Outdoor Blog Roundup – November

Outdoor Play Roundup

Well a wet winter has well and truly set in but going by what you have all been up to it hasn’t put anyone off their outdoor play time. Here are some of our favourite outdoor play posts from the last month.

Eeek! It isn’t long until Christmas now! Have you done all your pressie shopping yet? Project Wild Thing has the best list of wild explorer books that will be perfect for your little nature lover. Do you have any good Christmas pressie ideas for the outdoors kid?

What with all the wet weather there is no excuse not to have been out enjoying the muddy puddles. Red peffer and family have certainly been making the best of them having lots of muddy fun. Just what we like to see.

Let kids be kids has been sharing a fabulous fizzy science experiement. This is an oldie but such a goodie, your kids will loving watching the exploding fizz.

And last but never least is A family day out’s deep mine adventure at Blaenavon’s ironworks and museum. If you are looking for a fun family day out this place is well worth a look, definitely one to add to the diary for the spring when it reopens.

Ready to go down the mine, Big Pit

Over on facebook Bushcraft UK shared this fabulous article on How to keep hill walking over winter. We love hill walking here at Adventure Togs and there are some great tips in this article. Do any of you enjoy hill walking? If so do the kiddies come with you?

Don’t forget to let us know if any of the posts have inspired you to play outdoors or to share your own ideas with us. You can contact us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs

 

Gloopy Water Play

This month’s regular guest post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about gloopy water play….

Water play guest post November

This weekend we finally got around to letting Little Man play with his water table. I filled it up with lovely warm bubbly water and he couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Being a typical boy his monster truck was invited to join in the fun. At first his play was quite subdued, slowly pushing along his little boats and exploring the bubble. That was until he realised the monster truck had special powers. If he wound the wheels up while it was in the water and then lifted it out it became a magnificent sprayer and rainbow maker. In the sun all the little water droplets looked like jewels and he was totally enthralled. He loves rainbows at the moment, seeing them in absolutely everything (he even made a rainbow with some kale whilst making dinner this evening!) so he was completely thrilled when he realised he could catch little glimpses of a rainbow whilst playing with his monster truck. Who knew monster trucks and rainbows went together?

Once the rainbow exploration had run its course he was back on to one of his favourite activities – cooking. He started making cups of tea for us both and after a couple of those I remembered the cornflour I had stashed in the cupboard. I ran back in to grab some and found some blue food colouring while I was there. As soon as he saw the blue he wanted it so I dripped some in for him so he could watch the effect it had on the water. He insisted on doing it himself and the whole bottle was gone in a second! Unfortunately, once it had created an initial cloud of blue it dispersed quite quickly and with the base of the tray being blue it was difficult to see what effect it had. Little Man didn’t mind though, the bottle made a great container for him to pour water from his watering can into. He loves transporting water and will spend hours doing it, at one point water was being moved over to his digger bucket and then poured all over the grass. He even had me shifting water!

Once he was ready I poured in some cornflour for him. At first he didn’t really notice the effect it had on the water but before long his hands were sunk against the bottom squidging through the gloop. ‘More Mummy, more’ he shouted so in some more went. As the water got milkier we could see the blue food colouring taking effect. He loved feeling the gloop run through his fingers and watching the way it behaved as it poured it from one container to another. Slowly though he lost interest and we were off round the garden playing in the treehouse and hunting for snails. He was very good though and helped tidy everything up, helping me wash away the cornflour from the bottom of the water tray and watching as it all seeped into the grass.

Have you tried cornflour gloop in your water table yet? What other messy recipes have you tried? I’ve heard sand mousse is good.

Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.

My featured post for this week has to be Coombe Mill’s ‘Preparing for Bonfire Night’. The crazy ribbon sparklers they created are gorgeous and such a lovely alternative to the real thing, she also had some great tips for keeping safe on such a busy night. Please pop on over and have a read, her blog is fabulous.

5 easy nature Christmas decorations

5 easy Christmas decorations

I know, I know, it is only November and I have already mentioned Christmas. I feel ashamed but I can’t help being excited. Getting the decorations out and making everything all shiny and twinkly is probably one of my favourite parts of Christmas. When the boys were smaller it was much more fun but they do still love it. Part of the Christmas tradition has always been to make a decoration each year and here are a few that are really easy and will give you just the excuse you need to go out for a lovely winter scavenger walk.

Make your own Christmas Star. Collect some twigs of equal length, you will need 5 in total. Place them in a star formation and secure the corners with glue or use string to lash the ends together (use both for extra strength). Then decorate your twigs with spray paint and glitter. Use some ribbon to create a loop at one of the points and your twinkling star is ready to hang.

Pine cone decorations are super easy and can become anything you want. Use lots of glitter and spray paint to create your own alternative to baubles. To create the loop use cotton thread in a matching colour. The cotton should be plenty strong enough and will create a delicate effect. If you want to get more creative you can let your imagination go wild and create all sorts of delights such as a pine cone Father Christmas or reindeers.

Create beautiful rosehip garlands by using a needle and thread to connect the rosehips together. This activity is brilliant for older children’s fine motor skills and the results are lovely. Perfect for adding colour to your Christmas decs.

Make a twig Christmas tree. Find a coloured piece of card and cut it to Christmas tag size. Use a hole-punch to create a hole in the centre top and thread it with ribbon to create your loop. Collect different size twigs going from large to small. Place these on the card with the largest at the bottom and the smallest at the top. If you need to trim off the ends to help create a uniform triangle shape. Use three similar length twigs placed upright underneath your tree to create a pot and then using some more coloured card and glitter add a twinkling star to the top. Once you have your lay out secure it all with a touch of glue.

Create lovely twin acorn decorations by tying each end of a piece of string around the bottom of the acorn hats to join the two acorns together. Decorate the tops with glittery nail varnish to get a neat finish and write your first initial on one and your last initial on the other. Once dry then hang them from the middle of the string and you have a lovely personalised Christmas decoration.

The best part about all of these decoration ideas is that you need to spend time outdoors collecting materials for them and while the weather is damp it is worth bringing them in and letting them dry out a bit before you use them. Do you make any of your own Christmas decorations? We would love to hear all about them on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs. We love to hear your ideas and share them with our readers!

Outdoor Blog Roundup – October

Outdoor Play Roundup

It is nearly time to say goodbye to October already and this month we have been spoilt for choice with some fabulous posts going up around the blogging community. Here are just a small selection of our favourite outdoor play posts from this month.

The Boy and Me have been visiting their local pick your own to p-p-p-pick their perfect pumpkin. We think this is a great way to celebrate October and the colours of those pumpkins are just amazing!

We absolutely adored the fabulous Coombe Mill’s post sharing their sensory learning fun with fairies and goblins. There are some great ideas in here for little ones and we especially loved the scattering of fairy food. How cute!

If you are looking for somewhere to visit Mummy M’s Memories recommends Formby Beach. With a forest and beach all in one place it sounds like the perfect place to play and well worth a visit!

Last but absolutely not least Over there to Here have shared a fabulous post about Mushroom hunting. Who knew fungi could be so fun?

Over on facebook and sticking to the fungi theme we were inspired by this video shared by Woodland UK. Will you run down the path of knowledge as fast as you can?

Don’t forget to let us know if any of the posts have inspired you to play outdoors or to share your own ideas with us. You can contact us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs

Car Washing Fun

This month’s regular guest post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about how our little ones find fun in the everyday….

Car Washing guest post October

This weekend we have been car washing. Well, washing Daddy’s car at least. Mine got beaten up by a van on Thursday evening but that is another story! Little Man loves to play with water, it is one of his favourite pass times, so car washing is always a hit.

Daddy headed out with the bucket and hose and Little Man, ever his Daddy’s shadow, went out to help. Initially I was finishing up a few bits inside but after 10 minutes or so I popped out to join them. Little Man had the biggest grin on his face ever and he was covered in bubbles. He immediately came over and rubbed his bubbly hands all over my head before running away and giggling. Cheeky monkey! He spent ages dunking his hands in the warm soapy water and finding different ways to flick the bubbles around. He went from waving his hands about like a mad man to twirling around, all the while watching his fingertips as the bubbles flew off.

After lots of bubbly fun he finally decided he should be helping but rather than use a sponge he decided his hands would do the job just as well. Carefully he went all over the bonnet as far as he could reach, spreading the bubbles and watching them slide across the metal. He really was careful and took his job very seriously. Hands were no longer good enough for the chief car washer and a sponge was discovered, how this had been missed for so long I will never know! The sponge never made it onto the car though, it was walked up and down the garden as he watched the bubbles and the water drip off of the sponge, not even watching where he was going and thoroughly fascinated with how the water was behaving.

As Daddy washed the other side of the car Little Man sneakily dumped the sponge in the bucket and then deliberately spilt the whole contents all over the lawn. He knew Daddy would be cross and as soon as he realised Daddy had noticed he started working his most charming and cheeky grin to get him back on side. Who could resist, not Daddy and not long after a water fight ensued, Little Man absolutely relished the opportunity to run in and out of the water and completely soaked himself from top to bottom. Who knew washing a car could be so much fun? I didn’t until I had a 2 year old! I just love the way toddlers find fascination in things we normally find dull and boring. What daily activities does your little one make more interesting? Do they have you in fits of giggles as they find the fun in the every day?

Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.

Celebrate Nature this Halloween

Halloween

It’s the time of year when everything suddenly becomes orange and black. The grimace of carved pumkins seem to greet you wherever you go and you know it won’t be long before trick or treaters start the annual ritual of begging for candy. It’s Halloween time and you either love it or you hate it. I have to confess to loving it with all its tacky fake blood and false fingers and one of the reasons for this is that it is a great excuse to explore the darker side of nature. From spiders to bats, gnarly trees and nighttime owls, nature is weaved through our Halloween celebrations more than we often notice.

The dark evenings of October give us the perfect excuse to enjoy the darker nights and explore our worlds in a brand new way. This Halloween make a point of heading out into the dark, not to knock on your neighbours door for sweets but to listen out for owls. See if you can spy some bats or if you can find some ivy, use a torch to look for the many moths that use this as their food source. Take time to hear the crunch of trees and twigs underfoot and search around in the undergrowth for scuttling beetles and slimy slugs. Turn it into a scavenger hunt and get your kids to earn their treats instead of begging for them.

While you are out there use smartphones or tablets to record the spooky sounds you hear. Listen back to your soundtracks when you return to the warmth and comfort of the indoors and see whose is the scariest. Give out prizes for the spookiest noises and then save them somewhere ready to creep you all out again next year.

For littler ones who might not be up for running around in the dark spend the day exploring your local surroundings. What ghosts and gouls can you find hiding in the trees? You would be surprised what faces are hidden in amongst the bark, twigs and leaves. Gather up some gnarly looking sticks and create your own witches and broomsticks. Witches would have used all sorts of natural materials to make their potions and cast their spells. What magic can you make just exploring your local park or even your own garden?

Take the opportunity while you are exploring to make some scary leaf masks or ivy headbands and add some natural embellishment to your spooky outfits. Think about how in the past people might have used nature to make their clothes and how many of the things we love and celebrate around Halloween are linked to the magic of the natural world.

Do you have any great nature based Halloween ideas? We would love to hear all about them on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs. We love to hear your stories and share them with our readers!

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

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Blog Roundup – September

Outdoor Play Roundup

It’s that time of the month again and we have some lovely treats to share in this months roundup.

First up we loved the message in this post ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside….’ from 101 things to do with kids. Sometimes we all need to take time with our children to slow down and enjoy the moment and what better place than the beach.

Over there to Here have been wildlife spotters this month on the hunt for rabbits. They have managed to spot lots of them about and learnt lots about them too. Rabbits are so easy to spot we think this is a great place to start wildlife watching and why not see what birds and minibeasts you can spot while you are there?

Now we know this one isn’t strictly outdoor play but it was just too yummy to pass up. 3 Princesses and 1 Dude have been making this delicious summer berry croissant puff and we are sure you could make it an outdoor autumn treat by foraging for some local eating apples, walnuts and the last of the blackberries to add to the mix. Mmmm, we are drooling here just thinking about it!

Finally this month Adventures in Homeschool have been Rangers in the Wild on a recent trip to a local woodland. They have been out searching for all sorts of signs of autumn and discovering all different ways of using different trees and plants from the past.

We hope you have all enjoyed this months roundup. Don’t forget to let us know if any of the posts have inspired you to play outdoors or to share your own ideas with us. You can contact us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs

 

Tractor Fun

This month’s regular guest post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about the days Daddy and Little Man spend tractor hunting….

Tractor Fun

On a Saturday Little Man has a Daddy day because Mummy works. He loves his Daddy days, mainly because they get up to all sorts of boys fun from building chicken houses to combine harvester hunting. I often come home to stories of grand adventures that, although I am sad to have missed, I am proud and excited to hear about.

This Saturday just gone the boys had plans to go visit the ducks, however, errands took over and they headed out to the local farm shop to get straw for the chickens. Little Man loves to visit the local farm shop because they have the best collection of toy tractors you can possibly imagine. He rarely walks out without one and today was no different. He had managed to bag himself a very lovely John Deere combine harvester. Now I’m starting to see why Daddy days are so popular!

He was pleased as punch with this new tractor and even took it to bed with him when he went down for a nap. When he woke up Daddy had spotted a New Holland tractor working on one of the fields across from our house so armed with his combine Little Man and Daddy toddled off to ‘hab a look’. One of Little Man’s favourite pastimes is watching the tractors and combines working the fields so needless to say he was enthralled.

This was until he thought he spotted another tractor on the farm (this is a local farm where the farmers are more than happy for us to explore because we know them). Daddy and Little Man went to explore and discovered it was just a hedge trimmer attachment but alongside it was sat a sprayer attachment, a roller and a mower. These entertained Little Man for a brief moment until he struck gold. Peeking out from the back of one of the other barns was the back end of a combine harvester. It wasn’t a lovely green John Deere but it was good enough and Little Man was delighted. Daddy says they spent some time exploring the big machine before Little Man went off for some more tractor hunting.

It wasn’t long before he discovered an old Massey Ferguson that was suitable for a ride on and he was away. Changing gear, steering the steering wheel and all with sound effects to boot. Little Man was in his element and there was no getting away. I normally get home about 6ish and love coming home as it usually involved lots of cuddles and shouts of ‘Mummy!’ but I arrived home to an empty house. The car was there but all the doors were locked and the house was silent. I tried to phone Daddy but no answer, however, after just a few minutes I received a text message telling me they were on their way back up from the farm.

Little Man had finally relented on hearing I was home and I think his tummy had started to grumble. I headed out to meet them and found them half way up the field. Immediately I had the toy combine thrust in my face and was then rewarded with a huge cuddle. The boys both had huge grins on their faces and I knew instantly they had another fabulous Daddy day together. I may not always love working on a Saturday but if it gives those two time to have grand adventures together then I am more than happy.

Do your kids have Daddy days? What do they get up to together?

Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.

9 Nature Crafts to try this Autumn

9 Nature Crafts

Autumn is here already and with it comes the gorgeous yellows, reds and oranges of fallen leaves, their crisp crunch under foot and the familiar musky damp smell that comes with the colder, wetter weather. We love the textures and colours that autumn brings with it and to celebrate we are sharing nine lovely nature crafts that an autumnal bounty is perfect for.

Crown yourself as King or Queen of the land and make yourself a beautiful leaf crown. Grab a piece of card large enough to fit around your head then cut it into a thick strip. Place it around your head to get the right size and then staple the join together (obviously not while it is still round your head!). Then get outdoors and collect as many beautiful coloured leaves you can find and staple them onto the card to make your crown suitably royal. If you want to mix it up a bit then add other treasures to your crown such as feathers and berries.

Make your very own miniature people. Use whatever you can find from sticks to acorns for the body and then add a hat, a cloak and anything else that will make your find into a little person of their own. Once you have the people then why not build them a house too, heck, you could build your own little village of people if you wanted too. This activity could lead to some great story telling and imaginative play scenarios.

Create some textured art. Grab some crayons and some paper, head outside and choose any texture that you like the look and feel of. Place the paper over the item and then colour over the top with the long side of the crayon. Try it with different leaves and flowers and have fun experimenting.

Try some apple printing. Find a local apple tree and forage some fruit, chop them in half, dip them in paint and print onto paper, cotton, cardboard or anything else you fancy. Combine the prints with your own drawings or pick some flowers or seed heads and add flower prints to your art. Get creative and see where it takes you.

Create a tree sculpture. Choose a tree and use whatever you can find to decorate it or build a sculpture around it. Try wedging sticks in between branches or hanging leaves from the trunk using ivy as twine. Leave something special for a passer-by to enjoy, maybe you will inspire them to make their own tree sculpture.

Make yourself a journey stick. Grab some wool or string and cut into lengths then head on out to find yourself a stick. Once you have your stick, preferably of walking stick size then tie the string onto the top end. Take your stick along on a wonderful adventure and collect items as you go that will remind you of your adventure, remind you of other important things in your life or that you simply like the look, smell, feel of. By the time you have finished your adventure you will have a lovely reminder of the fun you had. The lovely thing about journey sticks is that you can make a new one for every adventure you have.

Make some natural mandalas. This is a great activity for exploring shapes and colours as well as sorting. Collect items of similar colours and shapes to create each layer of your mandala, use different items working from inside to outside. See how large you can make your mandala or concentrate on making one with lots of different shades of the same colour. Be warned though, you might be there all day, it is an easy activity to get lost in.

Make your own nature animals. Create dragonflies out of sticks, stones and colourful leaves, make hedgehogs out of pinecones or create your very own creature. Being the first to discover this new beast you can also think up an amazing name for it. How about a Stinky Stomp or a Squishy Squelcher?

Make leaves your canvas instead of your paint. Metallic coloured pens work really well for this, as do fluorescent ones (although highlighters don’t work so well). Create beautiful patterns or draw an item or creature on each one and use them like story stones. Hang your pretty works of art from a stick using twine and you will have yourself a lovely leaf mobile.

What are your favourite autumnal nature crafts? We would love to hear about them. Share your pictures on our facebook page or tweet us @adventuretogs with the hashtag #adventurebugs