Bugs, Beasts and Bairns

Let’s face it, it’s hard to keep a group of children entertained. Especially if that group of children all happen to be under the age of four. Yet Hilary Crothers manages it. Standing in front of a group of tots sitting on small mats, she led them through various songs and games which managed to keep them thoroughly engrossed for a whole hour. It is a feat just short of miraculous.

Crothers’ aids are a catalogue of songs, a wide array of instruments and an astounding variety of hand-puppets. We began by singing and playing musical instruments for the ‘Hello Song’. It was clear from the get-go that this bunch is not going to be playing in the Proms anytime soon, but it was equally clear that they were having a rollicking time banging on their drums or shaking their maracas. The music portion ended and all the children rushed up to the front to grab gloves with frogs on the fingers, needed for singing and counting through the frog song. A subsequent series of animal songs saw the children arming themselves with mice puppets and then farm animal puppets.

The sing-along songs over, we move into the action portion of the morning. Children sat on mummy and daddy’s laps to bounce along to the kangaroo song, moved around in a circle touching toes, ears, and noses, and even journeyed under the sea (the ‘sea’ in this instance, being a giant parachute). There was time for tickling mum and dad, time for dancing in the center of the room under bubbles, and even time to lie down on the ground, then hop around like a bunny.

Throughout the whole, the children seemed engaged and orderly. There was the occasional overexcited cryer, but they were swiftly comforted by their chaperone, helped out by a spare teddy bear or other stuffed animal. Errant crawlers were encouraged, provided they stay within the boundaries of the room, and running around excitedly was also just fine. Through all this, Crothers managed to achieve the impossible balance desired by teachers and guardians everywhere: keeping children excited and entertained, but also under control. It’s hard to say what her secret is, but regardless, parents everywhere can be glad she’s chosen to share her talents in Beasts, Bugs and Bairns.

Reviews by Margaret Sessa-Hawkins

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Performances

The Blurb

Join us on an interactive musical journey through the natural world. You bring the bairns, and we'll supply the bugs and the beasts! A guaranteed toe-tapping, sing-a-long shindig for young and old alike.

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