With the weather beginning to turn, our thoughts have definitely turned to what we can do when those grey clouds begin to gather. With the heavens opening, I took the opportunity to visit The Centre with the kids to stock up on some key rainy day ingredients:
My older two kids were never really that bothered about books; we do the bedtime story routine but they unlikely to ever ask for a story during the day. My youngest is like the polar opposite. He will happily gather together a stack of books and have them read on repeat.
He particularly seems to like books about food or rather things that he can easily talk about. I think the real key is to have something clearly recognisable that he can engage with. More recently, he’s taking to ‘reading’ himself by narrating what he can see in the pictures - so illustration is clearly an important thing for him!
Waterstones at The Centre has a lovely kid’s section with loads of options to choose from. It has a great selection of well-known character books - like Paddington - but also has a great array of activity books that interest the older two a little more.
I was delighted to see a display particularly aimed at promoting Scottish authors - many which we were lucky to see at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I’m really aware of just how many new authors there are so it was super to see that some of them were being promoted.
The selection of Scottish Books, particularly ‘Maggie’s Monsters’ (by Coo Clayton and Alison Soye) gave me a wee craft idea to make some monster themed book marks with the kids. When the kids really enjoy a book, I always like the try and make it a little more ‘real’ by finding something to do which is related to it - whether it’s baking ‘Gruffolo’ pie or going out to replicate the Bear Hunt!
So, our next stop at The Centre was Ryman to grab some craft supplies. For this particular project, I grabbed a pack of coloured card, a glue stick and a packet of pens. Whilst I certainly could’ve gone more fancy - for small children it’s often easier to keep it simple!
Once home, I used the supplies to fold corner book marks for the kids and cut out different ‘monster’ features for them to stick on. They were then able to decorate them in their own way to make them their own. It was a really simple thing to do but certainly a great activity for rainy day.
We had lunch in the café at M&S as I knew it had great lunch box type items for kids. My youngest chose to have a cheese sandwich, banana, juice box and best of all - a gingerbread man! My older son had a smoothie, flapjack and cheese sandwich and both happily tucked in whilst watching the shoppers below.
On my part, I chose a chicken salad and some sparkling water - attempting to hold on to the last vestiges of summer! I think on a colder day, the allure of the jacket potatoes would’ve been irresistible and I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m seeking out more warming food!
We tried to mimic our picnic at home, by building a big den with blankets and filling Tupperware boxes with a few bites to eat from the M&S food hall. My kids can be really picky eaters but by making things a bit different from time to time, they are usually too distracted to see that I’ve given them something new!
Whilst in M&S, I noticed a lovely toy selection with a range of things that I thought would make beautiful gifts. But they also had a really great selection of jigsaws; we were given one from there when my daughter was little with a wind-up bus and I remember thinking it was a great way to make a puzzle a bit different.
On this occasion my younger son chose a puzzle of a city scene but resplendent with monkeys escaped from the zoo! At 48 pieces, I wasn’t sure that he would manage by himself but now that we’ve completed it a couple of times he is now able to do it alone.
Splash in puddles!
Obviously, when the kids become too energetic to stay indoors we really do have to just embrace rainy days and just seek out those puddles! This is a lot more fun when you don’t end up immediately wet and cold - so thankfully we were able to grab a couple of necessities at The Centre.
All the kids seem to have grown a foot over the summer, so it really was time to replace too-small wellingtons and rain coats. We spied some great options for wellies in - Deichmann and Schuh and ended up finding a great raincoat in Cotswolds outdoors.
As always, they had a great range of tents on display, much to the kids excitement and a range of outdoor gear, perfectly suited to our changing weather. At the moment, I didn’t think the kids really need heavy jackets but more something that could cope with a sudden downpour! I’m absolutely confident that my son’s new coat will cope with some puddle jumping and know where to head when all the winter weather is upon on us again - for the kids and me!
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