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Places to visit

Why Madeira is a great Family holiday Destination and things to do there!

Madeira is a Portuguese hidden gem which is often overlooked by travellers. Madeira is a beautiful island located of the northwest coast of Africa. 

No matter where you are on the island you will always enjoy stunning views. Madeira is swept with mountains, valleys, rolling lush green hills and banana trees galore.

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We have enjoyed two amazing family holidays to Madeira and will be returning again in the future.

Madeira is a perfect place for a family holiday even from the offset the plane journey had families and Madeiran people returning home not the loads of drunken stag and hen dos loitering the aisles like you get when travelling to places like the Canary Islands. 

We flew with Easy Jet the no thrills airline which I would recommend, as travelling with children can be expensive, so choosing a cheaper airline will save you money. We have flown with Easy Jet a lot and have never had any issues and always had pleasant flights with them. 

We didn’t pay for any hold luggage and took a hand luggage bag each so we kept the cost down, we bought a bottle of sun cream from the airport. Not only did this save money but it saved time on dropping the bags in and then waiting at the baggage reclaim to pick up your cases.

As we do on all our holidays we hired a car from Europcar at the airport, as we love to explore and travel. We wanted to see as much of the island as we could in our short stay. We have used other car rental companies in the past but have always received the best service from Europcar.

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Lucky for us Dino has family in Madeira so we were staying at his amazing Aunties house however there are lots of hotels and guest houses located around the Island and in Funchal, the capital of Madeira.

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As soon as we arrived we sat down on the veranda and gazed upon the view of the hills all around and the distant sea.

My children set about lizard hunting the little scaly creatures were hiding everywhere and darting across the walls. My girls were fascinated and were running around after them trying to catch one. When they had no luck they decided to feed the lizards and got the plastic top of a Pringles lid and started putting dead ants in it. 

When they put it on the side, in my haste I told the girls that the lizards wouldn’t come and eat the ants from their makeshift feeder but to my surprise a little lizard popped his head out of the plants and crept over and started lapping up the ants.

After a lot of perseverance they finally managed to catch a few lizards.

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Things to Do in Madeira

Cable car and Basket Ride

Madeira is famous for the basket ride and since we had told the girls about this and shown them the pictures before we left they could not wait to go on it. With the kids barely containing their excitement we headed off to find the ride. 

The basket rides starts off at Monte which is at the start of the mountains so you have 3 options to get there, 

1. Get a pricey cab, 

2. Drive up there but then you are faced with the problem of walking back up the very long steep hill which is near impossible to climb as an adult, let alone if you have children and 

3. Park in the car park in the center of Funchal and take the cable car to the top of the hill and then get the basket ride back down. The basket ride doesn’t go all the way back to the centre but then you can choose a 15 – 20 minute downhill walk or a taxi or the new tuk-tuks. Of course we opted for the 3rd option.

We got our tickets for the cable car and waited in line watching as the carts came round at a crawling pace as people hurled themselves into the slow moving cart. When are turn came we were lucky that we could all fit into the cart together as there was 7 of us. We all managed to get in and be seated in time for it to begin its accent to the top of the hill. 

I am not going to lie I was very scared on the cable car, especially when it goes over the support poles and it bumps along but I have to admit it was well worth it for the spectacular views of the island and seeing the excitement on the girls faces, they absolutely loved it.

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When you get off the cable car there is a beautiful church that you can go inside for free and admire the beauty of it, you can even climb the stairs to the very top and look out over the landscape with far reaching views over the land all the way to the glistening sea.

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Located at the top is Monte Botanical gardens which there is a charge to get into and sadly we couldn’t afford to do everything so had to give this a miss but maybe next time we will get to visit it.

On the way to the basket ride we passed a local guy selling strawberries in a plastic cup with cream and a finger biscuit from the back of his car. I think it was €2 a cup, we were a bit unsure as they were all just loaded in the back of his old rusty car, despite the doubts we gave them a try. The strawberries turned out to be the best we had ever tasted they were so sweet and juicy we scoffed the lot and went back for more.

We made our way to the basket ride as the girls could not wait any longer. The ride is very popular and with a lot of cruise ships stopping at the island and the coaches ferrying all the people up from the port to go on the ride there was a lot of people. The queue went down quite quickly but everyone enjoyed watching others in front of them going off down the hill in the basket and there was a nice atmosphere.

When we were there we saw a wedding party come out the church and go down on the baskets to the reception at the bottom of the hill.

All the men that work on the ride wear white outfits with, blue jackets and straw hats and the baskets are reinforced wicker baskets with a bench inside mounted on wooden slats and pull strings at either side for steering. When it was our turn we had two baskets to fit us all in Dino and I was in one with Alexa on my lap, Lia on his and his little cousin squeezed in the middle of us and in the other was my mum, Sophia and Bella.

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Once we were all in the men gave a good push then ran as fast as they could to push us off down the hill, once we had gathered up speed they jumped on the back then just used one leg to push, to keep us ploughing down the hill. The ride was a lot faster than I thought it was going to be. I will never forget the smile that was on Alexa’s face it was from ear to ear she was beaming with joy. We were all laughing and enjoying ourselves the whole way down it was an amazing experience.

The Pirate Ship

The girls had spotted the pirate ship (a replica Christopher columbus ship) in Funchal marina and they really wanted to go on it , Sophia and I wanted to see dolphins anyway so we decided to take a trip on it. All the staff were dressed up in pirate outfits and got into character, they had a parrot which you could have on your shoulder, Lia was the only one brave enough to hold it. There is also meant to be a dog that rides on board but unfortunately he was at the vets the day we went.

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Once everyone was on board we set sail and the boat took us out away from the coast in search of dolphins. One of the guys was high up on the mast in the lookout tower with his binoculars searching for dolphins. We were all watching out over the vast calm blue ocean with the mountains of Madeira in the background surrounded in a wisp of cloud. 

All of a sudden there was a shout from the guy up the mast and we were off the boat going as fast as it could until we reached the mammals they had spotted. Now to me they looked like dolphins but to the trained professionals running the boat they were actually a type of whale and I forget now what type they were but nevertheless it was amazing to watch them breaking in and out of the water around the boat.

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After we had finished watching the whales the boat took us on a tour of the stunning coastline, then stopped for a spot of swimming, none of us were brave enough to get in as the water was cold. After that we were all given some Madeira honey cake and a glass of Maderia wine (juice for the children of course) and then headed back. 

On the journey back Lia handed the pirate her rubbish and he kissed her hand and to this day she still remembers and talks about it as soon as anyone even mentions Madeira.

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Star Gazing

When you look at activities to do in Madeira stargazing does not really come up and there is not much information on it. However, it is one of the most amazing things to do and every time we have been to watch the stars there has not been a single other sole around. It is mesmerising with the amount of stars in the sky, it is my favourite activity to do in Madeira.

We headed to the top of Pico Do Arieiro which is 1810 meters above sea level and we stop at the last viewpoint before reaching the very top where there is a few street lights and a very big government telescope. 

From there the sky is lined with stars, it was like someone had split a pot of glitter all over a sheet of black paper, you can even see the Milky Way. 

When we go we all wrap ourselves up in blankets and wear warm clothes as it is very cold up there, then we either lie across the bonnet of the car or sit on it but remember if it is a rental car you have be careful not to scratch it. I have even lied down on the road in front of our parked car to gaze up at the sky.  We were all lucky the last time we went because as soon as we stepped out of the car the biggest brightest shooting star shot across the sky like a firework. It was an amazing experience for the kids to have and one they won’t forget.

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Beaches

Madeira has mainly rocky beaches across the island however there are two man made sandy beaches which are located in Calheta and Machico. Both beaches are great for children to swim in as they are enclosed with stone walls so the water is a lot calmer and excellent for a bit of snorkelling. We found that both the beach were not that busy when we were there not like the beaches you find in some other European holiday destinations or even the UK on a rare hot day when everyone flocks to the beach.

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Machico

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Calheta

If however you do want to experience the long white sandy beaches with crystal blue waters, then just a 2 hour boat trip away is the island of Porto Santo and the beaches there are breathtaking. We didn’t manage to take the kids there but Dino and I have done this trip about 9 years ago before having children. The trip from Madeira to Porto Santo is a bit rough and from personal experience and from everyone else’s who has done the trip, it can make you feel a bit queasy but strangely enough the trip back from Porto Santo to Madeira is fine. Apart from its beautiful Caribbean looking beaches, Porto Santo offers a big go kart track and also a lovely town with coffee shops and restaurants.

Natural Rock Pools

As well as the sandy beaches Porto Moniz offers amazing natural rock pools that you can swim in as well as a man-made swimming pool. When we visited the sea was a bit rough but there were still a few hardy souls swimming in these beautiful rock pools. There is also lovely restaurants that you can sit and watch the sea from.

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Faial

If you are looking for a quieter beaches with beautiful views across the Island then Faial is a lovely spot. It only has one restaurant and a small park but a nice little rock pool cove for swimming or snorkeling but be careful as the steps leading down to it are very slippery. You can also follow the road and admire waterfalls trickling water down from the mountains into the streams. There is also a big go kart circuit there that you can do arrive and drive.

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The Glass viewing platform

In Carbo Girao you can walk out on the glass viewing platform which is a mere 580 meters above sea level and wonder down at the sea crashing into the cliffs below. As most adults would, we edged our way onto the platform and slowly went further and further on to it to take a look. 

Not the kids though they walked straight on to it, walking around and looking down at everything below them. They then all sat down watching the lizards running on the cliff below and following them around the glass, they were not even the slightest bit bothered that we were all standing on a glass platform hanging off a cliff edge some 580 meters up. If you can bring yourself to stand on it the view is amazing and well worth conquering your fear. There is also a lovely coffee shop and souvenir shops.

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Traditional House

If you are out and about the traditional houses are worth a visit. They are smart little triangle houses with thatched roofs that used to be the traditional Maderian house many years ago. They are now turned into shops for tourists to visit. There is a gift shop, a flower shop and one that sells food and shots of Poncha (the traditional Madeira drink). The kids liked the houses as in a way they do look like big dolls houses and they are great for having your photo taken next to.

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Sun Set

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Ponta del sol (point of the sun) is the best town in Madeira to watch the sunset. There is a great restaurant on the beach and another one built into the side of the cliff both overlooking the horizon. There is also stunning views and a walkway going out into the sea so you can look back at the rocky shore. We sat for a good few hours at the restaurant watching the sun set drinking beers will the kids played with the rocks.

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Visit Madeira

When choosing a family holiday destination Madeira should not be overlooked as for a small island there is so many activities to do there. Madeira has more mountain peaks to explore than the one I mentioned above, lots of guided walks, there is a place called the 25 fountains (25 Fontes Falls) which is a group of waterfalls located near Porto Moniz, hopefully we will get to do the walks when the children our a little bit older. Madeira enjoys great weather most of the year however no matter how warmer day it is if you are going up into the mountains take warm close as the temperature up there can drop dramatically.

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There is also a water park, casino and amazing restaurants all serving delicious local produce cooked to perfection wherever you go on the island. One of the

favourite meals there is ‘Espetada’ which is chunks of steak that have been skewered sometimes by a flavoured stick then hung in front of you for you to pull off.

In Funchal there is the famous local fish market, although the smell is very strong it is worth having a look on market days as you see lots of fish and get a sense of the size of the fish. We have even seen the remains of a shark head in there, this is not for everyone but if you can stomach it, it is worth a visit.

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Throughout the summer in Madeira there is always a festival of some sort going on and also there is a weekly fireworks display down on the harbour as companies compete to win the contract for the world renowned New Years Eve fireworks. 

The Madeiran people are all so welcoming and very big on family we often got stopped in the streets and complimented on how beautiful the girls are. We cannot wait to get back to this beautiful Island.

We are lucky and only needed to book flights to Madeira as we had family to stay with so we always book our flights with Easy Jet directly but if you are looking for a hotel as well we have used onthebeach.com a few times for holidays and have always found some good deals on there especially if purchasing flights and hotel together. You can also search hotels separately using Booking.com that I have used a lot in the past as well.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Porlock Weir

Our road trip to France

Sea Vs Air Travel with Kids

The Un-spoilt natural wonder of Kilve

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Window sticker activity for Children

A while ago my sister sent my girls a pack of Amos Glass Deco pens as a present (she does always send them cool presents). I had never heard or seen them before so I was looking forward to trying them out. 

Basically they are coloured liquid filled pens that you can use to make beautiful window stickers that can be pealed off and removed easily without leaving a mess.

Each pack comes with a liner pen which you use first to do the outline of your sketch, you then leave it for a few minutes to slightly harden after that you use the coloured pens to fill in your picture. Once done leave them overnight to fully dry after that you just peal your sticker off and place them on your window. 

You make your picture on clear plastic sheets that come in the pack along with a few designs you can use. As the sheets are clear it is easy to put a design underneath and trace it.

I also found that plastic wallets are great to use for creating your window sticker and then you can easily put your paper design securely in the wallet.

My girls absolutely loved using the Amos Glass Deco Pens,.  We do use them quite a lot and I join in every time they are out.

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They are great for window displays as they peel off easily and don’t leave a mess behind. We have used them to make Christmas, Easter and Halloween window stickers and the girls also have some non seasonal ones that stay on their bedroom windows constantly. 

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I also used the pens quite a lot when I was childminding as an after school activity and they were always a big hit, although it was hard to get the children to wait until the next day to be able to take them home.

I had children as young as 4 years old using the pens, they are great for building motor control in young children and improving the creative flare and design in older children.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities Parenting Advice

The Benefits of a Postcard Collection!

We have discovered that a postcard collection is a great way to install a sense of travel and adventure into children. It also creates a great keepsake for them to look back over and remember all the wonderful places that they have visited.

Whenever you travel somewhere new with children buy them a postcard for their collection and watch it grow and become a book of memories to be treasured.

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I don’t mean just getting postcards when travelling on holiday as we all know how expensive family holidays are and how little we get to go on them.  Travelling and adventure to me is going to any place that you have not been before, whether it be a museum, beach, farm, or gardens as long as it is somewhere new, even if it is just down the road. We have collected postcards from a lot of the national trust places and English heritage places and other attractions that we have visited over the years as well as from our holidays abroad.

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You will find most places sell postcards in the gift shops and they are not expensive either. My children love searching through them to find the one they like the most and taking them home to add in their postcard collection book.

Quite often we will all sit down to look through the book at the different postcards and remember when we visited that place and the fun we had there.

If I am being honest with you all, this collection didn’t start because of the benefits I have mentioned above it all started because postcards were the cheapest thing in the gift shop, that you always have to walk through on your way out of these places. It was easier to bargain with a postcard than to tell them they can’t have anything at all. It was when they had a few and I noticed how excited they were to collect another one and saw them recalling the day they had spent there I realised what a great idea it was and how much it can benefit them.

I found these lovely photo albums in Wilkos for £5.00 that are perfect for fitting postcards in they do have other designs but the world map was fitting with the collection.

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I would urge you all to try this with your children, it is a great keepsake, it gets you all out and about and it is a collection that doesn’t take up too much room.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Benefits of nature and ways to get out and enjoy it

English heritage annual passes are they worth it

10 cheap activities to do with the children this summer

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

What is the rock painting/hiding craze all about!

We are all loving the rock painting craze and have enjoyed getting involved in it, me included. It is such a great activity not only do you get to let your artistic side flow when painting the rocks but it helps you get out and about when you go to hide them.

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The hiding and finding of the rocks is Facebook led so on the back of your rock you would write the Facebook page and then when someone finds it they take a picture and post on the page and then re-hide it for the next person. We have a local page Taunton Rocks but if you don’t have one for where you live there is a UK wide page called Love on the rocks UK.

First things first you need to collect your rocks you can buy rocks or you can find them but remember that taking rocks from a beach is illegal (although I am sure a lot of people have done this). When it comes to painting you need to use a strong paint we found acrylic paint works well and is easily available and then we used sharpies or paint pens to add any details. Posca paint pens are really great specialist pens for rock painting although they can be a bit pricey, we have also used these paint pens that work well to.  

So your picture survives the elements when outside it needs to be sealed we use ModPodge to do this as I always have a bottle handy but you can also use a specialist paint sealer.

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Once your masterpiece is finished you need to find a place to hide it so it can be found and re-hidden for the next person to find. I have to admit some of the rocks don’t get to be hidden as the girls want to keep them which is fine as they brighten up the garden and plant pots.

Please be advised though wildlife charities have put out a plea that glitter, googley eyes or stickers are not used on rocks due to them causing problems to wildlife.

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If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Places to visit

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset, UK

Porlock Wier is an idyllic spot located on the South West coast path of Somerset. It is a peaceful picturesque place with a pebble beach, pretty harbour and a couple of restaurants, small shops and a lovely pub.

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If you live in Somerset and are looking for a nice day trip or if you are on holiday visiting the county then Porlock Weir should be on your list of places to visit.

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Porlock Wier is located 1.5 miles from the village of Porlock and is at the foot of the rolling lush green hills which adds to its charm. The port has existed for more than a 1000 years with some of the cottages dating back to the 17th century.

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This is a lovely place to take children to my girls all loved our day out there and would happily go back. The car park is located right next to the beach so it does not involve a lot of walking for little legs, there are also benches and picnic benches located at the edge of the beach so adults can sit and relax whilst still being able to see the children playing on the beach.

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When it comes to food you can either bring your own picnic and with the parking being so close you don’t have to carry it far or you can grab a bite to eat there. We went to the lovely little pub ‘The Ship Inn’ that has lots of outside seating and offered a great menu section. There is also a little café and a pizza restaurant.

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You can take a stroll around the harbour admiring the small and colourful yachts and fishing boats that are moored up and on the edge of the harbour is the 17 th Century cottages which are full of character.

The reason I loved Porlock Weir is being able to take in the fresh air surrounded by lovely views of the sea and the rolling hills behind as well as the history and the character while the children are able to roam free exploring and running around the beach.

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Even without children this is still a lovely place to visit and to relax and take in the surroundings. If you like walking there are a few walking routes you can find details of these on http://www.walkinginsomerset.co.uk/porlock.php

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If you are on holiday visiting the area then why not visit the village of Porlock just down the road as well or to really pack your day out visit the medieval village of Dunster and the awe inspiring Dunster castle.

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Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Our road trip to France

The Un-spoilt natural wonder of Kilve

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Rainy day crafts and activities

Here is my list of 13 activities and crafts to enjoy with children on a rainy day.

1.

Hama beads are a perfect rainy day craft for both children and adults. I enjoy crafting with them just as much as they do and we can all enjoy hours of creating our masterpieces. You can use Hama beads to make fridge magnets, key rings, earrings and even bowls. For more info check out my blog on Hama Beads.

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2.

Amos Glass deco pens are filled with liquid gel that you squeeze out onto a plastic sheet in the design that you want and once dried you can peel them off and use as decorative window stickers, which can be peeled off without any mess. 

They are easy to use, you just need to make sure that you don’t smudge them before they are dried. For more information on these check out my post on Amos Glass Deco Pens.

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3.

Den Making is another great rainy day activity. What child doesn’t love a good den and the sense of pride once they have created it. Whether you go all out to create a masterpiece of a den or just throw a spare cover over a couple of chairs, den making will keep them entertained and once built it will keep them occupied for hours as they will happily sit inside and play.

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4.

Cake Making fits right in on the rainy day activities as when the weather is rubbish what’s better than to curl up with a slice of homemade cake. Getting children familiar with the kitchen at a young age is so important and will help them in later life. It is an activity that everyone can enjoy and provides a great end result. You probably will be stuck with the washing up afterwards unless you have the kids well trained.

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5.

Homemade pizzas is one of my favourite activities to do with my children as not only does it keep them entertained but dinner gets made at the same time. Homemade pizzas always taste so much better than shop bought and the kids can custom the toppings how they want. I am sure nearly all parents will understand how difficult it is to find a pizza topping that everybody likes and will eat. For more information and recipes take a look at my post homemade pizza.

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6.

Salt dough shapes are a great children’s craft as they are cheap and easy to make and you can stretch the activity out over 2 days. This consists of one day of moulding and shaping the dough into what you want to make and then the next day once it has dried the children can then paint and decorate them. Take a look at the post I wrote on beach shell keepsakes for a salt dough recipe.

7.

Pom Pom monsters are a fun children’s craft and look cool once made. First pick the wool and make the pompoms (if you have younger children you can do this bit for them) then once made decorate however you want them to look. The crazier the better.

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8.

Crazy Dancing can be a really fun activity and can burn off a lot of energy. You can do this from just playing some music and all dancing away or put up a Youtube video and copy the dancing. I guarantee if everyone gets involved including parents then you will be happy and laughing together in minutes not to mention everyone will be worn out afterwards allowing for some chill time.

9.

Lego can provide hours of fun activity on a rainy day and really bring out a child’s creative side. Instead of just letting the children play why not dive in and all club together to see what amazing things you can create together as a family. Another spin on lego is using the minifigures to create situations and then taking photos of them this can be a fun activity. It will get children using their creativity to think of fun positions to place the figures in and it will also help your child learn to use a camera.

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10.

A Tickle fight, while this may not be an all day activity it will kill a few minutes and have everyone especially the children laughing and burning some energy. This usually entails me being the tickle monster chasing the children around and once caught giving them a good tickle.

11.

Pom Pom rugs can be a great activity for the older children and the finished rugs look amazing. If you have mastered the PomPom making this is definitely an activity to try. Adding the pompoms to the mat and making sure they are positioned right can take a while so make sure you leave enough time for this activity. For more information and instructions take a look at my post Pom Pom Rugs.

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12.

Sketching can be a fun activity for everyone to join in. I am no artist but there is something calming and peaceful about drawing. A good way for everyone to join in is to all pick the same thing to draw or use a how to draw guide and then see how they all turn out together. The best thing about drawing the same thing is that you will all learn together and can help each other along the way. Youtube has some good videos with step by step drawing guides.

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13.

Painting is a great way to pass the time on a rainy day and children love to paint. When I used to be a childminder the paints were always out. If you are struggling for drying space as children do like to do at least 5 pictures each then a handy tip is to dry them in the oven on a very low heat. I promise you it works a treat and the kids all think it is hilarious that you are cooking their paintings. If you don’t have any paint brushes let them use their fingers to paint just make sure you have a way of cleaning their hands before they go off through the house.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Places to visit

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

We went to Wookey Hole for my daughter 6th birthday in September and all enjoyed a great day out. Wookey Hole has lots of things to do and see there and they are not just for children.

Wookey Hole is located in the Somerset countryside so don’t be alarmed when your Sat Nav starts taking you down country lanes to get there, you are on the right track.

The caves at Wookey Hole are the main attraction but there are also lots of other great activities, I had planned to do some of the other attractions first then when the kids are happy, go exploring the caves. What I didn’t know was to get into the attraction you have to go through the cave first. I actually think this works better as the children have no choice but to explore the caves if they want to get to the rest of the attractions.

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We have explored very small tunnels before in Exeter so my children were all fine with the big Wookey Hole caves. We were all amazed by how large and beautiful they were and the guides are so knowledgeable, they overloaded us with so much information and pointed out so many interesting things in the cave. The colourful lighting inside also helps set the mood and add wonder to the experience.

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During the tour you are taken past the cheese room where behind a metal gate is rows and rows of Wookey Hole cheese that are stored in the cave to help the maturing process. The children were very quick to point out the strong cheese smell as you passed past the gates. I have to say that the cheese is very nice you can buy it in the shop outside the caves.

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The last tunnel in the cave has not long been open so  you do have to wear a hard hat to walk through it but as the guide assured us it is just a precaution due to the tunnel being so new.

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The caves are pretty nippy inside so make sure you bring some layers and wear something warm whilst inside.

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After visiting the caves you are taken out another exit which leads out into the grounds of the park. There is a decked area surrounded by lush green gardens with streams and waterfalls to look at  with the rocky cliff backdrop that the caves are carved into. It is a beautiful spot to stand and enjoy your surroundings for a bit, that is if the kids will let you. The shop selling the cheese and wine is also located at the bottom of the decked path.

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Next stop we visited was the 4D cinema which was amazing. The effects and movements of the chairs make you feel as if you are immersed in the film. We were shown a clip from Monster Family which had spiders come at you and the air and streamers would tap your head and legs at the same to give the feeling of the spiders on you. It can be quite scary for children of a nervous disposition so be aware before taking them in, they do change the film clips so it may have just been the one we watched that was a bit scary. 2 out of 3 of my children enjoyed it and only one was scared so that’s not bad going.

After thoroughly scaring the kids we went on into the building where we were just in time to catch the next circus show so we took are seats and waited for it to begin. My girls really enjoyed the show the performers ranged from about 6 – 30 years old and were all amazing. For weeks after my children talked about the show and how they wanted to be an acrobat my youngest kept asking to be picked up so she could pretend to be doing the moves.

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There is an indoor play area where the children can run around and let off some steam while the adults can get a cuppa and sit and chill for a while.

When the children had finished with the play area we headed through the wall of mirrors which was great fun, trying to find our way through and not walk face first into a mirror is tricky but a good laugh. When we successfully negotiated our way round we went to the funny mirrors where the children spend a long time looking at how funny they looked  and laughing at themselves.

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Inside the building there is also the paper mill where you can have a go at pressing paper this is an additional cost. There is a vintage arcade with the old fortune telling machines and lots of other interesting forgotten archard games.

Outside there is a miniature golf, another great activity for the children and Adults to enjoy. We all had fun playing, there were a couple of holes in one but a lot more balls going a drift.

When you are all thoroughly tired out you can make your way to the lovely café selling the most delicious ice cream in loads of different flavours, what a great way to end a lovely day.

Wookey hole is a great family day out I would recommend visiting. There were 12 of us that went and all the children and adults enjoyed the day.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset

The Un-spoilt natural wonder of Kilve

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Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pompom Rug

My daughter learned how to make pompoms at her after school club and since then she has been making them every chance she could. We ended up with a whole carried bag full of pompoms.

I then mentioned to her that we should make a pompom rug with them so I ordered some rug underlay. 

However, I received the rug underlay back in August but since then it has stayed in the bag as we did not have a chance to make it.

That is until this week my daughter was off school with a cough and a temperature so we were both stuck indoors all day and I didn’t want her just sitting there watching TV or playing on her tablet wasting away the hours so I decided that we would finally make a pompom rug.

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How to make a Pompom Rug

What you will need

Wool (a few different colours will make your rug more colourful)

Rug underlay

Scissors

A felt tip pen

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1. To start with, think about your design of your pompom rug and the size that you want, once you have decided, lay out your rug underlay and using a felt tip pen mark out the shape and size that you want your rug to be. Remember that the underlay has holes in which will cause the pen to go through to the floor so you may want to put something underneath it first.

2. Once you are happy with your shape take the scissors and carefully cut out the shape for your pompom rug. We decided to go for a heart shape rug.

When we made our pompom rug we just put any colour pompom we had on the rug but I would suggest using certain colour wools to create a pattern rather than just adding any colour anywhere.

3. Next make your pompoms you will need a lot of them to fill the rug. We used the method of wrapping the wool around are fingers and then carefully sliding it off and tying the extra wool around the middle to hold it together. Make sure that the wool used to tie the pompom up has about 10cm hanging down so you can easily tie it on to the rug. Then once secured cut open the sides to and fluff out to make the pompom.

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However from looking into it there is a much better way to making pompom in bulk and that will be similar sizes as well. I found this great youtube video to demonstrate.

I will be using this method next time as making them one by one is very slow especially when you need so many for a rug. 

4. Next lay the pompoms out on the underlay before attaching them so you can make sure that you are happy with the design and how it looks.

5. When you are happy with how you want your rug start attaching the pompoms. Thread each piece of wool through the holes and securely tie together at the back of the rug. As I learnt from  experience have a cup of water handy to wet the end of the wool before threading it through I learnt the hard way by putting the ends in my mouth to moisten and I ended up with wool stuck all over my tongue.

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6. Once all your Pompoms are tied on flip the rug over and cut off the excess wool being careful not to cut any of the knots holding it together

7. Flip it back over and there you have your very own Pompom rug.

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If you do make a pompom rug why not comment and let us know how it went and if you have any great tips to pass on to others. Happy Making.

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If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

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Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Hand print Baubles

We all had great fun making these handprint baubles last year and they will be taking pride of place on the tree again this year. They are really easy to make and look amazing.

What you need –

A plain coloured bauble

Acrylic paint

Marker pens (I recommend sharpies)

First paint your hand ensuring that the fingers are covered in acrylic paint, slapping it on thick to make sure there are no gaps.

Then take your plain bauble and carefully wrap your painted fingers around. Hold for a few seconds to transfer the paint then carefully peel your hand away. If you want to add a few extra drops of snow around the bauble then use your little finger and dab some paint around.

Once you have done this then leave your bauble to dry, I hung mine from the door handles but be careful where you hang them as you don’t want to get paint everywhere. When the paint has dried take out your sharpies and add in the detail to your picture, we made snowman handprint baubles so we added the face, scarf, hats and arms but you can add and make whatever you like.

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Window sticker decorations

Instead of buying Christmas gel window sticker decorations this year why not make them yourself. The kids will enjoy it and handmade decorations always look better and give a sense of pride to see something you made hanging up.

What you would need –

Amos glass deco pens

Plastic wallet

Paper and a pen

If you buy a pack of Amos glass deco pens they will come with a plastic sheet to create your designs on but we have found that using plastic wallets work just as well and it is easier to keep the template still inside the wallet whilst using the pens.

The packs come with templates but you can also print or draw a picture yourself and use this as your template to make into your window stickers. Once you have done this place your template in your plastic wallet or line it up behind the plastic sheet and using one of the special liner pens go round the outline of your drawing. Once you have done this leave for a while to harden slightly then use the other colour pens to fill in your picture.

Once you have finished leave them to one side to dry overnight. Once they are fully dried, slowly peel them off and stick on a window of your choice.

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Sock snowman

These are great fun to make and you can use your imagination to make them look as different or funky as you like. They are great to put on shelves or window sills to add to the Christmas spirit.

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What you will need –

white socks (we used men’s socks)

Cheap packets of rice

Buttons/stick on gems

Ribbon

Marker pens (I recommend sharpies)

Orange paper or card

Strong glue or Fabric Glue

First pour some rice into the bottom of the sock until you have enough to make the body then twist the sock round quite a few times to seal the rice in. Then pour in some more rice about half as much as you used for the body. Once you have filled the head of the snowman, again twist it at the top a few times to seal in the rice then fold the top over the head to make a hat. If you are happy with the way it looks then put a small line of glue around the inside edge of the hat so that it will stick to the head and stay in place. If the hat is too big you can trim the top of the sock until you are happy with the way it looks.

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After that you are ready to decorate, we added ribbon round the neck to make scarf’s, glued orange card to the face to make a carrot nose and then the children were let wild with the sharpies to design their snowmen’s faces. We also added some gemstone stickers and buttons that we found in the cupboard, to give them a bit of bling.

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Hama Bead Baubles

Anyone who follows my blog will know how much we love Hama beads. We have made all sorts of things using these amazing little beads, so it made sense to use them to make Christmas tree decorations.

What you will need –

Hama Beads

A square peg board

Ironing paper

String

First lay out the outline of the bauble with the beads on the peg board, once you are happy with the shape use the different colour hama beads to make your patterns inside the bauble. When you have finished with your design place the ironing paper over the top and iron. Once it has cooled down I like to take it off the board and flip it over and iron on the reverse as this helps strength it.

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Then when it has cooled enough to touch, at the top using a needle make a hole and thread through a piece of string, tie together and then your bauble is ready to be hung on the tree.

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Salt dough tree decorations

Salt dough tree decorations are so easy to make and most of you will probably already have the ingredients at home in your cupboard. They are cheap to make and turn out so well.

What you need – 

One cup plain flour

Half a cup of table salt

Half a cup of water

Acrylic paint

Mod Podge

String

Salt Dough recipe 

First add one cup of plain flour to the mixing bowl, then add half a cup of fine table salt. Take half a cup of water and slowly stir it into the mixing bowl. Once all the water is mixed in and the mixture looks like dough, take it out and knead for a bit over a floured surface. Be warned that the salt in the mixture can leave your hands feeling a little sore after kneading, you could try wearing kitchen gloves although I have not tried using gloves before.

Once your dough is ready it’s time to share it out and begin making your creations. Cookie cutters are great to use to make shapes although freehand works just as well. If you want to stick bits together dip your finger in some water and rub a couple of drops over the edges that you want stuck together. Using a cocktail stick make holes in the top so you can thread the string through later. Just make sure that you check the back of the decoration to make sure the hole is the same thickness on the back as the front.

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Once your creations are ready you can either leave them to dry on their own which can take a day or two, or to help them along you can put them in the oven on a low heat for 1-2 hours.

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When it comes to decorating I would recommend using acrylic paint as it is thicker and covers over the dough better. After the paint has dried I always use Mod Podge to seal them and give them a lovely glossy shine and feel.

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If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

How to Make Hama Bead Bowls

Hama Bead bowls are so pretty and will add colour and decor to any room. They are also great for storing your odds and ends in. My girls use theirs to store there jewellery and lip glosses in.

The best thing is they are so simple to make and the children will feel so proud to display the finished result.

First get a heat proof bowl and spray round some fry light to lightly grease the bowl. Then throw in some hama beads, we have used the multi colour mix but you can use any colours that you like, Hama beads come in a wide range of colours to choose from.

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After that you need to flatten down the beads to the shape of the bottom of the bowl.

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Once flattened carefully place the bowl in the oven making sure not to knock the bowl. Cook on 180 degrees celsius for 10 – 15 minutes. Then take out and leave on the side to cool.

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Once cooled the bowl will go hard so you can gently peel it out of the dish. You now have a beautiful bowl to display and use for storage.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.