A new service has been launched to help parents and child carers who suddenly find that they have lost track of one of their children. Find My Child offers an iPhone app, voiced by Mariella Frostrup, with which you register information about your children. A subscription of just £3 per month allows you to raise an alert in the event of one of you losing sight of one of your children. Raising an alert sends a message out to other Find My Child users in the vicinity, sharing a picture so that they can help look for the missing child. Should they find them, they can then call the parent directly and work together to reunite the child.
Find My Child respects everyone's privacy, only sharing information on a 'need to know' basis. Usually your registered photo of a child will remain completely private, it will only be shared when you need to source help in finding your missing child.
The app is aimed at covering the period immediately after your child goes missing, to the point where the police can be involved in a search. Should you have to escalate to a police search, this 'window' typically lasts up to three hours, but obviously you are more likely to find your child within the first 30 minutes. Find My Child uses 'social helpworking' to bring everyone in the area together to help you in your moment of panic - a perfect use for a smartphone app!
Winter Wonderland has opened for the Christmas season in Hyde Park, London; take your little ones along for a festive spectacle of lights, sounds and the smells of Christmas foods!
Situated at Hyde Park Corner, Winter Wonderland offers a Christmas Market, Christmas themed fairground rides, a big wheel, ice skating and lots more! Winter Wonderland is full of sights and sounds that will trigger your little one's senses and bring that magic sparkle to Christmas.
Entry to Wonderland is free but you will need to buy tokens to enjoy the rides which typically cost between £2 and £4 per person. Babies and toddlers will love Santa Land where all the rides are suitable for even the youngest visitors and they can meet Santa for free. Kids will love the carousels, a train ride and many other fairground attractions.
Plenty of food stalls are scattered throughout, selling hearty fare including hog roasts, fish and chips, bratwurst, potatoes, soups and Belgian chips. For grown-ups, there's mulled wine and German beers. Food is a little on the pricey side for a family because you won't find children's portions, each food is priced at around £5, and with so many stalls around, everyone can choose a different meal.
The large attractions include a giant wheel with rides lasting around 15 minutes and Zippo's Circus. The ice rink isn't particularly good for younger children as there are no 'Penguins' to help children stay on their feet and build confidence on the ice. Keep an eye out for the talking tree, that will keep children engaged for hours. There are plenty of toilets on site, as well as baby changing facilities in two locations.
At the Angels Market you will find Christmas decorations, London memorabilia, traditional toys and craft, jewellery and other gifts.
Winter Wonderland is open daily now, from 10am to 10pm, until 3rd January 2012. Check out more information from the Winter Wonderland website.
More children than ever took to the streets this year to 'trick or treat' their neighbours and friends. Hoards of little witches and cute devils waved buckets at neighbours front doors in the hope of some lovely, bewitched sweeties being thrown in!
Going out trick or treating has become more and more popular over the years. It used to be something they did in America, not here in England, but it has gradually become part of our annual festivities. According to an ASDA survey reported in the Daily Telegraph, if you are dressed as a cute witch, skeleton or vampire you are likely to get more sweets than if you are dressed as someone like Freddie Kruger. Something to bear in mind!
Here are some other tips to bear in mind for next year:
Going for walks is an ideal way to spend time with the family - it's free, it's healthy, it's outdoors, it's fun and educational and it's something you can all share together no matter your age or ability. You can do it with other families, on your own or with other family members. It can be a long, all day affair or just an hour trek. It can be in all sorts of different terrain: woodland, seashore, farm land or country paths. Most of all, it's something to enjoy!
Whether its some long distance driving in England to stay with family or friends or a full blown European motoring vacation, the thought of taking children on a long car journey can seem a great idea when costing out the family holiday, but as the day approaches it seems more and more daunting.
The secret to a successful trip is to invest some time before you set off so you're prepared and ready to entertain, challenge and keep happy those delightful little passengers strapped in their cosy car seats in the back row.
There are some great playgrounds and play parks all over the country ranging from marvelous gated parks such as the Princess Diana Memorial Play Park in Kensington Gardens, London where the huge Peter Pan pirate ship play ground is surrounded by sensory gardens and a musical maze, to the tiny play park at the end of the round. Whatever facilities you have nearby, it's great to get out and enjoy the parks with the children.
However, there are thousands of accidents in play parks each year ranging from broken bones to concussions and sprains.
The age group at the highest risk are those between 6 and 9.
Play it Safe
Obviously you don't want to ban them from going to the playground, because you're scared they will fall over and hurt themselves, because its healthy to be out in the fresh air, exercising, practising physical skills and developing their social skills. However, you don't want to end up in A&E with a broken limb! Yes, there are risks, yes they may fall,but here are some tips to reduce the chance of accidents.
Using technology to teach and inspire children is vital in this day where computers are commonplace, digital gadgets are all over the place and technology is so much more accessible.
Many children have their own toy cameras now, which is great to see the world through the eyes of the children.
However, you can try to give the camera usage a little more direction by setting the children photography projects such as:-
You could set the challenge of photographing things that begin with the alphabet letters.
When the pictures are taken, show the children how to load the images onto the computer. Describe what happens as you flick through the pictures and sort them. Show them how you print them and trim to size etc. You could then create a booklet displaying the images in order and writing the appropriate letter on each page.
According to a recent study, one in five parents will not fly with their children on holiday purely because it is too stressful. Six out of ten said their children could not sit still for more than 30 minutes on a plane and nearly half are worried that their child might suffer from air-sickness. Showing a concern for other travellers 46% feared their little ones would upset other passengers and 34% were worried that their babies would cry.
Children are signing a petition against Wandsworth Council's plan to introduce a £2.50 entrance fee to Battersea Park's adventure playground at the weekends. They argue that half of the children enjoying the facility at the weekends are from outside the borough, yet Wandsworth residents have to stump up the £200,000 annual maintenance fee. Angry residents claim that the move is intended simply to keep Wandsworth's famously low council tax the cheapest in the country, using children's facilities to subsidise other services.
Luckily this is unlikely to set a precedent for other play areas across the country. The adventure playground serves children aged 5 - 16 and is staffed during opening hours. As most play facilities across the country are not permanently staffed, introducing an entrance fee would automatically require the introduction of additional cost simply to collect revenues and so makes the move less feasible.
An adjacent toddler play area is not earmarked for the pilot charging scheme, so Wandsworth's army of child carers can relax in the knowledge that they still have somewhere for their toddlers to play!
At this time of year, its lovely to be outside in the warm weather but there are also some unwelcome bugs and insects that are beginning to show up too. Children are often afraid of wasps or bees as they buzz around and its hard for them to enjoy themselves sometimes for fear of being stung.
Try to explain that:
If your child is stung:
Now that the warm weather is here - hopefully to stay - it's a great chance to get outside and capture the pretty things that appear in spring. If you have a digital camera, a phone with a camera on it or a kiddie digital camera why not go out on a photo shoot.
Allow your little one access to the camera - with supervision. See what they are attracted to and help them take photos. You could focus on different things:
Have a happy, snappy time!
This weekend is dedicated to our garden birds - the country’s biggest survey takes place with families all over the country grabbing pens and paper to record what birds come to their gardens. Teach your children about the different birds to be seen in your garden, talk about the different colours and how to identify each type of bird.
To participate in the bird survey, simply go out into your garden or to a local park and sit for an hour (quietly!) and watch for birds. Note down what species you see and count them as you spot them. They must land in the garden or park rather than fly over.
When you have observed for an hour, and have your results, simply log your findings on the RSPB website (www.rspb.org.uk). There is a handy print out sheet on the site too to help identify the birds and, you can get a copy of last year’s results too. Why not have your little ones draw a picture of your garden or the park with the different birds they have seen too? Try making a map to show where you spotted each bird.
This event has been taking place for some thirty years. There have been results from nearly 280,000 gardens which gives experts an idea of how bird numbers are diminishing.
It is also great fun, good number practice and you'll feel part of a great effort to keep our local birds. Happy Twitching!
Getting young toddlers to sit still on the London Underground can be slightly tricky because it's such an exciting place to be, and lots of other tube passengers are standing, so why shouldn't your little one?!
Luckily there is so much distinct iconography inside tube trains that can inspire even the youngest traveller to play fun games. Look for different colours, shapes and letters. Look around a tube carriage and you'll see yellow warning triangles, red circles for London Underground's logo and no entry signs on doors between carriages, blue rectangles and squares with notices inside.
You'll see the tube maps with lots of coloured lines on - ask your little one what colours they see.
Look for letters in the signs and adverts stuck all over the carriage, look for the letters that your children's names begin with. Look for numbers - especially the number of how old they are.
Play I-Spy looking for items of different colours ('I-Spy, with my little eye, something that is red').
Older children can look around and spot all the different warning signs and instructions littered around the carriage - have you ever noticed just how many rules there are when you embark on an Underground journey?!
Of course most of these games will adapt to any train ride, and even journeys on buses or planes too.
You'll be amazed at just how quickly your journey goes, no matter how long it is. Just take care that you don't have so much fun that you miss your stop!
During the Christmas holiday, there is every chance that you will be taking a long car journey with your little ones to visit family or friends away from home. We nearly all dread this element of time away from home, but with a little help it needn't be a total nightmare. Here are some tips!
Travelling with a new or tiny baby. Pack up the car and then feed well and then leave quickly. Hopefully they will be lulled to sleep by the motion of the car, and you'll have a nice, quiet journey. When the next feed is due, try and stop around this time and feed in a service stop or somewhere calm and warm. Then head back on the road, and they are likely to nod off again. Keep some favourite toys nearby so you can clip them to the car seat if they wake and need amusement.
Travelling with toddlers. This may be a bit more of a challenge as they get tired and bored and restless sitting in one position in a car for too long. It's understandable, really!
Remember, remember the 5th of November: we all know the rhyme, but still each year there are so many accidents when it comes to fireworks, sparklers and Bonfire night. The number of accidents from fireworks has been decreasing over recent years, but there are still important lessons to learn from previous years.
Here is a quick reminder of some basic rules when it comes to fireworks night.
Try and visit an organised firework display rather than putting on your own event, as much as anything the fireworks will be bigger and better than ones you can buy in the shops!
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