Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Wildlife Tots: Winter Wonderland

3 January, 2017

stickmanLuckily for us the New Year Bank Holiday on Monday was a beautiful day – albeit freezing cold! Lucky, because I’d booked Isaac onto the Blashford Lakes Wildlife Tots which is an outdoor activity aimed at pre-school children run by volunteers from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Isaac had loved the Nature Tots we did in Dorset on holiday back in September, and he enjoys going to Wild Things near us, so when I spotted this on over the holidays I thought it would be good to try.

We started the session in the Education Centre making our very own Stickman and snowflakes, giving everyone a chance to turn up and get ready.  Or actually should I say I initially started by trying to coax Isaac through the door as he suddenly decided to be incredibly shy and not want to go in, but luckily he got over that after I wafted a granola bar in his face!

stickman-trailAfter that we wrapped up warm and headed off outside to explore. As we went, one of the volunteers read us the story of the Stickman. And with each page of the book we got to play along his adventure. We found nice warm scarves hidden for him in the woods, we played Pooh Sticks on the bridge, we created a large nest for a swan, we made sand castles on a special “pop up” beach, we made snowmen (or rather dough men!) and we lit a fire (and made sure to put it out after we were finished).

It was a lovely fun afternoon and I’d really recommend these outdoor Nature based groups – there are lots around. So long as you are prepared for the weather it is a great opportunity to get outdoors, have some fun and learn something too.

Intech aka Winchester Science Centre

31 December, 2016

On Thursday I took Isaac to Intech in Winchester. I previously went around 14 years ago when they first opened the current site for an event through work involving encouraging the new generation of kids to take an interest in science and technology, and had been meaning to take Isaac when he was old enough to enjoy the exhibits.

Intech6The centre is made up of two large floors of interactive exhibits, and although at 3 years old he can’t really appreciate the science behind them, I thought he was old enough to make the most of a day out. I wasn’t wrong as we spent five and a half hours there… and only left because it was closing time!

It was reasonably busy, being a cold Winters day in the school holidays, but not so much so that you had to wait more than one turn to have a go at anything.  Isaac was particularly fascinated with an exhibit called the Colon Café where you had to use a touch screen to chose some food choices, which produced a ticket you could then scan in various places inside a giant pink “colon” tunnel.

Intech8There was also a number of light tables where you could look at x-ray style pictures. There was a large human skeleton which was broken into pieces so you could put it together like a jigsaw – another favourite we had to visit around 6 times!

Some of the exhibits were a little dated, and a few not working, plus there was a large section of floor space fenced off downstairs which made it look a bit tatty.  Overall though there was plenty of exhibits to entertain.

In the centre of the lower floor was a walled, circular soft play area with sofas around the edge – a perfect excuse to chill out for a while safe in the knowledge the little man was enjoying himself and safe!

We visited the café for lunch – there was rather a long queue as they only had one working till, but the food was reasonable – Isaac had the kids meal deal of a sandwich, drink and three snack items for £4.95 which is pretty on par with most places.

The cost for an adult and child ticket was just about the £20 mark, so coupled with £10 for lunch it wasn’t a cheap day out, but I do think he really enjoyed it, and it saved me a day hanging out in the freezing cold outdoors somewhere!  There was a large indoor picnic area too so we could have taken lunch, although I am sure he’d have still dragged me for something else in the café.

One thing that was a bit disappointing was the lack of baby changing facilities, given that it is aimed at families.  There appeared to be just one upstairs and one downstairs and we ended up with quite a wait.

I’d like to go back sometime when he is older and visit the planetarium cinema too, although that costs extra again.

Christmas Eve

24 December, 2016

So it’s been a busy year, both at work and home with a lot of unplanned “stuff” that got in the way.  I love Christmas and always have – take after my Dad in that regard – and want Isaac to enjoy the magic especially while he’s young. We’ve been to a grotto, Christmas Tree Festival and Christmas parties, and most have gone down well, although this year Isaac seems to have decided Father Christmas is a bit on the scary side and we’ve had to use Mummy as a go between to get our presents!bauble-hunt-1

It’s going to be a fairly quiet Christmas Day at home though so I wanted Isaac to get excited and enjoy Christmas Eve in the company of some of his little buddies.  So deciding to play Super Mum I arranged a special gathering in our close for the kids.  I created a Bauble Hunt (basically “hid” a few baubles around the close for the kids to find), made them all up some reindeer food to sprinkle on Father Christmas runway (our shared drive), and made hot chocolate and home made Xmas Star shortbread biscuits (yay me, not just buying something!).

The evening was really cute, and I feel happy (and slightly smug at my efforts). Thinking that would wear them out so they’d happily go to bed afterwards… ha ha not so much, as Isaac still came back in and demanded ANOTHER Octonauts.  Sadly the tv was already asleep and we instead had to go to bed with just stories, ANOTHER glass of milk and ANOTHER treat from the magic reindeer advent calendar.

So Super Mum finished stuffing stockings, laying out presents and working out some kind of cooking schedule for tomorrow before crashing on the sofa to watch a cheesy Christmas film.

 


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