a family walk: we're going on a bear hunt

This weekend we were away visiting my sister, and seeing as she lives in the idyllic Kent countryside we thought where better to take our weekly walk than in the woods just outside her house.

All weekend the weather had been battering the windows of her cosy cottage, keeping us inside huddled around the fire in the evenings, but on Sunday morning we awoke to the most beautiful, clear and sunny day. We pulled on our boots and walked down the small country lane. But this was no ordinary walk, this was a bear hunt.

Probably one of Theo's favourite books, so we decided to make it into a real life adventure and set out to find our own bear. We recited the words as we walked along, squishing through the mud and tripping through the woods.

Once we climbed to the top of the hill we found a castle and raced to the top to claim our right as the King. We rode on horses and stormed the castle and then invited the defeated in for tea. We stood at the top and looked out over the horizon trying to spot aunties house.

We stepped in between the trees to search for pine cones for the fire, as well as finding beech nuts and talking about squirrels. We ran down the slope and rounded and bend only to find a little den made out of old logs and branches from the pine trees. The ground had been swept and boundaries had been laid and we went to investigate to see whether the bear was home.


We found that the bear wasn't at home so we continued our search looking for tracks in the mud. We met people on way and Theo told them of our adventure to find a bear, and each one replied back with snippets from the story. We hid and listened to the sounds, and made growling noises as we pretended to be the bears ourselves.

Then we got tired and trudged our way back through the country lanes towards home.

To me this is what our family walks are all about. It's not just about getting fresh air, or seeing a nice view (which are great reasons to get out in the nature) but about so much more. I want to show Theo that woods, hills, streams and beaches can be his playground. The starting point for many adventures and stories, with so much to discover and learn in each place. To be a child who can spend hours building a perfect den with just what they have to hand, or search for nuts, seeds, berries and mushrooms, catch crabs in rock pools and see what lives in ponds and streams. To know the names of the different trees, what squirrels eat, how frogs are born. Of course we could learn all this in books, which is great, but I want him to really learn it and experience it for himself and part of my job is to provide him with the chance to learn and love this for himself. Part of me is worried that because he's growing up in the city that he won't have the same love for being in nature that I grew up with, but I'm just hoping that he continues to carry same spark of wander that he already appears to hold.

I hoping to see a screening of "Project Wild Thing" this week, and am very excited. I remember seeing the trailer and knowing it was something I wholeheartedly agree and believe in and I can't wait to watch the full film.

What about you, what adventures have you been on recently?

a family walk: we're going on a bear hunt

This weekend we were away visiting my sister, and seeing as she lives in the idyllic Kent countryside we thought where better to take our weekly walk than in the woods just outside her house.

All weekend the weather had been battering the windows of her cosy cottage, keeping us inside huddled around the fire in the evenings, but on Sunday morning we awoke to the most beautiful, clear and sunny day. We pulled on our boots and walked down the small country lane. But this was no ordinary walk, this was a bear hunt.

Probably one of Theo's favourite books, so we decided to make it into a real life adventure and set out to find our own bear. We recited the words as we walked along, squishing through the mud and tripping through the woods.

Once we climbed to the top of the hill we found a castle and raced to the top to claim our right as the King. We rode on horses and stormed the castle and then invited the defeated in for tea. We stood at the top and looked out over the horizon trying to spot aunties house.

We stepped in between the trees to search for pine cones for the fire, as well as finding beech nuts and talking about squirrels. We ran down the slope and rounded and bend only to find a little den made out of old logs and branches from the pine trees. The ground had been swept and boundaries had been laid and we went to investigate to see whether the bear was home.


We found that the bear wasn't at home so we continued our search looking for tracks in the mud. We met people on way and Theo told them of our adventure to find a bear, and each one replied back with snippets from the story. We hid and listened to the sounds, and made growling noises as we pretended to be the bears ourselves.

Then we got tired and trudged our way back through the country lanes towards home.

To me this is what our family walks are all about. It's not just about getting fresh air, or seeing a nice view (which are great reasons to get out in the nature) but about so much more. I want to show Theo that woods, hills, streams and beaches can be his playground. The starting point for many adventures and stories, with so much to discover and learn in each place. To be a child who can spend hours building a perfect den with just what they have to hand, or search for nuts, seeds, berries and mushrooms, catch crabs in rock pools and see what lives in ponds and streams. To know the names of the different trees, what squirrels eat, how frogs are born. Of course we could learn all this in books, which is great, but I want him to really learn it and experience it for himself and part of my job is to provide him with the chance to learn and love this for himself. Part of me is worried that because he's growing up in the city that he won't have the same love for being in nature that I grew up with, but I'm just hoping that he continues to carry same spark of wander that he already appears to hold.

I hoping to see a screening of "Project Wild Thing" this week, and am very excited. I remember seeing the trailer and knowing it was something I wholeheartedly agree and believe in and I can't wait to watch the full film.

What about you, what adventures have you been on recently?

quiet life: weekly stills


This week has been a pretty good one. We've filled our mornings playing and building train tracks, painting our hands to print on paper, making warming vegetable and lentil soups with left overs from our roast dinner, made snails out of playdough and raced them, had a run around the zoo and baked some brownies. We're settling back into our routine of nursery days, staying close to home in the mornings, meeting with friends for little outings and going swimming.

This weekend is set to be a busy one, with lots of things planned and people visiting for Theo's birthday so I'm glad of our quiet week.

Hope you've all had a good week too! Happy weekend...

quiet life: weekly stills


This week has been a pretty good one. We've filled our mornings playing and building train tracks, painting our hands to print on paper, making warming vegetable and lentil soups with left overs from our roast dinner, made snails out of playdough and raced them, had a run around the zoo and baked some brownies. We're settling back into our routine of nursery days, staying close to home in the mornings, meeting with friends for little outings and going swimming.

This weekend is set to be a busy one, with lots of things planned and people visiting for Theo's birthday so I'm glad of our quiet week.

Hope you've all had a good week too! Happy weekend...

thomas

You all must know by now that Theo has a serious Thomas obsession that doesn't seem to be wavering anytime soon. Everyday we either play with his trains, read Thomas stories or watch something Thomas related. Recently he discovered review videos on youtube, or videos that other children have made and he loves them. I find it a bit strange, him sitting watching other children play with the toys you love or watching grown men review all sorts of different sets. Weirdo.

Out train collection is pretty good and most of it has been free or cost very little; a mix of wooden Brio found at nearly new sales or hand-me-downs, die-cast Thomas figures picked up from street stalls or charity shops (some even from 1981!) and new plastic style set found on the street with a battery powered Thomas and various other Thomas trains bought as gifts or bribes...mainly bribes.

In the lead up to the wedding we were both obviously pretty busy and perhaps couldn't give Theo as much attention as we usually do (planning a wedding with a two and a half year old is hard!) and when I needed to get on with something I couldn't really sit and build an elaborate brio track and play with him like I usually do. I felt guilty about it, and what do you do when you feel guilty, well of course you throw a toy at him in the hopes it keeps him occupied! We looked around and found a large range of boys toys available from Argos like this Thomas the Tank Engine train set (would obviously be a good toy for a girl too!) 


We chose this set because it had a fun battery powered Thomas with different voices and phrases. Theo also loves Cranky and we don't own one yet so I thought he'd enjoy playing with him too. The train goes round the track and stops at the different points according to which button you press on the top. It's pretty simple and easy to use and Theo picked it up straight away. He enjoyed pushing Thomas around as well as watching his chuff around on his own. The track is pretty simple to put together, but I'm not sure Theo could do it himself in the right order, and obviously you can'y really make your own design like you can with wooden sets which he does like to do. 


Theo does enjoy playing with the set, and he likes talking along with the voices, taking the cargo from the docks to the sheds etc. The only thing I would say about sets like this is that they obviously don't involve the same amount of imagination or input from the child when playing. When Theo plays with his other trains he likes to reenact stories, have conversations with the different trains and of course builds his own tracks. I find that with most modern toys really they come with all these different pre-loaded functions and activities which are good to some extent to encourage role playing or to direct play, but I don't think they should ever take away the most important aspect of playing which is engaging the child's imagination. Some times I think the best toys are ones that are inanimate until they are picked up and brought to life by a child. That being said I'm sure this track with be played with quite a bit, and makes a good addition to our pretty extensive collection! 

thomas

You all must know by now that Theo has a serious Thomas obsession that doesn't seem to be wavering anytime soon. Everyday we either play with his trains, read Thomas stories or watch something Thomas related. Recently he discovered review videos on youtube, or videos that other children have made and he loves them. I find it a bit strange, him sitting watching other children play with the toys you love or watching grown men review all sorts of different sets. Weirdo.

Out train collection is pretty good and most of it has been free or cost very little; a mix of wooden Brio found at nearly new sales or hand-me-downs, die-cast Thomas figures picked up from street stalls or charity shops (some even from 1981!) and new plastic style set found on the street with a battery powered Thomas and various other Thomas trains bought as gifts or bribes...mainly bribes.

In the lead up to the wedding we were both obviously pretty busy and perhaps couldn't give Theo as much attention as we usually do (planning a wedding with a two and a half year old is hard!) and when I needed to get on with something I couldn't really sit and build an elaborate brio track and play with him like I usually do. I felt guilty about it, and what do you do when you feel guilty, well of course you throw a toy at him in the hopes it keeps him occupied! We looked around and found a large range of boys toys available from Argos like this Thomas the Tank Engine train set (would obviously be a good toy for a girl too!) 


We chose this set because it had a fun battery powered Thomas with different voices and phrases. Theo also loves Cranky and we don't own one yet so I thought he'd enjoy playing with him too. The train goes round the track and stops at the different points according to which button you press on the top. It's pretty simple and easy to use and Theo picked it up straight away. He enjoyed pushing Thomas around as well as watching his chuff around on his own. The track is pretty simple to put together, but I'm not sure Theo could do it himself in the right order, and obviously you can'y really make your own design like you can with wooden sets which he does like to do. 


Theo does enjoy playing with the set, and he likes talking along with the voices, taking the cargo from the docks to the sheds etc. The only thing I would say about sets like this is that they obviously don't involve the same amount of imagination or input from the child when playing. When Theo plays with his other trains he likes to reenact stories, have conversations with the different trains and of course builds his own tracks. I find that with most modern toys really they come with all these different pre-loaded functions and activities which are good to some extent to encourage role playing or to direct play, but I don't think they should ever take away the most important aspect of playing which is engaging the child's imagination. Some times I think the best toys are ones that are inanimate until they are picked up and brought to life by a child. That being said I'm sure this track with be played with quite a bit, and makes a good addition to our pretty extensive collection!