Rhyme Time is our hugely popular music group for the under fives, and meets three times on Tuesdays at the Hillside Community Centre: 9 am to 10 am, 10 am to 11 am and 11 am to 12 noon.
It’s been over two years since we first started out. During that time we’ve grown in numbers and now have three sessions running term time on a Tuesday morning. We are gaining a reputation for being a fun and friendly group. People have commented on our relaxed approach and happy atmosphere.
A Rhyme Time session lasts for about an hour. We include well-loved nursery rhymes (like Baa, baa, black sheep) action, finger and movement songs. The favourite bit for some children is when we get out the drums, bells, shakers and other percussion instruments. It’s a bit of a din! But a very good way to get it all out of your system (especially for the mums!).
The children play along with the keyboard. As well as being good fun it helps them to understand rhythm, discipline (when to stop and start) and recognition of the different instruments and their sounds. We sometimes use different sounds to illustrate what we are singing. For example, cymbals and drums for thunder and bells and rainmakers for “pitter patter raindrops” in the song I hear thunder.
Out of all the songs we sing, one of the universal favourites has to be Humpty Dumpty. To hear the shrieks as they ‘fall off the wall’ and the cries of “Again! Again!” always makes us smile. This, along with Row, row and Horsey, horsey, don’t you stop, gives mums’ and carers’ legs a good workout! (why go to the gym?) So, ladies, come prepared – Rhyme Time is easier to do in trousers!
Rhyme Time is open to the smallest baby right through to the boisterous toddler. Although by splitting up age groups the songs could be more age specific, we find that in having mixed age groups all children benefit. The older ones appreciate the babies and the babies gain a lot by watching slightly older children singing and moving. Don’t worry if your child is not yet on the move or cannot fully join in. It really doesn’t matter so long as they are having fun and taking it all in! Most children love music and just gain from being around others. It also makes it easier for mums/carers with both a baby and toddler in tow.
Shy children are not forced to be extrovert – in fact, some children who are very quiet during sessions are said to enjoy acting out ‘rhyme time’ at home! We are a very informal group and understand that with very small children attention spans are short and sitting still for long is very hard! With that in mind, our sessions are fast-paced and very adaptable depending on the children who are there and the general mood of the group on the day!
We also realise that pressures of life may mean you can’t get to rhyme time every week. That’s fine by us and not a problem.
After the singing, it’s drink and biscuit time (sometimes I think this is the toddler’s favourite bit!). We sing our goodbye song then head out to the playroom where, as well as having refreshments, adults can chat and children can play.
We have toys out for the children so they’ve something to do while mums/carers catch up. This is a great way to make new friends especially if you are new to the area and would find walking into a big toddler group for the first time a bit daunting.
We like to keep the groups a manageable size, so we do have limits on numbers. Places are free, so to book yours call the New Life Church office on 01449 774000.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few of the things that have been said about our group.
“..saved my life.”
“It keeps me sane”
“It’s the highlight of my week!”
We’ll see you soon!