Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Sometimes we all have such busy schedules that we never really just spend the day with our child out and about on our own. I am forever guilty of spending lots of time with friends or as a family out and about. This isn’t a bad thing because Elijah loves spending time with others and asks to go out everyday. However normally on days we have no plans we stay at home watching tv and learning. Again this isn’t a bad thing either as we love spending time together at home. But one thing i have always been anxious about is going out just me and my child. When he was a baby it was fine. I loved pushing him around in his buggy and going to community centres and baby groups. However as Elijah got older the tantrums started.

Of course it is natural for children to express their emotions in the form of a tantrum. With the amount of emotion they are feeling and the incapability of explaining their emotions they become upset and warrants a screaming on floor session. However i have always been someone who cares about other peoples opinions whether i like it or not. So a tantrum would cause my social anxiety to go into over board if i was alone because well all eyes would be on me and there would be nobody else to help distract him.

The thing is when a child has a tantrum. It is natural to stare and look, not to judge as so many people do but to see where the noise is coming from. Curiosity always wins, if someone was to scream in a supermarket or shop would you not ping your head round to look for the route cause of the noise.When you have social anxiety if anyone looks at you it is your worse nightmare. Frankly i dislike being in any sort of a attention platform so also don’t really like when we are out and Elijah is being good and many people come to talk to me about him. I don’t mind being nice to others and speaking to strangers but it does make me feel uncomfortable. Especially when people touch him (even before covid) or don’t take the hint the conversation is over.

Because i suffer from a chronic illness as well i sometimes don’t have much strength as apposed to other parents. I can’t always pick him up and carry him long when he flops to the floor. We have also gotten rid of his buggy because he wouldn’t sit in it and also i think he is too old for it. He is sometimes tired which causes more tantrums and because we often go for nice long walks he can sometime get bit touchy. However when i go oit without james i never take him anywhere which will over tire him because of this.

I always panic about taking Elijah to restaurants because when he is bored he acts up and misbehaves. But however i have found that if i take him a bag of toys out with us he is normally quite well behaved. I have been known to take games and even playdough if needed. But being alone again is still stress full.

However i have been trying to go out of my comfort zone a lot more these days . I have been forcing myself to overcome my anxiety and take Elijah out just the two of us at least once a week. I started by taking him to the library, then to soft play and then out for meals and trips into town. I have started to slowly build up my confidence and i just try to keep myself calm if Elijah does have a tantrum. I try to remain calm and speak to Elijah calmly and explain things clearly to him, i try to distract him or structure my day so we don’t go out when he is sleepy or going to get tired walking around too much. I will not let my anxiety control me or my sons life. Lock down affected me a lot in regards to going out because i am so scared of covid but the more i go out the more i journey outside the more i feel a bit more comfortable. I teach Elijah to distance as well as hand washing regularly. I just have to accept this is the world we live in now and it’s not healthy to stay in one place for the rest of our lives, so long as we are careful and i overcome my anxiety then we are able to live a relatively normal life.

If you are feeling anxious about going out solo with your toddler remember you are not alone. Baby steps can help at times and things do get better. Things are not always as bad as our head makes it out to be. Yes there are times i take him out and his naughty but sometimes he can be a complete angel. He will be the best behaved little boy ever. It is rare he is naughty but when he is the odd time it makes me still feel anxious and stressed but i try to remember this is just a bad day and we will get through it.

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Weighted blanket review – The kalm koala.

Weighted blanket review – The kalm koala.

Disclaimer this was gifted in exchange for review:

If you like me have seen the many, many adverts out of weighted blankets you will also of been interested into what they’re really like. I was intrigued into if they really work or if they where pretty much a money making scam. But i was offered one in exchange for a review so how could i say no. All opinions in this post are my own and honest. As with any post if i do not rate a product highly enough too talk about it i always tell the company and offer to send back and explain i won’t be reviewing it. However this is not the case with this product.

Weighted blankets are advertised to use weight to relax your central nervous system to relax you. They are advertised to help anxiety, depression and autism sensory overloads.

So first of aesthetically it is very pleasing. The cover has a warm and cool side. The quilted side you use in winter and the silk side in summer. The Silk underneath is navy so looks lovely too. I use it as a runner in the day and it fits over the both of us with our feet hanging out the ends the blanket goes from my shoulders to ankles which is good because its weighted and feet with pressures not the best combo. so perhaps socks in winter if not using another cover on top. I mainly use it however not at night but as to sit on the sofa with if i am particularly stressed or sit in the bed in it. The quilt is heavy so it really is weighted i was surprised when the post man dropped it off. I got the largest and most weighted due to my weight.

Does it relax you? It feels like a cuddle and like some pressure. Considering i hate cuddles it is quite nice to be able to have that tight compression feeling without the emotions and people involved to make a cuddle happen. (yes i cuddle my husband and son). You can really feel the weight and it feels like a weight is not only taken of your body but your mind when you take it off too. For it too work i take myself quiet or watch or read something i like to relax myself. I really do notice a difference when i use it to calm myself the added weight is quite nice and also warming too when i need the warmth. I sort of only really concentrate on the weight for a little while which enables me to calm a bit and i only use when anxious so i know it is something i can use.

I haven’t used it overnight much because it has been too hot to exist and i have been in hospital but i used it two nights and it certainly relaxed me. It felt like all of my body was being pressed down and i felt at ease. I fell asleep with it. It still took me a while to shut down but my insomnia reacts to nothing. It did however take less long to fall asleep which could be the blanket or the fact i am still poorly.

So i would recommend this blanket. Id suggest a smaller one for single use however as i got this to be a runner at the same time. This product would be excellent for those who suffer sensory overload particularly autism suffers as the pressure can calm the body without physical contact,

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Things to do with toddlers in Suffolk- Bouldering/ climbing at clip n climb!

Things to do with toddlers in Suffolk- Bouldering/ climbing at clip n climb!

Disclaimer I was gifted this day out to promote on my Instagram.

So i love going out for days out and i am always up for trying something new. Having been to clip n climb myself before i knew it was a fun challenging experience for all the family. When i went i absolutely loved it. I loved how it was this new cool, hip place to go. Something that sort of belonged in big cities like London not like a small town like ours. I felt lucky our small town had been given the opportunity to have one. Let alone the biggest climbing centre in Europe with so many challenges to complete.I went a while back with my friend and w had a blast, she is a bit more fit then me so climbed up like a spider and me a bit like a slow sloth. I am a bit afraid of heights so it was daunting at first but when i had jumped out back to the floor the first time i felt safe and wasn’t so afraid to climb higher. Not only was it fun but it was also a work out. It felt like i had been at the gym all day. Every single one of muscles felt like they had been worked out and i felt good. Unfortunately i don’t quite climb with as much ease as Edward Cullen running up that tree in twilight.

The question remains is it kid friendly? Well the answer in short is HELL YES! Not only do kids have wayyyyy more energy then us they also are a little less afraid of their fears like we are. We booked onto a toddler session which was fully booked. Lots of little ones excited and ready to go. The place is also visually exciting and as soon as Elijah walked in he shouted wow. Followed by a tantrum as he wanted to climb the second we walked in. There is also a children’s soft play area for little ones who do not wish to climb so when that re opens it will be super fun!

Is it safe? This was my personal concern the first time i came. As i suffer with anxiety i sit there and list every last thing that can go wrong with the safety equipment before i had even seen it. I want to put your mind at ease it is safe. When i went we sat through a safety briefing and had harnesses fitted and tested so i felt secure knowing i wasn’t to fall out my harness. Elijah’s toddler size one was a bit more extreme in safety and went over his shoulders too this put me more at ease as we all know how kids like to wiggle. Again they safety checked his fit and we had a brief safety meeting before the kids climbed. The holes in each climb are soft and not rugged so you don’t have to worry about scratching yourself up. You connect your harness to a clip which is attached to a mat hanging of the floor (or do this for your child). When youre clipped in the mat falls to the ground a orange colour to say this climb is in use do not walk underneath while the climb is in session. When dropping down you simply sit into harness and you go down slowly. The first times a bit scary but when you know you’re safe it’s quite a nice experience. There are also lot’s of staff walking around watching at all times and offering help when needed. If you are worried about your belongings do not worry there are lockers available!

Is it expensive? Tickets are around 10 pounds for a hour for toddlers and 15 for all other ages over 4 which isn’t to bad. But there are frequent deals and discounts too. A hour also feels a really long time too and you really get your moneys worth. This would be a perfect kids party too and there normally are deals and the birthday child goes free.

Is there food and drink? There is a cafe upstairs with lots of choices. The hot chocolate is really nice and their cakes are insane. There is quite alot of choice so you can try something new too. They are also doing the the eat out to help out scheme so even if you don’t want to climb the food and drink is well worth the visit.

How are they protecting you from corona-virus during your visit? As you que up there are stickers implementing social distancing. The till has protective screening and you have to book in advance anyway. The staff all have shields or face masks when next too public. As you walk in there is a big banner telling you to sanitise and plenty of sanitising and hand washing stations around. There are even pumps next to some climbs you are told to sanitise before the climbing session and after. There is also a one way system around the building. The cafe is also table service now so you don’t have to move. The toilets also have signs which remind you how long to wash your hands for. I felt a lot more safer here then i have on a weekly supply trip to supermarkets. Climbers can wear a mask if they wish but you do not have to as it is exercise.

How did Elijah find it? Elijah had a absolute blast before we came i shew him photos and asked if he would like to go he said he wanted to go climb like spider man. When we pulled up he was excited to see the big frames through the windows. When we got in he was very excited. He was also excited by the animals mural where he put his harness on. He stood very nicely while his harness was put on and was very energetic about getting to the climbing area. We sanitised which he does with no issue and got ready to climb. He took a little bit to decide on a climb to try so we started on the ladder he was nervous at first but when he found that he could basically float when dropping down by the harness he loved it. The Disney soundtracks where playing so Elijah was having a boogie and singing along as he climbed too. Elijah enjoyed the climb that looked like a climbing frame at soft play which was bit like walking a tight rope for him. After he got the hang of it with a little bit of encouragement there was no stopping him. WE tried quite a few of the climbs so he could see what he liked the best. I think the hexagons and maze ones where his favourites. I felt safe with Elijah climbing and it felt so nice to see him exercising and enjoying himself. With soft play being closed for so long i was happy to see Elijah enjoying some sort of exercise whilst also working his mind. The sensory aspects of each climb where great too and it was nice to see him working those fine and gross motor skills as he learned how to navigate each climb. The session was more than long enough and tired Elijah out. We headed up to the cafe where Elijah enjoyed a milkshake and some of our cake. He has a lovely time and it was the prefect rainy day activity. Being in a heat wave the air con was fab as well.

We will be back and James is already planning to go with his friend as he was jealous of Elijah being able to climb. Being a window cleaner i imagine he will do quite well! There are lots of clip n climbs around the uk and this one is our most local in Ipswich. It’s hidden a way so in a nice quiet place. The natural lighting from the big windows is lovely too! We can’t wait to go again and i may even go as a date night with James or bring Elijah to another session again!

Check out their website herehttps://ipswich.clipnclimb.co.uk/

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

It’s no secret that after I had Elijah when he was about ten months old I returned to work. I was full of guilt and anxiety and I was riddled with stress from work too. When I stopped working it took away a bit of my identity and slowly I’ve been working to get my identity back. I don’t want to be known as just Elijah’s mum but Charlie too. A year ago I had officially left work and I look back with no regrets. Whilst I miss doing a job that gave me purpose at times I don’t miss the long days and being away from my family.

Now that it’s been a year my thoughts on me working have changed. At the moment as it stands it is financially better for me to not work. We do not take benefits or have any help just to clarify to those who think I just gave up my job and expected the state to pay. My husband funds everything. This was also a decision we spoke about and decided before anything was done.

Through me stopping work he has been able to earn way more than we earned collectively before I had Elijah and he is only getting more successful because I am at home. With me at home this means James doesn’t have to do the school/nursery runs and loose out on hours of work everyday. This means he’s able to work as early or as late as he wishes and we don’t need to worry about Elijah. Whilst Elijah will be starting nursery in January I will not be returning to work for now. Because nobody else can drop him off and pick him up and childcare is a big issue for us. Also if I went back to work it just wouldn’t really be logical aswell because with my career path I’d only want to work in healthcare again and the hours are nowhere near flexible which I learned before I left work. The issue would still remain most healthcare jobs need you to work 8-8 and that would mean again James doing the childcare run and I’d be on a crappy wage and we’d be worse of.

My view on stay at home mums has changed too. I invisioned it to be easy and happy. That I’d be doing all these fancy crafts everyday and baking everyday. But that was not the case. It was in fact draining mentally and physically. When you don’t have plans often you sort of fade into the darkness’s where everything’s a repeat and you feel like you’re on auto drive. I expected to have this perfectly clean house all the time but then reality hit. Sure my house was clean when I worked because I was never in it! Days off normally spent going out as a family or seeing friends so when I tidied up it was a quick and easy job. Now the house often looks like a bomb has hit it when I spend my day trying to survive and entertain a toddler who loves to make mess wherever he goes.

I underestimated what stay at home mums do too. Planning days out all the time trying to find new things to do so it’s not repeated is exhausting. There is only so much you can go for coffee before being bored of the activity. Not just entertaining your child out and about but also in the house is so hard. I’ll set up a activity I’ve spent ages thinking of and Elijah picks it up puts it down and walks of demanding something else.

There’s also a limit to how much I can teach Elijah before it becomes a chore. I try to spend a lot of the day teaching Elijah so we do learning games and play but sometimes I get so sick of repeating myself I want to rip my hair out. Like this is everyday. How many times can I repeat the same sentance before I turn insane.

There’s also the no escape from your child. One thing that lockdown has done is open peoples eyes to what stay at home parents really do. People really got sick of their kids crap and it showed. People understood what it was like to have no me time and children wanting their attention 24/7. They understood that silence was a thing of the past and you never get a moment to yourself even when they’re asleep you still tidy their crap up. There’s no escape and nowhere to send them if you need a time out so you just keep going hoping your head doesn’t explode with the stress at times.

However I try not to moan about my child too much there are elements I love. I love that I get this time with him and that I don’t have to share his milestones with others. I love watching him learn and knowing that I’ve taught him that. I love playing with him and making up games.

I love seeing him grow and watching how his mind works and grows with him. I love days where we have good days and we sit and play games nicely or cuddle on the sofa. I love that I am always there to wake him up and cuddle him before bed every night. I love that I’m always there to hear his stories and when he’s seen family for the day I get to be the one he tells me all about his time.

I like being able to be at home too and when I do housework around the house I enjoy it a bit more it’s not just a quick scrub ready to return to work where I’m cleaning the house at 10pm after being out 12 hours working and knowing I have the same the next day.

I’ve noticed a change in James too. He is more happy and likes not having to drop Elijah and pick Elijah up working silly hours and working twice as hard to get work done. He no longer has to come home and cook every single night and clean up all the time. I do not cook every night or clean everyday as we both understand that it’s our house and nobody’s responsibility to do everything.

I love that I’m able to see friends more and make more time for my hobbies. I. E this blog post I write now. I also love that I don’t have to miss out on a lot of things I used to aswell.

I also love the positive effect it’s had on my anxiety. I’m not full of stress and busy working all day making myself ill. I am able to concentrate on myself more and take more time for me and my self care. I take more care in my appearance and also in the relationships I have. I don’t hold on to toxic people anymore because I now am able to see my worth.

Although life can be hard and stressful as a stay at home mum I will always be thankfull to my husband for the opportunity. I know that when I’m older and look back on these hard times with fond memories of how perfect life really was.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

My social needs still exist after becoming a mum.

My social needs still exist after becoming a mum.

One thing that is a constant since having a child is that once you have a kid, the kid is all that is spoken about. Even when I’d just had my baby and had recently been ripped open and feeling awful at home the phone calls never started with how are you? it was hows the baby? It’s something that still happens today. Straight away people ask how Elijah is and never me. Or people call and straight away say can I speak to Elijah or hows my boy before I’ve barely even answered the phone.

There’s no talk to me just Elijah. Also many people are disappointed if I see them without the kid. If I pop by someones while child free or meet up with someone they moan that they wanted to see Elijah and they’re disappointed and I’m like sorry? shall I just go home then? I forgot I don’t exist other then to assist my child’s social life.

If I try to talk about myself it’s kind of returned back to the kid. It can be really frustrating and a bit upsetting to be fair. Sometimes it feels like your existence doesn’t exist beyond your kid. My friends are quite good and don’t start conversations with hows Elijah because they know I exist and have feelings too. Although my friends adore my child they would never dream of telling me they’re disappointed it’s just me who’s come to see them.

I still want to be invited out too. I found since having a kid I had lost a few friends because people just thought that’s the end of Charlie. But no it wasn’t. It was the birth of me. Having a kid enabled me to be more confident in myself. To want to actively go out more and have a social life instead of hiding in my room on my days of work. I wanted freedom to be alone and be me again in the strongest light. People worried all I’d speak about is the baby and I don’t think I’ve ever been that person to only gush about my kid either. If someone asks I tell them but I know lots of people who don’t have kids just don’t care. They’ve in fact told me they love that about me that I don’t bore them with talking about my kid all the time. People without kids just don’t care. Like I didn’t when I didn’t have kids.

I still have a personality. I still want to meet up with my mum friends with our kids but I also enjoy meeting up with friends and family alone at times. I like being able to talk about myself sometimes. I’m not vain but it’s quite nice being able to talk about adult subjects without a little earwigger.

I choose to become a mum but I did not choose to not exist beyond that title.

I still enjoy going out for meals with friends, cocktails, date nights and shopping trips. I still love the cinemas and going on walks too. I miss getting dressed up and not being dressed down because my child will destroy my outfit.

Just because we’re mums doesn’t mean we can’t struggle to. Ever noticed that a lot of mums don’t talk about themselfs so therefor don’t express their own feelings. It is so important to appreciate that there is someone behind the child. Mental health issues exist in the silence and it’s because this that depression can hideaway. I know for a fact my depression got so much worse after a child. Because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s sleepless nights, puke and a lot of attitude from your child.

Tbh my child is pretty cool and I could talk about him all day but tbh I don’t want to. Not only will I bore others but it also creates that weird online vibe where people think another kids better then theirs. Or worse I’d come across as one of those parents that I hate which think their child is a god and the best child to grace the planet ever. No child is perfect. Sorry not sorry. You also look like a bit of a tool. Still not sorry.

So when your friends and family have a kid ask them how they are. Ask what they’ve been up to. Talk about things not related to their children. Ask them if they want to meet up with kid or if they prefer child free time. You do get the odd parent who never wants to leave their child and that’s okay. Start a phone call talking about the person who’s number you rang and then ask about the child. Never tell someone your disappointed their child isn’t with them. Remember they existed before a child and they’re still the same person. You don’t have to meet up with the child all the time either. It’s a bit nicer for a parent to not have to worry about the child’s behaviour all the time so seeing someone in their child free time is a privilege which shouldn’t be wasted insulting them and making them feel bad about themselves.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

Strawberry picking 🍓

Strawberry picking  🍓

Being a somewhat dry day in suffolk we decided to go strawberry picking before the heavens opened on our way home. What is strawberry picking? Well the answer is basically in the name itself. You basically pick strawberries and get to take them home. The good thing about strawberry picking is you get to choose your own fruit so you can be sure you get the best quality strawberries. At this farm you could also pick blackcurrants, redcurrants and blackberries.

So safety wise its quite a safe activity to do at the moment all you do is pick your own basket and then you have a whole farm to social distance. It was very easy to keep away from others. When we needed to pay we just went into shop and paid. I also brought some fresh fruit and veg and other little bits from the farms shop. There is something about things that don’t come prepacked in plastic that gives a much better taste and experience.

Elijah is just over two and a half so i was a bit worried he wouldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t of been more wrong. When we got to the strawberry field and told him what we where going to do he told us he was “excited” and launched himself towards the giant strawberry on the farm. He enjoyed picking a basket and running around. As we where on a farm he was interested in the vehicles on the farm. He liked looking at the tractor and asked for a photo in front of some big yellow digger. We then went to pick the fruit he was excited when he could spot the strawberries. He picked his favourites at first he grabbed as many as he could see then we explained we needed to look for the reddest ones and he got very particular on his choice. He enjoyed running around and picking the strawberries too he did eat quite a few despite us explaining we had to pay first eventually stopped scoffing them down. (we told the shop hes eaten about 6 and they didn’t care).

Overall it was quite a fun family experience we all enjoyed selecting what we like the look of and knowing it was ours to eat. It felt quite nice completly picking our food completly fresh. The strawberries taste amazing and we have plenty to last. We will defo be going again! Hopefully before it’s time to go pumpkin picking!

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Petit fernand

Petit fernand

Contains gifted items for review.

I was sent some lovely bits from from Petit Fernand the other day and I have to say I adore them. They where so easy to create and the quality is so high. There are so many products to choose from but I chose a drawstring bag for Elijahs toys and a water bottle. I’ll talk you through the personalisation now!

So first of all you choose what you want. Then you can choose a pattern from lots of choices. You then can customise font and colour. You can have what you want written on there too. I decided to go with Elijahs name on the bottle and Elijah’s little bag of wonder for his toy bag. Elijah helped choose which patterns and products he wanted. He’s dinosaur mad and animal mad so he chose what he wanted and helped me choose the colour text he wanted on his bottle and the text font. Once that was done it was a very short wait for the parcel.

The parcel arrived well packaged and even came with some stickers which was a plus! The bottle and bag carefully wrapped well. The box was quite nice too! Elijah enjoyed opening the box and exploring what was inside.

The bag fits all his super heroes in which is about 8 large ones or can be packed full of other toys, clothes or whatever you want to put in. It’s really high quality and I know it’ll last a long while. This bag is handy for taking to grandparents houses for play dates too! Aswell as being aesthetically pleasing!

The water bottle stays warm for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours which is fantastic aswell as being very cute from the design. Elijah is dinosaur mad so adores it! I love the tin design it feels a bit more luxury too! I can tell the bottle will last a long time too just because of the quality of it. It’s easy to drink from too.

We’re really happy with the products we where sent and we will defo consider getting a lunch box from them and their name tags closer to when Elijah goes to nursery! Go check them out!

Instagram-https://instagram.com/petit_fernand_uk?igshid=wzuzdg0ewe3t

Shop- https://www.petit-fernand.co.uk

Thanks for reading! Charlie x

Chalkola review

Chalkola review

Disclaimer I was gifted for a review. I also have a giveaway on my Instagram which ends Sunday if anyone would like to try win some goodies. I will post link after the review.

We love learning through play and have seen all over Instagram the lovely Chalkola blackboards and and chalk pens filling Instagram with their beauty. But are they worth all the hype? In short, YES!

Now I love chalk boards we already had three in the house, my meal planner, Elijahs chalkboard in his room and we had a large one for learning which we since gave to his nanny and grandad to use at their house. So when chalkola offered me the chalk board I couldn’t say no. Our learning chalk board was too big so I was so glad to give it to the grandparents as this chalkboard was the same size but doesn’t have massive legs and collapses. Which is a plus. It stands up with three legs or can be layed out flat. The quality is lovely and I also love that there’s a space to leave your own pen infront.

The chalk. There’s so many colours to choose from and we have loved playing with them all. I’ve been able to teach Elijah the shades of colours so saying dark green or light green and he can now differentiate between dark and light. The pens are fantastic quality and glide on the board so quickly without pressure.

They rub of with a wet damp cloth and then I dry with a dry cloth after to keep it looking new. Easy to remove your masterpieces! The products also just wash of table if your toddler scribbles on it and also easily comes of your hands.

What do I use the chalk for? Writing on my meal planner, drawing in Elijahs room and having fun. We also use it for learning. Instead of wasting lots of paper we simply wipe out when we’re done. I try to teach Elijah a subject at a time or a few things at once. I’ve been teaching Elijah to trace letters and he can identify colours, some words, read the alphabet and numbers so we use the chalk board to work on these skills and adapt more. Elijah loves drawing and copying what I do. His masterpieces he draws may end up a squiggle a lot of the time but we love them none the less!

Chalkola products are a fantastic resource for learning and also exploring colours. It’s perfect for the artist and the organised individual too. It’s a little something for everyone and we love our chalk board. We can’t wait to use it to celebrate birthdays and thing such as Henry coming home!

Shop Chalkola here- http://chalkola.com/ and use code CHARLIE10 for 10 percent off.

You can also use amazon- http://www.amazon.co.uk/chalkola and use code CHALKOLA10

To enter my giveaway for 30 chalk pens, check out my Instagram post here! follow the instructions to enter! -https://www.instagram.com/p/CCEGxIylBl2/?

Thanks for reading! Charlie x

Using the earth as our own sensory wonderland

Using the earth as our own sensory wonderland

As Elijah has gotten older we have tried to incorporate sensory play into our day to day lives. We have started using the outdoors as our play ground more and using natural supplies for both learning and fun. We enjoy going for walks and collecting plants and pebbles for arts and crafts or play.

We enjoy going to the beach and playing with the rocks. We like to build towers with the pebbles, we like to practise writing in the sand with our fingers or sticks. We like to build sandcastles and to dig holes. We like to throw rocks as far as we can in the water. This is Elijah’s favourite activity. We do this all year long even in the winter. We like to collect pebbles to take home with us to paint and then hide on future walks.

On walks we like to gather flowers, we like to gather sticks and leafs. We use the leafs and flowers for arts and craft activities such as sticking them to paper and painting. We often collect pine cones and conkers and use them for sensory play or counting. We also use the conkers to paint with as well sometimes. I like to fill a bowl or tray with flowers and natural things and incorporate Elijah’s toys to them. For example i have often put flowers in water in a tray and filled with some paint so its coloured and got Elijah to explore it. I like to use elijahs tuff tray and pick a theme and add natural items to compliment the play. I.e if i was choosing woodland animals id find all his toys that relate to that so id choose bears, squirrels and deer toys and add sticks, leaves and pine cones.

I like to use water in play. I like to set up a car wash or animal washing stations where i fill bowl with washing up liquid and water and Elijah sits there with a cloth cleaning his toys for ages! We also have a water table which he adores and a sandpit in the garden. He also uses his water and sand table which i often replace the filling to sensory items instead. We like to freeze toys in water and i love to watch Elijah’s mind working trying to get toys out with spoons or by smashing on the ground. You can also freeze flowers also!

We like using sand pits to hide toys or practice scooping or playing with his diggers in. We like using a brush and looking for bigger dinosaurs in the sand. We like hiding toys like a easter egg hunt around the house or in the garden and looking for them and collecting them all up.

You can also give your child a patch of dirt to garden in where they can dig, water and rake. Get them to help watering plants with a watering can. Get them to help plant their plants and seeds. Artificial plants are great for the child who loves to over watering and it teaches them to care for their planet at the same time.

I sometimes use flashcards and books to teach at the same time. I like hiding things in the trays to and instructing him to look for them. He likes digging for dinosaurs in his sandpit and fishing for fish in water with his net. We also hide flowers amongst leaves and fake insects to find.

I really want to get a mud kitchen for the garden for Elijah as i know he’d love it! But i think i’ll wait till hes bored of his kitchen being indoors. Until then we like to use plastic bowls to make mud cakes using dirt and water or we make potions with flowers and water and a little bit of glitter. When hes older i will make perfumes with him like i did with my nan. We used to pick flowers grind them up and place in water to make perfumes. We also look for bugs with our magnifying glass.

I hope you enjoyed my little using nature for sensory play blog post. Comment if you would like more! stay safe, Charlie x

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Hi all as we reach day 2636526 in lock down we’ve been thinking of ways to keep our little one busy and thought why don’t we share those ideas with you. The lovely people at Hartley’s fruit gifted us lots of jelly to share with others what we get up to with jelly!

I know what your thinking jelly? That’s just for eating? Well yeah it’s for eating BUT you can also play with it. You can hide things in it and explore the texture as you try to fish bits out of it! SO if you’re looking for a cheep and easy activity then look no further!

All you need is jelly, you can buy Hartley’s jelly in most supermarkets and corner shops as well as online! Then you can get inventive. I like to set a theme today I used Elijahs little dinosaurs and we had a dinosaur theme. We have previously done jungle animals, the lion king theme and we’ve even used fruit too! If your child is still at age where everything is in the mouth I suggest bigger toys they can’t choke on or cut up fruit!

How to make: Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and when it’s starting to cool out the fruit or toys in. Then when it is completely cool put in the fridge to set for a few hours I suggest a minimum of three hours!

Now the fun part! Get it out and put some old clothes on and get ready to get messy! Get some tools out if you wish, I got a spoon but we’ve previously used whisks, chopsticks and lots more to squish into the jelly.

While your child plays talk to them while they explore. Talk to them about the texture and ask them questions. Ask if it’s squishy? Ask if it’s cold. Ask how it feels in their hands. Talk about how it is cold and how it is wobbly. Talk about what your using to get the toys/fruit out. Count how many objects you remove from the jelly and talk about if they’re sticky or not.

We enjoy getting bigger toys and splashing them in the jelly also! It’s a great play idea which you don’t have to worry about them eating the product!

We find this a super fun idea we play with other children when they come round and can’t wait to do more play with others after lockdown!

To clean up, once all the toys have been removed allow them to eat some jelly. If you’ve made to much save for later in the fridge. To finish just simply wash up as normal and add the toys and utensils to the washing up pile. Remove dirty clothes and wash hands it’s that simple.

Have fun and enjoy yourself! Let’s play with our food that little bit more! Thanks again to Hartley’s for supporting our play today! (The jelly used was gifted).

For more play ideas be sure to check my Instagram play idea highlights where I’ll be adding more as we play! Follow: @lifewiththehazelwoods and tag me and Hartley’s in any jelly play you do!

Thanks Charlie!