Since little GD was a few months old, I have driven her and DDIL to the local family centre for baby time. This is a huge room with two helpers who put loads of toys and activities around plus a sensory room with lights and mirrors. GD loved it and it gave me a regular weekly time with her. Also DDIL hasn't driven since she's been in this country. She did drive an automatic in Canada where there are very wide roads and little traffic so our roads horrify her.
Anyway once GD was one year she was too old for baby time which was a shame as she loved it but I think it would have got too crowded without the restriction. We do take her to another play centre which has a soft play area open from 8am to 4pm week days and free. She loves that but DDIL wanted something a bit more structured so we found Melody Monkeys and Thursday was her first session. She absolutely loved it as she always jigs up and down to any music. There were shakers to shake and sticks and blocks to bang together plus dancing up and down and some other fun activities.
I was speaking to an old friend in her 80's and she marveled at facilities available for children now and said there were none when hers were young. I don't even remember them 40 odd years ago when my children were small. Ours had lots of fun outdoors rolling down grassy hills etc but when the weather was too bad, apart from the swimming pool, I can't remember any indoor activities for babies and tots. Perhaps it was just our location as we lived in a small village.
I'm so pleased I can enjoy GD while she is tiny and making lots of happy memories. I'm looking forward to having her on Saturday while mummy and daddy have a date night. I will enjoy it but be exhausted and happy to hand her back!