Mini Einsteins Update

We have been to  “Mini Einsteins” from the beginning and as the “We are Mini” brand has been launched, I thought that it would be a good idea to do a bit of an Mini Einsteins update. If you want to read a somewhat “serious” experience of our first Mini Einsteins class, you are probably best reading this post (Mini Einsteins – Rainbow Factory)

** This class isn’t being run by the Rainbow Factory at the moment **

However, in a vain attempt to be creative, I thought that I would go all poetic and write about our story so far..

We started in June
going to our favourite science class
We learnt about solids, liquids
and even some gas

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Homemade lava lamp with Alka Seltzer

At first there was just us two,
and a helper with Professor Ellen
We learnt about vegetables, plants
and fruits such as melon

As the group grew,
so did our knowledge
Some of the topics took me
straight back to college

We learnt some long words,
and learnt to predict
We knew that the lesson plans
had been professionally picked

They learnt why things went up
and why things went down
They learnt what would float
and then what would drown

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Taking Mini Einsteins knowledge into nursery

The classes were different
in fact they are unique
I think I’m turning Heidi
into a big science geek!

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Using cabbage juice at home to work out the acidity of items

We have used household items
to blow up balloons
We have used vibrations
to play nifty tunes

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Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

We have tested our senses,
our taste, hearing and sight
The children were blindfolded
to see if they could still write

Joining the class was one of
the best things we’ve done
So why don’t you come along
and join in the fun!

While the post is slightly “jokey” – the class is seriously, seriously good, especially if you are wanting to challenge your child a bit and get them interested in science and generally learning. On the back of this, we have really explored both the activities and sought out some good science museums.

It is pitched at the right level for a to 5 year olds (there is an older class as well) and last for an hour, which is more than enough! The staff are so friendly and welcoming and you never know, you might learn a thing or two as well!!

To find out more about Mini Einsteins and the rest of the “We are Mini” classes, go to http://www.wearemini.co.uk/  or check out their Facebook page (search for “We are Mini”) or Twitter site (@wearemini). I hope you enjoyed this Mini Einsteins Update!!

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Mini Heroes – 2/1/2017

So the turn of the calendar brings with it a new suite of classes held at the Rainbow Factory – under the “We are Mini” banner. We were invited to the “Mini Heroes” taster session and it was the usual Rainbow Factory creativity, mixed with boatloads of enthusiasm and the key ingredient of learning.

** Class is not currently running **

The Mini Heroes activities are sure to be different each week. However, there was a warm-up exercise and a structured walk through the venue solving a problem. Then the group split into 2 and alternated between a craft activity and a couple of physical activities.

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Craft time making a mask and shield!

After that, the group came back together to do the structured task – learning how to use the “999” service. Even though Heidi is 3 1/2 years old, I have been hesitant to teach her how to do this, but seeing how she very nearly got the concept today has given me the confidence to carry on teaching her this. Sometimes these activities are more for the parents benefit to show that their child is able to do them. However, the session is only the start of it, as the “lesson” must be carried on at home for it to sink in!!

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Don’t you hate it when you go to a party and there is someone there with the EXACT same outfit!!

The “learning” themes are focused around First Aid and general life skills. This might seem a bit advanced but at this age, and having seen it in action, it does feel like a perfect time to get started.

While the theme is “Heroes” and staff and children were dressed in all sorts of outfits, there was not one mention by staff of actual superheroes on TV/books. It it was all about what a hero did, and the qualities of a hero. It was good to see the staff not go down the easy or safe route…

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“Apprentice” Superheroes!

As the theme is “Heroes” it does attract itself to boys more than girls. However, there is absolutely nothing gender specific about the session. So even if your child is not into superheroes, it doesn’t really matter.

One thing to note is that there were around 25 children there (it was Bank Holiday Monday). So if your child likes one to one attention (I have one of them!) it might not be totally for them. However, there were 4 staff taking the session, so it never felt out of control.

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Strike a pose!

In terms of age ranges, I don’t think any child under 2 1/2 years old would be able to keep up with the activities or take in the information. However, I’m sure the excellent staff would be able to help out if you drop them an email before booking. It did last 1 1/2 hours which was really good for the older ones (and value for money!). However, you might just have to keep an eye out for tiredness if you have a younger one!

The Mini Heroes sessions are to be booked in advance in 6 week blocks, as are the other “We are Mini” activities. Given the popularity of the taster session, I would book quickly! For more information, please check out the “We are Mini” or “Rainbow Factory” Facebook pages. There are other classes within the “We are Mini” banner, which are available via the above pages.

Full Disclosure 1: We were invited to attend Mini Heroes free of charge

Full Disclosure 2: I was the parent of the only child not in fancy dress – I feel like a terrible parent 😂


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Big Fish Little Fish

So after the preview post here, the debut of Big Fish Little Fish in Leeds finally arrived. Held in the Warehouse nightclub in Leeds, we arrived at 2pm on the dot to find the queue was about 50 deep already . Other were streaming in behind us, clearly not quite knowing where the venue was as it as clearly been a fair few years since we went clubbing!!

A couple of doormen checked people off the guest list and we went in, still not quite knowing what to expect. As we entered the main dance floor, the bar was already busy to one end. As such, we decided to go straight for the face-painters, knowing that the key to a child’s happiness is actually having their face painted! Although the queue was about 20 deep, the two painters were really quick and the line kept moving quickly!

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So now I have a 3 year old with a face of a cat and a dress full of frogs (to go with the animal theme!) we decided not to actually explore, but have a little dance for a bit. Although DJ Mixmaster Morris was a bit late due to train delay, the music still flowed from the Big Fish Little Fish stage. However, the music wasn’t kiddie music, it was normal dance music. It was normal Saturday night music (well, how I would imagine because it has been a while…!)

There was no party games, or synchronised dancing/singing. As a result, you didn’t feel as though you were going to miss anything if you wandered around. This is a bit different to the events that some Leeds based companies hold, so don’t try to compare the two!!

Soon, the human dynamo Verena (because I tried to catch a word with her throughout, but she never stopped working the event!) started the bubble machine down from the first floor, onto the dance floor. The glitter gun followed and this caused great joy for the kids. This was especially so as they seemed to happen every 15 minutes or so!

After a bit of dancing, we decided to explore a little. Upstairs was the chill out area for the babies. It was absolutely lovely up there with soft play for crawlers and a nice quiet atmosphere. Heidi was a bit old for there, which was a bit of a shame. However,it is only fair for the little ones to have their space!!

Hidden away in the basement was the crafts area, alongside a limited number of tents etc for the older children to play in. Crafts with a 3 year old is difficult, even more with upbeat music going on. It was nigh on impossible with dimmed lights on!! How we made our paper plate snake is beyond me. How it stayed in one piece afterwards is another miracle! Maybe the best thing is to  do the crafts bit just before leaving!

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At the crafts table

The final bit of Big Fish Little Fish entertainment were some ice lollies made from real fruit. We had the strawberry one and it was amazing! Probably even more amazing as it was warm in there. There was also a bun stall. We didn’t buy any, but once Heidi saw the buns, her mind was well and truly off dancing!!

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Strawberry ice lolly from “the nice lolly co”

All in all, we were at Big Fish Little Fish for just over 90 minutes. We were pretty tired by then as there isn’t really anywhere to sit down, as the idea is that you do dance a bit! The venue was busy, but not crowded and certainly not dangerous. Too few people and you wouldn’t get a good atmosphere. I did see a couple of babies wear proper ear protectors and that was a really good idea. The music is loud, but not deafening to adults, but for babies, you might want to be safe. I did notice someone checking the volume levels throughout the building, which was a good sign.

The part which I thought long and hard about was the fact that there is a bar serving alcoholic drinks. Obviously with some cultures, this might not sit well. It might seem a little strange that there is a bar and people drinking at an event aimed for 0-8 year olds. However, no-one was getting drunk or even tipsy. Everyone knew that they had a responsibility to their children and everyone elses.

However, the fact that they served alcohol and played “normal” music means that this is an event where you can take your child (obviously!) but invite along a couple of friends who don’t have children and who you don’t get to socialise with enough. The event is certainly more adult focused than child focused and so it is an opportunity to be like a normal adult, whilst taking your child out as well!

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DISCLOSURE.  I have received 2 free tickets for the Big Fish Little Fish event, although had no impact on my views and thoughts


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So there is a new children’s entertainment attraction coming to Leeds this Sunday (11th September 2016), with “Big Fish Little Fish” making it’s debut in The Warehouse nightclub in Leeds.

Already popular throughout many parts of the country, Big Fish Little Fish offers a festival rave experience for children aged 8 and younger, in a 2 to 4 hour event. So what can you expect from a Big Fish Little Fish event:

  • Top DJs playing club classics (DJ Food, The Orb, Tom Middleton, Terry Farley, Hatcha, Mixmaster Morris, James Tec and Nihal have all played)
  • Fancy dress themes
  • Bubble Machines, club visuals, giant balloons, glitter cannons and parachute dance
  • Happy Monkey smoothie craft area with themed crafts, giant colouring mural, play-doh table
  • Licensed Bar
  • Home Made Cake Stall and savouries
  • Facepainting stall
  • Play area with tents, tunnels and inflatables
  • Villa Pia Babies-only chillout safe space with soft mats, beanbags and ball-pool.
  • Free glowsticks and transfer tattoos
  • Baby change and buggy park

For the one in Leeds, Mixmaster Morris is the guest DJ and the (optional) fancy dress theme is Animal Fantastical so there will hopefully be Lions and Tigers and Bears….oh my! on show!!!

It will be interesting to see how they make a traditional nightclub into a child friendly venue and manage to entertain the sell out crowd for 2 hours. While the Animal Fantastical event is sold out, the next event in November is already on sale, here and so you might want to consider buying now, given that this initial event sold out with over a week to go.

Mobile reception permitting, I should be live tweeting (tweeting at an animal theme event, ironic!) at the event so feel free to follow me @leedsdad or use the hashtag #bflf or #bigfishlittlefishevents and feel free to include me in the tweet! You can follow Big Fish Little Fish on Twitter @BFLFevents

For those lucky enough to have tickets, hopefully we’ll have a good time, and for the rest, feel free to check out social media to see how successful the event is.

DISCLOSURE – I have received 2 free tickets to cover this event, although this will have no impact on my views and thoughts


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Thackray Medical Museum

With both the Teddy Bear Hospital and Peso from Octonauts making an appearance at the Thackray Medical Museum, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to take Heidi for her first visit there.

Heidi is obsessed with all things medical. While I thought that it might be a bit scary to see all the medical instruments, balancing it up with some child specific fun would be ideal. She already knows that she wants to be either a doctor and a radiographer. If anyone has a spare x-ray machine laying around, it would make a perfect Christmas present!

Teddy Bears Hospital

Thinking that the one-off events would be popular we headed off upstairs to put our name down for the hospital. This this was a wise move! While the allocated time is 30 minutes for each session, we were one of the last ones to leave. Here, you can get your little one dressed up and perform all sorts of medical tests and procedures on your teddy bear. Just don’t forget to bring one!

As you can see, Elmo was in his bed and had a blood transfusion. He also had an x-ray (absolutely brilliant!) as well as medicine, injection and a bandage. Whilst there are helpers, it is a parent led session. As a result, you do have to roll up your sleeves and help with the diagnosis and treatment! We play doctors all the time, and it was good to get a few different ideas, as well as play dress-up! This was only £2 and was well worth the money!

We then ventured to the meet and greet with Peso. This was a bit of a fleeting visit for us as while there was a craft activity to try, neither of us are particularly skilled in it. There was a projector showing a loop of Octonauts which was of much greater interest! Meet and Greet is at certain times, so it might be an idea to ask at reception so you can plan your time.

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The Museum

So onto the Thackray Medical Museum itself. The first thing to actually say is that it isn’t a child specific museum. Some bit might be a bit scary or not overly appropriate for toddlers. However, you can quickly bypass those areas without problem.

The top floor isn’t “hands on” and this caused Heidi some confusion. Try telling a 3 year old that they can’t go onto an operating table! However, it only takes a couple of bits to spark the imagination. For us, it was the x-rays (obviously!) the dentist/false teeth as well as the child birth section.

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However, downstairs is much more child friendly. There are lots of little games/puzzles, hands on exhibits as well as the story of food going through the body. I mention this because there was a piece of rope the length of the intestine and it was somewhat difficult to explain the concept to a toddler!!!

Also downstairs is some more dress-up clothes as well as a lovely little exhibit showing what happens to the spine when you move while sat down. If we did this again, we would do downstairs first before a bit of tiredness set it. This is understandable as we were there for almost 2 hours.

Facilities

In terms of facilities, whilst Thackray Medical Museum is on a couple of floors, there are lifts so it is pushchair friendly. There is also a cafe, although we didn’t visit the toilets so can’t comment. The entry fee covers entry for the entire year so you don’t feel as though you have to cram everything in. As car parking is only £2, it makes for every cheap return visits!

The next Teddy Bear Hospital/Octonauts at Thackray Medical Museum is on Thursday 25th August 2016 so try and make your way down there!!


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Dadstastic!

Fathers Day 2016 was the inaugural Dadstastic event organised by Leeds Dads, headed up by Errol Murray, held at Leeds City Museum. I hope that it is the first of many more to come!

The event was celebrating all things “dad”. However, very little was “dad” focused. It was child focused, which is exactly how it should be. Hopefully mums felt as welcome as dads.

The event was also celebrating all that is good about Leeds (and the surrounding area) in terms of children’s entertainment and activities. When you look around, and hopefully my blog backs this up, Leeds has some wonderful things for children to get involved in. It should be something the city is proud of.

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In fact, one bad thing about writing this is not being able to link everyone in who made it a success, so please use the comments section! Truth be told as well, we were there for 3 hours and didn’t get round to most of what was happening. That shows how much there was going on at Dadstastic!

The Activities

Our little plan initially took us to a Frozen singalong with Suzie Sparkles aka Elsa. Now, I am very lucky as we have never seen the film. This meant that we were at a slight disadvantage! However, Elsa was wonderful with the children, young and old, and the ample distribution of lollies also helps! Even pass the parcel was a success with no-one getting upset over not being able to win!!

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After that we had our face painted (well, Heidi, not me!) and whilst challenging them by asking for a ladybird, it looked lovely and even Anna seemed impressed!!! What was also good was the fact that there was a number of face painters so the queue wasn’t long!

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So after a quick lunch stop, we went to the fabulous Boomchikkaboom. I have written about the fabulous times we have had with Faye and Natalie on numerous occasions (for example here), but they are truly brilliant.  However, Heidi seems to have been going to too many of their events as she seems to want to run the class!! The class was so good, we even had bubbles and foam. However, we did find out foam and face paint don’t go well together!!

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Straight from there we headed off to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance class. This class was a bit too energetic for all the parents sat on the side, as we were all every tired at this point!!! The teacher, Sam, was really good at involving all of the children, be they 2 or 10. I thought that Heidi might be a bit too young. However, it was ideal, except the fact that she can’t balance on 1 foot!!!

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A Dadstatic End

That took us to the end of the Dadstastic event, except for a big group photo to finish. All in all, nearly 2,000 people were in the museum on Fathers Day, which is amazing. The cafe ran out of most food, and there was lots of happy yet tired faces leaving the museum at the end of the event.

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Obviously, if Dadstastic happens in the future, please support it. It is a wonderful event, set up by a great set of dads, with the support of local organisations.  I am pretty sure the country hasn’t got a similar event and that alone makes it special. The fact is was held on Fathers Day was the cherry on the cake!

Continue reading Dadstastic!

Mini Einsteins – Rainbow Factory

** This class in not currently being offered by the Rainbow Factory **

An unexpected day off during the week perfectly coincided with the Rainbow Factory holding a day of taster sessions for their 0-5 year old classes that they are starting to put on from June onwards. As Heidi is not attending nursery, preschool or anything like that, I felt as though it was a perfect opportunity to spend the day at ‘Rainbow Factory School’ and see how she would get on.

We signed up for 4 classes: Mini Einsteins, Fantastic Phonics, Music Monkeys and Theatre Tots and while I was fearful that Heidi would flake out after the first 2, I thought that we would go for it!

Our first class was Mini Einsteins and as we entered the Rainbow Factory itself, we saw the mini (cute) lab coats hung up, which was such a nice touch and made it feel a bit more special.

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Proud to be a scientist!

As it is aimed for 3-5 year olds, I knew Heidi would be a bit stretched (she is 3 next month) but actually, she managed to understand most of what was going on, and more importantly, has learnt and remembered as time has passed.

Heidi is a bit of a scientist anyway (see this post about our visit to a Science Fair) and so I thought that this would be ideal for her – and it was! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the session was basicially a big science experiment, just like you did at school. Part of me thought that it would be too complex, but perhaps I am doing the kids a bit of a disservice, as they seemed to grasp what was going on.

Even though the class wasn’t marketed as messy, the lab coats were definitely needed and I am  glad that I brought the wet wipes and not the best outfit for the pair of us! However, the experiments were so simple and effective, I know that we will be trying a couple at home at some point. In fact, I have seemingly hammered home the fact that items fall because of gravity!!

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Testing out gravity

And that is the beauty of this class, the learning only starts in the class, you need to carry it on at home for it to have an effect. Even though I am writing this a week or so after, after a prompt, Heidi remembers the experiments, remembers the outcomes and remembers some of the terminology.

It is a shame that I don’t think that we will be able to attend the classes on a Friday as I know that it would really help Heidi’s development. It just means that I will have to buy a home science kit and try not to ruin the house!!

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Creating a volcano

If you have read this and know nothing about the Rainbow Factory (aka the best place in Leeds!), you might find this post useful.

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Top 5 Parks in Yorkshire

Now that summer is apparently here, I thought that it would be good to share some thoughts as to some of the best parks in Yorkshire.

Yes, some can be a bit bare and a bit run down, but there are a few diamonds out there. These allow for a lovely way to spend an hour or so in the sunshine.

Wilton Park – WF17 8NN

A (very) local one to me with a standard playground at one end. However, when the cafe opens at the other end, there is a boatload of outdoor toys to play with for the children. In between is a lake where on weekends you can watch model boat enthusiasts navigate their boats on the water.

On weekends, there is usually an ice cream van and a land train. As the cafe has recently been renovated, the facilities are top notch. If you fancy the half mile walk up a big hill through the woods, there is Bagshaw Museum (free) which will entertain for an hour.

A word of warning, the hill is very steep and not the easiest for little legs or pushing a pushchair (I know from personal experience!). Parking can get problematic at weekends and so you’re best using the car park at the “playground” end as it is easier to park in there although getting back out to the busy Bradford Road is often a challenge!

Valley Gardens, Harrogate – HG1 2SZ

This is probably one of the best pure playgrounds in Yorkshire, with relatively new and diverse equipment and enough to go round as well. Perhaps more suited to school age children, there is plenty of space within the playground and the gardens themselves to allow children to run free.

Parking tends to be an issue as it is pretty much in the centre of Harrogate. When we went, the toilets were closed. However, when the kiosk is open, you can play crazy golf and there is an open paddling pool for the summer months.

We tend to park in the centre of Harrogate and walk to the gardens. On the way back, stop off for a bun or two before heading back home! I would recommend the world famous Betty’s tea room, although may not be the best with a toddler!

Pudsey Park – LS28 7RR

The actual playground is pretty run down and not the best at all. However, the small animal enclosure is a little unusual but nonetheless worth the trip.

There are quite a number of small animals to look at. Whilst you can’t touch them, it is all indoors so you can enjoy in the relative warmth. It is free as well so it is well worth a trip out, even if it is to talk to the birds in the enclosure!!

The park itself is quite large and flat and the paths would be ideal for learner cyclists or scooterists. Free on street parking is available and there are nearby shops as well. Just don’t build up your hopes for the playground…

Manor Heath Park, Halifax – HX3 0EB

A lovely park hidden away even though it is just a mile away from the town centre. Quite a large playground but a large sand/water play area which means that it makes the list. Just make sure you take a spare set of clothes!

Toilets are not the best but there is a butterfly/tropical enclosure within the park for a bargain price of £1 each. This doesn’t get nearly enough publicity as the larger Tropical World in Leeds. As it is much quieter, Manor Heath is a much more enjoyable experience and much better value for money.

There is plenty of free street parking and lots of open grass to play and have a picnic. Also, there are a couple of beautiful gardens as well, just vary it up a little bit, in case the little ones are interested in natural habitat.

Wharfe Meadows Park, Otley – LS21 2BH

Situated next to the River Wharfe, this is a large playground with cafe and a short walk into the town. Free street parking is available albeit a squeeze at times. However, there are plenty of playground toys to play on, especially for the older children.

As it is so large, there is no fencing surrounding the playground so you need to be careful a little and keep your eye out. However,  the paths are ideal to practice cycling. As it is next to the fast flowing river, there are plenty of ducks there to feed as well!!

The short walk into the town is a must as well, to see life at a somewhat different pace!!

I am sure that there are other parks in Yorkshire that I have missed so feel free to add a comment and I would be more than happy to include it on an update!

Continue reading Top 5 Parks in Yorkshire

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

So spring has finally sprung and leapt into summer and with a free Saturday morning, we thought that enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. As a result, we went to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, for a Teddy and Friends Adventure.

The Farm

As we have been to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm a few times, it is probably a good start to talk about the farm itself first.  The farm is not massive and with a toddler, it will probably take an hour to go round. As you can imagine, it is pretty much all outdoors. As a result, you need to be prepared to the weather and as some of the paths on the outer fields are grassy and hilly. Taking a pushchair can be difficult! However, there is enough to see without going to these parts.

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Sheep!

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is a charity and so there isn’t the same mindset as some attractions. This can be seen by the low prices that it charges for entry. However, there is a shop and cafe to allow you to financially support the farm if you are able to.

In terms of animals, there are the “Old McDonald” type of animals – pigs, sheep, cows, chickens etc. If you go at the right time of year, you’ll see the lamb enclosure and you can get really close to them. Unfortunately, I was unable to get good pictures of the lambs. This was because Heidi wanted to play Hook-a-duck (not with a real duck!)

I don’t think we have had to use the changing facilities, but we have used the cafe and it is quite child friendly. I would have no problem going there if I wasn’t taking Heidi!  There are plenty of hand washing stations as well, which is obviously very important when dealing with animals.

Teddy and Friends Adventure

However, the real reason we went to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm on this occasion was the Teddy and Friends Adventure. This was planned, organised and run by some Leeds Beckett Entertainment Management students. They were: Anna Bowlt, Molly Moore, Olivia Griffiths and Orli Lewis. We didn’t really know what to expect, given that the adventure trail sounded cryptically interesting. There were less cryptic activities including arts and crafts, face painting and penalty shoot out competition.

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The flyer as seen on Twitter

We paid our money and given an activity booklet with a crossword in it, and the farm was littered with questions to fill the crossword.  The questions were at a good level so that a 2 year old could answer them verbally. However, an older child would be able to answer and write the answers in the crossword. I have to confess that I had to google one of the questions!

The activity booklet also had an anagram puzzle to work out the name of the bear. The farm was again littered with random letters and they made up a name. This one was good so that the children could practice the letters and the adults could spend a few minutes trying to work out the answer!

There was no map or plan to follow, but the farm isn’t big enough to go too far wrong. There were bear paws printed along the way so you knew where you were going. It also led to an inspired bit of parenting, with me leading Heidi in singing “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”. This probably annoyed everyone enjoying a quiet Saturday morning!!

Activities and Games

After completing the trail, we had a go at the “Guess the Name of the Teddy” game, as well as having a go at the Hook-a-Duck where we won some lollies! Because Heidi has a crazy fascination for face painting, we headed inside to get her face painted. You can see the excellent result below!

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Heidi Tiger!

Actually, it was really good that we headed in as in here was a beautiful cake stall, although after the lollies, we avoided more sugar!. There was also a tombola and arts and crafts table.  The reason why I said it was good that we headed in was that there was so many helpers (clearly wearing Leeds Beckett hoodies!). It was so good to see pretty much one-to-one interaction on the crafts table, which is perfect. Obviously, I don’t know how things went in the afternoon, but as we came and went, the car park was full. It was clear that the event was well supported by the public. However, it didn’t feel busy, or crammed.

Hopefully this kind of event will happen again at some point at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, as it was really good way to spend the morning. It clearly it brought many more people into a hidden Leeds attraction with really good ethics. A win-win for all concerned!!

Continue reading Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Swithens Farm

A bright and dry spring Sunday took us to Swithens Farm near Rothwell to spend a couple of hours with the farm animals!

Getting there via the M62 is relatively easy although there is a long dirt track which makes you wonder if you have gone wrong somewhere and doesn’t do anything for the car’s suspension!

Swithens Farm is such good value for money (£3 adults, under 5’s free – prices in 2016). Because of this, I would certainly recommend buying a small bag of carrots (30p!) to take round and feed the animals with. It is a good way for the animals to get close up to the children!

The Animals

It took us about an hour to go round all in all and there are cows, calves, goats, sheep, lambs and pigs all in their pens, but they are all wanting to be stroked (or are they are the carrots?!). While you have to be careful with them as you would with any animal, there isn’t anything to be particularly scared about.

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Friendly cow

We also saw some lambs wandering amongst the visitors which was lovely for the little ones. However, I’m not sure if they were meant to be loose! Given the time of year (and good fortune with timings) we also had the chance to bottle feed the lambs. This is such a fun toddler experience to have!

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Ready to bottle feed the lambs

Facilities

There is also a climbing frame, trampolines and bouncy castle included in the cost as well as a couple of pay attractions (hook a duck, roundabout and mini golf) The trampolines have seen better days but given that it is outdoors, to be understood. I wonder if the animals go on there!

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Heidi on the roundabout

Afterwards we went for a drink/ice cream and we managed to get a table just before 12. However, it was packed by 12 o’clock both to go into the farm and to order food so it might be an idea to avoid that time. We didn’t have any food but the full English breakfast looked amazing! There is also an indoor play gym that you can pay to go in, but Heidi was exhausted at that point!

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Loose lambs!

Just a word of “warning”; the farm is a working farm and so it does get muddy and cold. Dress appropriately and perhaps leave the buggy in the car, especially if it has been raining. The hand washing stations were difficult to find as well so if you find one, use it!

All in all, it was a lovely hour or so at Swithens Farm and brilliant value for money. This is especially compared to some of the other farms in the area!

Update: I knew I had forgotten something! The cafe has a really good baby changing room in the disabled toilet. Lots of room and the changing pull down mat looked in good condition so would have no problems using the facilities there.

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