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Summer holiday activities – week two July 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 7:28 pm

So here we are then, week two already! Has anyone done anything fun this week? Please feel free to share on the Kids in Letchworth facebook page any great places you’ve tried out, I’d love to build up a fab online community of local parents sharing tips and ideas. So on to next week:

Monday 28th July

9.30-11am Parent & Child open gym session at Marriotts Gymnastics if you’ve never been to one of these sessions then I thoroughly recommend you check it out. It is a parent supervised free play session on all the gymnastics equipment suitable for kids from walking to five. Marriotts run these sessions a few times a week throughout the holidays and there’s no need to book, just turn up on the day. £5 per child. Check their website for more details and all the dates but I will be posting their sessions on here.

9am-12pm Icknield Children’s Centre beach! This is a great idea by Icklnield CC. They are hosting a beach on Icknield school field with paddling pools every Monday and Friday throughout the holidays except bank holiday Monday (10-2 on a Friday) so just bring towels, picnics and your buckets and spades, sounds like great fun!

10.30-11am Creative Painting at the Secret Garden, Hitchin for under 5s. I briefly mentioned the Secret Garden last week but it really is a fab venue for under 5s and pretty much the only place you can go with little ones in the holidays where there’s no risk of being trampled by older kids! It is basically an indoor garden with fake grass and trees and pretty much any baby and toddler toy you can think of! They also have a lovely cafe that serves yummy food. This summer they are running various activities on top of their usual play things so I will try and put them all on here for you. As they have a couple of separate rooms they are also running some workshops and film afternoons for 6-10 year olds.

11am-12pm Dream Catcher Workshop for 6-10 year olds at the Secret Garden.

2pm Film and popcorn at the Secret Garden.

2-4pm Mini Stable Day at Harley’s Junior Jox Riding School I am taking my three year old to this and we can’t wait! It is “aimed towards younger children to encourage the outdoor life whilst building confidence around our ponies in a relaxed friendly environment ( also our ducks, geese, cats and pigs ). The children will be mucking out, grooming and riding the ponies and a Treasure Hunt !!!!!!” Contact them if you would like to book your child on to this but have a good look at their facebook page because for children three and over there are plenty of different stable days they are running.

2-3.15 Football fun at Garden City Academy. This is a football themed play session run by Chestnut Tree and Limetree children’s centres. Aimed at ages 2-5 but older siblings are welcome. This is a free drop-in session, no need to book. They are running these every Monday (except bank holiday) at different locations so I’ll let you know where each week.

Tuesday 29th July

11am-12pm Teddy Bears Picnic for 0-5s at the Secret Garden.

11am-12pm Loom Workshop for 6-10s at the Secret Garden.

2pm Film and popcorn at the Secret Garden.

11am-2pm Summer Holiday Art Workshops in the barn of the Vitcoria Pub in Hitchin. These run every Tuesday through the holidays for 5-8 year olds. £22 per session but include a pub lunch.

12-12.45 Tots Tennis session (£5) at Letchworth Tennis Club. We tried this session out at their open day on Sunday and Roxy loved it so we are definitely going back. They are running a few sessions throughout the holidays so check their website for dates and to book on. “Tots is for children aged 3 to 5 years old and enables them to learn the basics and how to enjoy the game through a series of fun activities, based on the FUNdamental areas of balance, co-ordination, agility, movement and racket and ball skills.” If you have older children then please check their website too as they are also running holiday clubs for all ages. I hadn’t been to the club before and I was very impressed with their facilities and all the staff, the guys running the tots tennis session were absolutely great with the kids! There are lots of indoor and outdoor tennis courts as well as squash and a gym. They also have a lovely cafe/bar and outside seating area with kids playground. Well worth a visit.

2-4pm Family Festival of Fun at Avenue Park, Baldock. If you ever tried any of the play rangers activities in previous years then these festivals have taken over from those. Run by NHDC they are free drop-in sessions with arts and crafts, sports and games, bouncy castle, under 5s area and much more. I’m going to be listing the Baldock and Letchworth dates on this blog but they are also at Hitchin and some other towns/villages so check their website for details.

Wednesday 30th July

10am-5pm If you’ve got any Peppa Pig fans in the family then head down to Lee Valley Park Farms in Waltham Abbey, Essex as Peppa will be making some appearances throughout the day!

10-11.30am another opportunity to try the Marriotts gymnastics drop-in sessions.

10.30-11am Discovery Basket for 0-5s at the Secret Garden.

11am-12pm Experiments Workshop for 6-10s at the Secret Garden.

11am-2pm Summer Holiday Art Workshops in the barn of the Vitcoria Pub in Hitchin. These run every Wednesday through the holidays for 9-13 year olds. £22 per session but include a pub lunch.

2pm Film and popcorn at the Secret Garden.

10am-4pm Princess and pirate craft at Frosts garden centre, Willington. If you haven’t yet been up to Frosts this summer then it is worth checking out as all summer long they have got a free beach complete with tables, chairs and parasols, a beach cafe, outdoor games including lots of ride-on cars and tractors, swingball and little play houses. Well worth a trip for this alone but also every Wednesday they have a themed craft activity and this week is Princess and Pirate. These sessions last approximately 25 minutes and cost £5.99 per child but once you’re there there’s plenty for the kids to play with all day.

1-2.30pm – Messy play at Jackmans community centre. Run by the Children’s centres and aimed at 0-5s but older siblings welcome. 50p donation.

1.30-3pm Icknield Children’s Centre are hosting a Dress a bear workshop at Grange Scout Hut. The kids can bring along their teddy and make an outfit and accessories for it! 50p per family and those in the Grange/Icknield area will be prioritised.

2-4pm Family festival of fun in Norton Common – details as the Baldock session but this one on the Common.

Thursday 31st July

10-11.30am Disco Duck Summer Party at the Masonic Centre in Biggleswade. If you’ve got kids between 18 months and 5 years and have never tried out a Disco Duck session then I can’t recommend this enough. Roxy has been doing a Disco Duck class for the last 18 months and it is the absolute highlight of her week! They get to learn some really fun dance moves all centred around their very cute duck mascot. This summer party will include some of these dances, party games, musical instruments, colouring, play and refreshments all for just £5 per child. If you thinkk your little one will love this then you need to book in advance on the Dance Beat website (just click on latest news on the right hand side)

11am-12pm Craft session for 0-5s at the Secret Garden.

10.30am-12pm The Beach at Lime Tree. Head down to the Lime Tree Children’s Centre for sand and water play with themed arts and crafts for 0-5s but older siblings welcome. Free drop-in.

1-2pm Helen O’Grady drama academy’s Kindy Drama session £5 per child suitable for 2.5-5 year olds. We tried this class out this week and Roxy thoroughly enjoyed herself (in part, perhaps, because this week’s theme was transport – Roxy’s specialist subject!) but the session was really well thought out for encouraging movement, speech and singing through really fun activities and songs. I was amazed at the amount my three year old joined in with and we will definitely be back again.

2pm Film and popcorn at the Secret Garden.

Friday 1st August

10-11.30 Another Marriotts Gymnastics drop-in session.

11am-12pm Summer Singalong for 0-2s at the Secret Garden.

10am-12pm Tummy Time at Chestnut Tree Children’s Centre. A lovely session for anyone with pre-crawling babies to escape the madness of the school holidays!

10am-2pm the beach is back at Icknield Children’s Centre and between 10.30 and 12 they also have messy play activities available.

2-2.45pm Secret Garden Summer Party for 0-2s.

Ok that’s about all for this week which just leaves me to say that from 1st-31st August is Kids Week in the West End. “During Kids Week, a child aged 16 or under can experience the magic of London theatre and see a fantastic selection of shows for free, plus two additional children can go at half price (per transaction), as long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult.” Check out the website to see what’s available but it includes some fantastic little person friendly shows such as What the Ladybird Heard and the Tiger Who Came To Tea as well as family classics such as The Lion King and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Have a great week and please let me know what you think if you try any of these activities out x

 

Summer holidays water play July 22, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 4:19 pm

With this boiling hot weather we are having at the mo (believe me, I am definitely not complaining!) it can be difficult to keep the little ones cool so I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to some of my favourite water play ideas.

1. Splash parks and outdoor swimming

Love them or hate them I don’t think any parent will make it through the summer without having to hit a splash park at some point so here’s my round up of the ones in the area:

Letchworth paddling pool, Howard park and gardens, Norton Way South I love this place and now my daughter is happy to stay wet for more than a few minutes we happily while away many a day here! The paddling pool is deep enough for the kids to splash about and sit in but not deep enough to need any kind of flotation and there are loads of water jets of different heights and sizes. Although this paddling pool does get really busy in the holidays it’s so large and spacious that you can always find plenty of room. There’s also a really shallow area down one end for really little ones that seems to stay fairly quiet. One slight word of caution is that although the grass area around the paddling Is large there are busy roads at the edge of the park so if you have wayward toddlers that like to charge off then you really need to keep a close eye on them here! At this park there is also a lovely play area with sand pit, a cafe and toilets so you really can pitch up and spend the whole day here.

Baldock splash park, Avenue Park, West Avenue this is a lovely little splash park and rarely seems to be too busy, loads of splashing jets and buckets that pour down on the kids! Parents beware – if you think you are happily standing on the edge of the splash zone watching your little one watch out you may be about to get soaked too! There are quite a few jets all around shooting at random intervals so if the ground looks wet and you don’t want to be then move back!!! There’s a large grassy area around the water for sitting and a nice playground including really large sandpit.

Fairlands Valley splash park, Stevenage. This is quite a big splash park and it is all fenced and gated in so very handy for keeping those little ones really safe but in the summer holidays I do usually find it very busy with older children so not always great for very little ones. There’s also not very much space for sitting on the grass within the fenced area. Fairlands valley as a whole is well worth a visit though with a lovely big playground, a cafe and a huge lake where you can feed the ducks, not to mention loads of space for walking/cycling/scooting/generally letting off steam!

Letchworth outdoor pool ok so the changing rooms are a bit gross and there are endless areas of concrete floors and deep water (bit of a parent’s nightmare!) but it’s great for cooling off the kids on a hot, sunny day! For those of you with more than one child watch out though as the ratios they allow in are one adult to two children if they’re under 8 and one parent to one child for under 5’s so beg, steal or borrow a grandparent, friend or neighbour to go with you to make sure you don’t get turned away as I hear they are quite strict about this.

Hitchin Pool Hitchin is a great swimming pool as it has an indoor and outdoor pool and you can go between the two as much as you like. Apparently they have redone all the changing rooms here but I haven’t been since they’ve done them so can’t comment on that.

2. Paddling pool and slide

If you can be bothered to blow them up and fill them up then most kids love the paddling pool in the garden but add double the fun if you’ve got one of those Little Tikes slides (other brands are of course available!) by letting them slide into the pool!

3. Water tables

These can be hours of fun – you can get fancy ones or dirt cheap ones from the supermarket or even just use a big plastic storage tub, bucket or washing up bowl. Chuck in some different sized pots, cups, jugs, watering cans, funnels, spoons, pretty much anything you don’t mind getting wet and hey presto, water fun time!

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4. Very wet tea parties

This activity recently kept my daughter engaged for hours but be warned water pretty much gets everywhere with this one! All you need is water and a plastic tea set and you’re away. Let your little one fill up the teapot and the mlk jug and pour everyone cups of tea!

5. Water painting

I have recently discovered this absolutely genius and oh-so simple idea. Take a bucket of water, some paintbrushes and let your child ‘paint’ the fence, decking, patio, whatever you like!

6. The sprinkler

For full-on fun and total cooling down, just put the sprinkler on in the garden and let your kids run about in it – they’ll love it!

7. Water fights!

Roxy has recently been introduced to the wonderful world of water fights (albeit somewhat unwittingly!) but on a really hot day if you have changes of clothes and towels then give it a go. You can use water pistols or just bottles/jugs of water or I’ve just seen something fab on pinterest that we are definitely going to try: sponge water bombs! How to make and play with sponge water bombs

8. Wet marble runs

I haven’t tried this yet but build a marble run, pour water down it and add the marbles! Sounds like fun to me!

9. Build a water wall

Raid your local diy shop (or your Dad’s shed) for some bits of plastic piping or just cut up some old bottles then attach them to your fence at different angles so you can pour water down it! If you google water wall play there are absolutely loads of different ideas for this!

10. Slip and slide

Now this is a blast from the past and something I haven’t tried with Roxy (not sure my husband would allow this on his lawn!!) but something I used to play for hours with my brothers when we were kids! Just get a bit of pond lining, throw water all over it and let the kids slip about on it! If you can put an actual slide at the start of it or place it on a slope then all the better!

So there you go – 10 watery fun ideas to keep the kids cool this summer, most of which are free!

 

Summer holidays week one: tennis, soft play and drama July 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 9:39 pm

As threatened promised, here I am with the first installment of my ultimate guide to the summer holidays! Next week, whilst those of you with school aged children are happily sending them off to school for another few days, spare a thought for those of us with younger kids whose groups and preschools have all finished this week!!

Ok, so firstly to this weekend a couple of fab events that are going on in Letchworth: Saturday 19th sees the Annual Lions Fun Day in Broadway Gardens from 10am to 4pm with stalls, fun fair rides, plate smashing, face painting, welly wanging, animals from Paradise Wildlife Park and more. Now I know it’s forecast to rain on Saturday but let’s face it, the kids couldn’t care less about that so we will certainly be donning the wellies and the waterproofs and heading on down. On Sunday 20th take the family down to Letchworth Sports and Tennis club on Muddy Lane for their open day as part of the Great British Tennis Weekend. They have free sessions available for all ages right from their tennis tots for 3-5 year olds. They’ll also have a BBQ, bouncy castle and prizes. To book a free coaching session for your child visit Great British Tennis Weekend

For those of you with pre-school aged kids make the most of the first few days of next week before everywhere gets manically busy! I recommend hitting the soft play centres because once the holidays start for real these become a very different beast! Watch out for red faced 8 year olds dripping with sweat who will charge around the play frames like something possessed quite possibly knocking over your toddler in the process! Don’t get me wrong, these places are great when you just need your child to charge about like a mad thing and let off a load of energy but you have been warned!! Top tip though – if you do want to go to one of the big soft play centres in the holidays pick a really hot day when they are always much quieter (just hope they have air conditioning!) or go as soon as they open in the mornings. As I am a total wuss when it’s comes to busy soft play, I will definitely be going earlier in the week and my absolute favourite one in the area is Bury Lane Fun Barn it’s just outside Royston on the A10 and as soft play centres go this one is actually quite nice – it’s really light and airy and you can easily see the kids pretty much everywhere whilst relaxing on the comfy sofas! The food is really yummy too. It’s pretty reasonable – you don’t have to pay for adults and the kids prices range from £3-6 depending on their age and whether you go at peak or off-peak times.

Here’s another tip for you to get done early in the holidays: if you have any Tesco Clubcard points then go on to their website and exchange some for Days Out Vouchers. The vouchers are worth four times the value so you only need £2.50 worth of clubcard points to get a £10 voucher. Once you’ve ordered them the vouchers will be posted to you within 5 working days and you’ll then have up to six months to use them. These are great if you are planning on visiting any zoos, wildwlife centres, theme parks, etc this summer. Have a look on their website Clubcard Boost to see which places sre included in the deals.

What’s on this week:

Tuesday 22nd July 10.30-11.30am at Norton Methodist Church, North Avenue, Letchworth: Ready, Steady, Go! A physical play session for under 5s run by Limetree and Chestnut Tree Children’s Centres. This is the last session of the summer term. 50p per family donation.

Wednesday 23rd July 10-11.30am at St Paul’s Church in Letchworth is the last Toddlers Plus session before the holidays. They will start with a lovely little service in the church followed by ice creams in the hall. If you don’t know about this lovely toddler group then please let me know if you want any more details for next term.

Thursday 24th July 1-2pm at the Secret Garden, Sun Street, Hitchin: Helen O’Grady’s Kindy drama session suitable for 2.5-5 year olds. £5 per child, 10% sibling discount. See Secret Garden for details. If you don’t yet know about the Secret Garden then watch this space as I’ll review this fabulous venue in more detail in a later blog.

Friday 25th July 10.30-11.30am at Icknield Children’s Centre: Play music play – music, rhymes and song for under 5s. For more details, see Icknield Children’s centre

Ok I think that’s about it for now. If you know of any other events happening next week or want to add any more detail to those I’ve mentioned then please leave comments on this blog post. If you have info of things happening in future weeks then email me details to kidsinletchworth@hotmail.com and I’ll include them in my blog posts.

 

Summer holiday toddler survival guide! July 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 9:40 pm

Ok so the big six week holidays are looming and most parents I know view this fact with mixed feelings! We have a sense of relief at getting a break from constantly having to nag the kids to hurry up and get dressed/eat breakfast/leave the house every day but also a sense of dread at the thought of six whole weeks cooped up in the house with bored kids! As most of you know I have a three year old daughter and I naively thought this summer holiday phenomenon only occurred once your children actually started school but no, as parents of toddlers, come the end of July your whole weekly routine (and safety blanket) of toddler groups/preschool/swimming/music classes/etc. is whipped out from underneath you leaving you staring at weeks and weeks ahead of you with no daily activities to stimulate and excite your oh so demanding small person, no reliable set routines to keep their inner dictators in check and most importantly no time for us parents to get anything done whilst they’re happily occupied at preschool!

So, as I have absolutely no desire to spend six weeks sitting on the floor of the playroom playing trains and, let’s face it I’m a bit of a control freak, I have decided to tackle these holidays with a bit of a military operation! So far, I’ve designed a big chart with all the dates on so I can fill in when things are on and have also started a Pinterest board full of ideas of fab free activities you can do with the kids. So here’s the good news for all local parents out there, I’ve decided to keep this blog going over the summer as much as possible and I’ll be letting you know of anything I hear about that’s going on and reviewing all the places I go/activities we do. Please feel free to forward the blogs on to any other parents out there and if you’ve got any activities going on that you want me to tell people about or come and review then just let me know.

Disclaimer: Apologies go out to all my non-parent friends while I hijack this blog for the next few weeks!!!

 

Five frustrating things about toddlers! January 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 8:29 pm

I thought I’d kick off my blog again in 2014 with one of my favourite types of entry – a list!!

I’m currently lying down semi-comatose in a darkened room after another funny/exhausting/wonderful/exasperating long day spent with my two year old so I thought I’d delight bore you all with a list of my five frustrating things about toddlers:

1. Obsessional behaviour

For some strange reason toddlers (well my particular toddler anyway!) can only seem able to like one thing at a time. This relates to what they play with, what they watch, read, eat, sing, etc, etc…. Which means that you are forced to endure watching the same mind numbingly boring episode of Thomas the tank engine over and over again until you are driven half mad and then all of a sudden a new obsession will take over. Anyone for the first 15 minutes of Annie on continual repeat?!?! No, thought not! You’ll also have to read the same book many, many times in a row to the point where not only do you know every word off by heart but the small person will also start to correct you if, heaven forbid, you accidentally get one of those words wrong! The most frustrating part of the obsessional behaviour is all those wonderful toys you lovingly and carefully picked out for them and spent days wrapping up for Christmas will just sit on the shelf for the forseeable future because for now if it doesn’t look like a train it is dead to her!!

2. Eating habits (or lack thereof!)

Urgh the dreaded toddler mealtimes and all the stresses that go with them!! They’re eating too much, they won’t eat at all, they won’t sit in a high chair, can’t use cuttlery properly, refuse foods they normally love, scoff food they’ve refused for two years, throw food on the floor, spill their drinks in their dinner, and so on and so on and so on………

3. All the many, so many, questions

I have to admit that a few weeks ago I was feeling quite smug as I thought I’d somehow managed to avoid the incessant why after why after why phase but unfortunately it has now kicked in with a vengeance! Before I had Roxanna I couldn’t even begin to imagine just how many questions I would be rerquired to answer in any given day. I’m beginning to feel like I’m on some sort of quiz show. Also, if my answer does not seem to be satisfactory, the questions will just continue until she has found an answer that suits her. I am starting to believe that toddlers are actually some sort of little geniuses who do in fact know all the answers to all the questions and are therefore silently grading us on our responses and will sometime in the future pull out a 20 page excel spreadsheet on all our incorrect ideas! This frightening thought was further compunded today when I gave what I thought was a fairly adequate response to one of the quiz questions only for Roxanna to turn to me with raised eyebrows and say “if you say so Mum”!!!!!

4. Their desperation to be grown up (big!) when it suits them

I think we must put way too much emphasis on the whole “wow, aren’t you a big girl” type comments as now Roxanna refuses to be acknowledged as anything other than big to the point where if you say something like “ah Roxy, you’re funny” she will turn to you in despair and say “no I’m not, I’m big”!!! And woe betide anyone who accidentally says something like “how’s my gorgeous little girl” as she will practically be in tears saying “I’m not little, I’m big!!” However, this I’m a big girl thing only works when they want it to. Case in point – I thought it might be time to attempt potty training (which will probably be a whole fascinating blog post all of it’s own!) so i built up the excitement of the whole big girl knickers thing until the realisation set in that I was actually taking the nappy away and full on tears and near to tantrum state ensued as she wanted her nappy back on. So, after she’d calmed down and I’d put the nappy back on (as clearly her willpower is stronger than mine!) I said I thought you were such a big girl now you were going to use the potty to which she replied “not yet Mummy, I’m not big enough yet”!!!!!

5. Selective comprehension

It’s funny how a seemingly intelligent and pretty articulate little person can sometimes seem to have lost all sense of comprehension if what you are saying doesn’t happen to suit them! E.g
Roxy: mummy can you come in the lounge
Me: No, I can’t right now honey, I’m making your dinner
Roxy: please can you come in the lounge
Me: that’s very polite but I still can’t as I’m still making your dinner
Roxy: please, please come in
Etc, etc, etc………

There is of course a footnote to this list of frustrations and that is one final frustration – that they just grow too quickly! As much as I like to moan about these things, I wouldn’t change it for all the world and this is actually a hilarious and wonderful stage of their development. Sorry to be soppy, but I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I ever take this little miraculous little (sorry BIG!!) person for granted!!

 

Saturday mornings aren’t what they used to be!! October 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 8:00 am

So far this morning I have:

1. Watched about a hundred episodes of Peppa Pig.

2. Cleaned cat poo of the wall!

3. Played hide the teddy and pretended to be surprised when he magically appeared in exactly the same hiding spot every time!

5. Played golf (which mostly involved having to rescue the balls from under the sofa).

6. Played football. (More of the above)

7. Put all the trains to bed in their engine shed!

8. Watched some more Peppa pig.

And it’s not even 9am and I haven’t even had any breakfast yet!!! Lovely relaxing Saturday mornings!!!!!!

 

Roxy, Roxy, quite contrary! August 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — wheredidthatdaygo @ 12:43 pm

So this week in Letchworth town centre they’ve got an ‘urban beach’! (Basically a giant sandpit with deck chairs round the side). Great idea, I thought, to while away some more of these never ending days before all Roxy’s groups and classes start back again after summer. So we arranged to meet up with some friends and spend the morning down at the beach!

After about 5 minutes (before any of our friends have even arrived) Roxy declares ‘Mummy, I have finished at the seaside’! Great! So I proceed to spend the next hour trying my best distraction techniques and ignoring the regular interruptions of ‘I have finished Mummy’. Eventually this turned in to the oh so familiar refrains of ‘I’m hungry’ and ‘I go home’

Admitting defeat, I give in and agree that we can go home for some lunch.

We arrive home and I say ‘right I’ll make some lunch then shall I?’

‘No mummy, I don’t want lunch’

‘What do you want then?’

‘Can I play in my sandpit?’

Aaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!

An hour later, we still haven’t had lunch and Roxy is still playing in her 1 metre square sandpit!!!

 

 
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