With the Great British Bakeoff in full swing how about getting the kids in the kitchen and inspiring the next generation of bakers? Butterfly cakes for garden treats, bobbing boats to take to the beach. Making them with the children and grand-children – what better way to spend an afternoon as the holidays draw to a close or as younger brothers and sisters are left at home when the older ones go to school.Continue reading this article…
Want to go for a walk? No! Want to go on a trail? Yes! Here’s how to make your trails for kids rock:
1. Have a purpose:
a. What we did today: go out and take photos to load up on Facebook later to show Auntie Chris, Mum, Dad Grandma etc. What We Did Today and then everyone gets to say what their favourite thing was
b. Plant investigator: find 10 different leaves – try these free Apps to help you identify what’s what: Tree Id and Garden Answers.
c. Go foraging: pick blackberries – from mid-August in some places – then return home to make blackberry and apple crumble.
2. Follow a trail map. Learning how to read a map is a fantastic life skill and you can start with very simple ones.
a. Draw your own ‘mud map’ for a place you know well and leave some gaps for the kids to fill in things like, the names of buildings, drawing in a tree, the bridge, the shop etc.
b. Complete a trail that links to a book – yes like ours! You can download our free trail maps for London, Winchester and Alresford here. From August 20th you will be able to download our very latest Binky Trail which is set in leafy Surrey, near Compton.
3. Have a few extra activities up your sleeve.
a. “I spy” and also “I hear with my little ear…”
b. Follow my leader, taking it in turns to lead the pack
c. Stop and play hide and seek. Woodland walks are great for this
d. Walk and Talk – get kids to take it in turns to talk about what they see and hear as they walk – this is great to get quiet ones chatting.
4. Finally take a picnic, a few trail treats, plenty of water and sunscreen and have a great day out!
When we moved down to Hampshire we had no idea The Watercress Line would become so much a part of our lives.
On a day when the wind blows from the north the whistle of the steam trains cuts through the air as the trains travel in a wide arc behind our village and if the wind drops, a perfect trail of steam will track the trains location as it disappears into a cutting.Continue reading this article…
The word Montessori has been part of my vocabulary ever since my daughter was born but it was only last month that I had an opportunity to find out for myself what the Montessori Method is all about. Continue reading this article…
These days Binky has a lot of public engagements and he now has a brand new audience – the ladies of the Women’s Institute, the WI. Back in September I was chosen by Hampshire WI as one of their newest speakers, to give a talk on the Making of Binky Bear.Continue reading this article…
While attempting to reunite over 75,000 teddy bears left behind in their hotels, Travelodge discovered that quite a few did not belong to children. They got curious and in 2012 they set up a survey to find out more. Of the 6,000 adults who took part, 51% of adults reported having a teddy bear since their childhood, the average age of the teddy bears was 27 years, 25% of males said they took their teddy bear away on business with them and 1 in 10 men surveyed admitted to hiding their teddy bear when their girlfriend stayed over.Continue reading this article…
A rather wonderful thing has happened at Binky Bear – Woodlands Primary in Carnoustie, Scotland has opened a Binky Bear trail. We spoke with Deputy Head teacher Judith Connor to find out more.
1. Tell us about your school and your part of the UK
Our school is Woodlands Primary School which is in Carnoustie in Angus. Carnoustie is often called ‘the home of golf’. We are very lucky to live in a small town on the coast with a beautiful beach. Woodlands Primary School caters for children from 5 – 11 and we also have a nursery class for 3 – 5 year olds. We are an eco school and are currently working on our 4th green flag and we are also a fairtrade school with a fairachiever award.
One of the first things you notice when you come to Alresford, apart from the completely traditional high street, the striking Georgian architecture and coloured houses and the abundance of pubs and coffee shops, are all the references to watercress. So when back in December, Alresford Town Council invited us to join other businesses and produce a Welcome Pack for new families moving into Alresford, (download your copy at the foot of this post) we knew what we had to include.
There is watercress everywhere!
On most days in the season (April-October) you can buy bunches of the green peppery watercress leaves in the greengrocers on West Street, on any weekend during the year you can travel in and out of Alresford in a vintage steam train on the Watercress Line, then in May we have our nationally acclaimed annual Watercress Festival, when the centre of town becomes one great street festival of family fun entertainment. Finally if you wander around the town you will come across several watercress beds where you can see for yourself how this lovely green stuff is grown and if you are visiting from April to October you can probably see it harvested too.
Facts about Watercress…
Did you know, gram for gram, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach. It is said that Hippocrates located his hospital on the Greek island of Kos close to a stream so he could grow watercress and use it to treat his patients and apparently Napoleon was a big fan. In the United Kingdom, watercress was first commercially cultivated in 1808 by the horticulturist William Bradbery, along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent. Although it is now grown in a number of counties most notably Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, Alresford is considered to be the UK’s watercress capital. It has been grown here for nearly 200 years and back in the 1800s watercress from Alresford was transported daily by train to be sold in Covent Garden.
So back to our Binky Bear Welcome Pack; we have put together an Alresford Calendar featuring as many of our local events as we could fit on one page, and in true Binky Bear style we have written a special poem to welcome all new families who are joining us in our beautiful corner of Hampshire.
So whether you are moving into Alresford or not, if you’d like to have a copy of our Binky Bear Welcome Pack you can download it by clicking on the link at the foot of this post. You will notice the The Watercress Festival this year is on Sunday May 15th and Binky Bear will be there in our usual place outside The Bell. See you there.
Last month we took Binky on an outing to Southampton to visit The Guide Dogs Southampton Mobility Team. Binky met up with local fund raiser Katie Loucaides plus several guide dogs and puppies.
We want to introduce you to Yuri, a guide dog puppy, share with you what we found about this inspiring organisation and let you know how you can help them.Continue reading this article…
Thank you to everyone who entered our competition by telling us what great things you were doing to help your local wildlife cope with the cold weather.
Here are some of the brilliant suggestions you made:
1. “I’m a nanny and have been planning a nature week for the children. We will be creating bird pudding (lard with seeds), going for a walk in the local woods to explore and collect leaves and twigs, create little houses and nests with the twigs that we collect…” Apparently these are very smelly!
2. Food and fresh water daily for the wild birds (keep topped up as they learn where these are available). Lots of untidy leaves and piles of cut branches for the hedgehogs (spring is for garden tidying). Hedges left untended for birds to shelter in. When humans not using garden good to know the wildlife can find shelter.
3. “We put food out for a little hedgehog that comes into our garden! And I have an old hooded litter tray that I keep in the garden if case any wildlife need shelter from bad weather!”
4. “My mum got a post from a cat charity saying put a small saucer of food out if you see a stray..so she did. the first night a hedgehog turned up..in the morning 2 blackbirds and a blue tit finished off the dreggs. the next day she had a robin and 5 of the neighbours cats too..so its going really well.”
5. “I take pine cones and spread peanut butter on them and then roll them in bird seed. I hang them around the yard on low branches or garden poles. I also make sure the bird feeder is full.”
6. “I work in a primary school and we make bird feeders, bird houses and other types of little animal shelters. We also raise money for animal charities.”
We asked you, our Facebook Fans, to decide the winner by Liking the best suggestion and we have a landslide victory for….drumroll please Binky….Continue reading this article…