Paddling Pools and Splash Parks (Herts and surrounding area)

Summer Fun: Parks and Paddling is one of my most popular blog posts and, rather unsurprisingly, has had alot of hits this past weekend! So here is the latest info for this season…

 

● Cassiobury Park paddling pool: closed for refurbishment

 

● Verulamium Splash Park: Now open 10-6pm daily until Sunday 11th September 2016  www.stalbans.gov.uk/community-and-living/communityleisure/play_areas/splashpark.aspx

 

● London colney (Morris Way) paddling pool: opens 28th May. No further info.

 

● Paradise Wildlife Park lagoon: Now open daily. This is part of the wildlife park (no separate entry)- admission costs apply www.pwpark.com

 

● Leighton Buzzard splash park and beach: Now open 10am-6pm daily www.leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk

 

● Ruislip Lido: Now open daily until end of September www.hillingdon.gov.uk/ruisliplido

 

Of course there are many others in and around Hertfordshire, this is not a comprehensive list! Others I have heard of but never visited are Harpenden outdoor pool, Letchworth splash park/ paddling pool and Hitchin outdoor pool. Plus, of course, there is natural water play such as the stream at Wheathampstead, Stanborough or Cassiobury and plenty of beaches within an hour or two (driving or train) too!

Leighton Buzzard Splash Park

Leighton Buzzard Splash Park

 

Happy splashing!

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.

A Typical Week in Home Education?

In reality there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week for us, we are interest-led and we tend to go with the flow as we feel this suits our needs as a family. The freedom to do this is one of the many reasons we love home educating. I will share more of our personal educational philosophy sometime but that is really a separate subject so I will leave it for now. However, this post aims to give a flavour of the type of thing we might find ourselves doing and a rough gist of what our week might look like. So here is a brief summary of our week:

Saturday

In the morning Squiggle played outside in the garden with her dad. She also picked some blackberries then helped to clean and feed our rabbits. After this we decided to head to the seaside at Southend for the rest of the day.

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Playing on the beach
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Collecting seaweed
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Paddling in the sea

Sunday

We spent some the day at home then decided to pop to Milton Keynes shopping centre for a little while (where she particularly enjoyed the caravan show and studying the inside of a working clock)

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This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

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We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
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Iguana in the reptile house
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The gorilla striking a pose!
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Petting farm
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Squiggle spent a long time playing in the water fountains with an acorn. She had fun designing a science experiment to see which fountains could hold the acorn up in the water. She did lots of investigating how easily the acorn moved in the little stream as well.

Tuesday

We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.

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She decided she wanted to play with some coins that had been left on the table so this led to learning to recognise and sort different coins. We also had a discussion on the value of things.
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Watching how the otters behave
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We enjoyed watching the white tiger take a bath

Wednesday

We had planned to go to a local park to meet up with some friends in the morning then we also went to Leighton Buzzard park in the afternoon.

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Fleetville park
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Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
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Developing her climbing skills and confidence
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These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
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Balancing skills

Thursday

We stayed at home today so I produced a hidden parcel that had arrived recently, which she was very excited about. It was a zip wire for her hex bugs! This of course inspired her to play with these for sometime, including lots of exploration and discussion about how they work. Activities she later chose included playing Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds on the laptop.

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Hexbugs
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Maths seeds

Friday

Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.

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Exploring clay at art group
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Doing scratch art

Princess Diana Memorial Playground, London

Princess Diana Memorial Playground is in Kensington Gardens next to the palace. It has an excellent range of equipment suitable for children under 12, all adults must be accompanied by a child. There is a queuing system for when the playground reaches maximum capacity but on the plus side this really makes a difference to the playground not feeling too over-crowded, especially during peak season when other places can often be uncomfortably packed. Further details of this playground can be found on the website https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/kensington-gardens/things-to-see-and-do/sports-and-leisure/diana-memorial-playground

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There are giant musical instruments set in pretty natural surroundings.
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Lovely natural wooden playground with lots of equipment.
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Sensory garden
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Wet sand
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There is an impressive pirate ship in the centre of the playground.
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There is a stream to paddle in with a stone crocodile.
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The playground is set in beautiful surroundings and it has a wonderful calm vibe.
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Great shade for a warm day.

Supporting current interests and finding new ways of ‘strewing’

Squiggle loves it when we have our food shopping delivered, she loves seeing what colour the van will be then helping to carry the bags into the kitchen and finding out what was ordered. So I decided to turn this into a potential opportunity by ordering an alphablocks magazine, since ordinarily she would ignore magazines on the supermarket shelves and reject any suggestion to buy one, but I thought it might be another useful method to help develop her reading and writing skills. She found it ‘hidden’ in the shopping bag and was very excited she had been bought a ‘present’. She couldn’t wait to play the free word game before enthusiastically asking me to help her read the magazine together. Great result for my new strewing method!

spelling and word game 10.05
Playing the word making game, spelling out ‘pig’

A couple of days ago we were walking to the park when we walked past a man with a poodle. Previously nervous around dogs, she unexpectedly put her hand out to stroke the dog as he went past. Myself and the very supportive owner gently explained it is best to check a dog is friendly and wants strokes before reaching out, then gave her the opportunity to pet the very excited dog who kept licking her, which she loved! Later on we walked past a lady walking her dog and Squiggle loudly asked if it was ok to stroke her, which the dog (and owner) were happy for her to do. The rest of the day was spent talking about dogs, playing with her dog sylvanian toys and acting out dogs. Fast forward to Saturday. After music class we were deciding where to go next when I remembered an email I had received from Littlebird about a Pet Show at Earls Court and thought it would be a good way to extend her new found interest in dogs. We drove down there and had a lovely time learning about different breeds of dogs and enjoyed seeing other animals to. She particularly loved seeing a dancing dog!

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Outside London Pet Show
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Stroking the horse during a grooming demonstration
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Poodle
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Irish Red Setter
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Greyhound
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Rottweiler
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She loved meeting the dog character
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Dancing with a cat!
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Petting a hamster

Since we were close by we then popped to the Science Museum to play in the Basement.

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Water play
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Quiet ‘room’
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Light and colour
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Working steam engine
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Working wheel

On the way home we drove past Big Ben and the London Eye, she was so excited because we happened to pass by at exactly 3 o’clock so we heard the chimes. She had been hoping to hear them so was exceptional timing! A lovely end to a lovely day.

Multiple mini topics

Over the past weeks she has been following several interests simultaneously; clocks, flowers and triangles (amongst other things of course). She developed a strong interest in Big Ben after watching a recorded clip of the New Years Eve fireworks held in London, which has extended to a fascination with clocks in general and a desire to learn how to tell the time. She is now able to read o’clocks and is starting to grasp half past and quarter past/ quarter to. She also played a Big Ben internet game, which included learning a variety of interesting facts about Big Ben. She was also very excited to learn Big Ben is 7, 408 hula hoops tall!

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She took a photo of NYE fireworks on TV
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Building Big Ben in ELC
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She used duplo to make Big Ben and London Eye
big ben and milenium wheel
We visited London, she was very excited to see actual Big Ben.
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Pretending the glow sticks are London Eye with fireworks around them
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She investigated using torches to see the clock in the dark. This was inspired by one of the facts she learnt on the game about Big Ben’s clock face being lit up at night.
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She drew Big Ben and pretended Baby Bop was next to it because she was visiting London to.
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We bought a Big Ben puzzle that we made together as a team.
Big ben puzzle 06.02
She pretended that Bob Builder’s vehicles helped to construct Big Ben.
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She even practices telling the time in the bath!
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Big Ben and London Eye became part of her Hex Bugs game to.
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This is her drawing of the London Eye
MK clock 26.01
She was fascinated to see the inside of the clock at Centre MK
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Telling the time
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Acting out the internet game that involves cleaning the clock face.

Having noticed the early signs of spring, she became interested in flowers so we have been on walks to look for different colour and types of flowers, have visited garden centres and had fun doing other flower related activities.

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Drawing a flower with chalk at a play session
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Flower chalk drawing
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Mixing up green for her flower painting
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Flower painting work in progress
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Flower painting
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Flower collage
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Flower collage
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Flower face painting by daddy
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Her own flower face painting she did on herself
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She made a flower bed…literally!
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Looking at the flowers in the spring display at Willows Farm
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Exploring flowers using all her senses at Stockwood Discovery Centre
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She noticed the flower pattern inside this old wagon at Stockwood Discovery Centre.
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This is her flower model at KIDS playground.
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Painting a flower at KIDS playground.
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Making up stories with her ‘flower’ characters.

Her interest in triangles seemed to start rather randomly. She has spent much time looking for triangles in the environment, on car journeys and while walking. She has spotted a huge range of triangles in a variety of places. She also chosen to do lots of creative activities making and drawing triangles, for example from straws.

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She painted pipe cleaners then made them into triangles.
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Drawing traingles at a play session on a large board.
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Tactile triangle shape at KIDS playground.
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Wearing a triangle outfit.
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Painting a triangle at a play session.