No doubt if you have a child under five, there will be a handful of books you have read at least 50 times (although it feels more like 500). One of our favourites and one that mummy doesn’t mind reading over and over is ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson. So when the Forestry Commission started advertising a Gruffalo trail on Facebook a few weeks back, I knew that it would be a perfect outing for my pair.
At two and a half, my twins have started resisting their afternoon naps but I’ve noticed this only happens on days we don’t get out. Clearly they need the fresh air and a run about. If we have to run in the garden for half an hour so they sleep that’s something I’m more than happy to do. However, if we’ve got somewhere fun to let off some energy, all the better.
This week we headed to Hicks Lodge, near Ashby de la Zouch in the midlands for our Gruffalo adventure but there are trails all over the country and so there’s bound to be one near you. Before we set off, I downloaded the augmented reality app (see link above) on my iPad. Basically, as you follow the route, you point your device at certain locations and animated characters from the book appear. You can also take photos with you children and the characters. It was great to use a larger screen although this could have been done on a phone too.
We wellied up and headed along the path. Wellies are a must as muddy puddles are a plenty. At toddler speed, it was about a five minute walk between each clue. Here there were spinning wheels and holes to look through. After a couple of checkpoints, you reach the first interactive animal. My girls thought it was amazing and mummy was impressed too.
Getting a photo was trickier than I’d imagined as the girls couldn’t see what they were supposed to be posing with. I did get a few but actually got some far better woodland ones. The setting was beautiful and if the weather had been warmer, a picnic midway overlooking the lake, would have been lovely.
We did the circuit in about 1hr 15min although we did rush as we’d only paid for an hour car parking(£1). This would be possible with older children but daudling toddlers care not for parking charges. You can also buy a Gruffalo spotters kit from the cafe for £2.50 but we decided not to bother.
A great trip out and if you haven’t read the Gruffalo (where have you been?) now is the time to find a copy and enjoy a mini adventure with mouse, fox, snake and owl.