144 articles Tag kids

5 Activities That Encourage Children to Bond

5 Activities That Encourage Children to BondSpending time with friends is not only vital for a child’s happiness and wellbeing, but it also provides an ideal opportunity for them to develop crucial social skills. In this post, we’ll discuss a few activities — from team sports to laser tag for kids — that allow children to bond with one another. 

Every child is unique and will react positively to different activities and scenarios, so it’s important to explore the various options out there to find something that suits their needs and allows them to evolve both mentally and physically. Bonding with others is highly beneficial for children and can have a positive impact in many different ways, making finding things to do that encourage them to spend time with others well worth the effort.

  1. Team Sports

Let’s start with something that is and has always been a go-to activity for team building, socialising and fitness. Many of the world’s biggest sports are team-based, examples of which include football, rugby and basketball. Aside from the primary benefit of being extremely fun, they allow your children to meet new people, get in shape and learn how to work efficiently as part of a team. 

Although kids take part in these types of activities at school, finding teams or clubs outside of school can provide additional benefits, as they’ll be able to widen their social circle and may even take on a new long-term hobby.

  1. Laser Tag for Kids

Think paintball, minus the pain and with the added intrigue of modern technology, and you’ve got laser tag. An exciting, immersive experience that offers realistic combat scenarios in a safe environment, the nature of the sport is perfect for kids who are fascinated with action-packed films and television shows. More importantly, though, it’s an ideal alternative to video games that encourages kids to exercise and spend time outdoors.

So where does one go for a brilliant day of laser tag? GO Laser Tag London is one of the UK’s leading laser tag facilities. There, your children will be able to enjoy adrenaline-fuelled action and a variety of game modes while immersing themselves in an enormous forest battlefield. You’ll even get a free pizza for every player. Lunch and a fun day of laser tag — what more could your child want?

  1. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become more and more popular in recent years with both adults and children, as it’s not only an engaging experience that requires creative thinking, but it also demands the need for efficient teamwork. Problem-solving is an essential life skill that can benefit people no matter their age, but for children, these skills prove crucial throughout their education and career. 

A quick search online will give you a decent idea of what escape room experiences are near you, but if you’re looking for something special, it’s worth checking out some of the best escape rooms the UK has to offer.

  1. Hiking

Not all bonding activities require teamwork or a competitive environment. In fact, activities such as hiking can be an effective way of improving your child’s communication skills and fitness while encouraging them to explore the great outdoors. While on a hike, your kids will have plenty of time to engage in conversations with both children and adults. 

Whether they’re discussing everyday topics, navigating the terrain using a map or talking about something else, talking to others in real life, rather than online, is vital for the development of essential social skills and general confidence in social surroundings.

  1. Zorbing

The thin line between excitement and fear is one that many of us love to walk from time to time, and adrenaline activities offer children an engaging and unforgettable experience in a safe environment. One great example is zorbing, which consists of one or two participants getting inside a huge inflatable ball and rolling down a steep grass hill.

Although this is one of the more simple activities on the list, especially as it doesn’t really require any effort or teamwork, that isn’t to say that it’s not a brilliant bonding experience. There are also three different zorbing options to choose from; harness zorbing, aqua zorbing and black hole aqua zorbing. 

The “aqua” options involve 40 litres of water inside the inflatable sphere, which creates a waterslide-style experience with the added excitement of rolling down a steep hill. The black hole option is a blacked-out sphere, which creates an immense sensory two-person freestyle aqua ride unlike anything your children will experience at a theme park. Plus, the addition of water makes it perfect for cooling down during a hot day.

Making Our Current Home Work for Us

Making Our Home Work for UsPhoto by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Next week, Sausage starts senior school. She turned eleven a few weeks ago and suddenly seems so grown up. She currently shares a bedroom with her sister, which was their choice when we moved in, but a lot can change in the space of four years and I think Sausage is craving her own space. It will be even more important when she has homework to do and needs a quiet place to do it, so we’re having a re-jig of the whole home, to make it work for us.

We have three bedrooms in our home – one for Husband and I, one for the girls and another which is used as an office/dressing room/junk room. Sausage is going to have the room that Husband and I are in so that she and BB have rooms which are the same size, while Husband and I will move into his office and the dining room will become the office.

Both girls would like their bedrooms decorated too, and their colour choices could not be a better illustration of their differing personalities. Sausage wants her bedroom to be purple with black accents, and BB wants hers to be even more pink than it already is! Everyone says they look alike, but I always counter that with “…but their personalities are VERY different!” We’re buying a new bed for Sausage as she’s currently in bunk beds with her sister, and she’s looking forward to choosing one.

At the moment, what we call “the dining room” isn’t actually used for anything close to dining. It’s where Sausage’s budgie, Bagel, lives, as well as the family’s bikes. Our shed isn’t massively secure, so we keep the bikes inside, but this will definitely need to change. As well as a bed, we need to invest in some sort of bike storage for the home, like a shed or lockable bike box to keep everything safe and secure.

We need to do a few other things around the house, too. Our kitchen floor needs replacing and we have the tiles, we just need to get around to actually laying them! Our upstairs bathroom is in a state of disrepair, just because it’s quite old, so we’re hoping our landlady will take care of some of that this year too.

I think the only room we’re not doing anything to is the living room! However, once we get all of the moving around and rearranging done, our home will work a whole lot better for us.

Sausage and BB Design Their Dream Home

It’s been pretty rainy and rubbish here for the last few days and after the madness of last week (Sausage turned 11 on Tuesday, so we’ve had playdates, sleepovers, shopping days as well as a barbecue at the weekend for our friends’ 40th) we’ve opted to spend some time chilling at home. You know what kids are like, though, and even chilling at home means finding pretty constant ways to entertain them, so I thought I’d ask them to tell me what their dream house would be like, and write about it here!

A Personal Lift

While brainstorming their ideas, both girls decided that their dream home would have bespoke passenger lifts – Sausage to transport her dozens of dogs and BB to get her pushchairs upstairs because she wants a dozen babies!  I can see my retirement years being spent doing a LOT of baby sitting and dog sitting…

Walk-In Wardrobe

Despite neither of my kids being massively girly girls, they both LOVE clothes, and another thing they agreed on (I can’t believe they’ve agreed on so much to be honest!). When Sausage mentioned that she wanted a massive walk-in wardrobe, BB decided that she definitely wanted one of those, too. They’d better both have good careers for all this stuff!

Conservatory

I’m not sure what it is about the women in our family, but we all love a conservatory. Maybe it’s the feeling that you’re sitting outside but manage to be warm and dry at the same time? Either way, both girls decided that a conservatory would be high on their list of demands when designing their dream house.

Theatre Room

In all honesty, we’re only just at a point where BB will sit still for long enough to watch a whole film. She’s okay at the cinema because she can’t get up and wander off but at home, it’s a struggle. However, she’s recently decided that she does like watching movies with us (even if we have to spend ten minutes convincing her beforehand!) and both girls agreed that a theatre room would be a great addition to their dream house.

Indoor Swimming Pool

They might not be overly keen on school swimming lessons (who likes being given two minutes to get your school uniform back on to your still-damp body?!) but both girls love being in the water. My dad kindly bought them a pool for the garden this summer and they’e had great fun using it so far, so they agreed that an indoor pool that they could use all year would be a must-have in their fantasy house.

What would your kids have in their dream house?

Five Top Tips For Family Festival Fun

Family Festival FunImage via Unsplash

It’s a huge part of the summer experiences – festivals pop up around the entire country, covering every topic from music to food to literature to wellness and more, so no matter what you’re into , there’s a festival waiting to be discovered – for you and the rest of the family too! Once solely the preserve of groups of friends, festivals have evolved to become a part of family life too. With kid-friendly entertainment, activities such as face-painting, storytelling and drama workshops, they are now a must-do summer event. But if you’ve never done a festival before or if you’re a seasoned pro of them but are contemplating your first one with kids in tow, what do you need to know in order to make the experience swim rather than sink?

Organise Your Travel

It’s always a good idea when going to a festival with your small humans in tow to ensure that travel arrangements are sorted well in advance. Whether you’re hiring a camper van for the week, driving in a family car or travelling on the train, it’s always better to time your arrival a little on the early side. That way, you can claim the best camping spot. The worst part of any festival experience is generally the lengthy queues to leave the site and traffic on the roads surrounding, so consider leaving a little before the stated finish time to beat the rush and make sure that you don’t get stuck in a gridlock with tired and fractious kids to entertain.

Create A Packing List

The number of essentials you need to keep children happy and comfortable can be huge, so packing lightly or spontaneously is definitely a thing of the past. It’s a better idea to follow a family festival packing list to make sure that all the bases are covered. Remember to include items such as baby wipes (even if your children aren’t babies, there’s nothing better for taking care of sticky hands and wiping them down), lots of high factor sunscreen, waterproofs and wellies, hats, sunglasses, packets of tissues and insect repellent. Remember that concerts can get very loud, so bring ear defenders for young children or you may find yourself having to look up Miracle-Ear’s tinnitus treatment. Remember that kids can be less tolerant of discomfort and go for a level up on what you may normally have opted for – some extra blankets, inflatable pillows and foldable camping chairs can go a long way towards keeping everyone happy.

Overpack On Snacks

When blood sugar levels drop, that’s when kids can get extremely fractious, so it’s a good idea to overpack on healthy snacks. The food available at festivals can be quite unhealthy, with a lot of fried or sugary treats on offer – and while the occasional ice-cream is more than recommended, to stop costs mounting up and keep energy levels steady, take healthy snacks along as well. Dried and fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and packets of vegetable crisps are all a good idea, and you could also try involving the kids in making some homemade low sugar granola bars to take along. Pack plenty of juice and give the whole family reusable metal water bottles which can be refilled on site to stay hydrated.

Layer Up

With the weather being so unpredictable, even safe bet packing can go disastrously wrong, and even outfits which are suitable for the sunshine during the days can get too chilly when the temperature drops in the evening. Rather than taking up lots of room with bulky jumpers and thick coats, go for a mix of light layers, for yourself and the kids. Pack things like lightweight fleece jackets, compact ultralight down top layers and thermal tights and tops which are warm but non-bulky and can be layered under or over more summery pieces if it gets colder. Don’t forget the waterproof items as well – children can quickly get cold and miserable if they’re not dressed right for the conditions. Take lots of spares as well – all that running around outdoors means that kids often get through more changes than they ordinarily would.

Get Yourself A Trailer

Taking kids to a festival means transporting a lot of stuff – be it camping equipment, supplies or even the kids themselves when little legs get easily tired. A lightweight, foldable trailer can be a lifesaver in many circumstances, as it’s easy to take and provides instant transport or even an impromptu napping spot. It means that when you leave your tent, you can carry all your supplies for the day with you and not have to keep heading back –  cool bags, rucksacks, kids things and an umbrella for shade or showers can all go with you.

Let’s Celebrate! How To Throw A Perfect Kids’ Birthday Party

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No matter how confident you are in your parenting, there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of every parent: your child’s birthday party. Once they graduate from family parties to parties that seem to include every kid they’ve ever met, you know it’s going to be an extremely busy day! But there are definitely some ways that you can make it easier…

Pick A Theme

First of all, pick a theme. This will make the party more fun, and it will also allow you to personalise it for your kid, making it more memorable both for them and for the other kids who are attending. Choose something that your child loves, but make sure that it’s a theme that’s general enough to encompass a lot of different activities. For instance, if your kid loves dinosaurs, you could play a pin the tail on the dinosaur game, you could have the kids make their very own dinosaur tails, you could make dinosaur party hats. The possibilities are endless.

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Get Your Timing Right

It’s important to get your timings right. If your party is too short, your kid may get upset when it ends, but if your party is too long, the guests will get over-tired and fractious. Two hours is a great length for a kid’s birthday party. You should also do your best to keep the timings away from naptime, if your child is a little younger!

Include All The Kids

It’s important to make sure that if you’re inviting more kids than your offspring’s small group of friends, everyone is included. This includes the kids in your child’s class who may have special needs or learning difficulties. It is so important to ensure that they feel included, and chances are, you will have a friend for life in their parents, who will be delighted. Talk to their parents about whatever needs they may have, invite those parents along too if necessary, and make sure they’re included in the festivities.

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Talk To The Parents

It’s a good idea to talk to all the parents, not just those of kids with special needs. Note down any dietary requirements – and get some gluten and dairy free snacks, just in case! It may not be a terrible idea to ask the parents if they want to stay and hang out during the party if their kids are still young – provide coffee and snacks so they can relax and assist with their kid if emotions start to run high.

Don’t Be Afraid To Order In

Remember that you don’t have to do every single thing for this party yourself. If you’re not crafty, you don’t need to create handmade decorations. If you’re busy, why not hire a caterer? If you’re worried about making the perfect cake, look for companies like Anges de Sucre who provide a huge variety of cakes that are much prettier than anything an average parent could create! There is absolutely no shame in hiring a magician or entertainer instead of trying to corral the kids yourself. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress – life is far too short and you should try to enjoy the day as well.

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Plan Out Activities

It’s a great idea to plan out some activities, and to have some contingency plans if they fall through. If you want the kids to spend some time running around in your back yard but then the heavens open and it starts to pour with rain, have a CD of kids’ music ready so you can play musical statues or musical chairs inside. Remember that a dance party is always fun for kids of any age too! 

Make Easy Goody Bags

Costs for kids’ parties can really add up, and you might be surprised at how much cash you need to push into your child’s fifth birthday – don’t even start thinking about that sweet sixteenth… If you want to provide goody bags at the end of the party, you don’t need to go big or expensive. A great idea is to buy a book for each kid – you can get cheaply priced books online. With a slice of birthday cake, this is ideal. You could also provide a few pieces of sidewalk chalk, a small tub of play-doh, or a slime-making kit for slightly older kids. Just remember not to provide anything that stains or that makes loud noises, or you definitely won’t be the most popular parent at the school gates the next Monday!

Kids’ parties don’t have to be as stressful as they may feel – these simple tips should keep it fun!

How to Use a Rug in a Child’s Bedroom

You’re finally ready to move your daughter or son into their own room – but it needs a bit of redecorating, first! Adding a rug is one of the easiest ways to personalize your child’s room, while adding some function and comfort as well.

These days, rugs are available in a wide variety of materials and colours. Remember to choose something that is comfortable on your child’s skin, particularly their knees. Consider a rug that has a particular design on it to add an element of fun and adventure to the room – a rug with a built-in roadmap, or perhaps a forest scene. Or you may opt for something classic and quality, like a beautiful wool rug.

For more information on these and other considerations for rugs in a child’s bedroom, see the infographic below from Land of Rugs:

Saving for the Summer

Saving for the SummerWith the summer holidays fast approaching, many of us have started to think about our finances over the coming weeks. Keeping kids entertained for six weeks isn’t cheap, and the cost of summer can seem truly daunting. With that in mind, I thought I’d look at some things you can do to top up the funds, ahead of this expensive time of year.

Get a Part Time Job

Childcare can be super expensive, but if you’re not currently working and need some extra cash, there are lots of part time jobs out there which can fit around family time. From courier work to bank nursing at your local hospital, out of hours options are there, providing you’ve got someone to watch the kids in the evening.

Get a Loan

While I wouldn’t usually suggest getting yourself into debt, as long as you’re sensible with making your repayments on time a loan can be a useful buffer at this time of year, and getting a loan can even help to repair bad credit if you ensure you stick to your repayment plan. There are also loans for bad credit if you don’t have the best credit rating.

Cancel Any Services You Don’t Use

This is a great time of year to take a look at your finances and cut back on anything that you really don’t need. I currently pay £10 a month for a gym membership, which I barely use, and although a tenner doesn’t seem like much, it’s enough to make your eyes water when you think about it as £120 a year!

Streamline Your Shop

If you’re like us and end up wasting food because of less-than-savvy shopping, this is a good place to start when it comes to money saving. Sit down and look at HOW you shop (weekly, monthly, day-by-day) and work out where most of the waste is coming from. You could also think about WHERE you shop and whether there’s a cheaper option out there, like Lidl or Aldi. Meal planning is also often a good way to help you to be more frugal. 

Get Your Walking Shoes On

Many families are guilty of jumping in the car for short journeys, which would actually be more than walkable. Unless you’re in a massive hurry, try to make any journey of a mile or less on foot – or even better, get the bikes out and get the whole family cycling. As well as cutting your fuel costs, it will get you all moving and will also reduce your carbon footprint – everyone’s a winner! 

Do you have any fab money saving or money making tips for my readers? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. 

Help Your Schools to Get Out and Grow!

Here at Mum’s the Word, we’ve been long-time supporters of the Get Out and Grow campaign, pioneered by Sudocrem, in association with Greenfingers charity and Cliffton Nurseries, with the goal of getting children out of the house and into the garden. They sent us some facts which are, quite frankly, a little bit sad..

Despite the fact that 87% of British households have a garden, over half of British children between 4 and 8 are unable to name 5 vegetables or fruits grown in them and 95% were unable to name 3 herbs. Many of those couldn’t identify gardening tools, with only 8% able to identify a trowel, 80% never having seen a rake before and, worrying, 79% believing worms are bad for plants. 

73% of those asked said they had never grown a sunflower, while only 8% had ever picked an apple, which perhaps explains why they’re unable to name even one. Less than 10% had dug up a vegetable and only 6% had ever eaten a fresh pea from the pod. Based on this evidence, it is perhaps unsurprising that only 20% have ever eaten a vegetable they’ve grown themselves.

Sudocrem is now expanding the initiative to include schools, based on the figures that 90% of children said that they would like a garden at school and at one primary school in Lincolnshire, a school garden made all the difference when it came to pupil’s behaviour.

The Benjamin Adlard Primary School, run by headmaster Sam Coy, was previously rated by Ofsted as one of Britain’s worst schools. Four years and one school garden later, and the Gainsborough school has won the national Pearson award for School of the Year: Making a Difference.

Headmaster Coy insists: “The children absolutely love den-building, just generally getting dirty and nature hunts. One child recently told me that he loves going to the forest school on a Tuesday afternoon so much as it helps him to behave all week as he never wants to not be able to go.”

We’re absolutely delighted that Sudocrem is offering people the chance to nominate schools which they think could benefit from their very own gardening kits, and they’ve asked Mum’s the Word to be an ambassador for the project.

All you need to do is comment below the name of the school you wish to nominate and why you think they deserve one of the kits, comprising of gloves, spades, wheelbarrow and much more to get the school’s garden into full bloom. The kits are worth £160, but having the tools to get outside could be worth SO much more to the kids of the school you nominate.

Leave your comment by Sunday 9th of June and we could have the kit sent to the winning school before the summer holiday begin.

(Winner will be chosen by me, prizes will be provided by Satellite PR and sent straight to the winning school, no monetary alternative will be offered, all decisions are final)

How to Make Your Teeth Last

If you have kids, you might be already teaching them about the importance of looking after their dental hygiene, and take them for checkups. Unfortunately, when we get busier and our daily schedules change, our oral hygiene routine will change. Neglecting your teeth can cost you a fortune, so it is important that you choose long lasting solutions and focus on prevention first. Below you will find a few tips on how to look after your family’s oral hygiene at every age.

Image via PxHere

Regular Routine

From an early age, you should teach your kids to brush their teeth every morning and night, as a minimum. Even if they are going for a school trip or on a sleepover, you will need to ensure that you are checking on them and remind them to look after their teeth. Every habit takes long weeks, if not months to stick, so it is important that you are taking responsibility for providing the right guidance to your kids.

Choosing The Right Brush and Toothpaste

It is not enough to just brush regularly; you might want to ask your dentist which brush and toothpaste to use. You might have teeth that are too close, or suffer from infections, bone issues that will prevent you from making the most out of a regular dental routine. If your teeth get stained or you suffer from plaque, you might need a special treatment and a hygienic intervention.

Flossing

Many people underestimate the importance of flossing. It might be making your oral hygiene routine a few seconds longer, but it is definitely less painful than a descaling treatment or a bleeding gum or tooth. You will, however, need to find the right type of dental floss, and your dentist can certainly help you with choosing one.

Early Orthodontics Assessments

If you want your kids to have a perfect smile, you might want to get them to have a dental assessment and a referral to the orthodontics clinic. Under a certain age, the treatment is free or pretty cheap, and there is nothing more valuable you can give your kids than the confidence to smile. If you miss the opportunity, you will never forgive yourself.

Long Term Solutions

Image via Health.mil

It is also crucial that you focus on the long term solutions. For example, you might get a denture for cheap, and it will be OK for a while, but maintaining it will be hard, not to mention the lack of comfort. Instead, you can get some strong and long lasting dental implants that will last for decades and feel like you haven’t even broken a tooth at all. If your child breaks a front tooth, you don’t want them to live with it for the rest of their lives: get  a professional technician to restore their smile.

If you want your teeth to last for a lifetime, you will need to make the most out of the checkups and preventive measures. It is your responsibility to teach your kids how to look after their teeth.

 

The ABCs of Daycare

You are starting a family and though everything has been planned out you still have that nagging worry in how you are going to care for your kid when you have to juggle between house chores and work. Sadly, an entire family cannot sometimes live off only the salary of one of the parents and thus leaving the care of the child to experts in Daycare Cambridge. If you are like most parents and shiver of the idea of leaving your treasure alone with practically strangers, then do not fret as this is absolutely normal.

Some studies conducted have estimated that about 70% of families rely on daycares or some version of it to allow them to work their 9 to 5 jobs. And as there is an obvious need, the market has done its magic and sprouted plenty of daycare options for you to choose from. You can select from one of the excellent daycare Cambridge centers to hiring nannies. There are essentially two different kinds of daycares, a group center or a home daycare with each having its own pros and cons. Group daycare centers are established by licensed professionals who hire people with expertise in child care. They offer an environment not just for learning academically but allow them to mingle with other kids their age so they mature mentally and socially.

This article will try to help you answer all your questions about daycare and how you can then decide which one you are going to choose for you child.

The types of day care centers

A daycare facility is the physical space where you are intending to keep your child while you are off to work. There are usually two options depending on where you are situated in the city.

Group Day Care – These kinds of centers are regulated by the state and are usually run by the owners themselves. About one fourth of all infants and toddlers go to these kinds of centers. Being in a shared environment such as this means your child will be allowed to interact with other kids.

Home Day Care – Home day care centers are less of a formal setting than group day care but it does not necessarily mean that it is inferior. It is often run by a homeowner and uses the home itself as the facility. Most of the time, the owner will have kids of their own and will care for their kids and yours simultaneously. While some of them are licensed, there are more that do not have any formal training in the field.

Why you should send your child to daycare

Continued care. Most center offers to care for children from as young as infancy up until they become toddlers and, in some cases, even beyond. This gives you peace of mind knowing that you would not have to worry about the formative years of your child as he/she will be exposed to consistent care through out.

Education. In order to prepare a child before going through formal education, there are some things that he/she needs to be able to do. This includes reading, writing, knowing their numbers and even talking properly in front of other people. Being busy at work, this might be time that you may not be able to set aside for your child. Day care centers usually have curriculums based on their age where they will be able to make most of the time that they spend while they are away from home.

Socialization. An integral part of developing a child before he/she starts going to school is to make him/her comfortable around other people, especially around other kids his/her age that he/she are yet to be acquainted with. Being in a daycare where there are typically a few groups of kids that he/she can be a part of will prepare him/her for the journey that awaits him.
Cost. A nanny is an alternative to a daycare cambridge center. While you can be assured of the quality that professional nannies can provide, they usually come at a price which renders the need to send your child to care so you can work kind of pointless. However, there are instances that children may need special attention and thus there may be no alternative to hiring nannies.
Reliability. First time parents are often not well versed with child care. There is no shame in this as there rarely is ever a chance for people to practice being one. Sending your child to daycare assures you that your children will be handled by professionals with countless years of experience among them. This, not only settles your worry of not knowing enough to care for your child but affording you an opportunity to learn as well.

Choosing your daycare

Choosing a daycare center is no picnic. Seeing that the best of the daycare centers are hot commodities, finding one that fit your route to work in itself might already be a challenge. This is the reality of it but through it all, you would do everything for your child and thus you still want the best daycare for him/her.

Research is key

In the age of mobile electronics, it is quite simple to track down establishments as well as learn what people have said about them. This should come fairly easy as long as you know where to start looking.

Interview the centers

It might not be enough to rely on the words of other parents to put your mind at ease before deciding to let someone else care for your child. You may go to the centers themselves and look at the facility as well as talk to the ones in charge. This is an important step as a face to face conversation can tell a lot about a service provider. This will also allow you to see the kind of children that your child will eventually be playing and learning with.