Enki’s Adventures at Gympanzees

As part of our ‘What Parents Say’ series we spoke to blogger Emily, writer of Enki’s Adventures about their recent visits to Gympanzees.   

First of all, I’ll tell you about Enki! 

Enki is full of beans and very sociable, he loves saying hello to everyone and presently is very keen on hugs and kisses! He has a very infectious way about him and makes people smile and giggle wherever he goes. He is a real treasure. He loves people, balls, lights, sensory toys, trampolines, animals, swings, slides, soft play basically he will give anything a shot and just loves playing and people.

He is not always keen on being told no or stop (is anyone!) and because of this he definitely has selective hearing, ha-ha. For a while he was feeling unsure of new places and would take his time to adjust but this was solely from one bad experience at a hospital. We have been working hard to help him not feel this way and we are pleased to say that he is back to his happy, confident self about new places. 

Our introduction to Gympanzees (Thank you Fran!)

I first heard about Gympanzees from someone who works at Bristol Down Syndrome Trust (Enki attends a speech and language class there on a Monday and a lovely coffee morning) At our first session at Gympanzees Enki needed some encouragement as he had been having issues with appointments since having a bad time at a blood test appointment. Fran, a wonderful member of staff at Gympanzees saw Enki was having difficulties and she took him under her wing and personally carried him around each room until he began to calm down and not be scared …  in the end he was happily playing with Fran and had a great time. Fran has really helped Enki to not worry about new places, and we are really grateful to her.  Since our first session we have been back many times and Enki LOVES it.

Something for everyone 

 There is so much to do at Gympanzees and something for everyone. You can go outside also which is great, there are so many different activities. There are so many great things, huge trampolines, big swings, sand pit, soft play, and an interactive room where there is a screen on the floor and Enki could jump on bubbles, balls or planets and pop them with his feet! He was excited by this! There was also a toy cactus plant that copied any noises you made – Enki was beside himself with joy as the plant responded to his every noise! The look of happiness on his little face was priceless.   There is a wonderful sensory room with lots of beautiful items in that light up, twinkle, shine or move, it is a great room for a bit of calm both for parent and child! I actually lay back on a vibrating chair for a moment while Enki played, it was bliss.    There is even a gym-type room with a crazy vibrating plate which is really helpful for children with low muscle tone too, so fab for Enki.  He was particularly keen on a huge hammock while a member of staff rocked him, he was in hysterics laughing! Another staff member played on the trampoline with him an inflatable ball toy – Enki was in his element and didn’t want to leave at this point!  I have recently learnt that there is a lending library where you can actually borrow items from Gympanzees to have for a period at home, this is such a brilliant idea!   We’d definitely encourage others to try Gympanzees, you don’t need to worry about anything, the staff and volunteers are so helpful and there really is something to suit every child. So much fun and laughter and no judgement. Meltdowns and such do not matter here, and everyone is helpful and understanding and you can chat with other parents too. It is a wonderful place and a treasure to behold.  

Thank you Gympanzees for looking after my little Gympanzee! 

You can keep up to date with Emily and Enki and find out more about their adventures in Emily’s blog here

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