It all started with a rather mundane trip to the supermarket and a total toddler meltdown in the middle of the store. Luckily I was with Daddy so whilst he was paying I could remove the screaming monster that had laid himself out in the middle of the aisle and relieve the poor shoppers that were stood gaping at this terribly behaved toddler. Tightly hooked under my arm I carried the monster to the front of the store where we waited outside until Daddy was finished. Funnily enough as soon as we were outdoors we had instant quiet.
Something had caught the little monsters attention. It happened to be a brand new shiny police toddler bike, chained up to a bigger bike and looking very attractive. Little Man was hooked and sat on my hip telling me that it was his bike whilst he watched some other children riding round on their own bikes. Once Daddy appeared we made motions to leave and the monster started to reappear. We couldn’t possibly leave the bike. It was his, didn’t we know that?!
We manhandled the monster back into his car seat and decided that as Daddy needed some brake fluid we would go to Halfords and check out the bikes while we were there. Little Man had some birthday money left and seeing as he was so obviously taken with them we thought we would take a look.
The first thing Little Man spotted was a shiny red balance bike. He was on it and riding round the store before we knew it. Daddy wanted to go upstairs and check out the other bikes so up we went and it didn’t take him long to find a better model, but would Little Man try it out. Absolutely not! It was all about the red shiny bike. He didn’t care that the carrera had proper bike tyres, an adjustable seat or adjustable handlebars. So we let him play and Daddy bought the carrera anyway. In the long run we knew it would be the better bike and that it would last him longer. It also helped that it was the last one in the store so it was discounted.
By this time Little Man was well overdue his lunchtime nap so although there were a few tears as we left the red bike behind and walked out with the carrera, the monster we had seen earlier failed to break through. When we did finally get home Little Man had recovered from the loss of the shiny red bike and suddenly decided he didn’t need sleep. All he needed was his bike. After wrestling him to bed he finally napped but it didn’t last long. He was far too excited to sleep.
It has been a week since the bikes arrival and the novelty is slowly starting to wear off, there is less riding it around the house anyway. He had a fabulous time out at the park a few days ago spending a non stop hour and half riding round only to give up when he was so shattered he was ready for bed. It is wonderful seeing his co-ordination and balance build, you can see every time he rides he gains in confidence. He is building really important skills that means going onto his first bike with peddles will be so much easier. He’s gonna be off careering round on a BMX before I know it!
I love a fire; some of the best friendships I have ever made have been forged around a campfire keeping warm after playing in the rain. I love the smell, the way the light dances across the flames and the way a fire always manages to pick me up if I am feeling a little bit low. I think it must tap into something deep within us, something primal. I also know that this is something I want Little Man to have a chance to experience as well.
Luckily for us Little Man has been experiencing fires right from when he was in my tummy. I did my Forest Schools assessment when I was 6 months pregnant and I can tell you that trying to light a fire in the respect position with a big bump is very near impossible! We also usually have a fire in the firepit a couple of times a year at home and we often have the indoor fire going to save on heating bills. However, fire around young babies and toddlers is always a worry, especially before they can really understand the word ‘no’, but if you are careful and follow a few simple fire rules then there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a good singsong around the campfire. Here are a few of my top tips for fire safety around toddlers.
- Never have a fire with small children around unless there are at least two adults. One adult should be responsible for the fire, staying with it and managing it, whilst the other adult looks after the kids. The more kids there are the more adults there needs to be.
- Always display good fire management behaviour, for example, wear your fire gloves when adding sticks and logs and only ever tend to the fire in a stable position such as the respect position. As your kiddies grow they are going to model your behaviour so if you don’t take risks with fire, they won’t either.
- Have a distance rule. That means that anyone not tending to the fire should be a certain distance from the fire unless they are invited in to toast marshmallows or to help tend the fire. Keep this rule in place even when the fire is out, partly because the rule then becomes second nature but also because even if the fire area looks cool it may still be packing a lot of heat.
- Always have plenty of water nearby. There should be enough water to put the fire out and enough water to manage a burn in the event of an emergency. We normally have a fire in the garden so we have easy access to running water if we need to get to it quickly but if you are remote, for example, on a camping trip, always carry extra water and an extra bucket.
Little Man is fascinated by fire and loves to sit on one of our laps and watch the other one get to work lighting it. As he gets older it is much easier to explain to him why he has to sit and watch instead of getting in to help but even when he was smaller he seemed to instinctively know it was dangerous. This might be because he could read our body language but there was definitely a healthy respect there. That doesn’t mean he won’t get careless or lax as he gets older so we are always quite strict with the above four rules.
Do you have fires with your little ones? What are your top tips on keeping them safe? Would you add any rules to the list?
Woohoo! It’s Outdoor Play Party time again and last Outdoor Play Party I loved loved loved the Backyard Science Lab! from Racheous Lovable Learning. I have done a couple of these experiments with youth groups in the past and they have all absolutely loved them. I can’t wait to try them out with Little Man.
How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? We always love to read your posts and discover new ways to play
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 Facebook/ Twitter/ Pinterest. 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!
Last week was Little Man’s 2nd birthday. Two already! It always surprises me how quickly time passes. It manages to creep up on me and then go Boo! Another year gone by…
February isn’t exactly the best month to have a birthday if you are keen to have an outdoor party, although as part of my old job I have delivered some fabulous outdoor parties during the winter months so it can be done. Many of Little Man’s friends have new baby brothers or sisters and with no guarantee of snow, rain or sunshine I do have to admit that his birthday party was an indoor affair. We did, however, spend his actual birthday morning at a local farm and the three of us had a splendid time. We fed the chickens, watched a cow get milked, said hello to the sheep and played on all their lovely wooden diggers and tractors. Happy Birthday Little Man!!!
Have any of you had a winter outdoor birthday celebration? What are your top tips?
It is Outdoor Play Party time again and my absolute favourite post from the last Outdoor Play Party was from Winegums and Watermelons. I loved how her family turned a flooded park into a play adventure, the boys look like they took full advantage of the water and it certainly made me wanna get out and get wading.
How have you been playing outdoors this wet and windy fortnight? Have you been taking advantage of the puddles?
Last weekend we managed to borrow a pop up play tent that was to double as a bird hide and Little Man absolutely loved it! I have to admit that there wasn’t an awful lot of bird watching happening despite Little Man running into it shouting ‘Birds!’ It was mostly used to play hide and seek in followed by a spot of mud painting on the side of it. It was a real hit though so we will definitely get one when we need to give this one back.
After endless games of hide and seek and a spot of toddler photography it soon got too windy for the playhouse so we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves. Little Man was off looking for all sorts of hands on play from squishing rotten apples to throwing sticks in the ditch and then before I knew it we were rolling around in the wet grass giggling like idiots and watching the sky. I love mornings like that, mornings when giggles are precious and nothing else in the world matters. Mornings like that make being a Mum the absolute best job in the world!
Following on from Little Man’s fun with the Big Garden Birdwatch I have decided to create a bird hide in the garden. The original plan was to get Little Man a treehouse for Christmas and although we have all the parts to make one time has been too short to pull it together so I am hoping this will go up in the summer now. A treehouse, however, would have made a perfect bird hide. So in the meantime I have come up with some alternative options and this weekend I plan to pull something together.
- Use our tarpaulin over the swing set creating a gap along the side. We would have to move the bird feeders for this option though
- Use our tent, which is quite large but could be popped up in view of the bird feeders
- Build one out of natural materials. I love this bird hide from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids but with all this rain and wind I would say this one is ruled out until the weather is slightly drier unless we can combine some natural materials with the tarpaulin
- Buy a kids pop up play tent. This could be an expensive option but probably something we would use time and again.
Hmmm, which option to choose? What would you do?
Last Outdoor Play Party I absolutely loved Growing Hearts ‘Foam Playdough Party’ post. I can’t wait to try this with Little Man and some of his friends. They will absolutely love it and wouldn’t it look great in a paddling pool!
How have you been playing outdoors this fortnight? We can’t wait to hear all your stories and ideas.