Young Driver: Driving Your Way to a Great Christmas!

Young DriverPhoto by Cory Bouthillette on Unsplash

Sausage is at that slightly difficult age when it comes to buying gifts. At 11, and a first year at senior school, she’s not into toys anymore (Funko Pops aside!) but she’s still a kid, so we don’t want Christmas to be about ‘functional’ gifts rather than fun ones. As a Mum, I finally understand why people hae always said how tricky the ‘tween’ years can be, purely because they really are in between phases.

Just recently, we heard about a company called Young Driver, where kids as young as five can have a driving lesson, and it seemed like a perfect stocking filler for Sausage. They have centres all around the country where kids can drive a real car, with a real instructor, and they even cater for a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and have automatic cars with hand controls for wheelchair users at selected sites.

Fostering a love for driving at this age is a great thing to do – I’ve written before about how happy I was when I learned to drive and how much I loved the freedom, and although driving is an expensive business these days, I think it’s important for people to learn how, even if they chooe not to use a car on a daily basis.

The best thing about Young Driver is that you can buy vouchers for one lesson, or as many lessons as you want, which gives you an option to suit every budget. The lessons are exactly the same as the lessons that they’d have when they turn 17, and there’s a YOUNG DRIVER™ Drive Diary charts your progress and goes with you.

The 30 Minute Festive Lesson Voucher  gives your tween a 30 minute Young Driver™ experience and is available as a postal voucher, which makes it great as a last minute gift. Gift vouchers are valid for 9 months from date of purchase, so they have plenty of time to get booked in for their lessons.

Im so excited about giving Sausage her voucher at Christmas – it’s such a unique idea for a gift and I really think she’s going to geta huge thrill out of the whole thing. I also think that a gift like this shows that we have confidence in her and see her as a very mature 11 year old.

If you want to learn more about Young Driver or the lessons they offer (they also do birthday parties at some of their centres!), follow the link above. There’s still time to buy a voucher before Christmas a they offer an option for email delivery which you can print off yourself at home, for extra convenience, meaning you can buy something right up until Chritmas Day itself!

Ways to Raise Funds for your PTA

Ways to Raise Funds for your PTAPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Since Sausage starting at primary school, I’ve done my best to get involved as many PTA events as I can. This has meant chaperoning many discos, helping out with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas sales, setting up stalls at the school fete and as many other things as I’ve been able to get involved with, time wise. In September, the parents received a letter, letting us know that the remaining two members of the PTA were stepping down as the committee and my sister-in-law and I decided that it would be too sad to see the PTA close down all together so we would take on the role of Chair and Deputy Chair.

Since we took on the roles we’ve had brainstorming sessions with other members of the PTA and have come up with lots of fundraising ideas that we want to try over the next 12 months. Our current commitments to the school include keeping the minibus running, but we also want to provide them with some new school playground equipment such as climbing frames so that the kids can make better use of the outdoor space. Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the fundraising ideas that we’ve come up with so far, so they might inspire you to help raise funds for your child’s School.

Embroidery and Name Tags

There are several companies which will give you a percentage of sales when you share their leaflets for your parents. Labels and embroidery are the most common examples and they allow parents to get all of their labelling needs covered while the school benefits from the commission.

100 Club

The principle of a 100 club is that you have a list number one to 100 and parents are able to buy a number and pay £1 per month for this number. At the end of each month, you draw a winner from each of the 100 names and you split the £100 usually 50/50 between the parent and the school. Obviously if you have a much larger school and want more parents to get involved you can have more numbers but do bear in mind that the main work involved with the 100 club is ensuring that each payment has been made from each parents bank account every month.

Enterprise Evenings

Lots of the parents but our primary school are self-employed and run their own businesses, many of which revolve around crafty endeavours or selling things. Enterprise evenings are fairly simple, and there are two ways that you can make a profit. The first way is to simply sell table space so that each business pays a fee to rent a table and then any profits they make, they keep for themselves. The other way is to agree a profit share for the evening so any profit made per table is split with the school but you don’t generally charge for the space. The latter option is more difficult to arrange because obviously it relies on everyone being honest about how much profit they made in the evening.

Movie Nights

If your school has a decent sized hall with a projector, running a movie night is a really simple way to make some money. Advertise it so that kids bring their own bean bags, chairs, blankets etc and all parents have to do you drop them off to watch a film for a couple of hours and then collect them at the end. Our school has its own popcorn machine so we’re planning to offer a bag of popcorn in the ticket price, but as this is cheap to make it shouldn’t affect our profits too much. You can also set up refreshment stands and sell food and drink if you want to.

Open Mic Night

This one might not work if your school is small, however our primary school has almost 1000 pupils and therefore lots and lots of grown-ups who are willing to get involved with stuff. You can charge people to come along on watch and encourage everyone to bring their own food and drink so that everything you make is purely profit. It’s a really fun way to get the adults involved with the school community and you could even combine it with the movie night so that those who need childcare have it built in with their night out.

Collecting Coins

This one takes relatively little effort and is something that you can get the whole school involved with. All you need to do is take a decent sized container to each classroom and ask them to fill it with as many 1p, 2p, or 5p coins. Then, at the end of term, you count up which class has the most money in the pot and the class with the highest amount of money raised wins a prize. You can make the prize something like lollies for the whole class if it’s a summer event which means you’re out loud will be minimal and everything else will be profit for the PTA.

If you have any other ideas that you think would be good for raising money for the school PTA and our outdoor play equipment, please leave me a comment below as we’re always trying to come up with fresh ways to raise funds.

Cooking for a Veggie in a House of Meat Eaters

Anyone who knows Sausage will know what a sweet, kind kid she is. She’s always had a huge love of animals and in recent months, it’s been weighing heavily on her when she eats meat. A couple of weeks ago, she decided that enough was enough, and that she’d eaten meat for the last time. Husband and I were more than happy to accommodate her, but that’s meant finding meals that we can either all eat together, or adapt so that one portion can be veggie. I thought we’d share with you one of our ideas:

Mushroom Steaks

Husband and I are both partial to a steak and we didn’t want Sausage to feel totally left out if we indulged in something so meaty. This is where Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Steak Seasoning came in! By seasoning a large Portobello mushroom and sauteeing it, we managed to make something that’s totally veggie and a really decent, protein-rich substitute for Sausage. We served it with the same sides as our steaks and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Vegan Mushroom Steak

Veggie Roast

When you have a roast dinner, as long as you use a gravy which is suitable for veggies, the only part that you have to leave out is the meat. We’ve started making a roast, with plenty of veg, a lovely stuffing and loads of roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, but just leaving out the meat, and not just for Sausage but the whole family. A roast is SO much quicker to cook when you don’t have to cook any meat, it’s cheaper and probably healthier, too.

Fajitas

Another meal that we’re all eating together, sans meat, is fajitas. Providing you chuck in some nice, meaty mushroom when you’re cooking your onions and peppers, you still end up with a gorgeously flavourful, filling fajita and once you’ve loaded them with guacamole and sour cream, you can barely tell the difference. The guacamole is made from avocados that contain essential fats, which are great for your health, too. We even add some of the Schwartz Steak Seasoning to the pan when we’re cooking the veg, for a richer flavour.

Click on the link to get your hands on some Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Steak Seasoning.

How to Spend 48 Hours in Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, KansasThe largest city in the state of Kansas sure has a lot to offer; so how best do you go about spending 48 hours in the Air Capital of the World, as it is also known?

Well, read on as we find out!

Trip to Kansas Aviation Museum

While in Wichita, you can never be far away from aviation and avionics, can you? Well, given the city’s legacy in these areas, a trip to Kansas Aviation Museum is definitely an idyllic way to spend time while in Wichita.

The site of this museum is in fact the former Wichita Municipal Airport, setup in the 1930s. Eventually, it took the shape of a museum much later in 1991.

Today, you can enjoy viewing airplanes such as the Cessna T-37, Beech Starship, B-52D Stratofortress, Boeing 737-2H4, as well as the Learjet 23 among others. You can also enjoy an annual “Play on a Plane Day” event held at the museum, in case you happen to be in Wichita at that time.

Wichita Art Museum

Art enthusiasts will certainly enjoy visiting Wichita Art Museum which is in fact the largest art museum in all of Kansas with over 7,000 unique artworks from all over housed in the museum.

Additionally, there are a lot of art galleries in the city; as an art enthusiast, we do recommend that you do try and visit these as well.

Sedgwick County Zoo

No trip to Wichita will be complete without visiting the city’s Sedgwick County Zoo, which is not only the largest zoo in the state of Kansas but also one of the largest in all of United States.

Shopping

Wichita does offer ample avenues for you to shop with ease.

Bradley Fair, an outdoor mall on the city’s North Rock Road is especially recommended for a number of cool apparel stores, besides restaurants that offer delectable cuisine unique to the area.

There are also the usual malls like Towne East Square and Towne West Square with typical retail outlets you will find in much of America.

Food

For a memorable culinary experience, we do wholeheartedly recommend heading out to the city’s Old Town. Situated just across from downtown, it is easy to get here and the food and drinks scene here is quite vibrant with a lot of unique gastronomic delicacies to try out.

The city’s Waterfront is another unique destination for a lot of special experiences that foodies would want to have. There are just so many nice restaurants here and the whole place is done up so well; you definitely would not want to miss out on this place!

Wichita Travel Made Easy with ESTA

ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a special provision for travelers from select countries which allows them to travel to the US without having to obtain a visa in advance.

As a part of the entire exercise to ‘Check my ESTA’, viz. to ensure you are actually eligible to travel to the US under this program, you must confirm:

  • You do actually belong to one of the countries on the VWP or Visa Waiver Program list; not necessarily as a citizen – being an eligible national would suffice.

  • Your planned trip to the US should not exceed 90 days.

  • You should not have a Visitor’s Visa to the US already.

  • The purpose of your trip to the US should quite clearly be either business or pleasure.

Many travelers to Wichita have had memorable trips to the Aviation Capital of the World, all thanks to the ESTA provision.

Accordingly, we do reiterate that you confirm your eligibility for the program as per the ‘Check my ESTA’ checklist we have shared above.

Music

As a music buff, you will definitely enjoy your time in Wichita. After all, there’s a lot going on – on this front, not only from a Kansan perspective but indeed an American and international one.

First up, there is Wichita Symphony Orchestra which performs regularly. Then, there are Wichita Grand Opera and Music Theatre Wichita, both of which are well known all over America.

Finally, as the place where the electric guitar was born, there sure is an electrifying buzz to Wichita, on the musical front!

Botanica

Botanica is an experience unique to Wichita which we wholeheartedly recommend if you have 48 hours to spend in the city. There are as many as 24 immaculately designed gardens within Botanica, which definitely make a perfect setting for your Instagram ‘Wichita trip’ Story!

Conclusion

Ultimately, you will hardly find 48 hours to be adequate to explore and experience Wichita to the fullest.

At the same time, if that is all the time you have, this article will surely help you make the most of it!

If you are an international traveler eligible for ESTA, don’t forget to do a ‘Check my ESTA’ as specified above!

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for Kids

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for KidsIf you know us, you’ll know that we’re a family animal lovers. Husband and I got Chuck in 2006, just a couple of months after we got married and he wa a huge part of our lives for 13 years. We’ve had other pets over the years, too – Happy the hamster, Maureen our Staff-Frenchie-Boxer cross, Bagel and Biscuit the budgies, plus various dogs we’ve fostered over the years.

We’re huge believers that pets make a home complete and that it’s great for kids to have pets too, as it teaches them responsibility…even if it is always be cleaning out Bagel’s cage instead of Sausage! With this in mind, I thought I’d share some reasons that dogs are great pets for kids (and why investing in scratch-proof flooring is a good idea if you want one!)

Bonding

Having a pet helps to build family bonds as animals are often the focus of family activities. From walking the dog together to grooming or feeding the pet, these simple but enjoyable tasks allow everyone to slow down, enjoy each other’s company and communicate with one another.

Exercise

Having a dog means that you have to go for walks. Come rain or shine, dog need exercise, no excuses. You have to remember, that as well as for their physical health, dogs need exercise for their mental health. When they’re at home, they can’t sit and read a book or watch the TV, that’s their equivalent of getting out and having a sniff around the neighbourhood!

Responsibility

The daily commitment of caring for an animal is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. To be a dog’s provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. We make sure that Sausage and BB help to keep Maureen’s water bowl clean and refilled, put her food down, and make sure her bed is nicely plumped up for her to rest in.

Mental Health

It’s actually been scientifically proven that spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. Just having a dog around can give your mental health a huge boost.

Comfort

Having a dog can be a huge source of comfort in so many situations. When my kids are ill, Maureen (as did Chuck) will always be the first one to sit with them while they’re recovering on the couch, she’s always there with face licks when the girls are crying and she lets us know if anyone o much as breathes wrong within a 100m radius of the house. She’s a huge source of comfort for us all and loves nothing more than a snuggle with her pack…except maybe for a 5 mile walk where she gets to chase pheants!

How Gender Normative Attitiudes are Damaging Our Kids

I’ve written before about how we don’t believe in gendered toys and that we encourage the girls to forget gender conformity when it comes to pursuing their interests, and for the most part it’s worked well. BB plays just as happily with toy cars and Nerf guns as she does with her Barbies, and Sausage goes to a martial arts class where she’s often the only girl. A phrase often uttered by me is “as long as you don’t need a penis to operate it, it’s not just for boys!” and despite the cringe caused by the word “penis” the girls are happy with this rule.

However, just recently, BB has run into some issues. It started a while back when she asked for some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwear, and we discovered that they didn’t make them for girls. We did, however, find some stretchy boxers on the boy’s section of H&M which had TMNT print on them and decided that they were just as good as knickers and would probably be quite comfy. BB has worn them, happily, for months.

A couple of weeks ago, she was getting dressed for school and I’d laid out her TMNT boxers for her to wear, and she got a bit upset and said she didn’t want to wear them that day. I asked why and she said that it was P.E. day, so she’d have to get changed in front of her classmates, and she didn’t want anyone to see her in her boxers. It transpired that a few kids in her class had been taking the mikey and telling her that she shouldn’t be wearing that underwear because it was for boys. She told the girl who was mocking her that “Mummy couldn’t find any others for me to wear today”, but she shouldn’t have to feel like she needs to make an excuse.

She’s quite a resilliant kid, our BB, but it was clear that it was bothering her to have her classmates telling her that she was doing something “wrong”. I started trying to ensure that I gave her girly underwear on the days she had swimming or PE, but the whole thing sat really uncomfortably with me.

It gets worse.

BB’s school, like the rest of the country, offers free school meals in key stage one, but they recently got rid of their cold food provision, so if a child wants a cold lunch instead of a hot meal, they can now take a packed lunch. BB was super excited about this as she’s a little fussy with food AND wanted to show off her new lunch box. Her new Spiderman lunch box.

She’s used it twice, and BOTH times been told by some of her peers that her lunchbox is for boys.

The problem I’m having is this – what want her to do is to tell them all off about their gender normative attitudes and carry on using whatever she wants to cover her ass and carry her lunch. However, it’s not me who has to fight the battle, it’s her. I can encourage her to stick up for herself and tell her classmates where to shove it all I like, but at the end of the day, she’s the one who has to do it. Part of me wants to protect her feelings, buy her the pink knickers, buy her the LOL lunchbox and let her conform, but a MUCH bigger part of me wants to encourage her to stick to her guns and wear whatever she damn-well wants. We don’t raise kids to be compliant.

The whole thing has really stuck in my throat. The saddest part is, I’m not surprised. I still see posts on things like Facebook Marketplace on an almost daily basis of people looking for “toys for boys” or a “pushchair suitable for a girl”. We’re STILL, in 2019, so hung up on the outdated rules we’ve had drummed into us about what is for girls and what is for boys and it’s being passed onto the next generations.

We’ve given BB a pep talk and told her that the opinions of others are not important, and that she should carry on liking Spiderman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles without worrying about what people think, and I’m hoping it sticks but there’s a chance that the damage has already been done. Daddy also made sure she had undies she felt comfortable in for PE days and bought her some in pastel colours. NOT that we should have needed to…

If you’re reading this and still teach your kids that toys and charachters are only for a specific gender, please join us in the 21st century and update what you’re teaching your kids, because I will NOT be teaching mine to tolerate that kind of bullshit.

(Also, is it any wonder we’re still having these problems when THIS is what comes up when you Google “TMNT girls”…because obviously, no ninja goes anywhere without their handbag and fucking stripper heels. EYEROLL)

Vegan Coconut and Chocolate Cake Recipe

On Saturday afternoon, I was bored. We didn’t have much to do, the housework was mostly done and the kids were just doing their own thing. We didn’t have much in the cupboards, but I decided to have a rummage around to see what I could find. Two things I did happen upon were a bag of unopened cacao powder and some dessicated coconut, both of which had been bought for other projects, but never used.

I wanted to have a go at making a cake, but we didn’t have any eggs in the house, so I decided to see if I could knock up a decent vegan cake without going to the shops for ingredients. It turned out that not only could I do it, but it tasted GOOOOOD!

Vegan Chocolate and Coconut Cake
The cake part was chewy and dense and super coconutty and the chocolate icing that I made for the outside was so rich and delicious that I’m thinking of making it my go-to icing next time I make a chocolate cake. Our vegan chocolate and coconut cake would also be great for people dealing with allergies as it contains no dairy, no eggs and no lactose. Obviously there’s wheat flour and coconut, which I know can cause people issues, but if you’re okay with coconut, maybe substitute the flour for almond flour, Buckwheat Flour or rice flour instead. Here’s how I did it:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Coconut and Chocolate Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A chewy, sweet chocolate and coconut cake which is egg-free, dairy-free and lactose-free.
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 200g white sugar
  • ¾tsp salt
  • 160g dessicated coconut
  • 360ml Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 120ml Coconut Oil (Melted)
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • For the Icing
  • 420g Icing Sugar
  • 120g Raw Cacao Powder
  • 110g Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 60ml Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsps Dessicated Coconut (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Rub two 8 inch cake pans with a little coconut oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and then add the sugar, salt and dessicated coconut. Mix together well.
  4. Then add in the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla and stir into a thick batter. Make sure it’s well mixed, you do tend to find pockets of dry ingredients if you don't.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and spread it out to the edges of the pans with a spatula or the back of a spoon, the batter will be too thick to spread out on its own.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.
  8. Prepare your icing by adding the icing sugar, cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut milk to a mixing bowl and mixing with an electric mixer starting off slow and then gradually increasing speed until thick and smooth.
  9. If your icing is too thick, add a tiny bit more coconut milk, a drop at a time until you reach the right consistency, if it’s too thin add more icing sugar.
  10. Ice your cake and decorate it with plenty of dessicated coconut.

We’re trying really hard at the moment to reduce the amount of animal products we eat and knowing that we can still have a properly indulgent treat without using any animal-derived ingredients at all is so encouraging. I think that added drop of virtue made this cake taste even better! Let me know if you give this a go and if you make any tweaks to the recipe, I love to see variations and changes that other people try. Next time, I’m going to try to find some vegan pouring cream to go with it!

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5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

5 Ways to Keep Your Brain SharpI don’t know about you, but I feel that with each child I’ve produced, a little bit more of my brain has dissolved. That’s not to blame the kids, but I used to be sharp as a tack and it feels like years of sleep deprivation, remembering 101 appointments and events, plus a healthy dose of kids TV has turned my brain to mush. I struggle to concentrate on basic stuff these days and recently it’s been bothering me. I’ve been trying to find mew ways to keep my brain active – here are a few things I’ve come up with:

Typing Games

Because of my job, I do a fair bit of typing and my typing speed as massively improved over the years. However, I do most of it on autopilot, without actually thinking too hard about it. However, when I play a typing game, my fingers move over the keyboard but I have to think a lot harder about the connection between what my eyes are seeing and what my hands are doing, which seems to give my brain a real jolt.

Learn Something

While I’m not in a positon to study formally at the moment (that OU degree is still out there, unfinished!), I try to learn just one new thing each day. Even if it’s looking up the definition of a word or Googling something about a person or a place, storing new data is one of the best ways to keep your brain fresh.

Grab a Coffee

This one was MUSIC TO MY EARS when I found this out – studies suggests a caffeine habit may protect the brain! According to several studies, two to four cups a day may decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s by 30 to 60 percent. It is unclear whether the benefits come from caffeine or the antioxidants found in coffee and tea, but either way, I am FULLY on board!

Challenge Yourself

I think one of the reasons my brain is feeling dormant is because I don’t challenge myself enough. My life, relatively speaking, is too easy, and like any other muscle in your body, the brain needs regular challenges to help it to stay on top of it’s game. Choose an extra hard crossword or bingewatch some University Challenge as a starting point.

SLEEEEP

Another suggestion that I like the sound of is making sure you get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can cause a real brain fog which makes it easy to function on any normal level. When we don’t sleep proteins build up in the brain which literally make it hard to think and learn new things. Sleep hygeine is important too – try to make sure the room is dark and resist the urge to use your phone too clase to bedtime.

Small Changes to Help Cut Your Carbon Emissions

wind farm producing low carbon energyOne of the things that I’m really conscious of is the carbon footprint of our household. Because we live so remotely, I have to drive everywhere, and I do feel guilty about the amout of carbon emissions I’m putting out on a daily basis. As much as I’d love an electric car, it’s just not in our budget to invest in one, so I have to think about other small things I can do to reduce our output as much as possible. Here are a few ideas, if you want to do the same:

Stop Driving Everywhere

Okay, so I know I literally just said that I drive a lot, but I have no choice when it comes to the school run. However, when it’s not absolutely necessary to drive, I do try other forms of transport, such as getting a bus or train. I’ve been thinking about investing in one of the fab adult tricycles from Jorvik to help me get around on days when I want to leave the car at home.

Turn Things Off

Although we’re making strides in wind-powered electricity (I can actually see a coastal wind farm from my house!), most of the UK’s energy is produced from coal. That means that every time you switch off a light or turn an appliance off at the switch when it’s not in use, you’re reducing your carbon footprint at home.

Buy Second Hand

There are SO many things that we would benefit from buying second hand, rather than from new every time. Items of furniture, for instance, don’t always have to be brand new and a cursory search on Facebook Marketplace often comes up with an almost-new version of what you want. This is a doubly good thing to do as it both reduces the amount of production in factories, and also stops rubbish from ending up in landfill.

Buy Sustainable

One of the biggest culprits in contribution to carbon emissions is cheap clothing production. Things are made cheaply and get thrown away, ending up in landfill and polluting the oceans. Buy your clothes from places which invest in sustainable production or even try to buy from charity shops if you’re able.

Plant a Garden

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for humans, that we should all be seeking to nurture. Plant some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Balcony gardens are great for urban dwellings. This will reduce the “farm to fork” transport needs, AND you’ll know exactly whats in your food.

Bonus: Share a Car Service

If you only travel on high days and holidays and know someone else who does the same, why not share a car service? It will save you money to hare the cost and will reduce the carbon emissions of your journey by half, just by sharing it with one other person. Add more people and your emissions will be even lower!

5 Activities That Encourage Children to Bond

5 Activities That Encourage Children to BondSpending time with friends is not only vital for a child’s happiness and wellbeing, but it also provides an ideal opportunity for them to develop crucial social skills. In this post, we’ll discuss a few activities — from team sports to laser tag for kids — that allow children to bond with one another. 

Every child is unique and will react positively to different activities and scenarios, so it’s important to explore the various options out there to find something that suits their needs and allows them to evolve both mentally and physically. Bonding with others is highly beneficial for children and can have a positive impact in many different ways, making finding things to do that encourage them to spend time with others well worth the effort.

  1. Team Sports

Let’s start with something that is and has always been a go-to activity for team building, socialising and fitness. Many of the world’s biggest sports are team-based, examples of which include football, rugby and basketball. Aside from the primary benefit of being extremely fun, they allow your children to meet new people, get in shape and learn how to work efficiently as part of a team. 

Although kids take part in these types of activities at school, finding teams or clubs outside of school can provide additional benefits, as they’ll be able to widen their social circle and may even take on a new long-term hobby.

  1. Laser Tag for Kids

Think paintball, minus the pain and with the added intrigue of modern technology, and you’ve got laser tag. An exciting, immersive experience that offers realistic combat scenarios in a safe environment, the nature of the sport is perfect for kids who are fascinated with action-packed films and television shows. More importantly, though, it’s an ideal alternative to video games that encourages kids to exercise and spend time outdoors.

So where does one go for a brilliant day of laser tag? GO Laser Tag London is one of the UK’s leading laser tag facilities. There, your children will be able to enjoy adrenaline-fuelled action and a variety of game modes while immersing themselves in an enormous forest battlefield. You’ll even get a free pizza for every player. Lunch and a fun day of laser tag — what more could your child want?

  1. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become more and more popular in recent years with both adults and children, as it’s not only an engaging experience that requires creative thinking, but it also demands the need for efficient teamwork. Problem-solving is an essential life skill that can benefit people no matter their age, but for children, these skills prove crucial throughout their education and career. 

A quick search online will give you a decent idea of what escape room experiences are near you, but if you’re looking for something special, it’s worth checking out some of the best escape rooms the UK has to offer.

  1. Hiking

Not all bonding activities require teamwork or a competitive environment. In fact, activities such as hiking can be an effective way of improving your child’s communication skills and fitness while encouraging them to explore the great outdoors. While on a hike, your kids will have plenty of time to engage in conversations with both children and adults. 

Whether they’re discussing everyday topics, navigating the terrain using a map or talking about something else, talking to others in real life, rather than online, is vital for the development of essential social skills and general confidence in social surroundings.

  1. Zorbing

The thin line between excitement and fear is one that many of us love to walk from time to time, and adrenaline activities offer children an engaging and unforgettable experience in a safe environment. One great example is zorbing, which consists of one or two participants getting inside a huge inflatable ball and rolling down a steep grass hill.

Although this is one of the more simple activities on the list, especially as it doesn’t really require any effort or teamwork, that isn’t to say that it’s not a brilliant bonding experience. There are also three different zorbing options to choose from; harness zorbing, aqua zorbing and black hole aqua zorbing. 

The “aqua” options involve 40 litres of water inside the inflatable sphere, which creates a waterslide-style experience with the added excitement of rolling down a steep hill. The black hole option is a blacked-out sphere, which creates an immense sensory two-person freestyle aqua ride unlike anything your children will experience at a theme park. Plus, the addition of water makes it perfect for cooling down during a hot day.