Monday, 5 May 2014

Were going on a Gruffalo Hunt!

We decided to celebrate a rare extra family day together of a bank holiday Monday, with a Gruffalo hunt.  To celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the book, there are events taking place all over the country, and we thought today would be a lovely day to take the Aj's to Haldon forest park for theirs day, as we like to try new places and explore different surroundings. 

So after we had packed a lunch, and the other typical items needed for a day out with the kids, all but the kitchen sink etc etc, as well as Arthur's adventure back pack binoculars and other exploring essentials, we headed out for an hour long drive across beautiful moorland.  The scenery was beautiful, and Alyssa soon fell asleep in the car, so Arthur and I spotted cows and sheep and we talked about other points of interest we could see, until we had obviously bored him too much as he fell asleep too, which turned out to be very lucky for us in the end.

We arrived at Haldon Forest to find it rammed, we were expecting a little bit busy as it was a bank holiday, but this was like the whole of the South West of England had had the same idea, we drove round and round the car park willing a space to appear, and being beaten by the car in front multiple times, as well as a number of incidents where friends physically blocked spaces whilst phoning directions for friends.  Soon Arthur woke, excitedly asking "are we here?' and we had no place to park, and had to give up!  How do you explain to a toddler that we have sat in a car for over an hour for nothing, and no Gruffalo hunting is going to happen??

Then daddy said we would go to another forest on the way home, so we told Arthur we hadn't reached the forest yet!  We soon arrived at Stover country park and first thing to do was fill our bellies with our pack lunch, Arthur excitedly said he was having lunch with a gruffalo.  Then we started on our walk, telling Arthur that we may not see a Gruffalo but we will look really hard, whilst secretly thinking what are we going to do?  But with a bit of imagination, and almost expert knowledge of the book, we soon ended up having the best Gruffalo hunt ever. 

We started off explaining to Arthur that we needed to look for signs of the Gruffalo, like foot prints in the mud, broken branches where he had walked past, and signs of food.  Within minutes of starting we had found broken bits of pine cones on a bench and I told Arthur they were remains of the Gruffalo's lunch,  then we spotted broken branches, and strange prints in the mud.  We soon arrived by a lake, and a sign said there were snakes in the habitat, so I told Arthur, this was the lake where the mouse was meeting the Gruffalo and we searched for the snakes logpile house, which we found.  We also went on an tree top walkway and spotted a tree top house for owl.  Other things we found were underground houses for fox and mouse, a nut casing were mouse had enjoyed his nut.  We also found the Gruffalo's home, but he was out, and a large pool of water were he had his baths. 

Alyssa loved stomping through the woods and squelching through the mud, and really enjoyed looking at the river and learning to say it "Wiwa," as well as spotting Ducks and saying "wack wack!"  She also liked wearing the binoculars and looking through them, but mainly just the opportunity to get out and about and go for a walk, she walked for miles bless her, just like Arthur at her age, which is worrying as it means I will have two small people who never seem to get tired!!!  So a bit of imagination and quick thinking saved the day, I have to say that the most memorable part of it was when Arthur got stuck in some mud, and daddy had to rescue him, and when he pulled him up, his welly stayed behind.  

Prepared for adventure

Inspecting the remains of the Gruffalo's lunch

Snake spotting

The lake

Snake's log pile house

Owls tree top house

Alyssa the adventurer

Mouse's underground house

The Gruffalo knocked a tree over!

Arthur found a nut and the nut looked good!

Gruffalo's house

Arthur being a stick in the mud!!

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