Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spooktacular Halloween Fun in Aylesbury

Following on from our busy morning of events in Aylesbury, we took advantage of another fun and free event this afternoon!

The Halloween Family Fun Day was organised by Aylesbury Town Council. Another really great event with lots of activities and entertainment!

When we arrived the Bubble Wizard had just started. An entertaining mix of magic and bubbles - very big bubbles! Little Miss A enjoyed seeing these and it ticks off number 1 from her 'Things To Do Before I'm 2'!


There were lots of activities going on including face painting, throw the hoop over the wizard's hat and Halloween themed crafts. Little Miss A was keen to get stuck in to the lucky dip bucket. I thought she was going to end up in it at one point! She also had a spooky tattoo which she was proud to show off to Daddy tonight when he got home. Wonder how long it will last!?!


The event was running from 3.30pm to 7.30pm. Later on, there was going to be another chance to see the Bubble Wizard along with a fancy dress competition. The judging was too late in the day for Little Miss A to enter. Bit of a shame as I think she looked so cute in her Spider outfit!

After the Bubble Wizard, there was a Halloween pantomime - Panto-ween! Little Miss A was starting to get tired at this point so we only stayed for the start of this. A very alternative bedtime story for her!



We really are lucky to live in a town where these types of events are organised for families and for free!


Busy morning of events in Aylesbury

Phew! There has been so much going on in Aylesbury town centre today. We had to make two trips in. This post covers our first trip this morning!

This week has been 'Children's Centres in Buckinghamshire Week' so there have been various things going on at all the centres round the county. We took advantage of a play session yesterday and today we thought we would visit the mobile centre bus that was in town so this is where we headed first.


When we went on board there were a few toys, play-doh and the main activity was to decorate a bus picture. Little Miss A had a bit of an attempt at colouring it in but really all she managed to do was get herself and me covered in glitter!

A new Poundworld store opened in Hale Leys Shopping Centre today so Little Miss A got to meet Olaf from the Frozen film (not that we've seen it yet so it was just a friendly looking snowman to her) and the Poundworld 'Pound'!


Then we headed to Kingsbury for the free half term event organised by Aylesbury Vale District Council. There were lots of activities going on including bungee trampolines, a climbing wall and big inflatable slide. For the little ones like Little Miss A there was a bouncy castle and a small soft play area. Can't believe all of these things were free!


So that was our morning. All fun and all free!

It was then time to head home for a well-earned rest before heading back into town again for another free event!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween Sensory Play Activity - Orange Spooky Themed Play

Slapped wrists to me as it has been absolutely ages since I last put together some themed sensory play for Little Miss A. We've done lots of other sensory activities over the summer but nothing with a theme.

It was fun doing the Valentine's Day Themed Play and St Patrick's Day Themed Play earlier in the year so with Halloween this week, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do some spooky themed sensory play!

The starting point was all things 'orange' as this is a predominant colour at Halloween and then I added a few spooky things for a bit of fun.


Here's a list of the things that I managed to gather together whilst Little Miss A was napping:
  • Stacking cups
  • Megabloks
  • Bowl and spoons
  • Flower pot with foam letters, magnetic letters, baby food pouch lids, big plastic buttons
  • Play-doh cutter

In the bottom of the cauldron I put some spiderweb patterned material and pumpkin tinsel. Then there are lots of different bits including:

  • A chick from an egg toy set
  • Pompoms
  • Foot shaped peg
  • Round shape from shape sorter toy
  • Plastic cup and spoon from tea set
  • Wooden cat from farm set
  • Plastic spiders
  • Wind-up skeleton toy
  • Pop-up bat toy

As with the other sensory play things I've done, I've just used things from around the house so it didn't cost a penny to put this activity together.

Little Miss A was much younger when we did this type of thing before so I really wasn't sure what her reaction would be, however she got stuck in straight away with delving into the cauldron and getting things out.


A game I came up with was a version of an egg and spoon race using the pompoms instead of an egg. Little Miss A won every race but then she was just running the length of the room with her spoon - she didn't really get that she had to keep the pompom on it!!

Little Miss A took the flowerpot and stacking cups and transferred the contents from one to another. She also used the spoons to stir and mix the contents up. We then styled the pumpkin tinsel into some interesting shapes and wore it as a hat for a while.

Initially she really wasn't sure about the wind-up skeleton toy and kept moving away from it when it got close to her. However, then she was quite amused by it and got me to wind it up again and again and again and again!!


I'm glad that I put this activity together for Little Miss A this afternoon. She kept going back to it at different points during the afternoon. It was really interesting to see what bits she was interested in and what she did with each. I was led by her as much as possible with what she wanted to do.

This has reinvigorated me again to organise more of these types of activities for Little Miss A so watch this space for more posts!


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fun on at the Farm at West Lodge Farm Park

Little Miss A and I went to visit my parent's overnight this week and I thought it would be nice for us all to visit a farm. After a bit of research, I found the West Lodge Farm Park which was just a 20 minute drive from where my parent's live in Kettering.

We got there about half an hour after it opened. We timed it just right for a petting session with a rabbit and two guinea pigs in Cuddle Corner. She also had an encounter with a very friendly goat who was more than keen to be fed some of the food we'd purchased on the way-in.

We took our time wandering around all the different animal areas. Little Miss A was keen to find some ducks in the Poultry area as her favourite TV programme is 'Sarah and Duck'! We were all doing lots of duck impressions in the hope that they would respond and quack for her! It didn't really work that well!

We met the ponies that are used for Pony Rides. When Little Miss A is older she'll love have a ride but for now we just stroked them. We then fed some of the sheep before Little Miss A found a big puddle and that was her happy for a long time. We struggled to get her to move on! Other children passed and liked the look of her puddle, but she didn't budge to let them splash!


Next we saw a variety of pig breeds. Little Miss A wasn't too sure when one of them started making a lot of noise! It is great that she's now getting familiar with these animals from the books we read, puzzles we do etc.

We came across some more goats and Little Miss A was really enjoying feeding them with the help of her Pop. However, next thing I saw was that one of the goat's had the whole paper bag of food in its mouth! Pop's obviously wasn't holding onto the bag securely enough and got a bit too close. Little Miss A actually got a bit upset as she was really enjoying giving the food. Whoops! Greedy Goat!


We then found the indoor play barn which had some ride-on toys and a soft play slide inside. We spent a little bit of time in here before heading out into the outdoor play area which has some fantastic equipment including a large castle fort with slide. Little Miss A definitely enjoyed playing here.

Suddenly there was a mad rush to form a queue as the tractor was arriving for the Barrel Ride. We joined the queue and I'm glad we did. When it was our turn Little Miss A loved it and was waving all the way around! You get to go around a short circuit (the outside of the play area) twice. Little Miss A really didn't want to get off when it finished. Luckily, there wasn't much of a queue for the next ride so we rejoined the queue and got to go again straight away! A very novel ride!


We found another section with a few more pigs and sheep along with a Spooky Halloween area that we could walk through. Think I was more scared than Little Miss A as there were lots of big hairy spiders hanging down - I really don't do spiders (real or fake!). There were lots of other Halloween themed things going on including a Ghost Story and the opportunity to Meet the Witch, but most were taking place later in the day. It appears that they do a lot of themed events throughout the year so I'll be keeping my eye out for future events.

Entry into the West Lodge Rural Centre costs £6.45 per adult at the weekend (£5.20 off peak). Under 2s are free so that's good for us for now! You can also purchase bags of animal food but be warned that you need to hold on to the bag tight as the animals will have the food and the bag given half the chance as Pop now knows!

There are some walks and trails that we didn't have the opportunity to do on this occasion, and also we missed out on the tractor rides as these started later in the day. However, that gives us lots to look forward to on our next visit as I know we're going to be back for another visit as we all thoroughly enjoyed our morning here.



Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Gruffalo Child's Trail in Wendover Woods

Having followed the Gruffalo Trail in Wendover Woods several times this year, today we did the Gruffalo Child's Trail.


The Trail changed to feature this story at the beginning of this month. Little Miss A received the book as a present from her Nana a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of us doing the Trail so that she would already be familiar with the story.

This new Trail follows the same paths through the deep dark wood as the old one. The characters of mouse, fox, owl and snake are still there in the trees. It's just the activity boards along the way that are now different.

Little Miss A is still too young to do the activities but the game to her was to find the next board each time. She got really excited to see each one, raced towards it and then before we even had the chance to read it, she was off, trying to find the next one!

Some of the activities that we did manage to look at included 'Can you find things that animals use to keep warm in winter?' and 'Sit quietly for a minute... How many animal and bird sounds can you hear?' I'm sure we'll do this trail a few times so I might get to read different boards each time!


The statue of the Gruffalo is still in place which is a nice finale to the Trail. He certainly has a nice view from his position!

This afternoon we had time for a stop at the Cafe and then a visit to the playground. We discovered some instruments this time - two wooden xylophones and some airbags so we became our own little band for quite a while. Not sure anyone that could hear us would have been that impressed with our efforts, but we enjoyed ourselves!

There are Gruffalo Child's Trails in woods throughout the UK. The trail is in place until February 2015. Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.

It's a nice easy walk and Little Miss A can now manage the whole Trail herself. The activities are definitely aimed at older children and you can pick up an activity pack which includes a foraging bag, leaflet, pencil and sticker. However, there's still enough to make the walk interesting and fun for Little Miss A so we'll be there again soon I'm sure!



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Autumn Walk along The Phoenix Trail

As we're experiencing such mild weather given that it's October, we wanted to get out today to take advantage of it and get some fresh air.

Due to the incident with the baby back carrier on our last walk (the strap broke!), we needed somewhere that was an easy walk where we could take the pushchair for when Little Miss A got too tired to walk. I remembered hearing about the Phoenix Trail and after a bit of research, this seemed perfect. 


We knew we couldn't do the whole trail (it's 5 miles) so we chose to start from Thame and walk for about an hour before heading back. Next time we'd start from Princes Risborough and come the other way along. 

The Trail is along a disused railway and was ideal for Little Miss A to be able to walk by herself. It's traffic-free so a really safe environment for her to wander and roam along. The tarmac path meant it was easy to push the pushchair (it did get used on the way back so was worth taking with us!). 

It was really great to see so many other people on the Trail. Walkers, runners and lots of cyclists, particularly family groups. If you want to make it along the whole Trail from Thame to Princes Risborough (or vice versa) then you'd definitely need to cycle!

Along the trail are various artworks and benches some of which reflect the route's railway heritage. Little Miss A particularly enjoyed exploring these! We passed under 2 bridges which we made a lot of noises underneath to hear the echoes! She was also interested in the graffiti artwork (good job she can't read the words yet!).


This walk was just what we needed today. We were out for about 2 hours in total but we definitely didn't cover that much distance along the Trail. We have to accept that it takes a lot longer now Little Miss A wants to walk so much herself, but it really is so much fun letting her just wander by herself and explore!


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday Autumnal Stroll in Tring Park

We wanted to take advantage of the sunshine this morning and decided to head to Tring Park. I'm so glad we did as it was ideal for a Sunday stroll.

We parked in the new car park that has been created near the Tring Museum (parking is free). It was then a short walk over a footbridge to the Park. There are maps showing a few different walks. We chose to do the Woodland Walk as this took in some of the key features of the Park including the Obelisk and the Summer House Folly.

To start with we carried Little Miss A in the backpack carrier but then let her down to walk a bit. It was great fun seeing her run around in the fallen leaves!


From the Summer House, the walk goes along King Charles Ride where there were several viewpoints with really lovely views.

We also came across an interesting archway! There were animal heads carved into some of the wood and the lyrics to a song. After a bit of research, I think it's the lyrics to 'Pure Imagination' from the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film with Gene Wilder. A very unusual sculpture!


Little Miss A ended up walking the last part as Daddy got a little bit carried away with jigging her in the carrier and a strap broke. Whoops!

We were out for about an hour and a half which was just right for this morning. We'll definitely be heading here again.