For my first day away from my smallest child (she’s now 9 months old), I had an absolute cracker. My mum and I went to see the stunning Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London.

My mum and I have always been Harry Potter fans since the first books came out. So when tickets were released over a year ago, we decided to try to get some. We were lucky after waiting all day online, we managed to secure some. Knowing I was pregnant at the time we opted for a pre-Christmas showing the following year, when I would be ok to leave the baby all day.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a two-part play written by Jack Thorne, taken from a story written by Thorne, J. K. Rowling and John Tiffan. If you haven’t read the play yet or don’t want to ruin the premise of the story, don’t worry I won’t be including any story line spoilers here. Neither will I reveal and specific special effects you might see, #keepthesecrets!

Instead I will just cover my general view of what you can expect.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Each part of the play is a full 2hrs 40mins (over 5hrs of Harry Potter). Part one can either be watched as a matinée (like we did) or an evening show. Part two then follows on the same day as the evening show or on a second night again as an evening show.

If I’m honest I didn’t know how we would manage to sit through a play that long. However I can assure you this play is unlike no other, from the moment it starts you are transported straight into the magical wizardry world of Harry Potter and time whizzes by.

We were left amazed, surprised, taken back and even sometimes scared by the breathtaking scenery and special effects on the stage. Some elements were pure magic and I still can’t figure out exactly how they were performed.

The actors during our performance were exceptional. Each one truly encapsulated the essence of the characters that we all know so well. So emotionally connected to them do you become, it felt almost sad to leave them behind in the theatre.

So whilst I wait for my next Harry Potter fix, you can get your own by booking tickets on the West End. The play is on sale now until October 2018, but already look pretty well sold (the more expensive tickets are easier to get). If London is too far, the play will also be showing on Broadway New York from April 2018 and in Melbourne Australia from early 2019.

Across the country local libraries hold weekly events for little ones called Rhyme Time. We often go to our local library’s session when we don’t have any other plans with friends.

Beth enjoying the instruments at Rhyme Time

During the session there are nursery rhymes, simple stories, songs and finger rhymes. They are usually free and last about 30 minutes, depending on your area. The age limit they allow may be different depending on council but Rhyme Time is usually suitable for up to and including three-year olds. Both of my two daughters (2 years old and 9 months old) seem to enjoy and get a lot from the session.

Rhyme time is a great way to introduce your child to utilising a local library, whilst enjoying learning popular nursery rhymes. Repeating nursery rhymes have proven to be great for language development. They have a consistent rhythm which helps hold the child’s attention. The repetition makes it easy for them to learn a variety of words, which is good for their speech development. It is also a nice way of introducing babies and toddlers to their local library and encourages them to pick up and read books.

Favourite rhymes at our library include Old MacDonald, Zoom Zoom Zoom, Five Little Ducks and The Hokey Cokey!

Just as a warning Rhyme Time is usually a ticketed event (ours is always full) so you need to get there on time and get a ticket from a member of staff.

My daughter Beth and I have just completed a full term of Baby Sensory.
They are a nation wide franchise of classes specifically developed to encourage sensory interactions for babies and toddlers.

Each class focuses on a theme, and activities are created around the theme to engage the children. Classes aim to utilise all the senses with lights, fabrics, toys, musical instruments and sounds/songs.

The changing nature of the class week by week means that the class not only is highly engaging for the child but also keeps the adults happy.

A few of the theme highlights we enjoyed this term were On The Farm and Space.

The class always starts with the welcome song, followed by some activities, a break and then ends with further activities and the goodbye song. The babies enjoy the structure of the class as they begin to learn the order. During the break the babies are given freedom to enjoy soft play which they love.

Our experience of Baby Sensory

I didn’t have many expectations for the class apart from enjoying the one on one time with my daughter. So I was pleasantly surprised to actually see Beth get involved in all the activities and enjoy the hour we spent there each week.

She particular enjoyed activities that included lights, balloons or musical instruments. The soft play also seemed to engage her, as it was different each week and matched the overall theme.

Overall

Sadly today was our last class as I will be returning to work in a few weeks. I am so happy we decided to do the term though, as I think it has made her more sociable with other babies which will help her transition to nursery.

If you are interested in attending other baby classes with your child, consider looking at your nearest Rhyme Time class. These are sessions run by libraries across the country.