Yesterday we had our second toddler session in the gallery. We will be holding the sessions once a month and each month will look at a different theme - this month the theme was Autumn, and the one before looked at farm animals. The sessions are quite informal giving the little ones a chance to play and experience our different activities and to socialise with the other children. Another important part of the session is that it is bilingual, so the staff who are working (Ffion,Iola and myself this month) can speak in Welsh or English to the children, and the songs that Ffion led at the end were also in Welsh. It's a nice way for English speaking parents to begin to learn Welsh with their children.
So, what do we do? yesterday we had an art and craft table where the children could decorate pumpkin shapes or leaves, make leaf rubbings (although I find this is often a bit difficult for the under 3's!) or do some drawing. We also had a sensory tray filled with leaves, plastic bugs, fircones and dried lemon slices; coloured and scented playdough (yellow playdough was vanilla and the orange one cinammon and spices) with different cookie cutter shapes to play with; a sandpit and fircones (the sandpit was going to be our sensory tray and we were going to change it each month, but the children seemed to enjoy playing with the sand so much we didn't have the heart to change it! What I might do though is dye the sand at some point so it will be a little bit more exciting!); soft toys to play with and a quiet area with picture books. The picture books we had yesterday were 'Cwymp y dail' by Sian Lewis which is a Sali Mali book about Autumn, 'Cawl Pwmpen' by Helen Cooper - a nice autumnal book about pumpkin soup, 'Hibernation Station' by Michelle Meadows and Kurt Cyrus - an unbelievably cute story about animals hibernating, although perhaps a little too 'american' for some tastes (not mine!), 'The Tiny Seed' by Eric Carle - i love the illustrations in this, 'I am a Bunny' by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry - an adorable simple book about the seasons, and my find of the month, 'Autumn' by Gerda Muller - this was perfect for a bilingual session as it doesn't have any words (I didn't realise this when I ordered it) and consists of illustrations of the type of things that happen in the autumn - leaves falling off the trees, rainy weather, making leaf rubbings, making jam and hibernating animals. It's a lovely book to look through with a child as it lets them make up the story themselves.
We ended the session with a song about Autumn, and sent them all off with a leaf bag and a leaf spotting sheet in case they wanted to have a walk around the museum.
Next month our theme is buildings