July 15, 2016

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The Wonderlings #SummerOfAdventure

So how’s 2016 been for you so far? A touch chilly? A tad dull and drizzly? We definitely feel your frustration. We’ve had some wonderful adventures outdoors, but they have mostly happened between rain showers. After a handful of sunny days in May, goodness only knows what happened to June. But all that’s behind us now. We have the whole of summer in front of us – and we have high hopes.

This Summer, we’ll be making an extra effort to enjoy the outdoors, to make up for all those soggy Saturdays and Sundays we’ve had this year. And to try to encourage more of you to do the same, we’re going to be challenging you to take on a wild challenge every week during the summer holidays. We’re calling it #SummerOfAdventure, and we’re inviting you and your wonderlings to join in. We’ll also be offering special weekly discounts off products in our collection, so it’s well worth getting involved.

So keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages so you can take part our challenges, and take advantage of our #SummerOfAdventure offers. Or be the first to get exclusive discounts by signing up to our newsletter.

Here we go – it’s going to be the best Summer yet ☀️

June 03, 2016

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30 ideas for #30DaysWild (in case you missed it)

If you're taking part in The Wildlife Trusts' #30DaysWild, big high five! We hope you've been enjoying it. The weather has certainly been on our side so far, and we've loved having an excuse to get outside every day with our little ones. So far we've been gardening, playing Nature Bingo, exploring woods, watching baby Blue Tits, collecting flowers, building dens, watching swans, pond dipping, toasting marshmallows... and it's only day 3! We've also been enjoying exploring social media to see what everyone else has been getting up to.

30DaysWild ideas

In case you missed it the first time, we thought we'd share our 30 simple ideas again. They don't take a lot of effort, so even if you have 10 minutes between the school run and teatime, you'll be sure to find something you can squeeze in. So here they are - our 30 ideas for #30DaysWild: 

1. Lie on your back and watch the clouds 
2. Smell some flowers on your way home from school 
3. Close your eyes and listen to the birds around you – how many can you hear? 
4. See how many different shaped leaves you can collect
5. Take a watering can and water all the flowers in your local green space
6. See who can be the first to find a bug
7. Find a real ‘Stick Man’
8. See how many flowers you can name on your street
9. Run as fast as you can down a (grassy) hill
10. Climb a tree
11. Grow something you can eat
12. Jump some waves
13. Find a wild herb and learn its name
14. Collect some rain in a container and measure how deep it is
15. Draw hopscotch outside with some chalk (remind yourself of the rules here)
16. Eat your breakfast outside
17. Skim a stone
18. Chase a butterfly
19. Sit still and silent for 5 minutes outside
20. Try to mimic a bird’s song
21. Wind the window down in the car and feel the wind on your face
22. Make a daisy chain
23. Feel the bark of a tree with your eyes closed
24. Whistle with a blade of grass
25. Find the smoothest stone
26. Write your name using things you’ve found in the garden
27. Find a spider in its web
28. Make a pebble tower
29. Listen to the sounds you can hear at the beach
30. Feed some ducks

If you do take part, be sure to join in the fun on social media and share your photos using the hashtag #30DaysWild (and don’t forget to tag us too @WonderlingsCo on Twitter or Instagram).

Prepare to get wild!

Love,

Anna & Becky x

 

May 26, 2016

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30 ideas to join #30DaysWild this June

It’s nearly June (yes, June!). Which means we *should* soon be firing up the barbecue most evenings. Fingers crossed eh? But what we do know for sure is that the arrival of June means it’s time for The Wildlife Trusts’ #30DaysWild. It’s basically an excuse to do something wild every day for a month. Just small things – quick, simple things that remind us how easy it is to connect with the nature around us. We’ve been getting ready for our 30 days with our little wonderlings by putting together a list of things we can squeeze between school runs and bedtime. Hope you’ll join in too! 

30 ideas for #30DaysWild

Lie on your back and watch the clouds 
Smell some flowers on your way home from school 
Close your eyes and listen to the birds around you – how many can you hear? 
See how many different shaped leaves you can collect
Take a watering can and water all the flowers in your local green space
See who can be the first to find a bug
Find a real ‘Stick Man’
See how many flowers you can name on your street
Run as fast as you can down a (grassy) hill
Climb a tree
Grow something you can eat
Jump some waves
Find a wild herb and learn its name
Collect some rain in a container and measure how deep it is
Draw hopscotch outside with some chalk (remind yourself of the rules here)
Eat your breakfast outside
Skim a stone
Chase a butterfly
Sit still and silent for 5 minutes outside
Try to mimic a bird’s song
Wind the window down in the car and feel the wind on your face
Make a daisy chain
Feel the bark of a tree with your eyes closed
Whistle with a blade of grass
Find the smoothest stone
Write your name using things you’ve found in the garden
Find a spider in its web
Make a pebble tower
Listen to the sounds you can hear at the beach
Feed some ducks

If you do take part, be sure to join in the fun on social media and share your photos using the hashtag #30DaysWild (and don’t forget to tag us too @WonderlingsCo on Twitter or Instagram).

Prepare to get wild!

Love Anna

April 18, 2016

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Spring Inspiration For Little Gardeners

Did you know it was National Gardening Week last week? There couldn’t be a better time to celebrate all things gardening than Spring, when the natural world is literally blooming around us. It's a great time to introduce the little ones to the wonders just beyond the back door.

Spring inspiration for little gardeners

We thought we’d share some of the best ideas we’ve come across in the last week, for gardening activities little ones will love. 

Make a Mini Wildflower Meadow 
Even the smallest wild patch can keep garden creatures happy, and it’s a super simple thing to do with children (plus it looks pretty cool too). From Buglife http://ow.ly/4mMOPX

Create a mini pond 
Not everyone has the space to have a pond in their garden. And it’s not always practical with little ones either. But this is a great idea from the RSPB to do it on a smaller scale. You never know what underwater creatures might pay you a visit. http://ow.ly/4mMP6w 

Create a mini pond

Plant some Container Vegetables 
Can there be a more satisfying achievement for a little one than growing and eating their very own produce? You don’t need a huge vegetable garden to get growing. Catherine at Growing Family tells us which veg are best suited to container life. http://ow.ly/4mMOUB

Make a worm farm 
Little ones will love getting their hands dirty and creating a home for their slimy garden friends. Fun, easy and mucky. It’s a no brainer for a great afternoon. From Days Out With The Kids http://ow.ly/4mMOXs

Grow Flowers for Butterflies 
It’s wonderful to have butterflies in your garden, but do you know which flowers to plant to attract them? Little ones can help you plant the right flowers to create a flutter in your garden. From the RSPB http://ow.ly/4mMOYQ

Grow flowers for butterflies
 
What to do for birds in April 
You’ll already have noticed more of our feathery friends out and about. So what can we do at this time of year to help them out? Whether it’s a bird house, feeder or bath, the RHS has all the info you’ll need to get it right. http://ow.ly/4mMP3P

And if you're looking to tie in a fun activity for kids too, you could try out our Design Your Own Bird House set.

What to do for birds in April

We’ve also created a Pinterest board with some other gardening ideas to try out with children. Time to get those gloves on!

Happy adventures,

Anna x
(Oh, and you'll find more inspiration for Spring outdoor activities with little ones here.)

April 04, 2016

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10 Wild Activities for Spring Days

It’s starting to feel like Spring has well and truly sprung. Whoopee! We’ve been seeing lots of blue skies, fresh blooms and the wildlife around us waking up from its long sleep. What does that mean for little adventurers? A whole new landscape to explore and wonders to discover! And with a week of the Easter holidays still left to enjoy, what better time to share a few of our favourite things to do on Spring days? 

1. Petal Perfume

We’ve been spotting lots of beautiful blossom already, and spring flowers are starting to pop up everywhere. So how about grabbing a basket for a spot of petal collecting? Encourage them to sniff the wonderful scents and see how many different colours and types they can find. Then when you get home, give them some containers, add some water and let them make their very own fragrance.

Make perfume

2. Tadpole Time
 
Yes, it’s that time of year when ponds are teaming with the little wrigglers. The best bit? They are usually pretty easy to catch using a collection jar (you’ll find one in our Pond-Dipping Kit), so the little ones can watch them close-up. They may even be lucky enough to catch one that’s started sprouting legs. Watch them gape in wonder as you tell them that these tiny blobs will soon be frogs! Oh, and don’t worry too much about wet hands, it’ll be more fun for them to really get stuck in, just go prepared with a small towel and gel to clean them off afterwards.

3. Birdsong Spotting
At this time of year, our feathery friends will be really starting to find their voices again. Which means you can make a fun game of finding and identifying them. Listen out for robins, tits, finches, blackbirds and thrushes, then grab some binoculars and get spotting. It will be a sensory delight for all children and they’ll love the quest to be the first to find the source of the song.

Bird Watching Kit

4. Sprinkle some seeds 

Now is a great time to dig out those gardening gloves and get planting. Why not give the little ones a pot each to paint, then show them how to gently plant their own seeds? Marigolds or Zinnias are great. Or why not try sunflowers towards the end of April? There’s no doubt – they will adore the anticipation and sense of achievement as the seeds sprout and the blooms start to flower.

5. Beach Art

If you’re taking a trip to the beach, how about creating your very own piece of beach art? Little ones will love hunting for pebbles, shells, seaweed and driftwood, then working together to design something wonderful. Create your own sea creature, a funny face or a super-size pattern in the sand – but whatever you make, don’t forget to take a snap of your proud little artists and their masterpiece.

Beach Art

6. Nest-building

If you look carefully, you’ll notice that birds are busy collecting natural goodies to build their nests. How about encouraging your little ones to build their own nest? It will never match up to the intricate structures constructed by our feathery friends, but it’s great fun to have a go! They could use small twigs, sticks, moss, feathers, mud, leaves, grass – anything they can find to make a secure and soft home fit for little chicks. They might need some help weaving some bendy twigs and long grass to make the basic structure, but then let them take control to make their own little natural wonder.

7. Go Fly a Kite

Make the most of the blustery days with a spot of kite-flying. Little ones love the thrill of the launch as the kite takes to the skies and they will have a blast as they take the strain and watch it soar. Simple, yet oh so satisfying. We’ve got a few retro kites in our collection, which also make lovely gifts for little ones.

Retro Kite

8. Baby Animals

Who needs an excuse to see some baby animals? Not us! So if you’re walking near a farm or farmland, don’t forget to look out for baby lambs, calfs, chicks, rabbits – anything fluffy, feathery and down-right cute. And watch what they are up to – it’s a real delight to watch the interaction between a mother and her babies, and also the mischief they get up to together.

9. Chalk Attack

If you’re heading out, take some chalk with you and let the little ones loose on a pavement, path or concrete floor. It’s so much fun drawing at a larger scale. They can either draw a picture, create their own game by drawing hopscotch or noughts & crosses. Or go big and draw a road or map to play on for the rest of the afternoon.

Chalk Drawing

10. Dig for Worms

Wriggly, slimy, dirty – what’s not to love about worms? We all know how to find them – find some stones and turn them over to see what yucky delights are lurking and squirming beneath. Then see who can catch one first. Be prepared for dirty fingernails and shrieks of delight.

Whichever activities you choose, have heaps of fun as you watch your little ones enjoy the beauty and wonder of the natural world around them.

We’d love to hear about your Springtime adventures – you can find us on www.facebook.com/wearewildandwonderful www.twitter.com/WonderlingsCo or www.instagram.com/WonderlingsCo

And if you liked these ideas, you’ll find more outdoor inspiration in the rest of our blog.

Happy adventures!
Love Anna x

March 23, 2016

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How To Make Your Easter Egg Hunt A Real Treat

We love a good Easter egg hunt. Little ones always love a mission, and what better mission than seeking out lovely treats? Here are our tops tips for making sure your little lambs have a (ahem) cracking time hunting out their treats this Easter.  

Don’t make it too easy!   
Get inventive with your hiding places, so that they have to earn their prize. High, low, under, over, behind, between, out of view – if you use your imagination, they will need to use theirs too. They’ll get even more satisfaction when they find the precious treasure, and it will stretch out the fun just a bit longer.

Easter Egg Hunt

Set Rules  
If your hunt is for more than one child, set some rules to ensure everyone has a fair shot. Allocate a colour to each little one (or to an age group), or tell them to stop and return to the ‘start line’ once they have collected a certain number.

Write Clues  
Make it a proper treasure hunt by writing clues to guide them to different spots in the garden. You can make the clues easy or difficult, depending on the age of your little bunnies. Or you could even get the older ones to devise a hunt for the tots.

The Non-Chocolate Hunt  
Little ones don’t necessarily need sweet treats to enjoy a hunt (no… really!). Try a non-chocolate hunt, using small chicks, toys, stickers or craft materials so they can make their own Easter art afterwards. Or you could use painted hard-boiled eggs, with clues or numbers written on the shell.

Easter Egg Hunt

Make a Trail
They will love following a trail around the garden, stopping off to pick up treats along the way. You can use anything to make the trail – sticks, buttons, broken egg shell, or even bits of cotton wool (or perhaps we should say bunny fluff…).

Create a Treasure Map
Give them a map so they can plot their route and calculate the location of the biggest stash. You could make it super simple for tiny tots, or more complicated for older ones.

Add Numbers
Use different size eggs and stick a number on each egg to allocate a ‘score’. At the end of the hunt, the little ones will love counting up their tally and crowning the overall winner. You could even hide a ‘Golden’ egg for bonus points, to really bring out their competitive spirit.

Whatever you do, have loads of fun and enjoy the Easter magic.

Lots of love,

Anna and Becky x

January 14, 2016

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8 Ideas for Winter Walks with Children

We’ve been feeling more than a little stir crazy over the last couple of months, yearning for the clouds to clear so we can all get out and properly stretch our legs. Puddles are great fun, and a bit of drizzle certainly wouldn’t keep us in, but seriously – enough rain now!

BUT great news! This weekend looks like it’s going to be a corker, so make sure you make the most of the fresh, bright days with our tips for the perfect winter walk with little ones. 

1. Make a mud pie.  
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s rather muddy out there. So dig out their oldest clothes, brace yourself for a bit of extra washing, grab some old pots and utensils, and watch them cook up a storm outside. And don’t forget to collect some leaves, sticks, stones and whatever else you can find for those finishing touches on top. 

2. Coat parachute. 
You know this game. It’s the one where you hold your coat above your head and turn to face the wind, then brace yourself against the elements. Make a game out of it by having races, or seeing who can walk the furthest without being blown over (make sure there is a nice soft landing of sand, grass or mud for little bottoms). 

3. Get snappy. 
OK, don’t get palpitations, we aren’t suggesting you hand over your precious camera/phone to your little one for good – only for a short time (under close supervision of course). Give them a little project to complete, maybe suggest taking photos of 5 different trees, plants, birds or animals. Then look them up together when you get home to find out more about each one. 

4. Build a den. 
There are always lots of sticks around at this time of year, so collect a pile and get building. Work together to construct a super-size den with branches, or use our brilliant Stick-lets to secure different size sticks together. Then drape a sheet or blanket over the top to complete the project. Hey presto! The perfect hideout. 

Winter Walk ideas
5. Breath clouds. 
For little ones there’s something a bit magical about seeing your breath on a cold winter’s day (it brings out the fire-breathing dragon in them). Why not have a competition to see who can puff out the biggest cloud? 

6. Winter picnic. 
Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean a picnic is out of the question. Wrap up warm, pack some extra blankets, a hot Thermos and some winter treats, then set out on an adventure.  

7. Go on a bear hunt. 
Turn a winter walk into a real adventure by creating your very own bear hunt. Find your own obstacles to go over, under and through (as per the book). It could be puddles, muddy paths, low branches, bridges, sand dunes, streams – whatever you come across on your walk. And don’t forget to run away from the bear at the end! 

Winter Walk ideas
8. Beach art. 
If you’re at the beach, collect sticks, seaweed and pebbles of different shapes and sizes and create your very own piece of beach art. Could there be a better canvas than a stretch of sand for your little ones to create their very own masterpiece? The bigger the better! (Don’t forget to take a snap and share it with us over on Instagram or Facebook).

And even if it is raining, don’t let it put you off too much. As long as the little ones are wearing warm, waterproof clothing, a short walk or bike ride in the rain can be a lot of fun! And the lovely mid-afternoon bath when you all get home is all part of the adventure.  

Whatever you do, share your own adventures and ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Have fun! 

Love, Anna x

November 12, 2015

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10 Ways to Turn an Autumn Walk into an Adventure

It’s time to button up those coats and dig out those wellies. Autumn is well and truly upon us. In fact, it’s been with us for a few weeks now. And we’ve already had so much fun enjoying it’s many treasures and exploring the new and beautiful landscape it brings. So we thought we’d share some ideas for having extra fun on an autumn walk with little ones. 

1. Catching leaves. 
Those lovely leaves are still falling. Pick a spot under some fully laden branches and wait for a bit of breeze. Then see who can catch one first! It’s not as easy as it sounds – and will have the whole family in stitches. 

2. Find Fairy Villages. 
There are plenty of fungi around at this time of year. Why not turn your walk into a hunt for toadstools and mushrooms? I can’t help but think they often look like little fairy villages – so let the little ones’ imaginations run wild and transport them into a fairy kingdom of their own. 

3. Scavenger Hunt. 
Take a basket or wagon with you, and encourage the little ones to collect sticks, leaves and other Autumnal treasures. Then when you get home, grab some inspiration from our Autumn Crafts Pinterest board and get creative! 



4. Creepy Cobwebs. 
How about taking an early morning walk, when the dew is still sparkling from the spiders’ webs. It’s a truly beautiful time of day. Find a little web-spinner and watch it at work. The little ones will gape in awe as the sticky structure takes its form. 

5. Sycamore Helicopters. 
There’s something so hypnotic about a Sycamore seed falling to the ground. That twirling, spiraling movement is so unique and beautiful. See who can find the best spot for achieving the ultimate trajectory. 

6. Muddy footprints. 
We love following footprints, whoever they belong to. It’s great fun to pick out animal tracks and try to trace their original journey through the mud (or across the beach). And it’s lovely to try to guess who the prints might belong to – dog? Fox? Horse? Or something even more exotic? And if you can’t find any, just follow each other's oozy welly prints! 

7. Nature Trail. 
A Nature Trail is a brilliant way to add some fun to a walk. Little ones absolutely love a quest, so a trail to find certain leaves, bugs, plants and other natural goodies is always a good plan. You can tailor your own trail, or maybe even try one of our Nature Bingo sets, for that added competitive edge. Who will be the first to shout ‘House!’? 



8. Leaf Whoopeee! 
Find the biggest pile of leaves in the wood and jump in it, kick it, cover yourselves in it, or have an out-and-out leaf battle (careful for any stray sticks or stones though). Or how about placing it at the bottom of a slide for the ultimate Autumn weeeee! 

9. Bird i-spy. 
Grab your binoculars and see which feathery friends you can spot while you’re out and about. This time of year look out for Robins, Blackbirds, Redwings, Fieldfares or Waxwings. Not sure which is which? Our Birdwatching Kit is perfect for little fingers and will inspire them to get that bit closer to the wildlife around them. 

10. Pooh Sticks. 
An oldie but always a goodie. Find the perfect stick, a bridge over a flowing stream, brook or river – then let the races commence. Their eyes will sparkle with anticipation as they wait for their stick to emerge. Whose will be first…? 

Whatever you do while you’re out walking this Autumn, tell us about the fun you’ve had. You’re sure to have more ideas for us to add to the list! 

Happy adventures

Love
Anna x

October 14, 2015

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10 Reasons We Think Autumn Is Awesome

Oooh Autumn, how lovely you are. We know where we stand with you. You don’t raise expectations and then dash them. We trust you Autumn. You feel like a comforting old friend ready to give us cuddles. 
 
It feels good to finally succumb to those warm chunky socks and the teasingly tempting central heating dial. Hello Autumn. It’s so nice to see you. Here’s why: 

Autumn
1. Lovely goodies for us to gather - multi-coloured leaves, pine cones, conkers, acorns – we love them all. 
2. Muddy welly-walks. It’s good to have a proper squelch. 
3. Wrapping up in toasty coats and soft scarves. 
4. Hot chocolate to warm us up after an afternoon outside. Even better if the cream reaches our noses :) 
5. Bright, golden, crisp, fresh days when you just cant wait to get outside. 
6. Spotting pumpkins in windows and choosing ours ready for carving. 
7. Kicking leaves high above our heads. 
8. Sparklers after dark (as long as everyone is super careful) 
9. Watching mischievous squirrels scampering to find the biggest acorns and seeds to store for winter. 
10. Beautiful colour, everywhere. Every shade of red, orange, brown, yellow and everything in between. It’s impossible not to stand it awe of the gorgeousness. 
 
What do you love most about Autumn? 

Love

Anna & Becky x

Bonkers about Conkers

Autumn is probably my favourite time of the year. Yes, my birthday is in October so the thought of getting a lovely new pair of boots is very exciting, but it’s getting outside on a chilly but sunny day that gets me smiling.

There is so much fun to be had in Autumn. Not only is it beautiful with the low sun and leaves turning orange but there are so many treasures to be found. The most exciting of course being CONKERS!

In October we can’t walk past a Horse Chestnut tree without stopping to scourer the floor for conkers. Any conker big or small gets picked up with glee and put in the basket. Over the years we have tried a few tricks of the trade to make the ‘chosen’ conker as hard as possible. Whether these are top tips, old wives tales or regarded by some as cheating, here’s some of the ways we’ve had fun trying.

  1. Bake in the oven for 1min, 30 secs and leave to cool
  2. Soak in vinegar
  3. Soak in nail varnish remover
  4. Leave in a cool dark place for a year
  5. Paint with clear varnish

That said, we’ve always found the best conkers to be the ones which are the most symmetrical with no marks or cracks. Now here’s how to play:

  1. Make a hole in the middle of your conker using a meat skewer or similar and thread a 25cm piece of string through the hole and tie a knot at the bottom.
  2. Taking turns each opponent wraps the string around their hand or fingers and holds their conker out, letting it hang straight for the other opponent (the striker) to take aim.
  3. The striker also wraps the string around their hand and draws the conker back with their other hand ready to strike.
  4. If the striker misses they are allowed a further 2 strikes.
  5. The striker then releases their conker and hits in a downward motion towards their opponents conker.
  6. If the stationary conker when hit circles around in a complete turn, known as ‘round the world’ the striker gets another go.
  7. If the strings get tangled the first player to shout ‘strings’ gets another go.
  8. Carry on in this way until one conker gets knocked about and breaks so that it comes off its string and can no longer be played with.

 

There is a way to score points and this is most fun when playing in schools or with a big group of friends. Basically when a conker defeats another conker they get a point and that conker becomes a ‘one-er’. If the one-er then went onto beat a conker which had previously beat four conkers (a four-er) it would take on the four-ers points and count it’s previous one point to become a five-er. And so on and so fourth. This maybe where the ‘top tips’ come in handy ;)

 

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.

Becky x