Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Play Talk Read Bus

The girls had their first experience on the play bus and it's safe to say it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to them, judging by their reactions. The pictures in this post are a bit rubbish but you get the idea.

The bus

Play Talk Read is an initiative run by the Scottish Government that gives tips on how best to play, talk and read with your wee ones. There are two buses that travel the length and breadth of Scotland and if one is visiting your area it is well worth a visit.

We heard that the bus would be passing through so put the date in the calendar and forgot all about it until we were sitting having breakfast one morning and realised today was the day! So it was a mad dash to suitably attire the girls whilst trying to explain the concept of a playbus to Poppet who was most concerned as to whether the bus would wait for us. 

Our speedy departure paid off and we were the only ones on the bus! This is what I was hoping for by going early as Poppet can get a bit overwhelmed by lots of other children. We had the place to ourselves for a while and then other children arrived at intervals so it was easy for her to adjust.  There were two play workers on board and a driver who were all most friendly and helpful, giving us a quick tour of the downstairs and pointing out the different activities. I didn't get many photos as I didn't want to look like a weirdo but it all looked very inviting. There was a couple of craft stations (one exploring symmetry using lollipop sticks and one to make paper plate mobiles), a water play experiment exploring things that float, sensory play with sand and shredded paper, and the walls had lots of play ideas and velcroed bits to play with as well. I liked that all the activities were free or very cheap and easy to replicate at home. The windows were blacked out so we could see out but people could not see in, but we did have one old gentlemen right up at the glass with his hand cupped trying to see what was going on in this purple bus!

A major concern of Poppet's once we were on board was where we were going and she took a bit of convincing that it was a special bus that doesn't move. I overheard a couple of other mothers have the exact same conversation with their little ones so it is obviously a common concern. 

Sand and shredded paper sensory play

There was 'treasure' hidden amongst the shredded paper to find; Little loved being dangled above it and grabbing at the paper, and obviously trying to eat it. While they were playing, music started being played over the speakers of the bus and it just so happened to be Poppet's favourite song of the moment, 'A Whole New World' from Aladdin. I think this might have been when she decided she was never going to get off this bus.

Sink or float experiment
There was a basin filled with water and a tub filled with a variety of objects and you had to guess which would float. Poppet outsmarted me on this one and correctly guessed that the wooden cube would float while I guessed that it would sink. I really hope no one overheard our conversation.

Craft table

The (blurry) photo above shows the paper plate mobile making station; this craft really appealed to Poppet's current scissor fascination. It was very simple to decorate a plate then cut it out in a spiral (Poppet had some scrap paper to try and cut while I cut the plate for her). She proudly carried her mobile all the way home.

Downstairs I had carried Little the whole time, upstairs I could put her down and let her run free. It was very baby friendly, with a door to stop children falling down the stairs and lots of soft furnishings. The front half was full of different toys and activities, from farm toys to dressing up to cars to homemade sensory bottles. The back half contained comfy seating and lots of large animal soft toys, books and a special baby play area.

Little 'woof woof' ing

The girls couldn't quite believe their eyes and Little's barking went into overdrive at the sight of all the stuffed animals. It was lovely and warm and the perfect spot to read the girls a couple of books and let them play together.


There was a selection of sensory bottles that both girls liked exploring, filled with oil and coloured water, pasta, rice etc... I've been meaning to make my own for ages but never have suitable bottles. After an hour it was time for us to leave and I envisaged tears but Poppet (reluctantly) left without any temper tantrums, partly placated by the activity pack she was given as we left along with a big sticker. Stickers are a great weapon against toddler tantrums. The whole way home she kept saying "I want to go back on the bus" so it definitely was a memorable morning for her. I wonder if she will remember it when she is all grown up like I remember my trip onto the playbus as a little girl! 

I think the next time we go on a bus it will be a real anti-climax.

things to take home

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