Last week Liam and I went shopping…but not the type of shopping trip with a one-year-old which results in you wanting to abandon a fully loaded trolley in the middle of an aisle as your child sings let it go at the top of their voice. No. This was a shopping trip Hartbeeps style and was it worth it…. absolutely!
We were really lucky to be invited to attend what I would have to describe as one of the most immersive children’s classes I have attended. Hartbeeps classes are for babies and toddlers featuring music, puppets, laughter and fun. I was expecting the usual class structure, however the class run by Sarah was refreshingly different.
We took part in the North Kent ‘baby beeps’ class in New Ash Green and it promised to be a ‘bouncy, interactive baby development class that focuses on early language acquisition’.
When we arrived I was instantly struck by the bright colours at the entrance, the table holding all of the props and also the red toadstool mats and faux grass looking rug in the middle of the room. Great care and attention had been taken by Sarah to ensure the room was prepared for her little explorers and I noticed even the extra steps to ensure the room was dark enough for the lights to have maximum impact. These little elements made all the difference throughout the class.
Sarah is such a natural when it comes to controlling the room, brilliant with the children and providing great guidance to parents to encourage interaction. She also has a lovely singing voice which made the songs very enjoyable and also encourages you to join in.
You can see that the children are really comfortable in the environment as they all explore freely and were so happy in playing with Sarah. The class started with the usual welcome style song and all the parents sat with their children on their laps. Liam was delighted to be experiencing this class and flashed me the widest approving smile – good no difficulty here! (Not yet anyway).
Once the welcome song was complete the puppet show began in a peak-a-boo style with the children. Introducing even more colour you could see the pleasure it gave each of the children watching. Sarah is so animated and happy it’s infectious, you can’t help but just have a good time.
Then came what I would call one of Liam’s favourite moments of the class. We had just finished a really nice ‘sunshine’ song when I saw a parachute come out. To myself I was thinking ok, I’ve been through this before, the typical up down songs etc. But how wrong I was. The parachute was a continuation of the ‘sunshine’ but when the parachute rose up, what came out from underneath was amazing for both Liam and I as newbies! Liam was astonished to not see empty space, but instead lots of hanging ornaments to explore and play with. And for a boy who had never attended this class before, his curiosity got the better of him and he was off!
The class continued to flow nicely and one thing I really did notice about the music was that it seemed to run on one song which lasted the length of the entire class. Whether this was the case or not I don’t know. But what I do know is that the class ran so smoothly with no stop starts or issues on waiting for a song, it was timed to perfection.
Next up Liam met ‘Num Time’ a weaning puppet friend. Sarah controlled this element beautifully with yet more of her infectious character shining through the songs. Liam was so at ease he didn’t mind that a giant (to him) puppet was saying hello, he was super happy to be included. And this goes for all of the children.
After Num Time had finished its performance, the children were then set to ‘drive’ up to the shops. Yet more props made an appearance and the adorable little driving hats made my day!! The next part didn’t…Whilst the drivers were on their way to the shops they had some sharps turns and ups and downs. Well let me tell you now, Liam is on the 97th percentile on height and 95th on weight so you can imagine what a work out lifting him was. It was lots of fun, but I didn’t need arms day at the gym afterwards! All of the children squealed in delight so it’s always worth the extra use of energy.
Once we were in the ‘shop’ we explored all different levels with various departments on each floor. We had grocery shopping first of all with additional coloured posters to assist in colour recognition, then to the wigs, masks and hats and finally baskets to select their chosen items for the conveyer belt.
It was so much fun just being silly with Liam, watching him explore and seeing how he interacts with the other children. Sarah then encouraged all the children to help in clearing up which apparently had been led by requests from the parents as they found their children weren’t helping tidying and I thought it was great how Sarah accommodated this in the class.
A change of tempo was looming and sure enough after we had ‘left the shop’ it was time for a rest. Each of the children were presented with a cushion and blanket to snuggle. Liam definitely resisted this as he wasn’t ready to accept nap time. So I let him adopt a half laying down, half on his knees approach. If he had just looked to his right though, he would have seen a pro at this activity. The lovely little girl and mum sitting next to us had been going for nearly a year and you can always tell when the children have such awareness of what’s coming.
Sarah sang a nice soothing song which was accompanied by dimmed lights and pretty light show which was also brought around to the children. And to wrap things up Liam was able to enjoy feathers being thrown into the air and watching them glide.
So all in all I would say if you are looking for a class which is really fun, educational as a secondary focus and provides and great opportunity to spend some quality time with your little one I would highly recommend Hartbeeps.
As always, let us know if you attend a class, would love to hear what you think as well!