I had heard rave reviews of the Diana Memorial Playground in Ken Gardens and with the weather on our side, decided to check it out for a picnic.
The whole design is inspired by J.M. Barrie’s stories of Peter Pan and for an older child it certainly will fire up their imaginations as they navigate their way through a wooden pirate ship moored on a beach, crawl around in real teepees, and explore the sensory trail. The sensory trail appealed enormously to our toddlers as indeed did the specific area given over to under 3s which helps when it was as busy as it was today. The boat was way too big for Joseph to enjoy clambering up the masts of course but he pottered onto it to grab a hold of the wheel nonetheless. It’s on two levels and hard work on board for mums! There’s an excellent long winding wobbling bridge behind the ship which is toddler friendly as it’s at an accessible height and not too wobbly! Plenty of green space to picnic in too. On the down side I think timing is possibly everything. We arrived at 10.20 am just after it opened and missed the queues entirely. However, the provision of loos, nappy-changing facilities and a café mean it’s easy to hang out here for hours on end and as a consequence this gated playground can get very busy during holidays and weekends if the weather’s fine like today, with queues around the corner. Mums can get a little prickly too. One mum told my friend that she had been on the slide for long enough and should “consider leaving now as there was a queue to get into the park”. A very peculiar thing to say given the slide had room for several kids and how long someone has been in the park is really none of her business. We shall chalk it up to this particular west london mummy having a bad morning perhaps. I would love to return during the week, when kids are back at school and it is hopefully less busy. It certainly feels like there was more to go back and explore and we spotted a better picnic area for next time. I also fancy taking Joseph for a splash about in the Diana Fountain memorial which is a pleasant 20 minute stroll away through the glorious parkland. I loved the fact that this beautifully designed and imaginative play area was secured making it completely DOG FREE. The play elements are definitely inspired. The west London madness though does remind you how lucky we are in East London. We are miles from the tourists who don’t throng to our excellent play areas after west end shopping, making everything feel mobbed. Though minus the fantastic ship and sensory trails, Victoria Park’s facilities are on a par with this one for toddlers - but I can see how this park comes into it’s own as kids get a little older.
Never heard of them until tonight but what a great idea for babies and toddlers, kids of all ages I expect. Fill large ziploc bags or plastic tubs full of simple and fun creative activities to pull out when you hit a lull in your day at home and need to keep a toddler entertained. You could even host busy bag swaps and playdates to share your ideas and keep the creative juices flowing.
Here is a taster. 12 fun busy bag ideas using simple to get craft materials and 5 minutes of your time to prepare.
Reusable stickers, stickers in general, are a huge hit in this house as are felt boards so we have two already!
Are you done with your old children’s books? Is it time for a new tale? Bring us a book you’ve enjoyed and take away someone else’s recommended read.
While you’re here, join us for story-telling (10.30 and 12.00) and design a book cover in Art Smarts (14.00-16.00).
Please bring along books appropriate for ages 0 to 14 years.
Free / Drop in / All age
The calendar is now updated with Mowlem, Meath, Overland, Docklands Museum, One O Clock Club, some Collingwood and Whitehorse Centre play dates from now until December. I have selfishly focused on toddler play sessions but will add in baby play shortly so it provides a complete picture for all mums.
Please try it out and let me know if you like it. Use the AGENDA mode for a nice clear layout. There are so many play sessions that if you use any other format in Google to view it it’s messy and confusing. You can however download this onto your own G+ and muck about it with as you see fit.
Hope it works for you and you can make the most of it. More to follow and will be updated continually as we find new play sessions and groups! If you think any great play sessions are missing please let me know by text or email.
Noodle has the worst runny nose I can recall in a long time, he is also sneezing and coughing all the time. Having had just half an hour for his nap yesterday we went on to have a disturbed night, up at 3, 4 etc, head on my shoulder, rocking for a long time. I then tried to sleep in the lounge as other half was snoring when I returned to try and sleep (wide awake). But then I could hear the God damned mouse trying to break through the thick brown tape I’ve wrapped under the kitchen skirting to keep him out. I think he has busted through it. In fact at one point I heard scratching on material, thought he was on the sofa with me and I yelped. Reminded me of our bedtime story, Goodnight Moon “… and a young mouse and a bowl full of mush”. Today Noodle is in a foul mood and I am running on empty. I was prepping lunch with him whining a lot, he took his plate and angrily pushed all the food off it onto the floor, screamed then threw the plate on the floor in a rage. So mama yelled. Loudly. His little eyes filled with tears and he looked quite terrified. And now I feel really bad.
Here’s a beautifully animated Goodnight Moon version, narrated by Susan Sarandon to soothe frayed tempers.