Emmanuel Bishopston Toddlers: A local mum’s thoughts

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Emmanuel Bishopston Toddlers takes place on Wednesdays during term time between 10 and 11.30am. It is held in Horfield Baptist Church and is accessed via Brynland Avenue (there is a banner by the entrance to help you find it).

I first started going to this play group when my second child was about 8 weeks old. I’d never been to playgroups with my first child as by the time he would have been old enough to get something from it I was back at work.

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With an energetic 2-year-old boy and a new baby I knew that I needed to get out of the house! I was drawn to Emmanuel Bishopston playgroup because it had only just been set up (January 2014) so felt it would be less intimidating going on my own as it was less likely that there would be a lot of mums who already all knew each other.

I need not have worried, the mums (and sometimes dads) who run as well as the other families who go to it were very friendly and welcoming and I have never felt lonely.

There is a good selection of toys appropriate for the various age children. Ride on cars/bikes, a climbing frame and a couple of slides, a garage, dolls house, animals, Duplo, a play kitchen and food, to name but a few!

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There is also a separate area for babies, with chairs for feeding mums, a duvet, play gym, bouncer chairs and baby toys to entertain the youngest members. I found this invaluable whilst my daughter was very young. It meant I could put her down in the knowledge that she was safe whilst I played with her brother or dealt with his toilet trips.

Everyone is very friendly and happy to help with one of your children if you are occupied by another.

Coffee and tea and amazing homemade cakes are available for parents/grandparents/carers throughout the group.

At about 10.30 there is story, song and snack time. Children and parents gather together on and around the mat and the children receive their snack bowls. It is worth noting that children should bring their own drinks as these are not provided.

There is usually one story and a short story from a toddler bible/a thought or poem based on the bible. After that there is time for a few songs (with instruments) ending with the ever popular “sleeping bunnies”.

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Once story time has finished there is usually a craft activity and the children are free to play until about 11.25, when everyone gathers to do the Hokey Cokey.

There is a mixture of mums, dads, grandparents and childminders who go to the group, and children ranging from 5 weeks to 3 years (although all from 0-4 are welcome) which gives it a really lovely feel.

The volunteers who run the group also arrange extra visitors during the year such as popular pots (putting your child’s hand/footprints on pottery), phoenix cards and a visit from the local children’s centre. There is also the added bonus of parent socials every few months.

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Finally, at Christmas, I should mention the “scratch nativity” which the children put on and the kind gift (chocolate coins and a book) given at the end to each child (it was daffodils and Easter eggs at Easter!)

My children and I always look forward to “club” (as we call it) and have met some lovely families and made friends too. It’s a testament to the mums who run it that it has grown and become so popular that they have now had to start a waiting list!

Review written by Katie, a local mum.

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Many thanks to Katie for providing this review. If you would like to provide a review for Bishopston Mum, please email me (Hilary) on bristol_mum@hotmail.com

For information about other regular activities for young children in and around Bishopston, please see the Bishopston Mum Baby and Toddler Timetable.

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