As school gets ever closer I've been trying to fill mine and Bee's last days together with lots of fun. This week we went back to Eureka! in Halifax.
We last went for Bee's birthday in September 2012 & she loved it then. We haven't been back since but this week my mum and I finally made the trip over the Pennines to Yorkshire.
As before, Bee's favourite part was the mini-high street and the place she went to first. We played shops for ages, taking turns being the 'shopper' and the 'shop lady'.
It was incredibly busy this time as it's the school holidays. Last year was relatively quiet, being within term time. Yet the improvements in her language, mobility and confidence meant that she wasn't fazed by the masses of children around her or by all the noise. Although she wouldn't join in with the others she confidently moved around them and wasn't afraid to play near them without myself or my mum being next to her.
After the shop it was a visit to the post office and the house. Bee loves 'pretend play' and the Eureka! high street is the perfect play & learning opportunity for her. We put stamps on parcels and chose who to send them to, we made food in the house kitchen and played in the water table in the house bathroom. Back down the stairs and Bee had a ball playing 'knock knock' at the house front door...
There is lots of other things to do at Eureka! but much of it is too old for Bee, she likes running around the exhibits though and we spent some time doing that before we heard an announcement over the tannoy system for a puppet show taking place in the marquee outside. Brilliant! After the fun Bee had at the last puppet show we would definitely going to attend this one!
We head outside to the marquee and took our seats along the edge near to the front. There were mats set out on the floor in front of the stage for the children to sit on and I was pleased that Bee went and sat amongst them, not worried about being away from us. Her attention lasted for the first few minutes before she was up and wandering back to us looking for her 'baba', which I gave her and encouraged her to sit back down. She did and managed another few minutes of attention before she was back on her feet, wandering between us and the edge of the stage. Bee has no concept of appropriate behaviour in different situations and was quite happy to chatter to us at normal volume during the show. We got a couple of odd looks from parents but nothing I'm not used to. After the start of the show the the performer sat down on the edge of the stage with a giant box and distributed a puppet to each child, including Bee. I was concerned as it became clear that each child would have a turn on the stage making a story with their puppet. They were asked to think of a name, a job and a thing their puppet likes to do or eat. That level of pretend is way beyond Bee at the moment, she can't even say her own name and all her dolls are called 'baba' or 'doll'. Still, i was determined that (if she wanted to) she would join in like the other children. Why shouldn't she have a turn?
While the other children got up and participated I sat Bee on my knee and quietly explained to her what was going on and asked her if she'd like a turn. She seemed keen and so towards the end she was called up with another little girl.
I accompanied her as she needed support to climb on to the stage and to follow the instructions of the performer. I crouched down behind him as Bee took her place and tried to help guide her through. The performer made up a silly story based on the responses the little girl made and just made up Bee's part when she couldn't answer the questions he posed her. She didn't really understand what was happening and just held the puppet flopped over the curtain so the story became about the puppet fainting. It all only lasted 2 minutes or so but there was a nice moment at the end when the performer asked Bee's puppet to say 'thank you' to the little girl's puppet for helping her, to which Bee signed 'thank you' and got a clap. She was happy with that and I thanked the performer for his support and we re-took our places. What a proud Mama I was!
After the puppet show Bee wanted to go back to the shop so we headed inside and let her spend some more time there before it was time to find somewhere nice to have tea.
One of the things we did spend some time doing before we left was watching a video presentation at the start of the 'All About Me' section. It was presented by an automated robot with a video screen in it's tummy and Bee loved it. we must have watched that 2 minute video 50 times, over and over again while other families came and went. It didn't matter though, we were there for Bee to enjoy herself and if watching that robot made her happy then so be it.
My mum also spent some time outside with Bee while I went to take all the bags and the pram to the car. Eureka! have a fabulous outdoor zone with a giant sandpit (called the beach) and lots of toys and play equipment. My mum and Bee had a great time chasing the hula hoop she'd just been bought from the shop...
|Bottom right is Bee's robot|
After such a long day Bee was getting tired and we all were getting hungry so we got in the car, ready to head to a lovely canal-side restaurant that Foz and I had ate at last time we took Bee to Eureka!
We were all more than ready for a slap-up meal and Bee even had some leftover energy for a play on the park afterwards!
I took so many pictures during our day out yet one has emerged as my clear favourite. This is Bee 'hiding' during our game of hide and seek...
I feel she hasn't really got the idea yet...