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Cool Skillz

I’ve never been very good at doing physical stuff. In the days when I was young and children were far off in the distance, I was a pretty fast runner (long legs gave me an advantage). I was also pretty good at netball (being tall helped!), but apart from that…well, lets just say I kick a football in one direction and it goes the other way.
Harrison is already showing signs of being a little boy who loves doing anything physical – jumping, running, having a kick about in the garden and throwing balls,which I’m really pleased about., and I’m sure Alex will be the same. However, I have no idea how to teach him or help him develop these further. How can I teach him how to throw and catch when I can barely do it myself? That’s where Cool Skillz is going to give me a hand!

Cool Skillz is a multi skills physical activity club run by qualified coaches. The club works with children aged three and up to develop agility, balance and coordination through fun games and activities. It doesn’t focus on one particular sport,  it aims to teach children those all important gross motor skills, as well as social skills such as following rules, listening and team work. Lewis, the founder of Cool Skillz, has sent me some great ideas and activities to do with Harrison and Alex at home or in the garden (if it ever stops raining!). These activities can be found on the Cool Skillz Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz .

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Lewis is running a special fun day this weekend (Saturday 22nd February)at Warstock Community Centre in Birmingham. It starts at 10am for the little people and is £2 per person. It’s a chance to show some of the great activities the club does, so if you’re local I would definitely recommend popping along – much better than Saturday Soft Play hell! There all be plenty of fun physical games and challenges, including my personal favourite – the parachute!!

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For further information about the fun day or to book a place or to find out more about what Cool Skillz has to offer, contact Lewis on 07794912079.

You can also head over to their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz and check out some of the ideas you could try at home.
You can also follow on Twitter @coolskillzclub

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Go along and have fun!

*Disclaimer
This is an advertorial post for which I received a small payment.

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Sea Life Centre Birmingham : a review

Today was the start of our ‘under the sea’ week, and to kick it off we went to the Birmingham Sea Life Centre, who had kindly put us on their guest list.
I’d been there years and years ago with friends and enjoyed it so was excited about taking the two little people there!

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It was incredibly busy when we got there at 11am. I’d forgotten that some schools don’t go back until tomorrow! We didn’t have to wait too long though.
The centre is connected by ramps and walkways, and if I’m honest they’re a little narrow, especially as there was lots of pushchairs, making it extremely hard to get past. It also meant Harrison and Alex were bumped into a lot by adults who don’t appear to watch they’re walking! We didn’t get very close to a lot of displays either. The windows to see things are quite high and in some parts there are a step for the kids to stand on but quite a lot didn’t, which meant we constantly had to pick the kids up so they could see.

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We enjoyed the interactive rockpool where you can touch and hold starfish and crabs. If you know me, you know I have a serious phobia of crabs, but I was really brave and managed to touch (albeit extremely quickly!) one. The lady who was looking after the area was really lovely and made me feel at ease and not at all stupid.
It’s a lovely place to walk through. There are areas that make you feel like you’re walking through rainforests, and areas that are very dark and atmospheric. The jellyfish (which were one of my favourite things – never realised how incredibly beautiful they are!) were bathed in neon lights making them look spectacular.

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I’m not sure Harrison felt entirely comfortable with the darkness but that’s an age thing. Alex loved it! We enjoyed the big tank of rays,especially Alex who kept waving at them and threw a wobbler when we left it!

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However, the absolute highlight of the visit was their famous 360 degree glass tunnel. It is amazing, watching huge rays and hammerhead sharks glide above you, watching tiny fish swim beneath your feet, but best of all seeing the truly incredible giant sea turtle swim past you.

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However, I do have a few moans. I remember the 4d cinema being fantastic, and was looking forward to visiting it. However the queuing area for it is in the same area as the otter feeding area so was chaotic and poorly organised. There were no staff to tell us how long it was to wait and no clear queue start/end point, with us and several families standing around feeling very confused. We eventually worked out that the next viewing was a 20 minute wait. The area is on a sort of balcony so is open, and was very cold. The centre is obviously very warm so we hadn’t got coats and was freezing, so had to leave the queue. By this point, all the other families waiting had also given up and moved on. I was really disappointed that we didn’t get that opportunity, but couldn’t stand in the freezing cold with two toddlers for that long. We also never got to see the otters either. A lot of the displays were either empty or covered with a sign saying they were being ‘spring cleaned’,
The centre has the obligatory gift shop, which was reasonably priced. We bought a lovely little pirate chest for our upcoming pirate week which was £3.50 and a shark grabber which was £3 so not horrendous!
All in all? Well, I think I would have been disappointed if we had paid the £30+ ticket price for me and Graham (kids under three are free). We enjoyed it but were only there just over an hour which I don’t think warrants the price. However, I think if you’d had older kids who could see into the tanks easily and were prepared to wait for a long time to see things and went when they’re not doing a big clean and building new exhibitions you would enjoy it.

Plan your visit on the Sea Life Centre website

*Disclosure: thank you to the Sea Life Centre who gave us two free adult tickets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.