Wind in the Willows is a children’s classic novel about small animals who spend their summer days boating on quiet rivers, going on picnics with large hampers of food and being lost in the wild woods. It’s fun, adventurous and very British- A classic tale of river life and friendship.
The novels begin with Mole, a peace-loving little animal, who decides to leave his burrow after being bored with doing his spring cleaning. He ventures down to river bank and soon meets brave Ratty, grumpy Badger and an unruly Toad.
Children and adults love Wind in the Willows as it represents a quintessential British summer. We all want to stroll down by the river, picnic on the banks, sail down the river in a boat and set out on journeys full of fun and adventure.
At Hanningfield Reservoir you can follow in Mole’s footsteps, follow the trail and discover the characters from the Wind in the Willows.
The boys love a bit of excitement and anything that’s gets them out within nature. They love trekking through woods going on adventures.
With a map in one hand and a crayon in the other they were ready to go off and search for the wooden sculptures hidden within the woods of Hanningfield.
The maps and crayons are available at the visitors centre for £1.
As soon as we had left the car and headed on over to the visitors centre they were greeted by the beautiful wildlife garden, which is the home to Ratty’s boat and Toad’s caravan.
After a little stroll around the peaceful garden we headed on over to purchase our maps. We were given a crayon too as next to every wooden sculpture there is brass rubbing squares that you can create a rubbing from on the back of your map.
The boys used their map reading skills to follow the trail and lead us to the fun, life-size characters that were numbered on the map. Teaching them navigation skills and direction.
I love watching the boys working together as they are normally squabbling with each other.
They were so excited when they found the first one set within the trees. Once they found the character they could also read the description about each animal under the square that you used fort he rubbing. Not only were the children having fun but they were also learning facts about the animals as they went.
As we walked along we also made our way over to Lyster Hide, where we could look out over the reservoir and watch the birds fly over or swim on the water.
The first on the trail was Badger
Second was The Weasels
Third was Mole
Fourth was Ratty
And last was speedy Toad
There were also other sculptures to see that had mini beasts carved into them and picnic benches to sit down and eat your lunch at.
The whole adventure took us just over an hour, we didn’t rush around and spent time just enjoying each others company and the woods that surrounded us.
It was a lovely day out and would definitely recommend it. Parking is free but no cycling or dogs are allowed.
World Book Day is closely upon us and it’s time to start thinking about what costume your children will be wearing on the day. My boys normally like to make up a costume from clothes that they find from in their wardrobe but this year my middle boy has requested a rather different costume. Which was perfect as we have been challenged by Egmont publishing to create a Star Wars themed Costume for World Book Day.
Last year we made a last-minute costume by raiding the wardrobes, particularly looking for clothes that were in neutral colours and created Luke Skywalker. This costume has been used many times over the past year and didn’t cost us a penny.
This year, the boy has requested Yoda. This year I am prepared. I ordered some fleece material from Ebay and once it arrived I got out my sewing machine and stitched away.
You will need:
Beige Fleece Material- mtr depending on how tall your child is. and the width of the material. We ordered a metre at 150cm wide
Emerald Green Fleece Material – 1/2 mtr 150cm wide
Brown long sleeve t-shirt
Dark coloured trousers
Sewing machine or needle and cotton to hand sew
White chalk or material pen
I found a pattern online from www.fleecefun.com that I adapted to fit my son. I used his dressing gown as a guide for the measurements and just adjusted the pattern where it needed it. The pattern can be printed out and stuck together to make one big one.
Place the material down on the fold and put the pattern on the top. The back needs to be cut on the fold to create one piece and you need two pieces of the front. Use pins to keep it in place and draw around with your chalk. This is where I adjusted the pattern and moved it about to the length and width I wanted. Cut out the pieces. You will only have one back and two fronts
2. Place the two fronts down on to the back. Tack into place.
3. Stitch along the under arm and side seam and the sleeve to secure the front and back together. Turn inside out. You can finish off the edges with a hem but I just left ours as the material will not fray.
4. Cut out a long piece of the fleece for the belt.
Et Voila! You now have a jacket fit for a Yoda
Yoda Head and Ears:
I used an old wooly hat to draw around and to get the size of Yodas head.
Lay the green fleece material down on the fold and place your ear pattern on top. Secure in place with pins. Draw around with chalk and cut out the pieces. You should have 4 ear pieces and two head pieces.
2. Stitch around the edge of the ears
3. Turn them inside out so that the seams are on the inside
4. Now you need to give the ears a shape by pinching in the straight edges and stitching in place
5. Place the ears on top of one of the hat pieces, facing inwards.
6. Place the other hat piece on top to form a sandwich. Secure all in place with pins
7. Stitch around the edge. Turn the right way round.
8. I stitched a band of fabric along the bottom of the hat as it didn’t quite fit my son’s head and we wanted it to be bigger
We found that the ears go a little lopsided like a dogs but this can be corrected with a little bit of starch or adding in some wadding when stitching the ears together.
The last thing we needed to do to finish off the costume was to paint his face green.
I painted his face green and then added on some lines to make him look a little older.
We was asked by Egmont Publishing to choose a Star Wars Character to dress up as on World Book day to celebrate the release of the new book The Cold. The book is due out in March and is the latest to be published in the series of Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space books. Read about the first two that were released last year here
‘The Adventures in Wild Space takes place in the period betweenStar Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope. Star Wars fans can meet a whole host of new characters, including a new droid, CR-8R, and a new villain, Captain Korda. It follows the Graf family Mum, Dad, Daughter and Son whilst they tour wild space as galactic mappers.
It is a time of darkness. With the end of the Clone Wars and the destruction of the Jedi Order, the evil Emperor Palpatine rules the galaxy unopposed. After their parents were kidnapped by the ruthless Imperial Captain Korda, young explorers Lino and Milo Graf set out to find them’
The Cold is the fifth in the series of the exciting junior novels written by Cavan Scott. Siblings Milo and Lina have picked up the trail of their kidnapped parents – but an ambush in the depths of Wild Space leaves them stranded on a desolate planet. With an old enemy out for revenge can they survive THE COLD?
The series is ideal for any young Star Wars fan out there. My boys are aged 9 and 5, both have really enjoyed reading the books. They are full of adventure, action packed and fun to read.
I find these Star Wars books are always good for those reluctant readers as they are so gripping and adult like but simple enough for children to understand and read. The illustrations are in black and white and simple but just right for the books.
The books in the series are ideal for children from the age of 8. Although, my son is 5 and he enjoyed reading them, just occasionally asking for help on a few words and for explanations on what some of the words meant. The characters are fun and make the stories exciting. The books are quite short which helps keep the child’s attention and with few illustrations they are ideal for those readers that are moving away from stories that are highly illustrated. They help children make predictions about the future content without looking at the pictures to help them.
Egmont are offering one of my readers the chance to win a full set of Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space books
Looking for more Star Wars Fancy Dress inspiration for World Book Day Take a look at Princess Leia by We Made This, R2D2 by ET Speaks From Home, Hans Solo by A Strong Coffee and a Storm Trooper by Ickles Pickles.
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