On Friday we took Squiggle to the athletics track to do some races. This reminded me that I never actually properly wrote up our fantastic sports challenge (100 days of sports) last year!
I had started out by doing regular round-up posts about it but then for one reason or another, I decided to just do a big summary post at the end, once we had actually finished. But it never happened! We successfully completed the challenge, and had a great time doing it – I just didn’t get round to writing the post to share all the sports activities we did and brilliant fun we had! Oops! So I figured better late than never; Squiggle and I are excited to finally share this post with you… at last!
During the sports challenge, Squiggle took part in a wide variety of sports. Some activities we arranged ourselves, often with her home ed friends, whilst others we attended were organised sessions. I was pleasantly surprised during my research for this challenge at how many inclusive sports sessions are available, including some aimed specifically at SEND children.
This has also led me to reflect on the great importance of sports being accessible to everyone and the huge value of disability sports for both physical and invisible disabilities. I think back to London Olympics and Paralympics 2012 and how we opted to take Squiggle to watch the Paralympics specifically, as not only is it truly inspirational and an incredible honour to watch live generally, but we felt it particularly important for Squiggle to have such role-models from a young age.
I am thankful that there is such a great awareness within the sports sector and for the investments that have gone into disability sports and developing inclusiveness. Bristol Street Versa have also created this infographic to celebrate the pioneers of disability sports; because without them, of course, probably none of this would ever have been achieved.
So anyway, back to the sports challenge! Here are some of the sporting activities that Squiggle took part in as part of 100 days of sports…
Athletics (long jump, hurdles)
Sports day (including flat races, relays and fun races e.g. egg and spoon race, beanbag balancing race, sack race etc…)
She invented her own sport too; a game she called ‘Round and Round Tennis’. She also acted out sports with her Sylvanian Families and played indoor versions of games; such as finger tennis, desktop table tennis and blow football.
We had a fantastic time doing this sports challenge and there are still plenty more ideas that Squiggle is keen to try out sometime in the future too! Such a great experience and very motivating!!!
What is your favourite sport? Let us know in the comments section!
Squiggle loves getting creative, so we were delighted to be given the opportunity to review one of Crayola’s exciting new games. We were sent 3, 2, 1 Draw!which is a fun versatile game that can played in several ways. It retails at £9.99 rrp and is for 2-8 players, ages 6+ years.
This game is part of the Crayola Games collection, which consists of three fast-paced games to test your creative skills. Like 3 2 1 Draw, Scribble Scramble is also aimed at ages 6+ and focuses on drawing, whilst Doodle Delirium is for children aged 8+ and includes both drawing and modelling challenges. All of them sound like hilarious family fun, just the sort of thing that would be great for Christmas gatherings, or at any other time of year!
3, 2, 1 Draw has an almost retro feel to it, reminiscent of etch-a-sketch style toys, but yet has it’s own unique style in that it has been made into a funky game. It comes with a wipe-clean screen, pen, sand timer, eraser and three dice. The timer fits neatly onto the end of the pen, which can be abit hard to see while you’re drawing with it, but it does mean less to juggle if you are playing on the move! And of course it can be removed from the pen if you’d rather put it down elsewhere like we did. Either way it’s a nice feature that gives you the option. The dice and eraser are stored in a little flip lid compartment at the top, which is really handy.
There are various ways to play, based on the level of difficulty and length of game. In all versions, the aim of the game is to guess the drawing before the little sand timer runs out. You then just rub away the picture with the eraser and play again! The only thing I noticed is that the pen doesn’t wipe off with the eraser as easily as I would have thought. However, a damp tissue or cloth seemed to remedy that.
The simple version allows the freedom to draw anything at all, whilst the rest of the team (or the other person, if playing as a two player game) tries to guess what it is before the sand timer runs out. Or roll the dice for a silly challenge to make the game harder, such as drawing with your eyes closed; which proved much harder than I thought, my doodle looked very abstract and impossible to guess!
You can also make the game even more difficult by rolling the category dice, or use the third dice to determine what letter the drawing should start with. Squiggle personally found the topic dice harder than the letter one because she doesn’t really watch TV. But this was no issue, we just didn’t really bother using that one, and chose to play with one of the other two instead. Still plenty of fun to be had!
Whilst it states on the box 2-8 players, it could also be played by an individual too. If playing alone, just race against the sand timer to finish your drawing before the time runs out! Squiggle likes using it just to doodle before the timer runs out.
The game definitely made us laugh and it turns out that Squiggle’s creative drawing skills are so much better than mine! (Not that I doubted that for a moment anyway!) I also particularly love how portable and compact it is, meaning it can be played on the go, as well as at home. It would be good for car or plane journeys, which is extremely useful; we all know how much more peaceful a journey can be when there are things to do! It’s a fun little game if you fancy something creative that doesn’t take too long.
More information about all of the games can be found on the Crayola site.
Disclaimer: I received this game free for the purpose of review, all opinions are my own.
We love visiting Ayletts garden centre at Christmas, they always make a wonderful effort with their displays and often add extra activities or competitions for children too. This year is no exception!
As you walk into the entrance, there is a very modest display with Christmas tree. But keep walking beyond that and the garden centre opens out into a lovely walk-through Christmas scene. Each year there is a different theme, usually featuring cute woodland characters.
Next to the entrance to the walk-through scene is a large snowman with a twist; turn the handle to make him come alive! It’s quite sweet and I like the retro style way it works, rather than it randomly going off when people walk past, which often gets annoying!
Grab yourself a pencil and paper to take part in their free competition. Find the ten letters hidden around the Christmas sections to make up a word, and have a go at naming the snowman too, then post it in the box before you leave.
There is also a collection for Age Concern as part of this display, so don’t forget to take a few coins to throw into the little ‘pond’ there!
There is a large Christmas section in a separate building in the middle of the garden centre. They sell everything from confectionary to lights, to singing santas!
Ayletts is a family run business situated on a dual carriageway on the outskirts of St Albans. It has a large cafe, good disabled access and a good size car park. Next door to the garden centre is Partners Pet Supermarket, an independent pet store, and Maidenhead Aquatics, which has a small soft play area in the cafe and fish you can feed. It is well worth a visit if you are local and have up to a couple of hours to spare. Especially during the festive fun!
Last week, we went on a family bug hunt organised by Highfield Park Trust.
It was a lovely morning; the hunt was well organised, fun, engaging and informative. We both learned lots of new things!
There were 17 questions, which could be answered by finding the different information cards hidden around the park.
For example, did you know ants use their head to block the entrance to their nest to keep intruders out?
Squiggle found out that a male wasp is called a drone.
I had no idea that a praying mantis only has one ear and Squiggle was very surprised that woodlice has 14 legs.
There were sweet prizes for everyone who completed the quiz, which Squiggle was very happy about! But not as excited as she was when she spotted that they had some of their delicious apple juice for sale, made locally from apples collected from the park orchard.
The bug hunt also inspired her to create one of her own back at home, in the garden for her toys.
Even a cat came to join in the fun and followed her around finding them all!
I mentioned in a recent post about the importance of having time to myself as a parent, and what an achievement it can be to actually find time to relax! But what are my favourite ways to unwind at home? A few things come to mind; I enjoy sitting in the garden, meditating or doing some yoga, or chilling in the living room on the sofa either writing or watching TV.
Rattan Direct are conducting a survey about how parents unwind at home, and they will share the results with us soon. If you would take a moment to complete the survey, that would be really helpful, thank you.
2. How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?
3. Has Brexit actually affected your spending habits around the home and garden?
Part one I already answered, but I did leave something out earlier! One of my very favourite things to do to unwind is to have my own little silent disco once Squiggle has gone to bed- I stick on headphones so I can listen to the music as loud as I want and dance around the living room!
Ooh, and they mentioned the C word in part two! Given it’s now practically November I am very much starting to think about Christmas now and get my head in that zone. Christmas tends to be very low key for us, to meet Squiggle’s needs. We try not to overwhelm her with too much going on or too many visitors, so we spend Christmas day at home and just have one or two family members pop over for a short time to wish a Merry Christmas, spend some time together and exchange gifts. Most of our family lives fairly local anyway, so nobody has far to travel, and we probably see them just as much, if not more, during the rest of the year compared to Christmas. We also do lots of festive days out in the lead up to Christmas too though, so there a nice balance!
As for Brexit, I have been trying not to think too much about it to be honest. It hasn’t affected my spending around the home and garden as yet, but who knows how I will feel in future. I do think house prices have been affected though, as I know a few friends are having problems with that. Let’s hope it settles soon. But for me personally, there has not really been any difference.
What are your thoughts?
DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.
Last month we went to Weymouth for a mid week short break to Littlesea Haven Holiday Park. This was our second trip to Littlesea and, given it was one of our favourite Haven sites, we were very keen to return! It certainly did not disappoint.
Littlesea is a lovely site, with scenic views and nice little ‘Tiger Trail’ nature walks. Squiggle really enjoyed following the Rory footprints on our map, so good for developing her map reading skills too!
There are also several playgrounds on-site, with a variety of equipment suitable for a range of ages. It is great that there are different play areas dotted around the park, as it encouraged us to explore further to find them all!
The holiday park is set next to Fleet Lagoon nature reserve, with pretty nature walks and coastal paths. We did find that some of the paths were abit too overgrown (and that is baring in mind we often explore wild overgrown areas!) and it was not always clear where to walk next, so better signage might be useful. However, I am not sure how much of this belonged to Haven, as it wasn’t clear at what point we left the site. Regardless, we had fun exploring and enjoyed a wonderful walk to Chesil beach.
The caravan itself was clean and spacious, with everything we would need for our stay. We were also very kindly upgraded, which meant the quiet but central location of the caravan suited our needs perfectly. (A quiet area of the park is absolutely essential for Squiggle).
There is a good range of on-site amenities and facilities including; a Spar shop, gift shop, coffee shop, take aways, restaurant, bar, arcades, soft play, pool, golf, sports courts, entertainment venue and multiple play areas, as mentioned.
The swimming pool was newly refurbished last year and is lovely, with fun water features that Squiggle loves. Both indoors and outdoors there are shallow paddling pools, as well as the deeper family swimming pools. The changing rooms are quite small but adequate. There is also a separate pool for water sports and activities, for an additional charge, which we didn’t personally take part in but they do seem to be well recommended by others who have, and having a separate area dedicated to this is a great idea.
The showbar has been refurbished even more recently, just this year. It is a spacious venue with a good size stage and dance floor. The entertainment held in the showbar is a fun mix of discos, shows and competitions. Squiggle adores the Seaside Squad shows and she loves to meet them for cuddles; this is one of her highlights of Haven Holidays. Because of the nature of her needs, it is important that she feels unhurried during these meetings (otherwise it triggers her severe anxiety and OCD), which can be difficult during busier times or with certain members of staff present (and is difficult for me because I can’t mention it around her, as that also makes it much worse!) However, the majority of the team seem very understanding of SEND in many ways, and do a wonderful job generally. And Squiggle had a fantastic time meeting several of the characters!
The characters also give some great positive messages through their songs, shows and activities, for example about exercise, healthy eating and taking care of our environment. Squiggle often sings lines from Greedy’s songs such as ‘pick up all the rubbish and put it in the bin’ and dances around to keep fit like Rory. These are great role- models for children!
This emphasis on healthy lifestyle and environment etc… runs throughout many of the daytime activities on offer too; with plenty of sports and games, and outdoor activities such as den building, exploring nature and wildlife spotting. I also really liked the information displayed in the corridor between Reception and the entertainment complex too.
Overall, this was an absolutely wonderful holiday and we would highly recommend it. Thank you Haven for another brilliant time!
(Photos of our previous trip to Weymouth are here).
Recently we visited Hatchlands Park, which is a beautiful National Trust site in Guildford, Surrey. Being a huge fan of Sylvanian families, Squiggle was keen to do the Sylvanian Families nature trail, open until the end of this year.
There is a small charge to enter the park, including the Sylvanian Families Trail, of £6 per adult and £3 per child, or £15 for a family ticket (these prices are for park only, cost to enter whole site including house is extra. Prices are on the website here). National Trust members get in free.
The trail has a series of signs as you walk through the wood, each with nature questions and clues from members of woodland Sylvanian families. There is a more difficult question at each stop, making it fun and informative for all ages.
We did get abit confused when we reached the end because there was no obvious finishing point. We probably should have realised from the number of clues but even so, a clear indication, such as a finish sign or message from one of the Sylvanian families, would have been a nice additional touch.
Regardless, we really enjoyed the trail and the wooden sculptures were lovely. Squiggle got so excited each time she spotted one and loved cuddling them!
Whilst we were there, we also went to Hatchlands Park playground. It has lovely natural play features, including a wonderful treehouse. Squiggle really enjoyed playing here and it fitted in beautifully with the surrounding natural environment.
Autumn is a great time of year to get outside and spend time in nature, I have created a fun autumn activity to download and print off. So grab your coat and a pencil, and enjoy doing this kids autumn scavenger hunt with your little ones!