Very recently I took Amelia to Culture Night Belfast, giving her the opportunity to explore and enjoy lots of drama, dance, art, music, poetry, storytelling, interactive exhibits – the list goes on. She really loved it and I got a real thrill out of seeing her experience this fun, exciting event.
But my little man, well – he was fast asleep in bed, looked after by Nana. I could have brought him, but the G Man was working that night and I totally chickened out at the thought of battling the crowds of adults with my pram as well as keeping track of the 3 year old on my own. Definitely next year though.
However, last Sunday we got the chance to bring the Little Dude to his own version of Culture Night – well, as regards babies anyway. Replay Theatre Company devised and delivered an entire day of events all across Belfast city, and all dedicated to babies and toddlers. The world’s very first ‘Baby Day’.
It was brilliant.
We headed out for our first workshop to the Ulster Museum where we took part in a very noisy and fun Family Drumming Circle, the kids got to bang crash and wallop their way through the session, using maracas, tambourines, African drums and loads more. On the way in you could stop at the Story Tents to crawl in and share a story with your little one.
Then we headed down to the Crescent Arts Centre, got ourselves some lunch and then took part in several sessions – the first being ‘Curious Doings’ which was a story telling workshop that had some arts and crafts thrown in at the end. Amelia loved hearing the story about the human who thought she was a fairy and getting to decorate and colour in her own fairy at the end. Adam just enjoyed crashing through the nice tidy pots of felt tips and running around the room, smiling from ear to ear. Whatever gets you through the day, son.
Then it was off to see ‘Taking Flight’ run by an American theatre group who performed a great show all about planes and travel, using some clever props and interactive aspects to involve the children. Amelia got to design her own passport, and have some fun with an ENORMOUS inflatable globe. I really wanted to take it home!
Lastly, we got to visit the ‘Story Zoo’, performed by Theatre without Walls, where the kids enjoyed a room full of toy animals, and got to take part in the story, along with some fun singing and dancing. Everything was so relaxed, the kids were encouraged to enjoy the space, play away and just be themselves. You didn’t have to apologise for them like you usually find yourself doing out in public because you were surrounded by other parents and children all day. It was such a lovely atmosphere.
That was just a snippet of the whole day from our point of view. There were sessions, workshops and events all over Belfast, lasting all day from gamelan classes, to the performance of the specially composed Babyday lullaby, baby yoga and massage sessions, mud fun, bump painting, science workshops, The Womb Room, Babyday breakfasts, baby sensory sessions…and countless more.
Was it a success? Well, Amelia keeps asking to ‘go back to Baby Day’ and I have to explain to her that it was just for one day. She definitely enjoyed it. As for Adam? Well, he was asleep within seconds of getting into the car seat – I’d call that a win.
Well done Replay Theatre for all your hard work to show our little ones how fantastic the world around them is.
Roll on the next Baby Day!