We recently went to visit Willows Activity Farm based in St. Albans. My daughters both love animals so we love to seek out new places to see them. This is a Willows Activity Farm review based on their normal calendar, which runs across the majority of the year.

Willows Activity Farm Review

What and where is it?

Willows Activity Farm is family friendly farm based just in outside North London. The farm is full day out for everyone, but is mostly suitable for younger children.

There is plenty of free parking on the farm, which only tends to get really busy during the summer holidays.

How much is it?

Depending on the time of year it costs approx £12 for adults and £14 for children (under 2s are free). You can save money on tickets by buying them the day before online.

For the price you get access to almost everything in the farm including:

  • soft play
  • tractor rides
  • live shows
  • playgrounds
  • bouncy castles
  • rides
  • maze

Best Bits

As a mum the best thing for me about the farm, is that the majority of activities/rides are included within the price. This means you don’t have to deal with any arguments with the kids, asking to spend more money on expensive extras.

For my toddler the best bits about the farm were:

  • The animals – as you would expect with a farm there are plenty of animals to see, there are areas to pet smaller animals like rabbits, animal feeding areas and there is even areas to watch animals track race.
  • The live shows – throughout the day there are several live shows preformed by Petter Rabbit and his friends, my daughter loved singing and dancing along.
  • The Peter Rabbit adventure playground – a relatively new addition to the farm, it is a beautifully designed play area for all children.
  • The soft play – there is a wonderful soft play area situated next to the cafe, this means you can pick a spot to eat and the kids can run around.

What could be better?

The cafe does get busy at lunch time and could probably be bigger. You need to get there in plenty of time to secure a spot.

The toilets are very well designed and suitable for children, however there could be a few more of them around the park. My experience of going with young toddlers is they always need the toilet when you’re not near one!

Overview

We loved visiting Willow Activity Farm and recently returned to attend their Christmas Spectacular event, review can be found here.

We think it’s a wonderful day trip for younger children. It’s particularly good for children aged 2 to 8 who would get the most from the playgrounds and live shows. In my opinion its one of the best overall farms for a full day trip and definitely worth a visit at any time of year.

I hope you enjoyed my Willows Activity Farm review, see here my review on Peppa Pig World.

Rock painting with childrenRock painting with children is one of the latest trends. I came across it when I was looking for low-cost craft ideas to do with my toddler. Rocking painting incorporates the trend of rock painting and then hiding them.

Rock painting is basically where you take a rock which you have found or bought, paint it and then hide for another to find.

There are whole communities of people painting, hiding and seeking rocks in their local areas. Usually hiding their rocks in local parks or tourist spots.

Many sign up to Facebook groups to share their passion and support one another. Love on the rocks Facebook group is one of the largest ones in the U.K.

The level of creativity you can find in the Facebook groups is outstanding. There are truly some artists in the UK creating masterpieces on rocks. This is a trend that is not only popular with children but is growing more and more so with adults as well.

Rock Painting with Children

Why it’s a great craft for children?

Children can be as creative as they want to be with this hobby craft. They love getting out the paints and creating their own little rocks.

There is no right and wrong to this craft that’s why it’s so wonderful for children. Even some simple colours on a rock can transform it ready for hiding.

The children then have the joy of taking their rocks to their local park and finding hiding spots. If you hide them well the rocks might not be found for a long time, so you can keep checking up on them each visit.

If you are connected to a Facebook group you can always add a note on your rock so that others know where to find you.

What do you need to rock paint?

rock painting with children

Our simple rocks painted by Rose aged 2

As in the simplicity of this craft you only need a few things to get going, especially when doing rock painting with children;

  • Rocks (big enough to get creative with but not too big so you can’t carry them!)
  • Paint – acrylics work best
  • Paint brushes – any small brush would work for children
  • Varnish – a low-cost varnish will do
  • Apron – worth getting your child to wear an apron when using acrylics

How to rock paint

  1. Choose and clean your rock
  2. Choose a design or go free flow when painting
  3. Paint your rock
  4. Let dry
  5. Varnish your rock
  6. Let dry
  7. Take you rock out and hide!

Ideas for your rocks

  • Glitter bugs
  • Lady bugs
  • Seasonal rocks
  • Favourite characters

We have hidden some of our rocks locally so are looking forward to seeing if they have gone next time we go into the park. Here our hidden rocks on instagram.

If you are looking for other ideas on crafts to do with your children see Aldi Christmas Fairy and Elf doors and Aldi Christmas Baubles Craft.

Good luck with your painting.

During the summer we took my two daughters to visit Peppa Pig World. It was our first time visiting there as both of our girls are Peppa mad. This is my Peppa Pig World Review, all opinions are my own and this is based on our personal experience.

Peppa Pig World

What and where is it?

Peppa Pig World is part of Paultons Park based in the New Forest, England. Paultons Park is a theme park in its own right with over 70 rides. Peppa Pig World sits inside the theme park as a distinct area.

If your never heard of Peppa Pig I’m not sure where you have been! You can discover more about this pink pig and her friends here.

Peppa Pig World contains rides, life-size figurines, food outlets, a gift shop and a chance to meet your favourite characters.

How much is it?

Depending on when you go it costs just under £20 a head to get into the whole park. It’s the same price for adults and children.

Children under a metre in height go in free but this is with shoes on. As a warning they are super strict on it so if you child is bang on a metre you will have to pay.

The total cost for a whole family can be a bit off putting, but you do get a lot for you money if you maximise a full day there.

Best Bits

The best bit for me as an adult was watching the amazement in my daughters eyes. She honestly couldn’t contain her excitement from being there.

In my toddlers opinion the best bits were the rides and getting to meet Peppa and George.

Our favourite rides were Grandpa Pigs Boat Trip, George’s Dinosaur Adventure and Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride. All the rides are suitable for toddlers and some are even ok for babies which makes Peppa Pig World very inclusive.

Peppa and George have set times to come out so you can meet them. You can queue up to have a short meet and greet and take photos. They also walk around Peppa Pig World so the children can wave and talk to their favourite characters. This was wonderful for the little ones.

Not to be forgotten is the rest of Paultons Park! We were so glad we didn’t spend the whole day just in Peppa Pig World as the park has lots of other areas to it. There are the gardens and lake,  birds and animals, the lost Kingdom (dinosaur theme area) and plenty of other rides.

With my toddler we thought we would be limited to only Peppa Pig World but she was able to go on many more including the Raging River Login Flume, Seal Falls, Digger Ride and the traditional carousel.

She loved the log flume so much we ended up going on it 6 times!

What could be better?

We went after the school summer holidays on a weekday and Peppa Pig World was still busy.  We had to queue for everything including the rides and meet and greet. Toddlers and queuing do not mix so be prepared to find other things to keep them occupied.

Typically for a theme park the food choices were rather limited. In the majority of outlets choice was generally between burger or hotdogs with chips.

Overview

Peppa Pig World and Paultons Park makes for a wonderful day trip with the children. It is a brilliant for Peppa Pig fans, but I’m sure those who aren’t would get a lot from it as well.

We are planning on going again next year, as my almost three-year old still talks about her day seeing Peppa.

I hope this Peppa Pig World Review has been helpful for you, thanks for reading.

As I watch my two-year old daughter play with her friends, it got me thinking how much adults could learn from their friendships. There is a wonderful freedom to friendships at the toddler age, which gets lost as we grow older. So what can we learn from toddler friendships?

Toddler Friendships

It’s good to have a giggle

Toddler friendshipsToddlers together can find the simplest of things funny. It’s such a positive experience having a giggle and laugh with friends.

Us mums can sometimes get too bogged down with all the serious stuff in life. We need to follow the lead of our toddlers and laugh more with our friends.

Its fun to be silly

Like having a giggle, being silly is definitely something toddlers enjoy doing together. From blowing raspberries, jumping in muddy puddles to dancing to a favourite tune, being silly is a lot of fun!

We lose a lot of our silliness as we grow older, but even if its singing along to some karaoke, doing some exercise or playing a game there are ways to be silly as an adult with friends.

Learn from your friends

Toddlers are always learning from each other, taking the time to watch how their friends approach a challenge.

We should never stop learning, especially from those close to us. Learning from your friends is an important bonding exercise as it empowers everyone.

Try new things together

Toddlers are constantly trying out new things, and they love doing this with their friends. Sometimes is the simplest things that give them most pleasure, such as trying out a new play park with a friend.

As adults there is plenty of new things we could do with our friends. From visiting a new restaurant, going on a day trip together or visiting a spa if you can get a day away from the kids.

Eat together to build bonds

Toddlers are constantly eating so it’s no surprise they spend a lot of time eating with their friends.

Eating together with friends is important for adults as well, as its builds bonds. The University of Chicago ran a study of how eating together helps builds trust, which is fundamental for all friendships.

Rest when you need to

Toddlers are not afraid to tell us when they have had enough and they just need to rest. Spending time with friends can be tiring so sometimes we just need a break.

We shouldn’t be afraid to have a rest or break from our friends to regain our energy. A true friend will understand when we need rest.

 

Becoming a mum means that your own friendships do suffer a bit as you juggle the family and home. Your children’s life take over and their friendships take priority (at all ages not just the toddler friendships). Its can be extremely important for your own self-care to focus on your own friendships when you can.

We have just experienced snow across the U.K. for the first time in two years. Seeing the snow through my daughters eyes has been magical and it inspired me to write this poem Snowy Days.

We spent our snow day both inside and outside in the garden.

Inside we started making piñata’s for the girls January birthdays and snuggling on the sofa watching Trolls Christmas. If you’re looking for inspiration on other things to watch this Christmas see my post on the best family Christmas films on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV.

In the garden we made a snowman and had a snow ball fight. My toddler was in her element just stomping around in her Wellington boots.

I hope you enjoy my poem, Snowy Days.

Snowy DaysSnowy Days

December approaches,
So it’s the end of the year.
Christmas time is upon us,
And the New Year draws near.

The temperature drops,
The cold winds blow,
Everyone is freezing,
And there’s a chance of some snow.

It’s the season of layers,
Children wrapped up warm,
Waiting in anticipation,
For that elusive snowstorm.

When the snow arrives,
Get the children outside.
But remember sensible shoes,
So they don’t slip or slide.

Build a snowman,
Have a snow fight,
Play in the snow,
From morning to night.

Then come home to heating,
Making sure their fed,
With a hot meal in tummy’s,
Time to snuggle up in a bed.

Winter is full of traditions,
The season of magic.
Time spent with love ones,
And a visit from St. Nick.

Before we know it,
We will be sliding into Spring,
So get out enjoy the season,
And don’t forget your stocking!

If you did like my poem and fancy reading more, here are some others I wrote recently;

Daddy’s home
Christmas crap
End of a breastfeeding journey

 

Mummascribbles