Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Patriotic Crafts And Printables

We've added some fabulous new patriotic craft ideas and printables to the site today, just in time for Canada Day, Fourth of July and the Summer Olympics! You will find something to enjoy whatever your age and whether you are decorating your house, school, classroom - or yourselves!
Patriotic Crafts and Printables

July 4th Coloring Poster

Fireworks and 4th of July stars and stripes to color in red, white and blue for Independence Day.

LINK: Patriotic 4th of July Coloring Poster

Over 1000 Fun Gardens To Explore This Summer (UK)

From woodland walks and wildlife sanctuaries to model railways, farm animals and tractor safaris, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy at more than 1,000 gardens which will be opening to the public with The National Gardens Scheme across England and Wales during the summer school holidays. And the good news is that it won’t break the bank with the average admission price only £3 and more than 900 gardens offering free entry to children 16 and under.

Nature trails, quizzes and games are also being laid on specifically with children in mind – so there will be no excuses for spending the glorious summer days in front of the telly.
You’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing you are raising money for good causes. The NGS opens 3,600 gardens to the public every year (most of them private) raising around £2 million for Macmillan Cancer Support (they are their biggest single donor), Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices, Crossroads – Caring for Carers and other charities.

Chris Collins, BBC TV’s Blue Peter Gardener and TV presenter, said: “Working with children and in schools, as I do, I can tell you that every child I engage with, out in the air, and touching the soil, automatically respond to working with plants and gardens. It is really important to nurture this interest from an early age and it is great that members of The National Gardens Scheme are laying on all these fun and educational activities, specifically with children in mind. There is much more to gardening than Latin names and striped lawns, as the NGS continues to demonstrate.”

The Gipsy House garden belonging to the late Roald Dahl opens on 17 July. This small garden in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire is full of surprises, and inspired many of Mr. Dahl’s best-selling children’s books. Featuring with the Witches Tree (the home of Fantastic Mr. Fox and his family), a walled terraced vegetable garden with a greenhouse containing James' giant peaches and nectarines and the Danny Champion of the World's caravan, nestling under a tree house, this enchanting garden is a must see.

The Mount, a family garden in Essex which boasts a meadow with wide walkways winding through the trees, will be opening on 6 and 24 August. Spread over 8 acres, the garden is split into 8 separate areas and planted with a wide variety of plants and shrubs. A great hit with the kids is the superb Model Railway.

Opening on 13 July and 3 August, Ochran Mill in Gwent is a Grade II listed water mill on one and half acres of garden. It features large colour-themed herbaceous borders, bog garden, shrub borders, gravel and grasses, woodland borders, large water feature and rose and clematis pergola. There is also a field for picnics and stream to play in as well as a pinball and arcade collection which is very popular with non-gardeners and children.

On 4 and 11 July, families can visit Copt Howe in Cumbria a 2-acre plantsman’s mountain paradise garden. With a wildlife sanctuary complete with red squirrels, badgers, slow-worms, a hotel for wild birds, superb views of Langdale Pikes and extensive plant collections – there is something for all ages to enjoy.

An international quirky themed fantasy garden awaits those who visit Caereuni in North Wales in July and August. Featuring a Japanese smoke water garden, old ruin, Spanish courtyard, Welsh gold mine, Chinese peace garden, woodman's lodge, jungle, Mexican chapel, 1950s petrol garage – this 20 year old garden won’t disappoint.

Full details of garden openings can be found in the NGS’s Yellow Book 2008 (available from all good book stores priced at £7.99 or direct from the NGS, tel. 01483 211535) or by visiting Membership of the NGS is also available at £25 a year, which includes a copy of the Yellow Book, priority booking on a range of garden tours, talks and workshops hosted by gardening experts, two for one entry at selected attractions, a twice yearly newsletter and e-news bulletins.

Founded in 1927, the NGS has raised £42 million for charity since its launch, £23 million in the last 10 years alone.

Here are some highlights of NGS child friendly gardens to visit across the country throughout July and August:


Flaxbourne Farm, Salford Road, Aspley Guise, MK17 8HZ
A beautiful and entertaining fun garden of 2 acres, lovingly developed with numerous water features, windmill, modern arches and bridges, small moated castle, lily pond, herbaceous borders. Shrubs and trees recently established, newly constructed Greek temple ruin, fernery and crow's nest. Bring the whole family and discover many more inspirational features. Former finalist of BBC Garden of the Year. Woburn Sands Band play throughout openings.
Opens: Suns 6 July; 10 Aug (2-6) Visitors also welcome by appt, Adm £3.50, chd free (share to St Botolph Church), Home-made teas


Old Pines House, Ball Hill, Newbury, RG20 0NN
A beautiful setting for a Grade II listed cottage and tithe barn, 2 acres within 6 acres, planted for yr-round interest. Background of mature trees, lawns, herbaceous and mixed borders, fruit trees and vegetable garden. Stream running into large pond with waterfall. Garden divided into smaller sections with topiary and woodland paths. Sheep and Shetland ponies.
Opens: Suns 17 Aug (2-6), Adm £3.50, chd free, Light refreshments & teas.

Scotlands, Cockpole Green, Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 8QP
4-acre garden surrounding C17 farmhouse (not open). Opens with MacMillan Cancer Support with child friendly entertainment, face painting etc. Clipped yews surrounding oval swimming pool, shrub borders, grass paths through trees to woodland and pond-gardens, within brick and flint partly walled garden. Rocks with waterfall and gazebo of C18 design.
Special Open Day: Sun 17 Aug (2-5), Adm £3.50, chd free.

The RISC Roof Garden, 35-39 London Street, Reading, RG1 4PS
Small town centre roof forest garden developed to demonstrate sustainability and our dependence on plants. All plants in the garden have an economic use for food, clothing, medicine etc, and come from all over the world. Water harvesting and irrigation systems powered by renewable energy. Garden accessed by external staircase.
Opens: 12, 13 July; 9, 10 Aug (12-4), Adm £2.50, chd free (share to WEB/RISC), Home-made teas


Gipsy House, Whitefield Lane, Gt Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 OBP
Home of the late Roald Dahl. York stone terrace, pleached lime walk to writing hut bordered with hosta, hellebore and allium. Sunken garden with water feature, sundial garden with topiary oaks, borders planted with herbaceous perennials and assorted roses in themed colours. Small walled vegetable garden with terraced beds, espalier fruits, herbs and greenhouse with vine, peaches and nectarines. Re-planted front garden with yews, roses and perennials. Wild-flower meadow.
Opens: Thur 17 July (2-5). Adm £4, chd free, Home-made teas.


Willow Holt, Willow Hall Lane, Thorney, PE6 0QN
2-Acre corner of mature woodland, water-filled dells and tree-fringed flower meadow, with paths that meander among quirky structures and sculpted surprises. A treat for plant lovers, wildlife watchers and anyone who appreciates the unhurried peace of a garden on the border of wilderness.
Opens: 27 July; 31 Aug (11-5), Visitors also welcome by appt ,Adm £2.50, chd free


Poulton Hall, Poulton Lancelyn, Bebington, Cheshire & Wirrall CH63 9LN
3 acres; front lawns with view of the house, wild flower meadow and shrubbery. Child-friendly features incl a surprising new approach to the walled garden, redesigned Nursery Rhyme area, wood sculptures of Robin Hood and Jabberwocky by Jim Heath and other reminders of Roger Lancelyn Green's retellings. Sundial garden for the visually impaired is sponsored by Bebington Rotary club. As a powerful memorial to Richard Lancelyn Green, new monumental, stainless steel sculpture of enigmatic contemporary form has been created by Sue Sharples, who designed the bronze Viking head. Music: organ and choir recital. Art Exhibition.
Opens: Visitors welcome by appt.


Bowling Green Cottage, Wendron, Cornwall TR13 0NB
Creating the 2½ acres of gardens and woodlands has been a battle against the elements. On top of a hill, 2 windswept fields have been transformed, incl wetland areas. Evidence of mining heritage has been retained around the property. Children's nature trail. 1st prize for woodlands, Kerrier district garden competition.
Opens: Sun 6 July (2-5).


Heywood House, Brookhouse, Cumbria LA2 9PW
Secluded 2-acre garden with many unusual trees and shrubs, sweeping lawns with beautiful herbaceous borders leading to large natural wildlife pond, gravel garden, pergolas with an abundance of roses and climbers, rockery, folly, woodland garden with natural stream, under development. Garden railway train rides for adults and childrenOpens: 3 Aug (11-5). Visitors also welcome by appt in June, groups 10+.

Copt Howe, Chapel Stile, Great Langdale, LA22 9JR
2-acre plantsman’s mountain paradise garden. Superb views Langdale Pikes. Extensive plant collections including oaks, beeches, rare shrubs, trees, unusual perennials; herbaceous and bulbous species; alpines, trough gardens; rare conifers; expedition plants from worldwide mountainous regions. Wildlife sanctuary, red squirrels, badgers, slow-worms, hotel for wild birds. Major new garden extensions.
Opens: Fri 4, 11 July (12-5) Adm £3, chd free


Renishaw Hall, Renishaw, nr Sheffield, Derbyshire S21 3WB
Home of Sir Reresby and Lady Sitwell. Romantic, formal 2 Italianate gardens divided into rooms by yew hedges. Deep herbaceous borders with collections of unusual plants and woodland gardens. National Collection of Yuccas. Separate childrens garden with willow tunnel, maze and trails. Pastoral music to be played in garden (weather permitting). 10 min talk on the Sitwell Family (talk on the patio) (11.30 & 2.30)
Opens: 5 Aug (10.30-3.30).

Rosebank, 303 Duffield Road, Allestree, Derby, Derbyshire DE22 2DF
Interesting garden of variety on a gentle, upward sloping site. Access by steps and paths. Includes colourful borders with imaginative planting and a water feature in a natural setting. Small orchard and soft fruit garden, lawns, rockery, shrubs and trees. Wildlife friendly. Children welcomed.Opens: Sats 19 July; 16 Aug (2-6).


Arlington Court, Arlington, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4LP
Rolling parkland and woods with lake. Fine specimen trees; small terraced Victorian garden with herbaceous borders and conservatory. Walled garden nearly restored, produce for sale. Regency house containing fascinating collections. Carriage collection in the stables, carriage rides. 19 July Guided walks with Head Gardener at 11 and 2; 20 July Green Garden Treasure Trail for children (11-3), 50p per chd.
Opens: Sat 19, Sun 20 July (10.30-5).

Pikes Cottage, Madford, Hemyock, Devon EX15 3QZ
Set in 19 acres of woods (hilly access). 6 acres of cultivated garden incl herb garden, scree, prarie planting, sensory garden, other shrubs and arboretum. 1½-acre lawn slopes to large pond and bog garden. Children's quiz, playground, model village. Ample seatingOpens: 19, 20 July; 23, 24, 25 Aug (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt, no large coaches.

Squirrels, 98 Barton Road, Torquay, TQ2 7NS
Plantsman's small town garden landscaped with small ponds and 7ft waterfall. Interlinked areas incl Japanese, Italianate, Tropical. Specialising in fruit incl peaches, figs, kiwi. Tender plants incl bananas, tree fern, brugmansia, lantanas, oleanders, abutilons, bougainvilleas. Colourful pergolas and lawn area. Environmentally-friendly garden. Runner-up Super Class Torbay in Bloom.
Opens: Sat 2, Sun 3, Sat 9 Aug (2-5), Adm £2.50, chd free, teas..

Sedgewell Coach House Gardens, Olchard, TQ12 3GU
Heather Jansch, world-famous sculptor, brings innovative use of recycled materials to gardening. 14 acres unlike anything elsewhere incl stunning driftwood sculpture, wheelchair-friendly formal gardens, pools, herbaceous borders, medicinal herb gardens, woodland, fabulous views and timeless stream-bordered water meadow with exciting interactive kids' stuff. Come and picnic!
Opens: Sats, Suns 23, 24, 30, 31 Aug (10-5), Adm £3, chd free
Ashcombe Road Gardens, nr Dawlish, EX7 0QW

Gardens in this group: Apple Tree Cottage, Arcadia
Adjacent established gardens in Ashcombe Valley, both bordering the 'Dawlish Water'. Exploiting the microclimate of the valley floor. Both gardens encourage and support wildlife.
Opens: Visitors welcome by appt every Thursday from 29 May to 31 July, Combined adm £3.50, chd free, Teas

High Garden, Chiverstone Lane, Kenton, EX6 8NJ
Newly-planted garden adjoining plantsman's nursery (open), approx 5 acres. Mixed shrub/perennials, many unusual. 70metre double herbaceous border for all summer colour. Model fruit/vegetable garden. Tropical border
Opens: Sat 12, Sun 13 July (2-6). Adm £2, chd free, Home-made teas


Watendlath, 7 North St, Bere Regis, Dorset BH20 7LA
Wildlife-friendly garden of 1/3 acre, created by people who love flowering plants, colour and scent. Densely-packed with herbaceous borders, island beds, rose, vegetable and secret garden, pond, chickens and many containers. This diverse garden has something for everyone, particularly children, lots of interesting corners and a fine viewOpens: 6 July (2-6). Groups welcome by appointment only. Also open 79 West Street.


Cotherstone Village Gardens, Durham & Northumberland DL12 9PQ
Picturesque Teesdale village at the confluence of rivers Tees and Balder. Over 13 country gardens open, showing a wide range of plants, bird watchers and artists' plot. Art Exhibition. Village tree walk, play and painting area for children. Special Gardeners Lunch available at Red Lion, booking advisable 01833 650236Opens: Sun 6 July (11-5).

Horn Park, Tunnel Rd, Beaminster, DT8 3HB
Large garden with magnificent view to sea. Plantsman’s garden, many rare plants and shrubs in terraced, herbaceous, rock and water gardens. Woodland garden and walks in bluebell woods. Good autumn colouring. Wild flower meadow with 164 varieties incl orchids. Partial wheelchair access
Opens: 9 July (2-5), Adm £4, chd free, Teas by arrangement


Barnards Farm, Brentwood Road, West Horndon, Essex CM13 3LX
A sculpture collection, incl works by Frink, Gormley and Thomas Heatherwick in 17 hectares of garden, woodland and ponds. Panoramic views from rose-covered belvedere, Japanese, vegetable and bog gardens. Home to the National Collection of malus. Grass runway, aviators welcome (PPO). On Sundays you can also visit the 1920s bicycle shop and motor museum. Tours by golf buggy available for less able people. Light music in the garden and guided tours of the sculptures 3pm (Suns). Thomas Heatherwick's Hairy Sitooterie frequently featured in design magazinesOpens: Thurs 3 Apr to 14 Aug (11-4.30); Suns 29 June; 7 Sept (2-5.30). Visitors also welcome by appt , groups of 30+, school or special needs 10+.

Fairwinds, Chapel Lane, Chigwell Row, Essex IG7 6JJ
Country garden in the suburbs (200ft x 40ft). Approach by private rd to graveled front garden. Side entrance leads to open area with large mixed borders. Path leads past children's 'fire pit' and ornamental greenhouse to decked area by the pool, woodland and children's flower beds. Look out for dragons! Rustic fence separates wildlife pond and vegetable plot.Opens: Sun 17 Aug (2-5).

The Mount, Epping Road, Roydon, Essex CM19 5HT
3 acres of formal garden and 5 acres of newly planted woodland. Meadow with wide walkways winding through the trees. Designed as 8 separate areas, the formal gardens offer a wide variety of plants and shrubs with a superb Model Railway, great for children.Opens: Wed 6, Sun 24 Aug (11-5). Visitors also welcome by appt, groups of 10+, access for small coaches.


Kempsford Manor, High Street, Kempsford, Gloucestershire North & Central GL7 4EQ
Peaceful, expansive summer garden for relaxation, adjacent to cricket field, croquet and outdoor games for children. Occasional plant sales; frequently classical or jazz music; games and quizzes for children. Opens: Suns 10, 17, 24, Mon 25 Aug (2-5).


80 Abbey Road, Fareham, Hampshire PO15 5HW
Small garden with extensive collection of herbs and unusual plants of botanical and historical interest, many of which are for sale. Formal box edging provides structure for the more relaxed planting. Interesting use of containers, and other ideas for small gardens. Two small ponds and tiny meadow area attract wide range of butterflies and other wildlife. Garden trails for children. Living willow seat, trained grapevine. Opens: Evening Opening £3.50, wine, Fri 11 July (6-9). Visitors also welcome by appt.

Mittens, Mapledurwell, Hampshire RG25 2LG
1½ acres. Created from farmland in conservation area, children's garden with rill and ivy house, secret garden with pool, pergola, nut arch, purple border, 2 major borders of red and yellow with colour from dahlias, cannas, gladioli and roses and hedges forming roomsOpens: 31 Aug (2-5). Visitors also welcome by appt.

'Selborne', Caker Lane, East Worldham, Alton, Hampshire GU34 3AE
½-acre mature garden with old established orchard of named varieties. Meandering paths provide changing vistas across farmland. Mixed borders feature a large collection of hardy geraniums and other herbaceous plants and shrubs designed for yr-round effect. Shrubbery, soft fruit garden with greenhouse feature, metal and stone sculptures, containers, summerhouses. Listen to birdsong as you enjoy tea in the orchard’s dappled shade, or in the conservatory. Book stall. Sandpit and garden quizzes for childrenOpens: Sat 2, Sun 3, Mon 4 Aug (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt May to early Aug, individuals and groups welcome.

Treeside, New Road, Littleton, Hampshire SO22 6QR
1/3 acre, 6 seating areas for different times of the day. 2 unusual water features. Original raised beds for vegetables. Fruit cage, divided greenhouse and cold frames. Split ponds, young wild flower area with increasing plant and insect species. Mainly shrubs with flowers highlighting key areas. Quiz for children.Opens: Sun 20, Mon 21, Tue 22 July (1-5).


The Wiggly Garden, Wiggly Wigglers, Blakemere, Herefordshire HR2 9PX
The Wiggly Garden: Bringing nature home: Our walled garden is an oasis for wildlife, full of wild flowers, perennials, trees and hedges to attract wildlife. This year we will be having a series of short informal talks on bees, bugs, worms, composting and a lot more. For children, pond dipping, nature trails. Farmer Phil's Tractor Safari prebook by email Sun 27 July (2-5).


Ashknowle House, Whitwell, Isle of Wight PO38 2PP
A variety of features to explore in the grounds of this Victorian house. Mature and young woodlands, borders, wildlife pond and other water features. The well-maintained kitchen garden is highly productive and boasts a wide range of fruit and vegetables grown in cages, tunnels, glasshouses and raised beds. Children's woodland trailOpens: Sat 5, Sun 6 July (1-4).


Quex Gardens, Quex Park, Birchington, Kent CT7 0BH
15 acres of woodland and gardens with fine specimen trees, shrub borders, old figs and mulberries, herbaceous borders. Victorian walled garden with cucumber house, long glasshouses, cactus house, fruiting trees. Peacocks, dovecote, woodland walk, wildlife pond, children's maze, croquet lawn, picnic grove, lawns and fountains.
Opens: Evening Openings Weds 23 July; 3 Sept (6-9). Sun 14 Sept (11-5).


The Old Zoo Garden, Cherry Drive, Brockhall Village, BB6 8AY
15 acres. The Old Zoo garden is constructed with pleasure in mind; it encloses figurative sculpture, 16 varieties of Lancashire apples, water courses, unusual planting and very unusual earth workings. The size and speed with which The Old Zoo has been constructed has made it one of the North's premier gardens, with its acclaim growing by the week
Opens: Fri 29, Sun 31 Aug (11-4) Visitors also welcome by appointment, Adm £5, chd free, Light refreshments & teas. Guided tours of garden and use of leisure facilities of The Avenue Hotel are availabe to parties 20+. For details


Market Bosworth Gardens CV13 0JS
Gardens in the group: 13 Spinney Hill, 15 Shenton Lane, 4 Lancaster Avenue, 4 Spinney Hill, 93 Station Road, Glebe Farm House, 13 Station Road, Harleys Court, 120 Station Road, Home Farm Cottage, 23 Barton Road, Michaelmas House, 4 Main Street Rainbow Cottage, Shenton Lane
East Midlands in Bloom Gold Award winners 2004, 2005 and 2006. Tickets and gardens map available at Market Place. Additional gardens may be open on the day
Opens: Sun 27 July (1-6), Combined adm £4, chd free (share to Bosworth in Bloom)Teas at 13 Spinney Hill


Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS
Belton House gardens include formal Italian and Dutch areas with informal gardens that are an inspiration to all gardeners. These 35 acres to the north of the house are a popular attraction in their own right. Five main areas each have their own unique planting scheme. Orangery by Sir Jeffrey WyatvilleOpen daily Wed to Sun Mar to end Oct. For NGS: Sats 26 Apr; 26 July; 27 Sept (11-5.30).

2 School House, Stixwould, nr Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire LN10 5HP
¼-acre garden, redesigned in Oct 1994 by owners in cottage garden style, to incl front garden with unusual perennials and shrubs, herb garden, and small turf maze. The turf maze is an unusual feature that serves as an area for bringing on rooted cuttings and a play area for the children.
Opens: 13 July (2-5). Visitors also welcome by appt.


44 Cholmeley Crescent, N6 5HA
Contemporary family garden designed by Chelsea medal winner, Yulia Badian. Hardwood decking extends the living space. A boardwalk through 3 arches leads to summerhouse with green roof. Gabion baskets planted and filled with slate form an unusual retaining wall. Immaculate lawn. Low maintenance planting gives yr-round colour and scent
Opens: Visitors welcome by appt. Adm £2.50, chd free, Home-made teas.

6 Methuen Park, Muswell Hill, N10 2JS
Contemporary family garden designed by Chelsea medal winner. Hardwood decking extends the living space. Across the formal pond the beach grows into a path. An arch doubles as a swing. Flowing curves and unique planting create an enchanting peaceful space. Tree house provides hours of entertainment. Sonic installation designed by Yulia Badian with soundtrack by Andres Bosshart
Evening Opening £5, wine, Fri 4 July (6-11). Visitors also welcome by appt.

13 Queen Elizabeth's Walk, N16, London N16 5UZ
Plantsperson's 30m x 7m garden for all seasons with emphasis on foliage, textures and unusual plants from China, Australia and Mexico in both sunny and shady areas. Interest for children without encroaching on the plants or design, and with fairly minimal maintenance. Overhead rainwater irrigation system. Drought tolerant plants, succulents, bromeliads, leonotis. Quirky front garden leaf sculpture fence.
Opens: Sun 31 Aug (2.30-6).

7 St George's Road, St Margaret’s, Twickenham, London TW1 1QS
Exuberant displays of old English roses and vigorous climbers with unusual herbaceous perennials. Massed scented crambe cordifolia. Pond with bridge converted into child-safe lush bog garden. Large north facing luxuriant conservatory with rare plants and climbers. Pelargoniums a specially. Sunken garden and knot garden.
Opens: 5 July (6-8). Adm £3, children 50p.

82 Wood Vale, SE23, London
Large 90ft x 180ft contemporary garden designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole. A jigsaw of perennial and grass bays with a range of views offering yr-round interest for plantsmen, designers and children. Opens: Sun 6 July (2-5). Also open 66A East Dulwich Rd. Visitors also welcome by appt.


Salle Park, Salle, Norwich, NR10 4SF
Very varied estate gardens consisting of delightful, fully productive Victorian kitchen garden with original vine houses, double herbaceous borders, display glasshouse, ice house, orchard and wild flowers. Formal Georgian pleasure gardens with yew topiary, rose gardens, lawns, specimen trees and exotically planted orangery.
Opens: Sun 24 Aug (12-5). Adm £3.50, chd free (share to Salle Parish/Professional Gardeners Guild Trust), Home-made teas


Lyveden New Bield, Oundle, PE8 5AT
One of England's oldest garden landscapes, abandoned in 1605 after family involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, Lyveden still retains original terraces, prospect mounts, canals and the impressive garden lodge built to symbolise the Tresham's catholic faith. Recently replanted 5-acre orchard of pre-C17 tree varieties. Garden tours, 12 & 2pm
Opens: Sats 14 June; 19 July (10.30-5). Adm £4, chd free

Driftwood, 11b Thrapston Road, Finedon, NN9 5DG
½-acre garden featuring small lake with island. Well stocked with fish, various water birds, wildlife and aquatic plants, surrounded by lawns, flower beds, shrubs and pergolas. Craft demonstration - woodturning
Opens: Sun 6 July (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt 20 Jun-3 July.Adm £3, chd freeLight refreshments & cream teas

The Old Rectory, Brockhall, NN7 4JY
4½-acres being restored by the owners. Large sweeping lawns, very colourful flower cutting gardens, newly created shady planting area, ½-acre working kitchen garden, arboretum, pool garden and herbaceous borders
Opens: 24 Aug (2-5.30). Visitors also welcome by appt. Adm £3, chd free, Home-made teas.

Canons Ashby House, Daventry, NN11 3SD
Formal gardens of London and Wise style enclosed by walls. Gate piers from 1710, fine topiary, axial arrangement of paths and terraces, wild flowers, old varieties of fruit trees, herb border, newly planted gardens. Phase 1 of a 5yr plan to restore gardens to designs of 1880-1900. New beds with bedding schemes. Home of the Dryden family since C16, Manor House 1550
Opens: Sats 19 July (11-5); House and Garden adm £7.50, chd £3.75, Garden only adm £2.75, chd £1.50.


Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Clumber Park, Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 3AZ
Beautiful 4-acre walled kitchen garden, growing unusual and old varieties of vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and ornamentals, incl the magnificent recently extended 400ft long double herbaceous borders. 450ft long glasshouse (the longest owned by the National Trust), with grape vines, peaches, nectarines and figs. Museum of gardening tools. Opens: Sats 19 July (10-6).

The Old Vicarage, Halam Hill, Halam Village, Nottinghamshire NG22 8AX
Plantsman's garden of 2 acres surrounded by woodland and fields, begun 12yrs ago from nothing. Benefits from undulating landscape incorporating design, texture, colour, unusual plants and trees. Peaceful roams, nooks, crannies, borrowed views of hills and farmland. A children's haven. Just lovely and very welcoming. Delicious cakes to add to enjoyment.
Opens: 7 Sept (1-5). Evening Opening £3.50, wine, Sun 24 Aug (5-8). Visitors also welcome by appt in June. Groups/garden clubs of 20+.

20 The Paddocks, Nuthall, Nottinghamshire, NG16 1DR
Fun garden shared with children and dogs which unlike oil and water do mix in this unusual combination of interesting gardens. Many inspirational ideas incl beach, well, living willow structures, ponds, mature trees, herbaceous borders and vegetables. Mainly organic encouraging a variety of wildlife. A gardener's playground not to be missed (200 x 80ft)
Opens: Sun 13 July (1-5). Evening Opening £3.50, wine, Wed 16 July (6-9). Visitors also welcome by appt. Adm £3, chd free. Home-made teas.


Pots 'n Rocks, 18 Willow Road, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3BE
Quirky and unique small garden with an amazing range of plants in pots and hanging baskets - tender tropical to bonsai. For children and keen observers there are numerous hidden animals and features to be found and counted as well as a small 9 hole putting green. Very child friendlyOpens: Sun 3 Aug (1-5).


Preen Manor, Church Preen, Shropshire SY6 7LQ
6-acre garden on site of Cluniac monastery and Norman Shaw mansion. Kitchen, chess, water and wild gardens. Fine trees in park; woodland walks. Developed over last 25yrs with changes always in progress. Produce stall (Mar, Oct), Harvest Thanksgiving in church adjacent to garden 4.30 (Oct) Extensive walks in the adjacent woodlands , lovely views. Childrens' Garden Trial.
Opens: 24 July (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt, June & July only, groups of 10+.


Camers, Old Sodbury, Somerset & Bristol BS37 6RG
Elizabethan farmhouse (not open) set in 4 acres of garden and young woodland with spectacular views over Severn Vale. Garden full of surprises divided into range of formal and informal areas planted with very wide range of species to provide yr-round interest. Parterre, topiary, Japanese garden, bog shade and prairie areas, waterfalls, white and hot gardens, woodland walks.
Opens: Sat 26, Sun 27 July (2-5.30). Visitors also welcome by appt Feb to Oct for groups of 15+.


Four Seasons, 26 Buchanan Road, Walsall, Staffordshire & part of West Midlands WS4 2EN
S-facing 1/3 acre, suburban garden, gently sloping to arboretum, some steps. For all seasons and age groups. 200 acers, 350 azaleas, bright clipped conifers, shrubs provide back drop for spring bulbs, perennials, summer bedding. Many 'rooms' and themes incl contrast of red, blue and yellow. Jungle, oriental pagoda, water features. Winner Walsall in Bloom & Daily Mail' National Garden Competitions'. Opens: 10 Aug (10-6).


Woottens, Blackheath Road, Wenhaston, IP19 9HD
Small romantic garden, redesigned in 2003. Scented-leafed pelargoniums, violas, cranesbills, lilies, salvias, penstemons, primulas, etc. 2 acres of bearded iris, ¼ acre of iris sibiricas, 1 acre of hemerocallis
Opens: Every Tues, Weds, Thurs 1 Apr to 30 Sept; Hemerocallis field Sats, Suns 12,13, 19, 20, 26, 27 July (9.30-5). Adm £1, chd/concessions 50p


Odstock, Castle Square, Bletchingley, Surrey RH1 4LB
2/3-acre plantsman’s garden maintained by owners and developed for all-yr interest. Special interest in grasses and climbers, approx 80 at last count. Japanese features; dahlias. No-dig, low-maintenance vegetable garden. Children's quiz.
Opens: Sun 3 Aug (11-5). Visitors also welcome by appt.


Bignor Park, Pulborough, Sussex RH20 1HG
11 acres of garden to explore, with magnificent views of S Downs. Interesting trees, shrubs, wild flower areas with swathes of daffodils in spring. Walled flower and vegetable gardens. Plenty of seats for contemplation, and shelter if it rains. Temple, Greek pavilion, Zen pond and unusual sculptures. Surprises for children. Dogs on leads welcome.
Opens: Sat 2, Sun 3 Aug (12-5)

Brickwall, Rye Road, Northiam, Sussex TN31 6NL
Listed garden surrounding a Grade I listed Jacobean Mansion (also open) and currently housing school for dyslexic children. Gardens incl chess garden with topiary yew pieces and number of Stuart characteristics: brick walls, clipped yew and beech are particular features, also small arboretum.
Opens: Sun 31 Aug (2-5).

Latchetts, Freshfield Lane, Danehill, Sussex RH17 7HQ
Much-admired 8-acre garden of trees, ponds, fine lawns, colourful shrub, herbaceous and bedding borders, roses, water features, fruit and vegetables, vistas, terraces, arches, ha-has, unusual plants, Christian Millennium Garden, woodland walk, humour and surprise. Imaginatively designed and impeccably maintained, remarkable diversity and interest. Children's Safari Hunt. Opens: 18, 19 July; 8, 9 Aug (1.30-5.30). Visitors also welcome by appt, coaches welcome.

Palatine & Oak Grove Gardens, Worthing, Sussex BN12 6JP
Two, large, closely located, award-winning gardens created by teachers, volunteers and children with special needs. One price, two gardens. Tickets and entry at Palatine Gardens.
Opens: 13 July (11-5). Visitors also welcome by appt, coaches and groups of 10+.

Westfield, Malthouse Lane, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex BN6 9JX
Beautiful, well-kept ¾-acre exotic/Colonial-style garden, surrounded by mature trees leading into ¾-acre woodland walk with barked paths and Treasure Hunt for children. Enjoy a touch of the Tropical!Opens: Sun 10 Aug (2-5).


Marie Curie Hospice Gardens, 911-913 Warwick Road, Warwickshire & part of West Midlands B91 3ER
The hospice garden of tranquillity invites you to stroll down a garden path which has secluded seating areas, water features, mixed planting and climbers. The festival garden is a family garden with playhouse, seating area and water featureOpens: Sat 12 July (1.30-5).


Beggars Knoll, Newtown, Westbury, BA13 3ED
Can't make it to Beijing? Get a taste of China in Wiltshire instead. Visit one of the very few Chinese gardens in the UK. 1-acre sloping site with 3 pavilions, moongate, zigzag pathways, ponds - a series of garden rooms full of rare Chinese plants. Also podocarp and viburnum collections, mixed borders, large potager with chickens and outstanding views
Opens: Sat 5, Sun 6 July (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt. Adm £3, chd free, Home-made teas


Whitlenge Gardens, Whitlenge Lane, Hartlebury, Worcestershire DY10 4HD
3 acre show garden of professional designer with over 800 varieties of trees, shrubs etc. Twisted pillar pergola, camomile lawn, waterfalls and pools. Walk into the manmade Cave and Fernery, dwell on the mystic of the 'Green Man' and the 'Sword in the Stone' features. Walk the labyrinth and take refreshments in The Garden 'Design Studio' tearoom.
Opens: 24, 25 Aug (10-5).


2 Prospect Place, Outlane, Huddersfield, Yorkshire HD3 3FL
Long intimate garden high in the Pennines (900ft). Narrow paths lead from cottage herbaceous borders and pond to shade areas and secret garden with camomile lawn, chocolate and silver borders surrounding circular bed and productive kitchen garden with trained fruit and flowers. Evolving wild area with native trees, large pond with indigenous planting, narrow stream and meadow. New for 2008 children’s garden trail.
Opens: Sun 6 July (12-5). Visitors also welcome by appt June & July, groups of 6+.

Rudston House, Rudston, nr Driffield, Yorkshire YO25 4UH
Birthplace of authoress Winifred Holtby. Victorian farmhouse (not open) and 3 acres of exuberant garden with fine old trees, lawns, paths with clipped box hedges, conifers, shrubs, greenhouses, roses, interesting potager with named vegetable varieties, hosta beds with lilies, and short woodland walk, with pond. Plenty of seats and interesting corners and features; children love to exploreOpens: Sun 13 July (11-5). Visitors also welcome by appt July & Aug.


Blaendwr, Cwmbach, Whitland, Carmarthenshire, Cambrian Coast SA34 0DN
½-acre carefully casual cottage garden. Borders of healthy perennials and clematis-covered pergolas on exposed hilltop location, with charming water features, small children's garden, and plentiful plant interest. Garden designed for full wheelchair access and easy walkingSuns 6 July (2-6). Visitors also welcome by appt.

Cilgwyn Lodge, Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, Cambrian Coast SA19 9LH
Fascinating and much-admired 1-acre garden with something for everyone. Wide variety of herbaceous plants displayed in extensive colour-themed borders, over 250 varieties of hostas, a growing collection of clematis and many borderline hardy rare or unusual plants. Traditional vegetable and fruit garden and large waterlily pond.
Opens: Sun 20 July (1-5). Visitors also welcome by appt, coaches and parties welcome.

Dyffryn Farm, Lampeter Velfrey, Narberth, Carmarthenshire, Cambrian Coast SA67 8UN
Large garden, in several areas on different levels, in 'naturalised' manner (not landscaped or contrived) using secluded valley backcloth. Highlights incl 70+ bamboos; grasses, herbaceous plants, unusual shrubs; stream, pond with island and small woodland; all in relaxed style with 'hidden' havens. Supervised children very welcome. Bric-a-brac stallOpens: Wed 13 Aug (11-4). Visitors also welcome by appt, £3 per person, coaches permitted.

Gardd y Coleg, Carmel, Gwynedd, Cambrian Coast LL54 7RL
Approx ½ acre featuring raised beds planted with ornamental and native plants mulched with local slate. Benches and picnic area, wide pathways suitable for wheelchairs. Spectacular views. Garden created by volunteers.
Opens: Sun 20 July (2-5).

Ty Glyn Walled Garden, Ciliau Aeron, Ceredigion, Cambrian Coast SA48 8DE
Secluded L-shaped walled garden in beautiful woodland setting alongside R Aeron, developed specifically for special needs children. S-facing productive terraced kitchen garden overlooks herbaceous borders, orchard and ponds with child orientated features and surprises amidst unusual shrubs and perennials. Newly planted fruit trees selected from former gardener's notebook of C19. The ponds and waterways are a great fascination for children and are full of surprises. There are other child-orientated features, cleverly placed so as not to be over obtrusive.
Opens: Sun 27 July (11-5).


Bordervale Plants, Ystradowen, Cowbridge, Glamorgan & Gwent CF71 7SX
Within mature woodland valley (semi-tamed), with stream and bog garden, extensive mixed borders; wild flower meadow, providing diverse wildlife habitats. Children must be supervised. The nursery specialises in unusual perennials and cottage garden plants.
Opens: 24 Aug (10-5).

Ochran Mill, Llanover, Gwent NP7 9HU
Grade II listed water mill (not working) approx 1½-acres. A 'garden in the making' taking shape over last 6 yrs from fields. Large colour-themed herbaceous borders, bog garden, shrub borders, gravel and grasses, woodland borders. Large water feature and rose/clematis pergola. Field for picnics and stream to play in. Pinball and arcade collection (very popular with non-gardeners and children)
Opens: 13 July; 3 Aug (1-5). Visitors also welcome by appt.


Prices Lane Allotments, Prices Lane, Wrexham, Flintshire, North Wales LL11 2NB
120 plus plots, growing a good variety of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Plots for the disabled and school children. Association shop, selling a wide range of garden requisites and seeds.
Opens: Sat 12 July (11-6).

Caereuni, Ffordd Ty Cerrig, Godre’r Gaer, nr Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 9YA
Third of an acre international quirky themed fantasy garden with unique features incl; Japanese smoke water garden, old ruin, Spanish courtyard, Welsh gold mine, Chinese peace garden, woodman's lodge and jungle. Mexican chapel, 1950s petrol garage. Garden begun in 1988 now 20yrs old.
Opens: Sun 6 July; Suns 3, 24, BH Mon 25 Aug (2-5), Adm £2.50, chd free, Home-made teas

Grandma's Garden, Plas Dolguog Estates, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 8UJ
Inspiration for the senses. Old and new areas, 7 sensory gardens, riverside boardwalk, stone circle, wildlife pond, willow arbour, strategic seating. Continuous new attractions. Wildife abundant. 9 acres in which to find peace. Sculptures, poetry, arboretum. Great for children and access. Books, handmade cards, craft stall.
Opens: Wed 13 Aug (10.30-6).

Canada Day printables, puzzles and coloring pages

It is less than a week until Canada celebrates its national holiday, and we have added lots of new printable activities to the website today. Head on over to our Canada Day pages to find some new Canada Day cards, 4 puzzles to print and enjoy, and some new Canada Day coloring pages too. And don't forget to get your teddy ready to celebrate, too!
Canada Day for Kids

Monday, 23 June 2008

End Of Year Thank Yous for Teachers

If you are searching for ideas for end-of-year thank yous for your family's teachers, take a look at our updated Teacher Appreciation pages. We have some new printable Thank You cards, a great collection of class gift ideas, crafts for your child to make, and more.
Teacher Appreciation

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Baby Shower Invitations To Print

If there's a baby on the way you might like to have a look at the 4 new printable baby shower invitations we've added to the site today...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

It's good to be green

In today's world we are all keen to teach our children to protect the world around us. With this in mind the BBC have launched a program on their Cbeebies channel called Eco-beebies to spread the word to even the youngest of children that it is good to be green. While I'm not a huge fan of TV this one has been a hit with even my 2 year old.

Even if you can't catch the television programme be sure to check out the excellent website.

I'm currently printing the 'green star chart' for the children of our home school co-op and I'm sure we'll also be making our own mini garden at home.

If you need more ideas to help spread the 'green message' to your children, don't forget to check out our Recycling For Kids section.

Vegetables Salad * Coloring and crafting/Salade de legumes* Coloriez puis decoupez!

Children, color the vegetables, cut and mix them in the bowl that you find here!

Beijing Olympics mascots - and coloring pages!

Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni !

There has always been a tradition of symbolism in China, and this summer's Olympic mascots are a fascinating example of how that tradition has been put to use which would make an interesting study with your children.

This is from the official site:

"Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace - and good wishes from China - to children all over the world.

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow - and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name - a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together - Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni - they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games." Read more

I have just added a collection of coloring pages for the "fuwa", or mascots, which I think are very cute - I hope you agree!

Olympics Coloring Pages

And of course we have lots of great crafts, coloring pages, worksheets and many more activities for this summer's Olympics at Activity Village:
Summer Olympics

Fruit Salad/ Salade de fruits *** Coloring and crafting/Coloriez puis decoupez!

Color the fruits and the bowl, cut the colored fruits and mix them in the bowl, making a nice fruit salad.
And don't forget to sing:
"Salade de fruits, jolie, jolie, jolie
Tu plais à ton père, Tu plais à ta mère
Salade de fruits, jolie, jolie, jolie
C'est toi le fruit de nos amours !
Bonjour petit!"

Monday, 16 June 2008

Here comes SUMMER!/ Coloriage d'ete'

Craft inspiration

I came across this website recently with the most wonderful art and craft projects. Some are quite involved and more suited to older children but there is plenty for younger children to have fun with too. All the projects are clearly explained with great photographs. I especially liked Project #12 Watercolour Flowers and Project #20 Monoprints and can't wait to try these out at home with my family.

Craft projects by Arounna Khounnoraj

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Father's Day Cards To Print - for last minute emergencies!

If you've found yourself caught short this Father's Day, I've just added five really cute Father's Day cards which you can print out in a jiffy!
Father's Day Cards To Print
And if you need some last-minute inspiration, head on over to our Father's Day page to see what you can find!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Summer Olympic Games coloring pages

We've added a new collection of Summer Olympic Games coloring pages to the website today.
We've also added some new Olympic Games worksheets and Olympic printables

5 Reasons Why Animals Are Important To Your Child

Why are children so fond of animals? From teddy bears to favourite TV and cartoon characters, animals are a key part of a young child’s development. Children’s educational specialist Stephanie Cooper has identified 5 key areas where animals play an important role:

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Nim's Island

The family film, Nim's Island (based on the book of the same name by Wendy Orr) is currently showing in cinemas across the land. I recently saw this along with my children and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The main star of the film is Nim, a young girl who lives with her father, a marine biologist, on a remote island. She is home schooled and spends her time surrounded by exotic animals or escaping with her favourite books. However disaster strikes when her father fails to return from a sailing expedition. Nim then turns to the hero of her favourite book, Alex Rover, for help via e-mail. But it turns out that the author with whom she is communicating is nothing like her hero. I don't want to spoil the story by giving away too many details, but both characters have to learn to overcome difficulties, and there is a happy ending :-)

Whilst adults may find large parts of the plot rather inplausible, the scenery is stunning and my children thought the film was great fun. They especially liked the fact that main character was an all-action girl. All in all a big thumbs up from us.

Free Charlie and Lola puppet show (London)

I was sent a press release today about a free Charlie and Lola puppet show event in London in August. Being a huge fan of the Charlie and Lola books, I thought I'd post it up here so that any Londoners can make a note in their diaries! NB: Although the puppet show is free, you will need to phone to book places (details below)...

Sibling duo star in their absolutely completely brilliant puppet show this August

The award-winning Charlie and Lola will perform for Harrods customers this August in an exciting puppet show based on the hit television episode ‘I will not ever, never eat a tomato’.

A dedicated area in the Toy Kingdom of iconic British department store Harrods will see a series of performances of the enchanting and delightful sibling duo in a live puppet show. Taking place on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August this is a one-off weekend of sibling fun from the beloved Charlie and Lola and highly recommended for an afternoon of amusement for parents and their little ones.

The shows – happening 11 times throughout the weekend – will take place in a specially created Charlie and Lola area where kids and their parents will get a chance to see the brand new toys available plus catch up on some of the classic TV episodes being screened on DVD.

‘I will not ever, never eat a tomato’ based on the books by Lauren Child and inspired by the award-winning TV show created by Tiger Aspect, is a puppet show performed in the Japanese style of puppetry called Ban Raku and has previously toured shopping centres across the US and Southern England.

Lola will not eat peas. In fact, she won't eat carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage or baked beans. And she will absolutely not EVER NEVER eat a tomato.

Then Charlie has a great idea. He tells Lola that peas are green drops from Greenland, and that carrots are orange twigs from Jupiter, then Lola decides she might just try one or two.

The story offers a fun and ingenious solution to a problem that can turn into a daily battle between a parent and child and is one which both can enjoy together.

Each puppet show session will last 15 minutes and take place at the following times:

Saturday 30th August - 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Sunday 31st August - 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Tickets are free, must be reserved in advance and based on a first-come, first-served basis. To book a space at one of the extremely exciting shows please call 02072256781.

Toy manufacturers Golden Bear will be showcasing their brand new Charlie and Lola toy range at this much-anticipated event. This year sees the launch of a beautiful new wooden collection which will delight fans of the loveable characters. Soft toys and create and play activity items are also available. Watch out for the brand new Colour-In Lola, Chattering Charlie and Lola, Charlie and Lola Make and Play Card Playsets, Wooden Playhouse with accessory sets and much more.

For more information visit

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Finger Knitting Fun

We have been having fun playing with wool recently. While my 10 year old can now knit quite well (thanks Grandma!), my other children still found it frustrating. However this frustration was solved when we discovered finger knitting. We started with single finger knitting which is very simple, all you need is yarn (thick yarn gives best results) and fingers! There is an excellent demonstration here:

From this we progressed on to four finger knitting - this is slightly more demanding but gives you a more versatile end product (think toy scarves instead of belts!). These two videos show different techniques for finger knitting - personally I prefer the second method but just love the presentation in both...

I now make sure that we have some yarn with us for long car journeys and have a simple way to keep children occupied. Why not give it a try?

NB: Please do not allow your children to browse video sharing sites unsupervised!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Poem for Father's Day

I've been trying to help my own children think of what to do for dad on Father's Day this weekend. When looking for a verse for a card we came across this:

"Walk a little slower, Daddy!" said a little child so small.
"I'm following in your footsteps and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up, you're what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you."

It would be ideal for a gift, perhaps with some painted footprints along side (always a nice momento of children's growth). Or maybe it could be written on one of the printables here.

I'm sure dad will love his gift in whatever form it finally takes and enjoy spending Father's Day with his family.

Use Coloring Pages for Craft Patterns

Coloring pages are fun to decorate with crayons, pencils, markers and paint, but did you know you can also use them for other creative projects?

Try using a coloring page design with these craft techniques:
  • Embroidery
  • Stained Glass
  • Quilting
  • Paper Piecing
  • Applique
  • Card Making
  • Stenciling
  • Die Cuts
  • Scrapbooking
LINK Craft Ideas for Coloring Page Pictures
LINK Ideas for Adult Coloring Page Fun

Monday, 9 June 2008

Fun website

We've been having fun exploring this website:
(NB. no link with Activity Village!). There are lots of great videos to check out all aimed at children, and each activity also has printable instructions available. The activities range from crafts to science experiments, juggling to cartooning, with lots more besides.

With Father's Day fast approaching, this card craft might be ideal:

Pop-up Card

The one possible drawback, as with all sites with videos, is that you do need a fairly fast internet connection or playback is very slow or disjointed.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Teddy Mascots - a patriotic craft idea!

Sarah, Jack and Sam have had fun this week kitting out the teddies in their house ready for the Olympics - or any patriotic event of holiday, such as Fourth of July or Canada Day. They have used our flag printables and a bit of imagination and I'm sure you will agree that the result is great! Great fun if you want to hold your own Olympic Games, too.
Teddy Mascots

More Recycling Ideas - journals out of garbage!

NB: Please do not allow your children to browse video sharing sites unsupervised!

Recyling Craft Idea - fun for the weekend?

We liked this clever recycling craft idea from "Nini Makes", which makes use of the plastic lids from fruit containers (the sort you by strawberries in at the supermarket).
Reusing Plastic Packaging

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Fathers having fun with the kids!

It is all too easy with our busy lives for working parents to slip in to a tendency of seeing children as ‘work’ rather than people to relax and have fun with. With Father’s Day fast approaching perhaps it is time to encourage dads to have fun with the kids. Hopefully you will find some useful ideas below:
- build a den - blankets, pillows, chairs etc.
- read a story by torchlight
- go for a hike (without mum)
- play a game of cards (see here for card games)
- bake a cake!
- simple woodwork - possibly a balsa wood project, or simple hammer and nails
- set up a town / garage / railway using all the cars, trains, lego, wooden bricks and other bits and pieces you can find
- play marbles
- make a treasure hunt
- set up an obstacle course
- put up a tent in the garden - either a real one or a play one using a clothes line and a large blanket
- play catch, football, baseball - basically any sports
- plan and then put on a puppet show (for Mum?)
- build boats from recycled containers and find somewhere to sail them
- make up a story - children especially enjoy ones which feature themselves as characters, albeit doing extraordinary things!
- play a simple game – Simon Says (or perhaps Dad Says) for example (see here for more ideas).

Or perhaps Dad has some activities he enjoys which might be great for sharing with the children. Does he have a favourite TV show/film – maybe from his childhood - which he could share? Maybe he enjoys quizzes (such as those on-line at or chess – do not assume that kids are too young to join in with these things, they may have lots of fun together.

But don't expect too much. If Dad has had a bad week don't expect him to spend all weekend with the kids. Encourage him to spend a couple of quality hours with them and then maybe send him off for a bit of well earned R&R!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Father's Day Puzzles - Lots NEW!

We have added two new Father's Day word searches and a new Father's Day crytogram - something for the kids to puzzle over!
We also have Father's Day Mazes.

Father's Day Printables - Lots NEW!

We've added some new printables for Father's Day - a set of printables for acrostic poems using "Dad", "Daddy" and "Father". We have both ruled and blank versions, with and without the cute illustration you can see above - your child may want to add their own illustration, or just do an illustration and leave out the poem!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Summer Princess/ Coloriage * La Princesse de l'ete'