Introducing: Susie Verrill
So… it appears this is to be the first of (hopefully) many columns for the wonderful Day Out With The Kids, a site which I’ve been delving into since my son, Milo, was born two years ago. I’m one of those mums who falls in to two camps; 1) lover of free fun and 2) seeker of physical activity. My son insists on being one of those children who requires a day jam packed with movement and try as I might, no amount of crafts, tiny toy cars or CBeebies will keep him ticking over for even the time it takes to throw some slap on, so our days are ordinarily busy ones.
With that in mind, life’s about to become a whole lot busier; I’m currently 8 months pregnant and nearing the date in which we’ll get to meet our second arrival. Another son. And no doubt, another bundle of energy. But at the moment, this means I’m continuously on the hunt to keep a toddler busy and stimulated while desperately trying not to exhaust/wet myself. Trampolines, as you can imagine, are a no-go.
Thankfully (here comes the free bit) we’re lucky enough to live out in the sticks near Milton Keynes and our garden backs on to some wonderful woodlands. I’ve spent many a minute forgetting I bagged an E in GCSE art and cobbling together treasure maps or tick charts for Milo to take with us as we walk our three dogs and then there’s always the collage option. Pine cones, leaves, sticks; you name it, I’m getting my son to paint and shove glitter on it. Nothing’s safe.
As a family, we travel a lot together. My other half is a professional sportsman so we spend many a weekend during his season, packing our lives into suitcases and heading off to sample what the different cities of the UK have to offer. And because being holed up in stuffy hotel rooms with a toddler is quite literally a fate worse than death, I’m always keen to make sure we’ve got a few things planned before we get there, and this is where DOWTK comes in ridiculously handy. If I’ve not visited somewhere before, I just tap the destination in and pick out something I can get to with just the aid of my legs and a pram, and which Milo will enjoy. It’s as simple as peas.
Then, when we’re back home in Milton Keynes, we’ve got a few favourite destinations to head to as a family. Anything farm-y seems to get our son’s vote (despite the fact we’ve got our own gaggle of ducks and chickens for him to chase in the garden) and if tractors, diggers or quite simply any vehicle is in the vicinity then it’s like Father Christmas has rocked up on his birthday. There are also some wonderful adventure playgrounds near us with wooden excavators, pirate ships and rockets for kids to climb in and around, and right now, while wielding this bump, my days are all about wearing Milo out while exerting myself as little as possible. Lots of eager facial expressions and cheering from the sidelines for me, I’m becoming quite the master of sat-down enthusiasm let me tell you!
So, while this is more of a little introduction as to who we are and what we’re about, I’m really excited to get stuck in over the upcoming months and chat about specific places we’ve been checking out and enjoying. I’m definitely less up for theme parks and expensive plastic tat, more so keen on cheap and cheerful hidden gems with wildlife lobbed in. Hands on, lots of learning, exploring and sensory play.
If you’ve got a rambunctious toddler, a baby and very little sanity left, then hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about what we’re up to and it’ll give you some ideas of your own too. Here’s to lots of days out with kids!
Do you have any questions for Susie, or want to hear her take on your latest parenting dilemma? Leave us a comment below, and it might feature in a future column! Or come and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!