Spring is Springing

Spring is springing

March has arrived and with it we are seeing lots of lovely signs of spring, getting us all excited about the year ahead. There is just something about the new life in spring that gets us all motivated and looking forward to the sunshine. The warmer lighter mornings are a sign in themselves that spring is nearly here making those horrid early morning starts just that tiny bit easier. Of course it isn’t all sunshine in spring time, rain is often a common feature at this time of year but without the wet stuff all the lovely flowers, fresh grass and new buds that we love about spring wouldn’t happen. Celebrate the rain this spring with our 10 ways to play in the rain.

One of the first signs we have spotted this year is the pretty little snowdrop, peaking through the ground even in some of the worse weather we have had recently. I don’t know about you, but they remind us of fairy hats and conjure up all sorts of images of spring fairies frolicking about amongst the spring blossom.

We haven’t heard them yet but soon enough the air will be filled with the warm fuzzy buzz of bumble bees, taking full advantage of the early nectar. Queen bees will be out looking for new nests with the buff-tailed bumblebee being one of the first to emerge. I do love standing in the garden on a warm spring morning just listening as their hum is carried along the wind.

Another wonderful sound to hear in spring time is the new burst of birdsong that happens as male birds start to sing for their mates, searching out females to bring up new broods with in just a few weeks time.

Probably one of the most iconic signs of spring is the appearance of newborn lambs in fields across the country. These little cuties remind us all that this really is the time of year that brings about an abundance of new growth. Why not grab your family and head on out around the fields seeing how many you can spot. As the season moves on you will see more and more appear and watching their unsteady antics is sure to make you all go ‘Awwww’.

A lesser known sign of spring is the sight of oil beetles. These little creepy crawlies are becoming quite rare in the UK and have a fascinating lifecycle that relies on solitary bees to survive. Once the larvae hatch they head on up the stem of a nearby flower, lie in wait for an unsuspecting bee, hitch a ride back to their burrow and then feed on their eggs. Not too nice for the bees but necessary to keep the Oil Beetle alive. To find out more about these fascinating little beasties check out Buglife’s Oil Beetle campaign (https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns-and-our-work/oil-beetles) and get involved in the Oil Beetle Hunt (https://www.buglife.org.uk/oil-beetle-survey) . We think this is a great way to discover more about our micro wildlife this spring.

What signs of spring have you spotted so far? The brilliant Nature Detectives have some fabulous printable sheets to help you head out with the kiddies and get closer to nature at this time of year – http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/download/hunt_spring_early.htm

If you are looking for more ideas to help you make the most of the warmer weather and longer days then check out our 10 Ways to Play Outdoors this Spring.

However you choose to enjoy this spring we would love to hear about it. Drop us an email at sales@adventuretogs.co.uk or share your pictures on our facebook page and help inspire others to play outdoors this spring.

10 Ways to Play Outdoors this Winter

10 ways to play outdoors this winter

Here at Adventure Togs we think winter is one of the best times to play outdoors. The wild weather combined with heaps of mud, rain and snow make for some great adventures. We have given you 10 ideas to get you started but, as always, we love to hear your ideas too!

Make multi-coloured ice building blocks. Fill up an ice tray or some other plastic containers with water and add different food colourings to make different coloured bricks. If it is cold enough where you live then leave them outside overnight and you will have ready-made play blocks for the morning. If not pop them in the freezer and then take them outside to play with so they won’t melt so quickly.

Go pattern hunting. Rain, mud, snow and ice all make great patterns. Check out all the different natural patterns you can find or make your own in the mud and the snow. Rain can be especially fascinating to watch, especially as you watch the way it falls on different surfaces.

Make some ice art. Raid the recycle bin and use all sorts of different shaped containers that can be filled with water. You could try freezing water in balloons too. Add food colouring and any natural materials you can find, such as leaves and berries, then leave the containers to freeze overnight. If you add some string in a loop before they freeze you will even be able to hang some of your art in the trees. Once frozen show off your art by decorating your garden with them or head on over to a local park and let others enjoy your art too.

Go sledding! If you have snow and a decent hill then this is a must but if you don’t have snow then see if you can find a suitable muddy slope to try. Look out for trip hazards though, muddy ground won’t be as smooth as snow so check it out before you take the plunge.

Just play. The wonders that winter brings with it from mud to snow make great play materials. There are plenty of twigs on offer as well as fallen leaves and big sploshy puddles. Go outdoors without a plan and see where your imagination take you, just revel in the fun of going wild.

Collect items for your winter nature table and discover this wonderful season in more detail. What treasures does winter have to offer and what can you find out about them?

Make snowmen and snow animals. See who can build the wackiest snow monster. If you don’t have any snow try making miniature versions out of mud. For both versions you can use twigs, leaves and berries to dress up your creations.

Build an igloo. If you are lucky enough to have deep snow then build yourself a mini igloo. If you don’t have snow then winter is a great time to go den building. There should be plenty of large twigs and fallen tree branches around so head on down to your local woods and make your very own hideout. Just avoid the woods in high winds though, you don’t want any of those branches falling on your head!

Go wildlife tracking. The winter can be the best time to spot signs of wildlife. Check mud and snow for prints. Look out for droppings and use the bare trees and hedges as places to spy on birds. Find out what had been prowling around your local area.

Get cooking. Winter is the perfect time to be playing in your mud kitchen. With all that mud and snow you could make some fabulous mud pies or winter ice lollies. Experiment and add some new recipes to your mud kitchen repertoire.

What are you favourite winter play ideas?

My featured post for this week is Coombe Mill’s Wildlife Trail. We think it is a great idea and will be a fabulous addition to the farm. Do you have a local wildlife trail, gruffalo trail or something similar near you?

10 Wild Weather Play Ideas

10 Wild Weather Play IdeasBrrrr, it is getting chilly outside. We are sitting here watching the trees losing the battle to keep their leaves whilst the heating fills the office with warmth and we wrap our hands around a nice hot cup of tea. The outdoors looks wild in all this wind and I don’t know about you, but a part of me can’t wait to wrap up warm in hats and scarves and immerse myself in the cold blowiness of the outdoors. The windy weather has got us thinking about how to embrace the wilder side of our weather and below are some of our 10 favourite ideas. Do you have any to add?

On a windy day stand on top of the tallest hill you can find and just feel the wind on your face. What does it feel like? What does it do to your clothes and your hair? When you have had enough wind then roll down the hill all the way to the bottom.

Create a musical washing line and listen to it in different weathers. Hang up whatever takes your fancy such as different lengths of pipe, twigs, pots and pans and anything else you think might make good music. Does the sound change with the wind? How does it sound in the rain? Test out different objects and materials and find out which sounds you like best.

Create some weather boxes. Decorate each both with the weather it represents, then pack each box full of things that make playing in that weather fun. For example, you might pack a kite, some streamers and windmills into a windy weather box or torches and mirrors into a foggy weather box.

Measure the weather. If you have a little scientist in the family they might be keen to measure the rainfall, temperature and cloud cover. See if they can stick to it over a whole week, a month or even a year. What will you find out about your local weather? What was the wettest, cloudiest or coldest day of the week or month of the year?

When the weather gets icy find a frozen puddle and explore it. See if you can skid across the top of it without breaking it, or see if any of your toys can make it across safely. What happens when you break the ice? How cold is it? How quickly will the ice melt?

Have fun with food dyes or even better use natural dyes. Drip spots of colour into puddles and if you find somewhere where the water is running you can even create your own little rainbow streams.

Race the wind! We bet you can’t beat it but you will have a blast trying.

Watch a storm and count the time between flashes and bangs to see how far away it is. I used to love doing this as a kid and it used to keep me entertained when being indoors was the safest option.

Make a snow den. Once you have completed your snow man and his little snow dog, make yourself a little snow den, just big enough to keep you and a friend nice and cosy.

Create a water station and watch the rain move through all the different channels you have created. If you create a little mini water butt you can reuse the rain water as you play and transport it from place to place.

What are your favourite ways to enjoy some wild weather? We would love to hear about them. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Play at the Beach

10 ways to play at the beachWith the summer in full swing the only thing to do is hit the beach. If you haven’t already, and I’m sure many of you will have, we have come up with 10 ways to play amongst the sand and the sea.

Build sandcastles. Ok, so this is obvious but why not extend it and get into two teams. Each build a sandcastle with a moat and have a mini battle between the two. You could use shells and stones as knights and horses or even as a princess trapped in the top tower and in need of rescuing.  Get as creative as you like and allow the imaginary world to take over.

Walk like a crab, roll like a seal or swim like a fish. Kids love to use their whole bodies in play and this one will really get them moving. It will get them giggling too, especially watching Mum or Dad attempting to walk like a crab along the beach.

Make some sandy art. Use seaweed, pebbles, shells and sand or whatever else you can find and create some gallery worthy art. Try and make portraits of each other or create underwater worlds on the sand. You can lose yourself in this one and completely forget the time, just watch that tide!

Forage for seaweed. Foraging is a brilliant activity for kids, the buzz of finding what you are looking for and then cooking and tasting it will make long lasting happy memories. Be sure to do some prep work for this one though, make sure you know what you are picking and that you are sure of how it needs to be prepared before eating it. There are some great books out there offering advice on the subject.

Go surfing. Lots of older kids will absolutely love this one and from what I’ve heard once you give it a go it becomes addictive. Soon enough you will be following the surf around the country. There are plenty of surf and water sports schools around the coast so check out your nearest one.

Jump the waves. This is another one guaranteed to get the giggles going. I remember spending hours jumping waves as they crashed into the shore and a falling over a fair few times in fits of laughter. Little ones and big ones alike will love this one and will be up for the challenge of seeing how high they can go.

Collecting and sorting. Whichever beach you end up at there are bound to be lots of special treasures worth collecting, whether it be driftwood, shells, pebbles or seaweed. Take along some egg boxes (don’t lose them in the wind though!) and label each section with a colour, a size or for the older ones a species / types of shell and then head out collecting as many of each kind as you can fit in each section. Alternately, just collect what catches your eye and sort them afterwards into size or colour.

Make a sand volcano. All kids will love this one. Build up a mound of sand in the shape of a volcano with a crater at the top. Fill the crater with 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and then add roughly 250ml of vinegar then sit and watch as the reaction occurs. You should end up with a lovely fizzy froth erupting over the top of your volcano.

Rockpooling. Discover the wild creatures of the seaside and search the rock pools for all manner of life. You can make lists of what you expect to find and check them off alternativley, you could pretend you are scientists discovering the creatures for the first time and give them your own names and stories.

Bake sandy cakes and have a tea party. Bring along some cake cases and muffin tins and get cooking. Instead of making mud pies make sandy pies and sea water tea. Discover some new recipes and have yourself a very merry tea party by the sea.

What are your favourite ways to play at the beach? We would love to hear what you get up to. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us@adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs

How will you be playing this summer?

How will you be playing this summer

The summer holidays are nearly upon us and the question of what to do with the kids is looming. For some of us the thought of the holidays is exciting but there is always a little bit of trepidation mixed in. Once the novelty wears off, the boredom sets in and the kids start to fight, it all just seems a little less fun. We never know what the weather will do either! Will it pour down with rain or will there be long hot sticky days to contend with?

Here at Adventure Togs we have a whole host of ideas that should keep you busy all summer long.

Check out our other blog posts for wet weather ideas, muddy fun and some great ways to play in the forest. Experiment with them and try them out in different ways. We would love to hear how you have used the ideas and if you have added any fun twists.

For more ways to play catch up on our Monthly feature posts. Each post has links to at least four other blogs with some fabulous ideas that will inspire you all to get up, get out and enjoy the weather, whatever it might throw at you.

Keep an eye on our weekly posts over the summer as well. We will be posting each week sharing more ideas from other bloggers as well as some of our own.

Are you thinking at this point, well that’s all very well but my kids don’t do the outdoors? The busier they can keep themselves outside the less you should hear ‘I’m bored!’ or find them using each other as punchbags. Well that’s the plan anyway!

sunswim_349x164How are you planning on playing outdoors this summer? We would love to hear what you get up to. Share your pictures and ideas with us on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the #adventurebugs

10 Ways to Play in the Mud

Mud DayHere at Adventure Togs we love mud. It can be squidgy and squelchy or dry and dusty. You can cook with it, build with it or even paint with it. The possibilities are endless and to celebrate that wonderful thing called mud we have come up with 10 mudtastic ways to play in it.

Make mud pies. OK, so this one is a golden oldie but it never gets boring. There are so many ways to make mud pies, you can use real food, natural materials or even different types of mud. You can bake it in the sun or make a mud pie soup. Why not extend the activity and make little mud pie recipe books. Is it anyone’s birthday soon? Make a mud pie birthday cake, use twigs for candles and sing Happy Birthday at the tops of you voices.

Make mud castles. Grab your bucket and spade and head off to your local muddy patch to make mud castles. Decorate them with flowers, leaves and twigs and build a home fit for any fairytale princess, wicked wizard or gallant knight.

Make like Peppa Pig and splash in muddy puddles. If you are really brave then get down and dirty, have a giggle and roll around in those muddy puddles. See who can get the muckiest. Obviously don’t be wearing your Sunday best for this one.

Make some muddy art. Mud is so versatile, you can paint with it, make sculptures from and use it to decorate trees. Get creative, use it as your blank canvas and then use other natural materials to build up a picture around it.

Lets get digging. Get the toy tractors and diggers out and make your own construction site. Get lost in a small world adventure.

Try some worm charming. Tap the ground to create vibrations. This should fool the worms into thinking it has been raining and bring them to the surface. You could even hold your own worm charming championships!

Make some muddy feet and hand prints. Don’t use paint to savour those tiny feet, get mud printing instead. Enjoy the feeling of squelchy mud in between your toes at the same time. This one is a great sensory experience for the little ones.

Get planting and watch things grow. If you have beginner growers then why not try some speedy salads. You can sow them throughout the summer and the kiddos will see the results pretty quickly so they shouldn’t get bored with it.

Build a house. Make some mud bricks and build a house, or a bridge or whatever else takes your fancy. Grab a rectangle container, fill it with mud and then tip it out to get the perfect brick shape. Experiment with different mud textures and see which ones work best for building.

Create a mud patch in the garden. Most of us find space for sand when we have little ones but what about making a space just for mud. You can keep it contained in a purpose built sand pit or, if you have a bigger garden, set aside a bare patch and cultivate dirt instead of plants.

What are your favourite ways to play in the mud? We would love to hear what you get up to for International Mud Day. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs

 

10 Ways to Play in the Forest

10 ways to play in the forestNow is the perfect time to go exploring in your local forest. The canopy is starting to thicken, the forest floor is a carpet of colour and the sunlight seeping through the trees creates a magical light that makes walking in the forest feel otherworldly. Just stepping into a forest brings out the kids in us and we’re sure it does you too. Here are 10 great ways to play in the forest

Make you very own stick man, or take it further and make a whole tribe with huts and have some small world play in the forest.

Write the alphabet with sticks and other items found in the woods. The first one to get all the letters wins. You could expand this by creating shapes or even finding natural shapes and letters in the forest. Go on a treasure hunt of letters, numbers, shapes and colours.

Try out some tracking. Choose a small area of woodland, preferably with a feature in the middle, such as a small group of trees and shrubs. Mark out a boundary around it with stones or large twigs then get your children to explore the area just by sight, so no touching. Then send them away to play for 10 minutes while you make some subtle changes, such as snap a hanging twig, flatten down an area of grass, hang some hair or a feather in a bush. Then get the kids back to discover what is different. This one might take some time to prepare for and set up but kids love it and it can really get everyone paying attention to changes in their surroundings.

Play hide and seek. The forest makes a perfect spot for this game. For safety it is always a good idea to agree a boundary and a key word before you start. No-one can hide outside the boundary and if anyone gets in trouble or the game needs to end then you can shout the key word for everyone to come out of hiding. Beware though, the forest offers so many great places to hide you could all be there a while!

Den building. Well this has to be a given when playing in the forest. Every good game needs a base. There is also something so satisfying about personalising it, making it yours. If your forest is a regular haunt then why not visit your den on a regular basis and make it your special spot for a picnic.

Discover woodland birds. Just stop, close your eyes and listen. Birds are singing loud and clear this time of year and if you take the time to listen it can seem as if they are singing just for you. Take out some binoculars and see what you can spot. Why not build a nest big enough for all of you and then take a #natureselfie.

Climb a tree. This is another ‘must be done’. Climbing trees has so many benefits for children. Children learn their limits and build their confidence climbing trees but it can also be a relationship builder. Try letting them go a little bit further than you normally would while guiding them along the way or get your kids to talk you through climbing a tree. Get them to stand at the bottom and help you get to a safe spot to take in the view.

Tell a story. Stories take on a new meaning in magical forest surroundings. Let your imagination run wild. Why not start a family story where the kids get to help build the story. Alternatively you can stick with a classic and search out the Gruffalo or go on a bear hunt.

Let them run wild. Sit back and relax while the kids take the lead. Let them go wild and don’t interfere. Take the chance to enjoy your favourite book or simply revel in watching your children blossom.

Explore the flora. Discover all the different flowers and make up stories about the fairies that might live on them. See how many you can identify, how many different colours you can find or how many different shape petals they have. Flowers can also be a great subject for photos if your little ones like to get behind the camera.

What are your favourite ways to play in the forest? We would love to hear what you get up to. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us@adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs

10 Ways to Play in the Rain

10 ways to play in the rain

Did you know April is the second rainiest month of the year (according to Wikipedia, anyway!) Here at Adventure Togs we love the rain so we thought we should share our 10 favourite ways to play in the rain.

 

Put up your tent and camp in the rain. We love the sound of rain on the tent roof. Take in some of your favourite books, a nice cosy sleeping bag and some pillows and it turns into the perfect storytime.

Record the rain hitting lots of different surfaces with your smartphone and then see if you can edit it to make a rain song. This can be loads of fun and is a great way to combine technology with nature. Perfect for the older kids in your life.

Taste the rain, watch the rain, feel the rain on your skin. Simply stand out in it and enjoy it with all of your five senses. Describing it can be a great way to build language skills with little ones.

Write a story about a raindrop. In fact you don’t even have to write it, you could simply tell it. This is a lovely family game that really gets the creativity flowing. It’s great to hear the imagination of the young and old with this one.

Puddle jumping. OK, so this one is obvious but it never gets old. Even now I can barely pass a puddle without having a little splash.

Mud paint yourself! Now the weather is getting warmer get your arms and legs out and have a go at body painting with some mud then let the rain wash it all off.

Get scientific. Watch how the water flows and see if you can divert its course. Test what will sink or float, how fast they get carried along or how quickly a container or natural dip will fill up.

Go on a worm hunt. Worms are programmed to come to the surface when it is raining so its the perfect time to get looking for wiggly worms. Pick them up, feel them wriggle on your skin, watch the way they curl about just don’t chop them in half! When you get back indoors discover how amazing they are by looking up some facts about them.

Take a washing up bowl outside, let the rain fill it up and add some bath foam. Watch it as it foams up and then get the bath toys out. Wear silly foam beards as you play outside with your rubber ducks.

Hunt for rainbows. If it is lovely and sunny, like it has been lately, there should be loads of rainbows to chase. I never have found that pot of gold though!

Free Outdoor Play Guide

Sign up to the Adventure Togs Outdoor Play guide for some more outdoor play ideas and get 10% off your next order with us.

What are your favourite ways to play in the rain? We would love to hear what you get up to. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs

 

 

10 Ways to Play Outdoors this Spring

10 ways to play outdoors

  1. Have a picnic! Whether you do this in the garden, at the local park or you head to the beach be sure to take advantage of the sunshine while you can. Nothing feels like summer is on its way more than eating outdoors with family and friends.
  2. Go dancing in the rain. It is inevitable that spring will bring us at least some rain, and I’m sure that with the winter just gone we haven’t seen the last of the wet stuff. So go out and enjoy it. Have a dance in your wellies or brave it, kick those wellies off and dance barefoot.
  3. Make your own spring video. With the advances in smart phones, just about anyone can make a video now, and it’s a great way to get your kids creativity flowing. We’d love to see the results!
  4. Go on a minibeast adventure. Dress in your best explorer clothes, get down in the dirt and search for all the little creatures you can find. Grab a magnifying glass and take a closer look. So far this spring we have been admiring worms, discovering ladybirds and watching spiders.
  5. Climb a tree. With the weather a bit drier it is the perfect opportunity to start exploring nature from a different perspective.
  6. Fly a kite. I don’t know about where you live but where we are the wind is still busy whooshing around bringing the last of the winter cold with it. Take advantage if it and see how high you can fly that kite that has been hidden under the stairs for the past 6 months.
  7. Get cart wheeling.  Now I’m not sure I could manage a cart wheel but I know the kids would love it, get them practicing their best roly polys in the grass and seeing who can stay in a hand stand the longest.
  8. Build a mud kitchen. If you haven’t got one already this is a must for the garden. Spring clean your kitchen cupboards and use all your old pots and pans to create a little outdoor kitchen for the kids. You can use anything from cardboard boxes to old milk crates to create a kiddie height work surface and then collect all sorts of garden ingredients and get play cooking. We’d love to hear about your best recipes.
  9. Make some music. Use blades of grass to create a whistling sound. Use twigs on trees for drums or get the watering can out and pour water on different surfaces to hear the changing sounds.
  10. Pick a quiet spot outdoors on a nice sunny day and enjoy a good book. Reading outdoors with kids can spark all sorts of great conversations and games.

Free Outdoor Play Guide

Sign up to the Adventure Togs Outdoor Play guide for some more outdoor play ideas and get 10% off your next order with us.

Whatever you choose to do to enjoy the warmer weather we would love to hear about it. Drop us an email at sales@adventuretogs.co.uk or share your pictures on our facebook page and help inspire others to play outdoors this spring.