Half Term Fun At Hoburne Bashley

Last week, myself and the children were kindly invited along to spend a morning of Autumn Arts at Hoburne Bashley. Nestled in the heart of the New Forest Hoburne Bashley holiday park truly has it all, from the luxurious spa to woodland adventures, there is something for everyone. I was really impressed with the huge amount of children’s activities that are available, there was a group activity arranged for every day of the half term, these ranged from den building to story telling in the stunning wooded surroundings. Best of all these fantastic groups are not only available to the park visitors but also to the general public.

I came along to the Autumn Arts morning with the three children and my Nan who was visiting. We entered a lovely little building called the Woodland Centre which was full of adorable children’s seating and beautiful nature inspired wall murals. Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly man who offered the children some colouring while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Once everyone was there we were lead into the woods as a group, the walk was only a few minutes and it was lovely heading into the woods with all of the excited children. We walked into an outdoor classroom and were greeted by a very friendly lady called Sally. She told us a bit about the woodland classroom and what we would be doing for the morning and the children instantly warmed to her. Each family was then given a paper bag to fill with anything they liked the look of from the woodland floor. Isabella, Sophia and Harbor excitedly foraged for leaves, acorns, twigs and pinecones and brought them back over to the group. The children then used moulds to form a clay medallion that they would then decorate with all of their forest finds. They loved it, and with there being a big age gap between my eldest and youngest, it always impresses me when something interests them all!

After making clay medallions we headed through a little fairy style door and into another section of the woodland, it felt magical and there was something great about being out in the fresh air and in such a beautiful setting. No I-pads or televisions in sight! Once through the door we joined Sally in making pictures on the forest floor using log stumps, leaves and conkers. It was great to see the children using their imaginations and this time, gave me and my Nan a good chance for a 5 minute chat while the little ones were entertained, all too needed mid half term! This then lead on to wand making, Every child was given a stick and foliage to attach to it, we did this with the children while Sally made stars out of bamboo. She was full of interesting information and has a clear passion for the outdoors, she told the children facts throughout the two hours and we all walked away feeling like we had learnt something new while having an absolute blast.

The two hour slot was perfect for the children and they were thrilled walking back to the car with their medallions and wands. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, the kids were thoroughly entertained. The setting was beautiful, the staff were faultless and the whole event flowed really well. The Woodlander is so much more than just a half term activity, their aim is to teach children about nature in a fun and magical way. Their ethos is “the more we learn about the trees, plants and animals, the more we learn to respect them, and the more we respect them, the more we learn to cherish, nurture and take care of them and for this learning , the more respect we’ll have for our environment.” Clearly extremely passionate about their work the Managers of the Woodland Centre are keen to impart their love of nature to the next generation, not only offering these wonderful events but also offering school trips and visits too. I strongly suggest checking out the Woodlander Facebook page for updates on their up and coming events, plans and keeping an eye on the what’s on page at Hoburne Bashley.

A huge thank you to Hoburne Bashley and The Woodlander for having us. We will be sure to visit again for some more forest fun!

Although my booking for the Autumn Arts morning was complimentary, all words and opinions are my own.

Settling your children into a new School

So this post is a bit niche… but if it helps even one family then it has been worth writing. We relocated just under a year ago, we moved four hours away and left our friends, family and everyone we knew behind, in order to follow our dream of living in an area we have loved and longed to live in for a long time. Sounds dreamy hey? Well for the most part it has been. The children have amazed me, we love our home and our area but it has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. In this post I will give some tips on things that helped us settle the children into their new school and surroundings.

Get them involved

We found getting the children involved in the prep of a new school like paperwork and uniform ordering really helped. Although a lot of this is aimed at the adults, it is still good to get the children to sit with you while you fill forms in so that they can be prompted to ask you any questions that may be on their mind. We also let the girls look on the computer at their new school website as much as they wanted. They would spend ages looking at the “meet the team” page, this meant that by the time they joined the new school weeks later, the faces of the staff already looked familiar. Our youngest daughter was a bit upset on the last week of her old school so her pervious teacher spent some time one lunch break looking online at Sophia’s new school with her. I found this really helped the girls feel like they knew some faces and structure of the school a bit better before they started.

Tell them you are scared too

Children are not stupid. They are as emotionally complex as adults when it comes to big change. Instead of dismissing their concerns with “oh it will be fine” I told them the truth…… I was scared too, terified infact. I told them that change is always scary but we would all get through it together. Be relatable while still encouraging them and reassuring them that it will all be ok at the same time.

Have a Birthday party

We found having a birthday party really helped with the settling in process, Both for myself and the children. Fortunately both children had birthdays within a few months of starting the new school. It was good for the children to socialise outside of school with a group of friends, it was also a nice opportunity for us as parents to meet their new friends. For me, it was a really good opportunity to speak to and meet the parents properly, when you are just in the playground it takes someone to have to make an effort to speak to or introduce themselves, with a birthday party, the situation leads the way and means you get to put a face to the parent of each child. It really helped me to have some friendly faces to smile at in the mornings. Having the childrens parties was a real turning point for me.

Extracurricular activities

Maybe the most obvious of all, extracurricular activities such as sports, having playdates and local clubs is another great way to integrate your child into their new school/community. Although a bit stressful with three children already, we try to allow the girls to have play dates or go to a friends house for dinner as often as we can. It is great for the children to be able to mingle outside of school so that they can play and embrace their new friendships in a less structured environment.

So if your little ones are changing schools because of a relocation, just a short trip or even to the next stage of schooling, I hope these tips can help and ease yours or your child’s worries or concerns. I am happy to report that the girls are totally settled, have wonderful groups of friends and love their new school.

Chynna x