As the summer clutches on for one more burst of sunshine before autumn descends, I thought I would share some information and photos about Morris Playing Fields in London Colney, Hertfordshire. This is a popular summer destination amongst locals, mainly because it has a small outdoor paddling pool that is great for warmer days (or not so warm days too, if you are anything like us!)
The paddling pool has a walk-in shallow end and steps for the deeper end, which is approx 1 metre (disclaimer: this is my own estimate so no idea on actually accuracy of this statement!)
The only downside is, because it is a very small local outdoor paddling pool in a confined space, that it can get extremely busy and this can be abit too overwhelming or overstimulating for some children, especially those with SEND.
However, if the visit is timed right, during a quieter period, it is a lovely place to play!
The paddling pool is in a fenced off area behind the separately enclosed playground.
There is a small carpark adjacent to the playground that serves this and the paddling pool, as well as sports facilities at the playing field itself.
The playground has a variety of equipment, suited to a range of ages in the younger age bracket. I believe there is another facility for older children/ teens at a different nearby site but I have not yet visited this.
It has a slightly retro feel about it, it reminds me of the playgrounds I visited as a child. Very old style, but well loved all the same!
The helter skelter slide is a particular favourite…
For more information about Morris Playing Fields see pdf flyer
Here are our March highlights. I chose the song ‘Wonderful World’ because we went on several lovely nature walks and this song really echoes our appreciation of the world around us!
As well as the nature walks, a few of our other activities (as seen in the video) include a marine conservation workshop by Whale Fest, a playdate at the park, other parks and playgrounds, growing our own potatoes, reading, Aldenham SEN playground, a trip to Willows farm and a visit to Stockwood Discovery Centre.
Ruislip Lido is a fantastic day out on the outskirts of Greater London, just outside of Hertfordshire. It has a man-made beach area on the edge of a huge lake (not suitable for paddling, swimming or boating), plus lovely nature walks through woodlands and around the lake. There is also a large range of children’s play equipment and a splash park, as well as a train ride. Near the free carpark is a family pub with pretty lakeside setting.
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.
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.
We also went to the beach…
Last but not least, we popped to the beach and the funfair at Bowleaze Cove…
These are some of the things we have been doing so far this month…
In addition to these activities, we also practised estimating (time mainly) and discussed the difference between a guess and an estimate. We have also played a game several times that she invented whereby we try to recall what we were doing x number of days ago. This proved to be a fun memory game and we enjoyed talking about past events, as well as doing the maths to work out how many weeks, months and sometimes years ago the day was. I also discovered she didn’t know what a typewriter was when she found a miniature toy one (then again, why would she know!) So we discussed technology and how it has progressed, which she found very interesting.
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…
Sometimes I think the importance of playgrounds are undervalued. I have often included in my posts photos and information about our trips to playgrounds and it strikes me that some parents may wonder why this is even noteworthy. Yet everything around us can be considered of educational value in some way. Other than the obvious health benefits of this physical exercise, a trip to a playground also has another clear purpose as well as ‘just’ being fun. Playgrounds are highly beneficial for a child with sensory processing disorder (or any child without!) because they provide plenty of opportunities to organise the nervous system, especially through vestibular and proprioceptive input, which helps to integrate and rebalance the senses. In short, it has a calming effect and helps the child to be more focused and ready to learn. A playground is almost like an informal sensory integration therapy session, with the added benefit of being readily available and often entirely free!
Personally we love going out alone to quiet playgrounds during school hours for some unrestricted and unhurried therapeutic play. When we meet up with friends at playgrounds it tends to be a very different experience compared to going alone, both beneficial for Squiggle but in different ways. Whilst one provides a lovely social opportunity, she gets less out of those trips in terms of sensory ‘therapy’ because she tends to play differently at playgrounds when with others, rather than spend as much time on the range of equipment. So she particularly enjoys the opportunity to focus on the environment itself sometimes too.
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
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.