What?: It’s been 12 years since I left school and I still have PE-themed nightmares on a pretty much weekly basis. If they’re not about being forced into a forward roll and breaking my neck or being made to vault over the horse and shattering my pelvis then they’re about forgetting my kit and having to wear inexplicably moist lost property. So yeah I was really ready to hate this.
The centre was a bit chaotic when we got there and my first thought on arrival was “urgh, children” but the session itself wasn’t too busy and there was enough space for little ones to roam free without getting stood on and for adults to not have to talk to each other, which I think is important at 10.30am.
One half of the gym is set up with balance beams and trapeze things for more adventurous toddlers, while the other half is a big squashy baby paradise with soft slides and tunnels in primary colours and very little capacity for injury – though Bab tried her best. There were staff floating around in case of disaster but thankfully there was no forced fun and no PE teachers.
Where?: We went to Talacre Community Sports Centre, a Better gym that’s a one-minute walk from Kentish Town West (Ginger) and 10 minutes from Kentish Town (Northern). Alternatively you can find your nearest centre on the Better website; there are 57 across London but not all of them run this session.
When?: The Talacre baby gym runs Monday-Friday 9.30-10.15am and 10.30-11.30am; Sunday 9-9.45am. I.e. revoltingly early.
Best Bits: The floor is basically a giant trampoline, which is great for damage limitation; although I did have to really fight the urge to just lie down and go to sleep.
Worst Bits: You can’t take any food or drink into the gym, which is probably very sensible but by 11.30 I could have snorted a line of Nescafé.
Cost: £6.90. I think this is a reasonable price for an hour of guaranteed child happiness. Bab normally naps at this time in the morning so she was knackered and spent most of the session angrily head-butting me and wailing every time I tried to put her in a tunnel. All the other kids looked like they were having a nice time though.
Would We Come Back?: I would but I’d probably leave Bab at home next time.
Bab plays in the gymnasium at Talacre Community Sports Centre