Toddler Group timings

 

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Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

A friend has asked for some ideas on what happens when at toddler group. So here are a few examples. I go to three groups a week at the moment and each one is different. Mondays and Thursday we are in community halls and on Tuesday we are in a church.

Monday group ( venue has one large hall with extra space for buggy parking)

10am Doors open and bubbles

10.15 Story time and welcome/notices

10.20 Snacks for the children

10.25 Free play and tea/coffee and cake for adults

11.15 Singing time and finish at 11.30

Tuesday group (venue has two rooms with extra space for buggy parking)

9.15 -10.15 Free play

Half way through the session snacks for the children ( everyone sits on the floor) followed by story and singing (One room is cleared of ride on toys to create space for this). The story is 5 minutes long and singing time varies.

Free play with tea/coffee and cake/biscuits for adults and finish at 11.15

Thursday group (venue has large hall, two smaller rooms and extra space for buggy parking)

9.30 Free play – with painting in side room. During this time tea/coffee is served – adults come to the kitchen door (we use a stairgate to keep it safe) and ask for their drink when they arrive or at any time up to about 10 minutes before tidy up time.

10.45 Tidy up time immediately followed by children’s snack time that we serve at tables.

At 11 we finish the morning with story, singing and musical instruments. Home time is at about 11.15.

The big downside of this timetable is that the parents don’t get any cake!

Some things to think about…

The space that you have for you group can make a difference to what you do when. If you want toddlers to be involved in story time you may need to have snacks first so that they can join in without holding a drink and a bread stick. It’s easier to tell a story without the distractions of toys around.

If parents help with tidying up toys it can be a real help if there aren’t many people in your team. In each of the three groups I help at the team of leaders tidy furniture once everyone has left.

If you have a craft table or do painting the items that are made need time to dry before home time. This is especially true when it comes to painting!

It can be hard to get a toddler and new baby out of the house to arrive at a group for 9.15. If people arrive half an hour after you’ve started will they have missed the chance for a drink or the story?

It’s useful for everyone attending your group to have an idea of what happens when. At the Thursday group we have a large print out on our noticeboard of our timetable with the heading ‘What happens in toddler group’. There was a lot of laughter the morning we found that someone had written ‘stays in toddler group’ underneath.

How does your group look? Please share your ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

God gives us ..animals!

This term we are thinking about the good things that God has given to us. The idea is borrowed from Christ Church Dunstable (big thank you to them!!). Each week we discover something that God has given to us. We aren’t exactly telling a story each week but are taking things from a story bag. This week we were thinking about animals and so I had a selection of toy animals to take from a bag. We named them and thought about stripes, colours, the sounds they make and whether they had a long tail or a long neck. The last animal was – a wild animal but one that we all might see. Any ideas? A fox. We are in an urban area where it’s not unusual to see foxes in broad daylight.

Here are the different story bag items from the last three weeks…

God gives us a beautiful world

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God gives us family and friends

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God gives us animals

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God gives us…

It’s nearly summer! This term we are thinking about the things that our Good God has given to us. This idea is borrowed from a Toddler Group scheme from Christ Church Dunstable. Last week we thought about the world. We had a globe (that lit up!) and lots of pictures. All the pictures were freely available from the internet. I just used Word and then inserted pictures from the web. No problems with copyright!

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This week we are thinking about how God has given us family and friends. Last weeks pictures will be used again and the people added. Then we will wave at our friends, smile and shake hands. For song time we’ll include Row, row, row your boat’ that needs a friend to row with.

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Easter at toddler group

Lovely crafts were made today ..

Favourite books to share

Do you have a cosy corner for sharing books? Does your toddler group have a special space for parents and children to read a book together?

Last week I spotted a  mum sitting in our comfy book corner with her son and baby daughter. They were surrounded by books and were, in her words, having a ‘book fest’. Even though it was time for snacks I left them to it – they had to finish the book!

When my own children were small we had a favourite book – we can still quote parts of it to each other. It’s ‘So Much’ written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. When I joined the Toddler Group Team at my church I bought a copy for our group. Everyone should have a chance to enjoy this book.

It’s all about a family and how that family love the new baby – they love him so much. As the book goes on we are introduced to all the family – mum, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas. The illustrations are fab.

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Do you have a favourite children’s book? Please share!

Jacob and the ladder

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Story – (I used the above pictures – found via google- as puppets)

Jacob and Esau were brothers. In fact they were twins! Esau had been born first and then Jacob. They were very different to look at. They liked doing different things. Esau loved to be outside and to go hunting. Jacob liked to stay at home.

Their dad liked Esau the best. Their mum liked Jacob the best.

There was a big problem in this family. Even though Esau and Jacob were grown ups they tried to trick each other. Jacob really wanted all the great things that were going to belong to Esau, who was born first.

One day Jacob and his mum tricked Esau and this made him very angry. Esau was so angry that Jacob decided to go far away and stay with his Uncle Laban.

He said goodbye in a big hurry and he was off. It was a long walk. A long, long walk. He was getting tired. The sun was going down and it was getting dark. There were stars in the dark sky.

‘I’ll have to sleep here where I am’, thought Jacob.

So he got a stone to put near his head and he lay down to go to sleep. It doesn’t sound very comfortable does it! But Jacob was so tired and was missing home that he went off to sleep.

And then something extraordinary happened. He had a dream about angels. He could see a ladder that started on the ground but reached up and up and up right to heaven. Walking up and down the ladder were angels.

Then God spoke to Jacob, ‘I am the LORD. I won’t leave you. I will give you this land on which you are lying.’

Then Jacob woke up.

God knew where Jacob was. God cared about Jacob. God loved Jacob.

God knows where you are. God cares about you. God loves you.

Craft – angel pictures to colour and decorate

 

 

Rhythms of Grace conference

On Saturday we drove to Wembley nice and early to go to a Toddler Group leaders conference. I was leading a couple of workshops about Crafts. It was a really good day. The Keynote speaker, Mary Hawes drew our attention to how toddler groups should be places of generosity, relationships, accessibility, community and encouragement. She encouraged us to be confident about being church based and to share Bible Stories. In the afternoon there was a music workshop that everyone was able to attend.

Very importantly tea and coffee and great pastries kept me so well fed during the breaks that I didn’t really need my packed lunch!

The day was really well organised and I came away enthused about running a Toddler Group and encouraged.

Here’s a picture of the Christmas craft we made

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Sunrise – best time of day to drive on the north circular!