Category Archives: Binky Bear Adventures

Gardening For Kids

Mucking About In The Garden

Gardening is something we do all-year-round, not just in Spring and Summer.  So, as a kids activity it ticks all the boxes by getting our little ones into the open-air and sharing experiences. Plus, it’s fun AND you don’t even have to have a garden to do it! Here are some practical ways of getting started.  The BBC working with the RHS has made it easy to stimulate enquiring minds with lots of great ideas.  These include projects to do at home, in your own garden, indoors and there’s plenty of factual stuff too. What little boy can resist fascinating facts about wriggly creatures. Go to the BBC link below.
Bee On A Beautiful Flower

Bee On A Beautiful Flower

When planting in the soil or in pots choose easy to handle large seeds for little hands like peas, beans and sunflowers.  Look for plants, which can be readily distinguished from weeds. Keep a pet dandelion! An interest in gardening can be fostered anywhere and doesn’t have to be in a formal garden setting.  Scent trails, where you search for and identify different plants can be followed in your own garden, along a country trail or in a public park.  Challenging for grown-ups as well!

Green-fingered benefits

The RHS and schools, who have collaborated throughout the UK in recent years in setting up gardens and gardening clubs, point to the many health benefits of gardening for children - getting them away from screens and into the open air. RHS research suggests that kids perform better at school and develop healthy eating habits as a result of their interest in self-grown veg. The RHS Campaign for School Gardening found that children built “life skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication”. The Kings Fund in 2016 reported feelings of positive well-being, personal achievement and empowerment among young gardeners, particularly amongst children with learning and behavioural difficulties.  These youngsters in particular experience a sense of pride in a world where so often they are unable to shine.  They also find gardens to be peaceful places, “conducive to meditation”, suggests Caroline Levitt, founder of Diggers Forest School and Nursery, Midhurst.  Children learn to communicate with the world about them, which in turn puts them in touch with their inner selves.

Life-long love

Gardening with the little ones in your life can initiate a shared life-long love of plants and the outdoors. The continuity of the seasons fosters a long-term commitment to the world about us and a better understanding of the environment.   You never forget seeing your first seed emerge from the dark earth and from that moment we become a part of the wider ecosystem. Take them into the garden one warm night and just let them lie on the grass and look up at the sky.  They’ll never forget it!

LINKS:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/with-children/life-skills-for-children/ https://www.alive.com/family/growing-kids-green-thumbs/
bowl of fruit

Healthy Food For Kids

This is our first of two posts about healthy food for kids. Guiding children to eat healthy food is a challenge most of us face. Experts agree that the learning process has to be gradual to lead to success. And it can be fun!

“Rename them”, scientists say

“In a new study, 186 four-year-olds were given regular carrots and, on other lunch days, they were given the same vegetables renamed X-ray Vision Carrots. On the latter days, they ate nearly twice as many.”
carrots in the shape of a flower

X-ray Vision Carrots

Healthy Packed lunches – making choices

Whether or not there is guidance from your child’s school you can have fun together making your own list of favourite foods. Use a blackboard and different coloured chalks for various food types. This way kids have their say while gradually becoming aware of the nutrition values of different foods. If they can buy stuff at school, give them a restricted amount and let them ‘save’ the money to put towards something special, which is not food.

Healthy Main meals

For the ‘main’ meal of the day limit the amount of starchy foods and always have one vegetable option that you know they like. Get the children to help you prepare what you’re going to eat. Then they can give it a name. Elsie’s cauliflower cheese. Start the day with fruit for breakfast. Don’t forget that frozen is just as nutritious as fresh. You can puree fruits and serve with yoghurt.
raspberries

Pureed fruit for breakfast

Developing Healthy Habits

Give them smaller bowls and, if age-appropriate, allow them to help themselves. They’ll appreciate being given a choice and feel grown-up. Encourage them to limit their portion size but ‘come back for seconds’. If they say they’re full don’t push them into finishing everything. Eating when you’re no longer hungry ultimately leads to habitual over-eating. Children also need to recognise what they’re feeling “Is your tummy full now?”

Healthy Snacks

Snacks don’t have to be large. Stick to regular meal and snack-times, three meals a day and two snacks. If they don’t want a snack, skip it but watch out for crankiness before mealtime, as small children become suddenly hungry. Snacks don’t have to be large - a couple of slices of fruit and a cracker is plenty.

Feeling good

Up to school age children love to copy parents’ habits and choices – so take advantage of this and talk about what you’re eating – especially something new. They’ll want to try it too. Discourage the “yuck” face from older children in front of the little ones and talk positively about vegetables. Vegetable Patch Talk about fruit and vegetables when you’re out in the garden and crops that you see growing in the fields when you’re out for a walk. Go out and pick blackberries together in the summer and then make little blackberry and apple tarts.
Child Picking Blackberries

Blackberry Picking

We will continue this theme of Healthy Food For Kids with our next blog about “When a treat’s no longer a treat…” In the meantime here is some further reading about the Carrot Experiment: http://www.livescience.com/7695-kids-prefer-veggies-cool-names.html
Binky Bear Explores French's Shoe Shop Southampton

Fitting Children’s Shoes

With National Shoe Fitting week coming up on 8th April we at Binky Bear got thinking about the importance of fitting children’s shoes. Fitting Children's Shoes

Shared memories

We were talking about going to the shoe-shop to get our first pair of school–shoes. I wanted red wellies, I remember. That idea soon went out of the window. “Try walking to end of the shop for me” said the assistant. Then I got it. All around me were other five-year-olds trying on black lace-ups while parents and grandparents looked on seriously. The children were all looking forward to the special treat afterwards.

What the experts say about Fitting Children's Shoes

Babies are usually born with perfect feet. According to NHS Podiatrists it’s better to avoid pram-shoes and tight blankets for new-borns. They even suggest cutting the feet out of baby-grows. Binky Bear photo of new-born's feet A child’s foot is not a small version of an adult’s. It’s softer and more pliable. And when the child starts to walk going barefoot is preferable in the right environment. Children’s feet – and this really is surprising – are vulnerable to deformity up to late teens.

How to fit your child for shoes

Finding a reputable shoe-shop where the assistants take time over the fitting of your child’s shoes is worth the search and certainly gives peace of mind. It may not be necessary to buy new shoes at all, if the assistant re-assures you that the shoes are OK for a bit longer. Binky Bear Loves Billy Goat Shoes in Alresford Jo at the independent shoe-shop, Billy Goat, in Binky’s home-town of Alresford, says, “We will happily measure your child’s feet and let you know whether their shoes are still a good fit!”

Make a day of it

Choosing the all-important new shoes is a social event. You may take your child to the nearest ‘big’ town for the day. Binky was recently taken to the award-winning French’s Shoe-shop in Southampton to have his feet measured. Naturally he got cake afterwards!
Binky Bear finds the perfect pair of boots

Binky Bear finds the perfect pair of boots at French's Shoe Shop in Southampton

Or maybe you can combine shopping for shoes with exploring a favourite Binky trail in London, Winchester or Alresford. And include cake, of course! https://www.wjfrenchandson.co.uk http://www.billygoatshoes.co.uk/visit-us http://www.shoefitters-uk.org/national-shoe-fitting-week
autumn-leaves_9813_m

Binky Bear’s days out with the kids

It's getting colder, but here are some ideas for days out with the kids, whatever the weather. How about planning a day out with something seasonal included, which is free. There are lots of things to watch in public places at this time of the year.

Norwich's Tunnel of Light

Start with a walk round the historic street of the town and then walk through the 45 metre ‘tunnel’, 50,000 tiny lights, which reflect the colours and patterns of the Northern Lights. Norwich’s seasonal lights will be switched on 17 November. For info about the historic city as well, go to:- http://www.visitnorwich.co.uk/whats-happening/event/first-uk-tunnel-of-light/ norwich tunnel of light

Winchester's Woolly Hat Fair

Or if you are Hampshire based keep your eyes out for the Woolly Hat Fair coming to Winchester. http://hatfair.co.uk/woolly-hat-fair/ Events will be free to attend and will take place at 5pm every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3 – 22 December.

Hamleys Christmas Toy Parade- London

Binky throw up autumn leaves on days out with the kids And if you just happen to be in London on 20 November after doing the Binky Bear walk through St James’s Park - like Binky (finishing in Trafalgar Square) join all the fun of Hamleys Christmas Toy Parade. The whole of Regent’s Street will be closed to traffic for the event. http://www.hamleys.com/hamleys-parade.html night photo of christmas lights London’s Christmas lights are already starting to go on, so check on-line for specific dates. Seasonal lights are now going on all over the country, so check in your local press for exact dates.

Reindeer Spotting

If you want to splash out on an extra special day this Christmas how about visiting Santa’s reindeers, somewhere in the UK near you? This link has a few pointers:- http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/family/days-out-where-can-you-see-1488475
The Binky Bear London Walk

The Binky Bear London Walk

The Binky Bear London walk follows the route that Binky took in his third adventure, Binky Goes To London and you can buy a copy here. There is something for everyone on this walk. In just 90 minutes you will walk from Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall to Horseguards Parade and then out across St James's Park. There will be plenty of wildlife to see and lots of space to safely run around in. Finally you will arrive in front of Buckingham Palace from where you trace your steps back to where you started.Continue reading this article...
The Binky Bear Winchester Walk

The Binky Bear Winchester Walk

The Binky Bear Winchester walk follows exactly the story in Binky's second adventure book, Binky in Trouble. In this story Binky and his friend Dog have an adventure in the historic heart of Winchester. This 90 minute walk will help you explore this beautiful city and take you past the key sights of Winchester College and Winchester Cathedral, The Buttercross and into the muddle of lanes and alleyways that make Winchester such a curious place to visit.Continue reading this article...
A Binky Bear Walk Read And Explore Books For Kids

What Is A Binky Bear Trail?

When we meet our fans they are often surprised when we ask them if they have actually been on a Binky Bear trail. And then when we explain how each book is an adventure waiting to happen for them and their family and that what they hold in their hands is not just a book but a plan for a great day out, they want to know more. So for all of you out there who love our books but who have not yet actually been on a Binky trail, this blog post is for you.Continue reading this article...
MyKidsy Blog

Why Travelling by Bus is Best!

In August 2015 I was invited by www.MyKidsy.com to write a guest blog about my own outdoor adventures in London with my daughter. Here it is and I hope you like it!

Living about 50 miles from London in a sleepy Hampshire village, my daughter and I look forward to our day trips up to London and we try to get up each term, ideally on an Inset day when trains are not too busy.  I lived and worked in London for over 15 years, commuting from the south-western suburbs and it was only when I began researching our third book Binky Goes To London and when we started to take the photographic illustrations of Binky our teddy bear character and his real animal friends in various central London locations, that I started to travel around by bus and on foot.  What struck me was how previously-made tube journeys are so much faster and more interesting if you walk.  So throughout the making of Binky Goes To London we travelled by bus and on foot with the occasional taxi ride, if we had a very tired corgi with us! Continue reading this article...
Binky Outdoor Adventure 3

Binky’s Big Outdoor Adventure in Alresford

At Binky Bear we are passionate about getting children outdoors and having fantastic shared experiences with family and friends.

That’s exactly what we did back in July when fifteen brave families joined us on a sunny morning outside Alresford Station to go on the first ever organised, Binky Bear Outdoor Adventure, following the map at the back of our book, Binky’s Big Adventure.Continue reading this article...