Fringe Box



Opinion: Mum About Town – Mondays

Published on: 18 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 18 Feb, 2013

Mum about TownThe latest of our Mum About Town opinion articles written by “Towny Mummy”. This time she writes about staying at home . . .

Today I had that Monday feeling.

Mondays in Guildford are a bit of a desert when it comes to toddler groups. I have done the research and the best I can come up with is St Joseph’s, which is fantastic when it is on – tea and chocolate biscuits for the mums, tables and chairs all laid out nicely for snack time, loads of toys, a craft table.

The only bad things are A, a playdough table with masses of cutters and a tiny lump of dried out playdough, and B, the fact that it runs irregularly

I have been searched in vain to find the dates on the church’s website, and turned up on several occasions to find that it isn’t on that week, in which case we go to the playground or Oxfam (the new one at the top of town has a great toy section).

But each time Monday comes around, there are new challenges. Living in a small terraced house in the town centre, we can’t stay in much past 9.30am as my two are desperate to be out and be doing. But when it’s cold and wet and your kids don’t like going in any shops, your husband has the car for work, there are no playgroups on and the library has a staircase running up out of its children’s area with no gate, (note: this is not helpful), then the options become slightly limited.

Especially since my three-year-old has broken his arm. He keeps suggesting soft play (not with your broken arm), or riding his scooter (not with your broken arm), going to park (yes, but only if you’re careful with your arm).

So here are my top tips for cold days, especially for children with broken arms!

Enjoy a walk in the woods.

Enjoy a walk in the woods.

Lovely, crisp walks – If it’s really freezing, just go for 20 minutes, and have a run about – it will make all the difference and you will all feel better for it.

Research good short walks for toddler legs – our favourites (when we have the car) are St Martha’s and Pewley Down. If you’re restricted by transport, a walk down any road to anywhere with a toddler or two can be a mini adventure – in the rain there are always snails and slugs about and you can always take a bag and pick up leaves, sticks and other interesting things to do printing or collages later on for an added dimension! Pent-up kids who need to get out often don’t mind what they do as long as they are out (mine anyway) and then are much happier when you come back in again.

Garden centres – Badshot Lea is the best – great aquatic and pets section, with Bobby the parrot who gets down from his perch and wanders around. There are also loads of crafty, gifty bits to gaze at longingly whilst chasing your littlies around!

It also has a new outdoor play area which is basic but does the trick, and a great café which has loads of seating and an ice cream factory. £2.50 for a bowl of ice cream with sweeties on top may sound steep, but my two will happily share one between them and it meant that my hubby and I could sit down and have a quiet cup of tea together while our two ate in silence. Silence!

Family movies – Get some yummy snacks and a blanket and you have a happy afternoon. (This one may depend on having been out on an energetic walk beforehand.)

A bit of baking goes a long way.

A bit of baking goes a long way.

Baking – Best reserved for when one child is napping. My eldest loves measuring the flour, cracking the eggs, mixing, licking the spoon, and I remember loving it when I was young. Bake often. It is good for the soul. And then you get to eat your creations too!

Visit a café – If it really is freezing and you’ve got nothing to do, go for a walk and find a café – it doesn’t cost the earth and is still a real treat for little ones. Babyccinos are only 50p or free so they don’t break the bank. Just remember to take books or colouring to entertain the children once they’ve finished, otherwise you might not get to finish your drink!

Just the other day, after the whole family had been ill and were still feeling under the weather, we went up to St Martha’s and although he had an awful cold, our boy was as happy as could be, brushing crunchy leaves into great big piles with big sticks, looking for owls in the trees, running around. It was all he wanted, to be outside, to not be told no, and to have the space to run.

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