Outdoor fun in the sunPosted: 11/07/2014
I’m having a love-hate relationship with the hot weather at the moment. The huge, waddly eight months pregnant side of me, who has hot flushes even on a cool day, has not been enjoying the heat… But, the mum of a very active toddler side of me misses the sunshine when it disappears as, there’s no doubt about it, being able to get outside makes my life with ToddlerGirl much easier!
We took advantage of the sunshine this week to head to one of our local National Trust sites. I’m all about easy right now and this particular place is great for both of us. There is a lovely natural play area just inside the grounds (so no long walk required for me…) which is perfect for whiling away an hour or so. It has enough to keep ToddlerGirl busy and, being completely contained, I can actually sit down and watch her play, without the worry that she will suddenly run off to explore something that has caught her eye. This type of space is a rare find indeed!
There really isn’t a huge amount of play equipment there. However, a slide, a well placed fallen branch to climb, a balance beam/stepper combination and a large xylophone provided ToddlerGirl with plenty to do. It just goes to show how little children really need to entertain themselves.
The fact that there is a small sandy area below the slide also helps! After a few trips up and down, ToddlerGirl of course had to dig her hands into the sand, requesting her bucket and spade, which we didn’t have with us. She resorted to using her hands, making two ‘sand dinosaurs’ that were decorated with daisies and stones for eyes and duly named Spiny and Lily (which I think must be ToddlerGirl’s favourite name as everything ends up being called Lily at the moment!).
Her dinosaur creations may have been inspired by the wooden dragon bench I was sat on. There are some other lovely little touches, including a dragon archway and a cute table shaped like an oak leaf, which ToddlerGirl was particularly taken with, insisting that was where she had to sit to eat her ice cream!
I do think the National Trust does these type of play areas really well, incorporating natural elements to give children a great space to explore, with plenty of ‘scope for imagination’. This is where membership comes in handy, as I would never pop in for such a short time if I was paying the full day rate.
We had the space to ourselves this particular visit, so it was like a private play area for ToddlerGirl while I got to sit back and enjoy watching her having fun.
On reflection, the heat is a small trade off for this heavily pregnant mummy when I weigh it up against the benefits that playing outdoors on a sunny day can bring!