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Children’s Activity 10: Ride a Bike Through a Muddy Puddle

We’re sure many of you watched cyclist, Lizzie Armistead’s gripping performance in the Olympic road race this summer or the unbelievably hard mountain bike course at Hadleigh Farm or even the Men’s BMX final (terrifying!) and liked the look of the rough and tumble of cycling outdoors as opposed to the super-controlled environment of the velodrome. I certainly felt proud to see old school fellow, Sophie Pooley, give it her all in the road, time trial and did a certain amount of shouting support at the TV.

With the current inspiration and afterglow of the games it’s the perfect time to get your kids involved in new sports like cycling or even just incorporate some for fun at the weekend. If your kids like getting messy, then mountain biking might be for them!

First off, you’ll need an appropriate mountain bike and cycle helmet, so with Christmas coming up you could surprise them with this as their main present! They’re sturdier than road bikes, with better suspension, loads of gears and thick tyres with plenty of grip. In fact, they’re just built for getting stuck in to challenging terrain. Next, have a look at your local area and see what forests, dirt tracks or parks are around that are suitable to cycle on/in. To go all out, why not take your bikes on your next holiday and get out into the countryside. You may even be able to hire bikes from places you are visiting.

Mountain biking is about skill and dexterity, negotiating around rocks, dips and lumps in the ground rather than just speed but the bike should also be able to handle some puddles, so go ahead and charge through them. See how muddy you can get!

Children’s Activity 11: Make a Painting Using Your Hands and Feet

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Making hand and foot prints with your children using poster paint is not only great fun but also an artistic way to keep a record of how fast they’re growing up! You could do it each year and add the prints into a scrapbook. Alternatively, you can use the hand, thumb and footprints as the basis for a more elaborate picture.

Why not make some Halloween decorations or Christmas cards using these prints? Above are some of our favourite ideas to get you started. White footprints make a great starting point for creating some spooky ghosts! Just add black eyes and a mouth to the heel of the footprint!

Children’s Activity 12: Recognise 5 Different Bird Species
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This is a great way for you and your children to become familiar with birds in your area and learn more about nature. If you know about birds already you can pass on this knowledge unaided, but if you’re unsure yourself you could get a simple bird book and learn along with your children. The RSPB have “My First Book of Garden Birds” that you can buy for under £6.00 on Amazon. Not only is this great for doing some bird spotting in your back garden, it’s a great way of support one of the best bird charities around.

If you want to go further afield, have a look at local nature reserves or bird sanctuaries and take a walk together as a family to go bird spotting! You could even take some seeds down to feed the ducks where appropriate. The RSPB also have other books like the “Children’s Guide to Birdwatching” that might be more appropriate if you’re taking it further.

To get to your total of 5 bird species you could document them by taking photographs or by drawing them! Here are a list of common British birds for you to look out for to get you started:

1. Pigeon
2. Crow
3. Duck or Mallard
4. Moorhen
5. Seagull
6. Swan
7. Goose
8. Sparrow
9. Blackbird
10. Chaffinch
11. Blue Tit
12. Pheasant
13. Magpie
14. Starling
15. Robin
16. Dove

Even in a city environment you should be able to see at least 5 of these! My favourite at the moment is the dove. Someone nearby must own some and let them out for exercise because a big flock of them fly round and round the house on a Wednesday morning. The wood pigeons join in with them and look like they’re having a great time!

Encourage birds into your back garden by setting up a bird feeder. In Winter them may particularly appreciate the fatty balls embedded with seeds that can be bought at your local garden centre!

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October 25 2012

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