Saturday 27 May 2017

Baby Swimming with Turtle Tots

When Elliot was 4 month old, we began baby swimming lessons with Turtle Tots - it was a brilliant experience and I'm so glad we did it. He's so confident in the water and is now in a swimming class with kids who are 1/2 years older than him.

When Erin was born I knew that I'd like to take her to swimming lessons and I began looking around to see what availability was in my area. Coincidentally, Turtle Tots were starting a brand new baby class at a local holiday park, just 5 minutes drive from my house - hows that for good timing!

Well, I had a feeling she might like being in the pool and I was right - she LOVED it!! She had a big smile from the first minute we got in the pool and we've not had any tears yet 5 lessons in.

The lessons are just as I remembered with Elliot and it was great to be back in the pool...I remembered all the words to the songs we learnt back then too ;)

The babies are taught to swim using songs and repetition and given cues to enable them to swim underwater. By practising the cues each week, this gets the baby used to having water on their face and prepares them for going underwater.

Erin is encouraged to kick her legs as she swims and we have been practising swimming on her back. As she progresses she will be able to hold on to the side by herself  and swim with a woggle.

I think it's so important for children to be able to swim and lessons such as Turtle Tots give them the necessary skills and confidence to do so. I know lots of new mums wonder whether baby swimming lessons are worth it and I would say a big fat yes!

One tired baby after half an hour in the pool!

Sunday 21 May 2017

Ramp Rats (Dorset) - Kids Indoor Skatepark - Review

Elliot's had a scooter for the past year or so but he's lacking a bit of confidence with it and struggles with steering. Recently we discovered an indoor skatepark here in Poole and the brilliant thing is, it's exclusively for kids so it's a great place for scooter practise! 

photo credit - Rachel Warren

Ramp Rats is the UK's first (and only!) indoor skatepark dedicated solely for kids under 10. Here you'll find ramps. tunnels and even a mini bowl - everything you'd find in a regular skatepark, just on a smaller scale. Most kids have a scooter these days but if you don't then there are plenty of scooters/bikes/skateboards which you can borrow once you get there. Elliot loves the skateboards and spends ages just whizzing down the ramps on his belly!! 

For younger visitors there is a small softplay which is included in the price - ideal for parents with little ones who aren't quite up to scooting yet. It's only little but really popular with the kids, they seem to love coming down the bumpy steps on their bums! (or leaping off the slide if you're Elliot.....)

Attached to the skatepark is a small cafe and seating area. The cafe is really reasonable and I've heard the coffee is really good. We like the bags of mixed sweets, for £1 these are a nice little treat which won't break the bank. The seating area does get quite busy in peak times as it's quite small but you can reserve the large table if there is a big group of you.

We have visited a number of times since Ramp Rats opened last year and it's great to have somewhere different to visit. It can get a bit boring going to the same old soft plays but this place is brilliant as it's something active for the kids to do, not weather dependant and a bargain at £5 for two hours. It's really handy to have the cafe too - nice to have somewhere to sit whilst the kids are burning off lots of energy! 

Other Info:

- Baby changing available in the loos
- Ramp Rats is located upstairs above the main skatepark and there isn't a lift so if you're bringing a baby, leave the buggies in the car. There aren't many steps however is it quite steep and no doubt you'll be carrying scooters/bags etc so be careful on your way down! 
- You can book parties at Ramp Rats and you get exclusive hire of the entire skatepark but these slots get booked up really quick so plan ahead
- Helmets must be worn

For more info including contact details and opening times, check out the Ramp Rats Facebook page here

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Visiting Corfe Castle & Corfe Model Village - Dorset Residents' Week 2017

Once a year in May, lots of brilliant attractions in Dorset take part in Residents' Week which aims to raise the profile of all the fun things to do here and encourage locals to visit all the beautiful places right here on their doorstep.

Over 50 attractions take part and they each offer discounts such as reduced price tickets or buy one get one free. This year Residents' Week runs from 8-14th May.

On Monday, we decided to visit the Corfe Castle Model Village with a group of our friends. I'd never visited the model village before but it sounded perfect for a gaggle of crazy 4 year olds and the weather was shaping up to be a beautiful day!

We decided to make a day of it and explore a bit of Corfe Castle too. The castle wasn't included in the Residents' Week offers but we are all National Trust members so got in for free.

We parked up at the NT carpark and followed the pathway round to the entrance to the castle. There is a more direct route which runs alongside the road but the pathway is so much safer as it takes you off road and round the back of the castle, passing fields and a pretty stream.

We headed up to the Castle and found a perfect spot for our picnic - the kids had plenty of room to run around and we could even see the steam train puffing in the distance. The views at the top of Corfe Castle are just beautiful and it reminded me of how lucky I am to live here.

After lunch we decided to explore a bit more of the castle - it was a bit of a mission pushing a buggy up the hill, definitely burnt a few calories off after I huffed and puffed up!! We were a bit restricted having the buggies so two of the mums took all the big kids up to the top of the castle while another friend and I stayed with the smaller ones.

I mentioned that it was hard work pushing the buggy up...well it was just as hard going down, I was petrified of letting go and Erin ending up in the pub at the bottom!!

We headed over to the model village which is just a minutes walk from the entrance to the castle (Corfe Village isn't very big) and we showed our vouchers to the lady on the till. There were 4 adults, 4 4 year olds and 4 under 3's in our party and the total cost was £12, what a bargain!

The model village is very small (literally!!) but it was perfect for us - the children had loads of fun stomping round the little houses, knocking on miniature doors and pretending they were giants. It was really interesting to see what the castle looked like back in 1646 too.

It was really sunny so we spent ages sat in the garden area - there were giant games for the children to play with, a fairy garden and lots of nooks and crannies to play hide and seek in.

Tiredness was beginning to set in so after the children had eaten their ice creams we walked back to the carpark, with a quick stop at the wooden play area. Elliot was so tired, he was a lot slower on the way back!

It was a really fun day and nice to do something different - the children all seemed to enjoy themselves and I'm sure they all slept well that night. All of the 4 year olds will be off to school in September so it's really nice to go out as a big group and spend some time together while we can - some of the kids will be going to different schools so we want to make the most of their time together!

Dear Bear and Beany
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