Archive for April 2014

Busy Bees Toddler Group - Review

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thought we'd try a new Play Group today so Baby A and I headed off to Fairford Leys Community Centre for the Busy Bees Toddler Group.

It starts at 9.30am so quite an early start. We received a warm welcome and were given a quick run down of the structure of the morning.

The session is 2 hours and there is use of a big room plus a large outdoor space (weather permitting). Luckily for us the sun was shining today so we spent most of the time outside. There was a slide, a small trampoline and loads of different ride-on toys. I think Baby A tried each and every one of these!!

Inside were different areas including a play kitchen, wooden train track, some baby toys, lots of animals and dinosaurs, a doll's house and more! Definitely a wide variety and something for all ages.

This week the craft was sunflower seed planting. Baby A was enjoying playing too much so we didn't actually do this bit, but lots of the children did get involved.

The group is for children up to school age. There were a few small babies and then most of the other children were older than Baby A. She held her own though on the slide etc. with the bigger children!

Towards the end all the parents muck-in to tidy up. It's amazing how far small toys can travel from the boxes where they started! Then the tables are set out for all the children to sit round for a biscuit and drink. The parents take this opportunity to enjoy a hot drink.

As it was our first visit, we didn't have to pay today. Normally it's £2 for the adult and child and then 50p per extra child. This includes drinks/snacks and a different craft each week.

Would definitely recommend to try this Group out. We'll be going again.

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Ragpits and Reservoir

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Staffing issues forced my partner into work this morning on his day off so we had to change our plans. We wanted to get out for a walk and racked our brains for somewhere to go. We then came up with two places that we've thought about visiting.

Firstly was the Aston Clinton Ragpits - an old chalkpit which is just on the edge of Wendover Woods. It's not obvious from the road that this nature reserve is there and though not very big in size it was a nice short walk. The time to visit apparently is the end of June as there is meant to be a lovely display of wild orchids. So I've put it in my diary to re-visit again then. We enjoyed our picnic lunch sat on what I think is the only bench in the reserve then took a wander around.

Baby A certainly seemed to be enjoying the walk!

To find the Ragpits, you head towards Wendover Woods and then as you turn right into St Leonards Road from Upper Icknield Way you park up immediately on the left hand side of the road. There's a kissing gate here which takes you through to the Ragpits.

As it didn't take us very long to walk around the Ragpits and the weather was still on our side, we stopped off at another spot on Halton Lane on the drive back home. We thought we were going to be exploring a wood but what we actually found was the Weston Turville Reservoir. Couldn't believe this large expanse of water was hiding away!

There's a path the whole way around the reservoir so it's an easy route. We strayed off the main path at one point which was pretty muddy but the rest was dry underfoot. There were a few narrow parts to the path so I'd recommend long trousers as there are nettles. There was a bird hide tucked away at the beginning of the walk. We didn't see too much wildlife today but we heard a lot of different birdsong as we went round.

Not sure what Baby A had spotted here!

So all in all a really pleasant few hours exploring these places. There's no obvious signage to either of these places so I'm sure lots of people don't realise they're there! Two great little finds!

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Children's Farm at Buckingham Park Community Centre

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Community Centre at Buckingham Park became a mini-farm for the day today. This was a free event organised by Barnado's Children's Centre.

I wasn't sure exactly what the set-up would be but was impressed by what was on offer.

In the main hall were some small animals including chickens, rabbits and chicks. There were also some areas for play and a couple of tables set out for crafts. In a separate room was soft play equipment and a small bouncy castle. Then outside were more animals - goats, ponies and lambs.

The first circuit that we did around the different rooms, Baby A was a bit reticent to go too near the animals. She played a bit on the bouncy castle and then I caught up with some of my Mummy friends over a cup of tea before I took her on another circuit. This time around Baby A was putting her hands forward to be nuzzled by the animals. It was great to see this change in her confidence with the animals!

The afternoon cost £1.50 in total which was for my cup of tea and cake. Transportation costs were zero as I actually walked! We were down to one car today as my partner's car is in the garage. I thought about getting the bus but this would only have taken me part of the way and as the sun was shining, I thought I would see how long it took to walk. It's actually a nice little walk as it's away from the roads and runs along by the river. I really should walk around Aylesbury more!

So all in all a really nice afternoon.

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Development activity using just cardboard tubes and pom-poms!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Inspired by an image I saw on the Kids Activity Blog earlier with cardboard tubes and pom-poms, I raided our recycling bag, found some different sized pom-poms in my craft drawer and set about cobbling together a board for Baby A.

I used an old cereal box to tape the tubes to (kitchen roll and toilet roll tubes). It doesn't look that elegant, but it seemed to do the trick!

After a quick demonstration, Baby A quickly cottoned on to what she needed to do. She preferred the two tubes joined together although her favourite choice of pom-pom (the blue sparkly ones) kept getting a bit stuck!

Originally the board was stuck to the wall with blu-tack, but Baby A soon decided to pull it off the wall and it seemed to work just as well propped up on the floor.

By taping the tubes to the cardboard box rather than directly onto a wall or surface means that I have been able to just fold the box back up with the tubes still attached inside and therefore it can easily be used again.

This activity is helping to improve Baby A's pincer grip as she picks up the different sized pom-poms and drops them down the tubes. I'm now waiting to see what else she finds to try to put down the tubes!

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1st Birthday Discovery Bottle

Saturday, 5 April 2014

With one thing and another this week, I'd completely forgotten that I'd created a 1st Birthday discovery bottle for Baby A. Whoops!

The aim was to make this bottle really colourful, I wanted it to make a bit of noise when it's shaken and of course it had to have a '1' theme!

So her 1st Birthday discovery bottle contained:

  • Candle
  • Sponge number 1s
  • Magnetic number 1s
  • Foam number 1s
  • Pompoms in various sizes
  • Plastic beaded necklace
  • Red confetti stars
  • Parcel ribbon

I gave the bottle to Baby A tonight whilst we were waiting for Daddy to arrive home from work. It kept her well distracted so I think it's safe to say it was a good belated birthday surprise for her!


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Birthday visit to the farm - Oak Farm Animal Park

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Baby A turned one on Monday. We celebrated with friends and family on Sunday and as my partner was working that day, I asked a few of my Mum friends if they'd like to bring their little ones to a farm. I chose 'Oak Farm Animal Park' as it is just on our doorstep on Broughton Lane, Aylesbury.

Most of the Mums that came along didn't even know where this farm was even though it's in Aylesbury. So I wonder how many other local Mums don't know about this place.

A group of 5 of us met at the farm on Monday afternoon. It was a great time to go as we were the only ones there!!

I was really surprised by how many different animals there are. Given it's size, there's a lot of variety for the kids to see and pet. Spring is always a good time to visit farms as there's baby animals to see and our first stop was the Ewes with their lambs.

Next up were some goats that were very keen to come over and say hello!

Those babies that are walking enjoyed the space and freedom to toddle around the farm. It was dry underfoot during our visit, but I can imagine that if it's been very wet then wellies would definitely be needed!

Our next stop was a big shed with different pens that had horses, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits and donkeys.

We then wandered around the other outside areas where there were amongst other things pigs, more goats and my personal favourite - alpacas. They are so soft to touch!

It costs just £5 for adults. £2.50 for kids. Under 2s are free. Kids are free on Mondays. You also have the option to buy animal food which a couple of the Mums did.

Once the babies had seen all the animals, the Mums enjoyed tea and cake in the coffee shop. Then there was just time for a quick play in the indoor soft play area, before heading home.

This really is a great little hidden gem in Aylesbury.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, this farm has now closed.

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