Today is a nursery day for Persephonie, so it was just me and the boys (plus Beatrix). I booked us onto two events at one of our local country parks, Brixworth.
The first was called Fires and Smores. This event gave the boys the chance to cut up some wood for a fire and then cook marshmallows over it. The boys loved cutting up the wood and Roran was straight there trying as hard as he could to do it first time. Willem needed a little bit of help to get his aim right, but soon cut some up. We then swapped the bits of wood we had cut up for a marshmallow on a stick. We carefully stood around the fire and waited for them to melt. I dropped two into the fire. When they were ready we were given two chocolate biscuit and made our smores, and they tasted yummy.
The second event was called Kelly Kettle Challenge. This event required the boys to trim wood shavings off of some wood to go onto the fire bowl so that we could boil the ‘Kelly Kettle’, and make a cup of tea. We started with a talk about knives and how the boys should never play with them, it was just the two of them and the previous group with older children had talked about how to use and hold them safely. We were also shown all the different ways we could make fire. We then cut up some wood ready to make our shavings. Once cut up we were told to draw some marker lines on the wood, and then shown how to safely shave the wood, The boys both needed some help, and Roran loved the chance to use the knife. We then went over to the fire bowls and how the ‘Kelly Kettle’ worked was explained to us. Willem got to use the fire starter to get the fire going and then we all helped put wood shavings on to get the fire burning. When the kettle was boiled we all got a hot drink for our hard work
In between the two events we enjoyed a walk through the woods looking for gnomes and finding all sorts of different wooden structures. The routes were all very well sign posted and although I had Beatrix in her wrap I could have used the pushchair around there. We also had lots of fun in the play park which has equipment suitable or both younger and older children. However Roran spent most of his time trying to run up a wet hill and then slipping back down.
The boys had a fantastic day, both them and their clothes were muddy which is always a good sign they have been busy. They enjoyed both events, especially as it was something they wouldn’t normally do. They had lots of space to run around and burn off all their energy They both fell asleep in the car on the way home.
Facilities – We took our own picnic so didn’t try out the cafe facilities. We did use he toilets and baby changing and found them in a good clean condition.
Cost – The events were priced at £2 per child or £5 per family. Parking is £3 for the day, however we have an annual pass for all the local country parks which was £49. So in total we spent less than £10 all day.
For more information visit: Brixworth Country Park
Yesterday we went Gruffalo spotting at our local Forestry Commission forest. This is an exciting new activity that has been introduced along one of the popular family trials. Before we left I downloaded the special app which is free, and made sure my phone was charged. The idea is simple you go for a nice walk and along the way there are signs, peep holes and clues to which animal is coming up. When you find the footprints you point your phone, with the app open, at the sign and the animal appears. You then have an opportunity to take a photo of the children with them. When we arrival the children were so excited to get out and run around; we visit this site a lot so they know where they are going.
We headed off to the beginning of the route and saw a big sign letting us know we were going the right way. The boys loved running ahead and Roran had the chance to practice his reading skills. Persephonie had decided that she was also going to walk the route today, which made us a little slower than normal. Each animal had a set of signs to encourage the children to guess who was coming up. These included an interactive turning circle with images of the animals eyes, tail, feet, etc. Then a peep hole for them to look through, which was facing another sign with part of the animal on it, giving them a good idea. When it was then obvious who we had found there was a congratulations sign just before the ‘footprints’.
The final sign would be the ‘footprints’, where we aimed our phone to bring up the video. The videos themselves were great. The animals would appear and move around so that they looked real to the children. When they were in position the camera button would come up and you could take a picture. This idea is great but not as easy as it sounds unfortunately. Getting the children in the right position was hard. They couldn’t see the animals from the other side of the camera and would either stand in front of them, blocking the signal and making the video to vanish, or standing behind it where they would then get blocked out by the image. Also, mine were unsure where to look as they were distracted which meant that they often weren’t looking at the camera or video
that they couldn’t see. Maybe some sort of markers on the ground would have helped.
Overall the children enjoyed themselves, which was the main point. They also got some fresh air and a good run around. So did Rufus who remembered it’s that lovely time of year for fox poo! The route is only a short one so, as always, we popped to see the statue of the gruffalo who lives at our local forest, before heading home. There is an opportunity to buy activity bags from the site centre which I am sure would make the trip longer but, as we arrived early, the centre isn’t open at that point. However, it is something we will probably do during the school holidays. We are pleased to have another one of this trails at our local forest as have enjoyed all the others. It is a great way to get the children out and about and enjoying the local area, even if it’s only for a few hours.
For more information about your local Forestry Commission site and Gruffalo Spotter trial please visit their website