Screen-Free Indoor Play

It is probably not a huge surprise that we don’t let Tom watch TV. I’ve been mentally composing a post on our attitude to screen time since before I started this blog, but it is still a work in progress. You’ll just have to come back!

What may be more of a surprise is that we do, actually, occasionally play inside. While my general attitude is that if it is daylight and Tom is awake and not eating, we should be outdoors, in practice even we are sometimes put off by cold, windy, wet days. Especially in the afternoons if we have already been out once that day.

On a day-to-day basis, I like to let Tom pretty much potter around freely, doing his toddler thing, which mostly involves running up and down the corridor shouting or pulling everything out of the cupboards and putting it back into a different cupboard. Upside down. However, on the occasional day we are indoors for longer, it helps to offer some other activities to pass the time (and save me from having to rearrange the tupperware draw for the hundredth time).

Monday afternoon was one of those rare ones that we decided to stay in – we had been out for a long walk around the Marshes with a friend that morning and the weather was pretty pants. So I decided to give Tom the opportunity for some messy/creative play.

I am absolutely not a Pinterest mum. My criteria for play activities is that they have to be easy to set up, use stuff we already have in the house, and be safe to eat (since Tom still likes to sample every new substance that crosses his path).

We started with some painting. I didn’t have any non-toxic paint in the house, so I mixed up small amounts of water soluble food dye and let Tom paint with them instead.

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Having got bored of painting on paper, Tom and I decided to paint his face as well.

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By now, everything was pretty covered, so we retired to the bathroom for some water play. I put our washing up tub on the floor, filled it with warm water and some orange food dye, and added some cups, scoops, rubber ducks and spoons.

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Tom got soaked. And loved every moment. He drank more of the water than I would have liked, but since he was very cutely scooping it up with the measuring spoon, and there was nothing in it that could hurt him, I just left him to it. In fact, I managed to read most of my newest National Geographic before he got bored and tried to give me a cuddle. Which meant it was time to get dried off and a change of clothes before dinner.

Two hours passed by like a flash and it didn’t even cost us a penny.


A Wonderful (Wet) Weekend

We had a fantastic weekend! It could so easily have been a bust, bearing in mind the torrential rain that greeted us on Saturday. But I’d finally got my arse in gear and bought Tom a pair of waterproof trousers, so instead of being disappointed by the weather, we were thrilled by the opportunity to try them out.

As a starting point (and as part of our pledge to use our garden more), we headed out into the garden, fully togged up in waterproofs. Even Mr Techno joined in, though rather less appropriately dressed. I mean, slippers? Really? Tom was ridiculously excited by the rain, and ran around squeaking and poking things to find out if they were wet. (They were. Without exception. But he was still amazed every time. I love toddlers!)

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The rain did stop in the afternoon, so we went to the park to do some squelching in the mud and some splashing in the puddles. It was a bit slippery, so Tom’s new trousers got properly worn in and proved they are both water and mud-proof.

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On Sunday, Tom and I escaped the city for some much needed rural time at my parents’ house (Mr Techno had to work). My dad is currently living in Singapore for work, but my mum welcomed us with open arms and my sister was visiting too. Tom was ecstatic to see granny, who always spoils him, and loved having so much space to run around in. We started the visit with a trip out to the chickens, to collect eggs for Tom’s lunch. Tom was actually more interested in the dog’s water bowl, but hey!

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My mum has an extensive network of friends who live on farms and smallholdings, which is great for entertaining little people. We spent a lovely afternoon exploring one of their smallholdings, greeting all the animals, and enjoying the autumn leaves. All finished off with tea and cake, of course!

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We had such a lovely weekend. I’m very thankful for those waterproof trousers – they brighten up any grey day!

Monkey and Mouse

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Weekly Report – w/c 02.11.15

It’s been a bit of an up and down week in the Wildling house, mainly because of the changeable weather (and some lack of planning). Monday started well, with a trip to the playground. Tom had a great time enjoying the swings and demanded go after go on the slide. The playground was almost completely abandoned – not entirely sure why, as it was damp but not actually raining. But this was a plus as it meant Tom could have as many goes as he wanted.

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Sadly the afternoon didn’t go quite to plan – we walked up to Bakers Arms to do some errands, only to find that I had left my purse at home (maturely, I am going to blame the toddler for this, as he does have a habit of removing it from my bag and hiding it under the sofa). So we had to turn around and come back again, by which point it was starting to get dark. Boo for disorganised mum!

On Wednesday we went on a family trip to the lovely Hackney City Farm, plus had a wander round Haggerston Park. You can read more about our visit here.

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We did our usual walk to nursery on Thursday, cutting through the park. It was pissing it down when I arrived for pick up at the end of the day, but I’d fortunately remembered the buggy raincover, so Tom stayed cosy and dry. I braved the elements and walked home, cursing my shoe choice as my feet got wetter and wetter. There were moments when I questioned my own sanity, but Tom was completely dry and I hate getting on rush-hour buses when it’s wet to such a degree that getting soaked socks was definitely the preferable option.

Thankfully, Friday’s walk to and from nursery was dry, though very dark. I let Tom out of the buggy once we reached the park (which is floodlit) and he had a great time walking with me, splashing through puddles and waving to the very few people who were out in the dark.

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We had a great weekend – I’ll be doing a separate post on our adventures, which included waterproof trousers, a pony, lots of chickens and a fair number of puddles. Look out for more tomorrow!

Considering the weather, I think we made a pretty good effort this week!

Rainy Days with a Toddler: Top Tips for Getting Outside

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We’ve had some lovely clear autumn days lately, but yesterday was a wet one and the weather forecast suggests there will be more to come next week.

A bit of rain is no reason to stay indoors though. Tom and I have enjoyed plenty of wet weather playtime. Here are my top tips for getting outdoors in the rain with a toddler:

1) Keep it short and sweet
In fine weather, we expect to be out anything from an hour to all day. When it’s wet though, I prefer to keep it short and sweet. 15 minutes to half-an-hour is the perfect amount for a 13 month old to have fun without over-doing it.

2) Dress for success
For parents as well as toddlers. Waterproof trousers, jackets and rain footies are a must. Don’t over do it though, rainy weather doesn’t necessarily mean cold weather and waterproofs are a trap for sweat. Keep under-layers light (as appropriate) to allow for running around.

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3) Have a change of clothes to hand
Little people are especially vulnerable to changes in temperature and it can be dangerous for their core temperature to drop too low. To avoid too long in chilly wet clothing once playtime is over, have a spare set to hand in the change bag, buggy or car.

4) Enjoy it!
Getting outdoors should be fun, not a task. Head out with a positive attitude, even on the wettest of days, and you’ll be amazed by how much fun you can have. Splashing in puddles, catching rain drops and making mud pies. Just be ready for a nice warm bath to clean up once you get home.

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You Baby Me Mummy

Playing in the Rain

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Well the weather is officially on the turn. It’s getting colder, especially first thing in the morning, and we’ve had a few rainy days.

But this isn’t going to stop us from getting out. Especially now Tom is walking and so is no longer having to crawl his way through wet grass.

I thought I was going to have to look into some barefoot shoes for him (are barefoot wellies a thing? Must check…) but fortunately found a pair of these ‘rain footies’ on eBay. They are essentially plastic bags that attach with some elastic round the ankles. It’ll be a long time before he grows out of them, but he still seems able to walk ok. Waterproof trousers are definitely next on the wishlist.

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We’ve enjoyed pottering around the cat litter box garden, investigating the local wildlife.

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And the play area of the park is completely abandoned when it’s wet, giving Tom a chance to play without getting trampled by bigger kids.

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All in all, wet weather is no reason to stay inside. We love playing in the rain!

Monkey and Mouse