Thursday, 14 August 2014

Do you know what we've done this Summer ?

This is the first year we've had summer holidays with our boy. Of course we do things with him all year round, but this is the first time we've had a few weeks to fill with activities. He has been going to a nursery that runs all year round, but as he's going to be in school this September we decided to give him a break first to help with the big transition. So now we have first hand knowledge of how challenging it is to fill the weeks of summer when you have a child to entertain. We've planned meticulously to ensure that our boy has enough to keep him busy and the weather has mostly been lovely so we've been able to go out and do some fun things.

My boy rode a Sumatran Tiger (just call him Pi)
We love outdoor activities and as he finished before the official summer holidays we were able to do go on a London Safari before the schools broke up and everywhere became super busy. We also aim to familiarise ourselves with where we live and to try new things as a family so we discovered new places in South Norwood  including a country park that we didn't know about. One lovely sunny afternoon we travelled to Biggin Hill and visited Foal Farm animal sanctuary where we met the rabbit that I sponsor. We also made friends with the other animals that live there including cats, horses and goats.

Keeping things local we are fortunate to have so many activities in our area and one that I only discovered this holiday is Whitgift Weenies. This is club that is free to join and they run free activity mornings for children in the middle of the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon. The ones we've been to so far have included a loom band workshop and the most amazing children's performers and free face painting for everyone. The best was the chap who made balloon animals and entertained the children then at the end climbed inside the biggest balloon we've ever seen !! He did make all of the children promise not to try it at home, but I admit mine did look like he was considering it *grimace*

My boy shoots hoops
Of course not everything can be free and our favourite local activity is a sports activity for pre-schoolers called Totstars. They have been running Totstars Summer Camp with different sports every day, crafts, quiet time and fresh fruit. My boy comes home after 3 hours exhausted and having had a lot of fun with friends. I also get to do a few things while he is busy - like finish a cup of tea or hang up washing in the sunshine that then gets soaked when it pours with rain - humpf.

Talking of freak weather we have had to make some alternative plans for those inevitable indoor days and one of the best is the Gorringe Park Pub cinema in Tooting. All summer they show free films for children during the day and for grown-ups at night. It's an ideal activity for rainy days in the purpose built cinema downstairs complete with popcorn, cinema seats and massive bean bags or for sunny days in the pub garden with outdoor games too. We've only recently discovered this gem and will be going a lot more often I can tell you !

Setting up the 'pins'
Testing the 'bowling ball'

We like to spend time at home too and I keep cardboard egg boxes, toilet roll inners and all manner of materials for model making or making impromptu instruments - you should see our tissue box guitar collection. The materials pile gets bigger by the day so I was delighted when my boy helped himself to some things and went off quietly to the back room. A few minutes later he called me in to play a game with him and this was what he had created - we call it ten (toilet roll) pin bowling. He uses a lightweight small football as the bowling ball so it's very safe to play indoors, thankfully. I'm so pleased he used his initiative and made a game to amuse himself •proud face*

One of my interests - other than parenting, teaching yoga and blogging of course - is radio and I've produces and presented few about fun things to do in the holidays. My show is aimed at families with children and offers ideas for how to spend time together from days out to unusual activities. You can listen to my latest shows by clicking on the links in the margin just to the right of this blog post. If you can spare an hour make a cup of tea and have a listen. Of course you can pop it on while you do something else, it is radio after all :)

To help get you started here are the links to my guide to all you need to know about family festivals  and the show I did about Open Farm Sunday . Then there's this show based on some lovely ideas from Alison at Not another mummy blog - 50 things to do with a toddler in London . We have tried a few of them, but by no means all, so there are plenty left for us to work our way through.

We grew tomatoes 

At the start of the summer I was walking through Surrey Street Market in Croydon on my way to present my show and I saw a stall selling plants. They had small tomato plants for 50p each and I thought we'd have a go at growing tomatoes. We chose 4 different varieties including two that produce yellow or 'golden' tomatoes. I had hoped that these would inspire my son to eat tomatoes as he insists he doesn't like them, but I'm hoping he will try them if he picks them from the plant himself. So with the alternating wet and sunny weather they have flourished and look absolutely amazing now. I can't believe that I've grown them from such humble beginnings. The real test will be if he actually eats them when they are ready.

Of course it's never a challenge to ask a toddler to eat a biscuit - especially when it's got a big smiley face on it. He'd never tried BN biscuits before so when we got two packs to try he kept asking when he could have one. I told him we'd all have them as a family, not least as I wanted to try them before he got his paws on them and ate the lot ! We tried the chocolate and raspberry flavours and they are delicious and not too sweet - ideal with a cup of tea (for me) or as a treat (for my boy).

A happy alternative to indian sweets :)

Last weekend was an indian celebration that we call Rakri in my family where sisters tie a coloured band to their brother's wrist and exchange sweets and gifts. My boy doesn't have a sister, but he does have a lovely cousin who always sends him a rakri even though she now lives in Canada. As a special treat this year we decided he could have a 'smiley biscuit' instead of indian sweets and his smile was a mirror image of the one on his BN biscuit.

We're having so much fun this Summer - we've even had a chance to sit in the garden and relax.

 Chilling out in the sunshine

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post with lots of great ideas for family fun. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.