Anyone with more than one preschooler at home knows how hard it is to find activities that will keep them both happy. What a nine-month-old will love is probably going to be completely uncool as far as the three-year-old is concerned. We’ve been struggling with this for a while and tend to fall back on activities like walks by the river and trips to the park, which both our little Vikings enjoy. But as it gets colder and darker outside, the prospect of a windy walk by the Ouse isn’t always massively appealing. So we’re really glad to have found Songbox, family musical play sessions for 0-to-4-year-olds that are held across York. We went along for our first session last week, expecting that it would probably appeal to the 15-month-old but that the almost-4-year-old would find it too slow or not active enough compared to the football or gymnastics classes he goes to.
It turns out that we couldn’t have been more wrong. Sarah, the class leader, created a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere that instantly put both children at ease, despite them being the only newbies in the group (and not knowing the words to the songs!). Throughout the hour-long session they both listened carefully to the stories, experimented with instruments, danced about and joined in with the songs where they could. The 3-year-old – who’s usually so shy he makes Mr Shy seem really confident – even shouted out answers to questions and helped to tidy up the instruments. The 15-month-old loved jingling the bells and rolling her hands around to ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’. The session was structured, well thought-out and had an element of teaching (but not so much that the kids noticed). Above all else it was relaxing and fun for everyone (not to mention warm and dry). We’re going back next week.
Song Box family musical play sessions are held across York in various venues, including Heslington Parish Church, Millers Yard, Oaken Grove Community Centre, Haxby, Haxby & Wigginton Methodist Church, Southlands Methodist Church and St Aidan’s Church. The fee is per family (not per person): £5 for the first session and then you pay in advance for the rest of the term (there is also a ‘spread the cost’ option). For more information, visit the Song Box website.