41 activities to conquer boredom

I need my days at home .. even more so now that Ive got two boys that run in different directions! Last year I made a ‘busy box’ for MiniMalik, the idea being that I had inspiration for fun activities he could do, that I usually just forget about.

Sometimes its the simple things he wants to do, sometimes he wants more involvment from me, but we got to decide that together.

P_20140201_145523It works like this, he brings me the busy box, and asks if we can pick one. I quickly flick through and remove all the activities that we cant to do for whatever reason, or I just cant face doing! He then still has a MASSIVE choice to pick from.

With any luck what he’s chosen will keep him busy for days … or not!

Some of these you wont have in your house, some will require a trip to the shops. If you have everything you need already (Everything is store cupboard ingredients, I dont rush off to the shops unless its an EMERGENCY!) then it means more choice for your Mini.

Its all in pictoral form, with suggestions and hints for me. I often write on the cards new ideas that i’ve had for next time!

 

As the boys and I work through our busy box, I’ll be posting here with pictures and then will update the downloadable file, to make it a bit more aesthetic!

 

1) superhero city. MiniMalik loves to fight the bad guys and throw them ‘into the lava’, so we get out the blocks and build a mini city for the bad guys to rampage in! You could create any kind of scenario for your mini, the key is to spark their imagination and then let them take over.

2) puzzles! Who doesn’t love a good puzzle, even a fidget like MiniMalik easily gets engaged, and loves the success of having conquered the challenge.

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Download a printable version of all 41 ideas here!  busy box

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Eden: Paradise

Eden had been on my to-do list since I was 14, so to finally get a chance to go was amazing! It lived up to all my expectations, my only regret was that we went so late in the day, that we didnt get to see as much as I wanted to.2013-12-28 14.34.05 The car parking was really acessible and easy, but it also looked very easy to get to by public transport too. We took my elderly granny with us, and hired an electric wheelchair (Pre-book!), so we were able to move around really easily. Our first stop was the rainforest. It was AMAZING! Ive been to a few indoor butterfly farms, so I was familiar with the concept, but to see such mature plants in their (almost!) natural habitat was fabulous. We got to go right up to the roof and look down from a lookout tower, its well worth the queue, but my legs were a little wobbly for a while afterwards, so allow yourself some time to recover from the altitude and humidity! There is lots of walking involved, so bring drinks and a picnic. There is a big food court on the ground level of the domes, with lunch, hot drinks and ice cream. Make sure you try the ice cream, its made from ingredients growing inside the domes, its delicious! 2013-12-28 17.26.33 There is a free cloakroom for coats and bags, but its unattended. There is also a center devoted to hands on activities for the little ones, but we didnt make it that far.

The whole site is buggy & wheelchair friendly and unacessible routes are marked out on the map. The only thing that you CANT do with a buggy was go right up to the roof top in the rainforest dome.

Museum of London: Docklands

We found it!

We found it!

I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest of places to find, but the Museum of London Docklands is worth the visit. The staff have done a great job making the museum interesting and accessible to all ages, including that all-important under 5 set.

When coming by underground be sure to exit Canary Wharf station from the west exit. We didn’t and probably added at least 5 minutes to our walk. If you are taking the DLR the Canary Wharf station is much closer.

The first item on our Pigeon Sheet.

The first item on our Pigeon Sheet.

The museum has a variety of activities aimed at little kids. They provide explorer bags for 2-5 year olds (they were out the day we went), “pigeon” sheets, and the very cool mudlarks.

The pigeon sheets were a big hit with MiniMalik and Beans. They were laminated sheets of paper with a pigeon on one side and six pictures on the other. The pictures were of six items to be found throughout the exhibit. We only found four on our trip and Beans has made me promise that we’ll return so that we can find the other two. We’ve found similar sheets at other museums and I think they are a really fantastic way to get pre-readers involved and interacting IMG_9089with the exhibit. At the Museum of London Docklands Beans and MiniMalik were looking at all the displays and engaging with them, a lot more than they would have without these sheets.

When you go, make sure to book a spot for the mudlarks. The Mudlarks is an interactive room and soft play. Sessions are 45 minutes long and free.  There’s information about the different imports, ropes to pull, water to play in, and blocks and cranes to play with. IMG_9090

We packed a lunch, but there was no obviously marked picnic area within the museum. We did find some tables and chairs outside the front though. Eventually MrsMalik noticed that there is a picnic area in the basement, but it was also labelled as weekend use only, so be aware of that. There was a lovely cafe with a good selection of kid food on the main floor and a nice looking restaurant attached to the museum as well.

All in all an enjoyable way to spend a rainy day.  There are lots of interesting sounding events coming up throughout the summer including a 1940’s playground, a pirate peg how-to and Reclaim IMG_9102the Streets (a weekend long art project to decorate the quayside). I hope to return for one or all these events.

Kit list:

Packed Lunch

Sense of adventure

A bit of money for a lovely cup of tea.

 

Streatham Kite Festival

Thanks to the wonderful British Summer we’re having the Streatham Kite Festival was postponed from its original date in April to June.  We were grateful though, since it made a wonderful day out for Father’s Day. IMG_8988

It was a bit rainy and dark when we arrived, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. There were gigantic salamander and alien kites featuring in the main arena when we arrived and there were several dotting the skyline from the hill behind. The first thing we did was take stock of the various tents. There were a few selling kites (of course), a face painting tent (at a steep £5 per face) and many food tents. Beans immediately gravitated to a kite tent and picked out a pretty butterfly kite.

We didn’t have a lot of luck keeping it up in the air for an extended period of time. IMG_8934But we had a lot of fun trying. When we weren’t failing at flying our kite Beans loved watching all the other kites and guessing what they were. We saw seagulls, octopuses, dragons, bats, and many many more. There were also some shows in the main arena including a very talented man who made three kites dance through the sky all at once.

Even though the aromas from the food tents were quite tempting, the rain was beginning to fall a bit more heavily; so we chose to head across the street to one of the many restaurants across from the common. The Waterfront restaurant was very cleverly advertising 2 pizzas for £15, and we weren’t the only family taking advantage. IMG_8948

The sun came out while we were eating, so we headed back to the festival. The playground at Streatham Common is absolutely brilliant, with climbing frames for all ages (including one in the shape of a rocket ship) and a sunken cement pool that several children were kicking footballs in.

I highly recommend this festival and we’ll definitely be returning next year!

IMG_8964Beans loved running around with her kite.

Sprout loved watching her.

Beaniemum liked seeing all the kites.

Beaniedad liked flying a kite with his daughter on Father’s Day.

Kit:

Picnic and picnic blanket

Kite

Snacks

A bit of cash for ice cream

Our To-Do list

So, here is a little list of the places we are intending to visit over the next few weeks and months;

List

Battersea zoo

Battersea arts centre

Hayward gallery

Hempstead heath

See the London Gun Salute

military museum, chelsea

singing lift at the back of the royal festival hall

london transport museum

discover in stratford

 

Got any other ideas? Places you’d like us to check out? Let us know!