London RAF Museum

View through the hangars with a Lancaster bomber looming in the background

The RAF London Museum is a series of huge aircraft hangers stuffed with real planes. If you’ve a small person who’s into planes or helicopters, this would be a great outing. It’s about 10 minutes’ walk from Colindale on the Northern Line, and it’s free.

The whole place is on a huge scale, so there is lots of room for toddlers to run around. There are wide carpeted walkways between and sometimes under the planes, so it’s very buggy-friendly too. It’s made up of several hangars, and although part of the site is currently closed for development we didn’t even get round everything that was open. Continue reading “London RAF Museum”

Spring on Stage

London is incredible for the amount of children’s theatre that is available, even for the very youngest audiences. There are some lovely things coming up this Spring.

Of course some shows that are aimed at older children are still great for toddlers, but this is a round-up of things that are specifically for under-5s (usually age ranges are a recommendation only and it’s fine to take siblings of different ages along too).

See websites for prices, which vary, but tickets for toddler theatre mostly seem to be between £7 and £10 per child over 1, or the same for an adult-and-baby combined ticket. Not cheap, but still live theatre that’s cheaper than some cinema tickets.

The Little Angel Theatre in Islington has loads on for the under-5s:

The Explorer, 1st – 2nd April, ages 3 – 7 looks beautiful: the adventures of a traditional wooden marionette.

I’m glad to see the explorer is a she, too, having recently become hyper-aware of how the main characters in most young children’s books are male by default. Even if they’re animals, for goodness’ sake! Nearly every last tiger/mouse/elephant/caterpillar of them.Why? Continue reading “Spring on Stage”

 Big Spring Skies 

Greenwich Park with moody March sky

The new March mildness and teasing bursts of sunshine have been enough to get me and the kids much more adventurous about being outdoors.

Even the less summery side of the weather (gale force winds, dramatic cloudscapes, the odd hailstorm) has *mostly* added to the fun.
So we’ve been venturing further afield in search of outdoor play whenever we can.

Here are some of the places we’ve enjoyed Spring Skies, if not sunshine… some in London, some a short trip away.

What are your favourite places to get out in the fresh air at this time of year?

1. Greenwich Park

Fantastic children’s playground, loads of beautiful parkland to explore, wonderful view from the top of the hill… Continue reading ” Big Spring Skies “

Tahini and honey flapjacks

Tahini and honey flapjacks

These were an unexpected delight. Finn and I wanted to bake together while Little B napped. I wanted to make Welsh Cakes, he wanted to make flapjacks, and he won. Because he is 3, and was not going to change his mind just because I showed him enticing pictures of Welsh Cakes on the internet.

BUT, although they are sweet, these flapjacks are refined-sugar-free, packed with protein and calcium, and even Little B likes them. They also taste great with coffee. So I won too, and everyone was happy.

Seriously though, I am always slightly desperately looking for ways to get calories and nutrients into a 1-year-old whose main interest in food is dropping it from a height. So these are a welcome discovery for baby snack or breakfast on-the-crawl.

Flapjacks are a great baking recipe to cook with a toddler because, apart from melting the butter on the stove, they can do almost all of it – helping to weigh, mixing dry ingredients, stirring them into the butter mix and pressing the stuff into a baking tray. Flapjacks are forgiving of very rough quantities (if your toddler tends to eat ingredients as fast as you measure them) and don’t mind being squashed and patted during preparation, in the way a fluffy cake might. Continue reading “Tahini and honey flapjacks”

Midwinter sensory play #3: starry gel pouches

A starry gel pouch

I saw this idea on Messy Little Monster a while ago and finally got round to it today.

It makes cool sensory pouches for young babies to look at, squidge and explore.

I’d say under close supervision though, especially if baby has teeth. Not sure how laminating pouches stand up to chewing. However, so long as you’re watching, this is a way for baby to interact with those too-small objects they always want to touch but aren’t allowed.

I think they could also be great fun for older children as a way of preserving found objects or creating small worlds (see ideas in the recipe below).

I made several ‘adaptations’ to the original process, most of which had an adverse effect on the end result.

But it was still fun, for Finn to help make them, as well as Little B who got the final product. You can either learn from my mistakes (unless you have more common sense than me and wouldn’t have made them anyway, which is likely) or just read the original post above. Continue reading “Midwinter sensory play #3: starry gel pouches”

Christmassy cooking #2: cinnamon blueberry breakfast pancakes

Blueberry and cinnamon pancakes

Here’s another easy recipe that’s fun to make with kids, especially ones who get up ridiculously early and need entertaining before breakfast.

This is our saturday morning favourite, which I have recently christmassed-up by serving with spiced apple and cranberry compote.

The pancakes are refined-sugar-free, and make great finger food for babies while also making everyone else happy.

Um as usual I failed to measure anything ever when I did this, so these measures are guesses – but it doesn’t really matter as you decide on the batter consistency as you gradually add milk. Here’s the rough recipe: Continue reading “Christmassy cooking #2: cinnamon blueberry breakfast pancakes”