Crystal Palace park – The maze

Despite having been to this park more times than I can count, we only made it to the maze very recently. Possibly only because we set out specifically to find it, and im glad we did!

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There are markers set out around the paths that you find to help you on your way – the different symbols of the girl guides. Not that it stopped us running round in circles!

I was on the verge of giving up, and was trying to find a way out, when I discovered a new path that (finally!) took us into the heart of the maze.

Its great fun! Mini Malik and I raced round the different paths, taking turns to find dead ends and find the right way, while MrMalik trailed behind as MicroMalik was in the buggy.

DONT take your buggy! The paths are loose pebbles, so it’s a pain in the bum!

When you finally get to the center, the maze is mapped out on the floor with the different marker stones and is a great place for a picnic.

Alternatively, you could go straight to the center of the maze first, through a special gate that you’ll see as you enter the maze. The center is a lovely place, very peaceful and quiet.

Hyde Park: Isis Education Centre

On a sunny Wednesday the mobile mama’s headed into central London for the Isis Education Centre’s Discovery Day.  Throughout the summer the Education Centre has open it’s doors and provided free entertainment for young families.

IMG_9514The Isis Education Centre is located in the heart of Hyde Park,  and provides a natural oasis in the centre of London. They have been running “Discovery Days” this summer, inviting families to come in for Arts and Crafts, mini-beast hunting and plant “identifying.

IMG_9515The building itself is a lovely example of environmentally responsible architecture and the staff and volunteers are wonderfully welcoming. We started by making bee puppets and painting ladybird and butterfly pictures, before heading out into the garden for some mini beast discovery. The staff had set up several plastic containers with various wee creatures in them, but the part both MiniMalik and Beans enjoyed most was the bug habitat. There were several logs to look under and magnifying glasses were provided. One lucky girl found a toad (less lucky for the toad). We all got a good look at it before it was whisked away by a staff member to keep it safe.

IMG_9522 IMG_9519 IMG_9518The gardens surrounding the centre are full of herbs, flowers and trees. MrsMalik and I had some fun identifying the plants for the kids. There is also a gorgeous pond filled with interesting wildlife: newts, sea snails and slugs were all spotted.

IMG_9526After exploring the centre we had a picnic on the grounds of Hyde Park and then walked to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. We let the big kids splash around while Sprout napped and MiniMalik people watched.

The Isis Education Centre has several different events throughout the year. Check out their website  for more information.

Sydenham wells park: Fabulous play fountain

It was a beautiful day, so the Malik family decided to head for some water. I had been told that Sydenham Wells had a play fountain, so we went to check it out.

We set up our picnic under a mature maple tree and attempted to persuade MiniMalik to eat some picnic before he went off to play!

Its a lovely park, with a playground with a good variety of play equipment and water play fountains. I had the foresight to pack swim kit for MiniMalik, so he played all afternoon in his trunks!

There is a good sized playground, lots of grass and shady trees, an under 5s park (which didn’t look great), bits of cultivated garden and a putting green and nature area which we didn’t go to.

As we were leaving we realised that we couldn’t see MiniMalik … He had taken off his trunks and was playing naked on the swing!

Apologies for the lack of pictures, we were so busy having fun that we forgot!

Folkestone: Tunnel slides by the sea!

I decided that we should make use of the beautiful weather and head out beach wards, so on a recommendation to me by my local mum’s Facebook group, we went to Lower leas coastal park because her daughter raved about the slides for weeks!

Car parking was good, great access to the play park from there.

The playground was really good, caters from babies right up to pre-teens, with slides, sand, climbing walls, a pirate ship, those little diggers that you sit on and move the sand around (Mr Malik liked those! And he went down the slides several times!)

The seaside was lovely too, mostly pebble with patches of sand. Mini Malik put on his swim suit and went straight into the sea! We brought our beach tent, but didn’t put it up as there was no wind at all. There was a little sandpit further up the beach, perfect for building sand castles.

The little cafe was lovely too, with chips (Pretty cheap!), ice cream (Not so cheap) and the usual seaside delicacies.

If you are desperate for a decent play area, with a dip in the sea as an added bonus, then this is the place for you! Also, if you’re holidaying in the area, then pop it onto your to-do-list.

Mini Malik also raved about the ‘Tunnel Slides’ for weeks!

For a kit list, see my previous seaside post – here

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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.

 

Princess Diana Memorial Playground & Fountain: A visit to Neverland

To celebrate the last day of half term, and the glorious sunshine, micro, mini and I headed off to Neverland … Or that’s what I told mini malik!

When we arrived at the gates and we were buzzed through to the playarea (The security is AMAZING!), the look on mini malik’s face was of pure delight as he realised he could be Captain hook on a real boat (He had pretended to be Captain Hook for the entire journey and several days before hand)!

Nature area, Princess Diana memorial playground

The princess Diana memorial playground must be the ultimate playgroud. With a play ship complete with climbable rigging, wheel and galley set in a giant sandpit, an area with tepees, musical sensory garden, raised walkway with slides, water play, toddlers section, forest areas and more that we didn’t explore!Princess Diana memorial playground

You WILL be on your feet chasing your children around, so wear some comfy shoes. A lot of parents were trying to follow older children whilst carrying younger ones and pushing a pram … that’s no fun. I wore Micro Malik and had our belongings in a granny trolley so I could easily follow Mini Malik around. If you must take a pram, then bring a rucksack for precious belongings and abandon your pram in a quiet corner (Not with children in it!), or use a bike lock to secure it.

The toilets are within the compound, but the refreshments aren’t. There is a kiosk just outside selling ice cream, food, drinks etc with a good number of picnic benches.

There is a fair amount of grass for picnicking, but nowhere near enough seating. So if you struggle with being on your feet for a long time, I’d bring a little camping stool.

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Princess Diana memorial playground

It’s a bit of a trek to the fountain, about 15/20 mins walk at the pace of a 3 year old. Mini Malik moaned all the way that the batteries had fallen out of his tummy … You just follow the ‘princess Diana trail’ markings in the pavement and it takes you straight there.
However it was worth dragging him there when he realised what he was allowed to play in! I had remembered to bring his swimming shorts, so got him changed and set him loose. Micro Malik and I set up under a shady tree and had some nappy free time whilst Mini did laps of the fountain.

If the teeny ones want to splash around too, then the pool at the bottom is ideal!

Its also right by the river where they do pedal boats and a ‘solar cruise’ and has its own car park.

There was a little kiosk selling drinks and food, I didn’t look for toilets but I have a feeling there were probably some close by!

Count of the day: 3 children in pirate costumes

Kit list

Picnic blanket & food

Drinks

Bucket and spade

Towel and swim gear

Money for tea/coffee and ice cream

A book/knitting

Comfy shoes

Waterproof suncream