Outdoor Play Party – Discovering a new play farm

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This week we discovered a brand new play farm. There are quite a few near us but for some reason we haven’t ever tried this one. We met some lovely friends there and with the sun shining we headed in.

Our first pleasant surprise was the price. Two adults and two children for £10! I know, super cheap for a play farm. Most of the ones near us are £10 just for one adult to get in. We will be heading back to this place if only for the price!

Once in we didn’t have to go far and we were up close and personal with some pigs. The two boys got very excited and were quickly snorting away. We then turned around to find monkeys! Who knew monkeys lived on farms?! The boys loved them. They were some of the smallest monkeys in the world and looked like funny old men with beards. Little Man loved watching them climb and they kept coming over to check us out which he found hilarious.

We continued along the first barn and discovered a door. At first us Mums weren’t sure we could go in but with insistence from the boys and no obvious signs on the door saying keep out we braved it and went in. The door was large and heavy and once we were in we discovered we were in a reptile house. The boys were in their element. With snakes and spiders, bearded dragons and dead mice there was plenty of gruesome monsters for them to scream about and scream they did! It was much more of an excited scream than a frightened scream although us Mums did have an eek moment when it came to the dead mice that had been left for the snakes. This room was such a hit that before we left the farm Little Man insisted we head on back in and take one last look at the snakes and dragons. He was very taken with them.

Once we were finished with the reptiles we stopped for a short while at the chickens before Little Man was off. He had spotted some tractors on display and couldn’t wait for us to get there. The lovely thing about this farm is that everything is fairly close together and easily accessible so I could let him run and still see what he was up to.

The rest of the visit was spent feeding the goats and eating our lunch in one of the play areas before the boys were tired out and ready for their lunchtime rest. I really do think we have discovered a local gem in this play farm and although I will probably avoid it during the school holidays it is a fantastic place to find so close to home. Have you found any local gems recently?

Last Outdoor Play Party I thought Adventure Togs Top tips for luring those indoor kids outside shared some great ways to get those little monsters out into the sunshine. Little Man is not usually a problem to get outside but on the odd occasion he will refuse and insist that being indoors is a much better use of his time. For us water always seems to convince him otherwise, he just loves the stuff and will spend hours transporting it and watching how it behaves. How do you encourage your kids to get outdoors and play?

Top tips for luring those indoor kids outside

How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? Have you been visiting a local attraction or sticking at home? However, you have chosen to play outdoors please do link up. We love reading all your posts and sharing them with the world.

We’d appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterest. Please feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the ‘featured’ button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! 

 


Outdoor Play Party – Learning to ride a bike

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This week I have been learning to ride a bike again. Yes, I know, how can I not know how to ride a bike? Well I did learn once upon a time but I was never very confident. I don’t even know how old I was but I was riding around the block, I must have been about 10, and I was just starting to get confident when I crashed. I don’t remember too much about it, I just remember hurting myself. I still have the scars today and I have never really had the confidence to get back on since. Silly really, especially because every time I came off a horse I just got back on, but getting back on a bike just didn’t interest me.

For years I have used the excuse I can’t ride a bike. Hubby even bought home a couple of bikes he found in a skip for me to practice on, but after a few wobbles I gave up. Recently, however, Little Man has become very interested in bikes of all kinds. He will ride his balance bike round the garden for hours, insisting that Daddy rides around with him. A few times he has asked me to ride too but I have uttered those horrible words ‘I can’t’ and he has simply accepted them. They always sat uncomfortably in my mouth and I have asked myself several times ‘what sort of example am I setting?’ so this week I finally did it. I got back on and rode a bike!

Surprisingly enough it wasn’t as difficult as I remembered and with my new found determination I was riding around the garden with Little Man in less than quarter of an hour. Little Man was ecstatic, riding behind me giggling away. He thought it was brilliant that Mummy was finally joining in. Any time I tried to stop and rest he would tell me to use the peddles or sit on the seat, he wasn’t going to let me give in. I still struggle slightly with the tight corners in the garden and am not the most confident bike rider in the world but I feel a real sense of achievement. I have conquered a fear and Little Man’s smile makes it all the more rewarding.

Bike

Last Outdoor Play Party Creative Star’s amazing ”Sensori” Water Station caught my eye. I love the way combining water play with a traditional climbing frame adds a whole new dimension to the way children use the equipment. I also loved the way the children self regulated their play and managed the added risks the water created.

Post image for The “Sensori” Water Station

How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? Have you been celebrating international mud day? Or have you or your little ones conquered a fear? However, you have chosen to play outdoors please do link up. We love reading all your posts and sharing them with the world.

We’d appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterest. Please feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the ‘featured’ button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! 

 


Outdoor Play Party – International Mud Day 2014

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I have been blogging for about 15 months now and so far my most popular blog post by a long mile is The Benefits of Mud Play. It has to be one of my favourites as well because I see the benefits first hand with Little Man, at home and at nursery. He regularly comes home with mud in his hair, in his ears and even in his nappy! Getting muddy and exploring its various textures and properties will keep Little Man entertained for hours.

Discovering Mud

I don’t often direct his play in relation to dirt, he quite happily explores it entirely by himself but if your little one is reluctant to get dirty or you still aren’t convinced that mud can be fun then here are a few activities to get you started.

  • Last Outdoor Play Party Rain or Shine Mama shared this fab post Painting with Mud. Its not one we have tried yet but as Little Man becomes more and more interested in drawing I know this is one activity he will really enjoy.
  • Happy Hooligans wrote a great blog post last year about how they play in their mud kitchen. If you’re not sure where to find some mud then she even shares a recipe just for making mud.
  • I shared this one last year but there are so many great mud play ideas I had to share it again. Growing a Jeweled Rose has collected a list of 30 ways to play in the mud all in one place. Well worth a visit for some mud inspired ideas.

Sunday 29th June is International Mud Day 2014 so if you haven’t already got stuck in the mud then make it your Sunday mission, and if you have, then stick your feet just a little bit more. We will be!

International Mud Day is June 29

Last Outdoor Play party I loved Growing Inch by Inch’s post about their Nature Playground. I really love the Growing Inch by Inch philosophy of play and how the children have been able to shape their own play space. It has grown organically and as a result it has become a really amazing space to play. Every school and nursery should have a play space like this one!

How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? Have you been playing in the mud? However, you have chosen to play outdoors then do link up. We love reading all your posts and sharing them with the world.

We’d appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we’ll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterest. Please feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the ‘featured’ button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! 


Delicious Outdoor Party Food Ideas for Children

Quick and quirky food for those days spent outdoors.

After a long day of exploring nature and experiencing the great outdoors, kids can be ravenous creatures! A parent versed in the ways of outdoor adventures will know to bring a sandwich or two to the park or to parties, but a truly skilled and outdoorsy parent will know how to bring the outdoors into even the food that their kids eat! 

Children can be notoriously picky when it comes to their food, and any parent will tell you that finding the balance between great-looking food that kids will love to munch on and food that’s actually nutritious and good for them is tricky, but we’ve got some suggestions for outdoor party food that are sure to be knockouts in both categories. 

If you’re hosting or organising the party, make sure to prepare enough for all the hungry kids and parents! Sue Etheridge, product developer for Party Food at Marks and Spencer, recommends preparing 6-8 portions of finger foods for guests, and this should be more than enough to account for all the kids at the play party, as well as their parents – depending on numbers.

1. Fruit Skewers 
Fruit Skewers
Experts advise that kids be given 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits every day, and fruit skewers are a great way to introduce the necessary fruits into their diet without them getting tired of the taste of a certain fruit. They’re also quite easy to assemble, and if you can manage to use stirrers instead of skewers to make them safer for the kids, other parents are sure to appreciate it too! 

2. Welsh “Bunnies” 
Welsh Rabbit
This great recipe from Parenting.com takes all but 10 minutes to prepare and cook per serving, but it’s fairly easy to make big batches of these cheesy crackers. Sneak in a carrot and some sugar-snap or snow pea ears, and you’ve got the workings of a delightful little bunny that’s tasty and nutritious! 

3. Elephant Sandwiches 
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Who doesn’t love sandwiches? Perhaps the easiest snack to accomplish, all you need to do is assemble your favourite sandwich and use one of your handy cookie cutters to make the shape you want! Make different kinds of sandwiches to give the kids and other parents a variety of choices, from PB&J to chicken and egg salad sandwiches. 

Sophia Hughes is a mom to a 3 year old toddler, Charlie. Aside from working as a part-time events coordinator, Sophia spends most of her free time browsing through Pinterest for easy-to-follow home craft projects

The Liebster Award

Eeek! I am so excited to have been nominated to participate in the Liebster Award by the fabulous #outdoorfamilies blogger, Mae from Mommy Love Trees

Liebster-Award

The Liebster Award is an award that is given by bloggers to bloggers as a way of encouraging more people to discover them. There is no real award and there are no judges. It is simply a recognition of your fellow bloggers and a great way to get to know them. I am absolutely chuffed to have been nominated so thank you Mae!

The only rules are that you link to the person that nominated you, you answer the 11 questions asked by this person and you pay it forward by nominating 11 other bloggers and asking 11 questions of them.

Sounds like fun!

So here are Mae’s 11 questions and my answers:

1. How did you develop your love of the outdoors?

I know it started young but I can’t pinpoint one reason. I always remember being in the garden, long summer holidays and hot sunny Sundays trying not to step on ants, talking to the oak tree, planting acorns and checking out the fungi that grew on the oak tree. Looking back that oak tree had a lot to do with it! I always had a passion for horses too so from the age of 8 I would spend every Saturday with a gaggle of girls mucking out and playing gladiators on the stacked hay bales at a local stables. I suppose lots of unstructured free play outdoors had a lot to do with my love of being outside.

2. What portion of your vacations include outdoor activities?

I have to admit we don’t do vacations very much, usually only once a year, but when we do they normally involve camping so the majority of the holiday is spent outdoors. Our honeymoon was spent walking the beautiful Elan Valley, spotting red kites and bat watching so the more that we can do outdoors the better!

3. What is your favourite outdoor activity?

Wow, how could I choose? There are so many and it probably depends on the time of the year. I love walking and exploring new places but I would probably say just being outdoors and observing how Little Man interacts with it all is my absolute favourite thing to do.

4. What is your favourite piece of outdoor equipment?

It has to be the fire pit. I bloody love a campfire and I can’t imagine a nicer way to spend time with friends and family than sitting round a nice cosy fire eating pancackes and chocolate sauce.

Campfire

5. What is your favourite outdoor location: beach, forests, dessert, mountains etc?

I think the beach just nudges in front of the woods for me. I love the sea air, the rhythm of the tide and the special memories it has for me. I know how much my Mummy loves the sea too so it always reminds me of her. The woods is a very close second for me, mainly because of all the wonderful friendships I have forged playing in the forest.

Big Skies1

6. What is your favourite outdoor adventure memory?

Ooh, this is another tricky one. One of my absolute favourites has to be watching Little Man enjoy the feeling of mud on his feet as he explored the beach not long before he learnt to walk by himself. Previous to Little Man it has to be going on long horseback rides through the forests and along the beaches in North Wales.

7. What outdoor adventure is on your bucket list?

One day I want to go and see brown bears in the wild. I think that is one of my ultimate wildlife watching dreams.

8. Besides the outdoors and blogging, what are your hobbies?

Taking pictures. I recently got a micro four thirds camera so am taking photos whenever and wherever I can. It’s a slow process but I am starting to understand all the controls and on occasion taking a cracking picture. Like they say, practice makes perfect, well eventually anyway!

9. What inspired you to start blogging?

I started blogging as a way of keeping in touch with the world of outdoor education. I hadn’t long gone back to work and my job role had changed so I was no longer working towards getting kids outside. I wanted to help inspire others to get outside with their families and share our experiences of being an outdoorsy family.

10. What do you love most about blogging?

It has to be meeting lots of other lovely bloggers. The world of blogging is full of wonderful inspirational people who are always willing to share their ideas, advice and just general loveliness. Wow, that sounded a bit gushy didn’t it? But it is very true.

11. What is your least favourite aspect of blogging?

Probably the time aspect. Sometimes I feel I am tied to my computer just keeping up with things and I always know I could do so much better if I could spend more time on certain aspects of blogging. The good parts of blogging far outweigh any of this though.

My nominees are:

My lovely three #outdoorplayparty co-hosts plus eight other lovely outdoorsy bloggers I enjoy reading.

  1. Kierna from Learning from Life
  2. Jen from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
  3. Erin from The Usual Mayhem
  4. Charlotte from Raising Wild Ones
  5. Angelia from Growing HeARTS
  6. Growing Inch by Inch
  7. The Boy and Me
  8. Samantha from Stir the Wonder
  9. Isis from Little Mountain Haven
  10. Jo from 3 Kids and a Gluestick
  11. Liska from Adventure in a Box

Please let me know when you’ve posted your answers so I can check it out!

My questions for you are:

  1. What was the first blog post you ever wrote?
  2. If you could change one thing about your blog what would it be?
  3. Is there a natural phenomenon that you have always wanted to see or visit, if so what?
  4. What is your favourite season and why?
  5. What is your favourite outdoor play item?
  6. Mud, Sand or Water?
  7. What is your favourite outdoor cooking recipe?
  8. What do you love most about being outdoors?
  9. What is your favourite children’s book and why?
  10. Who inspires you and why?
  11. What is your lifetime ambition?

 

 

 

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