Easter Fun At Morden Hall Park

I think this has to be the first year for as long as I can remember that we haven’t taken part in a National Trust easter egg hunt and I have to say that I’m pretty sad about that! The Easter weekend just seemed so fun that we didn’t get a chance to fit it in.

That said we couldn’t get through the holidays without a trip to one of their properties and we decided on Morden Hall Park as its been a good while since we’ve had a visit there.

After a pitstop at the cafe for coffee and cake we were greeted at the main entrance by a super friendly volunteer who set about telling us how we could join in wth the Duck Trail which allowed the children to set off around the grounds in search of different species of ducks, ticking them off on their sheet as they go and showing them some food along the way.

Morden Hall Park has had a lot of work done to it since we were last there and absolutely loved the wooden pathways and lookout points that had been added to the wetland area.

The boys spent ages dipping in sticks and trying to find the crocodiles my Dad had told them were lurking beneath!

We played Pooh Sticks on the bridges, ran through all the open spaces, climbed trees and got covered in mud…exactly what a day should be full of!

Morden Hall Park is also perfectly positioned for a short walk to Deen City Farm where the children got to feed and get up close to lots of lovely farm animals from pigs, sheep and even ferrets.

The children were filthy dirty and thoroughly worn out after a wonderful day and Morden Hall Park certainly come with a big thumbs up from us.

Country Kids

Paper Plate Peacock Fan BostikBloggers

The theme for this months Bostik Bloggers challenge was birds and flight and to be honest it left me a little stumped for a while and everything that came into my head involved hand painting and I wasn’t feeling up for the mess that this always creates!

I then thought I could revolve the craft around one on my favourite birds…the majestic peacock and here’s how we got on.

Paper Plate Peacock Fan

What you will need:

Small paper plate
Blue foam sheet
Green crepe paper
Blue tissue paper
Yellow foam sheet
Blue feather
Two googley eyes
Wooden stick
Glue
Scissors
Sellotape

Firstly take the green crepe paper and cut around 14 small circles to cover the edge of the plate. Then take the blue tissue paper and cut a large circle to create the body and finally the blue foam and cut a smaller circle to make the head.

Once the circles are complete then the the yellow foam and cut a small triangle to make the beak and cut the top of the feather to make it a little shorter to be a good fit.

Next take the paper plate and put it onto the table with the back facing upwards and attach the wooden stick with a couple of pieces of sellotape.

Next take the green circles and cover the outer edge of the plate to form the feathers.

Once all the feathers are in place put the tissue paper circle at the bottom of the plate to make the body and then the foam circle above to create the head.

Now that the main part is complete glue the beak into the centre of the head with the eyes just above this and the feather in the centre of the head.

The last thing to do now is to cut small sections of the blue tissue paper and scrunch into little balls and attach them to the centre of the feathers with a little glue.

And there you have it, your very own peacock fan!

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card #BostikBloggers

The first glimpses of spring have started to show over the past few weeks from longer evenings and sunny spells to my favourite blooms showing their pretty heads.

Daffodils and tulips are my absolute favs and with Easter not to far away I thought I would create a card that sums up the beauty and brightness of spring with a pop out tulip card for my #BostikBloggers project this month.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card

What you need:

Ready made blank card and envelope
Yellow card
Green card
Pencil
Glue stick

Firstly take the yellow card and draw the shape of six tulip heads of the same size, then take the green card and draw four leaves and one stem for the bottom of the tulip.

Cut out each of the components and discard of the rubbish.

Take each tulip head and make a fold down the centre of each one, then take the glue stick and apply glue to one side and stick another of the heads to each side.

When they are all attached stick the flower into the top centre of the blank card.

From the bottom on the flower head stick the stem to the card. Then take the leaves and bend them slightly at the top and stick to the bottom of the stem.

Once everyone is in place then the card is complete.

* I was given a craft box from Bostik for the purpose of this review.

Making Boredom Fun

Today I woke up to a miserable, grey day with no plans and no intentions to leave the house at all. This of course an absolute bombshell drop on my children!

With their eyes out on stalks they looked at me in sheer disbelief and repeatedly chanted, “what we’re doing nothing at all”.

I take full responsibility for this as I feel the need to continually occupy the children and fill their days as much as possible. A weekend rarely goes by where I haven’t tried to arrange something exciting and the times there is not much on I always feel the need to get out of the house and do something, no matter how small.

This has certainly had a detrimental effect on us and I feel I have taken away the children’s ability to amuse themselves and be happy in their own home with their own time and space.

I remember as a child making shops with my sister, playing fashion shows and thoroughly enjoying simple things such as colouring or dancing around my room; yes of course I remember those times where I moaned to my parents about being bored but there was never that expectation to be occupied every waking minute, it was down to me to make my own entertainment.

Being bored allows children to explore their own imaginations, to be creative and inventive and to find activities that they have a real passion for.

Society has made us feel that we should be continually stimulate our children, to make their weekends as jam packed as possible and to be enrolling them on every activity possible where their entertainment is already structured for them and limits the chance for them to use their own imaginations.

After the day from hell with the children continually craving my attention, demanding to be amused and begging to be taken out they finally found their own entertainment and settled down to word games and books that they wouldn’t ordinarily pick without being promoted, they made up their own workout routine and the youngest two baked a cake together with little intervention from me.

To them this has obviously become learnt behaviour and so I have come up with a list of things I am going to stick to the fridge to help then get started with enjoying their own free time:

Read a book
Do a puzzle
Dress up
Paint
Draw
Play with playdoh
Make a cake
Make a Lego creation
Have a puppet show
Have a teddy bear’s tea party
Play football
Skip
Bug hunt
Jump in puddles
Make an exercise circuit
Make up a dance
Make a show
Practice magic tricks
Climb a tree
Write a story
Build a cardboard car/house
Junk modeling
Make paper aeroplanes

I would love to add to this list and know how your little ones spend their free time.

Lavender Scented Playdoh

    
After our annual trip to the lavender fields the other day I took an idea that number three had done at school and decided to make some lavender scented playdough.

   
   

I made this in the hope that it would have calming properties that would rub off on the children!!  This unfortunately didn’t work but the smell was wonderful.

   
     

Lavender Playdough

  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g salt
  • 150g water
  • 2tbsp oil
  • Few drops purple food colouring 
  • Finely chopped small handful of lavender 

Mix together all the dry ingredients and slowly add the oil and water until all the ingredients are combined.

Store in a plastic bag in the fridge until you are ready to use.

   

 

  

Bread Painting Treat

After school my children are always both bored and hungry; so to avoid sticking them in front of the TV with a snack tonight we killed two birds with one stone and prepared our own snacks.

Painting bread is super easy and loads of fun.  It also requires very little equipment so I’m sure you will all have the bits indoors to get started.

  
Firstly get yourself some small pots and mix together some milk with a few drops of food colouring to create the colour that you would like.

We used oat milk so it would be ok for number fours allergies, but any milk would work.

Next grab some white bread and paint brushes and get to creating whatever design you wish.

   
          

Once they have created their master piece then allow to dry a little before toasting.

   
 

As you can see number four was not to happy with waiting!!

We simply buttered ours but you could add any topping you like.  We also saved a few slices to make colourful sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch boxes.

   
 

  

Retro Crafts:Potato Printing

  

With a basket full of soft potatoes and some bored children on a rainy day I decided to go a bit old school and make some potato print pictures with them.

I can’t remember any of mine coming home with any potato printed items and I cant recall doing it myself since I was at school.

It’s such an easy craft activity that requires very little equipment or preparation.

  
We simply cut a few potatoes in half and number three then used her imagination to carve out some great shapes from the potatoes.

  
She created mainly raised shapes. Squares, triangles, simple lines and a little house.  There was also a heart that she dug into the potato thus using the outside of the potato to create the picture instead.

Once the shapes had been made we rolled a large piece of paper across the table and put some blobs of paint onto some paper plates and then left them to get creating.

   
     

It quickly turned into hand a finger painting too, but it’s great to give them free reign to produce whatever they like.

  
Number three and I are going to try some more intricate designs soon and hopefully make some snazzy wrapping paper.

What crafts do you remember from your childhood?

  

Making Goo And Soft Play On A Rainy Bank Holiday

  
As with most British Bank Holidays this one got off to a cold and rainy start with a house full of bored children.

I had been looking through an old book of children’s science experiments and came across ‘make your own goo’ .  This seemed a quick activity that could be done just using things I already had in the cupboard.

  
All that was needed were two cups of cornflower mixed with one cup of water and a few drops of food colouring.   As long as you used equal quantities I’m sure you could double up or halve this recipie as required.  

   
    They played for ages just trying to pick up the sticky mixture, moulding it into shapes and letting it drip through their hands.  Even number two was prized away from the TV and found the mixture fascinating.

   
        The only thing I would suggest is that you keep it contained to one area as the was a lot of cleaning up and the powdery residue seemed to get everywhere!!

This kept the occupied for a while but they really needed to get out and let off some steam so we make our way out to our  local soft play centre.  These are normally a no no for me at a weekend as they are normally heaving and noisy and I spend my entire day looking for one of the children.

Our closest is Kidspace which is a huge complex with several different sections that caters for the large age range of children I have.  They have a toddler area with a sensory room, soft blocks to sit on, a small climbing frame, trampolines and a giant piano.  The area for the older children has a massive area to shoot foam balls, a climbing wall, numerous slides and areas to climb and a fab go cart area that I love to have a go on too.

  
There is a cafe serving reasonably priced hot and cold food, lots of snacks and even a glass of wine if you are feeling naughty!

 
          Not only does it offer the usual soft play sessions but you can a book a party here for your little ones birthday, use the facilities for holiday care or take part in the many after school activities there are on offer.

   
     I was pleasantly surprised when we got in there we easily found a table and with number five fast asleep I could easily sit down and relax with a coffee and get on with some blogging.

  
It is not the cheapest soft play area that I have been to and this is usually reserved as a treat.  It was just over £35 for one adult and four children to get in, but you could easily spend the whole day here.  During busy times your session times are limited but I have only come across this on a few occasions and term time and late afternoon the sessions are cheaper.

   
          Suitably worn out we made our way home in the hope that we would be lucky enough to get some sunshine tomorrow.

Digging For Worms In Edible Mud

  

Saturday morning started at a ridiculously early six am in this house.  After thirty minutes of hair pulling and being clambered over I relented and got up.  

I’ve not looked through Pintrest for a while now, so I sat with number four and he chose today’s activity – edible mud.

The idea came from kidsactivityblogs.com who seem to have many fab ideas.  They use cups as measurements but as long as you use equal parts of each ingredient it will work fine.  Here’s how we got on.

  

 

This has been one of the simplest activities I’ve prepared.  Simply take one large deepish tray of dish and mix all of the following ingredients.  We used wheat free flour for number fours allergies.

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Cocca
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 3 Cups Water 
  • Jelly Worms And Laces

   

   

Number four loved mixing this round and round until it turned into a big sticky brown mess.  Once it was all mixed in, we left a few lumps and bumps we mixed in some thin lace type jelly sweets and some wiggly jelly worms, well snakes as we couldn’t get worms but hey it’s good to use your imagination!

  

We then took a plastic spade and delved around in the mud finding the wiggly worms for a good thirty mins.  

   

   

This activity was set up for both number four and five and I feel that this could cover a wide range of ages as long as they don’t start to hit each other with the chocolate covered spades and then get removed from the table as number five did today.

  

I’ve not tried yet but I think this could also work well by taking out the cocca powder and emitting blue food colouring instead to create a sea theme with fish jellies.

Sensory Paint, Window Painting And Toliet Roll Hearts

  

It’s sometimes a struggle with a large family with quiet big age gaps to find activities that suit them all.  Number one and two are only really interested in crafts that are edible now, so it’s the youngest three that get enjoyment out making things at home now.

Paint is always a cheap, versatile option for crafts and today we did three seperate activities to cover their ages.

With number five only being one, paint tends to end up in his mouth rather than anywhere else; so I came across a great idea that involves placing blobs of paint inside a plastic bag or folder and securing to the table or highchair with selotape.  I got a medium sized plastic bag that I usually use for putting gifts into, added three different coloured paints and then secured it to his highchair tray with a triple layer of selotape.

   
     

He had great fun pushing the paint around with his fingers, mixing the colours together and feeling the strange texture.  This could be done with a larger zip up folder for bigger children as the other two were very interested in it to.

For number four we did some printing with different shapes and colours.  We took a large sheet of paper and a paper plate with two different coloured paints on.  For the printing we had half a plastic egg which makes a great circle, plus a toliet roll tube that I bent into the shape of a heart.  It is really simple and creates a great effect.

   
       

After number four had decided to decorate our bathroom with felt tip this week the next activity was done well out of his eyesight!

Number three did some window painting.  I was a little dubious about trying this one as I was worried the paint would drip everywhere and be a nightmare to get off.  Suprisingly it washed off really easily and just needed a quick rub over with your usual window cleaner.

All we did was take a few different coloured poster paints and added a small drop of washing up liquid to each colour to make it easier to get off.  I then gave her free rein to design whatever window display she desired.

   
 

I would do all three of these activites again as they all went down really well.  What are your favourite painting activites?

The Mini Mes and Me