Magical sensory experience in the Toddler’s Room

ToddlersRoomAfter the success of our visit to The Doodle Dance Show last week, we headed back to the Lincoln Drill Hall this morning for another dance show designed for mini people.

Toddler’s Room by Norwegian company Dybwikdans is specifically for children aged 0-3 and required one adult per child so one of Willow’s godmothers joined us for the morning.

A white dome tent was pitched in the auditorium and provided a transportive and intimate space as well as a neutral backdrop making the rich purple, orange, red and gold colours used in the performance appear all the bolder.

Children were allowed to explore the space during most of the 20 minute show – and who doesn’t love chasing a balloon? – as the dancer moved, used chimes complementing the music and interacted with sculptural objects and her mini audience members.

The whirling cloak that sent the big red balloons spinning around the dome was a particular highlight.

A beautiful and magical sensory experience, it was as delightful to watch the faces of the little ones watching as it was the performance itself.

That, of course, isn’t quite the whole story.

Any other fellow 10am ticket holder may well have noticed a certain someone volubly deciding he didn’t want to go in.  A little bit tired and emotional from a bad bout of hay fever at the moment he then, of course, got really upset that he hadn’t gone in.

A big thank you to the very understanding Lincoln Drill Hall staff who let us take up a spare space for the next performance.  Which, of course, he loved – tents, balloons, music and dance all high on his list of favourite things.  He liked it so much in fact, he then didn’t want to leave and spent a long time saying goodbye and thank you to the production team.

They do grow out of this stage don’t they?

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Day seven #30DaysWild: Greetwell Hollow

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_07Visiting a Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust site was on my #30DaysWild to-do list but I’d been waiting for a weekend presuming that we’d need the car to reach one.

However, today’s walk across the top of the city with my eyes open a bit more than normal, revealed one virtually on my doorstep.

Greetwell Hollow is “one of the last remaining areas of limestone grassland in the county and a haven for wildlife.

“Due to its importance for wildlife, this area is a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).”

I didn’t have time to venture in today but it’s nice to know we have another place to explore that we can reach on foot.

Click here to find a nature reserve near you.

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Day six #30DaysWild: Pounding the pathways

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_06Within seconds of leaving the house this morning, daddy found a vacated bird’s egg to show Luke.

It’s just as well the bird had already hatched as, although intrigued by the object, Luke obviously doesn’t yet have the sure hands ready to take on the England cricket captaincy.

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IMG_20160606_104937189_HDROur morning children’s group seemed to be getting in on the #30DaysWild action with a display of plastic bugs and magnifiers to explore at the beginning of the session.

And our walk home in the lovely sunshine provided further chance to enjoy some natural scenery.

Whilst I am still determined to regain my confidence in driving, I’m also grateful (most of the time) that I get to do as much walking as I do.

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In the attempt to find short cuts and cut journey times – especially as it can sometimes take as long to leave the house as to walk anywhere – finding our way to and from places via pathways rather than down the side of roads often means calmer journeys in fresher air where we can hear more birdsong and less traffic noise.

And there’s almost always sticks to collect too!

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Day five #30DaysWild: Open Farm Sunday

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_05Open Farm Sunday – “a great opportunity for farmers to open their gates and welcome visitors onto their farm to discover the world of farming” – took place today and unsurprisingly Lincolnshire had lots of opportunities for people to “find out about the story behind our food and how farming affects our everyday lives”.

OFS_LogWe opted to visit Uncle Henry’s in Grayingham and were rewarded with a tractor ride with commentary, animals to wave to, the chance to sit behind the wheel of several large machines and main ring displays.  We certainly weren’t the only ones to enjoy the day as the glorious weather may well have meant that Uncle Henry’s opened its gates to many more people than predicted.

The emphasis may have been on cultivation but there were plenty of wild highlights too.

FrogI got excited when we spotted a few web-footed visitors making their way towards the entrance from the car park.

BugHotelI was also glad to note that the farm’s mini beast visitors are treated to excellent hotel accommodation should they wish to stay for a while.

And we later learnt how the farm dedicates small patches of its land beside its crops to being patches of wild flowers or areas specifically planted to support bees.

photo 2The event even had a dedicated Nature Zone which included a woodland walk.  Woodlands are definitely my favourite habitat but, as a certain person was protesting the fact we didn’t wait in the pony ride queue at this point, I didn’t have the chance to wander down its paths.  I was therefore pleased when the tractor ride we took near the end of the day included part of the farm’s 30 acres of woodland, which we were told offers shelter to creatures including songbirds, rabbits, foxes, woodpeckers and even a couple of deer every now and then.

WoodlandTrustLogoIt seemed very appropriate as we’d just signed up to a family membership of the Woodland Trust at the charity’s stall.  The membership includes a Nature Detectives welcome pack with passport, stickers, bookmark and activity booklet – hopefully it will arrive in June and will provide us with another #30DaysWild activity!

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Day four #30DaysWild: Feel the grass between your toes

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_04Inspired by our afternoon of doodle dancing with our shoes and socks off we decided to take our bare feet out into the garden when we got home and feel the grass tickle between our toes for day four of #30DaysWild.

Luke and Willow needed very little persuasion to run around bare foot – quite how to encourage them to wear shoes and socks next time we head out I’m not so sure…

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Doodles, dance and drama equals a delightful day

“Doesn’t it feel good to have your socks off?”

Who doesn’t want to dance with pirates?

And who doesn’t love it when it snows inside?

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When Anna Williams and Tom Roden greeted their Lincoln Drill Hall audience with the first question this afternoon at the start of The Doodle Dance Show and invited everyone to wave their toes at each other you could tell you were in for a playful time.

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Leading us through an imaginative narrative intertwined with dance and drawing, we all had our own chance to add to the pictures and move in line with the story as the tale of accidental exploration and homecoming unfolded.

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An auditorium full of paper clearly wasn’t a big enough canvas for Willow who enjoyed drawing on herself too

The excitement of the whirling pirate dancing quickly prompted an “again, again” from Luke, they both really enjoyed being drawn around and Willow’s magical smile of wonderment and Luke’s delighted laugh at the snow falling at the close of the show proved how engaged by the performance they were.

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Interactive dance theatre definitely seems to be where my love of children’s theatre and Luke’s need to do and move rather than just watch combines and The Doodle Dance Show provided us with a lovely afternoon of imaginative adventure, joy of movement and family fun.

 

I will love you anyway – book review

LindumBooksWho doesn’t love an independent bookshop?

Lincoln is lucky to have the beautiful Lindum Books in the Bailgate and when I read that its bookseller Gill Hart‘s favourite book of the week, “that generates a whole range of emotions and a little lump in the throat”, was a children’s picture book I had to ask her to write a review of it for us!

I will love you anyway by Mick and Chloe Inkpen is published by Hodder Children’s Books, priced £6.99.

IWLYA2“A lovely story for littlies and grown-ups alike about a naughty puppy told from the pup’s perspective, human words just make no sense to this irrepressible character,” writes Gill.

“The story is told in rhyme, which makes it a pleasure to read and listen to aloud through lots of repetitions and takes us through the whole range of emotions including some of the darker ones.

“There is peril and the threat of loss here, but it’s not a big spoiler to say all ends well for this endearing little chap.”

Take a peek inside its pages on Chloe Inkpen’s website: I will love you anyway.