Toddler Swimming vs. Baby Swimming

It seems like a lifetime ago that we first started swimming with T – starting when he was only  a few weeks old. It was definitely one of the best things we invested in and we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed our guilt-free time together every week for the past two years.

Before T started swimming, his only experience of water was my womb and the bath – one definitely warmer than the other, which is probably why he wasn’t too keen on bath times. That, or the god awful seat we decided to buy him early on (we think it was that as he was fine when we changed it). Either way, he wasn’t initially keen on a lot of water, but nevertheless we wanted to do something that was relaxing as well as something potentially life saving, so out went ‘baby massage’ and in came  Puddle Ducks baby and pre-school swimming lessons!

Starting in “Floaties” (0-6 months) we learnt about buoyancy and spent the time bonding in the water. The next class was “Splashers” (6-15 months) and here we were taught how to swim with certain equipment; such a woggles, and start learning about word associations such as; blowing bubbles, splashing, and kicking. As neck support got stronger, we even introduced submersions!

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How Swimming Can Help You Outside of the Pool

T has been with Puddle Ducks baby and pre-school swimming lessons for well over a year now and not only has his confidence grown with water, but he enjoys getting wet and has no qualms about water hitting his face suddenly. The main reason we think he’s done so well is because we started swimming with him early on in his life – at an age where he would still find comfort from water. The good thing about the locations Puddle Ducks choose to swim at is that their pools are always nice and warm!

The other good thing about starting swimming so early is that we got a head start when it came to teaching T certain commands. I appreciate he isn’t a dog, but when you have a toddler you often find yourself saying the same phrases over and over to get them to do something. Going swimming is no different and it is down to the many instructions we’ve learnt over time that has lead to us taking some of those with us to help with the everyday.

 

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Days Out: Blackberry Farm. 

A few weekends ago we took ourselves off to Blackberry Farm. Surprisingly, we’ve never been despite being massive fans of farms. Based near Glynde in East Sussex, it’s actually quite a large farm; housing everything from Goats and Llamas, to Chinchillas and Ferrets. There are also several play areas and an indoor soft play.

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We thought it was a little pricey at first (£8 per adult), however when we saw what was around we thought it was well worth it. There are extras such as tractor and pony rides, however we decided to wait until T was a little older before paying to do these. The facilities are clean and tidy, and you can see the enclosures are kept to high standard.

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It was a gorgeous day, so all the animals were out and about. T headed straight for the duck pond, however quickly found a few new friend in the form of a goat who was eager to nibble T’s hand which was full of goat feed. I thought this might have frightened T, but he actually quite enjoyed it

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After visiting a few animals we stopped and had a picnic, and then ventured around the rest of the farm via a set trail. Thankfully, T wanted to be carried at this moment which was handy as the ground was a little uneven.

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In no time he fell asleep; missing the llamas and horses, so we finished our trip with a visit to the cafe and treated ourselves to a coffee cake. There is also a little gift shop on site where we also treated T to a tractor.

Considering it was a last minute find, we had a really pleasant day and will definitely visit again soon. T was too small for the soft play and larger play areas, and wasn’t really interested in the petting barn, so we already have plenty to do when we visit again.

K

Days Out: Drusillas Park, East Sussex. 

Drusillas Park is situated near the village of Alfriston between Eastbourne and Brighton and has a lovely ‘local’ feel to it despite it being quite a large zoo. We’re huge fans of zoos in this household – we’ve always enjoyed watching animals and how they interact. So when we were invited to come visit last weekend, we couldn’t wait to visit.

We have visited Drusillas Park before and have always had a nice time, so we were really excited to find out that they’ve recently had a few new additions to the zoo. These include; marmosets, otters, Macaques, and meerkats!


It was lovely to see all the young animals in the park – they were all so so adorable. It took T some time to focus on the little ones, especially when they were camouflaged so well, but once he found them he kept pointing and squealing.


Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and listen to any of the talks that were occurring throughout the day, but we were impressed that there was always something going on.

T’s favourite animals from the day were definitely the lemurs and the bats.

 


I think this was down to the fact that both enclosures were walkthrough enclosures, so it was really interactive. The bat enclosure was especially interactive with our noses!

We arrived just after 10am and spent a good 2-3 hours casually walking around the zoo – there really is plenty to see and do. Our friend’s children really enjoyed collecting stamps, using their spotters guides, and reading the tour guide.


After the zoo, we were definitely ready for some lunch. Although we bought a picnic ready to feed an army, the cafes surrounding the picnic area served a variety of food and drink. I really appreciated the amount of seating available – which you’d think by lunchtime would have been packed but we still managed to find a quiet table away from the hustle and bustle.


In addition to the babies, Drusillas have also installed a new water park for the summer, which is perfect for T who is a complete water baby. We explored this once everyone had digested their lunch.


This was by far one of T’s favourite part of the day as he could just let loose and enjoy the water on what was a really hot day. There was a huge variety of water canons and fountains, all ranging in speed, and because of the variety available you didn’t have issues with the bigger kids hogging anything.


The area itself is really spread out and considering it was the weekend (and the summer holidays) it wasn’t that busy – or at least it didn’t feel like it due to the amount of space available.

After the water park (and getting T changed!), we explored the soft play area, the adventure parks, and the Thomas train ride which travels around the majority of the park!

These features have been around for a long time (although you wouldn’t know it) as they never get tiresome. Me and S T really enjoyed climbing in the soft play arena. T was sadly a little too small for the Hello Kitty adventure park, but we’ll be sure to revisit it when he’s a little taller. Our friends children seemed to enjoy it as they went on each ride at least three times!

By 5pm we were ready to head home, although not before going to the gift shop! There’s three on site depending on where you are in Drusillas. T was treated to a little soft monkey and we treated T’s friend to a little gibbon as that was his favourite. We thought we’d make the most out of T not knowing what a gift shop is!

We had a wonderful time at Drusillas and will definitely revisit soon – we’re even contemplating memberships just so we can visit the adventure and water parks! Drusillas also have a number of special events and appearances happening.

T definitely enjoyed himself as we hadn’t even reached Alfriston before falling asleep!

K

We were provided with a family ticket to attend Drusillas, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Days Out: Newhaven Fort

Last Thursday, we went to Newhaven Fort for the afternoon. I’ve been meaning to go for sometime as I absolutely love history; especially war time history.

Newhaven fort was built in  on the edge of a cliff in (you guessed it) Newhaven.

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I’ve only ever been to the Fort via their surrounding cliff top walks which have been a favourite of mine for sometime. It was nice to finally see inside.

At the time they were in use I imagine the rooms were extremely cramped and busy however you really do get a sense of openness when you visit the Fort.

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Although T wasn’t really interested in the smaller rooms, I really enjoyed learning about the war from a local perspective; ranging from Lewes to Seaford. T, however, was more interested in the open forecourts to run around in.

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Although a little pricey (£7 for an adult), I thought there was lots to see and do. There’s also a nice little cafe on site, although I resisted cake and stuck to our healthy picnic!

My favourite part was learning about what it was like being inside an air raid shelter during the blitz. It was even recreated somewhat later on when an old plane flew past ready for last weekends airshow at Eastbourne. We couldn’t have been in a more perfect setting!

I will definitely go again, taking S with us,  as there definitely would have been bits I would have missed as there’s really quite a bit to see.