Science scarecrow trail

IMG_0097IMG_0105A town not too far from us is having their annual festival at the moment. There is a mixture of science, art, music and sport on over the next couple of weeks. Most of the events are aimed at older children however for the whole of the festival there are a number of scarecrows and art exhibitions & open studios dotted around the town open on the weekends.The scarecrows are themed around 50 years of biomedical science. IMG_0096

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This was one of my favorite scarecrows – human genome sequenced.

IMG_0101It was a gorgeous, hot and sunny day last Sunday. We packed a picnic and decided to head over and have a bit of a look round. We had a lovely walk around the town spotting the scarecrows and visiting a few art exhibitions. Poppet enjoyed her first picnic in the park. Not that she ate much. I wasn’t sure if it was because there was too much going on around her or if she just doesn’t like sandwiches (she never eats sandwiches if I try to give her them). You can imagine my surprise when I pick her up from nursery the following day to be told they had a picnic in the park and Poppet ate plenty of sandwiches! Anyway back to the festival (although if anyone has any ideas for picnic food for a 12 month old I’d be glad of some more ideas).

IMG_0122 IMG_0103I love visiting this particular town, even when there isn’t a festival on. It’s just such a lovely, pretty town with lots of nice walks. There is the park in the center of town, several nice playgrounds, a canal and several other walking routes such as a former railway.

Scarecrow trails are great for families. Walking is much more enjoyable for children when they are distracted. Children will love spotting the scarecrows and trying to identify/guess what they are. Older children can practice map reading (if there is a map of the scarecrow trail, like there was in our case) to locate the scarecrows. Younger children (like Poppet) will just enjoy the colours and being out in the fresh air (Poppet also enjoyed an hours nap in her pram).

Below are a selection of photos of some of the scarecrows. Most of the scarecrows were made by local children, from primary school up to high school age but a few were done by local artists.

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First heart, lung and liver transplant. First functioning laser.

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Artificial heart. Beta blockers used in cardiovascular medicine. Prions discovered to be the cause of mad cow disease. Molecular structure of insulin discovered.

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First test tube baby born

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First test tube baby born

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

Outdoor play – water tables

IMG_0062Poppet’s first birthday was at the end of April so she got a number of outdoor toys which I am really looking forward to using over the summer. I wrote about her smartrike for country kids last week and this week is all about the fun we had with her water table. She also got a ball, a ride on and some foam matting. We don’t have a big garden (in fact it’s more of a yard really and there is no grass) but I am determined to make the most of what we do have. We are very lucky to have two nice parks in walking distance of our house but it is also nice to have a bit of outdoor space that we can use as well. We are lucky that Poppet will only be in nursery two days a week so I know that the garden will get plenty of use by her.

IMG_0060After three days back at work, I woke up on Thursday excited to spend the day with Poppet. I was also pleased to see that the weather was gorgeous. I took her to the park on her trike after breakfast where she enjoyed the swings, then we popped in to the supermarket on the way home to pick up some fresh fruit and other bits and bobs. After lunch but before her nap I decided to put together her water table for the first time. I put water in one side and put all the toys in for her and then brought her out. I wish you could see her face, she loved it. There was lots of smiles, giggles and splashing too. She loved playing with the various toys and I used the scoop to fill the funnels so she could watch the water wheels move around. Yes her clothes were soaked after just 15 minutes but we had fun. So much fun that I let her play in it again yesterday morning too and we’ll probably get it out later today to show daddy how much fun it is.

waterplayI hope we will use this table lots over the summer. It is a sand and water table but for the moment we don’t have any plans to put any sand in. Right now Poppet is happy enough with just water but when she is a little older I hope to put things like cloud dough and other sensory materials in it for her. It’s lovely to see her so happy and excited as she plays with the water toys or just splashes in the water (and rides on her smartrike). I have to be honest, all the toys she has inside rarely get played with, they just don’t seem to hold her attention and she prefers to crawl or cruise around the furniture. These outdoor toys however really make her smile, laugh and hold her attention.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

Bank holiday fun in the park

IMG_9955Don’t you just love a three day weekend? After a busy Saturday and Sunday we decided a quieter bank holiday Monday was in order. We decided to leave the car at home and have a simple day close to home. Poppet tends to have a big nap after lunch so we decided to make the most of this and take her to the park in the morning and spend the afternoon at home.IMG_9966The weather was cool, breezy but dry so we decided to treat Poppet to her first proper outing in her new smartrike which she got last week for her first birthday. We are very lucky to live walking distance from 2 parks. The closest park has a bigger play area but is smaller and has no duck pond. The park furthest away I think is that bit nicer, it’s bigger overall and although smaller, the play park is better maintained and for Poppet’s age there is about the same amount of suitable equipment anyway. Plus Poppet loves the ducks so it was an easy decision.IMG_9958

The park is about 20 minutes walk away but the bonus of her new ride is that the fun starts as soon as you leave the house. She was making happy noises and smiling a lot more than she does when she is in her pram all the way there and back. We had to cross a couple of cobbled roads and we were just saying that they weren’t the best roads for the trike when Poppet start giggling. Clearly she thought they were the best roads for the trike! IMG_9954

IMG_9970Once there we showed my husband round the park (turns out this was the first time he had been to this park), watched the ducks, Poppet had a snack and we let her have a turn on the swings. I hadn’t been to the park in a couple of weeks and I was pleased to see all the blossom out on the trees, I love blossom. Poppet really seemed to enjoy everything in fact she had a smile on her face the entire time she was on the swings for the first time ever! I think my husband may have been pushing her faster and higher than I do!IMG_0002It was a lovely family morning in the park. I love bigger trips out but sometimes smaller adventures are just as fun and you don’t get stuck in bank holiday traffic!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

Cheshire farm, The ice cream farm

IMG_9878Monday was Poppet’s first birthday. We knew the days before would be busy with her party being on Sunday so we planned to have a quieter day (just the 3 of us) on her birthday. My husband booked the day off work and we decided to head to the Cheshire farm, the ice cream, if the weather was OK. We had a back up plan for if rained but thankfully when the day arrived we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

PicMonkey Collage3Since having Poppet I often think about all the fantastic places we visited when I was growing up and I want Poppet to experience them but I grew up in Yorkshire and we now live in Cheshire (about 90 minutes away). Obviously the places I have fond memories of  aren’t the most convenient for us now. So I’m always on the look out for recommendations of places to take Poppet. I found the Cheshire farm online & it sounded like a nice place to visit. Even though it is an hours drive from us we chose it, because there are farm animals and soft play, 2 of poppet’s favorite things at present. Admission is free but there are a few activities that you have to pay for, however they all seemed reasonably priced. These include crazy golf (£1 per person) and quads (£1 for 2 laps). I can honestly say we weren’t disappointed with our choice and I would recommend it as a great family day out here in Cheshire.

IMG_9939 There are lots of outdoor and indoor activities for children of all ages. We loved the adventure playgrounds. There are two for older children (1 is more of an agility trail with zip wires and climbing frames and the other is almost like a fort with a great spiral slide) and a lovely little one for under 3s. Poppet loved this little playground especially the slide. The circular climbing frame is also a round about which she quiet enjoyed. There is also a sand pit under the fence (not shown) which has buckets and spades left in it. We gave the sand pit a miss this time but I thought it was a lovely idea for toddlers.

IMG_9941PicMonkey CollageAs we expected Poppet was fascinated by the animals in the fields. There were a couple of miniature ponies, donkeys, pigs, goats, alpacas and peacocks. There were also a few hutches with rabbits and guinea pigs in them. You can also watch the cows being milk if you happen to be there at the right time in their viewing gallery.

PicMonkey Collage2IMG_9859IMG_9726IMG_9734IMG_9730IMG_9711There is also a fantastic soft play barn, ice cream themed of course. The toddler area is for those up to 90cm and is free. The main area for older children is charged at £3 week days and £3.50 weekends and bank holidays (you get a wrist band so you can go in and out through out the day). The toddler area was fantastic and better than some toddler areas that I have been to that charge. This was by far Poppet’s favorite part and I think we must have spent over 90 minutes in there (split over two visits). She is very active and never still so it is her idea of heaven to be able to crawl round, at speed, without us constantly pulling her away from areas that are not suitable for her. There is slide in there which came up to my waist. She loves to climb stairs so she quickly climbed to the top and before we got chance to stop her, she rolled down the slide head first! absolutely no fear or sence of danger, I need eye’s in the back of my head! Thankfully she loved it but we made sure to stay extra close any time she went near the slide.

IMG_9774 IMG_9794 IMG_9827 Of course we couldn’t visit an ice cream farm without sampling the ice creams. At Cheshire farm they make award winning ice cream in over 40 flavours. I tried their butterscotch and also the white chocolate, raspberry and oreos. Both were delicious. Poppet tried a bit of our ice creams too and seemed to like them. She seems to have more self control than either of her parents though and quickly decided to seal her lips and refuse anymore!

IMG_9756We all had a fantastic day and I have no doubt we will be back many times over the coming years. I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have of great places to take children (particularly toddlers) in Cheshire, the Peak district or the Manchester area (both indoor and outdoors). I’m sure I’ll get to take Poppet to some of the museums, parks and farms I remember from my childhood when we visit her grandparents but we will have to start finding new places to create family memories a bit closer to home too.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

Easter weekend

IMG_9412What gorgeous weather we enjoyed this Easter weekend. It was Poppet’s first Easter and what a lovely one it was. We are very lucky that my husband’s parents have a lovely static caravan on Anglesey & we spent Easter weekend with them there. Planning to make the most of my husbands 4 days off work we got up and set off as early as we could manage (8:30am) hoping to miss the traffic and get there before lunch. Half way there we stopped at a services to stretch our legs and have a quick drink/snack, only to return to the car to find we had 2 flat tires! One call to the AA, a detour to the nearest tire garage and a few hours later (not mention the number of times we had to empty the boot on to the side of the road to access the spare) and we were back on the road. The weekend got much better once we arrive on Anglesey and the car dramas were soon forgotten.

IMG_9273The weather was sunny and fairly mild Friday and Saturday so we took Poppet to the beach for the first time. We took her down to the sea (too cold for a paddle though) and also let her feel the sand which she loved. We set up a beach tent to create some shade for her and she seemed to enjoy it. The tent stopped her from eating sand too which is always a bonus. Ice creams were enjoyed and we had a quick trip to the swings on the way back to the caravan. My nephew was also there on Friday, so we had an Easter egg hunt a couple of days early. He’s 4 and loved it. Next year I look forward to Poppet being able to take part in too.

IMG_9318 IMG_9324 Easter basket2 easterbasket1Poppet was completely spoilt on Easter Sunday with chocolate and other gifts. I shared some details of her Easter basket last week and I can confirm it was a hit. She loved emptying the basket and the Happyland animals were well received (she still carries them around with her a lot). The basket was from Sainsburys and in it I put some decorative Easter eggs that I bought a few years back, some plastic eggs (most were empty but a few hid some of the animals), a packet of Cadbury’s buttons, a set of Happyland farm animals, that’s not my lamb board book and a cuddly rabbit. She is a very active baby and rarely still but she sat in one spot for quiet some time, taking the items out of the basket and examining them carefully before moving on the next one.

easter2 easterOn Easter Sunday the weather was not quiet as nice but we did go for a bit of a walk near Holyhead mountain and took Poppet to see the ducks. All too soon it was Monday and after enjoying a walk to the beach and back before lunch, we headed home.

IMG_9361This last photo is just because I love these curls! Poppet’s hair seems to be getting curlier by the day. As you read this we are getting ready for her first birthday party this Sunday and her birthday on Monday. I can not believe she is almost 1!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

A trip to the farm

IMG_8663IMG_8648  A couple of months back we noticed a sign appear at the side of the main road in to our town for a kids mini farm. We often said we should stop and have a look but either the weather was bad, we were rushing somewhere or other or our baby was asleep. Today the weather was glorious, mild and sunny, so we decided to make a trip out to the farm. IMG_8655IMG_8678IMG_8682 Right off the main road, with easy parking, is this small farm. There were lots of chickens, a few goats, a donkey (set back from the viewing area though so we couldn’t get close) and some sheep. Although it was very small, it was perfect for our 11 month old to spend a bit of time looking at the animals.IMG_8649IMG_8666She smiled and flapped her arms and legs in excitement when the sheep and goats came up to her (at the other side of a fence of course) and often tried to reach out to them. She also happily watched the chickens moving around in there enclosure. We were really lucky to time our visit to see a two day old lamb. You can find a photo of the lamb with my baby here as my living arrows photo for the week. IMG_8651IMG_8634This little farm was just the perfect size for the short attention span of an 11 month old. What’s more it is free and right on our main route in and out of town. I am sure we will be stopping many more times this spring/summer to watch our daughters interest in the farm animals develop as she grows. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Buggy friendly walks – Risley moss, Warrington

IMG_7579The Saturday between Christmas and New Year we decided that we needed to get out and have a short walk. We were staying with family and contemplated driving to Delamere forest which we love but was a good drive away & we only wanted to be out for the morning). Risley Moss in Warrington was suggested to us by my in-laws, they’d never been but it was often in the local newspaper and sounded nice. So we set off to explore this local nature reserve, It turns out it is a bit of a hidden gem.

risley moss2As soon as you drive off the roundabout and in to the free car park you are greeted by this mother earth sculpture which I loved. Through out the nature reserved there are several other sculptures carved out of wood which we enjoyed looking at and I’m sure children would especially like watching out for and identifying what they are. The nature reserve is a mix of woodland, wild meadow and mossland. There are pathways through the woodland areas which are suitable for pushchairs but at this time of year they are a little muddy in places. The pathways are well sign posted and there is also a wooden map outside the visitors center, by the car park.

risley moss 3Inside the visitors center is a whole host of information on the reserve for you to browse. There is information on the wildlife you can spot at different times of the year, the history of the site and the life cycle of a dragonfly. There are also toilets and the rangers office in this building.

risley moss 5IMG_7604 IMG_7593Slightly off the main pathway (sign posted), up a bit of a hill is this fantastic wooden, observation tower which allows you to view the mossland conservation site from tree top height. Well worth climbing the steps for the view of the mossland and the Peak District further away.

risley moss 1There are also two nature hides where you can view the wildlife from. The first one you come across is in the middle of the woods (woodland hide) and is easily accessible. In front of this hide are a couple of bird feeders so they are ideal for attracting birds in to the woodland. The second hide is for viewing the mossland. We did not make it to this hide as the path was very muddy in this area.

We enjoyed walking two laps of the main pathway, as well as exploring the observation tour and woodland hide and this only took us about an hour. I can see this being the perfect place to take a toddler in future visits to our family near by. I would love to go back in the spring/summer when the wild meadow is in bloom. I imagine the nature reserve would be completely different and even more special.

risley moss 4IMG_7585Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall