Toddler Games: Making Gloop!

This post is for Jo who thought I said “Goop” and then thought I was best friends with Gwyenth Paltrow because she has a blog called “Goop” :-D.

I’ve been wanting to do this for ages with Miss NHM, since before she was born! I can’t even remember where I first found out about Gloop, but it’s such a simple idea and a very cheap activity.

What you will need

1 cup cold water

2 cups corn flour

Random buttons

Making the Gloop

Slowly add one cup of water to two cups corn flour in a bowl.

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Stir until the water is absorbed by the corn  flour.

Add buttons. Fishing buttons out of the gloop is great for your little one’s fine motor skills.

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Miss NHM played with the Gloop for about an hour. We had a brilliant time playing with it and fishing the buttons out added another dimension to her interest.

Tips

Go to the toilet before you start. I didn’t do this and spent most of the time playing, wishing I had gone beforehand! The thought of leaving Miss NHM on her own or trying to get her to stop playing just wasn’t an option!

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Don’t use fabric buttons like I accidentally did. Duh.

Do this somewhere that you don’t mind getting dirty. We found the kitchen was the best place. I probably wouldn’t do this in a carpeted room.

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You can also step it up a level by adding either food colouring or food essence. We might try this next time.

Also, if the weather is nice next time we try this, I will try this outside.

Let me know if you enjoy this activity as much as we did!

Related Posts

Toddler Games: Coloured Spaghetti

Review 2013: Lakeside Country Park

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Lakeside Country Park and Steam Railway

SO50 5PE

Lakeside country park is opposite the entrances to Southampton airport.

I’ve been to the airport several times but had no idea that the country park was next door! I had no idea what to expect but we had a brilliant day.

Play

The train was AWESOME! It’s 1.5 miles long, with a stop half way round.

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We nearly missed the stop as we weren’t originally going to get off. I’m so glad we did as we went to the play park .

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The play park has a funky seesaw and very cool climbing frame that we had to convince the toddlers they were too small to climb on!

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The stop has several picnic tables, and would be a great place to watch the trains and have a picnic.

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We sat and watched a couple of trains, after the play park and waved at everyone (most of whom waved back!) and the driver even tooted his horn, which the children LOVED.

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We walked across the trail rack and went for a short walk around one of the Lake’s. I’m not sure the fishermen were too happy at two very loud toddlers, but we had great fun spotting mayfly and ducks.

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We got the train back and went through the coolest tunnel!! It was much longer than I expected.

051We also spent time spotting the many cows in the country park.

Food

Really impressed. In the style of a railway cafe and they had several high chairs.

The food selection was very reasonably priced and much better than I expected. The staff were also very friendly and used to dealing with families with small children.

It also helped that it was next to the Station, so when the children needed distraction whilst waiting for their food, we could go and look at the trains.

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Baby changing facilities

I totally forgot to check these but my friend used them and told me that they were in good condition.

Parking

Is free!!! There’s lots of it too. Don’t park in the first small car parks on the right. Drive up to the station (slowly as there are picnic benches right next to the road) and park in this car park. Otherwise you have a three minute walk.

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Prices

You don’t have to pay parking to use the Country park but if you want to use the Steam train it is:

£3.50 per adult

£2.50 per child (2 to 15 year olds)

You can also buy first class tickets, but we enjoyed having the wind in our hair!

A First Class Carriage

You can also buy three ride tickets for the price of two, but these are valid on day of issue only.

Tips

I would recommend the park for children between the ages of 2 years to 6 years old.

Get there early, when the park opens at 10am and you beat the mid morning rush.

They do Days out with Thomas which are a lot cheaper than The Watercress Line at Alresford.

They are also doing “Santa Specials” which look brilliant!

Rating 5 out of 5

We had such a brilliant day out and for such a reasonable price. Everyone was very polite and seemed to really enjoy what they did, which really helped.

We loved that everyone was friendly and everyone waved back at us, including all of the other people at the park!

18 Places that will host a Children’s Birthday Party

I’ve only hosted one birthday party for my little one, so clearly I haven’t been exposed to how these experiences can “escalate”. So, as I’m still green behind the gills with regards to parties (Goody bags? Have I not spent enough already?!?!?!) I’ve put together a post with a list of places that will host a birthday party for your little one.

I will be publishing a post next week that will look at cheaper ways to host a children’s birthday party. So if you are looking for birthday party inspiration, check out next weeks posts.

If you are planning a children’s party any time soon…Good Luck! 😀

1. Lymington Sea Water Baths – Pool available to hire for children’s birthday parties. (probably better for a summer party 😉)

2. Little Nellies Diner (was Nelsons Diner) – on the way to Newbury. (They do AWESOME milkshakes!). Minimum £8.95 per child but they can tailor depending on your budget.

3. ActiveTots – Bramley. Minimum £8.50 per child.

4. Intech Science Centre – Winchester (How cool would it be to have a birthday party in a Planetarium!)

5. Play Days – Basingstoke

6. Fun House Basingstoke – Soft Play

7. Basingstoke Sports Centre  (Is it sad that I remember going to a birthday party was at the Sports Centre some 30 odd years ago. Wow. How ancient am I? It was a wicked party though! lol) 

8. Finkley Down Farm – Andover

9. Queen Mary’s College: Our swimming pool is available for hire, and for children’s parties, throughout the year.

10. Bowling Alley, Leisure Park

11. Pizza Hut Parties, Festival Place or the same Business Park as ToysRUs.

12. Pots2 Paint, Viables.

13. Beale Park, Pangbourne, Reading

14. Jakes Indoor Softplay and mini farm, Sandhurst.

15. Birdworld, Farnham

16. The Hawk Conservancy, Andover

17. Atmosphere Trampoline Park

17. Any suggestions as I ran out of ideas!!! (Check out the post below with a list of 6 ‘extra’ places to host a children’s birthday party)

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Lido’s in Hampshire

This week’s theme is “Outside” so there will be a few blog posts about things to do outside. Apparently the weather is going to improve towards the end of the week. Fingers crossed!!

I found most of this information at: http://www.lidos.org.uk/. Does anyone else remember when the Aquadrome was Westfield Lido and you could run down the hill, where the bowling alley is now? Or perhaps I’m showing my age 😀

I’ve not been to any of these so apologies if they are no longer open. Might be something a bit novel to do with the children when the sun is shining!

Hampshire

Petersfield Open Air Pool

Heath Road, Petersfield, Hants GU31 4DZ
Telephone: 01730 265143

This is an open air heated swimming pool. The pool is open from mid April until the end of September each year. The pool also has a springboard with a 3-metre deep end and has evening sessions.

Lymington: Seawater Baths
Bath Road, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 3RU
Tel: 01590 674865

This is the second largest straight sided lido in the UK, an unheated sea-water swimming pool.

Aldershot Lido
Guildford Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 4BP
Tel: 01252 323482

The pool is very large, with extensive shallows for children to play in, a diving area and exciting water slides. There is an adjoining main 25m indoor pool, an additional teaching pool, plus a 24,000 sq ft gym.
The Lido is open 10.00am – 7pm, May to September – though off season it is used by a canoe club.

Berkshire

Newbury Lido
Northcroft Leisure Centre, Northcroft Lane, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 1RS
Tel: 01635 31199

This is a heated lido and there is also a 10m heated outdoor baby pool.

Hilsea Lido
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO2 9RP
Tel. 023 9266 4608
or 023 9282 3822 [Victoria Swimming Centre]

Outdoor unheated pool, with adjacent children’s paddling pool.

 

8 Reasonably Priced Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

Sometimes I really miss the lifestyle I had before having a family. Specifically the spontaneity of being able to eat out. We still try to eat out when we can justify the cost, which is why I’m always looking for cheaper places to eat that don’t mind children and won’t break the bank. Let me know if there is a restaurant or cafe that I’ve missed!

1. Debenhams Restaurant

There is a baby room next to the Restaurant. They also offer a special children’s menu and provide baby food and bottle warming facilities, free bibs and wipes.

The restaurant is open until 8pm most week days

2. Olivers Fish and Chips

They have an early Bird Deal at the moment.

The restaurant is open every day until 10.30pm, but check the website to confirm this.

They do have baby changing facilities and colouring and crayons for bigger children. Maybe a place to visit if you are lucky enough to have a night out alone with your partner/husband.

3. The Trawlerman, Chineham Shopping Centre

(Couldn’t find a website)

4. Marks and Spencers Cafe – Chineham

Please see a previous post HERE for details about the cafe at M&S in Chineham.

5. Sainsburys Cafe at Hatchwarren

The restaurant is open until 8pm every day except Sunday. However, I think they stop serving hot meals at 7pm.

6. Festival Plaice

I haven’t eaten here and I’m not sure if they have baby changing facilities or are very children friendly.

7. Nando’s

Open until 11pm most nights and has baby changing facilities.

8. Pizza Hut

There are two Pizza Hut restaurants in Basingstoke, one in Festival Place and one near Toys R Us. They seem to have a pretty good set up for children although I wonder how healthy the meals are.

Great Picnic spots in Basingstoke

Following lasts week’s post about Great Picnic spots near Basingstoke, I’ve put together my highlights of places to go for picnics in Basingstoke. Have I missed any?

Don’t forget to check out this post: Great Picnic Spots near Basingstoke.

Basing Lime Pits:  The Common opposite Basing Lime Pits

Carpenters Down/Basing Wood

Crabtree

Eastrop Park

Wootten St Lawrence Park

Odiham Castle

Basingstoke Common

Zebon Copse

Beggarwood

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Bookstart

Bookstart is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible.

Bookstart gives the gift of free books to children at three stages in their early life, along with guidance materials for parents and carers.

The scheme enjoys sponsorship from around 25 children’s publishers, Red House Books and government funding via the Sure Start Unit.

Bookstart Book Crawls

For children aged 0 – 4 years old.
You will be given a collector’s card when you join the Book Crawl and a sticker for the card each time your child visits the library.
When your card is full your child will qualify for a Bookstart Book Crawl certificate, which may be presented at a special event.

Rhymetimes

Fun and free Rhymetimes for babies, toddlers and their parents or carers are organised in many libraries around the county.  They aim to encourage parents and carers to share action songs and rhymes with babies from birth onwards.

Luxury Afternoon Tea in Basingstoke

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For those days when you really need spoiling! These are some ideas for Luxury Afternoon Tea in and around Basingstoke.

Audley’s Wood Hotel

Alton Road, Basingstoke, Alton, Hampshire RG25 2JT

At Audleys Wood Hotel we delight guests with our traditional afternoon tea in Hampshire. What better place to enjoy this fine tradition than in the grand drawing room of this historic country house. Gaze out the ceiling high windows whilst savouring each of our carefully prepared cakes, dainty sandwiches and the finest leaf tea, served to perfection.

  • Full Afternoon Tea costs £15.50 per person and Cream Tea costs £8.50 per person.
  • Upgrade to a Royal Afternoon Tea and enjoy a glass of Champagne for £24.50 per person.

Tel: 01256 817555

The Four Seasons Hotel

Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 8TD

Located in the Manor House, The Library has been restored to its former glory as an elegant, beautifully appointed residents’ lounge. Decorated in warm earth tones, The Library boasts an abundance of lush armchairs, supple sofas and coffee tables for relaxation and luxury.

  • Traditional afternoon tea, The Library’s speciality, is served daily from 3-5pm.

Tel: 01252 853000

Tylney Hall

 Rotherwick, Hook, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, RG27 9AZ

Cream tea £15.00 per person –  Scones, preserves and tea (available Monday to Friday)

  • Full tea £22.00 per person – Sandwiches, cakes and scone (available Monday to Sunday)
  • Champagne tea£30.00 per person – Sandwiches, cakes, scones and a glass of Canard Duchene (available Monday to Sunday)

Afternoon tea is served from 3.30pm until 5pm from Monday to Saturday and from 4.00pm – 5.00pm on Sundays.

Tel: 01256 764881

Oakley Hall

Rectory Road, Oakley, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG23 7EL

Afternoon Tea served between 2pm and 5pm, seven days a week, either on the Garden Terrace or in the Library.

  • Afternoon tea is priced at £17.95 per adult and £8.95 for children.
  • Full Afternoon Tea with a glass of Reynier Champagne £26.95 per person.

To Book please contact reception on +44(0)1256 783350 or reception@oakleyhall-park.com

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