• Aisha Iqbal

Fun with Debutots - Baby & Toddler Group

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Debutots is special to me not just because it's super fun, but because it is Zain and my first toddler group! We hope to explore more but for now are really enjoying going to the same class every week since we get to meet the same families and it is lovely to see the little ones grow and develop together.

Debutots Nottingham combines words, songs, movement, puppets and bubbles (and recently a parachute, which I actually didn't have any experience with but this is what that looks like) - now that is an excellent selection of activities for tiny tots!

When I was initially looking for a group to join, I was a bit annoyed that most seem to want you to book a block of classes rather than pay individually but in retrospect, that works out really nicely because it gives you and your baby consistency and it becomes more like a little support community with the same families every week.

Debutots is run by the warm and friendly Louise and in Beeston it takes place on a Thursday, 9:30 am during term-time at the Beeston Youth & Community Centre. It runs for about 45 minutes and then you have the option to stay and chat with the other parents. Louise has promised that once restrictions ease a bit more at the centre, she will bring coffee, tea and biscuits and that will make everything a 1,000 times more fun for the parents/carers because as a parent, we would be supremely grateful for a hot cup of caffeine while our child is relatively safe and playing independently in a baby-friendly zone!

The hall at the community centre is nice and big, with accessible toilets and a padded floor that makes it ideal for babies learning to crawl and walk and run. Even the walls are padded so we have the occasional excitable toddlers running happily smack into the walls and staying more or less steady.

The classes so far have been a nice size with 5-8 families (usually one parent and one child but we've seen different combinations) set out on their own little mats and props (orange buckets and chiffony scarves). Each class follows a similar routine but different activities so it never gets boring. We get a chance to sing, move around, learn some signs, learn about each participant (new words or new foods they've tried) which makes it feel interactive and attentive to each child and there is Zain's favourite bubble time where Louise brings out her whale bubble machine and all the tiny tots go bananas.

The actual story is always nice with a puppet or two, and hats off to Louise for powering through even when all the children are busy running/crying/crawling/banging the bucket or in the case of the sweet little girl in our class, going over to a baby and kissing his cheeks!

Sometimes Louise loses her train of thought but then in a toddler group you'd have to be made of steel to not get distracted by babies trying to get their fingers stuck in the bubble machine or trying to escape the hall via the fire exit!

The best part about the class is how friendly and relaxed Louise makes everyone feel. She remembers all names, is lovely with the children and understands that the point of a class is not to check off activities carried out in a systematic way but to make sure everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves. At least in these groups parents can relax and not be on edge if their 18-month-old wants to eat a banana in the middle of story time, or if the baby needs a feed or a cuddle or a nappy change, or if they're mostly trying to run out of the room than following the gestures and signs properly.

So if you're looking for a warm and relaxed, creative baby & toddler group, give Debutots a shot!

You can see a more detailed schedule on their website but here are the essentials:

For babies 6 months to 5 years, £4.50 per class. Louise is very helpful and accommodating if you have some dates you can't make in a term just discuss your needs with her before you book!

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