Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev join the launch of BBC virtual Stay And Play sessions with their baby Maven

Other celebrity parents include Geordie Shore’s Marnie Simpson with baby Rox

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev with Maven
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev with Maven
Tiny Happy People has some great ideas for interacting with your little ones. We’ve learnt some great new games and Maven loves all the songs, rhymes and actions.”
— Rachel Riley

Countdown’s Rachel Riley and her husband, Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev, have teamed up with the BBC’s Tiny Happy People initiative to launch much-needed virtual Stay And Play sessions.

The exclusive virtual sessions take place on 14 and 21 May on the Tiny Happy People Facebook page, and invite all parents and carers to join in with children aged 0-4 years old.

They will join Rachel and Pasha taking part in activities with their baby Maven, and Marnie Simpson and her fiancé Casey Simpson, enjoying sensory play with their baby Rox.

The 14 May session will be a musical themed Stay And Play event led by Early Years practitioner Suzy Scott, from Glasgow’s Tiny Happy People Hub. Rachel and Pasha will be singing along to songs with 16 month-old Maven, including Tommy Thumb, and a special version of Row Row Row Your Boat with a line about the River Clyde and the Squinty Bridge to introduce the family to Glasgow. Local digital content creator Emma O’ Donnell will also be joining in the singing with 11 month-old Harry.

To coincide with mental health awareness week, the session will also gently re-introduce families to what they can expect from a stay and play, preparing them for when they can fully return to face-to-face events, whilst at the same time putting on activities that they can enjoy with their own babies at home, such as What’s In The Bag, a simple and fun game which helps babies to develop their language skills.

Rachel says: “Tiny Happy People has some great ideas for interacting with your little ones, we’ve learnt some great new games and Maven loves all the songs, rhymes and actions.”

Emma O’Donnell says: “Harry loves getting involved with Tiny Happy People songs and joining in with all the movements and I love seeing him so happy and engaged!”

On Friday 21 May, Marnie, Casey and their baby Rox will take part in a session focusing on sensory play, including activities such as playing with sock puppets and joining in with a game of Incy Wincy Spider, which parents/carers and children at home are encouraged to take part in. Also joining the session will be blogger Beth Tippet, aka Happy Cornish Mama, along with one year-old Ferne and two year-old Freddie.

Marnie says: “Tiny Happy People has really has some lovely activities to do with your kids, I will definitely be re-visiting it soon!”

The Stay and Plays are part of the Tiny Happy People offering which also includes a wide range of free films, articles, quizzes and parenting tips that have been specially designed with experts to help to nurture children’s language from pregnancy through to aged four.

Tiny Happy People launched last year with the backing of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. At the heart of the initiative is a simple message: talk to children from as early an age as possible.

Tiny Happy People also has a number of hyperlocal ‘hubs’ in the heart of communities around the country, working closely with local councils, healthcare professionals and charities to support parents and carers in giving their child the best possible start in terms of their speech and language development. The virtual Play and Stay sessions in May are part of the launch of new hubs in Glasgow and Cornwall which will feature parents and carers from the local area.

The hub activity is currently a mix of online and face-to-face sessions, but once Covid restrictions are fully lifted the hubs hope to bring back face to face Tiny Happy People activities.

For more information about Tiny Happy People, please visit the website and follow the initiative on Instagram and Facebook.

Watch virtual Stay and Play events on the Tiny Happy People Facebook account:

• Facebook from 11am on Friday 14 May - https://www.facebook.com/events/1242147036200715

• Facebook from 11am on Friday 21 May - https://www.facebook.com/events/480734666603586

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