Real Nappies & East London Sling Meet

Want to find out more about using slings and baby carriers, or ‘real’ (reusable) nappies, or both?
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Friday 9th March, Real Nappies at the East London Sling Meet, 9.30-12.30, The Cafe at St Paul’s, St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8 London.

You can find out more about real nappies and other upcoming events here.

Here’s more info about the Sling Meet: Continue reading “Real Nappies & East London Sling Meet”


Tonkotsu park

We’ve eased off the small parks and playgrounds thread due to the freezing cold, but let’s make an exception for the new little playground that you can find opposite the London Aquatics Centre.

To find it, walk from Westfield, past The Cow, along Stratford Walk. Before the bridge over to the Aquatics Centre, turn left at the edge of the building that says it’s soon to be a Tonkotsu (yum). This area now has flats and the lucky residents have a small playground that you might like to visit if you want to escape Westfield or still have some energy after swimming.

Here’s what you’ll find:

Things to climb 
Things to whizz round on
Something to slide down
Not one, not two, but three things to bounce on (plus basket ball court in the background).

There are two much bigger playgrounds in the QEOP (and a nice one in Westfield), but it’s always nice to explore somewhere new, and small play areas like this have the advantage of offering a quick change of scene. You can try everything in it pretty fast so there’s no chance to tears/tantrums when it’s time to leave.

As mentioned, this combines well with:

  • A visit to the Aquatics Centre
  • A trip to Westfield
  • A scooter trip round the QEOP
  • A play area safari of the QEOP

I don’t know if this playground has a name, so I’m officially naming it Tonkotsu playground and it joins the list of little parks that I’ve posted about.

Here are the others:

With Spring on the way, there’ll be more…

Make your own recycled crayons

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The weather is even colder than last time I posted, so if the winter sunshine isn’t enough to keep you outdoors, here’s another indoor art-materials activity.

If you’ve stubs and bits of broken wax crayon, here’s a super easy, exciting recycling project that toddlers can do most of themselves.

It’s also one of those transformations that creates something so delightful it seems much more than the sum of its parts. The homemade crayons would also make great gifts, if you could bear to part with them.

You need: Continue reading “Make your own recycled crayons”

Homemade Blackboard

Chalkboard paint

Here’s a fun project that instantly provides a new kids’ art area and hours (years!) of fun. The first post of a mini-series for these cold, damp days about arty indoors stuff.

If you’ve a patch of wall or cupboard door you don’t mind sacrificing, all you need is a tin of blackboard paint. Otherwise, you can make your own blackboard and put it up somewhere.

Chalk drawing is nice and communal, easily cleaned off surfaces and children with a plain damp cloth and is environmentally friendly (no disposable plastics, no paper waste). What’s not to like?

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Homemade MDF chalkboard attached to the end of a kitchen unit

You need: Continue reading “Homemade Blackboard”

Discover Book Swap 2018

Fed up of reading the same books to your toddler night after night? Need some new stories?

This Saturday, 10th February, you can take part in Discover’s annual book swap which takes place at locations across London (you can see them all on this Google map).

Here are just a few places you can go locally to swap books – The V & A building Victoria Park, the Childhood Museum, Stratford Library, and Discover Children’s Story Centre.

The Victoria Park event looks good. It also includes an art session. It’s free, so just turn up 11am-2pm.

Details here.


Toddler-friendly swimming

In spite of the coughs, colds and runny noses, swimming is a reasonably frequent winter activity for us – mainly because it’s a good way of burning up energy when going outside is unappealing.

Leisure pools are a good option for toddlers as they have warm water, slides and shallow pools that little feet can walk into. That’s much more fun than relying on mum or dad or floats to take you where you want.

I know of two leisure pools in striking distance of east London. I wrote a post about the one at Woolwich, the Waterfront Leisure Centre, 18 months ago.

The details are here.

Re-reading the post, those first impressions still hold after a second, more recent, visit. There are just a few things to add:

1. The carpark has closed, but there are signs directing you to alternative carparks.

2. I did mention it last time, but I’m going to say it again, the changing rooms are really annoying. Whether you change in the family area or the regular changing rooms, you have to carry all your clothes to another area where the lockers are. If you manage to carry a not-yet-walking toddler, your clothes and theirs, on your way to get changed after your swim, and somehow manage to be anything other than cold, annoyed and wet, you are a better person than me. (I suggest taking a big bag with you – like an IKEA carrier if you’re to stand any chance of keeping your clothes dry through that process).

3. The area around the Waterfront Leisure Centre is undergoing a lot of development, which – on a sunny day – means there’s a chance to combine a swim with a walk along the river with a trip to a farmer’s market or a cafe at RARE (Royal Arsenal Riverside Explore). You may also want to check out the local museum, Greenwich Heritage Centre.

Coming up next – a post about Leyton Leisure Centre.

Canary Wharf Winter Lights – last chance

If you haven’t yet been to the Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival, you’re running out of time. It ends tomorrow, Saturday 27 January 2018.

All the details are here.

A sneak preview of what you can see around the Crossrail station is here.

And here’s what you’ll see if you head to Canary Wharf tube station.

It’s Friday – hurrah!