I get so excited to see daffodils in bloom. Whilst not my most favourite flower, those little yellow heads pop up every year without fail to greet us and let us know Spring is here! They are a sign of warmer and longer days ahead after the drag of winter. They brighten the world and just make everything look better after it has died off in winter, and they are strong little things that usually survive the random March/April snow showers we usually encounter too.

I think this is why Marie Curie chose it as a symbol for their annual “The Great Daffodil Appeal”.  A true sign of strength, reliability, and a little bit of colour, life and hope in a dull and cold season of life.

Having suffered our own loss due to a life limiting illness, we understand the pain and difficulty that comes both with a diagnosis and the grief and pain following. We appreciate those who work to help comfort, walk the journey with you, offer end of life care, and try to alleviate some of the suffering. Marie Curie asked us to reflect on this and to share with you how we can teach kids about the work charities do, and thus inspire them to want to do some good in the world to brighten it for others.

Teaching the work of Charities and Making the Daffodil Appeal work with kids

My children, like most kids have selfish tendencies and get lazy, they are by no means saintly (okay maybe sometimes haha) but on the whole they do have a charitable nature. For a start we shop regularly in charity shops and I always explain to them how our “pennies” will help others. They understand from so many visits to the hospice during my pregnancy and since, that because of the generous donations of others we can enjoy its facilities, and be helped by the lovely people at the hospice. They always nudge me when we see a homeless person and always want to give £1 and help.  These things are now our norm and easily in our reach. They are not by any means going to change the world anytime soon, but they are easy ways to help others and teaching them how to give.

I have noticed that kids usually do want to be kind and almost see it as an exciting thing to be able to help others. It makes me happy to see this as we have tried incredibly hard to teach them this both through church and at home. For us I guess we have first hand experience of being on the receiving end of charity work from both the hospice and then SANDS too. They have helped us show and talk to them about charities in action, and so I think choosing a charity to focus on with your kids and explaining it in a way they can understand really helps to plant charitable desires within them.

When thinking about Marie Curie and how we can help them in their appeal this Spring, it therefore only seemed natural that we would too incorporate an idea that is part of our norm like the other ways we have shown charity. I again wanted to show the kids how everyday things can easily help others. We decided to take the symbol of the daffodil, Spring, our love of the outdoors and came up with the idea of a Nature walk. Its a lovely thing and far less strenuous than the last time I raised money for charity.

Nature walk

There are so many lovely places to explore and I bet there are some fab places right on your doorstep. We headed to the park and did a spring-time scavenger hunt, whilst chatting about daffodils and the Marie Curie Charity.

If you would like to do something similar, then plan a manageable route with lovely things to see and find. It might be around a lake/reservoir, some woodland, the beach or like us the park. If appropriate then the Kids could take bikes and scooters too, pack a picnic and away you go. And then, if you felt inclined to support the Daffodil Appeal this year there are 2 ways you can make it work to raise money.

 1. Have the people who attend dress in yellow, and pass a pot round at the end for generous donations.

2. Have people pay 50p- £1 each to attend and have a scavenger hunt printed for the kids to do, and of course dress in yellow too if they wish.

Then have fun together. Enjoy nature. Chase nature and talk about its beauty and changing seasons. Chat to the kids about the beauty of the daffodils, their little heads bopping away, and how they can help others see colour and hope in a difficult season of illness.

 

 Ideas to hunt for:

1. Daffodils of different colours

2. Blossom

3. A grey stone

4. A bird feather

5. A stick

6. Something yellow

7. Something edible

8. A clover

9. A dandelion clock

10. Bark

11. Snow drops

12. A bug

13. A snail

14. Animal Tracks

15. A puddle

My kids love scavenger hunts, they love to collect natures treasures and they love to know they are helping others too. Things like this bring it down to their level. It simplifies the act of giving to charity and would certainly help them raise money in a way that is easy for them, enjoyable for them and something that they can easily ask their friends to be involved in too.

I Hope we have inspired you to have a blooming great time on a spring nature walk and raise a few kids for those facing terminal illness in the process!

*Collaborative Post
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I am loving this gorgeous weather we are having but know that it won’t be long before Autumn will be here in full swing with rainy days, soggy leaves and lots of mud. A kids dream to explore in and find adventure, but a season I know from experience to stain clothes and create miserable, soaking kids if they are not properly equipped for it. Thankfully there many gorgeous waterproofs out there and for this season we have teamed up with DryKids to test out their waterproof dungarees.

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Because both kids did forest school from being young I got into the habit early on in life of buying them all in one waterproofs for Autumn/Winter and the odd rainy days in other seasons. They were useful, cheap and did the job at keeping them clean and dry, but now that they are both in school they seem to turn their noses up at this style with the excuse they are “for babies” and so when I saw these fleece lined dungarees from Drykids I was over the moon…they specialise in a variety of kids waterproofs and are low priced too so not only would they do the job as that extra waterproof layer but they are easy on the purse too. The dungaree style are a little different to previous waterproofs they have had, fresh and cosy and they both really LOVE them!

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We took it a little extreme and they tested them in stream; jumping, splashing and “wading”. They have dreamed of this since the dungarees arrived in the post, and it makes both Ethan and Megan unbelievably happy to be able to do “whatever they want” when we go out in nature without us nagging to be careful or don’t go there as you might get wet. They loved being encouraged to paddle, climb and have fun and this freedom is what I love about kids wearing waterproofs at this time of year, they help them have a fun childhood whatever the weather without us nagging them to be careful, don’t go here or there as you might get wet/muddy and so on. It brings an element of freedom to the outing.

All in all they were kept warm and dry and had a whole lot of fun in the process. And so our 1st impressions were great; I love the bright colours and so do the kids, this is a great thing because it means we can easily spot them and their brightness brings an essence of fun for them to wear. The fleece lining is so snugly on cold days meaning we can play out for longer and yet on the flip side the dungaree style also means they are cool to wear with thin layers and air can circulate, so they are happy to wear them in warm weather too because they are not feeling all bundled up and sweaty like their original all in one waterproofs. They definitely have a more “grown up” look and feel for them and both Ethan and Megan were beaming when out and about…they just love wearing them!

Another bonus from a parenting perspective is that they are roomy. Megs is wearing 5-6, and Ethan 7. I went a size bigger to ensure they would be right for my leggy kids and would get longer wear out of them, but probably didn’t need to as the have ample room in them and Drykids sizing is very generous! They have adjustable straps, elastic over the feet to keep them tucked in shoes and poppers on the side to bring them in if needed.

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Would we recommend these? Most definitely.  I cannot say enough how useful waterproof clothing is for adventurous kids and the dungarees are a great option as the fleece lining adds to comfort of the child and are easy to get on and off for them with no zips etc. I love to be able to go out to woods, the country side or even a park in whatever weather and know that they can have freedom to play and explore and even paddle in streams with the assurance that they won’t be whining about being wet and cold. Its great to then get back to the car, peel the waterproof layer off and have clean dry kids underneath. It removes the worry of hunting for a change of clothes, cuts down on laundry, protects their clothes and gives you peace of mind they are comfortable in appropriate outdoor wear, and the kids love wearing them. These are well made, great quality and a great price and come in gorgeous bright colours. They are certainly a thumbs up from our outdoorsy pair and me.

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Disclaimer: Drykids sent us these for free in return for an honest review. We love them and all thoughts and pictures are my own!

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Tuesday was a day I can only describe as fun (with relaxing thrown in there too) as we experienced together pig racing, go karts, a bouncy pillow, tractor rides, animal handling and even a foam party! We were invited to experience Piglets Adventure Farm nr York and couldn’t have picked a better day to go; the sun was shining bright and it was absolutely brilliant, ticking all the boxes of what my kids love to do with a few extras thrown in for good measure too.

I’ll be honest and say I hadn’t heard of it until last week, perhaps it is one of Yorkshire’s hidden gems only known to locals? but being from Leeds it was certainly worth the 45minute drive over to York for a fun packed afternoon, that most certainly needed the whole day. It is a clean lovely farm with the usual animals you would expect, and some you might not (think boars and Tortoises) and then of course the amazing adventure side which kept them entertained and busy for literally hours and there were several moments where I barely saw them, in fact the 4.5 hrs we spent there really were not sufficient for all we wanted to do and what was on offer. As a result I had a few tears on my hands as we were leaving over that very point that they hadn’t “done it all”, but it was soon fixed by ice cream and I think was more of a result of pure exhaustion from so much fun in the sun!

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I have said on so many occasions about how my kids (like most) love to be outdoors being busy, active and living on the side of adventure  (with a bit of risk too), and this was the perfect place for them to get all of this. The layout was perfect to give them their freedom, allow them to do different things at the same time all whilst being able to keep an eye on them, and I think this independence that they felt added to the fun of it all. As we drove home we discussed what we loved most and their favourite things and this was the response (for ease Ethans quotes are blue, Megs pink):

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10. Park“It was good because they had TWO parks that were little houses and we could play in them and go on the firemans pole; I can’t believe there were 2 parks!” “and that tunnel and tractor park too Ethan we played on”.

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9. “That beach” – also known as a sand pit. They thoroughly enjoyed mixing with the other kids there and building things, and from what I could see being very busy moving sand around the construction site with wheel barrows for a big project they were working on!

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8. Pig races“those pigs were really funny, I didn’t know pigs have races”! We have seen sheep racing before, but pig racing was just a little more entertaining and we all found it a lot of fun. The staff are great at bigging up the event with lots of pig jokes thrown in for good measure…

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7. Bouncy pillow – who doesn’t love a Bouncy pillow at 4 & 5 yrs old? Whilst no stranger to them the kids were delighted to see it and spent a good half hr bouncing about and laughing their heads off. I loved the thoughtfulness to provide one for big kids and a smaller one for ‘piglets’! On this Megan said “I can’t believe there was a bouncy pillow and I bounced soooo much and could just go on it so much”.

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6. Animals – animals are always exciting (especially for Megs) and it wouldn’t feel like a farm visit without seeing them.  It was a lovely little wander through the trees and over a bridge, away from the adventure part, where we saw the usual pigs, goats, cows, ponies…

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And then a few surprise faces too which had them blown away and in stitches…

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There are opportunities throughout the day to feed them and handle smaller rabbits etc.

5. Holding a snake“Me and Megan were just so brave that we held a REAL snake”! This is not a common thing to do there, but a bonus feature of what they had on on that day. It is however representative of the various extras they have on during the holidays.

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4. Barrel ride – little megs Que’d for ages (actually only about 10 mins max) for this and loved it so much. It was one of the 1st things she noticed and didn’t care that E wasn’t bothered about joining her on it because “it was so cool”

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3. Go karts – Ethan beat Megs on this to be 3rd place and he spent a lot of time on them, initially when we arrived and then went back for more of the action a little later. I loved watching him racing round with a big grin on his face and pretending he was driving a real car. It was great. He said on the way home “Mummy those Go Karts are just so awesome that I think I could get one and a real track for my birthday couldn’t I?” – Ermmm nice it had a lasting impression but dream on kiddo!

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2. Ice cream – second place as its my kids and food is never far from their thoughts. They assured me they were tasty and I was most impressed by the size for only £2!

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(Note how wrecked Ethan looks here from SO much fun!!)

1. Foam party – Where to begin? The highlight of the visit by far, from the initial disco to set things off to the conga outside before kicking things off and firing foam over all the kids. It was absolutely brilliant and the squeals, laughter and sheer joy on their faces was wonderful, it was most impressive and a huge amount of fun! “This is the best place ever” !!

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In addition to these they also had tractor rides, a maize maze, a kids tractor area, mini golf, and an impressive looking water fight arena…I was blown away with how much was there to keep the kids busy and active, and loved how many benches and grassy areas there where to be able to sit in the sun and watch from a distance them lapping it all up. There were several moments where I could just feed or just be making it relaxing and not demanding for me whilst they had the fun. It was of course busy but the wide open spaces meant it didn’t feel overwhelmingly busy and nor were there any real ques for anything!

It’s rare as a parent to find a place that is both fun for kids and relaxing for you. Often days out, especially recently, are just a little too crazy (unless with other parents to lend a hand) but on Tuesday our visit to piglets was not only the adventure they promise but so much fun for Ethan and Megan and relaxing for me too. They really do have so many amazing things to keep the kids busy We would highly recommend it as a day out, you can take a picnic or eat from their lovely locally sourced menu, but get there early as there is so much to do it will be a jam-packed family fun day!

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*Thank you to Piglets for inviting us to visit in return for an honest review! We absolutely loved our visit and all thoughts and pics are our own! 

 

 

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One of the things I love most about Spring is definitely how much the world around us awakens. I love all of the newness and babies that surround us in nature and it all just feels so beautiful and pleasant to be around. There is nothing like nostalgia to go pond dipping, see baby lambs, find frog spawn and admire the oodles of daffodils, everything about it wakes me from winter hibernation and makes me want to be in it as much as possible on adventures with my little ones.

On Monday however, with what seemed like the biggest downpour and torrential rain here in Yorkshire, being out in nature and admiring Spring was far from where I wanted to be. I craved a snugly rest day, quiet kids, some movies and catching up with some serious chocolate eating from Easter…the kids though did not and so by the afternoon, after faffing around Grandma’s house doing very little, we got in the car and met the other grandparents and cousins and took off up into North Yorkshire on an adventure headed by my Dad, hunting for Newts not far from Dalby Forest!
Share2016-03-28-d8851d647e04313226c2452040831c344d6dbbf45e4893eb9f0ba3262cbf545d-PictureWhilst still a little damp, we were lucky to have some late afternoon sun, peaceful woodland wanders and exceptionally giddy children as Granddad found some Newts for them in the ditches. They passed them around, mesmerized that they were holding real baby crocodiles?!?!?!?! and were just so happy to be together experiencing life in that moment together. What an adventure for a 3 & 5 year old!
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This was certainly a 1st for my kids, but a childhood ordinary moment that will long be remembered for them. I love how the simplest of activities always bring so much joy and excitement to our kids and I love to live in Yorkshire and being out and about exploring it and all it has to offer with them and with our family, its really such a wonderful place to live…Megs is still regretful she didn’t bring the “baby cwocodiles” home so hopefully this year we can raise tadpoles and caterpillars and enjoy seeing life grow together to compensate!
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#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots
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