Category Archives: Family Fun

Train Spotters R Us

Do you ever see signs to exhibitions running at your local village or town hall and just walk straight by? We recommend that next time you have a little wander in. We have wandered past the sign to a local scout train exhibition on a few occasions in the last couple of years. We’ve always been on our way somewhere else or haven’t had time to take a look. How silly were we? We saw the sign up for the coming exhibition this time and made a special effort to go along for a look.

A few hours later, a ploughmans, several slices of cake, a few cups of tea and a jug of squash down, and a pair of earrings and necklace up, we were happy and train’ed up.

There were several miniature railways set up, including a 6 inch high thomas the tank engine and friends!! Some trains had steam pumping out the engines, others were picking up cargo, some had working signals. Our favourite was the Welsh railway village (pictured) with it’s doughnut shop, pub, church and cows. We had great difficulty walking away from that one!

Once we’d had our fill of trains, and had managed not to purchase any of the fantastic trainage on offer, we sat in the waiting room with a cup of tea and cake while the younger members of the party sat with their squash and watched Thomas doing his thing.

On the way out we even had a lucky dip and won a beautiful (!) pair of earrings and equally special necklace.

So next time you wander past a local exhibition, wander in and have a look. You’ll be supporting a local group as well as possibly stumbling on a little gem of a few hours.

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Dylan and Grace’s Top 10 Half Term Activities

So here in Oxfordshire it seems we have had half term a week before everyone else. We thought we’d share the Dylan and Grace team’s activities this week in case your thinking cap is struggling for ideas for next week:

  1. Take a trip to a friends – team up with your friends to have some play dates. You can enjoy a chat and cup of tea and the children can burn off energy together!
  2. Take a trip to nanny’s – children love a sleepover and half term is a great time to send the children off to nanny’s for a night. You get the night off and they’ll undoubtedly stay up late which means they’ll have an early night the following night too!
  3. Take a trip to a garden centre – many garden centres will put on activities for children over half term. One close by encouraged children to make and decorate their own birdhouse, another had craft events on including decopatch and birdfeeder making.
  4. Paint, paint, paint – on at least 2 occasions this half term we had strings of paintings across the dining room. Children love to paint and if you add in some cut up Continue reading
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Beale Park – Half Term Family Fun

As today promised to be a sunny Autumn day so we had a little web search of the local area to get inspired for a day out. We chose Beale Park – or Child Beale Trust as it was when I was little. It’s a wildlife park just outside Pangbourne in Berkshire and offers lots of animals, outdoor space, play areas and picnicking (though the good old weather forecast was slightly wrong and our picnic was actually eaten cheekily inside the toy display room!!).

Here’s a quick photo story of our day…

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Indoor Halloween Fright Night

Last year we had lots of requests from our Grace for trick or treating, this year we’ve only had requests for a brilliant Halloween night like last year. Last year we shared our Halloween fun to avoid the lure of trick or treating and it clearly worked so I thought I’d share our plans for tomorrow in case you’re facing the same dilemma.

So yesterday was a full moon. Not in our house, the full moon is tomorrow. To little eyes it will still look almost the same and will make Halloween twice as scary.

As you can see from our beautiful picture, the posters have already been created – please note the weird green glow in the middle of the picture just appeared when the photo was taken!! Weeeeiiirrrrrdd!!!!

The first plan is to hunt from some twigs and sticks to make into our own broomstick. Then we’ll be carving our pumpkins. Then creating pictures to decorate our walls. Then we’ll be creating some little baskets to collect our treats – just make a cone with black or decorated paper and tape on a paper handle.

Then just before dinner, we’ll raid our dressing up box, get out the facepaints and create ourselves some scary Halloween monsters! Then off we’ll fly to dinner on our Continue reading

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Autumn Mushrooming

Autumn is the perfect time for putting on the wellies and getting out and about mushroom hunting.Mushroom

Field Mushrooms are usually found after rain in fields grazed by cattle or horses and sometimes in parks and on lawns.  It has a white cap and grows between 3-10cm diameter, umbrella shaped with pink gills underneath that change to red-brown then dark brown as they get older. They can easily be confused with other poisonous mushrooms so if in doubt don’t eat them!!  Why not involve the whole family and make it a competition to find the most or the biggest mushroom.

If the Mushrooms manage to elude you this Autumn why not try growing your own, they’re ideal for children and
perfect for the winter months.

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Family Festival Fun – Take Home Ideas

pond dipping for childrenThe sun was shining last weekend and we were lucky enough to have a Family Festival being hosted just a few miles from us at Hill End, Oxford. There was a lot of open space for children to stretch their legs and lots of exciting things to do to stretch their imaginations.

We had a lot of fun so I thought I’d share some of things we did that you can do at home and when out and about:

  • Create a mud kitchen – a lot of fun (and mess) was had in the mud kitchen. To recreate at home (well, we recommend in the garden!!) simply get a bowl or bucket, fill it with some mud (we suggest supervised mud collecting if you’ve just planted your spring bulbs!) add a little water, then simply let the fun begin. If you can add some spoons and smaller bowls or plates to the mix, all the better. Just don’t expect a clean child to walk back through the back door when they’re done!
  • Junk modelling – Weave Recycle had a stand at the event with lots of discarded materials from business and industry. Children were able to use their imaginations to create all sorts of models, structures and games. It’s easy to recreate this at home, simply go through your recycling box and pull out different Continue reading
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Out and about for half term

Following the excitement of the jubilee we were very much raring to go with our half term fun.

There’s nothing like a trip out to the farm and so we decided what better way to keep the jubilee excitement going than head off for an afternoon out. We had a little excursion out to a local farm/farm shop/garden centre recently and spent a good few hours enjoying some family time with friends.

Many garden centres and farms offer a variety of different things to do and keep you occupied for an hour or two. many of them don’t have an entry charge either.

We took along a picnic and made a day of it. Here’s a few of our pics to show you how much fun can be found for very little expenditure!

A little “Pick your own”? Don’t mind if we do!

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Hurrah, pick your own season has begun!

strawberry picking childrenJune has arrived along with the pick you own season. We could wait no longer so decided to head straight down to the pick your own farm now summer is here.

Sadly only strawberries are in season at the moment but another few weeks and raspberries will be ready for the picking along with gooseberries followed by blackcurrants and blackberries. Then we shall be off again…

Many pick your own farms have additional entertainment to keep children amused all day. One of our local pick your own farms (Rectory Farm in Oxfordshire) has a bouncy castle, sandpit and outdoor cafe, another (Millet’s Farm in Abingdon) has a full garden centre, animals, shop and cafe/restaurant. Both also have great picnic areas.

So, why not make a day of it? Pick your own in the morning, picnic with pick your own pudding and lots of play to work it all off.

On top of everything, it’s a great way to get children eating their 5 a day all in one go! Children are much more likely to give Continue reading

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Hooray for Some Sunshine!!

Hooray, finally the rain stopped and some sunshine put in an appearance.  We took the opportunity to get back into the garden and get planting.  We’re on a vegetable growing mission this year, we’ve got leeks, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes and onions amongst others, already out in their planters or growing in the greenhouse, our 7-year-old concentrated very hard whilst wrapping the runner beans around the canes and planting lots of lettuce, she had a bit of help with our mini gardeners kit which includes gloves, spade and a fork all suitable for little hands.  We all finished up very muddy and a bit proud of ourselves, we can’t wait for them all to grow so we can enjoy some fresh vegetables through the summer.

We also decided to plant something a bit different, popcorn seeds which grow into popcorn we can actually eat.    The children had great fun planting them and we’re all very excited to watch them grow, we’ll keep you updated as to how we get on but why not buy your own and let us know how you do!

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Afternoon Bus Museum Fun

We decided on a bank holiday weekend trip to the bus museum at Long Hanborough in Oxfordshire. We’ve been there before and the lure of a vintage bus ride helped us decide to pay another visit – the fact the children love it helps too.

The bus museum is on the side of the Long Hanborough railway station so if you’re lucky you also get to see trains passing by, picking up passengers and heading off again. Also handy if you fancy a visit to the museum and train travel is the way you prefer to get around!

Once we’d got our tickets we entered the main part of the museum and were welcomed by the abandoned bus, set up like most of the buses are found. The best bit for the chidren was trying to spot all the different animals and keep walking past the owl and frog to make them hoot and ribbit!

Within the museum there are some very old buses and bikes – the old Royal Mail delivery bike (those postmen must have had some strong legs!) and the penny farthing were particularly interesting to us. There is a selection of old buses that you can climb in and have a look around – we had great fun waving to each other from different buses – and a Continue reading

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