Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Nearly there....

Ok so I am still working on my bathtime construction kit. After buying the pipe connecting bits and testing whether the suction cups would hold them to the bathroom wall. I tried to construct an interesting arrangement for my baby to watch the water flow through. This is when I reaslised I had made a mistake with some of my pipe connectors and to actually make system long enough I needed to get some more of the bendy corner tubes. So we started of really small just having two tubes, the second one I kept horizontal as I thought the water might move slow enough to be seen. I used the tube with the muslin on so I could put the colour tablets in there, this way we could poor in clear water and it would come out the tube a colour.

This did work really well, although I also found that the pipes did not fit quite snug enough so there was a lot of leaking. My current solution to this is collecting the postman's elastic bands to try and help create a seal.
Once the colour tablets are all used up I have just been turning each pipe around to enable my little boy to pour the water through them. So I get to play for the first half of bathtime and then he gets the second half! Sounds fair to me.x

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Wonderful Wetland Centre

I have recently fallen in love with Barnes. My aunt has lived there as long as I can remember but I have only just ventured out of her house to see the gorgeous surrounding area. It is really close to where I live and I thought that the Wetland Centre would be a lovely outing with the duck-loving toddler. Now growing up I had to do more than my fair share of bird-watching as my Dad was a big fan. I love wildlife and have a strong interest in natural history, I'm sure encouraged by my Dad's enthusiasm but a bird-watcher I am not. But I am enjoying sharing all the new discoveries my little one is making.
The WWT centre is brilliant for this -it really is a zoo for ducks (and other bird-life) so it is really easier to negotiate. The birds are all in plain view and you don't feel the need to constantly shush the little ones. It is completely push-chair friendly and there is massive of free parking.

We had a really lovely day, and the little one enjoyed the children's activity room, we are still too small for Explore, the outdoor learning area. I will absolutely go again but I do have a couple of tiny thoughts....
  1. It is quite expensive- it was near enough £10 for the day (and this is with the toddler being free at the minute), having said that to join for a year is £36 which works out really reasonable so if I go again I will join, you can reclaim the money of a visit from the membership if done within 30 days.
  2. This one is probably my own issue as I have come to realise I am a play snob. The children's room is fun and as I said my little one loved it but... to me it felt a bit like walking into a fairground, yes the activities were sort of linked to ecological things but I'm pretty sure most of that was lost on the kids. I think for such a lovely place this area could have been a bit more low key and allowed the children some more hands on activities with natural objects and problem solving. Kids enjoy those opportunities just as much as the more fairground game activities.
But overall I did love it and I love having outside places to take my son, I also noticed they run quite a lot of family activities which I am looking forward to checking out.

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Lovely Long Nose Puppets again.

After the lovely 'Penguin' show we were really looking forward to going to see "Flyaway Katie" at the Lyric in Hammersmith. And we were not disapointed, there is something so lovely and magical about the handmade feel of all the puppets and sets. The story is an embellished version of Polly Dunbar's book, and just like "Penguin" features music by Tom Gray of Gomez.

After the show they had a 'meet the puppets' session which all the kids loved. The puppeteers were brilliant with kids and kept the magic going.
It was my first time to the Lyric too, and I think its a lovely venue. We were on the second floor which was great as there is a cafe as well as a roof terrace for a little bit of room for the kids. They have a really good program for families and I will definitely being keeping an eye on what is on.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Syon Park Tropical Zoo

The little one is mega keen on animals and has been imagining "snap snaps" (obviously his word for crocodile/alligator or similar) in all sorts of places, especially the pile of logs outside the site manager's shed. So I wanted to try and find him a real one to visit. (Am very excited about taking him to London Zoo but waiting on the new Penguin beach). So after some googling I came across the Syon Park Tropical Zoo. This is close to us with free parking and obviously surrounded with open space so if the little boy needed to run he could. When I say run imagine a drunk very camp man attempting to run, bless, he puts lots of energy in and all limbs seem to move more and faster but his actual forward motion seems to change very little.
Anyway headed there last Saturday and had a really lovely day. It is a rescue centre and has a lovely eccentric feel about it. There are cats lounging on the desk and in the gift shop and the whole thing is in a slightly ramshackle greenhouse.

We arrived just in time for the first meet the animals session, which was fab. The toddler got to feed some tortoises, touch lizards and a Cayman- which definitely counts as a snap snap.

The guy running the session was lovely and I actually learnt stuff! My little one has a slight history of being a wuss but he was remarkably brave with all the creatures. The only time he got upset was when a locust was put on the floor and promptly gobbled up by the lizard, he was not a fan of that.
This on the other hand he was fine with...

We had a lovely time exploring the rest of the little zoo which is tiny but has enough interesting creatures and knowledgable staff to keep everyone entertained.
This massive guy was just hanging out on his own outside the gift shop.

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Monday, 4 April 2011

Suction cups take 2...

Oh I really am hoping (a lot) that I manage to make this work as I think it could be fun. My whole idea with my suction cups is to create a sort of water play construction kit. But I need to remember that my baby is only 17 months old, so need to remember to use baby steps, I think I'm still a bit programmed into Nursery+ age children.

But step 2 on this project was to buy some pipe bits, quick trip to B&Q to get some connecting parts and then to find some clear pipes, which I found from a very lovely company Trent Plastics, who were very understanding of my complete cluelessness. But I found the tube I wanted and they cut it into the size pieces I wanted.

When it arrived I was too excited to wait until bathtime to have a go and discovered that the suction cups worked brilliantly on his cupboard door. So we had a bit of a play with some fluffy craft balls....

My little one was really engaged, but the way the tubes fitted and the very light fluffy balls meant that they kept getting stuck, but I felt encouraged that he was interested.

Next Bathtime...