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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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Hatton Country World & Adventure Farm

We were sent some family tickets to visit the adventure farm at Hatton Country World, with passes to see Santa. With only two weekends left until Christmas, and presents still to buy, we thought we better get going yesterday!
It was a cold but lovely sunny day so we wrapped the kids up and jumped in the car. It’s about 15 miles down some lovely roads to Hatton from where we live, so didn’t take us too long. When we got there just before 12pm, the car park (free parking, always a bonus!) was already filling up. We had a quick wander through the shopping village, which hasn’t changed much since I last went when I was a little girl – lovely little shops selling candles and soaps, garden ornaments, homewares, pretty furniture, toys and more.

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There was a small queue to get into the farm but it moved fairly quickly. To pay for our tickets would have cost us nearly £30 (and that’s with Alex being free as he’s under 2!) so not the cheapest day out.
The farm though, to be fair, is huge. Including a half hour stop for lunch it took us a good 4 hours to go round.
The first thing we did was visit the JCB track, a child sized ‘road mat’ with ramps, cones and tunnels with ride on JCB diggers. Having two digger mad boys, this was a great start to our day! There were plenty of toys to ride on even though it was busy – a nice surprise!

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When we finally dragged them away we saw the goats and pigs, which we had fun feeding. You can buy a cup of animal feed for 50p from the kiosk as you walk in.

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We then wandered down to look at the birds before coming to an attraction where you could pan for gold. Sounds fantastic but it was deserted and the water looked filthy, so we quickly moved on! Next to this was another attraction which looked to be some sort of duck race but again was deserted and looked like it had seen better days!

The leaflets and website advertises ‘festive fun fair rides’ but to be honest these were really disappointing. Three tiny little rides – a spinning teacup ride, a ladybird ride and flying caterpillars – not festive in the slightest. Not only that, the one wasn’t working. Still, the kids had fun.

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We then played on the climbing frame, had a bounce on the trampolines and played on the tractors. We especially loved the digger sandpit, which considering it’s a farm and the time of year was spotless and lovely. The kids really enjoyed using the buckets and spades and climbing on the equipment!

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We them went to my favourite bit – the animals! There was a lovely variety of animals including donkeys (in a nativity scene!) sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, rabbits which were all really friendly and tame enough for the kids to stroke. Plenty of places to wash hands and lots of signs to remind you as well. We loves the guinea pig petting area. Harrison loved holding them!

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By this point it was almost 2pm and we were hungry! After a quick loo stop and nappy change (toilets ok but definitely room for improvement!) we went to the restaurant attached to the soft play centre – and immediately walked back out ! Absolutely full to the ceiling, noisy and no where to sit. We left the farm area (wristbands allow you to go in and out) and went to another restaurant/coffee shop which although lovely wasn’t really toddler-friendly. Limited food choices – cakes, soup, panini and one or two meal options and that was it. It cost us almost £18 for a bottle of pop, hot chocolate, a pot of tea, a scone and some fish and chips, which were all very nice.

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Then we paid a visit to Santa. Sadly at this point my phone went flat so I couldn’t take photos! We walked through the elves workshop and winter wonderland which was really magical and enchanting. There are little tables for kids to write letters to Santa. The queue was quite long but moved fairly quickly, but it was a lovely wait surrounded by trees, lights, penguins and polar bears!
When we got in to Santa the kids went a little shy (nothing unusual for toddlers!) and didn’t really speak. I have to admit, ‘Santa’ really annoyed me as he said that Harrison ‘should be speaking at his age’ – he’s 2, and quite rightly is weary of strangers. Was not impressed! The kids were given keys to choose a present from the toy shop, which was huge and had a massive choice of gifts suitable for
all ages, and we’re pretty decent gifts. Harrison chose a hairdressing play dough set and we chose some animal foam stickers for Alex.

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After coming out we fussed and stroked the reindeer and then decided it was time to head home as it was nearly 4pm. We hadn’t had chance to visit the kids disco or magic shows. It was starting to get dark and with the fairy lights around and the Christmas music playing through the speakers it was really pretty and festive. As we walked back towards the car we had our complimentary mince pie and delicious mulled fruit punch whilst listening to a kids choir singing Christmas songs.

We had a really lovely day out as a family but would we pay almost £30 to go again? Probably not. Parts of it are very tired and need some TLC to make it worth the entry cost.

For more information visit their website
Hatton Country World

*Disclosure
Thanks to Hatton Country World for the family tickets which we received free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.