Life’s an urban beach.

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‘Britain’s Copacabana’

Despite some extravagant claims on its website (‘Here comes the sun’ and ‘Britain’s Copacabana’), Beach East really is quite like going to the beach at a normal UK seaside resort: some sand, some pricey fairground rides and unreliable weather. And it has the added advantage of a really big paddling pool.

So, could be worth a trip if your toddler is into sand and paddling! Continue reading “Life’s an urban beach.”

Ted in Space at the Planetarium

Ted in Space (image from Planetarium website)

Our first trip to the Planetarium was a lot of fun and pretty much perfect for a toddler-plus-baby audience (unlike our badly planned Astronomy Centre trip a few months ago).

We went to see Space Safari, a half hour show aimed at under-7s. This show has been on since 2013, so maybe you’ve already seen it. If you haven’t, it’s a good rainy day out for small space enthusiasts.

Without giving too many spoilers, the show features beautiful, glowing images of the solar system, with a weird floating teddy bear that looks like it was drawn in a 90s computer programme. There’s a simple story about searching for Ted’s friend and songs (sung sweetly but often incomprehensibly by schoolchildren). The balance of hard space facts and where’s-the-bear? worked well for the child audience.

The show has live narration by an astronomer who was really good at meeting the needs of toddlers on our visit – for example, starting by getting everyone used to the immersive experience of being under a dome-shaped screen by giving a light show one colour at a time, gently getting the audience used to it being ‘really dark’… His language was simple and he asked a few audience-participation questions. He was also available to answer individual questions after the show. Continue reading “Ted in Space at the Planetarium”

Tips for train journeys with two

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I’ve recently done several long-distance journeys on trains and ferries, on my own with my 2 boys (Little Baby, 5 months and Finn, 2yrs 5months).

For me, public transport is much better than being in the car, not just for environmental reasons (and um, because I’m terrified of driving…). Until recently Little B put up an incredible fight every time he was confined to a car seat, and screamed throughout the journey, seemingly whatever I did to calm him.

Anyway, 4 hours in a train carriage could still have gone badly wrong, especially for the poor innocent passengers who were not responsible for my children. So I tried to prepare as much as I could…

Here’s what worked for us: please add your suggestions in the comments!

Continue reading “Tips for train journeys with two”

Why are pirates scary?

(Because they arrrrrrr)

Over the summer, there are some really lovely toddler-friendly events – many of them free – taking place at local museums, including a pirate themed show at the Museum of London, Docklands.

Here are five activities you might like to try with your toddler…

Continue reading “Why are pirates scary?”

Playing games

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I like playing board games with my two-year-old, and thankfully she likes them too. We’ve been lucky enough to have been given a couple that are entirely compatible with a toddler’s short attention span. Playing them is a great way of learning skills that don’t come easily to a toddler like taking turns, waiting for your go, sitting still and maybe – just maybe – not always winning.

Here are the two we’ve got.
Continue reading “Playing games”

Paddling and splashing!

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The paddling pool at West Ham Park.

At last… At long last… The chance to complain about being too hot, instead of it being too rainy or too cold or too something else. This weekend has been all about being outdoors in the park and the paddling pool (as well as doing battle with sun cream and hats and unwilling toddlers).

Here are two parks I’ve posted about before, but without previously having tried out their very fine paddling pools.

Continue reading “Paddling and splashing!”

Fairlop Water Country Park and Boulders!

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Fairlop Water

If you want an outdoorsy day out that’s nearby and on the Central Line, Fairlop Water Country Park is a good option.

Set around a sailing lake, the park includes a large outdoor boulder park with artificial rock climbing boulders for bouldering enthusiasts (‘bouldering’ is climbing on low-level rocks, without ropes) – a great place for parents who climb and can tag-team looking after the kids. Some of the boulders are less steep and ideal for children or beginners to have a go scrambling up (though children will need close supervision as there are some big drops).

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Climbing boulder

There is plenty of shady grass around the boulders for picnics, and gravel areas for the digger enthusiasts in the family… Continue reading “Fairlop Water Country Park and Boulders!”