Dad’s the Word Column: Being a full-time dad is class

Freelance writer, blogger and married dad-of-two Gareth Ellis writes about taking his children to local Cha Char Chimps and Tree Tots classes.

I love spending time with the kids.

Throughout each of the lockdowns I got to spend plenty of time with them both, but it was predominantly at home.

Walks were fun (but cold), but soft play centres and classes were closed.

So, you can imagine my delight when they started to open up again (and Emilia was old enough to understand and enjoy them).

Rupert and Emi have both developed a love of being outside, and we love taking them to the multitude of green spaces around us, like Campbell Park and Willen Lake.

That’s why Tree Tots is such a natural fit for them as they can be outside, in Howe Park Woods, playing.

It’s run by volunteers from the Parks Trust, and they seem to genuinely love interacting with the children.

I took both of them for the first time recently and they just love it.

For Rupert he can explore and wander round with other children. He usually gravitates towards the water area, using the watering cans and the saucepans to make a lovely concoction.

It’s usually ‘pasta’ with twigs acting as spaghetti and leaves as cheese.

For Emi, she liked the musical bits, and was strangely drawn to a giant microscope – maybe she’ll be a detective one day.

With lockdown easing we’ve also seen the return of a few of the indoor classes – and one that has quickly become the kids’ favourite is Cha Char Chimps.

With classes in different areas in Milton Keynes it’s a mix of dancing, music and play – plus parents get a bit of tiffin, what could be bad?

And I have to admit, with the classes I’ve been to, I love getting involved and showing off my ‘dad moves.’ Luckily, the kids are still too young to be embarrassed by my dancing.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time in the future for me to bust out the hokey-cokey as they watch on and cringe – for now I’ll enjoy the fact that they laugh…. with me.

Gareth writes a regular blog at and you can follow him on Instagram at @dads_the_word_blog

This feature was published in the June and July 2021 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s