Play, talk and read aboard Bessie

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Parents and their wee ones are invited to jump on board the free PlayTalkRead bus ‘Bessie’ as it visits the Borders next week.

Designed as a free drop-in playground, Bessie offers parents and carers a fun and relaxed environment to pick up exciting new ideas and tips to play, talk and read more with their little ones, which will help make a positive difference to their health and happiness.

Times and places: Monday, November 2 – Edinburgh Road Car Park, Peebles, from 10am-12.30pm; Gytes Leisure Centre, Walkershaugh, Peebles, from 2-4pm.

Tuesday, November 3 – Abbey Bridge Tollhouse car prk, Jedburgh, from 10a-12.30pm; The Square, Kelso from 2-4pm.

Wednesday, November 4 – Langlee Support Centre, Galashiels, from 10am-1pm and 2-4pm.

Thursday, November 5 – Burnfoot Community School, Hawick, from 10am -1pm and 2-4pm.

Friday, November 6 – Leader Leisure Centre, Lauder, from 10am-1pm and 2-4pm.

On board, parents and carers of young children can enjoy all types of fun from interactive storytelling, song and rhyme sessions to easy craft activities. The qualified and experienced play leaders will showcase lots of great low-cost or free activities that can fit into parents’ daily routines.

Minister for children and young people, Aileen Campbell, said: “As a mum of two young children, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to fit playing, talking and reading into your daily routine – the PlayTalkRead buses, Benji and Bessie, offer lots of ideas and advice for parents and carers to just do that.

“You don’t need lots of toys or expensive equipment to do it, it’s all about enjoying your time together and helping their brains grow.

“Being a parent is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever do and playing, talking and reading more with kids will give them the best start in life.”

Last year, more than 43,000 people visited the PlayTalkRead buses – an 11% increase on the previous year, while 96% of those felt the advice the buses offered was relevant to them and 70% said they would play, talk and read with their children more as a result of visiting.