The years before a child starts school are where the foundations for learning are laid. If you give your child the right stimulation from baby to toddler, you prepare them for the school learning journey that follows. Our weekly Rugby Rascals playgroup has these formative years in mind. It is lots of fun, but also carefully designed and run by our passionate Pre-Prep teachers, so each activity helps physical, mental and social development.
Here are 4 developmental activities we regularly do at Rugby Rascals, and why:
1. Baby Yoga
This is a great one for parent and child bonding, as we encourage the parents to help the younger children with each pose. This helps with posture and technique. The yoga will aid the children’s gross and fine motor skills in the future as well as improving digestion and sleep patterns. Similarly, the baby gym session we do with the playgroup children allows them to use their senses to develop coordination and confidence. We have a set number of routines so the children get used to the movements (Baby Shark is always a group favourite!).
2. Action songs and rhymes
Singing songs and joining in with action rhymes is brilliant for early development in a range of ways. Through repetition of key songs and rhymes our little ones learn lots of new vocabulary in a fun and engaging way. Group singing also shows the how to work as an ensemble, how to listen to one another and how to communicate and interact positively with peers. Each week, we build upon the week before by introducing new songs and revisiting past favourites. By introducing instruments (particularly rhythm sticks) we add additional layers to their development by encouraging coordination, rhythm and focus. Our little Rascals love these sessions and it is great to see how far they develop in such a short space of time.
3. Sensory exposure
By getting your baby or toddler to explore a multitude of colours, textures, shapes and smells you will help support their language development, cognitive growth, motor skills and memory function. There is evidence that sensory exposure builds nerve connections in developing brains, and this is particularly important in a digital age where screen use is so prevalent. You don’t need to go to a special baby class to offer sensory play, there are lots of ways to create these at home – check out our recent blog post for recipes and inspiration!
Different games are another way to develop fine and gross motor skills. Good motor control will help children explore the world around them now, but also help with longer term cognitive development. Our playgroup room is full of games such as building blocks, simple shape puzzles and toys that support fine motor skills. We also encourage the children to go outside into the playground where they can enjoy activities such as climbing, riding on bikes or playing in the sandpit, which help to build their gross motor skills and core strength.