If you haven’t been to Aston Clinton Park then you absolutely should, it’s an awesome park! There’s a playground, fitness trail, small woodland, skateboard park, cafe and even a beach! Check out the review here.
Both of the bigger children are prolific readers and I’d love smalles child to be the same. I’d seen Story Frog advertised so I thought we’d give it a try. Smallest child is still a little bit small (it’s designed for ages 2+) but she loves stories and I’d checked with Laura first. If you haven’t heard of Story Frog it’s a story and phonics session for pre-school children.
They have booked out the entire back cafe for each session so you have the room to yourselves but you can also get access to drinks and cakes (always a bonus).
When you go in the room is set out with mats and sound cards for each adult & child. There are various craft activities set up and the Story Frog trunk is ready to go. Each week the session is set around a particular book; this week it was Julia Donaldson’s Monkey Puzzle.
After a welcome song Laura reads the story to everyone with exactly the right amount of enthusiasm (ie more than I could probably come up with at the time in the morning but not so much you feel nauseous). Smallest child was the youngest mobile child there so she kept running up to point out the animals (yes, mine was that annoying child who kept getting in the way) but Laura didn’t seem to mind. Once the story is over everyone used the sound cards to match the letter sounds to some of the things we saw in the book. Even though smallest child had no idea what I was talking about, she still loved proudly showing her card off when I gave it to her.
The sessions are all about early introduction to phonics so the focus is mainly on telling the story, and a few sounds, rather than an intense phonics session, which works much better for this age group.
After that it’s chance to get involved in the activites. There was stuff to make a monkey, animals in the swap for the children to clean, butterflies and dabbers to decorate them, animal themed painting and a hungry monkey to feed. I loved this last one and might have to steal the idea!!! There was a box with a picture of a monkey with its mouth cut out. She had lots of salt dough bananas, childrens tweezers and bowls. The idea is to use the tweezers to pick up the bananas and feed them to the monkey. Smallest child was a little bit too small for the tweezers, but she just used her hands and loved it.
When the activites are finished there is time for a goodbye song and then the children could play on the soft play (included in the price) whilst the room was put back to normal and the grown ups could have a drink if they wanted.
The sessions cost £6.50 per child, which you book online. Siblings are £3.50 per child and there’s a discount if you book more than 6 sessions in advance. Considering the soft play itself is normally £2 plus you get the phonics and activities I think it’s really good value. The phonics session itself is 45 minutes long, but they could stay as long as they wanted in the soft play.
parking / How to get there
Based at Your Cafe in the Park, London Road, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury HP22 5HL. Plenty of free, on-site parking
Food and drinks available from the cafe but you cannot bring your own
Toilets and baby change on-site
The Review – 4 / 5
As I’d suspected, smallest child (22 months) was a little bit small to get the most out of this but I didn’t want it to be something else that I see and never remember again. Once she’s old enough we will definately go back,