5 Reasons why you should attend a First Senses Baby Massage Course

Once your baby has arrived and you’re settled (well as can be expected) you may decide you want to attend a class with your new baby. Look no further than baby massage. It has so many benefits for babies, small babies too which will last right through their childhood. You’re thinking baby massage? What is baby massage?

Baby massage is a 4 week program which uses a series of strokes, gentle movements and holds to provide your baby with a full body massage. There are so many benefits for baby but also for you as a caregiver and is a great way to bond with your new baby. Touch is powerful and is a powerful tool which can be used with babies to support many ailments. Baby massage enables communication and connection through nurturing touch – benefiting the psychological and physiological development of baby.

1.) Quality Time – our classes allow you to spend one on one time with your baby uninterrupted for one hour allows you to focus all your energy solely on your baby.

2.) Relief from ailments – Did you know massage can have many benefits for not only you but your baby. For example massage can support with troubles such as wind, colic and constipation. Also support with congestion and teething pain.

3.) Bonding and attachment – It takes time for all parents to learn how their baby communicates. Touch is the first form of communication and  it allows parents to understand their babies wants, needs, likes and dislikes. The early stages of parenting can be the most challenging and lonely.  Getting out of the house and attending  class can make all the difference to some parents and often be the thing needed to break the cycle of depression. Oxytocin the hormone which is produced when massaging babies, benefits both baby and parent and those near by, helping everyone to feel calm and relaxed.

4.) Social – Our classes provide families with the chance to meet other parents and share experiences of parenting with babies of a similar age, in a safe non-judgmental environment. A great way to make new friends.

5.) Supports children’s learning and development – Massaging your baby strengthens and tones their muscles. Baby massage is a great way to support babies to reach their developmental milestones by building muscle strength so they can learn to roll over, sit up and crawl. Also massage helps aid baby’s early communication. Through the introduction of songs and rhymes we are able to enhance the experience for babies. Singing stimulates babies early language development, aiding communication between baby and parent and being part of a group helps babies to develop their social skills.

Want to find out more information? Contact us for times, dates and locations of our next courses.


How to Create an Affordable Mud Kitchen

How to Create an affordable mud kitchen

Here’s our ‘How To’ guide to help you create an affordable mud kitchen for your little ones.

Mud kitchens provide so much more than your average “soil digging” experience. A mud kitchen provides a variety of elements such as a much loved domestic and cooking area, all of which are enriched by purely being outside! Mud kitchens are great also because they can be used all year and in all weathers.

Remember they don’t need to be fancy or expensive. There is nothing simpler than creating a kitchen using old kitchen items from friends, family or even our local charity shops.

Choose the location

Firstly find a suitable location in your garden. It needs to have ample supply of basic materials such as sand, water and mud. Offering both sand and mud provides a great contrast in colour and texture which is great when they’re mixing those mud pies together. Being located near a sand pit/ mud patch may give the kitchen more meaning but even big pots of these materials are perfect too as long as they are floor level.

Mud kitchens which have walls/ fences provide the opportunity to hang your resources such as utensils/ hanging pots or just even having them on a shelf make it feel more like a kitchen and better to use. A cosy corner just creates a room like environment that feels safe. Research suggests this is good for creating dramatic play.

A water supply is essential but does not need to be in the kitchen or even close by. Children love nothing more than transporting water using a variety of containers. It’s important here to make sure you do provide a variety of containers (different shapes and sizes) and have a water source, such as an outdoor tap/hose/water butt or a large container of water.

Gravel, pebbles and other natural materials are also a great companion for making in your mud kitchens.

Plants are also an important part of a mud kitchen. These can be taken from anywhere as long as children have the permission to pick and gather.

Make sure the space feels comfortable for the amount of children who will be using the kitchen. Having space for several children to work alongside each other is ample. Large open plan kitchen areas may create more boisterous actions.

Enclosure from fences/walls can create a good mud kitchen feel.

Working surfaces are a crucial aspect of a mud kitchen. Remember to make sure these are the right height for the children and provide enough space work at.

Remember to consider where the old mixed material is going after use in the kitchen.

Fitting Out Your Kitchen

Fitting out your kitchen can be simply done by using old kitchen items from your own home. Make sure you have something that will be the cooker (using an old microwave) can be very effective provides children with buttons and the opportunity to open and close doors.

A good selection of pots and pans, jugs, funnels and bakeware. This will provide children with endless opportunities in their creations.

Plenty of bowls and containers such as jelly moulds/ice cube trays.

Enhancements suitable for occasions such as adding food colouring to water or essence to provide a new smells.

A big washing up bowl usually sunk into a work surface is a very helpful part of the play and great for washing their hands afterwards.

Keeping it safe and healthy

First foremost children must be kept safe whilst they have access to these important experiences. Our role is to ensure we manage their play safely.

Contact with soil is beneficial for children as the bacteria in it can help build healthy, functioning immune systems in young children.

Soil can however carry harmful pathogens and care to ensure contamination from cat/dog faeces is extremely important. Using a purchased loam topsoil rather than using soil from your backyard is beneficial and will reduce the risk. These can be purchased from any nursery/garden centre.

Handwashing is an essential aspect of playing in this way. Make sure this is established as a routine when initially setting up your mud kitchen.

Make sure children stay warm and comfortable as mud kitchen play is usually a wet experience. Having waterproof clothing for cooler weather and well in the warm weather its up to you.

Remember it doesn’t have to be expensive! Just have fun!

Written by Emma Weir


Baby Massage Frequently Asked Questions

We thought we would share some of the most common questions we get asked about our baby massage classes. This way you can be prepared before joining one of our sessions and also have an understanding of how things work for you and your little one.

Often we know this may be the first activity you have attended with your baby, therefore we create an environment whereby we try not to overstimulate babies creating a calming environment for both of you.

What does a class look like? – we usually set up the class in a semi circle/circle this way I can see everyone and you can also see me whilst I demonstrate the strokes (the instructor DOES NOT massage your baby). It also allows me to support you during the class too. I provide yoga mats for babies to lay on just remember to bring a towel/blanket along with you to lay baby on and also to support with keeping them warm during massage.

How old does my baby need to be? – We recommend babies can attend from 6 weeks to 12 months.

What oil do you use and do I need to bring my own? – Oil is provided during the course along with handouts. This supports with massaging your baby at home. The oil we use is a cold-pressed organic sunflower oil which is edible too. Whilst babies are small we avoid oils with fragrances to help support with bonding and attachment. We always recommend to patch test incase babies does show any signs of a reaction.

What do I need to bring? – Everything you would need to leave the house with which we know can be everything including the kitchen sink. Bring what you need to and we provide the rest for your class. We have nappy changing facilities at our venues also.

What if my baby cries? – Don’t worry all baby’s cry, just follow your baby’s cues as we know they may be tired, need feeding etc. It doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike massage either. The first time you perform massage can be overwhelming for a baby, this is why we break the massage down week by week.

Can I bring my partner/relatives/friends along to the class? – Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions we aren’t able to allow support persons.

Are you complying with COVID restrictions? – Yes, we only offering limited numbers in our classes and following the restrictions in place for our current phase. Hand sanitiser will be available at the session and we ensure all our equipment is cleaned after to use.

How do I book a class? – Simply visit our events section on the website and secure your place. Places are limited and bookings are essential.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me further.


Quick play dough recipes

Play dough is always a favourite activity here at First Senses and we always get asked how we make our play dough. We’ve put this blog together to provide you with a few different recipes which are easy to make at home and they’re non-toxic too. Play dough is a fail safe activity to engage and excite those little hands. It’s a brilliant fine motor and sensory tool which is super easy to make.

Natural play dough recipe set up at First Senses classes.
Natural play dough recipe

By making it yourself you know exactly what has gone into your dough and remember you can customize in so many different ways such as glitter, colourings, scents and so much more. 

No-Cream of Tartar/No cook Play dough

Now this is a favourite here at First Senses. It makes a great dough which is silky and is never dry! This recipe also requires no cooking over heat at all and you should have the ingredients in your pantry. Easy!

What you will need

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup of salt
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Food colouring or gel colours 

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together until your dough forms together. If you feel your dough is too sticky add a little more flour. Your dough shouldn’t be too dry and it should be easy to mould and have a soft feeling. Sometimes you may need to add a little water if you feel your dough may be a little too dry. The trick is when adding water to add a bit at a time. 

Quick, easy play dough recipes. Birthday cake play doyugh.
Quick, easy play dough recipe

Basic Dough

This is just a basic dough recipe which does require cooking on a low heat. This is a great for dough you might want to last a little longer.

What you will need

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 2 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • Liquid food colouring

Place all ingredients in a pan and place over a low heat. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and begins to form, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Gluten Free Recipe

We know some children have allergies as well as adults too. Here you can find our gluten free play dough recipe which we have used in our sessions. It’s quick to make and super soft too.

What you will need:

  • ½ cup of rice flour
  • ½ cup of cornflour (gluten free)
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar 
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Food colouring

Place all ingredients in a pan and place over a low heat. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and begins to form, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Customise your dough

You can always customise your dough in many ways:

  • Add essential oils, flavours, herbs/spices
  • Glitter or sequins
  • Sand (which you will have seen at all our Under the Sea events)
  • Desiccated coconut
Chocolate happy birthday playdough
Chocolate birthday play dough

Check out our blog next week when we will discuss the benefits of playing with play dough and the wonderful learning opportunities it can provide for young children.

Remember it does take practice but hopefully you will find these recipes easy to make and have those ingredients already in your pantry.


Welcome Sarah to the First Senses Team

We thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce Sarah our new Activity Session Leader who will be delivering our classes across the Northern Suburbs. Here’s just a bit of information about her and her background in Child Care.

Hi there, I’m Sarah.
​Born and bred Adelaidian I have over 8 years experience working with children and families within the child care sector. ​​My career journey began in 2009 volunteering at the Tafe SA Elizabeth Playgroup whilst working toward my Certificate III in Children’s services, which I obtained in 2010. I knew then that my passion lay within the early childhood industry and continued on my studies until I graduated with my Diploma of Children’s Service in 2011. ​​I have experience working with children from birth all the way through to kindergarten in various roles and have also participated in and gained my certificate in Brain Development and Neuroscience at The Lady Gowrie Children’s Centre. Throughout my years in the child care sector I developed a strong passion for sensory/messy play and nature play and would often plan many learning experiences around these areas, as I believe these types of play facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to create and investigate, which is essential for learning and development.​


During my time as a Qualified Early Child Care Educator I have also welcomed three beautiful children Aria, Oscar and Eddy. Like many children they also love playing and getting messy. They have helped me experiment with many aspects of messy play and given me plenty of new learning experiences not only as a parent but as an educator too.  Whilst on indefinite leave with my son Eddy  I came across the advertised role for First Senses and just could not believe my luck. The role encompassed everything I loved about working with children and families and fit in perfectly with the work, life, family balance I want to maintain. Crossing my fingers I applied for the role and I guess you can say the rest is history :)​Looking forward to meeting you all​.


5 Reasons why you should join a First Senses Messy Play Class

Have you always wondered why you should come and join one of our messy play classes? We’ve put together a list of the top 5 reasons why you should choose First Senses as your messy play experts.

  1. Enhance children’s learning and development All our activities during our sessions are planned in line with children’s developmental milestones and learning in mind. With over 12 years experience of working with children Emma is qualified to ensure our activities aid their learning. Sarah is also a qualified Early Years Educator with over 8 years of working in the sector (check out our About Me for more information).
  2. Sociable All our sessions encourage families and children to be social. Our sessions provide a fun, laid back atmosphere to allow children to learn and develop in a unstructured way. They are allowed to explore the materials through their own investigations. You can bring your friends, spend time with your family and meet other new families.
  3. Professional Did we mention our Emma holds a BA in Early Years as well as other relevant Early Childhood qualifications. Emma has held many positions in her career starting in childcare, kindergartens and heading into working with vulnerable families and children. Our sessions ensure children’s learning is nurtured in their own way.
  4. Affordable We aren’t just about making money. Our sessions were developed to be affordable to all families whilst offering high quality learning opportunities.
  5. You don’t have to clean up any of the mess at the end of the session! That’s right you just leave that clean up to us!

Gruffalo Messy Play – June 2017


Magical Mess June 2017

Well what can I say our first messy play session at Glenelg was an absolute blast and well we definitely made a mess! We had lots of activities on offer including unicorn poop, rainbow spaghetti, paint and so much more. I must say it took the longest time ever to clean up! It just shows the memories which were made and the fun that was had. Can I just thank all those who attended I really appreciate all your support and feedback.

Just look at these wonderful pictures….. if you have any please add them to our Facebook page

 


Are you ready for Magical Mess?

Are you ready for our first upcoming messy play sessions? We will be launching with our first magical mess sessions in June 2017. We are still awaiting the confirmation of dates, times and location but we will know shortly. Just keep following our Facebook page, Instagram page and our website for more information.

Sessions will be bookable online via our website and will cost just $15 for one adult and child and an additional $5 for an extra sibling. Numbers will be limited for these sessions and they are popular so please book your ticket once they are available.

Our sessions are fun, relaxed and inspire creative learning for children 6 months and above. Want to come and enjoy an session with your children getting messy then you’ve come to the right place.

We will be in touch shortly!

 


G’Day

So its been a while since I have posted to the blog. Well a lot has happened since then, I have re-branded the business from Infant Massage by Emma to First Senses and we are now living in Adelaide Australia. I just wanted to say a G’day to all my new followers on Facebook and I’m looking forward to continuing the success I had over in the UK.

So things are moving a little slow at the moment, looking forward to all the official documentation coming through and finally getting out and about in the area. Don’t worry though I’ve been busy updating the site, adding content and also contacting local venues so watch this space for our future events.

Keep up to date with all our activities and follow us on Facebook simply search for First Senses Classes. If you’re an Instagramma well you can follow us too @firstsensesclassesadelaide. Its such a long name!

Thanks guys and speak soon.