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Mamma Fairy

Home & Interiors

Choosing the perfect outdoor canopy

It could not be a more perfect time of year to turn your attention to some garden improvements such as the addition of an outdoor canopy. I have been lusting after a pop up canopy for a long time and the recent good weather spell has made us see how useful one would be for shelter in the really warm weather and the converse is also true if the weather is really bad it means the kids are sheltered and don’t have to come in out of the rain.  One huge plus for us is that it effectively increases the footprint of the house extending out into the garden.

So you have decided to invest in an outdoor canopy, what are some of the key considerations you need to keep in mind when making that decision. Below I have set out some useful advise.

  • Something portable 

Pic Credit Costoffs

Speaking from experience, if like us you have a young family and pets you will want something portable.  Something that can be put up in seconds and put away then if needs be.  Following our own research it was clear what we needed was a pop up canopy. A pop up canopy as its name suggest literally pops up and you have it set up in mere minutes making it extremely handy.  It can provide shelter for pets, a safe play area for kids or a sun/ rain shelter for adults.

  • Reputable supplier 

When you have decided a pop up canopy is for you,  you need to consider your supplier carefully.   If you are spending the money on garden improvements, you will want to get good value and best functionality for your money.  We stumbled across Costoffs which which are an e furniture brand founded in 2020 which specialise in home and office furniture.  They also impressively offer free shipping & delivery and 24 hours after sales service….now that is impressive.

  • Functionality

After undertaking much research we were most impressed with the Costoffs pop up canopy, size wise at 3m * 3m is a really good size for most back gardens.  The major selling point for us was that it is waterproof and UV proof making it importantly suitable for all seasons which is very important, as mentioned above especially with kids and pet. Also critically is is CPAI-84 fireproof.  Also at $146.99 with free delivery you really could not go wrong.

I simply will not compromise on safety features when it comes to my kids so this pop up canopy really ticked all the boxes for us.  I see from their website that orders are currently arriving in 10-15 working days.

Do take a look at the blog posts on the Costoffs webpage as there is a wealth of information on choosing your canopy.  As mentioned above they don’t just sell canopies they have a huge range of good quality indoor and outdoor furniture.  With so many of us now working from home they do stock a very wide range of office furniture and chairs, which is exactly what is next on my list….

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

Giving your bedroom a chic makeover

The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in any home. It’s where you relax after a long day looking after the kids, where you spend intimate time with your loved one, and where you recuperate and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Unfortunately, after a while, it’s easy for any bedroom to become cluttered, outdated, and unappealing.

If your bedroom isn’t the Instagram-worthy room you’ve been hoping for, now could be the perfect time to invest in a quick, simple, and cost-effective makeover. After all, changing the atmosphere of your bedroom doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive process.  A little rearranging, a good colour scheme, and even the right window dressings can make a world of difference.

  • Rearrange your furniture

Sometimes all you need to do to transform your bedroom from drab to fab, is to give yourself a different perspective. Look at where you currently have your drawers, wardrobes and bed, and think about whether they might work better at a different angle, or in a new configuration. You may be surprised at how easy it is to add charm to your sleeping space when you move the king-size bed into the middle of the room, rather than against the wall.

If you’re not sure how to rearrange things, try sketching out an idea of what your ideal bedroom might look like first. It’s worth keeping some cleaning tools on hand too – there’s likely to be some dust to clean up when you’re finished moving things.

  • Let there be light!

bedroom interior

With your bedroom’s new layout showing off your furniture in all its glory, it’s time to think about how you can let light into the room. Window dressings can be complicated in a bedroom, as you want the perfect combination of something that keeps out the sunlight when you’re sleeping but lets plenty of rays in during the day.

Switching to shutters could be a great way to give yourself the best of both worlds in your bedroom. DIYshutters.co.uk has plenty of options that effectively block out light for when you’re snoozing, and also give you an extra level of privacy when you need it most.

  • Pick the perfect colour!

Colour is a vital consideration when you’re giving your bedroom a makeover. You’ll want something that demonstrates your unique personality but remember that going too bold with your shades could mean that you end up giving yourself a headache during those hours when you’re supposed to be getting plenty of rest. While there’s nothing wrong with having a passionate statement wall, it’s usually a good idea to keep most of your colours calm and neutral.

Remember, if you stick to soft shades and you want to add more chic style to the mix, you can always spruce things up with some colourful accessories, bedding, and throw pillows.

  • Draw attention to the bed

The bed is the central and most important piece of furniture in your bedroom, so make sure it shines. When we renovated our rooms recently, we went for king size beds. I just like that bit of extra space nothing of course to do with our pint sized nocturnal visitors!  The thing about buying the bigger can mean that they can be that little bit more expensive but one thing I resolved a a long time again was never to scrimp on bed linen. I sound like im being totally self indulgent but there is something so nice after a tough day in work to sink into fresh comfy sheets. 

When you’re changing the look of your room probably one of the most visually effective together with cost effective ways to freshen up your room is new duvet covers.  Where you go for a total colour revamp, patterns or bling. You can really use these to add texture and dept to your room. In fact you could vary the shades for the seasons or times of year. Its much lower cost and lower maintenance than paint or wallpaper. I saw some really stunning Catherine Lansfield patterns duvets which would really add a lovely depth to a room renovation.  Get your hands on king size quilt size quilt covers from Yorkshire Linen. Honestly some of the best value I have seen for that size duvets.  They also have some great kids duvets. The boys bunk beds are arriving in 2 weeks so we will have to have a nosey and let the boys pick what they would like.

urban wardrobes

Pic Credit: Urban Wardrobes

Many of the duvets have matching accessories available too which I actually really like.

However if for you space is a constraint or its a guest room you are renovating, a genius solution is  fitted murphy beds.  What this essentially is, is your bed is effectively hidden away in your wardrobe and you can pull it down as needs be (see pic opposite).  Just thinking this would be ideal in our new work from home world where a room could be an office by day and a bedroom by night.  Its very clever and cost effective way to make the best use of small spaces.

  • Add your finishing touches

Finally, remember that the little things can go a long way when you’re creating your perfect bedroom. Attractive bedside lamps and a few photos of your friends and family can help to bring warmth and personality to your room. The finishing touches you add will depend on your specific preferences. For instance, some people will want to go with a family-friendly look that features plenty of pictures of loved ones, while others will be prefer a romantic atmosphere with scented candles and luxurious textures.

Another way of incorporating a stylish finishing touch but still being functional is the use of sliding wardrobe doors. Choosing a good quality supplier is essential and can really work wonders in terms of the aesthetic of the room, playing with textures, colours and finishes.

Sweet dreams!

If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect bedroom, now’s the perfect time to take the plunge. With the tips above, you’ll be able to create your perfect bedroom experience in no time, without leaving your bank account in tatters!

Features

Real Estate Trends in 2021

The housing market has both gained and lost strength in the past few years. The housing market will always change, never throw in its towel, and be a complicated area to understand. Fortunately for people, you can understand the fundamentals and stay on top of the changes and learn the market inside out. From pricing to what people can afford, you will need to say on top of this information not to get left behind. 

Deliquesces And Foreclosures 

As these are on the rise thanks to the pandemic among other areas, you will see more foreclosures coming up this year and decidedly making a list for real estate trends in 2021 that you need to watch out for. This is something that investors need to pay attention to and understand how to use to their advantage. While there are measures to prevent this from happening as much, it is still an issue, and the foreclosures offer investors a unique opportunity for gaining attention.

The Different Cycles

Seasons have cycles; the real estate market does too. It will experience highs and lows, times of booming, and times of significant busts. The extremes can get pretty low in many cases, and as such, this is another area on the rise this year. The lending standards are also stricter now than they used to be, so if something does happen, companies and agents are protected. However, this also ensures that housing demand is high for this year and the next two following.

Mortgage

Another thing to look out for this year? Mortgages are going up, and it’s not coming down just yet. The mortgage rate is already almost five percent more than it was in December of last year. If you have a fixed-rate loan, those are practically four percent higher. If you compare this to the increasing home prices, you will see that not everyone will afford a home. While the rates are still considered lower than years past, the fact that they are rising is still nothing to scoff at. 

Supply In Demand

Purchase demand is waning, and it hasn’t helped the market’s supply. This means that people want houses, but they can’t get them because the price doesn’t meet what they can pay, and there are not enough houses to supply everyone’s needs. These problems are likely to affect not only this year but the following year as well. It is also a more significant problem in the south rather than the north, with some states having a seventy percent drop in houses’ availability. 

Know What To Watch

By paying attention to the real estate market, you can be ahead of the others in the same boat, keep your chances of finding your dream house strong, and keep your stress levels low. Finding the best home for yourself can be a daunting task, but knowing the housing market makes all the difference. 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

What to consider when changing the floor in your kid’s bedrooms

Creating a nursery that will eventually become a bedroom or renovating a bedroom in a new house for a young child comes with many challenges. One of these is choosing the right flooring. Choosing the flooring for anywhere in your home is challenging, but there are specific requirements for the flooring used in a nursery or young child’s bedroom that you need to think about. Changing the flooring in a room is not something many of us want to do very often, so making sure you get it right the first time is crucial. Because of this, below are a few helpful things you should consider when changing the floor in your kid’s bedroom. 

It needs to be practical 

While practicality may be something you’d associate more with kitchen or bathroom flooring, it’s also really important for children’s bedrooms. Choosing a flooring material that is both comfortable underfoot and easy to clean is vital for any child’s bedroom. The bedroom floor is often where young children will play with their toys, and no parent wants their child to play on a hard floor where they could get uncomfortable. While carpet may seem like the obvious solution to this problem, it is not as practical as other flooring options. Luxury vinyl flooring, for example, is far easier to clean while still being highly durable and comfortable underfoot, making it an excellent choice for a child’s bedroom. 

Underfloor heating can be a great addition 

Like flooring that is practical, you may not think of underfloor heating as something related to bedroom flooring. However, when changing the flooring in your children’s bedroom, considering adding underfloor heating is a great idea. There are several critical benefits to underfloor heating, but specifically, when you have a nursery or young child’s bedroom, this can really help keep their room warm during the winter months, which can help them sleep. There are two main types of underfloor heating, one using heated water in pipes under the floor an

wooden floor

Image credit – Amtico – Amtico Spacia Noble Oak SS5W3030

d the other using heated wires. There is lots of information online about underfloor heating, but when you’re taking up the floor and adding a new one, this provides an opportunity to add underfloor heating, which you may not get again for many years, so keep it in mind. 

Timeless and straightforward designs work well

Choosing colours for your child’s bedroom, especially when they are young and can’t have an input in the decisions, can be difficult. Something you should consider is keeping the flooring colour as simple as possible. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, as mentioned, changing the flooring can be time-consuming and not something you want to be doing regularly. So, choosing a bold flooring pattern for a child’s bedroom only to find they don’t like it in two years is not something you want to go through.

Secondly, with a neutral or simple flooring colour, it will allow you to change other aspects of the room without worrying that the flooring will look odd and out of place. Greys are a great colour option with any flooring material. Wood flooring styles, either with vinyl or traditional wood, can work well with almost any other design style. 

Getting the flooring right in your kid’s room is an important step and one that can help create a great environment they can enjoy for years to come if done correctly. When redecorating or renovating, try and keep the points raises above in mind, and hopefully, the finished floor will be something both you and your children will love. 

 Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Some Tips for New Freebie Hunters

Everyone loves the word “free.” That’s why you will find countless people lined up outside of Krispy Kreme when they announce they are giving away free doughnuts. Truth is, there is no length that many won’t go to get something for free. This can put blinders on people. When you are getting into the freebie game, you will want to follow certain rules to ensure you are getting the most out of it. If you’re someone who is well versed in freebies, you may learn something from the tips below. 

  1. Don’t Believe Everything You See

A lot of times you may have your judgement clouded by the thought of getting something you want. When your favourite brands start offering some of their most desirable products for free, you’ll want to be certain that you are looking at things. Don’t allow your judgement to be clouded by the potential of scoring a free product. Getting something for free can give us a very powerful emotional charge that can trick our brains into valuing it more than it is worth. This can cause a lot of us to not use our common sense which can lead us into making poor decisions. With companies looking to acquire more data than ever before, you must know what you are giving away to get what you want. You want to ensure that not only the freebie sounds genuine, but you also want to ensure that you are reading all of the terms and conditions for getting it. There will be terms and conditions that you want to look at before making your decision.

  1. Don’t Allow Your Expectations to Go Unchecked

The truth is, most of the freebies you’ll get when you are in the game are going to be relatively small. Companies are giving away freebies for a specific reason. That reason is typically to get you to try their product so you can become a repeat customer. They know that if you try and like their product, they are likely to win you over as a customer. Thus, you should expect to get smaller sample sizes when you are getting something for free. Don’t expect to get a full-sized product. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect to get every single freebie you sign-up for. That’s simply not realistic. These companies get so many freebie requests that you cannot get everything you want. You should expect to get around 70% of them if you’re lucky. If you do find that you’re not getting 70%, you should continue to try as your luck will turn around eventually. To ensure that you aren’t completely wasting your time, you should be looking at and examining the terms and conditions whenever you are looking to apply for freebies. Generally, you can find your odds of getting the freebie in there.

  1. Always Ask

This goes for pretty much everything on this planet. You aren’t going to get what you don’t ask for. It’s always worth trying to get whatever you can by emailing or even physically mailing these companies. That way, you can see who is willing to give away their products and who isn’t. Let them know that you want to try out their product or that you enjoy using their product. Some of them might be willing to let some go and some companies will even replace freebies if they didn’t live up to your expectations.

  1. Don’t Feel Guilty

When you are looking to get yourself some freebies, avoid the guilt that you might have creep up on you. You may think you are taking advantage of the system or a company. The fact is, they aren’t doing it for the benefit of you. They are giving away products and freebies because they know that it can help them win over a customer. They know it can boost their conversions and help them decrease customer acquisition costs in the long run. Therefore, you shouldn’t go into this thinking you are taking advantage of someone.

  1. Get a Second Email Address

Don’t dish out your primary email address. When you sign up for freebies, a lot of them are going to require you to input your email. This will give them a place to send marketing offers to. The last thing you want is to clog up your primary email address with offers from all of the brands you’re applying with. Get yourself a ‘freebie’ email address and stick to using only that one for the offers.

  1. Get Ahead Of the Competition

As we said earlier, everyone loves freebies. Because of this, you aren’t going to be alone when you are applying for them. You will have a lot of other freebie hunters applying for the same freebies as yourself. The best way to stay on top of all of the latest freebies is by signing up for our curated newsletter. You’ll get all of the day’s top freebies sent straight to your inbox at around 11 am.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Reviews

Present idea’s for the men in our lives

Maybe its just me but I find it so hard to buy gifts for the men in my life, my dad, brother, in laws and not forgetting my amazing husband! I thought with Father’s Day almost literally around the corner I would compile a list of ideas that could be used year round whether its a birthday, special event or just saying thanks.

Wallet

This one was actually by request here. My husband reckoned he just wouldn’t take the time to research a decent wallet so I did it for him!!! One of the things I knew I wanted was the RFID blocking technology. I am ultra safety conscious… him…..not so much. I fell for the Lincoln Grey & Tan leather wallet from Trendhim a mega bonus for me was the separate pull out card wallet, knowing my husband as well as I do he often pops into a shop with only the cards so I knew this would be well received.  It arrived quickly, really lovely quality leather too.  Can really recommend and at  €55 including delivery I think the price point is really good for the quality product.

Trendhim do a huge range of gifts from wallets, to watches to suit accessories. You really will find something for all occasions from their site.

Products for him

Superfacialist 

I am all about self care and looking after ourselves and our health.  I have been using the Superfacialist rose cream cleanser for a while, I find it brilliant for removing makeup and leaving my skin feeling really fresh and clean. What I did not know until more recently is that they do a really great range of men’s products which I think would make a fantastic gift.  There are some cool and reasonably priced gift set for men from Superfacialist which are well worth having a look at.  Having used some of the products myself I can attest to their quality. I buy mine in Boots but they are stocked in many pharmacies and online.

Manscaped

If you are looking for that wow statement gift than Manscaped has you covered. Our top pick would have to be the “Performance Package“.  Contained in this super well presented box are the following products:

  • The Lawn Mower 3.0™. Proprietary SkinSafe® technology helps prevent nicks, snags, and tugs

    Our Manscaped goodies

  • Powerful 7,000 RPM motor with QuietStroke™ technology
  • Waterproof for convenient wet or dry operation
  • the Weed Whacker™ ear and nose hair trimmer
  • the Crop Preserver™ ball deodorant and Crop Reviver™ ball toner
  • two free gifts – the MANSCAPED™ Boxers and the Shed Travel Bag.

From the minute this gift lands through the door you can’t but be impressed.  The super cool packaging, the product names and not too mention the quality, everything about it screams premium and the presentation is really good. I did ask the main man for some feedback and it was a huge thumbs up from him, in fact he has already ordered some more of the boxes as he reckons in his 40 years he cant remember a pair as comfy.  In terms of the products he said they totally live up to their claims and he would have no hesitation in recommending to anybody.

Days out 

Who doesn’t a day or a day to be spoilt. We have picked some of our favourites as gift ideas for the men in our lives:

Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast

afternoon tea

Pic Credit: Fitzwilliam Hotel

In my previous job I spent many nights in the fabulous 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast so I can say hand on heart that I recommend a stay here, it really is pure luxury and do check out the website as you will be surprised how reasonable some of the rates are. However that’s not what totally caught my eye. I see though that its not just for Fathers Day but every Saturday and Sunday between 1-4pm they will be offering “Crafternoon Tea“, which is a unique twist on the traditional afternoon tea, comprising of hearty  delights such as pork and leek scotch egg, mini steak burger, fish finger and homemade tartar sauce bap – all accompanied by two local hand-crafted beers from Whitewater Brewing Co. I love it, think ill take my own husband purely so I can enjoy it myself!!  Its priced at €35pp which I think is really good value, pre booking is essential so do call them in advance.

A nice addition could be to add an overnight stay from €90 per person per night again having stayed many times in the Fitzwilliam I can tell you that is really good value for 5 stay luxury.

 

Barge Trip

We did the Barge Trip on the Royal Canal from Sallins a couple of weeks back and it occurred to me what a wonderful gift idea it would be. At the moment its private hire only with a full bar on board. Kids and adults loved every minute. There are some pics on my Instagram if you want to have nosey. We were so lucky with the weather but its possible to also sit indoors so can be enjoyed whatever the weather.

Dreaming of adventures at Runway 28

Lunch with a cool view 

Last Sunday we called into the newly opened Runway 28 at the Carlton Hotel Dublin airport. It’s a outdoor terrace bar on the 3rd floor of the hotel overlooking the runway at Dublin Airport. The set up is really impressive. We loved looking over at the planes take off and land, dreaming of our next adventure. The kids were kept entertained for ages while we all enjoyed the lovely food on offer. The menu isn’t huge, mostly pizzas and I believe the brunch is really lovely.   I  did sample the cocktails and they were really good.

It’s something different to do and a real novelty especially at the moment when we can’t travel like we wish we could.  You need to book online and the slots do book up quite far in advance and I can totally see why.

Hopefully this is of some use to help choose a gift for the men in your life whatever the occasion.   If you have any suggestions pop them in the comments.

Home & Interiors

Why Summer Is The Best Time To Service Your Heating

When you’re enjoying a hot summer, your home’s heating may be the last thing on your mind, especially when it comes to home maintenance. You may be desperately trying to keep cool rather than thinking about checking on your boiler or servicing your heating. 

Nevertheless, here’s a guide as to why summer is actually the best time to be thinking about your heating. 

You’ll Want it Ready for Winter

The last thing you’d want is to have to try to fix or service your heating precisely when you need it. So if you end up leaving your heating servicing until the cold winter months hit, you’re making it more of a risk that something might go wrong when your home is suffering in the cold. 

To avoid any risks of a freezing home, or boiler problems, servicing your system in the summer means it’s ready and working for when you need it the most. 

It Will Have Been Switched Off for a While 

boiler

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If the last time you used your boiler was last winter, and your heating system has remained unused up until the summer, your boiler will have been switched off after a period of hard work and high activity. It’s, therefore, the perfect time during the summer to have everything checked after its previous usage to make sure it’s all looking good for its next big switch on.

You Won’t Have to Contend with Long Wait Times 

Winter is naturally going to be synonymous with plenty of people making emergency calls for their heating systems or boiler replacements during the peak of winter. If you have your heating services completed in summer instead, it’s more likely you won’t have to wait long, and that services like gjsplumbingandheating.co.uk will have more flexibility in coming out for a callout.

You’ll Have More Time During the Summer

Most people will have time booked off during the summer and have more flexibility in terms of free days. This means it is the perfect time to book a heating service instead of the winter months when you might be back at work and busy after the summer holidays

You’ll Feel More at Ease

You don’t want to have to worry about the worst happening when you need to use your boiler again, and you certainly don’t want all your summer to be spent wondering whether your heating system will actually work when you next need it. 

Therefore, for peace of mind, you can arrange a simple heating service to have everything checked and be able to rest easily knowing it’s all going to be in working order when you next need it.

Key Takeaway 

There are many benefits to having your heating serviced in summer, even if you don’t need to use your heating during the hotter months. Take advantage of a more flexible schedule, peace of mind, and good preparation for the winter months by being proactive and having your heating serviced in the middle of summer instead.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Features

How to Create the Perfect Garden Grass for Your Kids Play Area

Parents these days rightfully complain that their kids are spending too much time indoors and not enough time away from screens and in nature.

The fact of the matter is if you want your children to spend more time outdoors, you will have to work on providing them with a nice looking and exciting play area. 

Follow this guide to discover how to create the perfect garden grass for your kids’ play area, even if you start from scratch. 

Proper preparation matters 

Before you get down to grass seeding or turfing, you have to prepare the soil.

This means you should use a garden tiller to even it out once you remove all of the weeds and unwanted things such as rocks or tree roots.

You can use a flat shovel to dig out the plants and weeds that ruin the look of your upcoming lawn or use a herbicide to kill all the unwanted plants and then take a sod cutter to remove the dead grass and roots. 

After that, have experts test your soil to know what type of grass is the best for that specific area. Just this one simple step is enough to save you from a lot of unnecessary stress and hard work.

Another essential part of preparations is spreading a starter fertilizer onto the soil after breaking the ground down with the tiller or rototiller. The next thing you should use is a soil amendment, also known as a soil conditioner. Good homemade compost can also do the trick here, but you will have to head out to the store and buy some soil amendment if you don’t have any.

Once again, use the tiller to mix the soil with the nutrients. After that, rake the ground to even it out and remove any rocks and debris. With that out of the way, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Seeding and watering your new garden 

Once all the prep work is complete, it is time to start seeding.

Check the seed bag for instructions on the recommended seeding rate. One more thing to know before you load up the seeder is that applying the seed should not be all done in one go.

Instead, divide the seed into four piles and spread it in four different directions – top to bottom, left to right, and vice versa. That way, you will ensure that all of your garden is evenly covered in grass with no empty spots.

The next thing you want to do is take another look at the instructions. For example, if they say that you should cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt, take a rake and have another go at your developing garden.

Once you have planted the seeds, it is essential not to let your new grass dry in the upcoming week or two. That is how long it will take for the grass to start to sprout.

Use a hose to evenly water the entire garden, but be careful not to overdo it and turn the soil into mud.

This initial period is crucial for the proper development of your lawn, so make sure no people or animals step onto the germinating grass.

Care and maintenance 

Congrats, you have made it. Now that your garden is out of the awkward initial stage, all you have to do is take good care of it and properly maintain it.

This means that you will still have to water your new lawn three times a day until it is tall enough to mow – for most grass kinds, this is roughly two inches.

When mowing the garden, do not be too aggressive – you want to stay with at least an inch of grass remaining, so do not cut off more than one-third of the overall height of the grass.

Continue watering the grass regularly until you have mowed it three times. Only then will you know that it has become strong and robust enough to make it independently.

After that, adjust your watering schedule to the type of grass and your local weather and environment. Lastly, don’t forget to remove new weeds as they are coming out.

And there you have it – you have created the perfect grass for your kids’ play area! All that is left to do is decide what to do with it, so it is more attractive for your children.

Setting up a kid-friendly garden 

Now that all that hard work is behind you, it is time to create a garden that encourages active play so that your kid will want to spend time in it. Active play is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

One thing you can do is create backyard “rooms” – areas where kids can feel like they have some privacy or where they can hide during a game of hide and seek. To make them, you can use natural elements such as tree stumps or rocks that you already have. You could also repurpose an old tent and turn it into a spot for controlled garden “camping.”

Just about anything that provides some sort of cover – artificial or natural – will do the trick. Just place an umbrella or a canopy in the garden, and your kid’s imagination will fill in the rest.

Next, you might want to build or buy a sandbox for your kids to play in. Add some shovels, scoops, molds, buckets, and construction vehicles, and you have created a perfect play area for your child.

Another essential sensory experience is playing with water. If your kid is small, just set up a water table for them to play safely. In case your kids are a bit older, all you have to do is get the sprinklers going in the warm weather and let your kids have the time of their lives on your perfect lawn. 

Finally, let your kids express their inner artist by setting up a blackboard and giving them plenty of colorful chalk to draw with. Your best bet would be to get some sidewalk chalk, as kids can also use it for games such as tic tac toe and hopscotch.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Features

5 Unique Extracurricular Activities for Children

Extracurricular activities are a must for children to take part in and learn more about what they enjoy and they don’t like as much. It’s also key for your child to take a break from their main studies and develop skills in other areas.

With that in mind, here are 5 unique activities you might not have thought about that your child could enjoy, from this nursery in Cambridge

1. Music lessons

Learning an instrument is a very unique way of letting your child learn something entirely new and exploratory. It’s a great way for your child to practice their maths, coordination and logistical skills as they follow music sheets, using the right notes and continuing practice of their motor skills.

2. Swimming

This is usually a sport that works the entire of your body as soon as you enter the water. It’s a sport that targets a lot of the body and improves coordination, balance and is perfect for exercise.  My  pair  started  in the pool but have moved onto sea swimming and love it from experience though a good quality wetsuit is an absolute must.

3. Dance classes

Lots of girls often join in dance classes, but there’s no reason to say boys can’t take part as well. If they’re interested in learning dance, get them involved at a local club. Lots of classes and groups work towards a dance recital or performance at the end of a term.

4. Martial arts

Kids can learn about self defense and also get a cultural history lesson when they take part in martial arts. There are a host of different martial arts your child can take part in, such as Karate, Judo and Taekwondo.

5. Gymnastics

A lot of kids enjoy gymnastics as there are so many strands to it – trampolining, floor exercises, pommel horse and balance beams. Each activity requires a lot of strength that can be learnt over time with the support of a local gymnastics club.

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Activities to Strengthen your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

Almost all of our interactions in life require use of our hands. There are many ways we’re taught as a child to make sure that we develop what we call fine motor skills – continued practice of our small hand and arm muscles. It also requires the use of our brains to know how to hold certain items and to use them.

From this girls private school in Surrey, here are some great ways you can train your child into using their motor skills that are fun and educational.

Water play

Water play can be done in multiple ways. You can blow up a paddling pool in your back garden and let your child play with toys in the water – key ways that you child will be able to practice holding toys and using their fingers. Simple ways of letting children play with water include letting them use cups to fill up with water, pouring water and splashing water around.

Water play improves the child’s senses by understanding texture, sounds and smells as well as their fine motor skills.

Puzzles and board games

Picking up small pieces to make a puzzle or to move points on a board improves your child’s grip and handling. Puzzles should be done together to allow your child to learn how to put the pieces together with supervision, as there’s a tendency for kids to put pieces in their mouth, but it all pays off in the end. Persevere with your child when they’re playing games like these, as it all aids towards fine tuned motor skills.

Painting, colouring and drawing

All of these are great ways for your child to get involved in making art. Holding paint brushes, colouring pencils, pens and sketching pencils will give your child the chance to practice how to keep a grip. These activities are also key for helping your child to develop their hand-eye coordination.

 

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