So this year I planned to make the most of mine and Israel’s summer, having the whole six weeks off (teacher privileges). So I started planning activities for us to do since way before the holiday had even begun and I was determined to get everything done even if it was just me and Israel on our little journey.
I basically did research on all the places I could take a newly walking toddler and he would still enjoy himself, I really wanted him to have an amazing experience wherever we went and to learn and make new friends where possible. I planned to take him somewhere at least once a week because he still had nursery two days a week, so that’d give him time to rest for a day before heading off to nursery.
After doing some research, I found a couple of places that we could go, not too pricey, not too far and some even free, e.g. the park.
The farm is in the heart of Islington, it’s quite small so perfect for a first visit to the farm, it wasn’t too overwhelming and small enough for Israel to walk around by himself. There were so many learning opportunities at the farm, Israel learnt some new animal names and sounds. He enjoyed having the independence to walk around the farm relatively on his own. We actually visited Freightliners twice, first time with family and the second with colleagues and their kids and both were lovely experiences, there’s also paradise park right outside so had a little play there afterwards. Entry is also free, as it’s a charity farm.
ZSL London Zoo
Who doesn’t love the zoo?! This was another first for Israel and he loved it! We went with my cousin and her daughter and it was so nice watching them both learn and interact, my cousins daughter is 2, almost 3, so there’s a little age gap between her and Israel so there was so much learning going on as Israel listened to her talking and saying all the animal names. We know tourist attractions in London can be quite pricey but I was determined to not spend too much on keeping my kid entertained so I got my ticket on a discounted price on 365tickets.com, a great website for finding cheaper ticket prices for attractions in London.
Every summer, man made beaches are set up in and around London at big shopping centres, I think they’re such a beautiful idea for people who may not have the means to go abroad or are just looking for a fun day out with the kids. We took a big family trip out there and the kids had so much fun swimming and going on the rides. There are rides for adults as well. It was £3 to get in for adults and the kids under 3 were free.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
This was definitely a highlight of the summer, the story centre is based in Stratford so we had to take a train there but it was so worth it. The venue is beautiful and they offer famous children’s stories (e.g. The Gruffalo & Room on the broom) being told throughout the day, it’s perfect for children of all ages, there are sensory spaces, outdoor play areas, a reading garden and a lovely little book and gift shop. I loved this place because of the variety of things for kids to do also because it was an indoor space, it was okay to let Israel run around and explore. A day pass is £6.50 and there are additional shows you can book for (most are free) and if one requires payment it’s like an extra £1.50. So worth it!
This was easy access, free, and close to home which is why I loved it. With a paddling pool, mini farm, children’s play area, cafe and lots of open grass space it’s perfect for letting your kids just burn some energy. To think that this park has always literally been at my doorstep and this summer was the first time I really explored it. Izzy loved it, he loves having freedom to walk around and climb and run so this was perfect, we had a play date with my friends daughters and they had so much fun. Unfortunately we didn’t go on a super hot day so couldn’t use the paddling pool but we got to do everything else and the kids enjoyed themselves which is what really matters right?
The Play Spot @ Finsbury Park
I loooove this place! The play spot is an indoor soft play area for kids up to 8 years. Izzy and I have visited before and he had so much fun (he was only about 7 months) so there was no doubt we had to go back for another visit. As soon as we stepped in, he wanted to get out of his buggy and go and play. I blame the bright colours, the vast majority of activities and all the other children who were clearly having fun! The space isn’t huge which I found amazing because, no matter where your child is, they can be seen. It offers opportunities for climbing, running, playing instruments, there’s even a sensory room for smaller kids and lots of ball pits! Just £3 to get in and you can spend the whole day if you want, there’s also a cute little area for rest and a snack.
This is literally some of what we did over the holidays, some weeks, we had spontaneous trips to the parks around my area (always a perfect idea) play dates with friends kids and family, walks down the lake and cute little days spent indoors just doing activities like painting etc. I can definitely say we had a brilliant, inexpensive summer. I didn’t even know there was so much for kids to do in London especially at such a young age. A little goes a long way and everything for Toddlers is a learning experience. No matter what you do with your kids, just remember they are learning and having fun, you don’t need to spend loads of money to keep them happy.
Being a working mum is hard but having the summer off to spend time with Izzy is definitely a blessing, I wonder where else we’ll be going on some adventures…
Keep you posted,