I am always on the look out for new classes and activities to try with J, so I was very excited to hear that Hartbeeps was returning to Solihull! Hartbeeps is a nationwide franchise of music classes, for newborn to pre-school age. It has a reputation for being a very colourful and interactive class, and so I couldn’t wait to try it. At 10 months old, J is considered a ‘Baby Beep’. This means he is able to join the class for babies that can sit confidently, but are not yet walking. This is what we got up to:
Settling On Our Toadstools
We arrived to a very cool set-up! There was a large furry ‘grass’, with red and white ‘toadstools’ placed all around the edge for us to get comfy on. The bright colours and different textures grabbed J’s attention right from the start. Nic, who runs the Solihull franchise, began the 45 minute class with some bubbles. This is in contrast to most of the other classes we have tried, which tend to end with bubbles. This worked well though, because the babies were all captivated from the beginning – keen to see what would happen next.
We sang a song with lots of actions, and then we were invited to explore a very interesting looking blanket in the middle of the circle. It was a gold sun, glistening with hundreds of sequins! We sang You Are My Sunshine, as the babies all felt the texture. Underneath were dozens of big bright flowers, hanging down and lying on the floor. It was definitely one of the most impressive sensory blankets we have come across!
Next we were introduced to the Numma Nummas – a pair of cheeky monster puppets, who have a naughty habit of tickling babies! It’s great to have a character that the children can become familiar with, and learn to look out for each week – the Numma Nummas make an appearance at every class.
Driving, Scarecrows and Boomwhackers!
Each week there are several different themes, allowing the babies to experience lots of different music and props. This week we:
- Went driving in our cars, wearing driving goggles and hats, using our steering wheels. We beeped our horns, bounced up and down, and swerved from side-to-side.
- Used our listening ears to pick out different sounds
- Tapped on the ‘magic box’ to reveal a very loveable donkey. We donned afros and funky sunglasses, and danced our socks off.
- Sang Old MacDonald with the help of loads of great animal puppets
- Shook pompoms and rattles, pretending to be dingle-dangle scarecrows!
- Played with some awesome Boomwhackers! These are hollow plastic tubes that are pitched at different notes. They make great tuned sounds when banged on the floor (or any other surface). This is the first time we have experienced these in a baby music class – very original.
Each class finishes with some quiet time. We were each given a cushion to get the babies comfortable on (J was having none of this, preferring to keep bouncing through the gentle singing…) We had piggy finger puppets, while we sang This Little Piggy Went To Market, and flashing stars during a pretty lullaby (unfortunately it was a little too light to get the full benefit of these). Nic floated lots of colourful feathers down, to help the children with their eye-tracking. The session concluded with ‘Tidy Time’, encouraging the little ones to help put all the props in their correct places. As a Mum, this is a great thing to see taught at this class – it’d be great if J could learn to do ‘Tidy Time’ at home!
Every week follows a similar structure, starting with bubbles and the rising sun, exploring a different theme in the middle, and finishing with some quiet time. Routine and repetition is great for children of this age, and so the familiarity of the sessions is really beneficial. All of the music used is original to Hartbeeps – it was energetic, fun, and full of interesting sound effects. The props were bright, safe, and appealing. All the babies remained engaged with to the end, because there was so much to play with and look at.
We had the pleasure of enjoying Hartbeeps in Solihull, but this is a nationwide class, worth exploring wherever you live! Nic, who runs the Solihull franchise, was brilliant – very charismatic, and happy for the babies to move around and do what they were comfortable with. She has a degree in Performing Arts from De Montfort University, so you know you’re in safe hands. Also, if you attend the Friday class at Jellybugs in Mothercare, you are entitled to a 15% discount in the cafe, and £2 entry to the soft play after the class. Check out Nic’s Facebook page for more info.
Classes are £7.00 per session, or £6.50 if you sign up to a full 8-week term.