10 things to do with the kids in North Hampshire and Surrey

  1. Gruffalo Trail at Alice Holt Forest
  2. Ceramics Cafe Farnham
  3. Gravity Force Trampolining
  4. 360 Play Farnborough
  5. Coral Reef Bracknell
  6. Aldershot Lido
  7. Birdworld
  8. Hampton Court Palace
  9. Chessington World of Adventures
  10. Farnborough Vue

1. Gruffalo Trail at Alice Holt Forest

Alice Holt Forest is situated in the South Downs National Park which spans a vast area covering Hampshire and Surrey. Alice Holt itself is local to Farnham, a mere 15 minute drive from the centre of Aldershot, and is FREE OF CHARGE! That’s right! You can spend the entire day there and the only money you will spend is for parking and petrol.

Alice Holt boasts a fantastic wooden play area, bike hire and trails, walking trails (including the infamous Gruffalo Trail), and GoApe! for the older kids. We have been many times to Alice Holt and never grow tired of it!

2. Ceramics Cafe in Farnham

Whether you have little babies doing handprints on plates or older children, a quiet afternoon of pottery painting is a great way to spend time with the family.

Ceramics Cafe in Farnham is situated less than a 5 minute walk from a large car park (next to Sainsbury’s) and is in the centre of Farnham, which is a beautiful place to visit in itself. There is a £2 session fee on top of anything you paint, and the pottery prices are very reasonable. The staff are always on hand to help, and they will happily cater for parties too!

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table and food

3. Gravity Force Trampolining

This fantastic trampoline park in Camberley is where we have spent many a weekend morning!

Gravity Force have a brilliant timetable which caters for all ages, with dedicated sessions for younger jumpers and a family jump session which makes it much easier to have fun with all of the family. We love it there so much that we’ve been annual pass holders since last summer, for the very good price of £8 per month. This park also hosts Gravity Fit sessions and they have a holiday club for older children!

4. 360 Play in Farnborough

This is more than just a soft play… This is an M&S soft play… KIDDING OF COURSE!

But this soft play is really something else. It is absolutely huge for a start, and there are loads of different areas and activities for the children to do. The staff are very safety and security conscious and you have a photo ID card so that they know exactly who is in the building in case of any emergencies or lost kiddies! (Not that we have ever had to seek assistance for this, thank lord!)

360 Play is a hidden gem in Farnborough, just past the Sainsbury’s in the town centre. They have a carousel, a dressing up area, a huge soft play structure for the big kids, and smaller soft plays for toddlers and babies. They have also begun Gymfinity clubs there which are gymnastics and ninja classes for children of all ages – we are trialling those very soon and can’t wait to bring you a review!

5. Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell

This one is a bit further afield, but definitely worth the travel! Coral Reef is an amazing indoor water world famous for it’s slides. Again there are lots of different areas in the pool for children of different ages. They often have a professional photographer there too to capture pictures of your babies’ first swims!

Just up the M3 and probably a half an hour / 45 minute drive from Aldershot, this is a brilliant day out for the family. Booking in advance is usually recommended as it can get quite busy, but equally if you arrive for when it opens you won’t end up queuing for too long either.

6. Aldershot Lido

Following on from the swimming theme – Aldershot Lido is a great local day out and a fantastic way to cool off in the summer sun! It’s also relatively close to Aldershot Park so you can combine the fun!

Tickets are half price after 3pm if you don’t get there until later in the day.

7. Birdworld in Farnham

You will drive past Birdworld on the way to Alice Holt Forest – it takes about 10 minutes in the car to get there from Aldershot town centre.

Birdworld often have special exhibits and events on during school holidays, and military families may be able to secure a discount on entry! Speak to your local welfare service if this is you. You also have the opportunity to feed the penguins which is just amazing!

8. Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a bit further afield, based in Moseley, but a truly wonderful day out with the family. The Palace itself is magnificent, and the gardens are an extra something special!

Hampton Court Palace’s Magic Garden is a wonderful area for the children, and the Palace itself hosts lots of extra events such as music festivals and outdoor cinemas throughout the summer months!

If you are a member of the Historic Royal Palaces Society you can visit Hampton Court Palace (and the other 5 palaces that are included in that membership) for free, but otherwise tickets are free for under 5s and roughly £10 for children up to 15 and £20 for adults. There is also car parking nearby (just across the road from the main entrance), and the whole palace is quite accessible if you’re having to lug a buggy around with you!

9. Chessington World of Adventures

Again a bit further afield, but where we are we are lucky to be living on the doorstep of this and other incredible theme parks! I would say that without any horrendous traffic we live roughly half an hour away from Chessington, which of course boasts a children’s theme park, a SeaLife centre AND a zoo!

It’s no wonder that many of the families living in Aldershot invest in Merlin passes while we live so close to Chessington and other Merlin attractions. Chessington however is the best one for young families as the rides accommodate a range of age groups. Our tall 9 year old and our only just 3 year old love going to Chessington, and the SeaLife centre and zoo are frequented during the day! The penguins are a particularly great attraction. You can also feed the giraffes and the elephants if you get there at the right time!

10. Farnborough Vue

If the weather isn’t good enough for a full on outdoor day trip, the Vue cinema in Farnborough is a really good way to spend a few hours with the kids without feeling like you’re stuck at home. Farnborough Vue offers any film at any time for £4.99 per person, so even if you’re a big family, you can have a cinema experience without breaking the bank!

This year is set to be a brilliant one for Disney films with Dumbo and Aladdin, Lion King, and Toy Story 4 having already been released, and Frozen 2 due to come out later in the year as well!

Are you local to Aldershot? Would you add any other attractions to the list? Let us know if you have been to any of these listed here!

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25 easy candy free Easter gift ideas for kids

Everyone loves gift-giving, and there is something especially magical about giving gifts to children. But have you ever considered the sugar content in those sugary treats?

A Dairy Milk buttons easter egg fits in the palm of your hand and also comes with a small pack of chocolate buttons. While that may seem ideal for a child, the egg itself contains 40g (10 teaspoons) of sugar, and the buttons contain a further 8.1g (2 teaspoons). To put that into perspective, a child aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g of sugar a day, and this increases to 24g in children aged 7-10.

What are the alternatives? Well, anything that isn’t super sugary chocolatey treats, basically. So, in the spirit of Easter, here is a list of alternatives.

Outside fun

  • Pavement chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimming costumes
  • Ride on toys
  • Scooters and rollerblades
  • Tickets to amusement parks, zoos and other attractions
  • Hula hoop
  • Frisbee
  • Plant seeds

Inside fun

  • Easter themed movies
  • Play dough
  • Finger paints
  • Fridge magnets
  • Lego
  • Colouring books and crayons/pens (age dependent)
  • Puzzles
  • Books (Easter themed)
  • Dolls/ toy figures
  • Bath toys
  • Educational playing cards such as wild cards
  • Stickers
  • Child’s first Bible
  • Board games to play as a family
  • Dressing up clothes

As a child, we had an easter egg hunt every year, complete with a treasure map. While I won’t be giving my daughter excessive amounts of chocolate this year, you could still recreate the classic easter egg hunt, just with other, healthier gifts which will enrich your kids for much longer than the 10 seconds it takes them to scoff that egg!

What are your plans for Easter this year?

Where can I get "good quality slime?

To any mum or dad, you probably don’t think there’s a difference in qualities of slime – they all make the same mess and require the same effort to clean up! But actually, Slime Baff and Gelli Baff are not only great quality slime, but they’re so easy to clean up (given that all the mess is made in the bathtub!)

A friend of mine at work recently made me laugh with the words of her 9 year old niece…

“Georgia,” she said. “For Christmas, I want good quality slime.”
To any mum or dad, you probably don’t think there’s a difference in qualities of slime – they all make the same mess and require the same effort to clean up! But actually, Slime Baff and Gelli Baff are not only great quality slime, but they’re so easy to clean up (given that all the mess is made in the bathtub!)

We’ve been asked to review the Slime and Gelli Baff products from Zimpli Kids and these are the products we have been sent…


2 lots of Slime Baff and 2 lots of Gelli Baff in some amazingly bright colours!

Olivia was so excited to see these and get stuck in – her favourite activities at playgroup are always messy play so that was no surprise!

I’ve heard of Gelli Baff before and have seen it
advertised a lot, however the Slime Baff is completely new to me, so I was excited to give them both a try out!

SLIME BAFF…

We tried this one out first, in the gooey red colour! These are so easy to use – you run a shallow-ish bath (no more than 3 inches deep) and simply spread the packet in the water.

Due to me being an utter idiot, I managed to split the packet and lose some of the salts on the bathroom floor, but considering I did that, we still had a fairly slimy bath for Olivia to climb into!

She helped to mix the salts in the water and loved the slimy texture! She couldn’t wait to jump in.

Despite me telling her not to rub her eyes with the slime, of course, being a 2 year old, she did exactly that, but actually didn’t whinge at all about it stinging, which I was happily surprised about. I wouldn’t recommend dunking your child’s face in the slime, but at least you know that if they do get some in their eyes it’s not going to hurt!

The next big task was cleaning the slime away, and this was incredibly easy! The bath was left totally clean without me needing to wipe it down or even turn on the shower to rinse the bath out. For the Slime Baff, you don’t even need to put in anything to dissolve the slime, it simply dilutes when you add water.

So what’s the verdict?

We are rating a 9/10 for this product. Olivia loved it, the only issue was me not being able to get the packet open and losing some of the salts, but overall this was a fantastic thing to try and a great way to make bath time loads more fun!

 

GELLI BAFF…

For this one we ran slightly less water as I planned to only use half of the salts and save the rest for a messy play tray, but in the end we had to use the whole packet as the Gelli Baff took much longer to form than the slime did.

At first, when we mixed the salts into the bath water, Olivia wasn’t too sure of the texture and seemed not to like it, but she did prefer the bright pink colour as opposed to the red slime!

After a couple of minutes she was really enjoying it! I had to take a picture with flash on to get a good photo of the colour – it was so bright pink so no wonder Olivia loved it! She enjoyed

scooping it up with her cup and throwing it over her toy duck, and then in turn liked me and Daddy putting it on her back and shoulders and throwing it at her. Safe to say, it got a bit messy!

As I said, the Gelli Baff took a while to form (I would say about 20 minutes in total) but once it formed Olivia really loved it.

With cleaning away the Gelli Baff, we had to use the white dissolving salts. Once we put the salts in and mixed them with the Gelli Baff, it turned back to liquid pretty much instantly.

The only downside was that once it had gone down the plughole, the bath was left a bright pink colour!

I tried to rinse the pink away with the shower head but had to use our normal Flash spray bleach and wash it away before we could pop Olivia back in to wash the gelli off of her!

All in all, I think we would rate this one as a 7/10. Even though Olivia loved this one and said the pink bath was her favourite, for mums and dads this one is just slightly less easy to clean away than the other one. We had to take Olivia out of the bath to clean it out, meaning we ended up getting bits of gelli on the bath mat and towel! It’s no big drama, and I would use this again, but on the smaller messy play tray scale rather than in the bath!

Both of these products from Zimpli Kids were great fun! Overall, the Slime Baff won for us, but I’d definitely buy both of these in the future.

Thank you for reading and let us know if you’ve got these for your little ones!

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