The Sun’s out and everyone is getting excited, especially those parents! Getting out in the garden or down to the park, planning trips and picnics….. Come On!
May 17th means easing of restrictions and fingers x’d plus no spike in cases means we can look forward to spending time with family and friends. Make sure you are savvy with the latest guidance by checking here
The biggest change is being able to eat indoors at restaurants and cafés, as well as visit indoor entertainment venues (kids indoor play areas). We have tried the outdoor eating experience in tent extensions, gazebos etc, but it inevitably rains, or a force 10 gale whips through and collects half your meal on the way!
Before visiting a restaurant make sure you are happy with the seating arrangement and the space you have around your group, so you can feel comfortable. Our toddler is gaining confidence and loves to eat at the table on his booster seat (check these are available –and do the job safely!).
Remember, there will be a final ending of restrictions in June, as long as the roadmap stays on course, so keep checking.
If we are fortunate with the weather we will be hamper packing and getting out into the open countryside. We love a picnic here at Green Mumma HQ, and they can be as extravagant or basic as you want…
Let’s jump into action just outside the back door, with an old faithful, the box of chalks!
As soon as I get a chalk in my hand I want to mark out a hopscotch run, but there are lots of chalk games to play, as well as being great when learning letters and numbers.
Toddler Activities This Spring
Get Creative with Chalk Art
Create beautiful pictures on paper, chalkboards, fabric and on the ground outside with this set of seven coloured eco chalks. They come in brown, green, blue, red, orange, yellow and white, and can be blended together to make a large range of shades in between. They have a rounded, convex shape which makes them comfy to hold and little hands needn't get grubby, thanks to a protective coating. Unlike processed chalks, these eco chalks won't leave a load of dust behind. They're non-toxic and washable too, so parents will love them as much as kids.
These chalks are made from natural chalk, lime and gypsum, and are dyed with natural colour pigments.
Children under 3 should be supervised..
Lets go fly a kite!
Tiger £13.95 and butterfly mini kite £6.99 from kites for fun.
We love those warm and breezy days, where you stagger up your nearest hill and let loose the kite!
They dismantle easily, so take them away with you for fun on the beach too.
The jungle-themed tiger kite is easy to put together and durable in those frequent crashes!
The butterfly kite is ideal for toddlers to fly themselves, but always keep the children near you and be ready for accidents… when it is very windy, then it’s not a kite flying day.
Sun + Water = Splash Park!
Turn your garden into you're very own splash-park! - When the British weather gives us those precious long-days of sunshine, nothing beats a good splash in the paddling pool in the garden - Add in some water pistols and a couple of beach balls, and you have the recipe for endless fun.
Looking for a perfect garden pool, which pops up in a jiffy? - Look no further than this pop-up pool from JoJo Maman Bebe. Their Pop Up Paddling Pool is a great alternative for those who can't make it to the beach and is made from tough, durable fabric that offers UPF 50+.
An essential addition to your DIY Splash Park and will keep your kids cool & splashing in their back garden all day long!
I know I’m stating the obvious, but never leave the kids unattended, even in the shallowest of pools.
Go! Go! Go! DAYS OUT PREParation.
A Few Tips To Make Your Day Out As Trouble-Free As Your Toddler Allows!
I find it useful to check blogs and get tips from other parents, even if you just take away one thing. The blog https://www.whattoexpect.com/ is excellent and gave some great prep ideas, which I have included below…
- Book in advance. Most places will be allowing fewer people in, to minimise covid spread, and most will have timed entry.
- Fill up! A well-fed toddler is a happy toddler (and you know what a hungry one is…), so make sure yours has a full stomach before embarking on your trip. Plan to have frequent breaks if your journey is longer and remember to keep snacks and water handy.
- Choose off-peak times. If you can swing it, visit popular spots like zoos and children’s museums on weekdays before the school day ends. The crowds will be smaller (the admission price may be, too).
- Head out early in the day. This way, your adventure unfolds when your child is well-rested and in their best mood, though do be conscious of that nap schedule.
- Pack more than you think you’ll need. Since you can never fully predict what traffic or admission lines are going to be like, fill your nappy bag expecting to do some waiting. Carrying that heavy bag sounds like a drag, but when a favourite toy or snack tames your toddler’s tantrum, the weight will be worth it.
- When the sun is shining make sure there is shade (a sun brolley), a hat and high protection sun cream.
Hey! Don’t forget yourselves in the prep, get your food and drinks sorted first, because as soon as toddler prep starts, grown-ups get forgotten!
Ready to go?
Toddler Days Out This Spring
A trip to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne really is a special day out for the family. This family-run Hertfordshire animal park offers visitors the opportunity to explore and get up close to an amazing collection of animals. Some of these include the snow leopard, ocelot, white lion, white tiger, cheetah, zebra, camel, wolf, reindeer, tapir, gibbon, marmoset and armadillo.
Visit the World of Dinosaurs where you can meet life-size animatronic Dinosaurs. It is one of the UK’s biggest and most spectacular animatronic dinosaur attractions, set in acres of natural woodland. It will feature 30 life-size, moving and roaring dinosaurs – a real thrill for any dinosaur adventurer!
Look out for the reptiles, birds and penguins and small mammals, including the meerkat, red panda, raccoon, otters and lemurs. Meet the Keeper talks and animal feeding times run throughout the day. This is a great opportunity to learn more about individual species direct from the animal’s handler.
Several shows a day take place at the Birds of Paradise Arena and Jungle Theatre and these are all different, informative as well as enjoyable. Other attractions include the Tumble Jungle indoor play area where little ones can let off steam, a giant snake slide and bouncy castle, five adventure playgrounds, various children’s rides, Paradise Lagoon paddling pool, perfect to cool off in on hot summer days, a Speedway Museum and for a small additional charge the Dinosaur Woodland Railway and an 18-hole Safari Adventure Golf course.
A great way to see the animals is by taking a tractor trailer ride around the park and adds to the fun.
Other Great Toddler-Friendly Zoos To Visit:
- LONDON ZOO in Regents Park is world famous and has over 16,000 creatures!!
- CHESTER ZOO is likely to be number 1 when you check out UK zoos and is focussed on conservation.
- TWYCROSS ZOO is great for chimpanzees, rhinos and tigers.
- EDINBURGH ZOO is famed for the giant pandas
- LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK Longleat Safari and Adventure Park is one of the oldest zoos in England. It stands out as one of the best zoos in England as you can go on safari among the animals and really get up close.
- WEST MIDLANDS SAFARI PARK has animals and a theme park!
- FOLLY FARM, PEMBROKESHIRE is great for lions and giraffes.
- BELFAST ZOO is great for elephants and penguins.
The Theme Park! - Paulton's Park
Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park, Hampshire. £125 for a family of three
An expensive day out by anyone’s measure, but we had a fantastic time.
This theme park has 9 rides to choose from and many different photo opportunities with your favorite animal friends! Some experiences include meeting Peppa herself in her school house veranda where she meets fans every day.
There are also seasonal appearances by Mummy Pig, Daddy pig, Zoe Zebra and Suzy Sheep as well so don't miss out on these rare chances for photographs too!
If your toddler is of the Dinosaur Hunting Persuasion, then the Lost Kingdom is an absolute must, from a giant splash park to a huge T-Rex surveying over the park (presumably to look out for those pesky Velociraptors!).
Remember, the entry includes all of Paulton Park, so if you have a mixed group, older kids (over 1m in shoes) can go on the Storm Chaser and other large rides.
Whilst Paulton's would be our pick, don’t forget the other exciting options
Alternative Toddler-Friendly Theme Parks around the UK
- ALTON TOWERS - Staffordshire - with the newly opened CBeebies Land, including a whole host of favourites like Go Jetters and Peter Rabbit. They also have discounted tickets for parent and toddler for £25 when booked online. Check height restrictions!
- DRAYTON MANOR - Staffordshire - with Thomas Land and Ben10. Has ticket discounts similar to Alton Towers.
LIGHTWATER VALLEY - Yorkshire - with swan boats and spinning tea cups! Please note, this park is not open every day. Check and book online, with prices from £16.50 and free for 3 and under.
LANDMARK FOREST ADVENTURE PARK - Inverness - has a fantastic dinosaur kingdom and butterfly house.
OAKWOOD THEME PARK - Pembrokeshire - with the Lost Boys Adventure and witches tea cups! Look out for special toddler entry prices on Fridays...
Plan an eco-friendly picnic!
Hehe! You were waiting for the picnic bit! If you are like our family, then one theme park and one zoo trip is enough strain on the purse strings each summer. So just pack up and go on a picnic! Even in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham there will be a park close by, or head out further for some spectacular scenery almost on the doorstep.
It’s always great to have your own special places, which have been passed down through the family and have lots of great memories.
I hope that the article has given you options for you and the kids for this special summer, after so much isolation for us all.
Get out there and enjoy!!