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A great day out in Haven Lakeland Park


Living in a holiday area means that we can enjoy holiday type activities all year round regardless of the season. The only places we can’t access are holiday parks because they are reserved for residents only which is a great shame because the swimming pools there are fantastic.  For some reason Grange – Over – Sands has not been very good at looking finding good companies to build maintainable swimming pools so they seem to go into disrepair and are either listed as a grade 2 building that is too dangerous for people to used or knocked down to make way for affordable houses.  The only other alternative are the many hotels in the area or in leisure centres a good drive away.  The Haven Holiday Park in Flookburgh is only walking distance away and would be the perfect pace to go swimming if we could have access.

This weekend…

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Over the weekend while my son had been evacuated to my parent’s house I undertook the challenge of putting my son’s new bed together.  With my husband tactically unpractical it was left to me to digest the instructions figure out which bits go where and identify the correct screws and Allen keys.  I choose this mid sleeper bed from Argos and it arrived in two boxes with plenty of plastic wrapping and an annoying block of polystyrene that decided to shed its ball everywhere.

The build was easy enough – I only really needed help when putting the safety bars across because I needed an extra pair of hands to support it.  Basically the whole deal was to screw bits of metal to other bits of metal but not too tightly until it was complete, just in case you cocked it up.

I chose this particular bed because it gave floor space underneath it and the option for a tent.  My son had said that it was a shame that there wasn’t a slide attached to the bed so he could slide out of it in the morning like a real climbing frame from Playdale. It sounded like a fantastic idea except that his bedroom just isn’t big enough to accommodate such a great construction.  I think he would have liked a climbing frame like this in his bed room.


I excitedly set the tent up underneath the bed and added a wind up lantern so that my son could pretend that he was camping.  I mistakenly told him that he could sleep in the tent during weekends and holidays so last night he slept in a sleeping bag on an old mattress underneath his brand new bed.  I have yet to see him to find out whether he slept well in his new tent.

I just wish that I was small enough to enjoy sleeping in his tent – although I have plans to hide there when it all gets too much and hope that I am not found for a while.

It wasn’t until I studied the development of reading in order to ensure that my son was ready to read that I realised how important the ability to listen was.


Here is Alistair’s Mine Craft Design Using Paint.

Despite being a bit dubious about how technology can negatively effect our children my son has inherited a liking for playing on the computer.  It is hardly surprising that Alistair is a budding computer nerd as both sides of the family are guilty of being computer geeks.  Since Alistair has been able to read he has been able to navigate the Cbeebies site like a pro, he can either be found watching, ‘In the Night Garden’, on the Iplayer or indeed playing computer games on the CBBC site – his favourite game seems to be the game builder where he adds blocks to a simple platform game to make it easier.  He also likes using the Paint programme to draw maps so that he can go exploring with my parents when he stays with them. The best piece of work he  once he wrote ten jokes using a Word Document – the typing was great but the jokes were not funny how ever hard you tried to make them.  He does like to play with real things too and can often be found on the bedroom floor surrounded by large pieces of paper with maps drawn on them.

Once the maps have been completed Alistair likes to go out into the garden and follow his maps – at the moment he seems to draw maps and fit the garden into them rather than looking at the garden and drawing a map of it.  This is another interesting insight into how a young child interprets the world around them.  Alistair’s imagination is amazing, I absolutely love it when gets into the fantasy zone and suddenly the real world become his world and anything is possible.  Even more amusing is when I try to join in and he informs me that the invisible dog I have been chasing doesn’t actually exist.  For a while, when he was at nursery, he had invisible versions of all of his friends so he could be heard having running races with; Corvus, George, Harry and Charlie.  Now of course he prefers to play with real people and enjoys school for social reasons and attends after school clubs so he can continue playing.

Ever since Alistair was very young I have turned to nature to entertain him in the garden and on the estuary, it is amazing how many natural toys you can find in the garden and the different objects a pine cone can be.  I detect a great trend towards natural play, which is quite apparent with the rise in forest schooling during the school week.  If you can get your child interested in playing with natural objects and surroundings then they are guaranteed to have toys with them where ever they go.  If you are short of ideas there are many sites on the internet that will give you good ideas as to how to entertain your child outside.

Here is a list of some good activity sites you could try:-


Here’s a lovely easy recipe that is perfect for kids to make, especially as it involves getting a bit messy!! My daughter and I had great fun making these one rainy afternoon during the summer holidays. They would be a perfect gift for children to make for someone special.


For approximately 24 truffles you will need the following ingredients.

  • 150ml double cream.
  • 15g unsalted butter.
  • 300g chocolate – you can use white, milk or dark chocolate or even try a flavoured one, such as orange. Make sure you use good quality chocolate not cake topping or one with a low cocoa content.
  • Decorations of your choice. We used sifted cocoa powder, crumbled flake bars and sugar sprinkles. You could also use chocolate vermicelli, grated chocolate, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or anything you fancy.
  • Some sifted icing sugar to dust your hands with.


  • A baking sheet.
  • Greaseproof paper.
  • A…

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assorted childrens sweets

I have now had the job of being Alistair’s Mum for five great years and now that he is old enough to entertain himself more I have time to reflect on my progress so far.  On the outside I am relieved to say that I look like a pretty competent parent, as Alistair looks and acts as normal as a five year old can be and I can pull off a certain degree of serenity and togetherness.  The truth however is a completely different story because my approach to parenting seems to be somewhat unconventional and lax to say the least.  I am going to share my short comings with the hope that I am not the only who is not perfect!

#One:- I Tell Lies

Not big sticky dark ones but light fluffy white ones that will make my life easier and stop that pneumatic drill noise that can accompany a situation. The lie I like the most is telling him that his sweets and chocolate have gone off and had to be thrown away – when in fact I have eaten them myself.

#Two:- I Let Him Cut Up His T-Shirts

I have always believed that the clothes a child wears should not stop him from learning and exploring the world so I buy second hand clothes and make use of hand me downs.  This means that he can get as muddy as he wants and paint all over him without me having any kind of funny turn.  Recently he cut up a couple of his t-shirts so he looks as if he has been attacked by a lion and I didn’t batter an eyelid.  he now realises that if he cuts his clothes up they are no longer wearable so he doesn’t bother any more.

#Three:- I Don’t make Him Eat Vegetables

As a vegetable hater myself I consider it hypocritical to make life hell by trying to force Alistair to eat food that he doesn’t like so I let him make the choice of whether he eats them or not.  Fortunately this has resulted in him trying vegetables because he wants to and my heart wells with pride when he happily eats tomatoes during family gatherings.

#Four:- I Let Him Stew At The Top Of The Slide

Alistair has always been more slight than the other children and is very baby faced so can get away with a great deal of sympathy from everyone.  At the end of term he had the irritating habit of climbing to the top of a very scary slide in the playground and being too afraid to slide down it – resulting in me having to help him down the steps.  Occasionally I would leave him at the top of the slide with the hope that he would come down himself but that never seemed to happen so eventually I had to show compassion and help him down.  I think he has been down the slide once and hated it!

#Five:- I Let Him Have A Messy Bedroom 

Alistair’s has a craft table, book corner, computer, television and lots of puppets in his bedroom and he plays in his room a lot.  Amazingly he enjoys drawing maps and writing stories either by hand or using the computer as opposed to mindlessly watching television.  His craft table is covered in boxes decorated with beads and other embellishments on them and he is very protective of his artwork.  His bedroom is one big creative mess most of the time and tidying only occurs when it becomes a health and safety hazard. I do not nag – every so often I lock myself in his room with bin bags and tidy up while watching his television and eating his sweets.

I have learnt over the last five years that parenting is hard work but rewarding at times and I don’t think I will ever get the hang of it!


I don’t know about you but the thought of entertaining children for a whole six weeks can be pretty daunting to even the most dedicated parents. Not only do you have to consider what on earth you are going to do with your little darlings you also have think about how much money you are prepared to spend on entertaining them.  Before you blow all of your hard earned cash this summer here are some ideas that will help you to keep your offspring happy and leave you solvent at the end of the holiday.

A Walk in the Park or Country


If you live in the countryside then any wide open space is a potential natural playground, if you live in the city parks are just as good.  Children are most manageable when there are few restrictions on them and plenty of natural things for them to explore.  If you have a young child be prepared to take a carrier bag with you so that you can fill it with a large collection of stones, feathers and twigs – for some reason little ones love to collect them.  Older children will enjoy the challenge of longer walks and more difficult terrain – if you find a lake or patch of water on your travels then that is a bonus because water will keep children busy for hours.

Fifty Things to do Before you Reach 11 3/4

50 things

Supported by the National Trust in order to to encourage children to explore and learn how to appreciate the world about them.  If you click on the link you will be able to visit the dedicated website and down load the full list as a tick list.  The, ‘Things’, include tree climbing, rolling down a big hill, building a den, set up a snail race, make a daisy chain, walk barefooted, camp in the wild and many many more.  In fact you may find that it keeps you entertained because you can fulfil anything that you may have missed out on during your childhood!

Put on a Puppet Show


When your children are quite young they have a wonderful imagination that can take them into amazing worlds just by giving them ideas.  You don’t need a puppet theatre or puppets – just toys and something that can be like a puppet theatre.  Chances are children will have been learning about story telling at school and will love to tell you an epic story using their toys.  The stories tend to be epic and pretty repetitive at first and you can rest while they are performing making sure that you laugh when you are supposed to and are able to comment when they ask you questions about what they have been doing.

Visit Different Playgrounds


You will be amazed at how varied different playgrounds are even in a small area.  The type of playground equipment is different in playgrounds even in a small area.  Children just love the opportunity to play with other children and meet new friends.  If you go to a different playground everyday you can enjoy different experiences and the walk to get there.  If you live in the country try to get to a more urban playground and vice versa if you life in a town.  The great thing about going to playgrounds is that you can walk their and generally buy treats at the local shop and make the occasion last as long as you wish.

Get Crafty


Children love making things and are as happy sticking old boxes together as using expensive craft equipment from a shop.  You can choose to either have a structure approach where you have a lot of input and the end result looks pretty good or risk letting your child experiment themselves and produce something that is not as aesthetically pleasing but  has involved a great deal of learning in the process.

Your Children Want You!

What ever you decide to do with your children this summer remember they love being with you more than anyone else in the world so just enjoy spending time with them talking and reading and just being together!

So this weekend we took it upon ourselves to visit somewhere new.  The sun was shining and it seemed like the perfect day to take a trip and do a little exploring.  We got the car all packed up; a picnic, some action figures, sunscreen and hats in hand.  After a hot car journey (but with plenty of cows, sheep and even llamas to entertain along the way) we arrived on the West Cumbrian coast.

It wasn’t long before we were making sandcastles and dipping our toes in the sea, as cold as it was!  We had our lunch on the beach, with only minimal sand getting into the ham sandwiches and with only one biscuit lost when being fed to a crab.  After the food and all of the questions about the sea attention started to wonder and a run around on a play area was needed.  Close to the beach was a small but great looking playground, all grass and all timber made.

Inevitably on such a nice spring day, it was filled with other families but there was enough playground equipment to keep everybody happy.  My son loved it! He was straight off onto the slide.  There was also a team swing which he had never seen before but made good use out of with a couple of other children (which grew into a small crowd once others caught wind of how much fun they were having).   There was also some timber climbing apparatus which he was a bit more hesitant about and just watched the older children play on for a while before heading back for another go on the swing!


After the playground (which was a bit of struggle to tear him away from) was the aquarium, which was not too big and not too small.  Questions came about all the different types of fish and which fish were in the sea that we had just been in and then why didn’t we just go into the sea instead of inside the aquarium to see them?

As is quite often the case, when it was time to pack up and leave we were met with a few moans and groans but the sun was starting to set and we had to get home. The weather held out for us which was wonderful.  The journey back was filled with fewer questions, just a request to go back to the playground tomorrow.

I chose this phrase because I wanted to get the message across that I had a multisensory approach to developing learning and communication skills that would eventually lead to smooth progression into reading.

I approached my son’s language development with my philosophy in mind and spent all day talking to him and playing imaginative games based on stories we had read.  His grandparents also talked to him in the way that grandparents do – best source of heuristic play and introduction to stories.

Basically my son has heard a commentary of his life and been posed hundreds of questions since he could focus his eyes.  I have just got into a habit of talking and singing to him as well as pulling faces and making silly noises.

I am very pleased that his communication skills are great; he speaks clearly with a good vocabulary and sentence structure, he can tell stories with enthusiasm, his comprehension skills are good and his desire to ask questions is phenomenal.  He is also showing pre reading skills and can spell simple three letter words such as, ‘cat’ and ‘dog’.  So I am very pleased that he has taken on board everything we have been doing.

However, he does not stop talking from the minute he gets up to just before he goes to sleep.  He talks to me on the way to and from nursery, in the playground, in the house, when we go for walks, when we are reading books and he asks very interesting questions about who made us, ‘humans’ and why roofs are pointed or this bit of pavement is a different colour or texture.  I sometimes feel as if I am in the middle of Mastermind under pressure to answer so many questions – if I don’t answer straight away he gets impatient and tells me off for not listening and if the answer is unsatisfactory he keeps asking until he is either satisfied or I turn the tables on him and ask him what he thinks the answer is.

Sometimes I ask him to stop asking questions but he says that he likes to ask questions.  I asked him why and his answer was that I ask lots of questions. 

Provoking curiosity in a child is the best way to keep them interested in learning, allowing them to explore the world about them secure in the knowledge that you will keep them safe gives them confidence and being able to imagine that the world is magical gives children the ability to plan ideas in their head.

It seems with children that you need to model the skills that you want them to learn so that they can copy your example and practise good communication skills with other humans, invisible friends, school friends, teddies and any adult who says hello to them when you visit the shop.

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