Toddle About Blog

Nature and Nurture: Why Kids Need to Play Outside

kids-playing-outside-2Playing outside isn’t just about getting fresh air and benefiting from physical activity. When kids play outside, they improve the growth and development of the brain, body and intellect. Importantly, playing outdoors has a positive impact on a child’s mental well-being, learning and development.

Playing outside is fun, exciting and important to children in lots of ways. Here’s why kids should be encouraged to play outdoors.

Learning to assess and take risks

Kids who have access to nature are better learners and more in-tune with growth mindset. An increasing number of schools across the UK are embracing the work of Carol Dweck to develop thinking skills and self-awareness. Growth mindset is based on the belief that intelligence can be learned.

The outdoors encourages growth mindset and offers children an opportunity to try something that is just out of reach. Climbing that tree, reaching the next stepping stone to cross a stream, going higher on the swing and so on, can all help children to engage with and assess risks. Continue reading

Review of The Great Brick Safari at Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade ZooBy Ruth Freed – April 2019

We recently got the chance to visit Whipsnade Zoo, and to experience their latest attraction, The Great Brick Safari, which is a must see for any lego enthusiasts! They have about 20 life size animals, including lions, giraffes and an elephant, made entirely from Lego, which in itself are amazing to see, and each exhibit has interesting information about the animals, and also about how many bricks and how long it took to build each one. The guides who showed us around the lego brick safari were very friendly and enthusiastic and told us lots of interesting facts about the animals. The children particularly enjoyed seeing how big an elephant poo was!

The other fun attraction which is part of the brick safari, is a mini-jeep safari ride. The jeeps are miniature size landrovers and the children can drive them independently around a track which has various terrains to cross through such as sand, stones, grass and even water. This is at an extra cost (£5 per child) to the brick safari, which is included in the entry price to the zoo, but the children really enjoyed it! Continue reading

Review of a Family Day Out to Warwick Castle, including the new Falconer’s Quest bird show

Written by Tim Freed, April 2019

Freed Family at Warwick CastleToday we visited one of our favourite places for a family day out – Warwick Castle. We had been invited to review their new bird of prey display – Falconer’s Quest, which is a fantastic addition to the activities and shows available.

If you haven’t been to Warwick Castle, it’s an amazingly well-preserved, ancient place. Unlike most castles, which are now little more than ruins, Warwick Castle was inhabited by its owners, the Greville family (the Earls of Warwick), until 1978 – relatively recently, considering its grandeur and history (there has been a settlement on the site since the 10th century).

But I won’t give you a history lesson – you no doubt want to know what it’s like as a family day out! And the short story is, it’s great! Continue reading

5 Reasons To Carry Your Baby

SleepynicoWritten by Angeline owner of sleepynico.com

We all have different needs but carrying your child is something we have to do so why not find a way that is comfortable and beneficial. Here are five fab tips!

1. Freedom: Being hands free allows you to do so many things. If you have other children you can hold their hands; carrying shopping, cooking or travelling are all easier with a happy baby in a sling.

2. Security: Being close feels safe. Your smell, temperature and heartbeat make your baby feel this way. Keeping them close is helping bring up a confident, happy child and gives them better health and mental stability in the future.

3. Style: For me, wearing something beautiful feels great and I was often stopped in the street and asked about my baby carrier. Choose a carrier that suits your style or character.

4. Sleep: Some babies do, lots don’t, not unless they are snugly in a sling. It’s the way I rocked my daughters to sleep nightly and how I could be sure that in a new place they would. Continue reading

Making Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Fun!

Learning about STEMChildren are truly amazing. They are born with a will to learn, they are innately curious, they love to explore, to discover, to create and to understand the world around them. With no bias or boundary.

In their early years, it is therefore very important to provide our children with activities and opportunities to learn all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). This early involvement will help to prepare them well for school and ultimately their future careers ahead.

Having fun with STEM activities both inside and outside may spark interests that you never knew your child had. Activities in STEM are a great way to develop thinking skills, problem-solving skills, investigation skills and encourage curiosity and creative thinking.

At Northampton High, we always use a variety of multi-sensory opportunities to promote STEM. From using light-boxes, growing food, building with a variety of materials and sorting and classifying objects there are always new ways to learn. Continue reading

How to Help Your Child Adjust to the Arrival of a New Baby

Smart Parent AdviceThe arrival of a new baby is an exciting time. However, for your older child, a new baby can be a dramatic life change. All of a sudden they aren’t the center of attention at all times. This new arrival seems to be mom and dad’s first priority, and doesn’t really do anything besides sleep, fill diapers and cry. It’s no surprise that this transition can be rocky.

Here are a few tips to help things go more smoothly.

Talk About The New Baby Ahead Of Time
It’s a good idea to start talking to your child about the new baby. While toddlers and young children may have trouble fully grasping the implications of a new sibling, at least it won’t be a complete surprise. It can help to point out different things around the house from time to time that the baby will use. For example, you might show your child a bassinet or crib and say this is where the the baby is going to sleep. Sometimes concrete examples like this can really help. Continue reading

The Multi Award-Winning Family Arts Festival Returns

Just So FestivalJust So Festival Announces Biggest Ever Programme for its 10th Year at Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire: 16th, 17th & 18th August 2019.

Now in its 10th year, Just So is an annual, weekend-long, not-for-profit festival for children and families, offering astonishing arts, unique experiences and imaginative outdoor adventures like no other. The festival offers families the opportunity to step out of their day to day lives into a wonderland of world-class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits.

This three-day event in Cheshire boasts a wide variety of inspiring talent and family-friendly entertainment including magical storytellers, family comedians and musicians. Festival goers will love exploring the themed areas, including Roll Up, Roll Up, the circus-themed tent celebrating female circus acts; the Flamingo Lounge, encouraging dance and movement; the Ministry of Games, hosting party games and inspiring powers of dexterity and strategy; the Spellbound Forest and much more. Continue reading

Attachment Parenting: It Might Not Be What You Think It Is

Attachment ParentingAttachment Parenting is enveloped in confusion and opinion. It is often perceived as a fringe or extreme approach to parenting, though parents who practice it are simply following their instincts for attunement with their child. You may be practicing it yourself without even realising it.

A Brief History

Attachment Parenting International (API) was founded 25 years ago by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, in Nashville, Tennessee. They were mothers and teachers who noticed a growing need among students for greater family security and caregiver availability. They founded API to bring information and support to parents through a centralised collection of resources.

Today, the Attachment Parenting movement is well-established. Most parents recognise the power of touch, positive discipline and other Attachment Parenting practices. However, the essence of Attachment Parenting has been muddled. It is often confused with other parenting styles, such as permissive parenting (placing very few rules, expectations or demands on the child), helicopter parenting (like helicopters, parents ‘hover overhead’ to oversee every aspect of their child’s life) and natural parenting (centred on meeting the child’s needs and encouraging them to develop at their own pace). API approaches parenting in ways that can be adapted by any parent with the goal and desire of helping children reach their fullest individual potential. Continue reading

Is your Child an Orchid or a Dandelion?

The Orchid and The DandelionHave you ever asked yourself why some children’s lives are filled with satisfaction and happiness whilst others experience frustration and despair? Or why some children succeed and others struggle?

Following twenty-five years of revolutionary research, Dr Tom Boyce, one of the world’s foremost doctors in paediatric health reveals in his new book that children are either orchids or they’re dandelions. Some children (like orchids) are more sensitive and susceptible to their surroundings, while others (like dandelions) are more likely to be hardy and resilient, able to thrive easily regardless of the conditions around them.

Dr Boyce suggests that by better understanding more sensitive children and the adults they become, parents have the potential to make a positive lasting difference on their lives.

If you are wondering whether your child might be an orchid, take a look at these statements to see which resonate: 

  1. Your child finds it difficult to handle simple critique and disapproval, but generally responds positively to gentle correction.
  2. Your child seems to think of unusual solutions to problems that their siblings or peers would probably not have devised.
  3. Your child can have a physical pain-like reaction to non-physical activity, such as social conflict resulting in stomach ache.
  4. Your child feels things very strongly and is quick to display emotion.
  5. Your child is affected by changes in the physical environment, e.g. lighting, sound, temperature.

Continue reading

Unique and Fun Products for Little Ones: Shop About Spring 2019

Oyster Carapace I-Size CollectionThere are amazing products coming out all the time for bumps, babies and toddlers. Here’s our run down of some of the best things available on the market today:

Oyster Carapace I-Size Collection – £249

The latest addition to the award-winning Oyster range from BabyStyle, the Collection includes the Carapace Toddler i-Size Car Seat and the Duofix i-Size Base, which together offer comfort and safety up to around four years of age. The seat can be reclined in both rearward and forward facing positions and features easy harness and headrest adjustments, ensuring your child is safe and secure.

Buy from www.babystyle.co.uk Continue reading