Summer Holiday Activities

The Summer Holidays starts next week and the thought of entertaining your children for the whole summer can sometimes be a daunting one, especially if you have a toddler or preschooler, and you need to keep them entertained. The Peekaboo Baby Company are here to help with some summer activity ideas for the home.

Baking
What better way to keep your toddler(s) entertained through making a simple recipe. With a few simple ingredients your children can have huge amounts of fun whilst they learn about numbers, weights, textures, ingredients, new tastes and healthy eating …not to mention the squeals of enjoyment as they lick the bowl and eat the goodies!!!

Playdoh
Instead of opening the lid of the playdoh, what better way to get involved with your children and actually make the playdoh. It’s cheaper and is an activity in itself so why not let them get their hands dirty and create lots of different colours. It’s also a great bonding session for them and for you to do these activities together!

Mini Disco
Kids love dancing, parties and running around, so put on some music and get them to create their favourite moves! Not only will it keep them entertained but it is also a fun and creative way to get them exercising their muscles and ensuring you get a good night’s sleep that evening wink. If your toddlers like to dress up, why not get some fancy dress costumes out and have a party with lots of magical characters!

Gardening
Children love gardening as much as cooking. From getting dirty by digging in the mud to planting and best of all watering this activity can bring huge smiles to their little faces!! It can be their responsibility to remember and help water the plants daily which gives them a great deal of satisfaction. There are lots of fun ideas for gardening with plants, flowers and seeds!

Picnics!
Children love picnics so why not get them to help you make a picnic and go to your local park or garden and invite their friends!! Better still take their favourite teddies along too and make it a ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’! If you have babies our bibs and muslins may be useful for this occasion!

Keep a look out on Facebook and Twitter for our special summer offers, exciting competitions and also a giveaway!!!

What plans do you have for your children this summer? We want to hear your ideas!

Most importantly, remember to HAVE FUN!! xxx

Recognition for the Dads this Father’s Day!

The Dad’s of today’s modern society are more involved and ‘hands-on’ more with their children than ever before. Irrespective of whether they are a Dad who works at home, in an office or travels away from home … there are so many ways that Dad’s now maximise the quality of the time spent with their children and family.

Sunday 15th June 2014 is when all babies (and mummies) will show their true appreciation for their daddies!  We think that all the Dad’s deserve some recognition so we’ve come up with 5 ideas of how to spoil them:
  • Allow him to enjoy a long, uninterrupted lie-in
  • Get the kids to help you bring him breakfast in bed
  • Make a home-made gift (see below)
  • Do a special activity together as a family such as a picnic in the sunshine
  • Ask Dad what he would like to do (for a change!!)

We know that time is precious when you have children and you can’t spend ages looking for that ideal gift. So don’t worry if you haven’t bought something – here are a few ideas of handmade gifts made with love and affection (and messy hands) from your little ones!

Footprints
Press your child’s footprints into paint and create a ‘heart’ out of your baby’s two footprints (so the soles overlap) and place in the middle of a piece of paper. Above this write the word ‘I’ and below ‘daddy’ to read  ‘I
  DADDY’

Handprints
Press your children’s handprints into paint and place firmly on A3 paper. Choose a different colour for each child. Around each handprint write the child’s name and age to create a special keepsake. This can also be framed to go on the wall.

Pottery
Check out your local pottery painting café to create a piece of art. Create and paint a mug, photo frame, coaster or cufflinks box. 

Stone Paperweight
Search your garden or local park for a large flat and smooth pebble or stone. Wash thoroughly and let it dry. Allow your child to become creative with acrylic paint and they can turn this into a colourful paperweight. 

Cards
Get your toddlers to design their very own cards and create something special for their Daddy. Homemade cards are our favourite and they will be saved forever.

These ideas are all so simple and the hardest thing will be getting your toddler to keep it a ‘surprise’ … something that hasn’t quite worked out at Peekaboo’s Head Quarters wink

Here at The Peekaboo Baby Company, we would like to wish all you special daddies a very Happy Father’s Day!

Let us know what you are planning to do this Father’s Day…

A Child’s Favourite Colour

Each child is different but generally at around the age of two or three toddlers start recognising and naming their colours. However even before this age they may start to take a preference towards a certain colour.

Initially you might think it is so #cute. There are even some huge advantages of having a favourite colour. Let’s assume that the toddler’s favourite colour is green - green pasta sauce is absolutely full of green vegetables (and tons of them) yet they are wolfed down with gusto!  It actually makes the purchase of some items easier:
You need to buy wellies – you choose green
You need to stock up on playdoh – you choose green
You need to buy children’s crockery and cutlery – you choose green

 
Toddlers also use colours as a way of identifying other’s personalities. At a playdate, a mummy was wearing yellow jumper and before you know it that mummy’s favourite colour is yellow (and always will be). Every time the toddler sees yellow, this particular mummy is mentioned!

However, it isn’t all plain sailing …the truth is many parents have been faced with a dilemma of trying to find an item in your toddler’s favourite colour. One of the great pieces of advice about moving a toddler from a cot into a bed is to take them shopping, get them to choose their own bedding, get the toddler very excited and hopefully this lovely shopping trip is the start of a smooth transition. What happens if there is no green bedding to be found … an exasperated mummy, a grumpy toddler who would rather be at soft play and no acceptable duvet cover!  Cue endless searches on the internet, excitement as a green George Pig cover flashes across the screen, dismay as it has been out of stock for the last six months.  Finally a green duvet with footballs appears, a quick purchase to buy 3 of the same whilst hoping the black and white footballs don’t detract from the idea of a ‘green duvet’!

A favourite colour can actually ‘make or break’ an outing … as an example a children’s birthday party! Imagine parents breathing a sigh of relief as there is a green balloon taped to the door to avoid the inevitable tantrums. Next stop the entertainer hands out a shaker so all the children can join in (cue potential tantrum if there isn’t a ‘green’ one). Next party game they all have to stand on a coloured circle – the entertainer by this point actually directs the toddler towards a green one … clearly everyone in the room now understands that this toddler’s favourite colour (and slight obsession) is green and for the parent’s sanity 


We excitedly told our toddler this morning that we had just booked a holiday – to which his eyes lit up “oooooh mummy I’m going to have lots of green ice lollies” Here’s hoping that on our holiday destination they sell lime flavoured ice lollies …. or we are in trouble ;)
 
What is your child’s favourite colour?

 

10 Words That Have Different Meanings Since Becoming Parents

It is clearly an understatement when parents say that having a baby changes their life! We have identified 10 words which take on a different meaning once that gorgeous bundle of mischief arrives in your life!!!


Food

What it meant pre children: A lovely relaxing meal eaten at a leisurely pace

What it means now: Sharing your meal with your toddler, eating it cold once baby and toddler’s needs are satisfied

 

 

 

Holidays

What it meant pre children: ‘The world is our oyster’ – able to travel wherever we can afford. Planning involves arranging our outfits and shoes for the 14 days of the holiday duration as well as ensuring we have enough books to read.

What it means now: Holiday is booked around shortest flight time, airline chosen for flexibility on baggage allowance, accommodation selected on space for cots and buggies. Six months planning required to ensure enough nappies, wipes, snacks, toys, childrens outfits, endless amounts of medication for ‘all scenarios’ are packed. The children have two suitcases whilst your clothes end up in a tiny holdall.

 

 

 

Date Night
What it meant pre children: What you do on a Saturday night

What it means now: What you do on a Saturday night every other month after paying £50 before you have left the house for a babysitter and leaving countless instructions
 

 

 

Errands

What it meant pre children: A quick trip round a few shops as efficiently as possible

What it means now: An entire morning’s activity, feeding your toddler snacks and letting them actively take part in pushing the trolley throughout to prevent any tantrums whilst praying your baby doesn’t have a nappy explosion!
 

 

Bedtime
What it meant pre children: When you go to sleep

What it means now: An elongated routine that takes at least 45 minutes from bedtime milk,  brushing of teeth, reading at least one bedtime story and answering endless questions about the same story again and again. Bedtime cuddles and kisses. Switching the light off only to hear that your toddler needs the toilet. Answering questions about what you will be eating for dinner and the next day’s activities before finally telling them to “Go to sleep!”
 

 

Bathtime
What it meant pre children: A long hot bubble bath

What it means now: The daily task of washing your toddler, avoiding the huge splashes they create with their huge range of rubber ducks, boats, teasets and so on. Each day provides a new challenge from the toddler screaming as you wash their hair to refusing to get out of the bath!
 

 

 

Party
What it meant pre children: A relaxed night out with friends, without a care in the world, likely to end around 2am – likely to involve the consumption of alcohol

What it means now: Trying to contain 30 screaming children running around the local village hall, fuelled by sugar and shouting the words to ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Involves weeks of meticulous planning from entertainment and food to the contents of the party bags!

 

 

 

Grandparents

What it meant pre children: Your parents

What it means now: Wonderful individuals who you happily hand over your children to for a couple of hours to regain sanity

 

 

 

 

 

Me’ time
What it meant pre children: A shopping trip with the girls or a gym session

What it means now: A quick escape to the toilet for FIVE precious minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love
What it meant pre children: Affection

What it means now: There are no words to describe how much overwhelming affection you have for your child
 

 

 

 

We know that time is precious when you have children and you can’t spend ages looking for that ideal gift. Spoil your friends and family with a unique and gorgeous online baby gift in minutes and have it delivered straight to the recipients door.

Let us know what word has changed it’s meaning most to you since becoming a parent…

You Know There is a Little Person in Your House When…

When you are pregnant, it becomes really irritating that those friends and family with children constantly tell you to ‘enjoy the peace’, ‘get as much sleep as you can’ and ‘to go out as often as you like now because you won’t be able to when the baby is here’. It becomes very annoying after hearing this for the hundredth time – you know that your world is going to turn upside down after all everyone keeps telling you …

The reality is nothing and no-one can really prepare you for this life changing event. You know there is a little person in your house when…

  1. You can never go to the bathroom alone.
  2. You have to microwave your cup of tea three times before you get to drink it.
  3. You hide the latest Julia Donaldson favourite because you can’t face reading it yet again for the 1000th time!
  4. When asked what your favourite TV programme is you automatically struggle to decide between Peppa Pig and Thomas The Tank Engine.
  5. When you keep the bathroom bin and toilet paper purposely on the bathroom counter rather than in their respective places.
  6. When you have washed the same load of washing for the last three days because you keep forgetting to empty it.
  7. You can’t eat anything by yourself – you always have to demonstrate ‘good sharing’.
  8. You see a dog and say ‘woof woof’ … even when your child isn’t with you.
  9. When you battle and struggle for 20 minutes to get them dressed and turn your back for one second to find they are stark naked.
  10. 7.05am is considered a lie-in.
  11. You know that laughter and hysteria is quickly followed by tears.
  12. You count the minutes to 7pm and once they are asleep you feel guilty for doing so.
  13. The dental hygenist appointment is a nice chance to have a lie down.
  14. You realise you didn’t need to buy any toys … the kitchen bin would have sufficed.
  15. You hear a baby crying and immediately your body starts swaying and rocking.
  16. You always have a packet of wet wipes at arm’s reach whether you’re at home or out and about.
  17. When you spend an entire evening making nutritious and appealing food to see it pushed away with little voice demanding ‘cheese sandwich’.
  18. Satisfaction is learning the art of putting a nappy on standing to avoid battles with a wriggling toddler.
  19. You are worried by the sound of silence.
  20. You find yourself playing ‘Peekaboo’ between every mouthful at dinner in the hope they giggle, open their mouth and eat!

 

What was your defining moment when you realised life had changed?

 

Why Cooking With Your Toddlers is So Worthwhile

As we await some consistent sunshine why not occupy your toddler(s) with some cooking fun. Not only is cooking a brilliant activity to keep them occupied, it is economical if you select ingredients carefully, educational learning about numbers, weights, ingredients, new tastes and healthy eating. They can learn new skills whilst giving them an appreciation for where food comes from.  However, most importantly it is one of the most enjoyable bonding activities to do with your toddler(s).

 


An entire morning can be spent simply getting all the children’s coats, hats and wellies on to walk to the shops to purchase the ingredients.  In the shop they are proudly holding the shopping basket and seem to touch every item you walk past as you reason with them why they can’t buy every ingredient. Before you know it you take a basket piled high of ingredients with a few added extras that you have compromised on. You allow your toddler to give the cashier the money before watching it fall all over the floor as a rather large queue forms behind you!

The cooking activities commence – it could be the simplest recipe in the world but your toddler(s) always seem to end up needing a change of clothes and the kitchen floor needing a steam clean afterwards! As they ‘gently’ beat the egg or ‘slowly’ sieve the flour … you watch it spill over the sides onto the counter and then the floor you can sometimes be forgiven for wondering why you had embarked upon this cooking activity!! Even putting bun cases in the bun tray could be mistaken for being a ‘clean’ activity and before you know it they are scattered all over the floor sticking to the ‘gloop’ that you had missed whilst cleaning up the earlier spills!

Amazingly the washing up can bring more mess as you see white foam floating around your kitchen alongside little puddles on the floor and inevitably toddlers are drenched from their over-excitement of playing with water.


You do it because their enjoyment is priceless. Their smiles and giggles throughout the activity is worth it.  It is seen as a ‘grown up’ thing to do yet they never tire of this messy fun and the bonus is … they might actually eat something nutritious as a result!

*Cooking Skills that Under 5s can learn:

  • Buttering a slice of bread
  • Cracking eggs into a bowl
  • Crushing biscuits for bases in a plastic bag with a rolling pin
  • Crushing garlic in a garlic press
  • Cutting pastry or dough shapes out using cookie cutters
  • Cutting soft fruit such as a banana with a non sharp knife
  • Decorating fairy cakes or biscuits
  • Grating cheese
  • Kneading and rolling out dough using a rolling pin
  • Mashing bananas with the back of a fork
  • Mashing potatoes with a potato masher
  • Peeling vegetables with a vegetable peeler
  • Rubbing in butter and flour for a crumble or pastry
  • Sieving flour
  • Whisking eggs in a bowl

We recommend the following recipe that toddlers will just love to make and adore to eat:

*Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup (80mL) oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a loaf pan

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugars. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients with mashed banana and fold until just combined – do not overmix.
Place in the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and slice thickly.

If you are cooking with a toddler when you have a newborn baby you might be thankful for the muslinsdribble bibs or swaddles to protect your baby from these messy cooking sessions! Additionally you might look for some toys to keep your baby occupied.

*www.under5s.co.nz

Books, Books & More Books

Research has shown that the single most important thing that a parent can do to help their child acquire language, prepare their child for school, and instill a love of learning in their child, is to read to them.* From the moment a baby is born we are bombarded with information from leaflets, books, email bulletins from baby websites, family and friends about the importance of speaking to our babies regularly and this is followed consecutively by the need for us to read to them.

Everyone buys books for gifts and you naturally purchase books when they are on offer especially the favourite classics, you join the library and that in itself is an exciting way to spend an hour or two with your child. Before you know it you have books lying around in every corner of every room in your house!

We KNOW we should be reading to our children, after all it is what we are told all the time, however, perhaps not all of us understand WHY we should be reading to our babies and toddlers. Ten top reasons to read to your child include:

  1. Children who are read to consistently by their parents often begin reading earlier than their peers.
  2. A lovely way to connect with your child and build a bond around learning.
  3. Insight into what your child is interested in.
  4. Following a character’s actions in a story helps develop problem solving skills.
  5. Children who are read to develop a love of reading.
  6. Reading to children helps to develop their imaginations.
  7. Reading exercises our brains and improves concentration.
  8. Gives babies information about the world around them.
  9. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child’s ability to write well.
  10. Helps to prepare children about new upcoming events e.g. arrival of a sibling or a visit to the dentist
 Today we are celebrating World Book Day and children around the country are dressing up as their favourite characters – some toddlers so excited they slept with their dressing up outfit the night before whilst others may have screamed and shrieked as their parents tried to dress them up and then failed miserably to get a photo of their child smiling in their respective outfits (another blog in its own right!)

Whilst most of us try our hardest to read to our children it can sometimes seem a little like ‘groundhog day’ as the request for the same story is asked for day in and day out for weeks on end before the book is carefully hidden so they can be persuaded to change to look at different book. Indeed ‘A Room on the Broom’ becomes deeply philosophical after reading it for the 500th time!

Bedtime stories are a favourite part of the day in many households, your little ones all clean and snuggled up in their beds (any naughty behaviour that day mysteriously disappears). Siblings often allowed in the same bed as you all cuddle tight and read the story watching their faces as you say the words. However, reality is that the same questions are asked every night (and often answered by the child themselves)…delayed bedtime tactics are cleverly used as children turn back pages to start asking other questions whilst you are trying to finish the story and get your child to sleep and have some precious ‘ME’ time!

Younger babies may wave their hands excitedly when their favourite book comes out and adores touching the shiny wheels in ‘That’s not my Tractor’. However, they can also delay bedtime reading as they try and turn the pages back to the soft fur they had been touching moments ago whilst you are mid sentence. When they realise this tactic doesn’t work they then start to wriggle out of your arms as they spot a cupboard slightly ajar which has to be opened that second so they can proceed to empty the contents of their vests and sleepsuits on the floor!

As your toddler falls asleep surrounded by ten different books (yes corners are bent as they fall asleep awkwardly on an open page and ‘peekaboo’ flaps well used) there is something magical about that ‘picture perfect’ image!

*Russ et al., (2007)

The Truth About Naming Your Baby

Image

Squeals of delight as you announce your pregnancy to your friends is often met with reciprocal excitement and the question of “ooooh I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl” shortly followed by “ have you thought of names?” Some people have chosen their names the second they saw their positive pregnancy test whilst others actually meet their bundle of joy and still have yet to choose a name.
 
Some choose to name their child based on the meaning of a name, others may simply have adored a name since childhood themselves whilst some will name after a family member. Either way parent’s don’t get a second chance to name their baby so this is a pretty important first decision to make (especially since we don’t get to choose our own).
 
Prior to being pregnant, many of us found discussing names with our partners funny and exciting as we revealed to each other the names we have adored since childhood and envisaged calling our own offspring.  In reality, this happens for very few of us! Once you are pregnant and your due date looms nearer, the need to decide on a name becomes pressurised and this excitement tends to fade into the background. All of a sudden the foetus has aged 20 years as you work through their childhood and wonder whether that cute name you adore now will work once they are adults.
 
Surnames can tend to get in the way of favourite first names as the two put together may not work well.  Men in particular seem to be fascinated with certain combinations of first and second names of colleagues or clients they have met …. always keen to share those that sound rude or those with famous names whilst laughing away!
 
Parents to be have a choice of category when it comes to naming their children:

  • Classic
  • Modern
  • Unique

As a parent you can’t always help what the latest trends are or the names that may become famous in the future. There will always be some who don’t like the name you pick and others who pick the identical name as you. Just pick a name that you cherish and hopefully your baby will love it too!  Here are the Top 10 Names for 2014:

 

Harry Amelia
Oliver Olivia
Jack Jessica
Charlie Emily
Jacob Lily
Thomas Ava
Alfie Mia
Riley Isla
William Sophie
James Isabella

What are your favourite names?

One, Two or Three Plus…

Your first baby is born… they are your universe, your world and nothing else matters. Immaculately presented, free from milk or dribble stains they look like a ‘picture perfect’ baby.

Baby number two arrives – you have a sense of overwhelming love for both your children … yet inevitably you divide your attention in two (ok let’s be honest – child number 1 definitely demands far more of your time than your newborn making it an 80:20 split far more appropriate) but you do try.

Pregnancy & Photos
Being pregnant with your first child – you take photos week in and week out of your ever expanding stomach and proudly share it with the world. Your precious baby arrives and a photo captures their every breath, slight movement and those all important milestones. Being pregnant with number two you shy away from the camera – no longer this glowing pregnant woman who has time for exercise, yoga, pilates and mid afternoon naps you now resemble an exhausted if not bedraggled mother running around after your energetic toddler. Baby number two finally arrives … you try so hard to take photos but seem to forget before being consumed with guilt so over compensate by snapping away for the next 24 hours before you ‘forget’ again….and so they cycle continues.

Handbag Effect
Child number 2 is often likened to being your handbag – transported everywhere you go from child number 1’s nursery drop off, playdates, swimming lessons and the list goes on. Can you really imagine taking child number 1 to soft play aged 4 weeks old? Not in a million years, the thought of exposing your newborn to all those germs would have made your stomach turn.  With child number 2 … you don’t even have the time to register that fact – it just happens.

Sibling Behaviour
Child number 1 was cradled so preciously from the moment they entered the outside world – child number 2 has to deal with over affectionate cuddles which in reality are not dissimilar from being smothered or sat on from the second they arrive.

Attention
When child number 1 cried as a baby we rushed to their side immediately. When child number 2 cries – we look over and assess before even thinking about moving. Night time crying is an interesting one – you rush to feed your baby so much quicker 2nd time around in fear that they might wake child number 1 up!!

Cleanliness
Child number 1 received a complete wardrobe change upon the smallest dribble or milk stain. At best child number 2 is cleaned up with a packet of baby wipes and at worst wipes themselves off on other parts of their clothing (or their mum’s clothing)!

If child number 2 is your handbag then from what I’ve been told child number 3 is likened to being an extra limb. We can’t personally comment from experience – we can only imagine …  Irrespective of whether your newborn is child 1, 2, 3 or 3+ they deserve to be spoiled with beautiful baby gifts (more so if child 2, 3 or 3+ due to the inevitable ‘hand me downs’)!!

Whether they are child 1, 2 or 3 make sure you spoil that special newborn baby.