Where to Start

There are so many benefits for both you and your child and you can start from when they are babies and continue up to school age and beyond.

Different classes offer many different benefits but every class will give your child many long-term advantages including:

  Health    Well-being    Socialising    Development    Education/skills/learning PLUS a massive dose of  FUN!

There is so much choice of different activities, clubs and classes.  How do you know what is right for you and your children?  It's often a case of a balance between what you want to gain from the activity and what fits with the time you have available.  Try out a few different activities and see how it goes, if it isn't right for you there are so many more activities waiting to be discovered.

With all activities and classes we advise doing your research beforehand to check all the important things are in place including:

COVID-safe measures are in place

the right level of insurance is held

health & safety policies are in place and regularly updated

risk assessments have been conducted

a suitably qualified person has designed the programme

training has been received and is ongoing

If the activity is a member of the Children's Activities Association and has been awarded the CAA accreditation then all of this and more will have been checked for you.

Take advantage of a free or discount trial period to try a few activities. 

We sometimes hear in the press about over-scheduling of children's classes but you know your child better than anyone.  Start with one or two classes a week and see how that goes for you and your child.  As they grow, start school and develop their own preferences the classes they do and when they do them will change too.

And now you can even put the gift of a choice of children's classes on your child's wish list with beecard.  A beecard can be used to instantly book local children's classes across the UK!

To get you started we have pulled out more info on some of our favourite types of activities on this page.  Have an explore and see what catches your eye.

And of course you can use What's On 4 Kids to find your local classes - become a member and we'll instantly match your child to classes so you don't even have to search!

Academic and Educational

Usually from pre-school age up, these classes introduce early academic subjects like science, maths and reading in a fun way to keep little ones interested.  School learning can be enhanced with extra academic and educational themed classes and one-to-one tutors can support specific educational needs too.  Find out more about the benefits of Academic and Education Activities.

Looking to nurture your child's interest in computer science? Do you have a computer genius in your family that wants to be a game designer, coder or even tech entrepreneur? Holiday Clubs and After School Computing Clubs give you a chance to let them explore, play and learn with other children that share the same interests. 

There are many varieties of activities from robotics, video game design and even app development. All for a wide variety of age groups. Coding skills they learn in one area of expertise are readily transferable to other areas. The more they practice the better they get at solving problems, thinking logically and making cool projects with code. Courses teach everything students need to know to make a 3D video games, such as: 3D Modelling,  Texturing, Animation, Level Design, Scripting. During a course, there's rotation between these techniques in order to teach all aspects of games design to students.

Science on a kid's level is all about bringing facts and laboratory tests to life! Classes are now available around the UK which make learning about science a fun - and interactive - experience, whilst being highly educational too.

Mini Professors are the first science program that has been designed specifically for preschool children. Our 40 minute themed sessions make science fun and enjoyable for pre-school children. With 72 different topics spanning 2 years, your child will learn something new each week ranging from microscopic creatures to chromatography or making clouds. Mini Professors get to wear their own mini lab coats and learn about the basic principles of scientific experimentation, whilst having loads of fun and generally getting stuck in.

Antenatal and Postnatal

Before your baby even arrives there are a huge choice of classes and courses to help your physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy. To keep active you could try aquanatal classes or pregnancy yoga. And to help understand the changes to your body during pregnancy and get all the facts about labour and breastfeeding you can contact your health visitor or the NCT.

It's important to take time for you after your baby is born and one of the ways to do this is by attending postnatal exercise. You do need to ensure that your Doctor has agreed you are physically ready to start exercising again but the postnatal exercises will help ensure you don't over do it! Some classes are available that you can do with your baby PLUS pushchair!

Art and Creative

The benefits of sharing creative play with your child are well documented, it builds many of the essential core skills, including problem, understanding their world and social skills which all help to build a strong foundation for each developmental step.  Find out more about the benefits of Art and Creative Activities.

However, it can be tricky providing your baby or toddler with hands-on arts and crafts activities at home. As busy parents we can all struggle with ideas, time or energy.  That’s precisely why art, craft and messy play groups have been established - to give you quality, fun, creative experiences with your child in a safe, nurturing and friendly environment.

It's the perfect solution for all your child's creativity needs, with no stress or mess for you!  Not only do you share some great creative fun with your child, the classes are very social and full of laughter and giggles too.

Messy and Creative play is fantastic for babies and children as it encourages language and communication, aids sensory and physical development, helps to inspire little imaginations and is great for developing social skills and learning about the world around us!  Many parents are put off doing messy and creative play activities at home because of the mess so attending a regular class is perfect!

Baby Health, Development and Play

There is much for you to enjoy with your baby to support development and health plus these are wonderful bonding experiences that create memories you will treasure.  Find our more about the benefits of those magical first activities with your baby.

Suitable from birth, baby massage has been proven to help with a host of infant issues such as colic and sleep, as well as helping your baby's developing body systems to thrive. Infant massage is also wonderful for parents to bond and communicate with their babies even from the early days. Baby massage can be taught individually or in groups, which means it is also a lovely way to meet other parents with their babies and make life-long friendships.

Imagine if instead of screaming your baby was able to tell you exactly what was wrong or what they wanted. Using simple sign language with your baby could open up a window into your child’s mind. Moreover you will learn a beneficial skill and entertain your baby! The most frequently asked question about this growing phenomenon is “will signing with my baby inhibit their speech?” Research shows, that in fact the opposite is true - baby signing provides a platform for your baby to develop language and it also reduces frustration. Meet like-minded parents and experience for yourself the benefits and joys of signing with your baby.

A great all round activity that helps you also meet parents in the local area. Often run by volunteers and held in church halls and other community buildings. They are also very good value and are sometimes free. Refreshments are usually provided. They usually provide a good assortment of toys and have other activities such as painting or craft available. Expect to finish with some songs!

Baby Yoga teaches gentle soft stretches and yoga inspired movements that can assist your baby's neural development and build his or her sensory-motor skills. Practising baby yoga from the early days can also help with a host of issues such as digestion, colic, immunity and sleep. Attending a baby yoga course is also great for mothers to get back into shape safely as it will include gentle post-natal stretches for mums. Baby yoga classes will also give mothers and babies the opportunity to genuinely relax - perhaps the most precious gift in the early days of parenthood!

Sensory play is crucial to baby learning and development from birth. Sensory play fuels healthy brain development and is an essential component for normal intellectual and physical development.

At Baby Sensory, multi-award winning classes will introduce you and your baby to a world of sensory delights, where the two of you can relax, spend quality time with each other and enjoy meeting other new parents. Specifically designed from birth, the programme is packed with an incredible variety of sounds, smells, sights, textures, music, dance, signing and massage – and you’ll never experience the same class twice.

Baby Sensory is a magical world, full of glowing balls, light shows, puppets, bubbles, petals, rainbows, even an underwater experience of breathtaking imagination. Everything we do is backed by scientific research, carefully designed with your baby’s development in mind, and we’re passionate about sharing our knowledge.

Entertainment, Days Out and Family Events

Alongside regular activities, classes and groups, you will want to get out and about together to visit the many wonderful events and places across the UK.  Whatever the age of your children - or the weather - there are attractions and events that will delight the whole family.  Often a less structured experience and equally important to relax and have lots of fun together.

Many wonderful days out can be enjoyed for free in the UK coast, countryside and cities.  Equally things can get very expensive.  It's a good idea to plan your day, bring all or some of your own refreshments and prepare for all weathers.

Holiday Clubs and Childcare

We all need childcare, whether it's regularly or just occasionally, and there are a lot of different options such as nurseries, pre-school and after school clubs (sometimes called wrap-around), holiday clubs and community pre-schools.  All have their merits and it will be an important task to find the right one for you and your children.  Often these settings include regular activities as well.   Most will be OFSTED regulated but please be aware that not all holiday clubs are required to OFSTED regulated meaning anyone can set one up.  It is very important to check that holiday clubs are either OFSTED regulated or a member of the Children's Activities Association.


It is now commonly understood that teaching children languages from an early age really helps them to excel through their school years as it also helps their development in other subjects, enhancing their speech and understanding of their own language as well as increasing their confidence and overall cognitive development.

Languages are now taught to baby using songs and puppets making the learning natural and fun.  More structured language classes for young children build on this whilst keeping it fun and complementing language learning at school.  Find out more about Language based Activities.

Music, Dance and Performing Arts

Music, drama, dance and singing are proven to help build confidence and social skills in all children as well as being lots of fun so don't think these classes are just for little starlets.  Babies and young children can benefit from many aspects of music and performing arts and there are lively and colourful sessions for babies and toddlers that can help developments such as crawling, walking and talking.   More formal performing arts involving stage productions tend to be for slightly older children (usually 4+).  Find out more about the benefits of Musical Activities.

Ballet dance classes allow babies, toddlers and young children to enjoy the physical and social benefits of ballet, song and dance in a safe, caring, positive and informal environment. Using a combination of music, movement and props, the class is a musical sensory experience for grown-ups and their babies to enjoy together with a real focus on learning through play.

Young children love to run, jump, hop and skip, gallop, swirl, sway and spin.  As curious, impulsive explorers, learning all the time, the dancing class is an ideal environment for pre-school children to flourish, discovering where and how their bodies move.  Dancing to music develops sensitivity to sounds, melody and rhythm and an understanding of the relationship between body movements and music.

Drama, dance and singing are proven to help build confidence and social skills in all children as well as being lots of fun so don't think these classes are just for little starlets. Traditionally for slightly older children (usually 4+), there are also lively and colourful sessions for babies and toddlers that can help developments such as crawling, walking and talking. Some offer a free trial session to try out the class.

Music classes are an excellent way to keep your child focused, building vital skills for the future. Classes are highly educational, great fun and everyone makes new friends!  You will know how much babies enjoy music meaning music classes can be a fabulous first class to enjoy together and why music and simple instruments are used in many baby & toddler class programmes.  As your child gets older music classes can explore more technical aspects such as rhythm and notes, with more complex instruments too. 

Sport and Physical Activity

This is probably the biggest category of activities with a huge range available for children of all ages.   We know how important physical activity is for our physical and mental well being though out our lives and encouraging an early interest help develops muscles and coordination too.

Try a few different activities and see what works for you and your children.  You may inspire a life-long hobby and healthy lifestyle quickly or it may take a visit to several different classes before you find the right one.  Find out more about the benefits of Sport and Physical Activities.

Cricket is the one sport that reaches across boundaries of gender, race and class and enables children to mix with other children from every different community. Cricket also teaches children the importance of self-reliance and practice. Although eleven cricketers make a cricket team, when the time comes to bowl your first delivery, walk out to bat or take a catch, your team mates can't do it for you and it's up to you as an individual to perform.

Cycling is an important life skill for every child to learn.  Traditionally it's parents and carers who had this job but did you know that there are now classes to help your child to master this skill.  Group and individual lessons are available from toddlers upwards.  Learning from experts will ensure your child is cycling quickly with confidence and safely - and you a spared some of the back ache!

An early opportunity to learn football-inspired skills as well as developing fitness and co-ordination. Equally as relevant to boys and girls!  There are several football programmes that run nationally alongside many local teams run by volunteers.

Gymnastics and movement classes for little ones often feature soft play equipment, climbing apparatus and structured games and activities. There are even classes for tiny babies which feature sensory exploration and gentle movement designed to stimulate baby in new ways.  For older children the more technical aspects of gymnastics can start to be included.  Some classes are offered in community venues and others take place in dedicated gymnastic centres with specialist equipment.

Whether they saw it on the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, on the Power Rangers, or on Yu Gi Oh, children today have been exposed to martial arts from an early age. From karate to kung fu, martial arts provide a powerful workout. Today's martial arts provide children with physical exercise, a chance to gain self confidence, an opportunity to interact with others, and worthwhile lessons in self defence. For children of all ages, martial arts are an exciting alternative to team sports.

“Football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans, Rugby is a hooligans game played by gentlemen” Unknown. 

Why is this? The two sports are both physically active and similar in their strategy, in fact Rugby evolved from “the beautiful game”. In the current world the major differences can be found in their ethos and core values.

Rugby is a fantastic game for all kids to get involved in: it keeps them fit, they make friends for life and learn to work as part of a team.  The Rugby Football Union (RFU) actively promotes its core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

It’s never too early to introduce your baby to swimming - even the tiniest babies develop physically, emotionally and mentally when they go swimming.  Out of all the activities you may choose for your child, we highly recommend taking your baby swimming regularly because it gives them confidence in the water and teaches them an important life skill – plus it is a great bonding experience and it’s FUN!  For older children, swimming lessons include different strokes and more detailed water-safety.

Support, Health and Advice

We have heard from many Mums and Dads that find the regular activities and classes they attend important for the general well-being as they can provided much needed social interactions and general support especially when your baby is very small.  There are also many groups and networks that are set up to support families with particular circumstances or needs.  Your health professionals are a good place to start when looking for a local group that can help you.  Often they have online networks too that can help between meetings.

Uniformed groups, think Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Sea Cadets and more, have been established for many hundreds of years and are just as popular today.  They've moved with the times but continue to provide important life skills and experiences.  They are usually run by volunteers from community venues.  Be warned that most have a long waiting list and if you want your child to attend put them on the list well in advance, sometimes years in advance, to ensure that you have a place.

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