Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: The Toddler Years

  1. 5 sports for your child to try this summer

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    Feature image credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

    In a world where technology is taking over most of our lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for children to lead an active lifestyle when there are so many distractions, such as tablets and games consoles at hand 24/7. According to Public Health England, the number of children getting a sufficient amount of physical activity last year dropped by a staggering 40%. Therefore, it is important, more than ever, to ensure our children take part in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Being physically active every day is vital to ensure healthy growth and development for our youngsters – both mentally and physically. The amount of exercise and the intensity differs depending on your child’s age, however, one thing is certain: it should always be encouraged to guarantee your child is getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity, per day.

    For many parents, getting your child to be active can be hard, which is why persuading your child to take up a hobby may be a good idea. Why not give your child a taste of different sports this summer?

    5 sports to try this summer:

    • Swimming

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    Photo credit: Michael Brin/Shutterstock

    Whilst the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, swimming is a great activity to take part in – particularly if you have access to a lido, or even an outdoor pool in your garden. Not only does swimming provide all-round exercise for your little one, it is a fun way to get more active and stay healthy; even for parents too! Regular swimming sessions are proven to reduce the risks of developing any serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and, more seriously, heart disease.

    In addition, splashing around in the water not only has physical benefits, but also helps to boost your child’s mood and unwind — and there are lots of different strokes to try and learn.

    • Cycling

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    Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

    We all know that kids love to ride their bicycles — it's great fun, helps them feel independent, and keeps them fit and healthy. Riding a bike helps fine-tune your child's motor skills, such as balance and co-ordination, as well as building up strength, in both their legs and core. Encouraging kids to cycle from an early age, and getting them to take their “Bikeability” test, will help equip them with an important skill for life.

    As well as that, cycling is a fantastic family activity; great for a day out. All you need is a bike that is suitable for the road and the appropriate size for your child (this can be second-hand or from a bike shop), some basic safety gear including a helmet and perhaps some knee and elbow pads, and a little bit of practice; a highly affordable hobby as there are very little to no maintenance costs.

    • Running

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    Photo credit: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock

    Kids love to run and compete with each other, whether it be in the school playground, on sports day, or taking part in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics. It is incredibly easy to get into running as a sport — all you need is a good pair of running shoes, which doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

    Running in races teaches our children about healthy competition, setting goals and achieving them. It can help to improve their performance in other sports too, as it helps them develop core and back strength, endurance and co-ordination. These skills all play an important role in activities like popular sports, such as gymnastics, dance and football.

    • Golf

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    Photo credit: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock

    Despite needing to be donned in the correct golf clothing when stepping foot on a golf course to take a few swings in an attempt to hit a hole-in-one, there are other cheaper and more entertaining ways to get your child involved in the sport. Around the UK, there are a wide variety of crazy golf courses up and down the country that enable children to have fun and get active.

    Alternatively, there are also golf ranges that allow you to take the kids and compete for points, such as Top Golf, where you pay a small fee to hire the golf club and balls for couple of hours – perfect to get your children out and about during the summer holidays (even when the weather is below par!).

    • Tennis

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    Photo credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

    Children today love playing games such as football, rugby and dance, so why not make this summer an opportunity to introduce your child to something entirely different? Tennis is a great activity to play, not only due to the many social benefits, but due to the countless health benefits, which include: balance and body coordination, agility and flexibility to name a few. Tennis also promotes overall good health in children – improved bone strength and density, and a robust immune system.

    During the summer, tennis clubs around the country have one-off classes to help to encourage children to get active and feel a taste for the sport whilst children have free time. Get in touch with your local tennis club and see whether they have any upcoming deals.

  2. Is it the end of the classic birthday party?

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    We’ve an important matter to discuss today. I’m having trouble with a genuine pondering. Perhaps you can help me out?

    Yesterday we went to a birthday party that had party games. Proper pass the parcel and general craziness. I loved it. It led me to wonder whatever happened to old-school birthday parties, and why am I arranging extravagant birthfest fiestas year in year out? Why are children receiving favours of organic, freshly-spun unicorn sourced candy floss? Whatever happened to plastic party bags filled with penny sweets, a trashy yellow yo-yo, and a birthday blower?

    Whatever happened?

    Birthday parties of times gone by

    Cast your mind back. Not that far. Just, say, 15 to 20 years. When birthday parties came around, the venue was almost always the birthday girl or boy’s home, save a soft play or two. The living room would be adorned with foil bunting, homemade banners, and corner-shop latex balloons.

    Entertainment took the form of pass the parcel (wrapped nothing but the very best weekend supplement), musical chairs, musical statues, and Bongo the clown – if you were mega lucky. And I mean mega lucky. Your party would be the talk of the class for years to come.

    Party food? Well, it was carbelicious. This was pre-noughties. No one cared about good carbs and bad carbs. Starch? Pah! We partied in the face of starch. Our buffet tables were a glorious shade of beige. We ate every form of corn crisps on the market. Jam sarnies. Cocktail sausage and cheese cocktail sticks. Yes, cocktail sticks; if a child choked, they’d learn and sit down the next time they picked a prick out of the hedgehog.

    Those were the days. But where did they go?

    Parties of the contemporary era

    Fast forward to the 2000’s and birthday celebrations became a different beast altogether.

    Today, the game is on to throw the most creative, extraordinary parties. While soft play is always a favourite for young ones, farms, kiddy museums, and pottery painting have also entered the ranks. Parents with older offspring are shelling out exorbitant amounts for quad biking, trampolining, 4DX cinema experiences, and more.

    And that’s not all! Colin the Caterpillar will no longer suffice. Personalised cakes are in vogue, and this doesn’t equate to a printed icing sheet. The bigger, the more original, the better. It is the centrepiece of the party, and woe betides those who don’t know. Cake is everything. Cake is life.

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    Final ponderings of a perplexed mother

    Are our children missing out on good old fashioned British party traditions? Are we absolutely going overboard? Or are there other underlying parental wins here?

    After all, these places take your child and his or her friends, keep them entertained, and feed them, while you sit back with a brew.

    Forget tradition… shut up and take my money. Every time.

  3. The challenges of being a dad to girls

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    We’re all well aware of those parent-child relationship clichés. For as long as we’ve known, families have always, supposedly, been made up of ‘mummy’s boys’ and ‘daddy’s girls’. Yet, while dads do seem to take a shine to their little bundle of sugar and spice, for the blokes, their bond certainly isn’t an easy walk in the park.

    My husband has openly admitted that he is struggling with the girls growing up, not with the day to day stuff but the realisation that they are influenced by so many other things than us and it made me consider the challenges that Dad's face.

    Dads and their lads

    Let’s flip this on its head a little. The father and son thing seems to be founded on quite uncomplicated dynamics. Dad relives his childhood through his little lad, and gets to be a kid again. It’s all good.

    Whether it’s football, fishing, WWE, LEGO… whatever. Dad’s got this. He knows because, really, he’s just a big kid himself. Of course, not for all, but for many, fathers and sons are almost automatically mates. While there’s an element of discipline in the air, friendship is the predominant theme here.

    Stepping into the unknown

    But what is a dad to do when he holds a baby girl in his arms? When she opens his eyes to new worlds of adventure and unthinkable enjoyment? When she grows into a young girl, with newfound independence? Just what is a dad to do? And that is the challenge.

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    Girls kick dads right where it hurts. As much as most fathers do everything and anything to protect all of their children, there’s something special about his little girl. Even the sassiest of madams are delicate to dad. They will take him into the unknown, making him vulnerable, as he treads unfamiliar ground and lives completely new experiences with his daughter.

    Protecting something precious

    That innocence, that wonder, must be protected. But how? Wrapping little ones up in cotton wool may well work for the first few years, at a push. But being the shoulder to cry on, the big bear arms, the safe warm chest to lean against, will never grow old. Dad must be reliable, comforting… dad must be the man that never hurts her, never lets her down. The hero.

    The struggle is this, at every stage of his little girl’s life, dad needs to explore emotions, listen to heartaches, offer advice. This is something society just hasn’t encouraged our men to do. Yet, the love they feel for their little girl means it is essential.

    As they grow older, into their tweens, their teens, Dads must fight with their own need to protect their daughter from harm, from hurt. Dad must be there when she falls, allowing his own feelings to take the hit. The journey they’ve had together, that unique bond, makes this all the harder.

    After all, when was letting go of something so precious ever easy?

  4. 10 ways to keep the kids amused when the weather's wet

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    So, the six-week holidays are upon us and, as if right on the cue, the heavens have opened. Yes, The Great British Summer has sprawled itself over August once again, complete with dull grey skies, pounding rainfall, and spectacular thunderstorms. What’s more, that rain has wiped out your entire school holiday entertainment itinerary. 

    LLP - 10 ways to keep the kids amused when the weathers wet

    Playing in the park, picnics, long family walks, when the weather’s on your side, the list of summer activities is endless. Yet, thanks to the UK’s clime, us parents must prepare for the worst. We need a bag of tricks for keeping the kids entertained when we’re three-weeks deep into the summer break, and the rain just won’t quit.

    1. Perfect the Pinterest crafts
      You’ve had them pinned for months on end. Now is the time to brave the storm – bring out the coloured pencils, the paint, the PVA, and get stuck in!
    2. Rustle up a culinary sensation Have a flick through some cookbooks for inspiration and spend an afternoon making a luscious family dinner. Alternatively, children go wild for baked treats, you know, biscuits, cake and buns. Organised well, you can scatter such activities out across the remaining weeks, filling up mornings with quality ‘together time’.
    3. Tap into the autumn term
      If your school lets you in on your child’s topic for the upcoming term, use those rainy days to explore the subject. Perhaps there’s a book you can enjoy together, a film, a related local attraction. Google is your friend and learning can be fun.
    4. Look out for library events
      Meet the author, comic book creations, character-inspired crafts, check out your nearest library for some surprising summer fun.
    5. Swot up at local museums and exhibitions
      From Halifax’s Eureka! Museum to London’s Natural History Museum, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and all that’s in-between. Inject a bit of culture into their break at museums and exhibitions.
    6. Head for the pool
      Swimming! It’s such a simple solution, you may have even overlooked it. Forever a crowd pleaser, pack up your swim stuff and take a dip with the kids.
    7. Bring out the board games
      Prepare some snacks, set the table, put a family movie on the tele, and you’re set for an afternoon of board games.MonopolyTrivial Pursuit, and Jenga are just a few timeworn family favourites, but why not try something new, too. Check out QwirkleArticulate, and Beat the Parents.
    8. Make the most of kids’ cinema
      New cinema releases often make the family calendar over the summer holidays. Yet, when the brood gets bored, early morning kids’ cinema can be a lifesaver. Showing films that have recently left the big screen, it is a cheap and cheerful way to pass a few hours, especially when it’s miserable outside
    9. Create a cinema at home
      I am usually one for letting light into the rooms and have taken every opportunity to create more light in the house with roofwindows (and because they are so easy to install too) but why not shut all the curtains and blinds and create your own cinema at home? Get some movies and popcorn, snuggle up on the sofa and enjoy some family favourites. 
    10. Just get wet!
      We all seem to have such an aversion to rain! For guaranteed ultimate family fun, brave the weather and just get wet! Kids love mud! Mud fights, mud pies, mud slides, whatever! Dress them in old clothes and let them loose. It is sure to be the day they remember from the entire summer break.

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