Keeping the Children Busy with Rock Painting Activity

Summer holidays are well and truly here but in Great British style the weather is not! The hot summer days seem to be over now and we are left with windy, rainy days instead. Weather like this makes it hard for us parents to keep the children entertained outdoors, especially when it comes to keeping the budget at a low cost.

Since the children have finished school for the summer we have had pretty crap weather, I don’t want to keep the children indoors (otherwise my house looks like a bomb site) I want to see them outdoors enjoying the time that they have off school, playing with friends and making new ones.

I came across a Facebook page called ‘Love on the rocks uk’. It’s a page where people paint on rocks then hide them for others to find. All they ask of you is to get creative as you want with a rock and some paints and then write on the back “love on the rocks” with the Facebook symbol then hide the rock within your community; a park, forest or a beach promenade. Take a photo of it and share it on Facebook for other rock hunters to find it. Once found, the hope is that people will look up the Facebook page and join in with the fun.

This activity is cheap and fun. Not only are you getting creative but also getting out and about in the great outdoors.

We visited Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex for the Wind in the Willows Trail and whilst we was there we found some rocks to paint on. We took some felt tip pens and sharpies with us. Found a quite spot to sit down at and got drawing

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That’s what is great about this activity it keeps the children busy, it’s fun and they get to explore at the same time.

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The eldest drew a sunset onto his rock, using tippex for the shadow on the sea

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Our little collection of love on the rocks

We found a few spots in Hanningfield to hide them and left them feeling very happy with ourselves, that maybe we can put a smile onto someones face.

Would love to see the face of the child/adult that finds these rocks. They’re not a work of art but they are fun

A shadow of a cat sat in front of a sunset
A shadow of a cat sat in front of a sunset
Love on the rocks written on the back
Love on the rocks written on the back

Why not join in on the fun. Wouldn’t it be fun to spread the love of rocks further afield. I am thinking of hiding some abroad

 

 

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An Epic Day At Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder

Are you looking for something to get your children out of the house and away from technology?

Let the children loose ready for an adventure on the ultimate obstacle course

Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder is a 1 mile obstacle fun mud run especially designed for children aged between 7 and 12. Mini Mudder gives children a chance to work as a team, get muddy, experience the thrill of adventure and explore their adventurous side. Each Mudder course features 8-10 obstacles that will encourage children to work and support each other.

What makes a Mini Mudder

  • Not scared of getting wet and covered in mud
  • Tough and Strong as some of those obstacles are hard work
  • Working together and helping others
  • Up for an Adventure. Mini Mudder promises to be epic
  • Agility is needed on some of the obstacles
  • Not be a whinger as only babies whine
  • Speed – running between the obstacles
  • Adventurous and ready to explore
  • Challenging – Looking at how to attempt the obstacles
  • Up for anything – Not afraid of getting stuck in

The Mini Mudder course consists of 8-10 obstacles along with lots of mud and water

  • Get tangled in Tumble Weed
  • Sprint up Mini Everest
  • Scale Mount Mud
  • Brave the Tunnel of Terror
  • Teamwork at Got Your Back
  • Conquer the Crazy Climb
  • Plunge into Mud Miles deep pit of thick sludge
  • Let the monkey in you come alive at Hangin’ On, Hangin’ Out
  • Slip through the cracks at Secret Agent Squeeze

Each Mini Mudder event is held alongside Tough Mudder. Each challenge starts on the hour every hour from 9 – 4. We was lucky enough to be invited along to the South London event held at Holmbush Estate.

Dad and the eldest boy have participated in local mud events in previous years so they were looking forward to seeing if lived up to its name sake and if it really was as tough as it offered to be. The youngest two have only ever looked on in awe from the sidelines at such events.

When I told the boys about the Mini Mudder challenge they were ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the adventure to begin. My boys are very competitive, so they found it hard to understand that the event wasn’t a race and that it was just for fun.

We arrived at about 11 and was surprised to see how bloody busy the place was, hundreds and hundreds of mud searching, adrenaline pumping adults all around gearing themselves up for the Tough Mudder Run. The atmosphere was great, everyone was in good spirits including the boys.

After a quick look around we made our way to the mini mudder arena, which wasn’t far from the finishing line to Tough Mudder. Whilst the younger ones were getting ready for their little adventure, Dad and older brother were making their way to the Tough Mudder start line.

Each Mini Mudder wave starts on the hour just after a little fun warm up with the mudder organisers. They are all then walked towards the start line and then let loose on the course.

The boys along with all the other children that took part were quick to get as muddy as they could. I mean who wouldn’t! Children allowed to get in as much mess as they can with their adults consent, that doesn’t happen that often.

It was lovely to see my boys helping each other over the obstacles and giving each other a helping hand when needed. They normally fight and squabble, but for one hour in that day they actually got along. I even witnessed them holding hands at one point. For once there was no sibling rivalry only support and friendship. There was no stopping them, they whizzed around the course in record time, taking on the obstacles like a giant in a playground. They showed determination and took on the challenges set with ease.

 

A fun day was had by all at Tough and Mini Mudder, Mummy was a little tired watching her boys get very muddy but it was worth it seeing the smiles of achievement on their faces. Each adult and child that competed the course received a headband as a keepsake. The children were rewarded with a Fruit Shoot drink at the end, it was much needed as well.

There were showers to clean yourself up and wash away as much mud as possible but we heard that they were quite cold so decided on changing in one of the toilets into clean clothes and just wiping away the mud with some baby wipes.

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They truly did conquer and all that was left to do was wash all of the mud out of their clothes (which took a good soaking in the bath for a couple of days)

If taking part I would advice you to take along spare clothes and shoes, baby wipes, black bag to place dirty clothes in, a towel in case you use the showers and cover you car seats with plastic.

To find out when the next Mini Mudder is available check out their website

We was invited along to participate in the event for the purpose of this post.

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We took on the Wondroid challenge and went on a scavenger hunt in London

On 12th October 2016, all eyes will turn to Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery opening at the Science Museum in London. To celebrate its launch, families in London are invited to embark on an exciting geo-location scavenger hunt, where they will be in with a chance of winning an exclusive private view of Wonderlab. The new gallery is designed to ignite interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) while enjoying a fun day out. With more than 50 spectacular cutting edge exhibits, such as a giant interactive orrery, live shows and immersive experiences, Wonderlab is set to wow the whole family.

Wondroid is a delightful robot that was designed by the engineers at the energy provider, Statoil. Unfortunately Wondroid has lost some parts of his body and the challenge is by using the app, traces, you will help restore the robot by finding the clues.

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As a family we love a challenge, anything that gets us out and about and especially one that involves us using our brains (or google sometimes).

We downloaded the app prior to leaving our home and made sure that our phone was fully charged ready for our day of creating, discovering and catching memories.

Once we downloaded the app we was guided through page by page.

It was simple and easy to follow.

The first clue is given to you on the wondroid website the second two are on the traces app.

If you work/Live in London you may know many of the historical/landmarks to visit. We thought we would be fine, but in fact we had to use the hint link on all 3.  We kind of knew who the clue was about but had no idea in which part of London where to find them.

We found the first one pretty quickly and was hoping that the second one wouldn’t need much travelling to. Once you know that you are in the right location you need to turn on your traces app and by holding your phone up and scanning around you will be able to catch the trace. It works similar to taking a photograph, once the trace is within the circle you simply press catch.

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After a little pose in front of a statue we was ready to move on to our next location.

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Once we worked out the answer to the second clue we made our way by train to get there. It was only a short journey away.

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Each time you catch a trace you are rewarded with wondroid being given a part of his body back

The children really enjoyed their little adventure through the streets of London, visiting places that we wouldn’t normally go to. Going on the Scavenger hunt searching for Wondroid body parts helped them learn navigation skills and they even learned how to map read, navigating us from one place to another.

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We found ourselves googling more information on the historical icons. Not only did we have fun but the day was positivity educational.

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We worked together to solve the clues and it was the ideal opportunity to explore London and the science themed landmarks that we wouldn’t have normally known of.  The app was simple to download and easy to follow.

Everyone who helps put Wondroid back together again are entered into a prize draw to win tickets to the Science Museum wonderlab which opens in october.

The whole geo scavenger hunt took us about 1 1/2 hours in total. Clues 2 & 3 are pretty close by, within walking distance. The furthest distance to travel was between clue 1 & 2, you could walk it was easier to travel by tube.

For more information on the Statoil Wondroid read my post here

Post in partnership with Statoil Womderlab

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Wonderlab Gallery Scavenger Hunt in London Competition

Can you take on the Statoil Wondroid Challenge?

A One-off competition invites children in London to build a robot on a virtual scavenger hunt, and discover the world of science this summer

Image result for wondroid

On 12th October 2016, all eyes will turn to Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery opening at the Science Museum in London. To celebrate its launch, families in London are invited to embark on an exciting geo-location scavenger hunt, where they will be in with a chance of winning an exclusive private view of Wonderlab. The new gallery is designed to ignite interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) while enjoying a fun day out. With more than 50 spectacular cutting edge exhibits, such as a giant interactive orrery, live shows and immersive experiences, Wonderlab is set to wow the whole family.

Curious at heart and on a mission to teach children the wonders of science, Wondroid is a friendly robot built by engineers at energy provider, Statoil. Unfortunately, Wondroid has lost some of his robot body parts. To enter the competition, families in locations where Statoil’s offices are based, these are London, Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth, should simply visit the Statoil webpage  where they can download a free app to their mobile device and watch the story unfold with Wondroid in any one of the three Statoil based locations.

With the school holidays in full swing, keeping the kids entertained can be a full time job. By following the App’s simple instructions, families can work together to solve three clues provided by Wondroid. Providing a perfect opportunity to explore the great outdoors, families will need to visit three science-themed landmarks in London. In retracing Wondroid’s steps, children will enjoy moving from one landmark to another in a scavenger hunt for the modern age. Everyone who helps piece Wondroid back together again will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win tickets to a private view in opening week of the gallery, as well as a host of other wonderful Wonderlab prizes. The competition closes on Monday 19th September 2016 and the winners will be announced on Friday 23rd September 2016.

Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery is dedicated to STEM learning, a curriculum designed to effortlessly integrate four disciplines; science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Built on the belief that the future will be shaped through innovation and curiosity, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery is the ultimate space to help encourage engagement and show the exciting possibilities offered by STEM. The gallery has been designed to help encourage children and adults alike to be more curious and ignite passion for the science.

“Our industry’s future depends on advances in science, engineering, technology and maths so that we can provide affordable, sustainable energy for generations to come. So we are very excited to be supporting Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery. The gallery will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to see the world differently through show-stopping, creative and rewarding science-related experiences. We hope as many families as possible take up the Statoil Wondroid Challenge with a chance to win a visit to Wonderlab and experience the greatest interactive science gallery in the world before anyone else.” said Dominic Martin, VP Communication, Statoil.

Unlike any exhibition of its kind, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery allows children to interact with scientific phenomena; a rare opportunity that is destined to enthral visitors of all ages. This exclusive Wondroid competition gives families the chance to experience the interactive gallery before it opens to the public, an opportunity to be remembered for a lifetime.

It’s a truly wonderful experience. A chance to to get as a family and have fun, learn and even win some prizes.

Are you ready to hunt?

 

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Celebrating the release of Minuscule by Bug Hunting in the Garden

MINUSCULE is this half-term’s must-see animated adventure film for the whole family that follows a battle between tiny beasts for the spoils of an abandoned picnic, arriving in cinemas May 27th, 2016.

Film still of 'Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants', 2013 France/Belgium animated film, co-written and directed by Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo[11SEP2014 48HRs FILM REVIEW 2]

A fantastic tale taking place at ground level, MINUSCULE is the perfect half term treat for all the family. Based on the popular Cbeebies TV show, MINUSCULE blends stunning CGI animation with live action backdrops to really transport little ones to the undergrowth where they’ll embark on a huge adventure with this half term’s tiniest heroes.

 

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See the trailer here

To celebrate the release of creepy – crawly animated adventure Minuscule (in cinemas on 27th May 2016), we have been given Bug Hunting Safari Kit to seek out the tiny creatures and build them homes. Here’s how we got on.

The Interplay Bug Safari kit enables children to explore the fascinating world of bugs and mini-beasts in their own back garden. The safari kit contains tongs, magnifier pot, tweezers, lens and a brush.

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My boys love to be outdoors and can spend every minute of the day outside running around and enjoying nature. They specifically like to hunt for bugs and believe that they may just find a new species. Their fingers and clothes are always being soaked in hot soapy water after spending hours digging up my garden searching for mini beasts.

They couldn’t wait to try out the Bug Safari and was soon using the field lens and bug tongs discovering fascinating creatures that lie underneath blocks of wood and that live within the grassy area of the back garden. It wasn’t long before they had a woodlice and a centipede to look at in the magnifying pot.

I spy a centipede
I spy a centipede
Look what i've got
Look what I’ve got

The tweezers are ideal for catching larger bugs, but be careful not to damage them and the brush is very useful in catching the smaller creatures as you can sweep them into the pot. The kit is a really fun way of finding and identifying bugs.

Along with the equipment in the kit there is also a book that contains a tick list of mini-beasts and bugs, did you knows and where to find specific creatures.

We found out that centipedes do not have 100 hundred legs as the name suggests but that they generally have between 30 and 70 legs. Using the magnifying pot we counted the legs on the centipede that we found and found that our one had 34. We didn’t keep them in the pot for too long, just long enough to investigate the creepy crawlies and then we let them back where we found them.

The boys now have their very own little bug expedition kit in the back garden, all set up at the top of their fort ready to bug hunt whenever they see a creature.

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The children really enjoyed the bug hunting and are now really excited to see the film and I’m sure once they have watched the film it will inspire them to get out into the back garden and hunt some more.

To grab yourself a bug safari kit take a look on what Interplay have to offer here

Here are some downloadable instructions to follow for the children  How To Go Bug Hunting...

We was sent the bug safari kit to review alongside the release of the film. No payment has been received. 

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Den building

What better way to spend a sunny, spring morning than gathering sticks and building a den.

We spent a couple of days at Nanny’s house last week, she lives out in Essex, surrounded by fields and little woods to explore. The boys love to get and about and go on adventures. Nanny had told us about a public walk way that runs along side a golf club, surrounded by trees. She often walks the dog down there and we had previously gone for walk along there but it was so overgrown that we couldn’t get far. The trees have now been cut down and the muddy pathway is now clear of any bramble and lovely to walk along (provided you walk around the muddy patches that is)

The boys found an area that was obviously a meeting area for the local children, they had built their own little house on a hill from branches, it even had a rule sheet attached to it. It gave the boys an idea of building their own den. There were lots of fallen down branches from the recent windy weather that we had.

The boys gathered together some branches and began to lean them up against a tree. They worked together as a team, negotiating where to place the branches, using their imagination and creativity to build a home outside. The tree was at the bottom of a little hill.DSC_4019-opt

They experimented using branches of all sizes, small twigs, leaves, stones and mud.

den building

den

 

The boys really enjoyed being one with nature and it was lovely to see them enjoying themselves and not arguing for once. They were kind to each other and listened to each others reasoning of what to do next.

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They really enjoyed working together and was really pleased with what they had built.

Have you built a den before?
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Creating crafts from nature : Our morning at RSPB Rainham Marshes

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Outdoors, Nature and crafts. Just about sums up my family.

We love to be out and about and I’m always encouraging the boys to use their imagination more when it comes to the outdoors. My boys love science and nature. They can often be found sitting amongst the mud, dirt ground into their pores and deep into their nails, searching for signs of living creatures. In fact my middle boy, who is 8, wants to become a zoologist when he is older. He says he wants to explore the hidden depths of Earth to find new living animals.

We was recently invited along to an event that was very local to us at RSPB Rainham Marshes to meet a fellow Mum and author Hattie Garlick, for the launch of her new book Born to be Wild. Hattie Garlick is a writer and journalist.  She has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Spectator and The Huffington Post amongst others, and also writes the blog Free Our Kids where she received lots of press coverage for pledging to not spend a penny on her children for a year!  She’s a passionate modern eco-warrior.

We was promised a morning of fun and that is certainly what we got. Our day started off with a walk through the nature reserve, led by Rainham Marshes expert Louise. We was shown the ant hills, there were tons of them and what a teasel was. A tall brown, prickly plant. It was very popular with the children and they all wanted to take one home with them. Without harming the reserve, they was all given a magic wand to carry.

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As we walked over the bridge, we looked out along the water to search for voles. The boys loved being outdoors and revelled in the surroundings. My Joseph was in his element. He had taken along his nature book and was constantly looking through it to see what he could spot.

As we arrived at the hide, where we was to meet Hattie Garlick for a spot of crafts and lunch. We all gathered outside amongst the grass where the children ran around feeling the wind on their little faces and pretending to be certain animals. Mimicking their movements and noises. It was good fun. They enjoyed frolicking around on the grass.

We made our way inside for a little warm up and an introduction to Hattie and her adorable little assistant, her daughter Frida. Hattie spoke about her book and how we should allow our children to take the lead when it comes to crafting with nature. Let their imaginations run wild and see what wonderful twists and turns they take.

“Born To Be Wild is an inspirational book packed with over 100 activites to reconnect your family to the outdoors.  User friendly, you can flick through to the relevant season and materials you find (for example sticks, stones, blossom…) and find a fun and interatctive activity to do with your children.  The ideas can be easily adapted so they are suitable for children of all ages. Beautifully illustrated with colour photos by Nancy Honey this book is sure to become a family favourite.”

The activities in the book promise to be easy on the wallet and planet and most importantly fun for all the family. Hattie believes that children have the wildest imagination and Nature allows it to become free.

Hattie invited us all outside for a spot of pond dipping to get closer to nature

After a quick introduction from Louise we was ready to give it a go.

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I was little apprehensive allowing the youngest to get so close to the water, he doesn’t see danger and was leaning right over the edge trying his best to scoop up some living things with his net. But one look at his face and I knew I had to let him try. He was loving it. IMG_20160319_122859-opt

We found lots of pond minibeasts around the reeds in the water. We got quite a water nature haul, finding a Whirligig Beetle, biting midge larva, damselfly nymph, blood worm and water mites.

After our fun outside, we made our way inside for a spot of nature crafts with Hattie. On each table was a selection of object for us to make an Easter tree with, some from the outdoors and some from the craft cupboard.

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We filled our jar with some soil that had been gathered up for us beforehand and then placed some twigs into the soil, pushing down deep for it to stay. Then all was left to do was allow the boys to use their imagination and see what they come up with. The boys enjoyed getting messy, in fact Hattie said the messier the better

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The boys used wool, paint, glitter, tissue paper, flowers and ribbon to brighten up the twig and produce an Easter tree perfect for any living room. It was bright and colourful and lots of fun.

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Hattie gave out prices to all of the children that created a nature project. Joseph was given a book about wolves. He loves to read and was over the moon with his prize.

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We had  a wonderful morning at the reserve, learning about nature and meeting Hattie Garlick. I think Hattie had made a friend for life in my boy, he adored her and now carries her book about with him.

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This short film sums up our morning with Hattie and RSPB

Read about Hattie’s book Born to Wild here The book contains easy to follow instructions for over 250 activities that requires nothing more than a small persons imagination and the outdoors. The book guides you through each season. It introduces you to the toolkit that you will need, just normal everyday household items, collect everything together and place them into a bag ready to use on your next outdoor adventure.

Born to Wild is available to buy for £16.99 here

We was invited along to the event for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received 

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