Things to do/Places to go with a baby when it’s raining

Claire sent me a message asking me if I could do a post on things to do with babies in the rain: ” I’m finding it hard when the weather is bad to find things to do that are baby friendly and fun for me? ”

Great suggestion for a post, especially with the weather as it is! Hopefully this is helpful!

Check out this post first: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/activities/baby-classes/

Visit a local Children’s Centre

I recommend checking out the classes that are available at your local Children’s centre. We did a Baby Peep class and Baby Massage class and they were both brilliant.

The classes are also nearly always subsidised, so if money is tight, these classes can be a blessing! You normally don’t pay over £1.50 per class and some are even free.

Many centres (like, Octopus, Honeycomb and Pebbles) also have play areas that you can just turn up to. You don’t need to book these facilities and can just turn up when the centre is open. Many have facilities where you can make yourself a cuppa for a nominal fee and also have breastfeeding and bottle feeding facilities.

It costs nothing to use these facilities and your little ones will love the new toys they can play with. You will also probably meet at least one other Mum.

Softplay

Softplay – Bouncing Tots and Active Tots have areas for small babies.

Swimming

Swimming – Basingstoke Sports centre has a small pool that is kept at 32 degrees and open between 12 and 1.30 on a week day and is an open session.

I would also check out the QMC pool as we swam in there last year and it was really warm! Also check out my recent review of Basingstoke Aquadrome.

Pots2Paint

Pots 2 Paint – Viables Craft Centre

A great way to get some special Christmas (or birthday) presents done. Handprints or footprints of your little one whilst they are tiny, will be treasured forever!

Baby Massage Classes

We did a baby massage class through our local children’s centre and I really enjoyed it. It was a great opportunity to bond with my daughter when she was tiny.

There are also several Mum’s in the area who run their own Baby Massage classes. I posted a list of them recently HERE.

Find some Mummy friends!

There are lots of Mum groups in the area who are on Facebook.  It’s a great and easy way to keep in touch. If you are feeling a bit lonely, then post something up and you will be overwhelmed with the response. You can find some of these groups HERE.

North Hampshire Mum’s are VERY friendly and supportive :-D.

Grab a coffee and cake

There are LOADS of little cafe’s in the area which are very supportiive of new parents. My favourite for new parents is Elm Tree Garden centre (which I haven’t been to for ages!) which even supplies wet wipes in emergencies!

I also really love the Parlour Tea rooms, but it’s very popular now (for a good reason!) so you need to book in advance. It can get VERY busy.

A new tea shop has also opened out on the way to Tadley, The Curiositea Room, which I hope to check out soon as it looks lovely! I still haven’t been to the Tea Bar at the top of town either, which looks lovely too!

Go for a walk

Yes, I know it’s raining. Sometimes though, it’s just good to wrap up and get out of the house. Put the waterproof cover on the pushchair and just go out of the house and get wet. It’s not going to hurt either of you to get some fresh air, just make sure your baby is well covered.

We love Basing Wood and the Lime Pits (as I’ve raved about before!) but there is a great list of local walks suitable for pushchairs HERE. You can also see a reviews I’ve done recently on Alice Holt and Farleigh Mount.

Go (window) shopping

There are lots of local independent shops in the area. You can find a list of them HERE.

Also, you can’t go wrong in Festival Place. It’s mostly covered and sometimes it’s nice to just wonder around or people watch.

Debenhams cafe has a bottle warmer and microwave if you are weaning.

Classes listed on NHM that are suitable for Babies

Monday

BuggyFit, 1pm, Basing Wood.

Caterpillar Music  11am, Wellington Country Park, Riseley – Includes free hour in the park. (See my review of Wellington Country park HERE)

Coffee Afternoon 2-4pm – FREE wireless internet available, Sherfield Park Community Centre.

Monkey Music Basingstoke and Alton, Christ Church, Chineham

Sing Along and Smile, 10am to 11am, Sherfield Park Community Centre.

Tiny Talk – Baby signing class. St Michael’s Church cottage, 11am to 12pm

The Nest, Christ Church, Chineham

Tuesday

Caterpillar Music, 10.30am onwards, Christ Church, Chineham. (See a previous post about this class HERE).

PlayDays Parent and Baby Club, 10.30am to 12.30pm, (term time only)

Newbie’s cinema at the Odeon 10.15am. 0 -24 months

Active Tots, up to 18 months only 2 – 4pm. Don’t forget your socks! (This session is postponed during July and August)

Gym Mini’s, 3 classes: Early years’ (crawling to 2 yrs) class at 9.40 am; 2 to 3 year class at 10.30 am; 3 to 5 year class at 11.30 am. Hook Community Centre, Ravenscroft, Hook, Hants, RG27 9NN

Wednesday

Tiny Talk Baby Signing Class, 10:00am – 11:00pm, Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG24 8LT

FitMama and Baby Ballet, 10.30am, Crawlers to 3yrs, The FitMama Studio, Stroudley Road, RG24 8UP (Term time only)

BuggyFit, 1pm at Sherfield Park Community Centre

Gym Mini’s, 3 classes: Early years’ (crawling to 2 yrs) class at 9.40 am;  2 to 3 year class at 10.30 am; 3 to 5 year class at 11.30 am. Four Marks Village Hall. Lymington Bottom. Four Marks. Nr. Alton. GU34 5AA

Thursday

Teeny Tiny Tots, 2pm to 4pm, Active Tots, Bramley. up to 18 months only 2 – 4pm. Don’t forget your socks! (This session is postponed during July and August)

Jelly Babies Swimming at Tadley Swimming Pool

Friday

Basingstoke Mumbaba  Fridays 9.30 & 11am at Christ Church, Reading Road in Chineham.
£3.80 per family session.

Bump into Mums, 10am to 12pm, Sherfield Park Community Centre

NCT Bumps and Babes, 10am to 12pm at Brookvale Hall. You don’t need to be an NCT member to attend. Costs £2 which includes drinks and cake.

BuggyFit, 10.30am, Basing Wood

Places to Go

This is actually a tough one. Especially when it’s raining. These are some of the places that I went too when I had a small baby, that I found were supportive of Mum’s with tiny ones.

  • Milestones Museum
  • The Vyne – although watch out for the gerriatrics who can get upset over buggies being in the way :-D.
  • RHS Wisley Gardens – yes, this is a bit of a trek, but they are very baby friendly and even have a discreet baby feeding area in their main restaurant.

Do you have any other suggestions for new parents who want to get out and about with their little ones when it’s raining?

Related Links

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

9 Things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

NCT Groups Re-launch in Church Crookham and Elvetham Heath

Victoria sent me a message via the NorthHantsMum FB Page, asking me to let you know about some new groups that are being re-launched in Church Crookham and Elvetham Heath:

Bumps, Babies and Toddlers Stay and Play sessions will be:

Every Wednesday, starting October 2nd
9.30-11.30am @ Wild Rose Children’s Centre
Tweseldown Road, Church Crookham, GU52 8BW

Every Thursday, starting September 26th
2.00-4.00pm @ Turners Wood Children’s Centre
Turners Way, Elvetham Heath, Fleet, GU51 1GX

Full details can be found on our facebook page ‘Hants North East NCT Branch

24 things to do during the summer holidays with young children in Basingstoke

This is an incredibly long overdue post, but as it’s the last week of the school holidays you might be desperate for some inspiration, so I thought I would post it up anyway!

Many of these suggestions are free!

1. Swim in an outdoor pool.

You could investigate rivers, reservoirs, lakes or canals with towpaths as this will be a new landscape for your child to take in, e.g.:

Fleet Pond

Frensham Ponds

Basingstoke Canal

Lido’s in Hampshire

Splash pools

Or you could just play in the water at Festival Place (the big green phalic things!! lol) or check out the baby swimming pool and the stepping stones in Eastrop Park.

There is also a new splash park which was opened in May 2016, near the Spotlight centre. We are hoping to visit it soon!

2. Walk through the Woods

A trip to the woods can also be exciting – see the woodland trusts nature trails for inspiration – or bike rides. Don’t forget to check out my Basing WoodFarleigh MountBasing Lime PitsMicheldever Wood and Alice Holt reviews.

3. Visit an Ice Cream shop

We have some friends who live in Birmingham which has a fantastic ice cream parlour in the city centre. We always make a trip here, as the children really enjoy it. It’s become a bit of a tradition.

Sundaes Gelato is in Basingstoke and is perfect for an ice cream or sorbet!

4. Fly a kite

Crabtree has to be the best place for this in Basingstoke.

5. Pretend to be a pirate

My little one is obsessed with pirates at the moment. When she’s bigger, we hope to take her to the Historic shipyard in Portsmouth.

She was christened on HMS Victory, so I want to see if they have finally sorted out her plaque!

6. Play ball games

I never realised how much fun you can have with a football till my little one started kicking one!

7. Go on a bear hunt (or a Gruffalo hunt if your little one has read the book)

We are very lucky because we live very close to some little wooded areas which are perfect for bear hunting.

If you don’t live close to some wooded areas, have a look at this post HERE.

8. Go to a Country show

You may be just in time for the New Forest Show this year (it was in July), but maybe something to think about for next year.

It’s a great opportunity to see shiny tractors, lovely animals and yummy things to buy and eat. Or check out some other country shows that are coming up HERE.

9. Go to the Zoo.

Marwell is probably the closest zoo to us, but I went to London Zoo in April 2014 when she was three years old with my little one and can thoroughly recommend this too. Just don’t walk it from Waterloo like we did!

10. Sleep under the stars

We are going camping next weekend and I’m looking forward to doing this!

11. Build a sandcastle or have a sand Castle Competitions

Fleet Pond

Frensham Ponds

Or go to the Beach! The Nearest “Beaches” to Basingstoke are Fleet Pond on the way to Fleet and Frensham Pond, just past Farnham. Otherwise, head to West Wittering, which is great for toddlers.

12. Run through the sprinkler

Not particularly environmentally friendly, but great fun!!!

13. Create your own perfume

I was obsessed with doing this when I was about 8 years old. All I needed was a jar with a lid, some water and a rose bush. My poor parents had to clean out the remnants! lol

14. Roast some marshmallows

“Burning Nights” are a big thing in our house. We have a chiminea and Miss NHM loves it because we can roast marshmallows over it. We recently learnt something new about counting to “50” after you’ve roasted your marshamallow to ensure you don’t get burnt.

15. Go on a train adventure

For a proper train adventure, check out the Watercress Line or Exbury Gardens and Steam Train. Otherwise, just a trip from Basingstoke to Winchester or Farnborough will probably be exciting for little ones.

16. Rainy day card making

Click HERE for some ideas

17. Explore art and music

There are lots of music classes in the area or maybe just a trip to the Anvil or the Haymarket will be inspiring.

18. Learn a new language

Borrow some books in a different language from the library. There are even children’s books in different languages at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre.

Or maybe investigate Linguatastic, the local language school.

19. Fruit Picking – Local Pick Your Own’s

Check out my previous post on local Pick Your Own farms HERE.

20. Climbing Trees

Basing Wood is perfect for climbing trees.

21. Painting Rocks

I want to do this next year with my little one, as I think it will make less mess then! lol.

22. Have a BBQ

You can’t beat a BBQ in summer! Check HERE for a previous post about outdoor BBQ facilities in the area.

23. Daisy Chains

All you need is an area with daisies in. Hours of fun!

24. Go to a farm

Try Finkley Down Farm, Miller’s Ark, Manydown and Bucklebury Farm.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Review 2013: Birdworld

Birdworld

Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LD

(near Alice Holt. See my review about Alice Holt HERE)

Play

We went to Birdworld at the weekend and took one of our friend’s 8 year old and 5 year old with us. We had free children’s tickets that we won at auction for the “Forget Me Not Baby Angel”  charity event in May, so wanted to cash these in.

It took us 35 minutes to get too from Basingstoke and we went via the M3 and Farnham. You can also get to Birdworld easily from Basingstoke via Alton.

There are essentially three parks at Birdworld: Birdworld, Jenny Wren farm and Underwater world. We went to all three parks and our favourite was the Jenny Wren farm, mainly because the children were able to handle some mice and baby guinea pigs! Even the stroking of a python didn’t beat the handling of the mice!

In Birdworld I liked that you could go into some of the enclosures and see the birds up close. We managed to get a good view at the Penguin feeding but most of the penguins were moulting so there weren’t that many on display. We then wandered down to the Pelican feeding which was fun to watch.

We spent a lot of time at the feeding station, watching how the food was put together for the birds, as my little one was fascinated with this. After lunch we headed to the Jenny Wren farm and I was hoping we would be able to get into the Heron display, but we missed it by two minutes as the mice handling was more interesting! lol.

We had the most fun in Jenny Wren farm. The two oldest children loved sitting on the tractors and my little one loved being able to get up close with the rabbits in their enclosure. She also enjoyed seeing the chicks that were on display.

On the way out of the park, we also really enjoyed the peacock walk and the willow maze in Birdworld. The children spent about 20 minutes chasing each other around in the maze and there was a bench nearby so we could watch them having fun safely.

The two older children loved the play areas, especially the 7-14 year age appropriate play area. They spent ages trying to ring the bell at the top of the climbing poles.

We went through Underwater world on our way out. It took about 10 minutes, as the children were getting very tired. Be warned that the tanks are high up, so if you have a little one, you will need to carry them through Underwater world.

Tips

When you go through the entrance, ask for the children’s competition questions. Unfortunately we weren’t automatically given these, but they did help with keeping the 8 year old entertained. There is also an alphabet to look out for, which kept the bigger ones engaged.

Follow the signs for “Suggested route”. This route gives you the best view of everything that’s available.

If you want some peace and quiet, head to the Peacock walk. This was empty for the whole 30 minutes we were in it. There is also a secluded bench which would be great for breastfeeding.

Food

We took our own picnic, so I can’t comment on the food. They did have a good deal of two hot meals for £10 which looked very reasonable.

The picnic area was in a good location and had a play park next to it. Just watch out for the wasps from the bins.

Facilities

Seemed good on the whole. The gardens were exquisite and we spent some time smelling all the herbs that were in one of the herb gardens on the way to the Penguin Tank.

Baby Facilities

Weren’t great. My husband did the nappy changes that day and he said that the nappy changing room was grim. He liked that there was a step in there for the little ones to get to the sink though. However, he said the nappy changing room was so grim, that we did eau natural changes outside for the rest of the day!

Parking

Is free!

Prices

Are expensive (aren’t they all!). I was very surprised with how expensive it was, considering what was on offer.

In summer, an adult is £15.95, a 3-6 year old is £12.95 and a 7-15 year old is £13.95. A family pass is £49.95.

However, under 3’s go free!

Rating 4 out of 5

We had a nice day out, but I did feel we had to string it out with lots of time in the play parks onsite. Plus, given how grim the baby changing area was and how expensive it was, I think 4 out of 5 is a fair rating.

Related Pages

Previous Reviews

Review 2013: Alice Holt, Farnham

We had lots planned for the Easter weekend, but didn’t do any of it because my little one had a stomach bug. We’ve been trying to make up for it since then and been to quite a few places. So I have lots of reviews coming up over the next few weeks. Hope you find them useful!

Alice Holt

I’ve been to Alice Holt several times, but not with a couple of toddlers in tow. We went to Alice Holt when my little one was a few months old and it was great to get some fresh air and go for a big long walk. The paths are suitable for most pushchairs, and a couple of routes are designated for wheelchair access.

We parked in the first car park on the right (the one most people initially park in) and went for the walk that was on the right. It’s between 1 mile and 1/5 mile. I think we did the 1 mile, which both toddlers coped with. There were some wooden scupltures and a picnic bench at once point, the toddlers played with the sculptures as they were tactile sculptures. Then further around the walk were several bivoacks made out of wood. We had much fun going in between these. One was supposed to be for wheel chair access, but it didn’t actually look accessible. Great idea though!

We went on a Friday, so it wasn’t very busy and we didn’t see anyone else on our walk. However, I’ve been on a weekend and it can get very busy in the car park, so either get there early, or continue past the first car park and park in the second car park which is behind the new toilet block.

It took us about 30 minutes to get there from Basingstoke, and we went through Farnham rather than the Alton route.

Alice Holt: Wooden Huts

Playarea

Was AWESOME! I wish we’d had play areas like this when I was little. The two wooden houses were fantastic, but without doubt, the pirate ship was the BEST!

Alice Holt: Pirate Ship

Food

The food was excellent. I was really impressed. Definitely worth the money. It wasn’t too expensive either, for what it was. There were a couple of “healthy” options for little ones too, not just the standard sausage or fishfingers or chicken nuggets with chips.

There are lots of picnic tables around Alice Holt and we saw several groups of Mum’s with their babies, out for a picnic and some fresh air. This would be a great place to meet with a group of ante-natal or post-natal friends.

Parking

Is quite expensive for what it is, BUT you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, so I don’t mind paying it. It’s £4 for 3 hours parking, which was enough for us, with a walk around the forest (with two toddlers and a baby), some time in the play area and lunch.

Facilities

Were excellent. They’ve just built a new toilet block which was obviously in really good condition. The baby changing facilities were excellent and everything worked as it should. There is also an information block attached to the new toilet block, but it hasn’t opened yet. You can also hire bikes, including the trailors for little ones. Go Ape is also available here.

Rating

4.9 out of 5

(We would have given it 5/5 if the pirate ship steering wheel actually moved! But then we realised this would be a really bad idea from a Health and Safety perspective, but still!)

Related Posts

Review: Kids ‘n’ Action, Soft Play Centre, Winersh Triangle nr Reading

Review: The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire

Gym-Mini’s

These classes look so much fun! I just wish I didn’t work Monday to Thursday otherwise I would totally be taking up Shelley’s offer for NHM Readers! See further down the post for the exclusive offer for NHM Readers.

My name is Shelley and I run Gym-Minis (www.gym-minis.co.uk) which holds fun balancing, climbing and agility sessions for children from crawling to 5 years all over North Hampshire and has done since 1992 (gosh that’s a long time) !

We currently run classes during school term time in Basingstoke, Hook, Crondall and Alton. There are three classes each morning to cater for children from ‘crawling’ to 5 year old, each class lasts approximately 45 minutes.

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The classes begin and end with a song or rhyme and the children move around the equipment in small groups forming ‘trains’ to move from one station to the next. At each station they encounter a new challenge, learn new skills and will have the opportunity to explore balancing, climbing and agility using our colourful and safe equipment. The ‘floor equipment’ section helps with co-ordination skills and introduces them to simple games.

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All of the classes encompass tasks to encourage Agility, Climbing and Balance, Co-ordination and Self-confidence

The equipment used allows your child to experience all manner of actions, such as rolling, climbing, balancing, jumping and a variety of floor exercises. The layout is altered regularly to provide new challenges.

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Over the years thousands of children have enjoyed our fun filled classes helping them to develop lifeskills, agility, social skills and confidence. If you have a look at our facebook page we have got lots of lovely testimonials from our past and present Mum’s and some photos of the action at the classes! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gym-Minis/439707346074833#!/pages/Gym-Minis/439707346074833

We run classes on the following days/locations:

Mondays –  Chineham Village Hall,  Thornhill Way, Chineham, Basingstoke, Hants, RG24 8YE

Tuesdays – Hook Community Centre, Ravenscroft, Hook, Hants, RG27 9NN

Wednesdays – Four Marks Village Hall, Lymington Bottom, Four Marks, Nr. Alton, GU34 5AA

Thursdays – Crondall Village Hall, Croft Lane, Crondall, Nr Farnham, GU10 5QG

We have two classes each morning with the equipment arranged to suit the age groups:

  • Early years’ (crawling to 2 yrs) class at 9.40 am
  • 2 to 3 year class at 10.30 am

Each class is set up for specific age groups and the child’s parent is expected to work with their child until the child is three years old.

  • The ‘early years’ class which caters for children from crawling to 2 yrs allows the children to explore the equipment in an informal session and includes group rhymes and songs.
  • The 2 to 3 year class is a little more structured and the tasks a little more adventurous. The children work and play in small groups (max 6) with their parent and a trainer to help and assist.

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We also offer wonderful exclusive children’s birthday parties during the school holidays or at weekends where we will come out to a location of your choice and setup the equipment for the party for your child. Please let me know if you would like any further details on these.

So why not come and give us a try…we guarantee they (and you) will enjoy it and make lots of new friends! We would like to offer all northhantsmum readers their 1st session with us completely FREE (you must be a new mum that has not been to Gym-Minis before, sorry)!

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Spaces for all classes are limited and we do have waiting lists for some of them so please get in touch ASAP if you would your child to be put down (even if they are too little at the moment we can put them down for future ones).

Please feel free to email or call me with any enquiries:

shelleykerr@btinternet.com

01420 562461

or visit www.gym-minis.co.uk for further information on us.

I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you soon 🙂

Shelley x