Birdworld review: A Great day out with the family.

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wp-image-944449070As a child my mum and dad would take us to attractions, theme parks and zoos, during our school summer holidays. It was something that my brother and me would look forward to. I try to do the same for my children at least once or twice during the holidays.wp-image-1950446311

My youngest daughter is currently obsessed with birds. All birds, any shape or form. My middle daughter loves anything flamingo. When BIRDWORLD gave me the opportunity to visit, I  jumped at the chance.  With my oldest being 11 years old, I didn’t want him to get too bored but once he found out they had penguins, he was happy to come. I asked my mum to come along with us incase I had any problems with my leg, she could help with the children.

When we first arrived, we had to walk through the gift shop before going out to see the birds. At the admissions desk we were offered the chance to buy some bird food. I was quite disapointented in the size of the pot and the amount in the little bag, my first thought was ‘ That’s not going to last long’  and as predicted by the time my children got to the fourth enclosure the food had gone. However I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed dotted around the sanctuary, there were little vending type machines, you put 50p in the side, turn the handle and a certain amount of food came out and re-filled the tubes. I think this is a great idea.wp-image-1831391353

Walking from enclosure to enclosure was great. There were so many beautiful birds, among them we saw the Toco Toucans and Hornbills,  the colours and patterns on their feathers were just amazing. As we followed the path round we were guided towards a pond, where you can see all the ducks having a swim and enjoying the water.  The scenery  in the whole sanctuary is some thing on its own, They have beautiful flower gardens full of colourful flowers and beautiful shrubs.

We found a really nice picnic area to have lunch, Near this they have an outdoor cafe called ‘Safari Snacks’ Where you can find hot food like jacket potatoes, chips and hot dogs. They also offer a large range of ice creams here. This is nicely placed between the two play areas and the safari train is situated right next to this.wp-image-167545792

After lunch we headed into the penguin enclosure, called ‘Penguin beach’  This is where the African penguins are ( apparently they are known to be jackass penguins)  I wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was and it was really nice watching the penguins playing with each other in the water, It was a nice sunny day some of the penguins were sun bathing soaking up the sun, They were quite relaxed about having people walk across the bridge in their enclosure. My older children loved spending time in here especially my eldest, he loved the penguins.

We carried on following the path and came to ‘ Jenny Wren farm’ You can find many of the well-known farm animals here and a lot of the animals are roaming free, My middle daughter had great fun in the goat field and my youngest daughter really enjoyed seeing the chickens and pigs. You are also able to purchase many of the smaller animals here, for example rabbits, chickens and guinea pigs.

After playing in the park that is right outside Jenny wren farm entrance, we turned back on ourselves and went looking for the enclosures we had missed. Half way round we lost our map and just kind of winged it and followed the path. haha! This brought us back to the picnic area and the safari train, My mum offered to take the kids on the train so I could rest my leg for a bit. They seemed to really enjoy it, coming back telling me they had seen some cranes and emus and even ‘ Birdworlds Great BUSTARDS. ( No i didn’t swear, read it again. haha!)wp-image-1073493292

Ella had wanted to walk from the moment we entered and now she was starting to get tired so we put her back into the pram and made our way to the remaining enclosures. we finally came to the enclosure my middle daughter had been waiting for all day for. The flamingo enclosure. This is one of the latest enclosures to be added to the park and I think the flamingos have settled in well, as you can see in my picture there are little grey fluffy babies walking around in the enclosure.

The final big enclose we went to was the owl enclosure. This is a group of beautiful wooden enclosures placed in a semi-circle with hands-on activities for the children to do. The owls themselves are gorgeous and there are two babies in an enclosure with their mum that so cute. The path then brings you out towards some more beautiful birds of prey and leads you round to the parrot enclosure. My children spent ages here watching the birds and trying to find brightly coloured feathers.wp-image-229583623

Our last stop of course was the gift shop at the end. The gift shop is linked to a really nice cafe where you can get two course from £12 and they do a lovely cup of coffee. My children had a certain amount they had to stick to from the gift shop. My youngest wanted some small stuffed birds and this came in a deal of 3 for £10, My middle daughter chose a large stuffed owl toy and my son chose a penguin cup with swirly straw, a dragon sand toy and a penguin sand toy.

wp-image-999849921Once you come out of birdworld, you can enter a different part called Underwater World. This is a smaller building with various fish tanks with lots of different species including a shoal of piranhas, also this is the home of their miniature crocodiles.

Overall we had a great day, My children loved it and I really enjoyed spending the whole day out with my family. I would really recommend taking the family here for a day out. If you have been to birdworld leave me comment below and let me know what you thought of it.

I would like to say a big thank you to birdworld for giving us the opportunity to visit and have a great day.wp-image-1575003404

Craft time review – Make your own unicorn.

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Before I start I want to make clear that I am in no way getting paid to write this review and I do not get paid if you order through my link to the shops home page. 

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My middle daughter absolutely loved unicorns so when we saw this it was a no brainer, we just had to get it.

I got this crafting set at my local home bargains shop. It cost £1.99 which I thought was a really good price.

The packaging it come in is very bright and automatically caught my daughters eye. The design on the box is very simple and the text can be easily read. The content of this surprised me. I thought there would be one unicorn and a few embellishments that you can use to decorate it, However when Kira opened the box it had three thick cardboard unicorns to decorate and five cellophane bags containing different items to decorate the unicorn with.

In these cellophane bags were…

  • 3D coloured gems
  • Pink foam flowers
  • Purple foam hearts
  • Wooden beads
  • Tube of pink glitter glue
  • Tube of PVA glue

Also included were two pages of coloured paper and two pages of stickers, one with eyes on them and the other was full of lovely unicorns, butterflies, crowns and flowers. There also was a cellophane bag containing blue, pink and white wool to make the hair of the unicorn.

I Brought this crafting set because my children are off school for the summer and I thought it would be a nice activity for us to do together. Kira loved doing this activity and we sat together just chatting and decorating for about 45 minutes. Kira decided to only decorated 1 unicorn and save the others for another day.

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I think this crafting set is mainly directed at girls between the ages of 4-7. Personal I think a child below 4 years old would struggle a bit with all the little stickers and plaiting the hair and knotting the beads. Girls older than 7 I think would find this a bit babyish and would get bored quite quckly.

To be completely honest, I was thinking this is too good to be true, this only cost me £1.99. There must be something to let it down but I can’t seem to find anything majorly wrong with this. I will admit that it could do with a few more of the foam stickers as there are three unicorns to decorate and not many stickers to cover all of them but this is not a major problem and Kira didn’t really mind.

I asked Kira what she thought about this unicorn crafting set and her reply was ” I love it mum, it was really fun doing this together. Can you get me another one next time you’re at the shop please?”

so it was a great hit with Kira and as a parent I really enjoyed spending time with her, doing something she really enjoyed. This product is really good for boosting childrens imagination and creativity. At the time Home bargains only had ‘ Make your own unicorns’ but I will be watching out for different characters in this crafting collection. Next time I am at Home bargains I will deffinatly be picking up some more of these and I would highly recommend them to any parent.

I just had a thought, This would also be a great top up birthday present for your childrens friends.

When Kira found out I was going to be doing a review on this, she made a comment about how it would be nice to see how other children decorated their unicorns. so I would like to set you a challenge. If you live near a home bargains please go and pickup one of these kits for your children, If you don’t live near a home bargains you can access their website here. Order you children one of these kits. Me and Kira would love to see all the different designs they can make. You can post your pictures below or tag me ( @limpingmum) in your images on Instagram or Facebook.

An eventful start to our picnic at the park.

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If you have read by blog before you will know I don’t go out very much and I don’t really know many of the parents at my daughter’s school, so when I was invited out with the other mums for a picnic, I thought It would be a great opportunity to get to know them a bit more.

One of the mums text me all the details, where and what time. I’m not great with park names and when I looked at the text I automatically thought we would be going to the park near our children’s school. The night before the picnic I made all the sandwiches and some pasta salad, I packed all the snacks and drinks and went to bed feeling prepared for the day ahead.

Picnic day had arrived, we were all up early, got dressed and ready to go, half past 10 came and we were out the door, giving us 30 minutes to walk to the park to meet the mums for 11am.

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Photos taken from the first park.

We got there just after 11am. we were the only ones in the park, half an hour goes by and still no-one turned up. I text one of the mums and re-read the earlier message, only to realise we were at the wrong park!! The children were non the wiser and carried on playing but I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been not read the message properly. I bundled Ella back into the pram, told the older two to grab their scooters, as we’re walking down the road I open Google maps find the nearest bus that will take us to the right park and rush to the bus stop. Finally we were heading in the right direction.

Well that’s what I thought…

Still following Google maps, we get off where it told us to, Heading in the direction of the park, Kira is now scooting as fast as she can because she knows she is getting closer to seeing her friends. Then I get a phone call from one of the mums to find out where we were, I tell her the road we we’re on and she gives me directions to the park, however she thought we were at the other end of this stupidly long road and gave me direction from that end, we take the first right and then the next left, follow that to the bottom but now Google maps is having a complete breakdown because I’m not sticking to the directions they are giving me and I realise we’re walking away from the park not towards it. Now I’m having a mini break down, I have three moaning children and no clue where I am! Panic started to set in and I was starting to think enough is enough, I give up.

I hate feeling lost, especially when the children are with me because I can’t physically show that I am lost and have no idea where I’m going because I don’t want to scare them. It was at this point that I declared to myself, I am going to get out more and explore the area I actually live in.

I decided to reboot Google maps and try again. Right breakdown over and were back on track. Turned around and started walking back towards the park. For some reason Google maps decided to take me to the park entrance furthest away from where I was. (I’m sure it was payback for not following their directions first time around) We ended up walking for what felt like ages and all the houses kinda looked the same. Still not 100% we were walking the right way, I stopped and asked a very nice man outside the local pub for directions and it turned out we were just round the corner from the east entrance! Yay!! Finally we got to the park. By this time the older children were already tired from walking round and round in circles, Ella had enough of being stuck in the pram and was trying to escape.

We were an hour and a half late and most of them had already eaten their picnic but never mind, we made it.

when Kira saw her friends, the mood had lifted and all three children were sitting down happily eating the picnic.

In the end it turned out to be a really good day, the kids had great fun playing with the other children and it was nice to sit down with the other mums and properly talk to them.

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Photos taken from the second park.

Ella started to get tired around 3pm so I called it a day and pre-warned the older two they had five minutes left while I packed up the bag, then we were going home. All of a sudden it dawned on me. I actually had no idea how to get home!  The mums were lovely and gave me directions from the west entrance, where they had parked their cars. (It seems like I’m the only one around here that doesn’t drive)

So here we go again, following directions, we take a left and then a right. OMG! OMG! Right in front of me was the rear entrance to my sons new secondary school! How could I not know the park was so close to his school. If I had, i wouldn’t have got lost and had a mini breakdown, I would have known exactly where I was! Stupid Google maps had taken me way past the park and round on a bloody goose chase.

We made it home and all-in-all we had a good day, Now I know how to get to the new park I’ve promised the kids we will go there more often.

If you have ever had a disastrous start to your day, I would love to hear how you dealt with it and if you had a positive outcome.

xx

 

9 Tips for an amazing summer with your children.

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Here in the UK my children have now broken up for the summer. It’s lovely seeing how relaxed and happy they are but it doesn’t take long for all that to change and they start annoying each other and arguing. If this sounds like your house, there are a few things you can do to turn it around.wp-1501097724900.png

  • Have a summer routine.

My children follow a routine during school time so having a summer routine comes easy to them. Our summer routine is very simple and easy. These tasks need to be completed before we go anywhere or do anything in the morning.

* Have breakfast.  * Brush teeth + wash face.  * Get dressed.  * Make beds.  * Put washing away.

  • Make some house rules.

Sit down as a family and come up with some summer rules. For example if you have older children, what is their curfew time? Do they need to do any chores? For the younger children, Do they have to ask before heading outside to play? Having these rules in place at the start of summer will help the children know what they can and can’t do.

  • Plan an activity or an outing at least once a week.    

Planning special activities or outings can really help the weeks go by a lot smoother. I like to plan a few smaller activities at home and an outing once a week, it could be going to the park, going to the zoo or going to see family but it really helps because my children are not stuck in all week.

  • Don’t plan too much, let them get bored.

Packing too much into the week can leave your children feel exhausted. Give them time to relax and time to get bored. You don’t need to be your child entertainer all the time, its good for them to use their imagination, play with toys and craft they have to hand.

  • Have a back-up list when things don’t go to plan.

Sometime things dont’ always go to plan. Maybe you had planned on going to the beach but it started raining or your children are becoming argumentative and irritable. Make a go-to list of activities you can refer to when thing go wrong. On our list we have rainy day buckets, craft buckets, picnic at the park….

  • Cut back on the housework.

When my children are at school I have a cleaning routine I normally do everyday however when the children are at home I’m a bit more relaxed about it because I don’t want to miss out on having fun with my children just because I had empty the dishwasher or had to put that load of washing away. Some things can wait untill the children are in bed.

  • Set limits on technology.

If I didn’t set limits my children could easily spend all day on their laptops or the XBox so I have to set a time limit, they can have 30 minutes before lunch and an hours after lunch. When they want to use this time is up to them but once its gone they have to wait until the next day to use them again. My son will generally wait until the evening to use his laptop but my daughter will use her hour straight after lunch.

  • Keep their learning skill sharp.

I like to keep their brains working and will get my children to read to me 2/3 times a week and I print out fun work sheets for them to do when they get bored. Keeping their brain active will help them when they go back to school because they haven’t got lazy with their learning.

  • Have fun and enjoy the summer.

When you are enjoying the time you spend with your children and enjoying all the things you’re doing, your children will enjoy doing them as well. The summer holiday is a time for relaxing and having fun together as a family.

I hope you are having a great summer (It’s currently raining here as I write this)

Leave me a comment below and let me know what your up to this summer. It would be great to connect with you on my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram account.

xx

 

 

Day out with nan.

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(My Nan didn’t want to be in any other images but she approved of the one below. ha ha)
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My Nan and me.

When I was a child I used to love going to my Nan’s house. It was always somewhere I knew we would be having fun. We would cook together, play all the traditional board games and have some really nice family time.

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Dice

One of my best memories was getting up early on a saturday and getting ready to spend the whole day with my Nan, we would always have hotdogs for lunch and eat them in the garden and then head out to the local park. This particular park has a huge play area, it also has a large enclosure of animals. One side is filled with small birds and the other is filled with rabbits, ducks and other smaller animals. It was great fun feeding them.

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Callum and Ella

This soon became a regular day out that we had with our Nan and it’s something I will always associate with spending time with her.

Years later, the amount of animals in the enclosure has reduced but the park has changed dramatically and is now twice as big. The tradition I used to share with my Nan has now become a tradition that we have continued with my three children and from what I see, they enjoy it just as much as I did.

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Its great seeing my children and my Nan enjoying their time together. We very nearly lost my nan to breast cancer. She was so strong and determined to meet her new great-grandchildren (Ella and my niece) that she has made it through the fight and I cherish every day I get to spend with her.

It’s funny how scenarios can repeat themselves over time, My children always say ‘ Mum why do the hotdogs taste better at grandmas?’ I used to say the same thing to my mum and to this day I actually couldn’t tell you why but they just do.

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Ella at the park

The park we go to is made from mainly a wooden frame with wires and bridges attaching them all. My children love the big circular swing because all three of them can fit on at the same time. Most of the equipment is better suited for the older children but Ella still loves to have a go at it all. It’s a great park for the children to boost their self esteem as there are many things to do there that are a bit more challenging than the traditional swing + slide type of park.

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we will spend quite a while down the park as there is a huge grass area opposite so if the children have had enough in the park they can go and run around on the grass, play some games and see the animals.

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We are all shattered by the end of the day but it’s so good go out and enjoy the day. I love having that connection with my Nan and love spending time with her. All the time my Nan still wants to and is able to come to the park with us, I am going to take as much advantage as I can.

xx

My Daily routine as a stay-at-home mum.

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When I first became a stay-at-home mum it was great and I loved it, I loved having so much time to spend with my children, I loved not having to rush around trying to get all my household jobs done before I went to bed as I wouldn’t have time in the morning.

However after a month or so it started getting boring as Ella was only a newborn and slept quite a lot of the time and I started to get really unorganised and the house turned into a mess. I decided I was going to change all of this and get myself organised and start a proper daily routine.

6am – I like to wake up early so I can enjoy my coffee and take my painkillers before the children get up. I also start a load of washing.

7am – I get the kids up and make them breakfast. Both of my older children have different school morning routines as they have different tasks that they do.

8.30am – My older children go to school, I am very lucky that my husband does the school run.

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Morning job list.

At this point me and Ella then head upstairs and get ready for the day. I get her dressed, I get dressed and do my skin care routine then I start my morning cleaning routine while I’m already upstairs and Ella plays in her bedroom.

9.30am – Ella will normally play for about 25/30 minutes when I’m finished we will head downstairs and she has a snack and I make a coffee. After this if we have any errands/ appointments/family visits we will start getting ready to head out of the door.

10am – If we are staying in for the day, I will get out an activity that I know will keep her busy for a little while so I can finish off my morning cleaning downstairs. If Ella has had enough playing and I’m not finished, she usually follows me around and helps me with my jobs.

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Activity time

10.30am – We have Mummy and me playtime, Ella gets 100% of my attention and we go into the playroom and play with her toys, building blocks, play dough or we go and play in the garden if it is a nice day.

11.30am – Ella has lunch.  I like to give Ella an early lunch because she still naps during the day and by the time she wakes it is too late for her eat lunch.

12pm – Since Ella was little we got into the routine of reading her a story before she goes down for a sleep.

Ella sleeps from 12pm to 2pm.

During this time I tidy up this mornings toys and activities, reboot the washing machine and make myself some lunch.

12.30pm – I have to rest my leg for at least an hour a day. When I rest my leg it has to be elevated higher than my hips. This is when I catch up on any programmes I have recorded, I also like to read my magazines or my kindle. Napping is also an option on the cards some days.

2pm – Most days I have to go and wake Ella, If I don’t wake her up at this time it is a lot harder to get her to bed later.

2.30pm – Ella has a snack and we play together until the older children come home.

3.30pm – The older children get home, empty their bags, letters and water bottles are placed on the kitchen side and they go get changed out of their uniforms.

4pm – Twice a week they have homework to complete, not on the same days. so we sit at the table and I help when it is needed.

4.30pm – I start dinner, normally on a school night I tend to cook a simple dinner. The children have free play until dinner is ready.

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Free play time

5pm – The children eat dinner. Ella is a very picky eater and it can be difficult to get her to eat a whole meal so I tend to eat later after she has gone to bed.

5.30pm – After dinner my children have a bath or shower. They don’t have a bath every night. One night my son will have a shower and the next night my daughters will have a bath.

6.30pm – Ella still has a bottle of milk before she goes to bed, I take this time to sit with her and read her a story.

7pm – Ella goes to bed and the older children get free time, at this point they are allowed to spend some time on their laptops.

After Ella goes to bed, the hubby will start dinner while I tidy up and put everything away.

8pm – Kira will go to bed and Callum will read a book for 30 minutes. Our dinner is normally ready by now.

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Tonight’s dinner

8.30pm – Callum goes to bed and I will tidy up after dinner and turn on the dishwasher.

9pm – I take my make up off, jump in the shower and relax for the rest of the night.

This is my week day routine, our weekend routine is a lot more relaxed. Since having this routine in place I have found I feel better, my home is more organised and my children seem to behave a bit better.

I would love for you to leave me a comments and let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more on routines.

xx

20 Activities to tame your toddler

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Toddlers are little whirl winds of fun and frustration, I would love to play with Ella all day but unfortunately  as every parent knows that’s’ just not possible.  When a toddler starts to get bored and wants more attention, they can unleash chaos upon the whole house.

I would like to share my list of 20 Activities that I love to do with my toddler.

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There are two types of activities we like to do, NON – MESSY and MESSY. Not every child likes to get messy and play with paints so I have made a list of 10 activities for each type.

NON-MESSY ACTIVITIES

  • STICKERS PICTURES.  This is a great activity for toddlers as it improves their fine motor skills and once you have shown them how to take the stickers off, you can get onto a job that you need to do.
  • LEGO + BUILDING BLOCKS.  This activity is good to boost their creativity and I think nearly every child enjoys to build with them.
  •  FORT BUILDING.  With a few household item you can help your toddler build an awesome fort, my daughter likes to hide inside and have a pony picnic.
  • COLANDER + PIPE CLEANERS. This is a simple activity but it can keep your toddler busy for quite a while, they have to thread the pipe cleaners through the hole in the colander.
  • PRETEND PLAY.  My daughter like to play with her babies and ponies and pretend they are real. This is great for improving their imagination.
  • THE FLOOR IS LARVA. All three of my children love this game. I place some cushions on the floor and they have to get from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor.
  • PLAYING DRESS UP.  We have so many costumes ranging from my sons old hero costumes to my daughters princess and fairy dresses.
  • EDUCATIONAL GAME APPS.  I know some parents do not agree with letting their children play with computers and apps but it’s something that Ella enjoys doing together with us and she is learning at the same time.
  • GARDEN PLAY.  Everyone can get sick of being indoors all day and sometimes spending a little time in the garden can change a childs mood completely.
  • READING BOOKS.  This is the easiest way to calm my daughter down if she is having a hard time with something. It’s a great activity to do just before nap time and bed time.

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This next list of activities are the MESSY PLAY ACTIVITIES. At this age toddlers still like to put things in their mouths, my daughter is quite good at not doing this any more. However if your child still explores by putting things in their mouth you can find some amazing edible recipes online to make the same elements that are on this list.

MESSY PLAY ACTIVITIES

  • PLAY DOUGH.  My daughter loves experimenting with the texture and colours of play dough. she also enjoys playing with all the shape cutters.
  • SOAP FOAM. This is a great sensory activity and can keep a toddler very engaged and improve their concentration. All you need is some bubble bath, a small amount of water and a mixer. Colouring is optional. (WARNING If food colouring is used it can cause staining on clothes and skin.)
  • WATER PLAY.  I think nearly every child loves to play with water, This is the easiest messy play activity to set up and your toddler can happily play while you sit back with a cuppa and enjoy watching them.
  • ICE CUBE FUN.  Add different coloured water to an ice-cube tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen place all the ice cubes into the same bowl and watch your child play with the cubes, they will melt and the colours mix together.
  • WIBBLE WOBBLE JELLY.  My daughter loves to play with jelly as it feels strange and slimy, she giggles every time it slips through her fingers.
  • FINGER + HAND PAINTING. This is a great activity if you child like to get messy and they can produce some great pictures to give to relatives.
  • PASTA PLAY. This is another great sensory activity. All you need to do is cook some spaghetti, let it cool and add colouring if you wish. This is brilliant if you can fill a large shallow container they can sit in.
  • GLUEY HANDS. Ella enjoys creating pictures, so all I do is draw round my hands, cut up some spare paper, pre-glue the hand prints and let her get sticking.
  • SHAVING FOAM. when you add some small toys such as sea animals, cars or dinosaurs to a container of shaving foam, it makes this activity even more fun.
  • STRETCHY SLIME.  You can find so many different recipes for this online. All of my children love playing with this.

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These are my favorite activities to do with Ella, I would really love to hear about any activities you enjoy doing with your children. Xx