‘Quality Time’ is key for children’s development

'Space Adventure' will be the theme at Quality Time throughout January.
'Space Adventure' will be the theme at Quality Time throughout January.

An innovative new business venture that’s a first for Northern Ireland will open its doors in Banbridge next month, creating five new jobs.

The Quality Time ‘learning through play’ centre on Lurgan Road is targeted at children of all abilities, aged between one and seven years.

There is lots of colourful play equipment at Quality Time, Banbridge.

There is lots of colourful play equipment at Quality Time, Banbridge.

Looking forward to the official opening on January 8, business owner Natasha McCrory explained the idea behind her new venture.

“Everyone is now aware of the negative impact increased screen time is having on our young children, but it can be very hard, and expensive, for parents to provide equally stimulating activities. I have created ‘Quality Time’ to help care givers engage with their children away from the pressures and distractions of modern day life,” she said.

“Each month the theme will change, with brand new costumes, role play activities, graphics, resources and educational toys. Our first theme will be ‘Space Adventure’ - throughout January children can transform into astronauts, rebuild mission control, balance our shiny space pebbles, learn about magnetism, build a rocket or cuddle up with a book.”

Many people may already be aware of Natasha’s blog and Facebook page, which ran a ‘Quality Time Activity of the Day’ over the summer holidays to help entertain children. These activities and many more have now been developed into a series of workshops that will run alongside the play area.

The themes of the workshops will match the play area each month and will be divided into five areas of early years development – S.T.E.M Time, Crafty Time, Sensory Time, Story Time and Finger Gym. Suggested age for workshops is 3+ and full parental participation is necessary.

Natasha continued: “Just like the play area, workshops are designed to help parents spend Quality Time engaging with their children, so whilst I will share some theory and instructions for each activity it will be the parents who lead their child throughout the session. At the end of each workshop children will be presented with a surprise egg from which they will release their very own themed miniature to take home. These gifts tie in very well with the other ‘Build a World’ resources available in our shop. Children will be able to select from a wide range of sensory play materials to bring home and create a unique, small world perfect for sensory play.”

Already making plans to expand her business, Natasha intends to extend Quality Time in April 2018 with the creation of an educational garden.

“The outside space will open in the Spring and will be included in the play area entrance price. It will feature planting beds, bird tables, bug houses, sand trays, water walls, and a picnic area,” she added.

For further information and bookings log on to www.qualitytimeni.com