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!
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…
Here are our pictures from our visit last month too…
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:
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.
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)
We went to London Zoo for the day.
We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.
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.
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.
Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.
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
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!
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!
Since we were close by we then popped to the Science Museum to play in the Basement.
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.
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!
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.
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.