Sand Art

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Since the weather has been sunny and warm, I should probably be writing about all the outdoor activities we’ve been enjoying. Unfortunately, we cannot spend all our time outdoors. Dubz still has a daily nap from 1-3.30pm, so Husband and I often use this time at the weekends to spend quality time with our 6-year old daughter. Last Sunday I was tired and grumpy, so Husband had some Daddy-Daughter time with Moozles, making sand art.

When Moozles turned five, her birthday gifts became 90% craft kits.  This is great because it means that we always have something to do on a rainy day or a quiet afternoon. She received a Bottle Sand Art kit for her sixth birthday a couple of months ago. She needed some initial help from her daddy. He put the sand in some bowls, and showed Moozles how the funnel works. It was quite easy for her to do on her own. I’ve seen similar retailing for £6-£7 and would suit children from the ages of 4-7. I would definitely recommend as a gift for your child or someone else’s. Moozles really enjoyed herself and was proud of her creations (and I got half an hour of peace to de-grumpify).

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Why not pop over to Country Kids and see how other people are having fun away from the telly.

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Diana Memorial Playground, Kensington Gardens

Last Sunday we took advantage of a lovely sunny day in London and went to Kensington Gardens. Now that our youngest is two years old, we thought it would be a great time to check out the Diana Memorial Playground. The playground opens at 10am every day (closing times differ throughout the year). We arrived at 9.58am to find a herd of families waiting to be shepherded in. There is park employee who lets people in, and they only allow a certain amount of people in at a time. They also do not allow adults in unless they are accompanied by a child. 
 
Once in, we found the playground to be busy without being overly crowded. The kids loved the big pirate ship. But the playground has more to offer. There is LOADS of sand. I definitely recommend bringing your bucket and spades. But there are also swings, a seesaw, playhouses and tents to play on/in. There were only two big kid swings but four or six baby swings (I can’t quite remember). There were climbing structures and a mini-playground for the younger toddlers.
 
As it was very sunny, and Husband is very pale, I was relieved to see covered structures with benches to allow people to rest in the shade. And since my kids eat constantly during the hours of 9am-12pm, I was happy to find benches where we could sit and enjoy a snack, or three. There is a cafe, but it seemed a bit overpriced.
 
For those of you who live in London, you can of course get there via tube or bus. We chose to drive as Dubz is a bit of a handful on public transport. The beauty of going on a Sunday (or Bank Holiday) means you can park for free on a single yellow line. We parked right outside the park’s closest entrance.
 
The kids had such a fun time. The playground is quite big, but is sectioned off making it feel more private than it is. There is paving woven around the playground so you can push your buggy/stroller around. But there are also places to park your buggy. 
 
I think the playground would suit babies who can sit on their own up to kids of about the age of eight or nine. Babies can play in the sand or chill in their buggies while toddlers and little kids play. I saw a girl, who looked about 11 or 12, walking around with a bored expression. But it is a great place for little ones to run around, explore and release energy. Even better for Moozles, there was a carousel outside the playground so she got to have a little horse ride before we went home. 
 
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Garden Games

My kids pretty much live in the garden, outside of winter. As soon as my daughter gets home from school, we all head out there. It’s not a very big garden, especially considering our 1970s outbuilding, but it’s fine for our small family. We have a trampoline and a slide. I don’t want any more toys out there as I think it is important for kids to figure out how to have fun using their imaginations. 
 
One day, my kids will be at an age where they have to come home and do homework. Or else they’ll want to watch television or play video games. But for now, they play. Sometimes even with each other. Moozles, who is newly six, likes practicing cartwheels and head stands. Dubz, who is barely two, tries to copy his big sister. I sit down and watch them, resting before they call me to join them on the trampoline. My heart is happy.
 


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Playing at the Playground

A few weeks ago, Persil contacted me about their Kids Today Project campaign. Persil want to show that hands-on experiences are critical for a child’s development. Basically, kids learn from doing and not just watching. Persil have some ideas on fun activities that kids can do, inside and outside (here). They also want to emphasise that getting outside and getting dirty, with their family and friends, helps children in the long-run. I am a firm believer of outdoor fun. Even in the winter, we are at parks, playgrounds or running around the garden.

It is not just about getting outside. It is important for kids to have time away from the television, iPad and video games. Now that my daughter, Moozles, is six, I find that she wants to watch more and more television. And because my son is 23-months old, I don’t want him to think it is normal to have the television on all the time. She is encouraged to draw, write and make crafts. But I try not to tell her what to do. I may give her a few suggestions. Or I may just tell her to think about what we have, and then she needs to come up with an activity. It is important that kids have some control over how they play. And I think that parents shouldn’t be afraid of letting their children feel bored.

Persil sent a head-camera that Moozles would wear, so that you could see our day ‘through her eyes’. Moozles loved the camera and thought it was so ‘cool’. We were supposed to have a day out at the London Zoo, but a tummy bug during Easter weekend ruled that out. Persil uncovered ‘The Seven Wonders of Childhood’ after speaking to some 6-11 year olds. Kids are more interested in going on safari or visiting castles rather than the Great Wall of China or Machu Picchu.

So I took Moozles to our local playground instead. Unfortunately, the head-camera became my adversary during this process. We went to the playground three different times (hence the different outfits in the photos) but I could not get the damn thing to record. But Moozles had a great time, as she doesn’t normally get to go to the playground three times in four days. 

Please check out Persil for more information on the Kids Today Project, or you can join the Twitter convo using #kidstoday. I am linking up with Country Kids because Coombe Mill offers great inspiration for getting out and getting kids playing.

 

Although Persil sent me the camera to use for a couple of weeks for this project, I was not paid to blog about their Kids Today campaign.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Granny’s Garden

This week I was in Leamington Spa with the kids, escaping the house renovations. My husbands’ parents have a roomy house and a gigantic garden. Add their attentive nature and some ice cream, and my children are in heaven.

On Wednesday, my daughter was feeling tired so we canceled the day’s plans and the kids spent most of the day in the garden. Moozles, who will be six next week, said she wanted to do some exercises to ‘be healthy’. So, I incorporated Simon Says and we had a super fun game where I got to sit in the sun while Moozles did star jumps, push-ups and twirled around. Dubz, who is 23 months old, was happy to potter about and drive his car.

That evening, we had a picnic dinner at the end of the garden (pic above, third and fourth pics). The kids got to eat and run around. After dinner, Moozles had a splash about in the hot tub with her granny (sixth pic). I know the kids had a fun day because they changed their outfits 2-4 times between them. Dirty clothes means happy kids.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Deer Spotting at Richmond Park

TGIS. Thank Goodness It’s Spring. Although we still get out and about in the winter, it hasn’t been the same. I’m Californian and I am not used to a lot of rain. And certainly not cold rain. So it has been glorious this past month with the warmer weather and less rain. If we’re not in the garden, we’re at a nearby park or common.
 
Last weekend, despite the chilly weather and the occasional hail, we went to Richmond Park. I love Richmond Park, and not just because it’s a convenient five-minute drive from my house. Richmond park is huge. It has wide open space, playgrounds, duck ponds, hiking and biking trails, a golf course, a fab cafe and deer. Lots of deer. Richmond Park was originally a deer-hunting park and still has about 650 Red and Fallow deer.
 
Dubz, who is 22-months old, loved running around aimlessly. Moozles, who is 5 1/2, enjoyed climbing the giant tree trunks. They chased each other and played hide and seek. They also tried chasing some deer. To my horror. 

This visit we went to Pen Ponds so that the kids could see the ducks and the swans. But the next time we visit Richmond Park, we will stay away from the pond. Husband and I had to carry a kicking, screaming Dubz away from wading into the water to be with the ducks. No pictures were taken as our hands were truly full. All in all a fun visit, except for the last 10 minutes of screaming tantrumming craziness. But that’s toddlers, right?  

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall