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Is it just me, or is this year simply flying by? The winter snow eventually melted, I blinked, and now it’s almost summer. With only a couple of weeks left before the school holidays, you may well find your children enthusiastically counting down the days, anticipating that glorious, long stretch of free time to do whatever they please. Who doesn’t recall the pleasure, at the start of the holidays, of knowing that all those empty weeks lay ahead?

I remember the summer feeling endless as a child, but now that I’m a parent...well, I’m perhaps a bit less thrilled about it. My son James is only three, but already I sometimes dread the holidays, when all our usual toddler groups and classes take a break, and our nice steady routine goes out the window. I feel a certain amount of panic setting in at the thought of keeping my tireless little bundle of energy occupied and entertained, day after day. And so I was really pleased – not to say relieved – to discover the Time2Play sessions run by Perth and Kinross Council Childcare Strategy Team.

Escape the television and computer screens at home and rediscover the fun of building, making, exploring, socialising… and simply running aboot!

These free family play sessions are open to children of all ages during the October, Easter and summer holidays. They are outdoors, with staff on hand, and you don’t need to book; you can just pop along!

James and I have been going to these play sessions for the last couple of years. Having such easy access to excellent play facilities during the holidays has, quite frankly, saved my sanity on more than one occasion! The Time2Play sessions were held at Perth Grammar School during the Easter
holidays this year. It’s a great location: you get the benefit of lots of fresh air in a safe enclosed space and there are loos and baby change facilities available too.

I’ll admit that the weather doesn’t always comply with outdoor plans in
Scotland, so it’s best to check the forecast and dress appropriately. Bringing
juice and a snack with you is also a good idea. James and I headed along one bright, sunny day just after Easter, and found the number and range of activities on offer was better than ever. If your child has excess energy to burn off there’s the slide, trampoline, scooters, hockey sticks, racquets and balls. On the creative side, how about a dabble with the paints and chalk? Satisfy an active imagination with fancy dress outfits, driving a (stationary!) train or - our personal favourite - building your own car out of crates, wheels and sticks.


There were little dens to crawl into with a book, for a moment of peace, or proper drums and shakers to make a din! The older children were engrossed in building dens with the wide array of materials on offer. Equally popular were the footballs and goals which enabled them to have a decent kickabout.

For the really young kids there were small wooden cars, giant lego, and other toys. Time2Play works brilliantly for families as there is something for every age, arranged in a compact and safe environment. I was particularly impressed at these sessions by how involved the staff were with the children. It’s such a bonus to be greeted by smiling faces and enthusiasm from staff who are clearly keen to ensure that everyone gets the most out of their day.

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who, when toddler tempers start to fray, has
found the best solution is to just get everybody out of the house. Instinct tells
us that a bout of fresh air will lift the spirits of even the most fretful child, but – yes, this is the science bit – research actually proves that there are enormous benefits to outdoor play. Children will eat better, sleep better and become fitter through playing outside. Their creativity takes a quantum leap, once freed from the constraints of keeping things mess-free in your house (painting is most definitely an outdoor pursuit in my book). Playing alongside their peers improves your child’s ability to lead, negotiate and share.

The Time2Play sessions are happening again this summer on a number of
dates throughout July and August. The sessions are being held at various
locations in Perth, as well as in Rattray, Kinross, Aberfeldy and Crieff.

Children learn through play, so you can relax in the knowledge that allowing them this downtime is doing them the world of good. Escape the television and computer screens at home and rediscover the fun of building, making,
exploring, socialising… and simply running aboot!

Find full details of the upcoming Time2Play sessions here >>>

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