Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer holidays - Our top ten activities and ideas for children

The summer holidays have arrived - six lovely school-free weeks! And the sun has even arrived here in the UK just in time for them. If you're wondering how to fill the days, we thought we'd bring you a few ideas to keep your little ones entertained. Here are our top ten ideas for this week. Since the summer weather has finally arrived (hooray!), we thought we'd start with lots of outdoor activities...

  1. Get into the sporty spirit and hold your own Olympic Games.

  1. Kiddy car wash - children love splashing about and even being helpful every now and then! So how about setting up a car/toy wash for them in your driveway or garden. All you need is a bucket filled with soapy water, a few sponges, cloths and their toys and away they go! 

  1. Paint outside with water - if you don’t fancy getting messy with paints, let the little ones get creative with water - an old paintbrush, a cup of water and paving stones in the garden.

  1. Go fruit picking - why not visit a local ‘pick your own’ farm and pick some juicy strawberries or raspberries. Take them home and make your own jam, a cake, ice lollies or fruit jelly.

  1. Make a water wall - only a little bit of construction needed for this one and you’ve got hours of fun.

  1. Make and blow bubbles - make your own batch of bubble mixture and go bubble crazy.

  1. Go on a colour hunt - this would work equally well indoors and out, perhaps on the beach collecting pebbles and shells.  

  1. Keep a holiday scrapbook or diary - we both loved keeping a little scrapbook of our holidays as children. They weren’t quite as fancy as this holiday scrapbook mind you.

  1. Go for a walk and build a twig tower - for nature loving little ones, forget Jenga indoors and get out into the woods and build your own.

  1. Feed the birds - our little ones love feeding the ducks in the park. How about feeding the birds in the garden too with this speedy bird cake or recycled bird feeder.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday's fun fact - Comedy lemurs and royal frogs

Did you know that an estimated 17,000 to 24,000 animal species are identified every year? A few mammals, hundreds of amphibians and many thousands of insects and other invertebrates. Some of them have familiar sounding names...the Bob Marley parasite (Gnathia marleyi), the Kate Winslet beetle (Agra katewinsletae) and the Beyonce horse fly (Scaptia beyonceae).

Two of our A-Z animals have famous connections...

John Cleese had a lemur named after him in 2005. The endangered Madagascan Avahi cleesei was given its name by the scientist who identified it as a tribute to the actor and comedian's promotion of nature conservation in films such as Fierce Creatures. 

Earlier this year a tree frog was named after Prince Charles. The Prince Charles stream tree frog (Hyloscirtus princecharlesi) was named after His Royal Highness in recognition of his charity work to protect their rainforest habitat.

 Happy Friday all!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday's fun fact - Wonderfully woolly yaks

The weather seems to be the topic of conversation here at the moment. Not only have we just experienced the wettest June on record, it looks as though the outlook for rest of the summer isn't much better. Rain is one thing, but it's the fact that it's also been so cold for this time of year. Inevitably this has led to a daily wardrobe struggle...what to wear when one (rather fleeting) moment the sun is shining and it feels warm, and the next it's cloudy and rainy making you want to reach for a woolly jumper?

It's with woolly things in mind that I share with you today's fun fact...did you know that over 90% of the world's yak population of nearly 15 million lives on the Tibetan Plateau in the Himalayas?

(Image: Khunu)

And did you know that yak wool is softer and warmer than merino, and more durable than cashmere? So why not try wearing their wool too? If it's warm enough to keep yaks cosy in the Himalayas then it's got to be good!

Happy Friday 13th all...hope it's been a lucky one!