put me at ease and included us in the group session.

If you are coming from the A12 like I did use these directions that Lisa emailed to me you’ll get there no issues.

Directions to Community Room,

Coming from Ipswich I would suggest you take the A12, come off at the junction with the new Football Stadium and then follow the road all the way to the big roundabout (Asda / North Station).

From the Asda /North Station roundabout take The Bergholt Road. This is the one just past the station.Follow The Bergholt Road past the petrol station and turn left into Tuffnell Way.

At the roundabout you will see my banner on the railings, the room is the bottom flat in the block (directly behind my banner).There are 2 visitor parking spaces in the carpark marked with a V, otherwise lots of parking on the surrounding roads.

Enter the building by the large glass double doors.We have limited spaces for buggies, so if you can manage without that would be great!

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View of the on-street parking, there is more to the left and right of this image.
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This is the entrance of the Community Room
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This is the changing/toilet facilities

The class is held at the Community Room, it’s exactly how it sounds, a room for community use. There is plenty of on-street parking opposite the building. The community room is located at the ground floor of a block of new build style flats, the room has baby changing facilities and a toilet all in one which is a great size for those who need accessible amenities.

Lisa who runs Tots play in Colchester has a wealth of childcare experience behind her when she was made redundant from her previous job she decided to take on her current role so that she could be in charge of her schedule, be creative and use her experience to help others. Lisa is easy to talk to and passionate about child development and inclusiveness for parents, she also looks like a young Viviane Westwood with her beautifully vibrant Orange hair. Tots Play Colchester is relatively new it began back in September 2018 but the company Tots Play have been going nine years founded in 2009 by Helen Gillies.

Lisa at Tots Play Colchester
Lisa at Tots Play Colchester

There are two Types of classes

  • Discovery tots for 8 weeks to Crawling
  • Social tots for 8months (crawling) to 2.5years

We attended the social class on a Thursday morning as the Bubba is well and truly on the move and into everything.

Despite being late we arrived to class in time for a few signing and songs, luckily I’d heard of all the songs that were sung so could join in no problem rather than sitting there grinning like a lemon like I usually do. After a few songs, we learned some Easter related signs “Happy Easter” “Egg” “Bunny” and “Chick”. The parachute came out after signing and I always enjoy watching the children’s faces during that time as a gust of wind hits their face or takes their breath away and they realise they enjoy that sensation so start to giggle and shake with excitement. The class had an Easter theme Lisa also created all of the toys and sensory play activities for the session. There were…

An egg hunt streamer pool.

This was an inflatable pool full of multi-coloured shredded paper with lots of toy eggs for the children to find.

A feast of smells

A basket of smells which my Bubba loved and is something that anybody can recreate at home. It was essentially squeezy bottles with items in it that we could squeeze into our babies face that they could smell what was inside. Anything liquid was put onto cotton wool balls then put it to the bottle to make it safe and reduce the risk of spillages.

An Edible garden

The Edible garden consisting of coco pops, carrots, and tools to play with. While this was a great idea and the other children loved it my Bubba didn’t play with it as I am keeping him dairy and sugar-free for a while, he can have natural sugars but no refined ones.

Squidgy play

Playdoh and rollers which the Bubba enjoyed squidging between his fingers. it was great that he could experience Playdoh there and I doubt I’ll be having it in my house as it gets absolutely everywhere.

An assortment of Easter themed toys.

The eggs and the halfpipe were very engaging the Bubba went from watching the egg roll down the pipe to catching it before it got to the end to rolling the egg down the pipe and then catching the egg. It was great watching him develop his understanding of the process.

To end the session there was some bubble play which was very popular amongst the children especially my little one who crawled speedily towards the bubble machine and smiled his dimply gummy smile when popping the bubbles with his hands. There was more singing ending on the goodbye song which as well as the hello song had been printed out and laminated so even I could sing along.

The group is inclusive, with all parents talking to each other, there was no clickiness, I wasn’t made to feel like an outsider even though everyone there already knew each other and had never met me before. The children were all very comfortable in the class exploring the room and interacting with each other. I really liked at the end when it was time to say goodbye and the children all knew what to do. Some of the Mums there had met at Tots Play and became friends, they like the group for its social aspect as well as the developmental pay for the little ones. Another nice thing is that there were Dads in the class too.

Thank you for a lovely morning.

Classes will return mid-April so if you live in Colchester or the surrounding areas and would like to attend a class contact Lisa by clicking this link or contacting her via email lisa@totsplay.co.uk

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