Tag Archives: Mini Adventures

Mini Adventures | Little Diggers Christmas Grotto at Carr Gate Garden Centre

So it appears that without me noticing it, December has crept up on us. And December means twinkling lights, Christmas trees, panic shopping and, most importantly, a trip to see the Big Man himself. That is Santa, Father Christmas, St Nick, Kris Kringle, that big dude in red…whatever you choose to call him, if you have children you will undoubtedly be seeing him at some point before Christmas Day.

We’ve been on our annual Santa trip to various places over the last five years but the first place we ever visited Santa with Elsa was Carr Gate Garden Centre. So we decided to make a return visit for this years trip.

The Grotto visit begins with a meander through a Winter Wonderland. Ted was in love with the animals, wanting to stroke and kiss them all. Elsa found the Giant intriguing and a bit scary in equal measures.

 

There are various scenes set up featuring both traditional Christmas themes and slightly less traditional such as the giant and a fairy scene. Lots of animatronics are used which all the children there seemed to love. Who doesn’t enjoy a singing reindeer?

 

When we reached the Grotto the helpful elves directed us into the correct queue. I would totally recommend pre-booking as we had done. We joined a much smaller queue than those that hadn’t prebooked and we were whisked through with only a short wait.

 

Just before we headed in to see Santa himself, Elsa and Ted planted a magic tree seed with one of the elves. A magic seed went into the pot with some magic soil and this was placed in a magic cupboard when we went into the Grotto.

 

And now for Santa!! My children, particularly Elsa, can be quite shy and she made Santa work hard to get any conversation out of her. He was excellent though and not at all put off by her one word answers and reluctance to go within 10 feet of him. He had a good chat with both of them, usual questions about what they would like for Christmas and he actively encouraged them to be nice to each other and not fight in the run up to Christmas. I hope that they listen to Santa on this one because they certainly don’t listen to me.

 

The presents for both were good quality. Elsa received a Crayola stamping set which she has enjoyed so far. Ted received a set of stacking cups which I thought was a little young for him, however has spent most of the weekend building towers with them so they went down well with him.

 

As we were about to say goodbye to Santa his Elf assistant reminded us about the plant pots we had placed in the magic cupboard and when the cupboard was opened the big reveal showed that their very own mini Christmas trees had grown! This was very exciting for both of them, they were blown away by the magic of it.

After leaving the Grotto Elsa and Ted spent some time at the craft table decorating the mini Christmas Trees that they had grown.

 

The whole experience last approximately 30 minutes. The planting and growing of the mini Christmas Tree added a lovely twist, something I have not seen done before and the kids loved being able to bring it home.

 

You are quite welcome to take photos throughout the experience and with Santa. Santa’s Elf does also take a photo of the children with him. This can be purchased afterwards. I did buy the photograph and I am slightly disappointed with how it has come out. It looked really lovely on the screen but seems to be much darker when printed and my own photos are actually lit better. Unfortunately I was too busy talking to an Elf afterwards to have a proper look at the print out or I may have asked for it to be reprinted.

 

Overall we had a lovely time visiting the Little Diggers Grotto at Carr Gate Garden Centre. The cost was a reasonable £10 per child and tickets can be booked here. Pre-booking is the way forward! The Grotto is open daily right up to Christmas Eve.

 

** We were invited by Wyevale Garden Centres to visit the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto in return for an honest review. All words, photos and opinions are my own**

Mini Adventures | We Are Mini at Rainbow Factory, Leeds

We are huge fans of Rainbow Factory here in Leeds and, in fact, Ted is a Rainbow Factory baby given that they are the same age and he has been visiting since birth!

 

But whilst we are huge fans we hadn’t got round to checking out their ‘We Are Mini’ venture. So we were very excited to be invited down to try out a couple of the sessions. Elsa opted for ‘Mini Princesses‘ and we chose ‘Mini Make Believers’ for Ted.

 

In all honesty, Mini Princesses is not something that would have jumped out at me for Elsa to attend. Elsa and I are not ‘princessy’ girls (well, she might be given the chance but I’ve not given her the chance!) so the idea of a ‘princessy’ session wasn’t that appealing. How wrong I was.

 

Mini Princesses is aimed at both girls and boys (although Ted was the only boy there when we joined in) and is focused on a new skill or trait each week. It is about empowerment and social awareness. The theme for us was ‘Honesty’.

Fairy Godmother Emma runs the Mini Princesses session (and all We Are Mini sessions) and she is actually magic. The children fall under her spell, Ted is particularly enamoured with her! Within seconds of us arriving she had all the children singing, dancing and joining in with all the activities.

The Mini Princesses session compromised signing, dancing, storytelling, imaginative play, team work, a little bit of crafting and so much more. The session was perfectly pitched at the girls, all aged 3-4 years but it was also perfect for just turned 2 year old Ted to join in.

Mini Princess sessions runs on Friday at 1pm and Saturday at 11.30am. You can drop in to the sessions, although booking is advisable.

 

Following on from the success of Mini Princesses, Ted and I went along to Mini Make Believers this week. Things didn’t bode well when Ted was laid on our drive screaming before I put him in the car, unfortunately he arrived at Rainbow Factory in a pretty foul mood.

 

Mini Make Believers is an hour long session of active story telling, the story on this occasion being ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’. It is aimed at children aged 2-5 years and involves crafts, imaginative play, creativity, songs and the encouragement of team work.

 

Ted’s mood did not put off Fairy Godmother Emma (I’m not sure that she is a Fairy Godmother at Mini Make Believers but I like to call her that anyway!) as she persevered with encouraging Ted to get involved in the session. He certainly wasn’t the easiest child to entertain on that day but Emma continued to involve him and eventually brought him out of the mood. This is testament to the child friendly skills and dedication of the team at Rainbow Factory. Ted is notoriously moody and we have been to many other venues and classes where the leader has not tried to engage with Ted if they could see he was grumpy.

 Although the Mini Make Believers wasn’t huge success for Ted on this occasion I loved the session and we will definitely be back to try it out again on a day when Ted is in a better mood!

 

Mini Make Believers sessions run on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The full timetable is available to view here.

We Are Mini sessions are £5 per child and booking in advance is advised although drop ins are welcome. Full details of all sessions can be found on the We Are Mini website.

Check out the Rainbow Factory website for full details of the May Half Term Activities. The theme is Awesome Authors and entry is free, just pay for the activities (£3 each) you would like too participate in. We are looking forward to the Dr Seuss Character Creator & Puppet Workshop and making our own Gruffalo model!

 

CLAIRE

 

*We enjoyed complimentary Mini Princess and Mini Make Believers sessions for the purpose of this post. All words and opinions are my own*