During school holidays when N’s nursery school is off, I try and put him in his day nursery for a few extra days.  Avoids taking too many random days of work rather than a good chunk longer holidays.  But last week I’d take off an extra day so we could have one fun day out together.  Our initial vague plans to meet friends fell through, so we wangled an invite with a couple of N’s nursery school friends to Stratford for an afternoon.

I’m also friends with one of the mums, so they came over for a ‘picnic’ lunch first.  N was really excited about having a picnic, but the weather hadn’t been looking promising enough to have it when we got to Stratford upon Avon.  So they had an impromptu indoor picnic instead.

indoor-picnic.

I think this friend is the only one that N hasn’t told me beforehand ‘They can’t play with my toys’.  Usually he lets them anyway, but it makes me laugh how he often says that even though he loves having people to play.  For some reason N always gets excited about showing friends his room.  No idea why as a) it’s usually a mess and b) it’s not got cool any decoration in.

The boys loved being in the car together, and on arrival it was lovely to see them holding hands and walking nicely along.  Sometimes as a parent you wonder about one sided relationships between children, but N and his friend L seem to like each other the same amount which is a relief.

N and a friend.

I hadn’t realised there was a great playground along by the river, so we met the other boy from nursery school and his mum and younger sister, and the boys had a great time checking out all the different play equipment and what there was to see. 

toddler-and-swing1.
laughing-at-the-playground.

Usually N’s a sand obsessive…at nursery at least, as he comes home having played with it, driving vehicles in it most of the day.  I find sand deposits in the car days later.  But here, although there was a huge sandpit with water runs, then further play equipment, he wasn’t interested.  Well, apart from the digger machine (more on that another time as we had a little episode regarding that).

digging-in-sand.

As the weather was perfect for being outside, not too hot, but dry and not too windy, it was busy.  But not so busy that they couldn’t go on the equipment they wanted.  It turned out there was also a paddling pool area there, so next time if it’s warm, we’ll definitely have to take a towel and swim shorts/top although as Stratford gets manic when the weather is beautiful, I would expect the park would get ridiculously busy at weekends when we’d be likely to go.

stratford-playgroun-watching-children-play.

The boys also ventured towards the zipwire.  N’s never had a go before, mainly because I’ve never thought he’d hold on, plus it’s hard if you’re on your own to get a child lifted on and launched at one end, and then get down to the end to help them off.  So with 3 adults, there wasn’t really an excuse not to let them have a go. 

zipwire

All three loved it, and had a couple of goes each, standing in line.  I’m thinking in future, I need to get better at moving around to take photos, as they always seemed to twist around the wrong way

We managed to drag them past the ice cream van (no Mr Whippy there, but a locally made more vintage style ice cream van!) with the lure of the Butterfly Farm.  We’d never been before but the others were keen on seeing the spiders and bugs.

Considering it’s just a few butterflies, bugs, lizards, spiders and snakes, it’s quite a pricy visit (none of the boys made the free under 3s entry), although we did link up to get a family ticket.

The butterflies were gorgeous, and several other children managed to pick them up and walk round with them.  N had one attached to his shoe; once other children had pointed out, and we’d got it off, he wasn’t sure about the butterflies after that for a while.

watching-the-waterfall.

The huge koi carp were a draw, plus of course quite a few bridges which N does love   The boys loved pointing out the animals they spotted.  N wasn’t that excited by the spiders, beetles and bugs, as by that stage he was still getting over his butterfly on shoe angst.

purple leaves.

It was a lovely afternoon out with friends, and hopefully we’ll have a few more similar afternoons over the summer months.

63 Comments

  1. I love the photos here. Kids are always so deep into the unknown! Looks like a great visit.

  2. Looks like a great day, glad you all had fun. My kids love indoor picnics and butterfly houses. #countrykids

    • It was lovely. And nice to do something fairly spontaneous as well – last minute planning that turned out really well

  3. Butterflies are so amazing.
    Looking at some of them you can really appreciate how stunning the nature can be

    • So true. It is amazing how beautiful nature is, and how butterflies come to be

  4. Great pictures! Your son is really enjoying himself 🙂 I think all the children enjoy showing their room because it’s theirs. Not because its cool but because they have, lol

    • You’re probably right about the room thing. Parents always seem to get embarrassed about it, probably because they think the children are going to go running from room to room

  5. Michelle Christopher

    It looks like the boys had great fun. I love the pictures of the butterfly farm.

  6. Rebecca Swenor

    It looks like the boys had an awesome time together. The butterfly farm looks so great. Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a lovely friendship. Nice that you obviously get on with the mothers too. Difficult when you don’t. Love the indoor picnic. The play area looks fab and I’m looking forward to hearing about the sand digger.

    We love butterfly houses. My three love their mini-beasts. Not all children do. I always think that butterflies are a great introduction. Hopefully it leads to greater understanding of other many legged wee-beasties. #CountryKids

    • Good point about the introduction. N likes to spot them flying when we’re out and about.

      Definitely good getting to meet mums who might become friends.

  8. You must be quite local to us as I have written about that park about a month ago! We visited the butterfly farm when my oldest was about 3 as I remember having the little one in the sling. It is nice and interesting and fun for the kids to see the butterflies up close but it is very expensive for what it is. Looks like you had a great day out though. #countrykids.x

    • Small world, this blogging lark! We’re on the Oxon/Warks border so can get around quite a way.

      Agree on the cost, especially with extortionate parking costs as well. As part of another ‘free’ visit it’s not too bad, but wouldn’t want to pay for that as the main part of a visit.

  9. Looks like you had a lovely time. We keep meaning to go to that butterfly farm, and I think I can use Clubcard vouchers, so we’ll get there one day!

    • If you can get money off, definitely better value. Don’t know how much it changes throughout the year though.

  10. Leira Pagaspas

    Looks like your little boy had a fun and educational day!!

  11. Such a perfect day! From the butterflies to the zipping in the park, it all looked fun!

  12. Joyful Gifts by Julie

    I used to love taking my son to places like this when he was young. We had tons of fun!

  13. I think the showing friends your room is just a sort of kids icebreaker, all my kids used to do that too. I think it is quite normal, a sort of accepting the other person into your own space as a gesture of friendship. I love the look of the park in Stratford, it sounds amazing with all the eqyuipement and the water area too. I am curious what went wrong with the digger? They are something I would like for Coombe Mill. Thank you for sharing an action packed day on Country Kids.

  14. What a busy day you had! The pictures say it all really, everyone looks so happy and relaxed. How lovely to be able to have such a successful day with friends and how lovely for N to have such a lovely friendship.

    • Definitely. The boys loved playing together again at nursery today, so really building on their friendships

  15. This is going on my list of things to try with our little ones, my eldest (aged 3) loves the butterfly house at Blenheim Palace so I’m sure would love this. Friendships at this age are so cute aren’t they? x

    • Oh they’d definitely love it then. This is much bigger, and with the water areas it’s a bit more special.

  16. I’m looking forward to when you expand on the sand digger event. That was always my favorite playground attraction.

    • It’s strange because he never plays in it even though there are some toys up there.

    • We go to Stratford quite a lot but usually just down by the river. Didn’t even know the playground was there. Good find, for sure.

  17. Firstly that last leaf photo is so cool! A local plant in my country that heals bumps!

    My son met friends in pre-school. Being a single child I think he crave for a sibling company. This new friend is a real brother like to him and him to my son and I am so glad that because of their friendship I am slowly becoming a friend to his Mother too!

    I love school and the friendship that you can have in there =) #pocolo

    • Ah, interesting to know about the plant! It just looked cool to me, nice purple.

      Definitely school/nursery is a great place to meet local friends. We’re lucky as we have NCT friends, but I work full time so rarely get to see them. N’s also lucky that he has all his cousins within 1.5 miles of us, so he’s really close to the youngest cousin too.

  18. Sounds like a lovely day out, a park and the butterfly farm, lucky boys 🙂 Friendships at this age are lovely, and they do last, my oldest is still close friends with his nursery best friend, despite now living in different countries 🙂

    • That’s impressive. I moved away when I was 7, so a bit young for penpals so am not in contact with anyone from my first place I lived. But my OH has a really good friend from when he was 5 and at school. They’re now mid 40s, but are helped by neither of them having gone off to uni or moved away from home.

  19. lisa jones

    Looks Like The Kids Had A Blast Would Love To Take The Kids Thank You!

  20. They are having fun time together. love to see those butterfly.

  21. Looks like they had a lot of fun in the playground by the river. Seeing those butterfly is also a learning experience.

    • They always have activity sheets and information for children at these, so they’re definitely educational if you want them to be

  22. Em @ snowingindoors

    I’ve heard great things about that playground in Stratford, after seeing your photos I think we’ll have to head over there, looks like the kids would love it!

    • It’s huge, great as there are toilets and snack/ice cream/drinks van so something for everyone. Definitely worth checking out if you’re that way.

  23. I’d love to visit a butterfly farm. What a fun day you had. I love the play ground equipment you have there.

    • That’s what I love about playgrounds, is that everyone seems to have different equipment.

  24. suzanne3childrenandit

    Ah it looks like they’re having an awesome time together! These first friendships are so special aren’t they? Cute post 🙂

    • They do love playing together. He’s got another similar friend at his day nursery where they’re inseparable, but they’re unlikely to go to school together which is a shame.

    • Call any meal a picnic and they’ll love it. I have to admit, all the toys were a bit of a distraction, but they still loved having their own little meal

    • It’s definitely whizzing by already. He’ll be at school before I know it!

%d bloggers like this: