The Summer Holidays in Basingstoke with an 8 year old

I was having a cuppa with a friend this morning and we were talking about what to do in the summer holidays and we realised that I know LOADS of things, so thought I would share ;-).

Each week of the holidays I also put together a printed schedule for each week and pin it to a wall, so Miss NHM can see what’s happening for the rest of the week. It shows what we are doing each morning, lunchtime, afternoon and evening.  I find that it stops the “what are we doing today” questions that I used to get all through the summer holidays!! :-D.

  1. Book at least one pyjama day during the summer holidays! If only to “celebrate” not having to do the school run!!!

2. Our local Hobbycraft have FREE craft sessions on a Saturday for an hour in the morning.

3. Go paddling in a local stream 

4. Take a picnic and explore near to where you live. There is something awesome about eating outside. We are huge fans of breakfast picnics for something a little bit different!

5. If the weather is good, go to a local splash park like Eastrop Park or Chineham Splash Park 

6. Find out all of your local parks and go for a skate or bike ride to each one. This post is really good for finding good play parks and parks local to you: Local Parks and open spaces

7. Go Geo-cashing in your local woods. It’s really easy to do. Just download the app to your phone and off you go. It’s a great way to get children outside. Or Pokemon or Harry Potter hunting if that’s your thing ;-).

8. Book up a FREE session at our local Apple store in Festival Place. There at least two sessions every day and more in the summer holidays and they are a great way to occupy your child/children for an hour or two. You need to book in advance though and you have to stay with your child.

9. Boring as it is, school shoes are a necessity if you’re child is in school. I highly recommend Diane at Shoes2Adore on the way to Tadley. But book soon because she gets VERY booked up in the summer holidays.

10. If you’re child can’t ride their bike yet, make a plan to teacher them over the summer.

11. Go swimming at once of our local swimming pools. Lots of them do special deals and/or events over the summer holidays so check out their websites for more information. QMC Swimming pool does really reasonably priced swimming sessions during the summer holidays.

12. Sign up to the Reading Challenge that our local Libraries run every summer. You can sign children up from ages 4+ I think and they only need to read 6 books over the 6 weeks. If they complete the challenge and are at school they get a medal and a certificate that’s presented to them in school. Miss NHM is very proud of her previous reading challenge certificates and medals and it’s been a great way to get her to read more. Popping into the library for an hour a week during the school holidays is also a great time killer!!

13. Take the children to a local museum, especially the Willis Museum as it’s FREE!!

14. Kids cinema in the mornings during the summer holidays at around 10am. Both Vue and Odeon do reduce tickets for “kids Club” and I think it’s less than £2 per ticket.

15. Cash in your Tesco’s clubcard points or your nectar points to do something fun with your children.

16. Find somewhere to visit where the entrance ticket becomes an annual pass. If you buy a ticket to Milestones Museum, The Living Rainforest or the Army Flying Museum the ticket lasts for a year so you can re-use during other holiday times or after school.

17. Check out the “NHM Reviews” page for ideas of where to go and where to visit. Lots of places reviewed on NHM are FREE, although you may have to pay for parking.

18. Check out the Season Tickets to local attractions in North Hampshire – updated 2017 post which lists out local season tickets.

19. Miss NHM loves listening to audio books, so I splash out for the summer holidays and treat her to a new audio book. I buy mine from “The Book People” as they are very reasonably priced and Miss NHM has easy control over which cd’s she listens too.

20. Try “Bored Jar’s” when you are at your wits end!! These posts are tailored to toddlers but you can easily update them for older children.

21. Visit Hampshire Farmers Market. The nearest one to Basingstoke is in Winchester on a Sunday morning.

22. Check out the Nature Detectives website for some ideas of activities you can do outside.

23. Take a walk to Odiham Castle, along the Basingstoke Canal.

24. If it’s windy, fly a kite at Crabtree.

25. Visit a Pick Your Own farm.

26. Go for a day trip to the beach. There is also a great post by NHM Readers of their Favourite local beaches.

At Home

27. Blackberries are now ready in August so make sure you go blackberry picking at some point.

28. I’m planning on trying to drop some food off at our local food bank with Miss NHM.

29. Play boardgames together or try to create your own boardgame.

30. Put the tent up in the garden and sleep in it over night. If you don’t have a tent see if you can borrow a small one from friends and family.

31. This year I’m going to create a “Summer Holiday box” which will be very similar to the “Christmas Eve Box” that I put together every Christmas. Each Monday I plan to fill it with different things, like an audiobook that Miss NHM hasn’t listened too in a while, some party bag fillers that I’ve kept back, sticker books that Miss NHM hasn’t got round to using, some books she hasn’t read yet that have been in her bookcase for AGES, and little things like that which can keep her occupied for a while.

32. Clean a neighbours car in exchange for some money that will go towards charity.

33. Ask your child if there is anything in their bedroom that they no longer need or want as the summer holidays is a great chance to declutter.

34. Something we are going to do this summer is clean out the kitchen cupboards together!!

35. Have a look at Baker Ross for some cheap craft activities you can do together or use something from the recyling bin as a craft project.

36. Create a summer scrapbook where your child or children can write in what they have done over the summer holidays. It will be a great memory for when they are older.

37. Bake some fairy cakes or buy a baking kit such as the ones you can get from local company BakedIn.

38. Ensure you schedule in some “boring” days where you have nothing planned, so your children can occupy themselves for a while. It’s supposed to help with their resilience, although it may drive you batty listening to the “I’m bored” whining <facepalm>!

NHM Readers Recommend: Local Country Parks

An NHM Reader recently asked: “Would anyone be able to recommend some local country parks? We like Wellington but it’s so expensive!” 

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Local Country Parks

Andrea said “All about a 30-50 min drive away. Dinton Pastures, Itchen Valley, Moors Valley, Royal Victoria, all free except for parking.

Clare saidAlice Holt has the gruffalo trail and in the summer  Moors Valley in the New Forest is great for a while day with only parking to pay”

Charlene saidAlice Holt, Virginia Waters

Dan saidFleet ponds is lovely to walk around.”

Sarah saidCalifornia country park just pay parking”

Jo R saidAlice Holt, Bracknell look out (cheaper later in day) outside free. California country park. Dinton Pastures. Frensham big and little ponds. Elizabeth Country Park. Sign up to National Trust for less than £10 a month then go as many times as you can!

Vicky saidSome great suggestions! We went to California country park for the first time in October and we’ll be going back in the summer to try out the paddling pool (think it’s a £2.50 charge for the pool).”

Tracy saidBeale Park season ticket is very very good value!”

Emma L said “Defo Alice Holt and there’s one in Reading Dinton I think”

Rebecca said I love California country park

Aimee saidDinton Pastures is awesome”

Jo W saidVirginia Waters is beautiful”

Alison saidThatcham discovery centre and Charlton lakes are great

Heather saidQueen Elizabeth Country Park in Petersfield. All free exc small parking fee and brilliant. Drive right to the top for excellent play areas and open spaces. And an obstacle course.”

Jenny saidAlice Holt and Dinton both fab – only pay for parking”

Rachel saidDinton Pastures is brill and free apart from parking. Also nature discovery in Newbury which you just have to pay parking for.”

Emma H saidMoors Valley, you just pay for parking. It’s ace!! There’s also one in eastleigh but I can’t remember the name”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Where to Donate Old Duvets

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with a question I had been asked by an NHM Reader: “I’ve 3 duvets (2 singles and a king) all old but still usable. I wanted to donate them for the homeless or shelters but the Salvation Army bins don’t accept them, charity shops can’t take them due to hygiene, I contacted Camrose and they can’t take them as they can’t store them. Does anyone know where I can donate them? It seems a shame to throw them away when they could keep someone warm this winter.” 

Many thanks for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Where to Donate Old Duvets

Vicky said “Perhaps the Popley spotlight centre has a family in need?”

Sarah said “Pets at home will take them”

Rebecca said “You could try emailing the Night Shelter Coordinator?”

Louise said “Dog/cat charities will take them. Also old towels”

Jo said “Try Christ Church in Chineham. They took pillows which is kinda the same thing”

Sian said “Dogs kennels or animal charities”

Susan said “We have an organisation in Dorchester, Dorset Reclaim which helps destitute people set up in homes. They take clean quilts which other charities refused. Is there something similar in the Basingstoke area?”

Kerrie said “There is an organisation in Reading that has a homeless bus that may be in need of support.”

Naomi said “I know pro dogs direct take them”

Wendy said “The Dog Warden used to take them. The homeless shelters only wanted singles.”

Ruth said “I’m pretty sure AWE will take old bedding for their dog kennels, dont know about feather duvets though…what about community furniture?”

Rachael said “Why don’t you ask the homeless direct if they want them?”

Sian said “Julian House is a homelessness charity based in Basingstoke town centre. They may be interested”

Susan said “Try Julian House in Basingstoke, next to the Bridge Centre.”

Sammy said “There’s a lady involved with a night shelter bus, can’t think of her name. She was asking for some last week”

Sarah said “May Place have always taken ours”

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NHM Readers: 7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke with children

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “I’m currently putting a post together with the following subject and wondered if you had any suggestions?: “7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke with children”.”

Thank you for your replies, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend 7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke

1. Local Libraries

Vanessa said “Board games and Lego club at Basingstoke Discovery Centre on alternate Saturdays. Board games this week, Lego next. Lego construction club at South Ham library, weekly on a Tuesday afternoon. Ages 3-12. They also do free crafts on the first Saturday each month.”

Helen said “Go to the library. We have so many lovely libraries and events at them.”

Jo said “Borrowing books from the library…timeless!”

Karen said “Lego Club Saturdays 2pm Chineham library. They do crafts too, I think 1st Sat of the month at 10:30. Library’s, books rhyme time, use the computers.”

  1. Willis Museum

Louise said “The Willis Museum, they always have craft upstairs as well”

Karen said “ Crafts at the Willis museum (donation)”

  1. Basing Wood

Rebekah said “Basing Woods”

  1. Black Dam and Crabtree

Cesca said “Feeding the ducks at Black Dam and then walk over to Crabtree”

  1. Beggarwood Park

Gemma said “Beggarwood Park. Beggarwood is a fab place for using scooters and bikes”

  1. Wyevale Garden Centre

Karen said “Wyevale Garden Centre have turkeys and goats and a fish shop”

  1. Pets at Home

Gemma said “A visit to Pets at Home in Hatch Warren”

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BASINGSTONES: Top Tips

The Basics

All you need to do is paint a stone and write “Basingstones” on it. Then hide it somewhere safe for someone to find and hopefully brighten their day!

If you find a Basingstone, please post a photo of it on our Facebook Group page so we can see how far it travels. Either keep it and replace, or just hide it again somewhere new.

 

The Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/basingstones/ The magic of Basingstones is what happens off social media ie the spending time together, being creative, getting outdoors, sharing and the small acts of kindness concept.

Our facebook page allows the wonderful Basingstones community to come together online to share photos and smiles but it shouldn’t be the focus.  That said, here are a few tips on using the facebook group page:

  • Pinned Post

Please make sure you have a read of the Pinned Post – lots of important information in there!

  • Searching

There is a SEARCH bar which allows you to search out key words in posts – very helpful for when you are looking for a particular post by an individual or regarding a certain topic. Just type the person’s name for example and hit SEARCH.

  • Reporting posts

Please help us to keep the page free of sales posts, unrelated page links and spam. If you see anything inappropriate or disrespectful, please press the three dots in the right hand corner of the post, then select the option to “Report post”

  • Sharing photos

Note that this group is public and can be seen and accessed by anyone, so please be mindful when sharing details and posting pics. Do NOT post photos of other people’s children.

Did you know…?

…there are often competition basingstones for you to keep a lookout for!
Try searching “competition” to see what you could win

…there is a Basingstones Admin photo album for Basingstones news
hit Albums and select Basingstones Admin

…there is a thread to track international Basingstones so that we can see them pop up all over the world! (This can be found in the Basingstones Admin album)

…Basingstones has been on the radio, in the newspaper and even nominated for a community project award!  Check out the Basingstones Admin Album for details

FAQs

Where can I get stones from?

Lots of garden centres and large DIY stores sell big bags of stones/cobbles for about £5.  Locally, you can try The Range, Wickes, Conkers, Home Bargains, B&M, Bunnings and many more.

Taking rocks from beaches is discouraged and you could actually be fined.  Whilst taking the odd stone will do no damage, we don’t want to have a negative impact on the environment.

How should I decorate basingstones?

You can paint the stone however you wish, perhaps with a pretty pattern, a fun cartoon character, an inspirational quote or an artistic design.

Please avoid sticking things to the stones though which could potentially fall off and be harmful to wildlife. We want to be friendly towards our environment and our furry friends too.

What paint is best to use?

Sharpie pens, permanent markers, nail polish, acrylic paints and clear varnish or spray (to make it weather proof) all work really well.

Why haven’t I seen a photo of the basingstone I hid?

There are thousands of group members and hundreds of posts each day. You cannot keep track of them all.  Also, some people may choose not to share their photos or finds online.

Don’t worry that not all hidden basingstones get a finder post – each one makes someone smile and each one is special!

I hope this helps.

Have fun!

Rachel x
Basingstones Admin

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Mums go free this Mother’s Day (2018)!

Looking for somewhere to go with the family on Mother’s Day? Below are a few places offering free entry to mums (when accompanied by a full paying adult or child) this Mother’s Day.

Please check individual websites for full terms and conditions.

Mums go Free:

Finkley Down Farm
Saturday 10th March – Sunday 11th. Offer available online only.

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park
Saturday 10th March – Sunday 11th, see Facebook post for details

Birdworld, Farnham
Sunday 11th March – voucher available on website

Beale Park
Sunday 11th March

Other offers and events

Hawk Conservancy
Mother’s Day Sunday Lunch – pre-booked only

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SNOW!!! Things to do with little ones whilst it’s snowing…

Yay! It’s snowing! I know this is a complete nightmare for LOTS and lots of people but I LOVE the snow so I’m very excited about it, even if we did only last 10 minutes because my extremely strong willed 6 year old refused to wear her gloves and got very cold hands very quickly. Sigh!

I’ve also been up since 6am stressing about keeping everyone updated on which schools and pre-schools are opened or closed so I am exhausted! lol.

You can check on this post for more details about which schools are open still and the times that they close: HCC School Closure Website

Anyyyyywaayy, this is my impromptu list of suggestions of things you can do with your little ones today whilst it’s snowing.

Whatever you end up doing…HAVE FUN!!!!!

Outdoors

  • Make snowmen snowwomen, snowbabies, snowchildren
  • Build an igloo
  • Make coloured ice balls (balloons filled with water and a bit of food colouring and leave outside over night)
  • Snowball fight/gentle throw
  • Sledging
  • Snow angels

Indoors

Other Useful Posts

What would you add to this list?

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Review 2017: Farnham Park and Castle

We were recently on our travels to Richmond for a day out, pretending to be posh. Except we hadn’t realised that the M3 would be closed and would make our journey epically complicated, so once off the slip road we decided to head home and find somewhere else to go.

One of my friends had recommended Farnham Park to me and as it was on the way back I suggested we check it out. It’s about 20-25 minutes drive from Basingstoke. We had a brilliant time exploring just the park. We then went back a few months later with the same friends who took us to the Castle and Miss NHM and her playmate had a fantastic time!!!

Play

Farnham Park has an AWESOME wooden play park. It’s HUGE! We spent about 1.5 hours playing in the park, playing on all of the different wooden structures

We walked for miles and miles and still only did a fraction of the park. We completely missed one of the play parks which is a bit further round from the Wooden play park!

Mr NHM may or may not have played “I’m the king of the castle” on this structure! lol.

Castle

We then decided to go and look at the Castle. The Castle is free to enter but they ask for a donation.

We had a BRILLIANT time in the Castle! I couldn’t believe that it was free entry!

We spent about 5 minutes in the room which explained the history of the Castle. The children were too excited to stay any longer here as they wanted to explore the castle itself.


We did pick up a leaflet which explained “The Keep at Farnham Castle” and gave a short tour of what it all was.

I didn’t get many pictures of the Castle itself because I couldn’t get any without there being someone in it!!! But we spent ages in the Castle exploring and went down into the Central Tower and the Well. The children were fascinated with the Latrines, as children would be! lol.

We were incredibly lucky to visit on a day when the weather was absolutely glorious. As you can see, the views from the castle across Farnham were spectacular!

Tips

You can’t park at the Castle unless you have a disabled badge, so we parked in the car park which said it was for the Golf Course which was about a 5 minute walk away. There is lots of parking and it’s for users of the gold course and the park, but it can get VERY busy after lunch and people park in very haphazard ways, so be warned if you have toddlers who like to run of!!

The steps into the Castle itself are very steep so it’s not recommended to take a pushchair. If you can take a sling that would work although it is possible to park your pushchair down at the main entrance. It is a very steep set of steps into the castle though.

Definitely pick up one of the leaflets which explains where everything is. This helped us to ensure we’d explored everything.

Food

The Cafe is very independent to the point where dogs are allowed in the cafe! It’s like going back in time to 30 years ago when dogs were allowed everywhere! Which I love but I know lots of people won’t.

The price of food is really cheap and it’s very popular so you can sometimes queue for a bit. If you like golf, the golf shop is also attached. I can imagine the cafe being very busy in the summer with all of the requests for ice cream!

Facilities

There are toilets in the Cafe in the park and also really good toilets at the Castle.

Baby Facilities

There are baby facilities but the ones in the Castle are better.

Parking

As mentioned above, there is no parking at the Castle for the general public so you can either park in Farnham and walk up the hill or park in the golf course car park and walk round. You can either walk through the park and then along the castle ramparts to get to the castle or there is a path which is very close to the main road but has a flimsy fence. Keep a very close eye on little people as the cars go really fast.

Prices

It was free to park.

The Park is free to enter and so is Farnham Castle.

Rating out of 5

5 out of 5. Miss NHM and her friend absolutely loved the open space, the wooden playground and exploring the castle. Even better that the whole day out was free!!!

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Basingstones

This is such a brilliant idea!! Well done Rachel for setting this up!!!!

Basingstones

Whilst being away for a few days with the family, we came across a fab craze in Dorset which I think our children here in Basingstoke and Hants will absolutely love.

I have set up a facebook group called Basingstones.

Everyone can join in the fun, young and old, and anyone in between. You just paint a stone, write ‘Basingstones’ on it and hide it somewhere. Perhaps in one of our lovely parks here in Basingstoke, by a bench, under a tree, anywhere you like.

The idea is that someone will find your stone and smile. It may even brighten their day! Hopefully they will post a photo on our facebook group page so we can all see how far our stones travel.

Then our Basingstone finder can either re-hide the stone, or keep it and replace it with a new stone.

You can paint the stone however you wish, perhaps with a pretty pattern, a fun cartoon character, an inspirational quote or an artistic design, for example. Sharpie pens, permanent markers, nail polish, paints and varnish all work really well.

It is encouraging us as a family to get outdoors, be creative and spread some joy.  It has certainly kept us busy and entertained this half term break and without damaging the bank balance.

I hope everyone loves the concept as much we do and gets involved and has some fun.

Enjoy! x

Rachel

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Movin Monkeez free offering

 

Our aim is to get as many children ‘movin’ as possible! Therefore we’re launching a FREE online group for your little Monkeez! Some monkeez have more energy then others and some families like to encourage fitness in a fun way. If you fit into any of these categories then this could be a fab group for you…

Movin Monkeez operates in nursery/pre-schools, infant and junior schools across the UK and we want to spread our love for keeping fit and leading healthy lifestyles.

What do you get:

  • 7 days worth of challenges
  • a secret Facebook support group with video challenges
  • easy to follow exercises that can be done anywhere
  • a downloadable certificate of participation
  • some fun food challenges

If you would like to join then please ‘like’ this post and invite yourself to the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/906722552814968/

The Movin Monkeez team
X

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