My gf is on a mission going through various play-groups/schools/gyms for her little one… so Hunter and I got the awesome benefit of hitching onto all her good research and tagging along for them! I don’t know what all the various things are called.. play gym, play school, play group, etc etc etc.. It’s basically those ~1 hour things that people bring kids to, for them to interact and play. Can be in a class setting, or can be ‘free play’ with no formal agenda.
#2: playschool class. This was at Bibinogs, which is pretty famous in Singapore. This one focuses on songs and dance as well, but in a classroom setting. Really liked how they had story time, and arts & crafts session. Hunter actually rather liked this – no meltdowns, no clinging to me (he actually wandered off BY HIMSELF – whooooaaaaa!). He did like Snacktime the best (LOL) and Chinese 15-min storytime the worst (immediately wandered off to find something else to do).
#4: playgym free play. This is at Gymboree, where there’s no formal class or setting. You simply pop your kid in and they can climb/play on all the equipment. I think Hunter enjoyed this one the most. It was very chill with no shrill voices in his face, and he could explore and scramble all around the place. You could argue that he could do the same thing at home, but I feel it’s quite different because I don’t fear for his safety in a padded environment like this, and it contains a lot of equipment for him to check out. He was very pleased with it all and the 1 hour totally zonked him out afterwards!
So I hope that helps if you’re a parent and looking around for this sort of thing for your kid. Frankly, I don’t think these 1 hour classes do much considering they are so pricey – partly perhaps because our kids are a bit young, but also because at the end of the day, it’s pretty basic stuff that they do in these classes! I personally feel that Hunter absorbs/learn more through me talking to him and spending so much time interacting with him, than if I take him to these classes. For this reason, I wouldn’t sign up for a package with these places.
However, Hunter and I enjoyed the playgym style stuff like Gymboree. This was just going in by yourself, with no formal class, and it’s a fraction of the cost since you’re really just paying to use the padded equipment. I think it’s perfect for kids his age right now, because provides them with a safe environment to scramble everywhere and get rid of all their excess energy. For that reason, I’ll probably sign us up for a membership ($50/year) so it’s $10 entrance fee each time.