Daddy and Munchkin Blog
Prep Tips for a Pandemic-Era Back to School Season

With only a two year old, in all honesty, Daddyandmunchkin knows nothing about the return to school, so here’s a guest post from Lydia Chan.


While back-to-school prep always seems to frazzle parents, starting up school amidst a pandemic makes things more challenging. Being prepared can go a long way toward easing frustrations, though. Consider these prep tips to help you stay safe and get ready for a smoother school year.

Amp Up Your Electronics

Be sure to address your household’s electronic needs before the first day of school, whether virtual or otherwise.

Prep Kids (and Their Spaces)

From virtual classroom resources to in-person prep, your kids will need to prepare for the school year. Here’s what to think about.

Photo from Rawpixel

Banish Germs Year-Round

Combating cold and flu season isn’t the only germ-related concern this school year. So, you’ll need tougher cleaning protocols for your family’s health and peace of mind.

Heading back to school can be both liberating and frustrating for parents. Between worries over germs and concerns on the effects of technology, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But with these tips for navigating digital classrooms, boosting kids’ confidence, and eliminating as many germs as possible, you can enjoy a calmer back-to-school season.

About the Author

Lydia Chan understands the life of caregiving for another. After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is the co-creator of Alzheimer’s Caregiver, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers.

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Daddy and Munchkin

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Go Wild at BeWILDerwood review

What’s Bewilderwood About?

Based on the book series by Tom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood is a magical forest playground for the whole family. With wooden playgrounds, a sky maze, ropewalks, balancing beams, and the fastest and longest slides, all set within the trees in a beautiful forest setting. Everything is suitable for the entire family too so adults can play alongside their children for a truly enjoyable but exhausting fun family day out, so here is our beWILDerwood review.

Entry costs* £17.50 for an ‘Almost Wild’ child of 92 – 105 cm, £19.50 for over 105 cm to 65 years and £12.50 for the over 65’s. Entry includes all day climbing and exploring, free parking, and is inclusive of story times, dancing events and craft activities, so there’s no extra cost. *as of August 2021

bewilderwood review

A brief word on Covid

With restrictions lifted, I think its still nice to mention the Covid restrictions in place. BeWILDerwood supported digital ticket entry and cashless payments so there was no wasted paper and no handing over of tickets or payment cards. There were signs for social distancing in queues (although widely ignored by most) and instructions to keep left on pathways. There were also hand sanitiser stations at every section of the park (and most were full, which is quite the accomplishment as this has been a rarity elsewhere).

Munchkin’s (a two and a half year old toddler’s) experience

The forest is munchkin’s favourite place so that was a good start. Then, to add to that, there were slides, things to climb, and plenty of things to explore. Munchkin had a absolutely fantastic day, given a longish wait to enter and for the (very short) boat ride.

Which is probably my only negative. While Munchkin was excited for the boat, a 30 minute wait for a generally unexciting 2 minute journey isn’t really worth it. That said, it may be better for fans of the series as sets the scene of the books.

To avoid the long wait to enter, I recommend arriving early to beat the queue, get straight onto the boat and arrive first on the large structures such as the sky maze.

With only one or two things that were too big for his height, such as large ‘demon drop’ style, almost vertical bag slides, he was in his element. Climbing ladders, going across rope ladders and down the largest and fastest slides he’s ever seen! There was nothing he didn’t want to do. Ultimately proven by falling asleep before we even left the drive out of the wood!

Food and Drink

For this one we took a picnic, and there were numerous picnic spots, including one right next to the car park for an each lunch grab, so it was a breeze finding a free table.

If you to find something to eat there, there’s sausage buns, hotpot, nachos, sausage rolls and picnic food, such as sandwiches, crisps and fruit. Although we didn’t try their food, it was reasonably priced (£4.35 for a sausage hotpot), so we will likely eat there next time. They also do ice cream!

Where do you find Bewilderwood?

BeWILDerwood can be found in two spots in the UK, in Norfolk (north west of Norwich) and Cheshire (half an hour south of Chester). Here’s their handy dandy maps from their website.

Star Rating

No complaints here. A fantastic day out for the whole family.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Daddy reviewed, Munchkin Approved.

Other Places to visit?

Where else shall we take our toddlers I hear you ask?

Hobbledown Review

Sundown adventureland review

Chessington World of Adventures with a toddler review

National Trust properties

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Daddy and Munchkin

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Daddy’s Top Board and Party games

If you know this Daddy, you’ll know he thinks most social situations need snacks, a flow of good beers (gin or wine also suit) and a plethora of good board or party games to play. So Here are my seven, top board and party games in no particular order.

When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content and buying more games to review.

P for Pizza – Big Potato Games

P for Pizza, whose box isn’t edible like the photo suggests, is a super simple party game for 2 – 4 players. Being suitable for two players, it was the perfect lockdown companion for evenings when we officially ‘ran out of Netflix‘.

The rules could not be simpler. Match a category with a corresponding letter and shout out an appropriate answer before your teammates. Quickest correct answer wins a slice to build their own pizza pyramid. As the pyramid gets taller, the choice of categories lessens, increasing the difficulty towards the win.


P for Pizza is on the list for is simplicity to explain and get into and how everyone asks for another game.

  • Age 8+
  • 🕑 20 min
  • 👤 2 – 4

For 20% off Big Potato contact me below or via Instagram;

Game of Thrones Board Game

The GOT board game is a fantastic board game I haven’t had the pleasure of playing since University, yet it still makes the top list because of some very fond memories.

top board & party games

Imagine a Risk style board game, but set in Westeros. You compete as one of the six great houses aiming for domination of Westeros to claim the Iron Throne.

In each battle the tides can be turned by using characters alongside dice roles and players should always be aware of the risk of the Wildlings attacking from north of the wall! So in essence, its Risk, but with many, many more layers of complexity.

At 2+ hours gameplay (though it took us 6 hours the first play), this certainly isn’t one for a quick evening game and you’ll need a team as it requires 3 to 6 players.


Game of Thrones board game is on the list as it is totally immersive, bringing you into the battle and the feel of fighting for the iron throne.

  • Age 14+
  • 🕑 2 h +
  • 👤 3 – 6

Carcarsonne

Carcarsonne was another lockdown favourite, as not only a physical board game, but also digitised on the site Board Game Arena; a online board game website with a plethora of games to play.

top board and party games

Carcassonne on Board Game Arena

Take turns placing tiles to build cities, monasteries and roads to link them together. Score points by placing a ‘meeple’ on the feature and completing it, or setting them in a field to be scored at game end. Use the large meeple (which counts as two) to compete for ownership and steal points from other players.


Carcarsonne is on my list and I have been so addicted since playing it for the first time. Simple as that.

  • Age 7+
  • 🕑 35 min
  • 👤 2 – 5

Carcarsonne is available to play for free at board game arena and buy at Amazon.co.uk.

Sushi Go – Gamewright

Sushi Go is a deluxe, 2 – 8 player 20 minute sushi feast game!

A game of Sushi Go last three rounds. In each round, each player is dealt a hand of cards. Simultaneously, each player chooses 1 card to play and places it face down. When all players have chosen the cards are turned and each player passes their hand to the left.

Sushi Go basic game set up (left) and hand during gameplay (right)

The round ends when all the cards have been placed, and then cards are scored depending on the type of sushi. For example, Nigiri are scored individually for 1, 2 or 3 points, however you need a group of three Sashimi to score 10 points. If pudding is collected, these are scored at the end of the three rounds. The player with the highest points wins.


Its on the top games list as its so accessible to all and enjoyed by most.

  • Age 8+
  • 🕑 20 min
  • 👤 2 – 8

Linkee – Linkee Ltd

Linkee is a fun team game which works best with three of more teams of two or more players. A question master reads four questions one by one, then a clue if required, out loud to the teams. The first team to shout ‘Linkee!’ and guess the link wins the card. Each card has a letter on the other side, and the first team to spell ‘Linkee’ wins.

Linkee example card (left) and winning collection (right)

There’s two extra little rules to use when you collect spare cards you don’t need. You can ‘buy’ a letter from the bank in exchange for three cards, or delete one from another team at a cost of two cards.

Linkee is a favourite as its simple but highly competitive, getting everyone poised to shout ‘Linkee!’


  • Age 12+
  • 🕑 30 min – 1 h
  • 👤 2 – 30

Munchkin – Steve Jackson Games

Munchkin is another game with a lot of rules. In simple terms, its a 3 – 6 player game which can last anything from 40 minutes to several hours.

Munchkin Zombie starting set up (left) and example monster (right)

The object of the game is to get to level 10. This can be done using special cards, but, most importantly, defeating monsters. As you play, you get the opportunity to level up your character as you go, adding items to power up your Munchkin.

At any time, you can attack other players with cards too, making it a constant game of battle to reach level 10 and win. Like I said though, that’s it in very basic terms, there’s quite a few more rules!

Munchkin comes in a variety of themes. Each can be played individually or merged together. So Munchkin Zombies could become Munchkin Zombie Superheroes by combining two decks.


Munchkin made the list as its always in my bag for a games night. It’s geeky whilst enjoyable.

  • Age 10+
  • 🕑 40 min – 2 h
  • 👤 3 – 6

Don’t Get Got – Big Potato Board Games

Don’t Get Got is the ultimate party game as it can be played simultaneously with other games, alongside a meal or, to be honest, any get together.

Don’t get got example wallet mid game (left) and game contents (right)

Each player gets a mission wallet with 6 tasks. The first is simply a ‘Guess what?’ which you succeed if someone replies with ‘What?’. This one can be attempted multiple times.

Then there’s 5 more secret tasks such as ‘Hide this card on a player without them noticing’ or ‘stick this card under a table and get a player to notice it’. These can only be attempted once, as if you are caught, you fail the task, so choose your opportunity wisely!

The first to pass three tasks wins.


Don’t get got is on the list as its one of a kind. I’ve never seen anything like it in that it can go alongside any social gathering.

  • Age 14+
  • 🕑 As long as it takes
  • 👤 2 – 8

For 20% off Big Potato contact me below or via Instagram;


So that was Daddy’s top board and party games. What’s your board/party game of choice?

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Bedside Cot – Chicco Next 2 me Review

When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content.

An important decision

Your new arrivals first sleeper is an important decision, amongst many others. It’s got to fit your budget (alongside all the millions things you need at the start), may need to provide functions above and beyond sleeping at home such as as a travel cot, be safe and comfortable and support that new little ones early development. For us, it was a Next 2 me. Why? Well here’s our Chicco Next 2 Me Review.

Design

There are multiple options/editions of the Next 2 Me cot (see versions below) . This review is based on the Next 2 me Dream. This was the middle of the road option but with all the essential bells and whistles we required.

next 2 me review
Image from Chicco.co.uk

The Next 2 Me fit its purpose for us for multiple reasons. Firstly, Munchkin was breast-fed for the first six months, so easy access was essential. Natalie found it super easy to pick him up, give him a feed and pop him back down without leaving the duvet (that’s messy nappies aside though, as that’s usually where I pitched in).

It had a great mattress too. As the early age, babies backs are developing and need a good supportive mattress. The next 2 me was suitable from birth for all night sleeping so that’s ticked off. Other features included a reclinable side, to change it from a side of bed sleeper to a full on cot. It had a tilt mode, to help with nights of bad reflux and 6 different levels to make a snug fit to any bed.

Out and About

The Next 2 me easily doubled up as a travel cot. Munchkin was born pre-covid, so it was essential to have something we could easily pack up, pop in the car and take to family and friends or on holiday. The Next to me was simple to collapse and build, leaving to frustration free sleeps away from home. It fitted simply in the boot and had simple instructions to pass on when needed.

Price, versions and where to purchase

The next 2 me range comes in a range of options. Ours was middle of the road, and picked up in a Mothercare sale which knocked a few bob off (RIP mothercare, which lost the retail battle). However, models range from the most basic ‘Air’ with 1 level mattress and zip side access (£129 John Lewis) to ‘Dream’ with multi level (for when they start to sit) and fold down side mechanism (£166 Amazon) to the full out ‘Magic’ (£227 Argos (promotion Jul 2021, usually £227)) with wheels to move the crib about, one handed access, rocking mode and improved mechanisms for folding and storage. If you’re looking for something more permanent for they also have the ‘Forever’ which triples up as a side-sleeping cot, traditional cot and floor bed for toddlers (£329 John lewis).

Overall and Stars

An essential bit of kit and perfect for our needs.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Daddy reviewed, Munchkin approved

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Sundown Adventureland Review

I wanted to do something with Munchkin for my birthday, and Nanny has always said about Sundown Adventureland, which was somewhere I fondly remembered from my childhood, ever since before Munchkin was born. I have reviewed the other parks we have visited with Munchkin including Hobbledown and Chessington World of Adventure, so here is my Sundown Adventureland Review.

What is Sundown Adventureland?

Maybe this video will answer that?

Sundown Adventureland is a theme park aimed at the under 10’s. It features numerous play parks, all with different themes from an old American wild west cavalry post, to a pirate cove, a sand pit play zone and Angry birds themed play area. Then there are themed zones to walk through and play in, including story book houses, the yellow brick road and a toy town, with miniature town buildings to go through and explore. There are multiple rides, including a train ride, tractor, a boat ride (where you get soaked), flying pigs, tea cups and an ostrich ride. There’s a driving school, but you have to be slightly taller (over 1.0 m) to have a go at that one.

Entry cost varies throughout the year. We visited in early June so it was off-season. This meant rides were subject to opening times, but the entry price was reduced to £14.50 for adults and children over 90 cm in comparison to £17.50 in summer*. Children under 90 cm are free, and are also too short for most of the rides, but have plenty of play parks to explore. *Prices correct as of June 2020.

Covid guidelines

Having visited during the pandemic. Its only right I assess their Covid guidelines and how they were managed.

It all honesty it was slightly mixed bag here. There was no temperature testing on arrival, like that used in many other places. There were zones in which masks were to be worn, but the signage wasn’t always the clearest. Some rides had clear social distancing markings, but many did not, and where they didn’t, people didn’t tend to distance.

One thing they did well however, was clean every ride every time. Thankfully it was low season and this didn’t add to the wait times.

Munchkin’s experience

At just over 90 cm Munchkin could go on all but one ride, and being low season, he went on all but one ride, and some twice!

He had an absolute ball, he was completely made up when he saw the Noah’s Ark play area as we arrived and that was just the start. He left multiple rides asking ‘again Daddy/Nanny!’. Even if he seemed to look a little scared on the rides, I now realise that was his interested face. He was thrilled to ride a tractor and the train and bounce up and down on the ostrich ride. We had to pull him out of every park to explore the next area. He had the time of his life and we can’t wait to take him again.

There were so many bits maintained from my childhood which were a joy for me and Nanny to explore. I had vivid memories of the yellow brick lane and Nanny loved seeing and exploring the miniature town like we did when we were children.

Food and drink

There are several establishments on site offering hot food which is ‘tasty, not gourmet’ (their words not mine, but do sum it up quite well). Two of these offer soft play too to give parents a rest, though these were closed when we visited due to restrictions. If you would like to bring your own, there’s tons of space for a picnic and the car park is a short walk from the entrance.

Where do you find it?

Sundown Adventureland is located east of the A1, east of Worksop and north-west of Lincoln.

Sundown Adventureland Review

Sundown Adventureland Review Star Rating

Taking away a half star for the little annoyance of limited Covid-10 restrictions, we would give Sundown Adventureland:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This rating is for perfect park cleanliness, really reasonable pricing, the variety on offer and the enjoyment had by myself, Nanny and Munchkin.

Daddy reviewed, Munchkin Approved.

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Daddy and Munchkin

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‘Water’ Way to Light Up Your Day with Sensory Play at Home

Sensory play is a fantastic thing for babies and toddler development. There are classes available, but its easy to do sensory play at home. Here is a few things we have done with Munchkin during lockdown of 2020. All of these used every day items we already possessed.

Bubble Float, Bubble Pop

Its a known fact that every child loves bubbles, and Munchkin was no different. The look of awe and amazement as he reached for the bubbles around him was worth every second of the clean up operation which followed!

Bottle Shaker Sounds

If there is one thing Munchkin loves, its making a lot of noise. He loves drumsticks and banging everything, his drums and setting off all his musical toys at once, and even using his utensils at meal times for impromptu musical routines.

So this one was simple. Take equal sized bottles and fill with different every day items to illustrate the different sounds they make. We used lentils, stones Munchkin collected from the garden and rice. You could see the interest of the different sounds and the joy of shaking and dropping them.

Splish Splash Water Play

With swimming on hold, it was important to give our Munchkin some time to splash about at home. So we filled the blow up duck he used to have his baths in, gave him some toys and away he went splashing about.

Wibble Wobble Jelly Play

Exactly what it says in the title. Jelly on a plate, wibbly and wobbly, with a few utensils, feeling it, bouncing it and tasting it. Good orange flavoured fun.

Make a Lentil Mess

We put some lentils in a bowl and let him go crazy. From the first unsure touch, to throwing them everywhere, it was a fun explosion of sensory fun.

Disco lights and lightning bolts

We set up a disco ball, a lightning plate, a rope light and a colouring changing stars on the ceiling toy and popped Munchkin in the middle. He loved touching the plate and making the lightning move, grasping onto the disco ball and wafting around the rope light.

Cook up a storm

Finally, not fully a sensory exploration, but we gave Munchkin kitchen bits and some balls for a cooking experience. He’s had a saucepan ever since as his eyes immediately lit up and a smile filled his little face. He loved to play peek-a-boo with the colander!

It was easy to create sensory and discovery experiences from items already in our household. Hopefully this gives some inspiration for what sensory play at home you can do with your little ones.

Thanks for reading,

sensory play at home
Making a Toddler Wall on a Budget

Its nice to give children a space that feels their own. We had our Mutable (What’s one of those?) in a corner of our lounge against a plain wall and it lacked something. I decided this needed to change it by adding some things like prints, to make this corner, his corner and make a toddler wall on a budget.

When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards making further content.

A Toddler Wall on a Budget

Its always nice to save a pound or two on a project, so I decided to make these things on my own. This turned buying three prints and frames, two wire words and two wire images for around £70 down to less than £20. Here’s how I did it and made a toddler wall on a budget.

Drag the bar to see it transform

Make Prints on Canva

If you haven’t heard of Canva, where have you been hiding? It is the most useful web based application for digital design. See all those images I make for each of my posts? They are all made on Canva!

Now to make prints. First, take some inspiration from the world of Etsy and get a design in mind. I decided to go for a never stop exploring visual design and then a ‘be kind’ rainbow and ‘play, dream, explore’ below. I used a free trial to make these, meaning all the premium art and fonts were accessible, designed them, downloaded them and sent them to Snapfish for printing. We then popped to a discount store for some cheap but reasonably nice frames and got a pack of 3M Command strips and we were away.

Handmake Wire Words and Graphics

I really wanted some wire words after finding them on Instagram, but at £8 – 11 per design, I thought id give it a go myself. For this I found some knitted rope on Amazon, and some easily mouldable copper wire. I then had a mare getting the wire into the knitted rope, but when I did, it was fun seeing what I could come up with. I then went and made a ‘play’ and ‘explore’ word wire and later added a dinosaur and rocket.

Buy red knitted rope, yellow knitted rope and copper wire at Amazon.

Make his own Space.

Giving Munchkin his own space also fits with our Montessori way of parenting. It gives him some ownership and a space he knows is his. A space he can have his snack, find his morning milk, play, paint, draw and enjoy.

toddler wall on a budget
Enjoy Munchkin!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

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Febrile Convulsion in Children

*The information in this post is based on the advice from NHS UK. Please always follow your own area’s medical advice.

One hot day in May…

The reason I wanted to post about Febrile Convulsion (temperature related seizure in young children) is because we experienced one in Munchkin recently during half term and I wish I had known more before.

It was a very hot day and we spent a lot of time in the garden playing in and around the paddling pool. Toward the afternoon, Munchkin got very hot and sleepy. Thinking it was heat exhaustion, we gave him plenty to drink, popped his feet up and lay on the sofa to an episode of Hey Duggee. Twenty minutes later he was back to himself running about the house. We were immediately more cautious, staying inside and keeping water arms length from Munchkin.

He went to bed as normal, in limited clothes as it was very hot. The only difference we noticed is that he asked to sleep asking “Munchkin sleep now”, while It’s normally a little more difficult.

It must have been around 9:30 pm went we heard a weird noise come from Munchkin. We instantly turned on the camera app and witnessed his first seizure, running to his bedside and calling 999. After nearly 24 hours Munchkin was back home, the only lasting effect being Mummy and Daddy watching him like hawk ever since.

Part of me just wished we had known more, to ease our fears a little. Hence I am writing this post.

Febrile Convulsion in Children

Febrile Convulsion’s are brief seizures which can occur when a child (normally aged between 6 months to 6 years) is running a temperature. This is because, in developing children, the high temperature can disturb normal brain activity. It’s commonplace, with three cases in every 100 children and children fully recover with no lasting effect on learning or development.

Normally children only have one in their life (with 1 in 3 experiencing more than one). The overall risk of epilepsy is slightly increased after experiencing a febrile convulsion.

Febrile convulsion in children

Preventing Febrile Convulsion

Febrile convulsions are caused by running a high temperature, so, whilst not completely effective, the methods to prevent them are the same as treating a high temperature:

  • Keep your child hydrated
  • Treat with Paracetamol or Ibuprofen following normal dosage limits.
  • Cool their bedroom and remove clothing if sweating.

If a convulsion happens its important to place them in the recovery position and clear the area for anything that could harm them. Keep track of how long the seizure lasts.

When to call 999

We were right to call an ambulance as it was Munchkin’s first seizure.

Call 999 if:

  • Your child looks unwell or septic (symptoms of Sepsis – NHS UK)
  • It’s the child’s first convulsion.
  • Your child has several short convulsions in a short space of time or more than one in 24 hours.
  • If the seizure is a focal seizure. This means its on one side of their body or may last longer than 24 hours.

Further reading

Febrile seizures – NHS (www.nhs.uk)


As I said, the only effect for Munchkin has been me and Mummy watching him like a hawk and stalking him with a water bottle on hot days. We just wish we had this information beforehand, to allay our fears at the time.

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Daddy and Munchkin

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Encouraging Children to Read

Children often love to read without motivation but sometimes they need some encourgement. For example, statistics have shown that previously, only 58% of children enjoy to read and only 30.8% read daily (based on 49,049 children and young people aged eight to 18). I believe what we do to stimulate reading enjoyment in Munchkin will hopefully make him one of those 50%, be it making it fun, accessible or part of routine.

Make books visible and accessible

How many times do you want or need to do something but can’t be bothered because the thing you need is in a different room or upstairs? Its the same with reading. Keep books accessible and visible. Put them in their bedroom, and downstairs in their play room or share the bottom shelf of the bookcase so they are always on hand.

Once, we were trying to be more tidy and conseuqently, Munchkins books became less visible. We instantly noticed a dramatic decline in the amount he actively chose to read. We quickly realised that, as he would not see books he would therefore not be enticed to read them.

Make it routine

The easiest way to start reading with young children is to make it part of the routine. We have always let Munchkin choose two books before bed and offer them whenever he wants to do change activity. Sometimes one book leads two and then to a whole stack of them.

Incite their imagination

Incite their imagination by expanding on the story. Try asking ‘what could happen next?’ or ‘what noise would that animal make?’ or ‘what would your super power be? We find you can talk around the book for much longer than just simply reading it, and it adds much more value and learning to the story. I find it makes it much more interesting too, especially if its one of their favourites they have asked you to read on repeat.

Similarly, maintain your enthusiasm, no matter how many times you have read a certain book. Reading to children should always be approached with enthusiasm and emphasis, and this should be the case whether its the first read or the 50th.

Don’t restrict reading to books.

Reading shouldn’t just be with books. Engage in reading whenever the moment arises. For example, Munchkin likes to sound out letters on notices and road signs, when we walk, and we tell him what they say. Real life learning on the go at its best.

Let them read to you. Even before they can.

I got this little nugget from Munchkin himself. Sometimes he wants to take the driving seat and read to us, ‘Daddy read this one, (Munchkin) read this one’. Its a great way to see a book through his eyes and allows us to incite his imagination by asking around what he picks up, next time. It’s honestly surprising how much of a story Munchkin can relay at just two years 4 months old.

Get books related to their interests

Seems an obvious one, as no one likes to read things that do not interest them, but its essential advice. If they like peppa pig, she has books, if they love the ocean, you can get plenty about the sea, if they like being eco-friendly there’s books for that too and of course, Duggee has them (woof woof!).

It would be no surprise to you that Munchkin loves a bit of nature if you saw his book collection with ‘woods’, ‘under the sea’ and nature crossovers like ‘flamingo play’s bingo’.

Incorporate books into play

Consider setting up an activity around a book theme. For example, set up a nature play zone around ‘That’s not my hedgehog’, or get a book on trains and get the tracks out. The options are endless.

Talk around the written words

While its lovely to read the book word for word, it can stimulate their imaginations by adding extra details. Put simply, just say what you see.

Thanks for reading, enjoy reading more books!

Do you have any tips to encourage reading in your children?

Daddy and Munchkin

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Our National Trust Top Four

While we only started our membership during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have managed to visit a good handful of National Trust properties. While Oxburgh Hall and the Dunstable downs and a few others didn’t quite make the list, here are our top four of the National Trust properties so far. (This post will get updated over time as we visit more locations).

4. Clumber Park, Worksop

Clumber park is a huge expanse of woodland and park land situated off the A1, south of Worksop. It has many a peaceful walk surrounded completely by nature, letting you feel totally disconnected. This is the property we first saw Munchkin’s love for nature grow. His little nine-month old eyes lit up when he first saw the trees towering above him and his love for nature hasn’t changed since.


3. Belton House, Grantham

Belton House is a one of the properties I visited as a child, and we have revisited many a time with Munchkin. It has a giant wooden park which, for a little one, stretches for miles, is the National Trusts biggest play area, and is topped off with a woodland train to give you a swift ride through the trees. Belton House hosts fantastic Christmas light displays (which we will certainly be visiting this winter) and has a fantastic property (which you can visit again now).


2. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge

Just pipped by Cliveden for the top spot, Anglesey Abbey was the first property to fuel my passion for visiting National Trust properties. Set in 114 acres, north-east of Cambridge, Anglesey abbey features a fantastic woodland park (which is sadly currently closed due to Covid-19) and fabulous seasonal gardens which surprise us on every visit. We love a stroll or toddler-run up and down the tree -lined grass walkways and an amble alongside the river which leads up to a working water mill.


1. Cliveden, Maidenhead

Set on a stretch of the Thames, north-west of London, this property has miles and miles of woodland and riverbank to wonder. It boasts a fantastic property (albeit one we’ve only seen from the outside as we visited during Covid times, during our October getaway). There’s a fantastic wooden storybook themed play area, a wooden play trail, options for boating trips and absolutely stunning gardens.

We learned a lesson at this one which we found out the hard way. If you walk the many miles up to the southern car park and then down the Thames, this may be a beautiful walk but there is a chance your toddler will get tired, go in the pushchair and fall asleep. But that’s fine right? Well not when the return up the hill is many many steep steps, which is a challenge with all the day’s bags, a pushchair and a toddler sleeping inside!

That said, it is such a fantastic and beautiful property. The view of the Thames is spectacular, and there’s plenty for the kids to do when not wondering through the woodland. That’s why its made the top spot.

National Trust Membership

As mentioned in the intro, we have a National Trust membership which grants us access to the houses and gardens, free parking (at most properties) and a handy dandy guidebook. For two adults its only £10/month and for a family of two adults plus children its only £10.50. To compare, a visit to Cliveden costs £15 per adult and £7.50 per child aged 5 – 17, with children under 5 go free, so membership was a no brainer for us.


Which is your favourite National Trust? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

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