Yesterday I tried out a new drop-in program provided at the Mickey McDougall rec centre. The Toddler & Me drop in is for babies from 0m – 5yrs and is provided through North Van Recreation. It is a paid drop-in of $4 for the first child ($1.5 for additional children) for 1.5 hours during the 5-day 9:15-12:30 open time.
You have to go to the Harry Jerome rec centre, down the street, to purchase individual tickets or book tickets, which are cheaper.
The drop-in is located in a large activity room featuring many play areas including a story area, train area, play kitchen, indoor playground toys, gym toys and even a trampoline. There are lots of ride-on cars and a few walkers, so it’s a great space to just let the kids ‘go.’ Of course, there are also craft tables set up and a kitchen, which you can use for your snacks or can buy snacks inexpensively. The guide says there are sometimes music and song times, though I have no idea when those happen.
Considering all the free alternatives, this drop-in will probably just be my “back-up” for days when naps don’t line up with other drop-ins. When Aiden is walking / climbing however, I can see the indoor gym being a great energy burner for one or two mornings a week.
My biggest criticism of all these programs is that they are only available in the mornings. This one has one afternoon drop-in (Thursday, 4:30-6:30 for $2), but afternoons are the hardest for us. Our regular nap time falls into a time when other programs run, and we personally have a difficult time filling the 2:30-4:30 timeslot.
Aiden, unlike other babies, leans toward the morning nap being his earliest and best nap of the day. When he’s older, he’s most likely to drop his afternoon nap and keep the morning nap. This is going to pose problems for us in terms of participating in things like StrongStart.