Days at the Seaside: What to Wear and What to Take with You

As the summer sets in, and school holidays dawn upon us, now is an ideal time to sit down and make a list of days out that you can embark on with your little ones in tow. After all, there’s only so much staying indoors, watching films and painting pictures one family can take! At some point, something has to give, and a day out or two a week will help to prevent boredom setting in so that their break from school can be looked back on with glee.

Days out needn’t cost a fortune, either. It’s understandable that many people avoid them due to the cost incurred, but you don’t have to head to the country’s popular attractions that charge a fortune for stepping through their gates. Instead, opt for one of the free activities available across the country – all you need to pay for is your travel, and if you live closeby, even better! The seaside is a great option for a day out when the sun is shining – kids and adults alike will love the opportunity to relax, play and splash about and who wouldn’t take the opportunity to enjoy a portion of fish and chips, or a stick of rock, on the beach?

If you are heading to the seaside this summer, make sure you go prepared. Wear suitable clothes and make sure that you take all the right things with you in a good-sized beach bag. Here’s a quick breakdown that can help.

What to Wear

Your children should wear some casual summer clothes that will help to keep them cool, and protected from the sun. If you want to treat them to a new outfit, you can find some great value girl’s dresses and boy’s shorts at George, which won’t break your bank. Team shorts with a cotton short sleeved T shirt, and pop a pair of jellies, flip flops or sandals, onto their feet. Trainers may be tempting, but they’re not ideal when you’re on the beach and fancy a paddle – that’s where the jellies come in!

Wear sunhats and sunglasses too, even if it seems a little overcast. Protection from the sun is paramount, so cover up and smother in some suncream.

You may also wish for the kids to put their swimwear on underneath their clothing, so that they’re ready to go once you arrive. Make sure they go to the toilet first though!

What to Take

Take a beach bag that is big enough to hold all of your stuff, as well as theirs. Take a cover up, in case it gets a little chilly, as well as a bottle of suncream so that you can keep topping it up throughout the day.

Most seasides will have a selection of cafes and beachfront stalls where you can grab a drink or an ice cream, but you may wish to take a selection of snacks, too.

Also pack a couple of towels (to sit on, as well as dry off on), and a lightweight jacket for each of you, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Make the most out of the time that you have with the kids when they’re not in school – a day at the seaside doesn’t have to cost a penny, but will stay in your children’s minds for a long time to come.

‘In collaboration with ASDA George

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50 things to do before you are 11 3/4

So… you may have seen some of our Nature Play ideas over at Red Ted Art.. I am a great fan of getting the family outdoors and experiencing childhood classic with them. To me “all those little” things, with a couple of big ones thrown in, are what make childhood special.. from playing poo sticks, to catching crabs, to watching butterflies grow, to cooking on a campfire (even if it is just toast or some choc button bananas), these are the things I want my children to EXPERIENCE as they grow up. These are the things I want them to have happy memories of and do time and time again as they grow up and when one day they too  have children.

I am pleased to share this FANTASTIC list of childhood classics from the National Trust – 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 . LOVE IT.  I have it as a great list below (with some links to National Trust places), as well as a handy little download for you to download and print, keep and tick off…. go on. I challenge you, can you do ALL 50 before your child is 11 and 3/4?!

50 Things to do before you are 11 and three quarters!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

  • 11.Go on a really long bike ride
  • 12.Make a trail with sticks
  • 13.Make a mud pie
  • 14.Dam a stream
  • 15.Play in the snow
  • 16.Make a daisy chain
  • 17.Set up a snail race
  • 18.Create some wild art
  • 19.Play pooh sticks
  • 20.Jump over waves
  • 21.Pick blackberries growing in the wild
  • 22.Explore inside a tree
  • 23.Visit a farm
  • 24.Go on a walk barefoot
  • 25.Make-a-grass-trumpet
  • 26.Hunt for fossils and bones
  • 27.Go star gazing
  • 28.Climb a huge hill
  • 29.Explore a cave
  • 30.Hold a scary beast
  • 31.Hunt-for-bugs
  • 32.Find some frogspawn
  • 33.Catch a falling leaf
  • 34.Track wild animals
  • 35.Discover what’s in a pond
  • 36.Make a home for a wild animal
  • 37.Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
  • 38.Bring up a butterfly
  • 39.Catch a crab
  • 40.Go on a nature walk at night
  • 41.Plant it, grow it, eat it
  • 42.Go swimming in the sea
  • 43.Build a raft
  • 44.Go bird watching
  • 45.Find your way with a map and compass
  • 46.Try rock climbing
  • 47.Cook on a campfire
  • 48.Learn to ride a horse
  • 49.Find a geocache
  • 50.Canoe down a river

Click here for more info!

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Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Awwwww well, what else do you need to say when you say the word’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Clearly, it speaks for itself. Take a favourite cuddly. Pack a bbackpack with some goodies, grab a blanket and HEAD TO THE PARK. We were lucky enough to have an “extra” day at home today, so instead of moping around complaining about the drizzly weather we decided to embrace Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day and head out to the park. And what a lovely day we had. We got our neighbours to come along and it was lovely watching in the interaction across the age groups. Seeing the bigger kids encourage the smaller ones to have “a go”, having the smaller kids look up to their role models.

We found the perfect picnic spot, ate yummy food, played and then went for a walk. The weather didn’t stop us and the kids had a great time. When we come home, there was still plenty of space for a hot chocolate and time for some colouring and drawing sharing their day out on paper.

Thank you to the lovely peeps at House of Fraser for sending our new Monchhichi friends (Cutie and Monty) and for providing us with a lovely picnic. It would have been so tempting to stay in and lament the wet day and instead we embraced our free day and had a great day out!

So the moral of the story is: DO IT! Just go out and have fun with the kids. Don’t worry about the weather, don’t worry about whether you have the energy or not. Don’t worry about what it will be like. Just do it. And enjoy!

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DIY Fruit Ice Lollies

My kids LOVE ice lollies and come the Summer season, they are always asking for some. Though I do believe the kids should have treats, I also believe in healthy treats. Yes, chocolate and gummi bears are fine once in a while, but not on a daily basis. Ditto ice cream. When on holiday, maybe, when at home no. So I decided to make them some fruit ice lollies. And I have to say, they are DELICIOUS. My mouth is watering just thinking about them now. They are healthy AND relatively inexpensive to make, as we used frozen fruit! Though you can experiment and use whatever  fruit you fancy. We made Elderberry, Blueberry and Raspberry lollies. Delicious.

DIY Fruit Ice Lollies

Ice Lolly Recipe Ingredients:

* small portion of frozen berries per lollie – frozen fruit are a lot cheaper to buy and also means we “always have some” to hand

* some waterdown elderflower cordial (probably less than 1/4 of a cup per lollie)

You can substitue the cordial with lemonade or apple juice or even a yoghurt/milk mixture. Experiment to suit your tastes!

Ice Lolly How To

1) Pack some fruit into your lolly moulds

2) Pour in some cordial or other liquid – do not fill to the top, as you still need to get your lolly stick in

3) Gently ease you stick in and place in the freezer.

Leave overnight and done. I am telling you, these are seriously delicious ice lolly treats!!!

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Toddler Garden Play Recommendations

10 Summer Garden Toys to Keep Toddlers happy and busyHere comes the SUN!!! Yay, we can’t wait for Summer to be here. We have had lovely days on and off.. but we are SO ready for a proper Summer. And with Summer comes lots of time to play in our little garden. We thought you may enjoy seeing our favourite Toddler Garden Toys, that we have enjoyed, either playing with in our own (small) garden or at friends houses over the years. My kids are now at preschool and school age, so I think we have a good feel what they liked and didn’t like playing with in the garden! I hope you enjoy these ideas too and that you one or two of them will make your Summer with your toddlers more fun this year.

I would love to hear what your SUMMER HITS have been! Please do leave a comment and share your experiences too!

Please note, there are some affiliate links within this post, BUT, this is about the toys first and the affiliate second.

 

Toddler water table playFirst up we have a classic –   Water Wheel Activity Table - something that ALL KIDS seem to find irristible. They can play for hours with “water in”, “water out”. We love the water wheel addition, the little boats and the sturdy legs. Compliment it with your own toys, such as plastic cups, funnels or rubber ducks. I have to say, personally (!!!), I would not recommend a sand come water table – though fun in principle, you usually end up with a big wet mess and clogged up water wheel. PERSONALLY, I think just a water table is better (with a sandpit somewhere separate!).

garden play ideas

Ha! Clearly not your “classic kids toy”, but I think this Classic Moving Sprinkler is JUST what you need for some Summer fun. Oh how I remember my own childhood, running up and down and trying not to get wet. Don’t go for a gimmiky kids’s one, just get this normal sprinkler, that is sturdy and reliable and the kids will have great fun with it!

toddler trampolinThis is a great “basic” and will give those energetic toddlers and opportunity to burn off that extra energy: Get yourself a Fold & Go Toddler Trampolin they are quick to set up and you can take the bar off for storage during winter months. Something that my kids seem to be able to spend hours on.

toddler garden activities

Our friends had one of these Height Adjustable Toddler Basket ball – will grow with your kids! and I think they are just too cute. The best thing is, that you do get “grow it with your kids. You can fill the base with sand (though it doesn’t come with sand), so either get some or have this set up against a wall for stability.

lawn games

We are GREAT Melissa & Doug fans they have so many great and well made toys and we are rather partial to this  Toss & Catch Game (There is also a Frog Version) – a great way to get that hand eye co-ordination going.

toddler slide

A good sturdy slide will always be popular too. This Folding Slide is great for storage (can you tell we have a tiny garden.. and we have been known to put it in one of these for extra Summer fun:

Paddling Pool

There is nothing quite like a Simple Paddling Pool for Cooling Down. All kids seem to adore them. (NOTE: NEVER LEAVE YOUNG CHILDREN UNSUPERVISED) Use as a Ball Pit in colder weather!

toddler summer activities

We do love to have hours of Creative Fun with Sidewalk Chalk (Or make your own!) Whilst the kids are small, it will be more about mark making, but as they get older, you can introduce letter formation, drawing and simple games.

easel (2)

Told you we love Melissa & Doug and we ADORE their Easel - Get Arty Outdoors – Melissa & Doug dry eraser/ chalkboard easel. I lov that this comes with the chalkboard and the dry eraser side and has a bar for scrolling paper on. Our friends have this and I am dying for one for the kids. Use it indoors or outdoors.

Art accessories

Do get some of the Melissa & Doug Art Accessories  to go with it. The no spill paint pots are particularly good.

toddler lawn games

Finally, we have a (ahem Melissa & Doug) Bean Bag Toss game. You can lie flat (as per the picture) or stand it up and make it a bit harder. With little kids it is all about co-ordination and throwing skills. Older kids will enjoy collecting points and practicing basic maths skills. Lovely.

As mentioned above – I would LOVE to hear what your favourite Toddler Summer Garden toys are.. please do leave comments below!

(Check out our hugely popular Toddler Gift Guide too!)

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