We went into Exeter, where we found an Arts Festival in full swing. We came across quite a few Rhinos as we wandered around, B and Izzy searching for Pokemon, E and I searching for clothes. I took E to the RAMM to look at the animals. He enjoyed using the touch screens and was amazed by the size of the Elephant, Giraffe and Tiger.
Total wild time – 1 hour
We met the animals on the farm of some friends and Izzy took their pony out for a spin in beautiful countryside. Then, we went to the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, where we made snakes out of beads made from Elder twigs. We all had a great time (especially B) using the saw to cut the beads, scraping the bark off and threading them onto pipe cleaners.
Total wild time – 4 hours
We went in search of prehistoric wildlife this afternoon, on the Exmouth Dinosaur Trail. We were a bit disappointed to find that some of the ‘life size’ dinosaurs could more accurately be described as ‘life-size baby’ dinosaurs. We also failed to find a number of them and the Stegosaurus definitely appeared to have gone walkabouts. However, it was a lovely way to explore some of Exmouth’s parks, including the urban meadow in Manor Gardens, as well as the seafront. Until Izzy fell over and grazed her knee and B had to race back to the car so we didn’t get a ticket, at least.
Total wild time – 1 hour
The kids had a lot of fun making mud pies and ‘mud custard’ using their play kitchen utensils in the garden. They added some herbs to make it smell nice and got thoroughly muddy.
Walking back from ‘holiday club’ we noticed that the leaves were starting to change colour on the Beech and Cherry trees in the car park and concluded that it was a sign that it was almost autumn. We found some Beech mast on the floor and Izzy crept up behind me to throw grass seeds on my back. In the garden, we listened to the Collared Doves cooing to each other on the neighbour’s chimney pots and practised cooing ourselves.
Total wild time – about 1 hour in total
Izzy turned 5! It may be a cliche, but I can’t quite believe where the time has gone. We had a lovely, low key day after the madness of yesterday’s party, opening presents and playing with new toys in the garden. Several times, E led me by the hand to the hammock, so that we could gaze at the wispy clouds, together.
Izzy went off to holiday club in the afternoon and E, who was exhausted after being up all night coughing, immediately zonked out in the buggy, which meant that he missed the lovely dog walk through the town in blustery, golden weather. There was a huge cloud of House Sparrows down in the cow field by the river and I inadvertently saved the life of one when a Sparrow Hawk swooped, right in front of the buggy. Seeing me at the last minute, it jinked away and the fortunate sparrow dived into the hedge to safety.
Izzy got a few new nature books for her birthday, including, The Beach Book, which I had a look at for future wild time inspiration and the Above and Below, which is beautifully illustrated. Not wild, but sure to inspire a love of wild flowers, she also got the amazing Pop-up How to Find Flower Fairies book.
Total wild time – only about 15 mins
No time for wild today, as it was Izzy’s 5th birthday party. We did, however have a fairy theme going on, so we made toadstools out of marshmallows, apple slices and icing and the kids took away posies of flowers (kindly made by my mum) in addition to their party bags.
Total wild time – 0
This afternoon’s activity took place in the lovely garden at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honition. It was a bit blustery, but the rain held off as we made leaf and flower prints on fabric flags. The kids loved it, as it involved whacking the leaves with a hammer, so that the ‘juice’ stained the material and the finished result was really cool.
Total wild time – 45 minutes
Slightly cheating here, because we didn’t go anywhere wild, or see any wildlife, but we did spend the evening outdoors at Burrow Farm Gardens, for an outdoor production of The Smartest Giant in Town. We had a picnic overlooking the lake and some amazing old trees, whilst waiting for the play to start. It was a fantastic evening, with the cast doing an amazing job, especially considering the distractions of excited children exploring the gardens and a fly-over by the Red Arrows. E sidled up to a little girl, put his arm around her and was rewarded with a piece of popcorn from her pot. They quickly became firm friends and ran off to play together around a huge tree. The rain held off until we got in the car to go home, at which point the sky turned a funny shade of yellow-grey and the heavens opened.
Total wild time – 2 hours
We picked our first apples from the garden for breakfast this morning, but although I tried to drag everyone out for some wild time, in the end I couldn’t face the fight and decided to leave Izzy to her Curious George DVD, B to his DIY and E to his temper tantrums. I did manage to smuggle some foraged Elderberries and Blackberries into their apple compote and custard pudding, though, so they had a little taste of the wild, if nothing else.
Total wild time – 0 mins
I took the kids to Axe Valley Wildlife Park, where we enjoyed watching wildlife from around the world, including Meerkats, Mara and Mongoose. And some goats, which were Izzy’s favourites. We also saw some interesting ‘wild’ visitors to the park, including the spectacular Hornet Mimic Hoverfly on a Butterfly Bush and a couple of Brown Rats eating bird food not meant for them. The kids enjoyed the various playgrounds, especially the outdoor musical instruments and feeding the ducks. E wasn’t too sure about the snakes and Bearded Dragons though…
Total wild time – 2 hours 15 mins