Press Releases

Toddler Time celebrates 1st birthday at the Museum of English Rural – University of Reading

Release Date : 22 April 2009

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is celebrating the first year of its hugely successful 'Toddler Times' sessions with a special birthday party on Friday 24 April.

A year ago MERL, which is owned and managed by the University of Reading, added sessions for parents/carers and toddlers to its popular learning programme for families, schools and adults. The group has gone from strength to strength and regular attendees will be at MERL for the party, where there will be a special cake in the shape of the 'Straw Man', one of the children's' favourite Museum objects.

Bekky Moran, Learning Manager at MERL said: "Toddler Time has been a great success. There are some families that have come been coming ever since we launched and others that drop in whenever they can. Even the youngest children enjoy seeing new things and doing activities in a different environment, especially if they love tractors! We sing songs about the countryside, make up stories and do craft activities, all inspired by the wonderful objects on display in the Museum.

"Over the year, parents, carers and children have had a go at many different activities including making shakers, planting seeds in the garden, making finger-painted flowers and even having a go at felt making, which is normally reserved for older children but great messy fun for the little ones too!"

Kim Frewin who brings her daughter Beth to the sessions regularly said: "As the mother of an energetic toddler I find the Friday sessions at MERL a highlight to our week. Bekky and the volunteers provide well structured sessions with attention to detail and a relevant theme each week. The children get to tackle challenging activities and the MERL playgroup is definitely more than just a coffee and a chat. Long may it continue!"

The 'Toddler Time' sessions run from 1pm to 2pm every Friday during term time and are suitable for parents or carers with children aged 18 months to 4 years. Everyone is welcome! Sessions are free and there's no need to book, but please come along at 1pm to enjoy the session from the start.

For further information call 0118 378 8660, email or visit our website at


Note for media: Media are welcome to attend. If you wish to come along, please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660

Notes for editors:

1. More information about the Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life, in Redlands Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University.

2. More information About the University of Reading

The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise.


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