Fun Outdoors in the Sun

We have had lots of warm weather lately and it has been really lovely to get outdoors and have some fun in the sun. Monkey, and I’m sure most kids, just love being outdoors, running around, exploring and doing all sorts. The great thing is that there are so many ways for them to play outside without having to spend any money.

This is just a few of the things we have been up to outdoors while the sun has been shining!

Playing in his new playhouse! A good old second hand purchase from ebay, and a slightly early birthday present for Monkey which he loves!! Lots of peepo and playing house. Hours of fun in there at the moment, and a nice shade spot if the sun gets too hot 🙂

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Playing in sand and water next door with his friend

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Popping out for an ice cream on his trike! As Monkey would say, Um Yum!


Playing in our newly renovated back garden – having fun in the sand pit

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And, slightly random, but after giving the buggy a good scrub I left a sponge out there and now Monkey lives giving the floor a clean, hehe 🙂


We also got the paddling pool out at the weekend, and I think the water may have been a teeny bit cold for him as it was a bit of a trauma at times, but he did have fun in there too! (Though I think Daddy got more wet than Monkey did!!)

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There’s also just been some general running about with a ball now that we are actually allowed to go on the new grass!

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And of course, some fun picnics and playtime at the park!

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The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Water Bead play – 22 months old

This week I am linking an old post about a failed messy play attempt from about a year ago.

A few weeks ago I saw some other posts about playtime with water beads – but up until then I had never heard of them before! Designed for keeping plants watered they come in little pouches and are tiny until you soak them in water, when they gradually expand. The ones I bought said 4 hours so I did them overnight.


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WP_20140321_08_59_23_ProIt is funny stuff, looks a bit like frogspawn, though is a bit bigger!

I chose the blue as I had visions of Monkey playing with it along with cloud dough, so it would be a bit like sea and sand. I got the Tuff Spot out and we had a go. As I expected Monkey was a little wary and unsure of how they felt at first.

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 He seemed to be having fun, but I was quite surprised at how easily they got smushed or broken up by his little feet and fingers, I hadn’t read about that on anyone else’s post! It’s part of the fun though I guess, Monkey like smushing them up more than anything, though he wasn’t that keen on them getting stuck to his feet!

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He had a bit of a play, but unfortunately he got bored really fast.


And after about 10 minutes he was desperately trying to get out of the tuff spot, so I had to strip him off, clean his hands and feet and let him go. I was gutted, all the effort and all that mess for about 10 minutes, took me longer to clean up afterwards 🙁

I will try again with it as I have read lots of posts about kids enjoying it, and it’s not like he hated it… but it’s always a bit disheartening when you plan a new playtime or messy play activity and it just doesn’t go the way you hoped it would!

Have you had many play ideas like this, which haven’t worked out the way you’ve hoped?

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And then the fun began...

Puddle Splashing and a new furry friend – 20 mths old

We regularly see both sets of grandparents each week and they try to look after Monkey for an hour when they can so I can do some cleaning etc. without interruptions. Last week though unfortunately on the day we were due to see his paternal grandparents, my poor mother in law came down with a nasty migraine! So Monkey and I had to re-think our plans. I was a bit concerned as it was pouring with rain first thing, but thankfully the sun came out and it was actually quite a lovely morning.

The wellies and waterproofs came on and we went on a little walk to a play area at a nearby school.


It was absolutely sodden, as I guess you would expect with the weather we’ve been having! Monkey had a bit of a climb on things but mainly wanted to splash around in the puddles – though he likes to make sure it’s safe so he likes Mummy to splash in them first. It’s quite funny as he won’t go in until I’ve been through it first! haha He did enjoy a swing on the huge swing thing though too.

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As he wasn’t that interested in the actual park we started to wend our slow way home, chasing the ball, waving at buses, pushing the buggy…

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Then a very friendly cat appeared! Monkey loves cats, almost as much as he loves buses.

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He’s very good at gentle stroking bless him!

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They very much enjoyed each other’s company, until a dog came and the cat ran off!

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More puddle splashing and then home.

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Not a very exciting outing or anything but nice to record the simple pleasures of a little walk filled with lots of smiles



Wet walks and squirrel watching

What a wet and miserable week it’s been! We’ve been doing a lot of indoor play at play centre but we have managed to get out and about a bit to make the most of the dry-ish patches whenever we can!

With all this wet weather we have been making a lot of use of Monkey’s wellies and waterproof trousers – he loves puddle splashing and I don’t have to worry about him getting soggy when he’s all kitted out!

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It’s also a good motivator to keep him moving when we have a stubborn moment – let’s go find a big puddle! Soon gets him moving again 🙂

There’s a lot of squirrels around at the moment and Monkey loves watching them scampering about.


There is a squirrel somewhere in this pic,  I think it’s climbing down a fallen log… as it was running off Monkey waved goodbye (bless him!)


(There’s a grey blur on the fence that I think is the squirrel! My phone is ok for close ups but not so good for longer distance pics!)

Yesterday afternoon’s walk to the post office took forever as Monkey just wanted to spin and dance around – and there wasn’t enough puddles around to persuade him to move!

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It started to rain on the way home so he was back in his buggy, and to my surprise sat there chuckling the whole way home – apparently Monkey loves the rain!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

The realities of playtime with a tiny toddler

I wrote this post in the summer, when Monkey was 14 months old, but it seems apt for the theme of ‘Play’ for this week’s The Theme Game:

Right it is time to be honest here, keeping a little one entertained for longer than a few minutes at a time is practically impossible. I was going to say 5 minutes but hubby felt (and I agreed) that 5 mins was too ambitious, so a few minutes is more realistic. If you have read much of my blog you will know that I am trying out a lot of different play ideas with my monkey. He is constantly on the go and looking for things to do so I try really hard to find knew ways for him to learn through play.

I spend a lot of time (in short bursts between looking after monkey and trying to keep the house clean-ish) perusing the internet, via pinterest, other blogs and baby sites to get ideas. I read books and was even given a set of cards with things to do. Many of the ideas are common sense, such as ‘go outside’. Honestly I spend so much time outside as there is free entertainment out there in the form of oh, daisies, stones, mud … anything on the ground….. But these places do come up with some gems that I like to try out but really you have no idea if your little one will be ready for it developmentally, or will get bored uber quickly, or like it, until their attention is taken by something else.

P1030010Because, in reality, to fill a day of playing at home, you have to try out so many different things. In the space of an hour yesterday, we did some finger painting, played with play-doh, danced around to some music, played with the clothes pegs (basically spreading them around the room while I tried in vain to get him to “put them back” which I know he understands but complies with intermittently) played with his new kitchen, used mummy as a climbing frame, went in the garden (even though it was starting to rain, I was getting desperate) and played in the very wet sand pit, dug in the dirt, played in the sand and water a bit more, then as he was now filthy and it was nearly nap time, had a bit of a play sorting bottles out in the bath while I washed off the debris from playtime.


P1020801Whilst all this is happening I’m also trying to clean up the mess made my some of these activities, scrubbing a potential stain from the finger paints on our lovely dining table (I hadn’t realised he’d got paint on the bottom of his drink bottle until after it had sat on the table for a few mins – thankfully it came off though), trying to pick up all the teeny bits of play-doh off the floor as he likes too tear it up and spread it around the room (we confine this activity to the conservatory thankfully so it doesn’t get walked through the house), pull play-doh out of my hair and pick up the clothes pegs (until he sees they are back in the basket and decides to up-end it again -this was the point that we went outside). I’m sure this is all sounding very very familiar to the other mummies out there!

An hour or so of this I am ok with, but when faced with an entire day at home is it any wonder I go wibbly at the knees? It is fun, don’t get me wrong, but oh, so, tiring. Hence, this morning when my friend text me at 7:30am (I know if I get a text at this time of the morning that it will be another mummy) and suggested we go to the park for the day, I jumped at the chance! I had been sat contemplating my options for the day ahead and was relieved to be able to go and entertain him outside on the play area, in the sand pit and in the paddling pool there. Of course I also take stickers, a ball and other toys for when he is bored of those activities! 🙂 Plus it is nice to have a good natter with my friend and talk about our ups and downs, much more fun than taking the monkey on my own. He is making lots of word-like sounds at the moment but as yet he is not much of a conversationalist.

My point, ah yes, I don’t really have one, other than to any other mummy who puts in the effort of making homemade paints, play-doh etc, only to have the little one play for a couple of mins at a time, you are not alone! I have found lots of places to find the ideas of things to do, but very few people realistically saying, that this may entertain them for a max of 5 minutes. Who knows, maybe it is just my Monkey, maybe he is going to grow up to have ADHD or  something? Though I have read that a short attention span is normal so I hope not. Either way though I will continue to try things out as I know that eventually he will play longer by himself and be occupied by something for a slightly longer period. Bring on that day is all I can say 🙂

The Reading Residence

Summer activity – Ice Cube Painting age 14 months

Some time ago when browsing Pinterest for things to do with the Monkey (thanks Jocelyn for suggesting it, there are so many ideas on there) I cam across a picture of people Ice cube painting. Now when I said that to hubby he thought I meant painting onto ice cubes, which, lets face it, would be a bit ridiculous and pointless. Nope, ice cube painting is painting with ice cubes. The blog I read talked about mixing some paint with water and freezing it. I thought that food colouring would work just as well, and be safe for monkey, and have been waiting to have a go.

Now it is the summer holidays and none of our baby classes are running for a couple of months we do have a bit more spare time to feel so I set about making up some coloured ice. I used a mixture of gel and liquid food colouring as I wasn’t sure how they would turn out. I used a bit too much of the pink gel one to start with (see the really dark coloured ones!) and learnt as I went along, anyway, I think they turned out ok in the end.

Before being frozen

Before being frozen

Ice cube paints, ready to go

Ice cube paints, ready to go

I have seen recently pictures where people have frozen them with lollipop sticks in so you can have a handle, and I can see how that would work, but I didn’t have any, and I also am not sure if Monkey would then think it was an Ice lolly!

As it was so hot today and we were at a bit of a loose end this morning I decided this would be the perfect time to give it a go. I just got a few ice cubes out in case he hated it, as he does take a few tries at some things, and decided to use an old sheet to paint on, as I guess paper would go soggy pretty quickly!

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Monkey actually took to it pretty quickly. He finds ice lollies quite amusing and I think he had the same kind of feeling with the ice cubes. One of them turned his hands a bit blue which he found really interesting, and he then pressed his hands onto the sheet (makes me think it’s time to try finger paints again).

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He played with it a bit and then wandered off to do something else, and then came back again. Let’s face it, at this age, attention spans of more than a few minutes at a time is good going and he did definitely enjoy it so we shall be doing it again I am sure.



Enjoying the sunshine with lots of walks and outdoor play with water and sand (1 year old)

I have been getting to know one of my neighbours a lot better recently. She has a 5 and a half year old, and a 3 month old and is a stay at home mum too. We have exchanged the odd hello since we moved in last year and talked vaguely about getting together but not done anything about it. I do tend to keep to myself a bit sometimes so didn’t want to make the first move. Plus life with a baby is busy and hard and I was just focusing on that for the most part!

Anyway after her little one was born we had a chat and decided to go for a walk to have a chat, get out of the house and get to know each other a little. It has now become a brilliant part of our daily routine and at 9am, after she has dropped her eldest at school, we go for a good 45 minute walk and chat and set the world to rights. I am loving the exercise, monkey loves being chauffered around in his pushchair looking at the wildlife and dog walkers of our local area and it is great to have a good old natter and if you’ve had a difficult morning it’s nice to get things off your chest.

With the weather being a little warmer lately it has been a bit nicer than the cold, drizzly mornings and we are getting to know each other better and bonding over motherhood and life at home with the kids 🙂

Monkey and I have also been having some lovely playtime in the garden. We found a cheapish gazebo for the garden so that we can always have some shade from the sun, don’t want little man to get sunburnt! I tried him with sand before, but he really wasn’t much of a fan. As with lots of things though, give him some time and he’ll come round. so I did leave the sand table set up in the conservatory for a while and he got used to it little by little. Now he quite enjoys playing with it, most of it ends up on the ground as he likes to take it out of the sand table and watch it fall to the floor! We played with buckets, spades, sieves etc but mainly he likes putting the sieve on mummy’s head like a hat and giggling, then going back to play with the sand!



We got the paddling pool out too and he loves splashing about in there, such a cutey. We are off on holiday in a few weeks and we are trying to get monkey used to water. With one thing and another we never got round to taking him swimming when he was tiny, we looked at various swimming classes but couldn’t decide what to do, so ended up doing nothing! Anyway, the first time we took him swimming, he was terrified. It was a busy Sunday afternoon so it was noisy and the pool we went to wasn’t very warm so all in all it was a little too much to take in. So lately we have been renewing our efforts, have been taking him to a warmer teaching pool, early on a Sunday morning when it isn’t too busy and taking it slowly to build his confidence. He’s still a bit clingy but he very much enjoys splashing around and when we whizz him along in the water.


Anyway, I have digressed slightly! The extra confidence in the water can really be seen in the garden as he is really happy getting in and out of the paddling pool and splashing away which is great!

He loves being in the garden in general and though I have to keep an eye on him so that he doesn’t eat any daisies or stones he loves running around and actually has found a great game of stacking empty flower pots and putting stones in and out of a big empty flower pot! Lots of fun to be had outside 🙂 Hope the warm weather continues!


Playtime ideas, 11 months old

After some of my more downcast posts lately, this week has been a very lovely week. Daddy is feeling better, monkey has been well (although he’s caught another cold in time for the weekend, bless him) and we have been having lots of playtime!

As he is growing older I am always trying to find new ways to keep him entertained, he is a curious monkey and likes a lot of variety. We are a very busy little pair and are out and about a lot as he gets quite bored by being in the house, but his attention span and concentration are improving and he is enjoying playing with some of his “older” toys, like his shape sorter and moving beads toy (not sure what to call it!). It’s amazing seeing him learn so much week by week and watching the concentration on his face when he tries new things!

So here are some of the new things we have been trying. I try and get ides from all over the place, on websites such as, where they have age appropriate play ideas, from other mummy blogs such as rainy day mum, and also I received a gift of “50 things to do with baby” which has some cute ideas too.

1. Water play

With the gorgeous weather last week who could resist giving water play a go! Monkey loves bathy time we daddy and has a good splash about so I wanted to have fun with water play too and the lovely sunshine gave the perfect opportunity, in the shade and plastered with suncream of course! I bought a sand/water table a little while ago being optimistic for the summer and so we put a little water in there with some toys and let him splash about and play. He basically want to throw the toys out of the water (getting mummy and daddy soaked in the process) so he could just splash with his hands. He’s so happy doing this and pulls the cutest expressions when he splashes himself in the face.

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2. Sand play

As it cooled off later in the week and we were generally inside more I decided to try the sand/water table with some sand in the conservatory. Yes I knew it could get messy but there’s always a hoover and the conservatory is only really used as a playroom anyway. At a local park there is a sandpit and we tried it once but monkey didn’t want to know. Nevertheless, I thought that maybe in his home surroundings he would like it. He is very happy sat playing with the gravel and stones on our drive, and at a playpark recently he wasn’t interested in any of the equipment and wanted to be sat playing in the dirt for ages, so I thought sand would be on his list. But, nope, he pulls his ‘yuk’ face when he touches it and tries to wipe it off his fingers. I tried with sieves and buckets and things but nope, he doesn’t like it. Hey ho, will try when he gets older!

3. Rolling balls.

I liked the idea of this one right away, use a cardboard tube and roll balls down it, sounds brilliant! But we had no balls of the size that would fit down any tubes. So on one of our outings, I thought it would be really simple to find some bouncy balls, but no, I couldn’t find any in our Tesco (which is ginormous) or smiths or mothercare/early learning centre. How hard can it be? Anyway in the random party bit of Tesco I found some suitable-sized balls, but they are eyeballs. Charming! But they will have to do, they are a good size as not too small to be a choking hazard, but they don’t fit down the cardboard tube I had found either!

Hubby had the solution, make a tube out of a piece of card, perfect, made a lovely big tube that some of our other balls fit down too. Monkey loved it, after showing him what to do he really enjoyed putting the ball in the tube and watching it pop out the other end! Unfortunately the piece of card wasn’t strong enough to withstand his grip and once he decided he wanted to hold the tube and the ball, it soon got crushed! So I raided the wrapping paper drawer again and managed to pull a tube out of some wrapping paper without completely destroying the paper itself. Hey presto, a better sized tube! Only the eyeball balls fit down this one but that’s good enough. When daddy came home we had fun sending the balls flying backwards and forwards between us.

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4 – Toys in a pillowcase

I liked the idea of this one, basically teaching little one about object permanence, and how to find them. Basically put a variety of objects in a pillowcase and watch them find them and pull them out one at a time. I used a pretty random selection of bits and bobs that monkey likes to play with, including a soft ball, a random chick shaped purse and an old remote control which he likes pushing the buttons on. I also put in one of his instrument toys so that it jingled. Monkey was a bit intrigued but not actually that bothered. If I opened it so he could see the bits inside he would pull them out, but when it is more closed he lifts it up but then gets distracted and moves on to something else. Another one to try again another day!


Even with all of this play our time has mostly been taken up with monkey walking! More on that later …. If you are reading this and have any good playtime ideas for us to try, please share!