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Picnics, Streams, Fishing…. a Recipe for a Great Day Out...

In the blistering heat of a summer’s day we were looking for a place, with the children, to go where we could cool off. We went into the hills, and found a quiet stream in a valley. The gentle breeze, and the cool waters were very refreshing, just what we all wanted. A picnic, some fishing rods, a ball and the children were happy for hours. They all stripped off, and cooled off in the stream. The Jedi Boy, even managed to catch a small fish! On the drive through the valley we passed families camping, which made me think what a wonderful idea… perhaps for another year when I no longer have a toddler! It made me think of the vast sums of money we can spend on entertainment for children, and yet the simplest of days out, planned on the hop can provide the best fun, and create the most lasting memories. So on a hot summer’s day… head to the hills! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Walking With Children Part 2

An advantage of living in a relatively small country like Scotland, is you are pretty close to a lot of beautiful and wild places. One of my favourite areas of Scotland is the Trossachs. The Trossachs are a bit like a miniature version of the Highlands, but easily accessible from Scotland’s central belt. Last weekend we visited Loch Lomond on the west side of the Trossachs. Loch Lomond, has many beautiful places to walk with children, of different ages. We found ourselves on the east side of the Loch. The east side incorporates the West Highland Way, so there are many well maintained paths, with good access for buggies. Now I must make a confession. After planning a beautiful Lochside walk, through woodland, we ended up not moving far from the Loch shore! It has been discovered an 19 month old little boy can have no greater fun than throw stones into water! The older children climbed on the rocks, and old tress. So although we did not go far a great time was had by all… I plan a return trip at some point! For the more adventurous, and slightly older child there is Conic Hill- not one for buggies. Conic Hill is located beside the National Park Centre at Balmaha. Conic Hill is on the West Highland Way, so little hill walkers can feel very grown up! For more information about Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park visit their website. Also in the Trossachs is the Queen Elizabeth Forest. The best times to visit are the autumn- when the woodland is a blaze of colour, and in May when the forest is a carpet of blue. With the late Spring this year we were very blessed to see the bluebells in all their glory. The David Marshall Lodge near Aberfoyle is a good base from which to walk. There are many paths through the forest, which are buggy and young child friendly. Near the lodge there is even a waterfall in the wood. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Walking With Young Children Part 1

I am passionate about nature and taking children into beautiful places. I believe the glory of God is made manifest in creation, and therefore being surrounded by nature can only be good for a child’s soul (as well as healthy for their body). Science bears this out. Being immersed in nature has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. Scotland has many beautiful wild places to explore with children. I look forward to the day I can take them hiking up more adventurous places. But until then we content ourselves with more tame adventures. As Scotland is relatively small, you do not have to travel far to find somewhere wild and beautiful. Therefore I am always looking for new and exciting places to take the children: wild and beautiful places where they can run free. Locations I chose do have a theme of woodland, and rivers… what can I say I like trees! One problem I do have is finding such places that are buggy friendly! Searching for new places to explore throws up many amazing places, but I need them to be accessible to little legs and a buggy! Here is a list of my recommendations, for wild beauty in Scotland: 1. Lord Ancrum’s Wood There are many lovely walks around here. The River South Esk provides opportunity for wading in welly boots, and plenty of trees to climb. And a large part of the wood is buggy friendly. Map and more information from the Forestry Commission 2. Pentland Hills Glencourse Reservoir Walk This walk is nestled amongst the Pentland Hills. Very pretty. For More information see my previous post: Walking in the Pentlands 3. Vogrie Country Park Another great place to walk with children, also has a fantastic adventure playground. Situated outside Edinburgh. Has many paths suitable for young children and pushchairs. 4. Mugdock Country Park Situated not far from Glasgow, this country park is huge. There is a variety of different habitats from moorland to woodland. Great for walking with children of all ages. It is also on the West Highland Way. 5. Innerleithen: Pirn Hill Pirin Hill is the site of ancient Iron Age Fort. I have pushed a buggy to the top- hard work, but satisfying! This is an easy hill for little legs to manage. Around the foot of the hill there are also tracks which are a bit less intense than pushing a buggy up to the top! 6. Glen Garry Pine Wood The Pine Forests of this part of the Highlands consist of remnants of the ancient Caledonian...

Gardening with Children

At last, the weather seems to have improved enough to plant some vegetables. So all the children left the school books behind on the kitchen table and headed to the garden. I believe gardening with children is highly beneficial to mental health, and physical health. It also teaches them where their food is from. Whilst digging about in the dirt the children explored the minibeasts found, there, and a small lesson ensued about the importance of these tiny creatures in all our lives. For The Knight boy a little woodlouse went from being “yuck” to crawling about his hand. It is also fascinating to watch from one small, wrinkled seed potato you reap a harvest of many. The miracles of multiplication that occurs from seed to harvest is staggering. After an hour of digging and planting, everyone had worked very hard, and was rather tired. A family activity, that will yield food, is free, and has everyones heart pumping! First to be planted were the potatoes. We dug two trenches, and used some of out own compost to line them (this is the first year, out of five that I have decent compost!) The we spaced the seed potatoes out at around 10cm intervals. The potatoes were then covered over. When the potatoes first appear we will cover them a second time with dirt. This helps the potatoes to develop healthily. The children helped where they could. Each had a go of digging, and filling the wheel barrow with compost. The younger ones, enjoyed racking the compost along the trench. Hopefully this year there will be a good harvest! Tips to Start Gardening with Children 1. Start Small! Do not over stretch yourself. Do not aim to be self-sufficient in vegetables within one year. Choose a few simple plants to get going. 2. Try Planters. If you have a small garden, or do not fancy digging a vegetable patch, start with some planters of tubs. You can find small varieties of carrots that grow well in shallow soil, salads work well, as do herbs. 3. Let children help to plan. Ask them what they want to grow. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Weekend Wonders

It looks like Spring has finally arrived. The air is filled with the sound of birds singing, the sun is out, the sky is blue. Time to get out and about! Here are some fun activities to try this weekend! 1. Visit a Local Wood Woods are coming alive again in the Spring. Birds are nest building, and buds are beginning to open. It is a wonderful time to let children run free, climb trees and be immersed in nature. A fantastic site to visit and sign up to is the Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives. The Nature Detectives site is full of fun activities, as well as really good educational material to help parents get their kids out and personal with nature. You can sign up to their newsletter with regular updates, and downloadable sheets. I am a big fan of their identification sheets, that help children looks for plants and animal species, at the times of the year they are most likely to see them! 2. Get Out in the Garden Although it is mid-April, we have not planted anything yet. The time is still perfect to sow seed potatoes, or bring some much need colour with some flowers. Here are some ideas: Mum’s Net 3. Some Spring Cleaning?? If you can face it! Homeschooling all week, means the weekend is a naturally good time to catch up with household chores. And if you can face it, you will have that lovely smug feeling afterwards, that you have achieved something with your weekend! Here is a glass cleaner recipe Enjoy your weekend- whatever you find to do!! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Frazzled February?

Lately our house has seem to be more wild. Little boys rampaging one minute, bored and irritable the next. This mama has felt very frazzled. Yesterday I had some solace for a tired, and weary mama soul: tea, a scone, and time with one of my favourite lady’s. She is one of the Titus 2 women in my life. In the course of conversation about life, we naturally talked about the children. And this retired school teacher told me some things that are very interesting. In schools there are more exclusions in February than any other month. We are both great believers in the power of creation in the spiritual, and emotional wellbeing of children. This didn’t surprise me at all. As I do find this almighty sense of relief when spring approaches, the weather warms, and the children pile out into the garden on a more regular basis. Little boys, in particular require a lot of outside time. Even the one year old Soldier Boy has had a taste of freedom, and spends his days frustrated that he cannot go outside to play as much as he would like. After a trip around the garden, he came to me the next day with his little shoe and declared “GO!” So today the sky was blue, the wind had died down, we took the morning off “school” and went to the local Country Park. The boys ran through the forest. The Girl had a rare chance to just talk with me uninterrupted in the morning. We may only be in the beginning of February, with children keen to be outside more, in fresh air, running and playing; but our trip to the forest allowed us to see the first of the snowdrops in bloom, and the daffodil shoots appearing- spring is on the way. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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