Inadvertent Hiatus – A Week Of “Silence”

This week has accidentally been a quiet one from me, both on the blog and social media.  Actually, real life took over…….twins that couldn’t seem to get into a groove and cohabit this week, a little lady that has found a lot wrong with life (from red ants to hair brushing….an eclectic mix of issues), an exhausted Mamma for no apparent reason – but it certainly involved crashing out before no.1 was in bed a few times!!  We’ve had sock-gate; this involved twin 2 being determined to wear the same socks as twin 1 every day, but twin 1 having none of it…cue discarded socks everywhere and temper tantrums from all concerned! We’ve had bedroom confined play to keep my sanity with the amount of arguments going on. And we have had an accidental lovely hour’s lie in for Mamma and Dadda which caused Dadda to miss his bus, stealing the car for the day, and everyone racing like loons to get three sleepy children into school for 8am!  All this has amounted to me rather neglecting the blog, and everything that entails.  However, feeling significantly less tired (I won’t say refreshed, that would be pushing it!), and having had a lovely adventure helping take the sheep from the barn where they live for the winter to their summer island residence today (by boat), the change of scenery and routine has done wonders and I am feeling a little more able to tackle the blog once again!  Normal service will be resumed next week, with usual posts on Tuesday and Thursday, together with the Inspiration Wednesday post.  We are now looking forward to a couple of weeks of 3 day school weeks, so hopefully a few adventures will do us all good.  Enjoy the weekend everyone and see you next week 🙂 xxxx

Apple and Cinnamon Porridge – A Warming Breakfast

This apple and cinnamon porridge breakfast is quick and easy (a big plus point when you are outdoors), tasty, and very filling.  It’s perfect for starting the day in the great outdoors, or as a snack to make when out hiking for the day as it will give you lots of energy.

Ingredients For Apple And Cinnamon Porridge 

(This is for one portion)

1 cup of oats.

1 cup of milk of your choice (we’ve made it with both cows’ and plant based milks).

Half an apple.

Teaspoon of raisins.

Teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

Teaspoon of vanilla essence.

How To Make Apple And Cinnamon Porridge

  1. Dice the apple, leaving the skin on is down to what you prefer.
  2. Then put all the ingredients into you pan and warm through
  3. Beware with cooking porridge on a campfire that it can quickly stick to the bottom and burn, so stir regularly.
  4. If getting a little dry just as some more milk.  For example, when I am using oat milk I seem to need more than when I use cows’ milk.
  5. Then serve and enjoy!!

I hope you enjoy eating this simple but yummy apple and cinnamon porridge recipe as much as we do, and let me know in the comments below how you found it.

Apple and cinnamon porridge, campfire breakfast, campfire porridge, hiking food, camping food, bush craft, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – Embrace The Dirt!

Inspiration Wednesday - Embrace The Dirt!, benefits of mud and dirt, dirt, mud, children and dirt, muddy children, dirt is good, mud is good, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Outdoor Play For Teenagers – 11 Ideas

Outdoor play for children is so important for all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  This post is all about outdoor play for teenagers.  This age group is such fun as you extend their boundaries, give them more independence, and more challenges.  Outdoor play for teenagers is still very important, and also in continuing to foster their love of nature and the outdoors, so when they are ready (very soon) they will want to continue out of their own initiative.  These outdoor play ideas for teenagers are supposed to do all of that…be fun, challenging, and help connect them to nature.  I hope your teenagers enjoy trying them.

Outdoor Play For Teenagers

  1. Climb a mountain, large peak, or hill together:  This will allow them to take a little responsibility for packing, looking after themselves, and some basic map reading but on a grander scale.  The time together will allow for some lovely bonding time as well.  They will like the sense of adventure too.
  2. Cook on a campfire:  We cook on a campfire regularly and my three smaller children are up to speed on fire safety, and hopefully are learning skills they can then use in the future.  With a teenager, take it that step further, and allow them (supervised) to cook the meal on the campfire.
  3. Take a hike at night time with them.  There is a good collection on the website for the National Trust if you fancy trying one of theirs.  For an extra challenge they also do night runs
  4. Let your teenager lead you for a wild camp.  Let them plan with you where to go, lead in the pitching, and any activities/organisation while you are there.
  5. Learn to surf….you might find this another fun one to do with them for something new to try!
  6. Swim in the sea (make sure they are safe and supervised!!).
  7. Go on an off road cycling adventure.
  8. Make colourful nature textiles using sun dye paints.  Mine have just done simple fabrics, but you can make cushion covers, t-shirts, the list is endless.  The effect is beautiful.
  9. Build a raft and try to sail it (again make sure any activity around water is safe and supervised).
  10. Build a mini pond.  This is a great activity for them to add a feature to your own outdoor space, however small.
  11. Learn to use (supervised) some other bush craft equipment.  My three love the Kelly Kettle.  It is fun and easy, and gives them a good start to fire making skills on a smaller scale.

I hope you have enjoyed these ideas for outdoor play for teenagers, and let me know how you get on!!Outdoor Play For Teenagers, teenagers, teenager outdoor activities, outdoor activities for older children, teenagers outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Outdoor Play For Children – 12 Ideas

Outdoor play for children is so important for all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  This post is all about children between preschool and teenager age.  This age group is such fun as you are starting to loosen the reins a little, and give them some freedom and independence.  When we are out, I often set boundaries that are within my hearing range, but then let them go off.  They have a lot more fun as they think they are “unsupervised and free”, but they are in fact very safe and being looked out for.  However, they enjoy this feeling.  These outdoor play ideas have been successful for us because we have kept them simple and not had high expectations for the trip into the great outdoors 🙂  I hope you enjoy trying them.

Outdoor Play For Children

  1. Have a water fight:  Admittedly this one is probably more fun in the warmer months, but give them a few bowls and buckets and they will be amused for hours!
  2. Make a dam:  My three love experimenting diverting the flow of water into the sea, but also trying it in streams and rivers as well.  Just watch your water safety and take your construction away afterwards!  This is not only a summer activity, mine have done it in the depths of a Swedish winter with their wellie boots and waterproofs on too.
  3. Build a fort:  This is a little more intricate than a den and can be a place they can head back to again and again, so maybe somewhere very close to home.  They will invent their own games to play in it once they have built it.  Mine also love making these indoors, but they are more temporary structures then!
  4. Make coloured nature ice blocks and let the creativity flow outdoors in winter.
  5. Find a local forest school and attend a session.  Lots hold sessions on weekends or in the school holidays.  If this isn’t convenient, you could get together with a group of like minded families and form your own nature club with all the children.
  6. Make a bug hotel/mini beast house.  This is great for getting children to think about the wildlife around them and use their imagination to build one.  Oversee and let them have a go with some tools (mine used hammers, saws, and drills to make this one)
  7. Play frisbee.  A great outdoor game, fun at any time of the year.
  8. Catch a fish in a net.  Some have more patience than others at this.  Our little lady has endless amounts when it comes to this, our mini men less, but they keep on coming back to try again. 
  9. Go wild berry picking.  Make sure you know what you are picking though!!  We pick wild strawberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and sloe berries.
  10. Go Tracking.  This we find a lot easier in winter in the snow, but you can look carefully for muddy tracks too.
  11. Go wave jumping….any time of the year is good as long as your clothing and footwear are right!
  12. Play in the sand dunes.  This you need to be careful with and I always set boundary limits for my three and ask them to stick together, and NOT play hide and seek (they can’t hear you calling and it is quite easy to lose them!)  But there is otherwise plenty of fun and imaginative games to be had in sand dunes.

I hope you have enjoyed these outdoor play for children ideas and have found some inspiration from them.  Don’t forget to check out the other three age groups as well, in case you fancy trying something from there, adapted to suit the age of your child. 🙂  Let me know how you get on in the comments.Outdoor play for children, children outdoor play, outdoor play, nature play, play, outdoor, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – Raising children

Inspiration Wednesday - Raising Children, parenting, children, family, www.mammasschool.co.uk

15 Preschooler Outdoor Play Ideas

Outdoor play is so important for children of all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I have been running through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  Here I am talking about preschooler outdoor play ideas.  This age group is such fun as they really start to gain a little independence in their mobility, have opinions, and the outdoor adventure could go in any number of directions if you allow them to lead.  These preschooler outdoor play ideas have been successful for us because we have kept them simple and not had high expectations for the trip into the great outdoors 🙂  I hope you enjoy trying them.

Preschooler Outdoor Play Ideas:

  1. Take a walk but let them choose the way and the route and see where you go 🙂  Make sure you allow plenty of time for this…they can not be rushed on this adventure.
  2. Collect Shells.  This they find really interesting.  All the shapes, sizes, and colours.
  3. Plant seeds or grow plants.  Children love to see things growing that they have planted.  Tomatoes are quite good, as you can grow them in pots, they grow quite easily, and then they can eat the the produce too.  We love growing cherry tomatoes.
  4. Go for a star walk.  Head out into the dark (easier in winter) and look at the stars and chat about shapes you can see.
  5. “Paint a fence”.  Fill a bucket with water, give them a brush and they will happily be engrossed “painting” for longer than you think.
  6. Mark a path with sticks.
  7. Make mud pies.
  8. Fly a kite.
  9. Play with toy cars in sand or a sandpit.  Take your indoor cars outdoors and they will love making hills and pits, and roads for the cars.
  10. Make some nature art.  In the photo ours was done on a beach, but you can do this anywhere using leaves and sticks too (btw…it’s a happy fish!).
  11. Throw stones into the water and listen to the “music”.  Grab a fist full of pebbles and throw them into the water…listen to the sound they make when the fall in.
  12. Make pictures with outdoor chalk.
  13. Go on a bug hunt.  This was also down as a toddler activity, but for a preschooler you could step it up a notch with a spotter book, or a list of bugs to find
  14. Watch clouds and see how many shapes you can find
  15. Roll down grassy slopes.  They find this very addictive!

I hope you have found some inspiration from these preschooler outdoor play ideas, and will come back to read about the other age groups 🙂 Let me know in the comments below how you have got on.

15 Preschooler Outdoor Play ideas, preschool, children outdoors, outdoors, outdoor, outdoor play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

11 Toddler Outdoor Play Ideas

Outdoor play is so important for children of all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts this week and next week, I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children.  I am kicking off with toddler outdoor play ideas.  This, in my opinion, was the hardest age group for me with my three children.  At this age they are walking, but sometimes still like a push in a buggy, or still need a push in a buggy.  I found frustration levels could run high when they couldn’t do something, and getting them all dressed up for a bad weather day outside is a whole other talent (and then in the winter once done, they can hardly move!!).  However, it is so good for them (and us) to get out there, so I thought I would suggest a few ideas that you can do with each other once you are outdoors.  These toddler outdoor play ideas have been successful for us because we have kept them simple and not had high expectations for the trip into the great outdoors 🙂  I hope you enjoy trying them.

Toddler Outdoor Play Ideas:

  1. Mud Kitchens:  Any old pots and pans or utensils will do, maybe with a plastic jug thrown in for pouring, and your little toddler will delight in making up the most yummy mud meals you can imagine.  This also enables children to get very hands on with earth, dirt, and mud, which reaps a whole heap of other benefits too.
  2. Bubbles:  I purchased a large cheap bottle of bubbles and mine loved chasing them wherever we were, and seeing where they went.  I was also a little cunning here.  I had a pair of twins that would run off in different directions when we were out.  So, when it all got too much for me, or it looked like I was in serious danger of losing one or both, I would use bubbles in open spaces (such as the beach) to help stop this from happening.  It was perfect.  I was happy that they weren’t escaping, and they were having a blast!!
  3. Puddle Jumping:  Or if your toddler isn’t quite jumping yet, just wading will do.  Make sure they are dressed appropriately as there will be a fair few bum splashes at this age too, but it is all fun for them.  You can either take a little walk on a day with lots of puddles, or just use any puddles right outside your door.
  4. Bare feet:  If the weather/terrain allows, kick off that footwear, and let your little person enjoy running and playing unencumbered by clompy shoes.  They will feel more connected to nature, a little more stable (maybe), and  enjoy the sense of freedom that not wearing any shoes brings.
  5. Bug hunt:  Go on a very simple bug hunt.  You needn’t go far, just far enough to look under a rock or log.  Perhaps take a simple bug pot with a magnifying lid on so they can enjoy examining the mini beasts you find before returning them back to their home.  Children are naturally fascinated by nature.
  6. Pooh Sticks:  Have a good old fashioned game of pooh sticks.  We still have to stop to play this on every bridge we cross over.  Choose your sticks then stand on your bridge, throw them in together, then race to the other side of a bridge to see whose reappears first.
  7. Go collecting sticks, or stones, or both:  They will be intrigued by size and shape, and you could even take some home to do craft or paint on later.  Sometimes, if an outing/walk has a purpose, they are more interested in it.
  8. Outdoor Art:  Take a huge old sheet outdoors somewhere, with some washable paints.  I put the paints into old Tupperware tubs that small feet and hands can tread in.  Strip them off down to whatever you are happy to wash (nappy in my case!!), and let them squish their little toes into the paint, then run all over the sheet (or use their hands).  When my little lady was small, we did this often, and one day she ended up painting her whole body!!  Not quite what I had in mind!!  I always had a washing up bowl of soapy water handy for after!
  9. Water play:  The best toddler outdoor play ideas are when they are kept simple, no need to invest in water tables and spend money.  A few jugs, a watering can filled with rain water, and some buckets, and they are good to go.  They will be fascinated with pouring from one container to another, or even making splashes.  Just make sure they are being watched when water is involved 🙂
  10. Wash their toys:  Give them a bucket and a sponge/cloth and let them wash down their ride-ons, bikes, or trikes.  They will enjoy this, and if you are feeling brave, let them “help” you do your car.
  11. Take the indoors outside:  Toddler outdoor play can involve indoor toys outdoors.  Any plastic toys will be enjoyed hiding in bushes, climbing up mountains of mud, or large plastic lorries and cars driving through sandpits.  

I hope you have found some inspiration from these toddler outdoor play ideas, and will come back to read about the other age groups 🙂 Let me know in the comments below how you have got on, and in the mean time I am off to psych myself up to get my three into their winter weather gear for an afternoon of outdoor play in the Swedish winter!!  It usually takes around 20 minutes for this to be achieved, with lots of heated discussions/squabbles!!!

11 Toddler outdoor play ideas, toddler outdoor play, outdoor play, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – The Natural World

Inspiration Quote, Natural World, Teaching children, children, nature, quotes, quotes, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Järnavik Naturreservat – Lose Yourself In Nature

Järnavik naturreservat in Blekinge, southern Sweden, is an interesting place to visit.  The environment has many contrasts to enjoy.  There are deep ravines and steep climbs to be rewarded with stunning views of the Swedish scenery.  There are bare rock areas, that then lead into forests, rich with plant life.  The northern part of the reserve, where we visited for our hike, is less stark than the more glacially formed rocky southern part.

In a past era Järnavik was a medieval port that was very busy, but today the harbour is used just for the summer archipelago boat, and private boats visiting the area by sea.  Easter weekend had seen blizzards for us for the first three days of the long weekend.  So when the sun shone bright on the Monday, we took advantage of the chance to get some vitamin D supplies and headed out to this nature reserve that we had not explored yet.

The Järnavik naturreservat has a lot of good marked trails, a number of fire pits, and on the southern end, a nice place to take a swim, although this was not really a priority in the freezing April weather!!  We were in the northern part, following a circular trail route, hoping to stop three quarters of the way round to make lunch on a campfire.

So, off we set on our route. We had not gone more than 100m when 2 of the 3 children had already started collecting sticks….our little lady’s stick actually resembled more of a tree than a stick, but all credit to her she did drag it the whole way round!  We scrambled up rock faces to be rewarded with the most stunning views across the fjords at the top, and we walked over mini bridges through ice fields that would hopefully start defrosting soon if spring time decides to make an appearance!!  The children love to see how thick the ice is, and how much they can bang it with sticks or stamp on it before it cracks.  Today it was still very thick and strong, and not giving way.  However, the sun shining on the damp moss was creating a smell of spring in the air, and despite the snow on the ground, you could feel warmth in the sunshine at long last.  As we continued our hike we knew we were coming to the place where the fire pit should be, and on a little investigation, we found it in a mini cave!  It was so fun and interesting as we had never made our campfire anywhere like it yet 🙂

Today we were not using geocaches as an incentive to keep the trio walking.  However, our little lady was just sitting chilling in the cave waiting for lunch, and to her surprise she spotted one buried in the rocks!  She couldn’t believe she had found one without even trying.  It was a great spot to stop for lunch as the children clambered up, over, and slid down massive rock boulders, and thoroughly enjoyed their playtime in nature.

The fire was roaring, the food was cooking, and we had a new treat to try for dessert (you will have to wait for another blog post to find out what that was!).  Life was definitely more relaxed being able to share the work load with Dadda, as he could look after the campfire, and I the Kelly Kettle…usually I’m juggling both and trying not to set fire to three children in the process!!  It was so nice to be able to share today’s adventure with every member of the family for a change.

Once we had eaten our fill, we dowsed the campfire, and started the remaining part of our circular route.  Once we popped out of our little cave, we discovered 2 more fire pits out in the sunshine.  It was nice to know they were there, but I think we had all enjoyed the novelty of our cave fire pit for a little bit of a difference.

We had spent such a lovely family time at Järnavik naturreservat, and enjoyed the views, the fire pits, and the trail so much.  We will definitely be returning there, and maybe, next time if the weather is warm enough, we will search out the bathing place on the southern end and explore a different part of the reserve!

Järnavik Naturreservat, Sweden, Nature, southern Sweden, Blekinge, Nature play, outdoor play, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

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