Paddling Pools and Splash Parks

During the summer months Squiggle spends alot of time playing in water. This fulfills her sensory needs and is also part of her therapy in other ways too. We have visited various splash parks and paddling pools…

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Haven: Littlesea (Our trip to Weymouth, Dorset)

We had a brilliant short break at Littlesea Haven Holiday Park in Weymouth. We stayed in a lovely privately owned caravan in a well-situated spot and really enjoyed the facilities that this site had to offer. We have stayed on several Haven sites now but this one was a firm favourite! Nice pool, good layout, great entertainment, understanding staff, excellent location (with a car) and all-round enjoyable stay.

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Indoor entertainment at Littlesea
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Outdoor play area

Whilst we were at Weymouth, we also visited Sealife Adventure Park. We have been here several times before and absolutely love it! Well worth a visit, wonderful day out.

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Lots to see, really fascinating
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Seals are still her favourite! She was very happy to discover two more seals have come to join Sealife too.
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Fun playing in the water park.
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Lovely new sensory area- great addition!

We also went to the beach…

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Reading the signs on the bridge. Some of them we didn't know so we all learned something new!
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Scenic views
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It was really quiet and very peaceful.
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Beautiful sea views

Last but not least, we popped to the beach and the funfair at Bowleaze Cove…

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Bowleaze Cove (and the marina we passed on the way there!)
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Funfair at Bowleaze Cove

All in all, a fantastic short trip! Loved it!

Kensington Gardens

We love Kensington Gardens for a wander around the park and a play at Princess Diana Memorial Playground. This is a favourite of ours as it is a lovely natural playground with lots of sensory input opportunities.  And it has wooden boats to play on, as well as a huge pirate ship! Squiggle is very interested in boats at the moment so she was particularly excited on this visit…

 

Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Autumn leaves!
Fun with the autumn leaves!

 

Here are our pictures from our visit last month too…

Princess Diana Memorial Playground (27 September 2014)
Princess Diana Memorial Playground (27 September 2014)
Exploring chestnuts
Exploring chestnuts

 

More photos, from both visits combined….

Some of the local wildlife
Some of the local wildlife
Under the willow tree
Under the willow tree
Scenic snaps
Scenic snaps

 

I also blogged about it previously here.

Waterside Walks

Squiggle is very interested in different types of boats at the moment so we have been enjoying waterside walks in various locations. Here are a couple of the latest visits…

lee valley river 25 oct 14
Lee Valley riverside walk

 

Apsley Marina (21st October 2014)
Apsley Marina (21st October 2014)

Stanborough Lakes, Hertfordshire

We had an interesting and peaceful walk around Stanborough lakes, inspired by Squiggle’s current boat interest…

Squiggle enjoyed seeing and discussing the different types of boats.
Squiggle enjoyed seeing and discussing the different types of boats.
Bridges and waterfalls.
Bridges and waterfalls.
We had a relaxing walk around the lake.
We had a relaxing walk around the lake.
The wildlife.
The wildlife.
The south lake. Various watersports are held here.
The south lake. Various watersports are held here.
The North lake. This is one of my favourite photographs from this visit. The way the water came out in the photo is so interesting, it reminds me of a painting.
The north lake. This is one of my favourite photographs from the visit. I love how the photo has captured the beauty of the water, it reminds me of a painting.
My other favourite photo of the day.
My other favourite photo of the day.

Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire

River
River
Mini waterfall
Mini waterfall
Canal
Canal
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Autumn at Cassiobury park

Highfield, St Albans

We had a lovely time in Highfield, St Albans for a few hours this afternoon. We know this part of St Albans very well as we used to live there so we enjoy just generally wandering around the area. Highfield Park itself has lots of open space and a tree trail, details of which can be downloaded here A60148_Highfield_Park_Leaflet_P5. There are several small toddler play areas dotted around, mostly tucked away in quiet corners of the residential streets. The Trestle Arts Base and Charters Health Club are also situated in Highfield, both of these venues have various classes and activities for children and adults alike. We have many happy memories from community events that have been held in various locations within Highfield over the years, such as Larks in the Parks and an Olympic Themed Fun day to celebrate 2012, as well as various other fundraisers and of course the annual Highfield fete. There are also regular Health Walks that happen here too. More information about Highfield Park, including information on various events and activities that occur throughout the year, can be found on their website www.highfieldparktrust.co.uk

 

Balancing
This play area is on Russet Drive, opposite the main entrance to Highfield Park itself.
Squiggle enjoyed collected pine cones in this play area.
Squiggle enjoyed collected pine cones and playing in the ‘maze’ (as she calls it) in this play area.
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Quick stop off on the way past during our walk.
This play area is across the road from Highfield Park.
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Squiggle enjoyed ‘exploring’ to find this one furthest away, down one of the residential streets at the other end of Highfield.

 

Haven: Allhallows, Kent

We spent a couple of days at Allhallows in Kent. Our favourite things about this site were the direct access to the beach, helpful staff, lovely play area and nice pool. I do think the layout could be improved- for a child with sensory processing difficulties it was very overstimulating to have to keep walking right through the arcade and restaurant to get to the outside play area and it was a shame that the soft play is not sectioned off abit too rather than in the centre of the noisy arcade. The entertainment venue felt abit cramped, it needs to be abit bigger or designed better to give a more spacious feel. Overall though we enjoyed our stay and would happily return.

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Beach (direct access from site)

 

Drawings in the sand
Drawings in the sand

 

haven play area july 2014
Onsite playground

 

haven characters 2014
Dancing along at the disco and meeting Bradley bear and Anxious elephant from ‘The Seaside Squad’.

 

 

Living Crafts (Hatfield House, Hertfordshire)

On Friday afternoon we went to Living Crafts held in the beautiful grounds of Hatfield House. This is an annual event, celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year. Most of the workshops, demonstrations and stalls are in large marquees, which means the weather won’t spoil the fun. There was plenty to see (and do) of interest, way too much to list it all in fact! Just a few of our favourites included glass blowing demonstrations, origami workshop, soap carving, decopatch, watching maypole dancers and listening to steel drums. We actually had so much fun that we returned today for another visit, it is a fantastic educational experience and great for all ages too. We look forward to next year’s event already! For further details see www.livingcrafts.co.uk

Here are just a few of the photos…

glassblowing
Squiggle was really interested in the glass blowing demonstration.
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They demonstrated various glass blowing techniques and we watched the whole process of making this wine glass.
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Origami
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Squiggle learning origami.
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We will soon be doing some decopatching at home!
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We saw the paper making workshop so Squiggle wants to research more about how to make paper.

 

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Willow weaving.
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Shoe maker, Squiggle found this particularly entertaining.
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Pottery.
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Soap carving
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Squiggle doing some soap carving.
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Spinning.
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Old fashion wool machine.
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Weaving.
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A work in progress.
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Horseshoe dog sculpture.
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Steel drums.
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Squiggle dancing to the music.
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Maypole dancing.
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Living Crafts was a very educational event, we will remember it well!

 

 

Easter at Mead Open Farm

Having always found Mead Open Farm to be relatively quiet, even at weekends and holidays, and having found Willows somewhat less crowded than we had expected last weekend (previously we have always found Willows to be the busier of these two farms), we found we were in for a HUGE shock when we arrived at Mead Open Farm this afternoon. The car park was literally covering most of a massive field, one that we had never even experienced the need to ever use for parking on any previous visit, it looked PACKED. Caught in the unenviable position of choosing a meltdown over change of plans or meltdown from over-stimulation we decided the latter was preferable and proceeded as planned.

 

Luckily we had not been here during their Easter event specifically before so Squiggle held absolutely no expectation as to what it might be like, which did make the unexpected volume of people abit easier to manage. We decided to totally ignore the schedule of events and go with the flow, but we did manage to find the Easter Bunny for a cuddle and wandered over to the marquee to do an Easter hunt, which Squiggle really enjoyed. I did have a look at the schedule of activities earlier this evening, after we got home, and there seemed to be some nice Easter activities going on (more real animal encounter type activities than Willows but less in the way of shows) although I think at least some of the activities are regular ones, not exclusively for Easter, so I don’t feel we missed out on much.

 

The new natural play area has just opened so was very popular, both with Squiggle and clearly also with the majority of other children there today too. It has a great selection of equipment and is well designed to cater for a range of ages. Squiggle was happy she got to play for a while and was clearly very impressed with it but it was much too busy for her to fully make the most of it. We look forward to returning soon in term time though for a quieter play, as it is certainly worth revisiting.

 

Here are some photos of today…

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Easter bunny

 

The aim of the Easter hunt was to find 5 letters hidden in ‘Hoppy’s Hamlet’ and work out what Easter-related word they make (which Squiggle worked out independently) to claim a prize (a chocolate bunny lolly)…

Easter Hunt
Easter Hunt

 

The brand new natural play area…

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New play area
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New play area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few of the animals we saw today…

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Feeding sheep
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Lambs
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Baby bunnies

 

All things considered we are glad we went, it was worth the crowds for, and Squiggle had an absolutely wonderful time. A good Easter day out!

 

For more information about Mead Open Farm in general (although I have noticed that they don’t detail event schedules/ specific timings of activities on their website, which is a shame) see their website www.meadopenfarm.co.uk