Daily activities in Berkshire for a toddler which won’t break the bank!

So something people always always say to me is that me & Nate are out every single day doing something. I absolutely hate staying in & I get massive mum guilt when we do. The only times I’ll stay in for the whole day is if we are poorly. I always make sure we leave the house every day & I think this is so important for Nate. I went back to full time work last year & Nate was in Nursery 3 full days a week. This meant he was soclaising and learning new things and he really did! He would come back with lots of new skills. So where I had to leave my job, I’m with Nate all the time but I don’t want him to miss out on these vital development skills and milestones. Nate has always been advanced and I would hate for him to fall behind.

Obviously maternity wage is difficult & being a stay at home mum is even tougher on the wallet. However, getting out everyday doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get out another mortgage. There are very affordable things in your area if you dig about! Here are my favourite things to do in berkshire which won’t break the bank!

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One of the most easiest things to do are local parks! I live in a new estate in Wokingham and very very very lucky to have an amazing park literally a stone throw away from my house- I mean, I even take a coffee down there 😅 I find this so handy because if I spend the morning cleaning and then nate wakes from his nap early afternoon, it’s good to go down there for an hour or so. I sometimes take a picnic rug and some snacks too. It’s also so handy when you’ve done something during the day but not quite ready to go Home yet! I don’t have a garden yet so we are down there a lot catching some rays!

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Dinton pastures- one of my favourite places ever is Dinton Pastures Country Park. I’ve been going there since I was little and the park definitely has changed a lot since then! I have lots of memories of the stream and having picnics. I will say, parking is a little on steep side as it’s £1.50 for an hour and the lake takes an hour to walk round – you’ll need another 1-2 hours for the park and café etc. Nate absolutely loves the ducks, mama does not! I have a huge phobia of geese, swans, ducks, peacocks. Anything with feathers and that can chase you. The park is absolutely massive and there’s something for all ages. The outside area in the café is also nice as it’s mostly all outside. They also have the riverside kiosk and crazy golf which is a nice touch too. Also there is a water activists part which is canoes and pedalos etc! Definitely want to take the boys on the pedalos this summer!

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Great hollands pavilion– So this is brand new and I can honestly say I can see myself hanging out a lot here this summer! It has a splashpad and park right next to it with picnic tables too! Plus a little cafe. It is set in a huge field, so theres enough to keep kids entertained. We took a picnic up and sat at the tables however a lot of people were sat on the field with their picnics. Taking your own lunch/picnic cuts out a huge cost. We ended up just buying a coffee. The park is also good as for smaller toddlers like Nate, there is a small part and then they have to climb to get to the bigger part. Nate is unable to climb it so it means I can relax knowing he can only stay in the safe part. This has my approval, big thumbs up from me!

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Locks ride recreation ground- This is about a 10 minute drive from me and it is such a good place for the kids!!!!! It has a small splash pad, however please note- the splashpad comes on certain times a day. It also has a huge park with sand. It even has hammocks in the sand! It has bbq with picnic tables which is perfect for Summer. One of my favourite features is that it has an ice cream cabin!!!! How amazing! Soft cone ice creams! Can’t really go to a park in the sunshine and not get ice cream?! It also has coffee, cold drinks etc.  This is so lovely and makes it unique in my eyes.

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FBC centre- This is the Finchampstead children’s centre. The park is SO good!!! I think this is Nates favourite as it has lots of hills and ups and downs. It is all up high and he can run round on all the bridges etc. After the park, we tend to go over to the track. This is where kids go round a painted on track on their bikes, scooters etc. I’m getting Nate a micro scooter for his 2nd birthday so at the moment he goes round on his scuttle bug which he loves!  It also has a cafe which sell an unreal jacket potato with roasted veg! However, I tend to take a packed lunch for us both and just buy a coffee.

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Children centres & toddler play group- So I’m really lucky in where I live that theres SO many children centres. There is about 5 in Wokingham district then a further 5 in Bracknell which I sometimes sneak into. If I don’t have plans for the day then I go onto the timetable which can be found by typing into google ‘Wokingham children centre timetable’ and a link comes up as a PDF.  I then go along to whichever group is on the day in whichever children centre. They are really good, and free! It is so important at this age for Nate to get out everyday and socialise with other children. He is truly in his element running round spoilt for choice with toys and activities and children to play with. They always finish with nursery rhyme singing too.

On a Tuesday, I’ve found my most favourite toddler play group. It is in Lower early and is £1 entry but it is so so so worth it. It’s in a huge hall with a bouncy castle, stacks and stacks of toys. Also there is a art/craft corner which they can paint or use play do, or colour in or make some sort of masterpiece! They also provide tea or coffee and some juice in a sippy cup for the toddlers! At the end, the kids sit in a circle for nursery rhyme time. They also do a Friday sing type group and we haven’t been yet but on our next free Friday, we will 100% be going along.

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Walk/ trike to Wokingham town- I live about 20 minutes from Wokingham town centre so we like to walk up there. Nate got a trike for his Birthday so he loves to use that when we can! It folds up so can go in my car. We mainly go for the actual walk and then stop for coffee. They have also made a new park at Elms that we need to check out! It’s a good way of getting out the house and we can mooch around the shops.

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Pet shop- Nate absolutely is obsessed with animals so sometimes I’ll take him to a pet shop to see the animals! We tend to go to Pets at home.

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Ladds Garden centre- This is a garden centre but it is actually unreal for kids! You can go all around the feathers and fur part which is owls, eagles, hawks etc. So many cute owls! There is also a cafe and softplay for kids too. There are huge koi fish outside which Nate cries when we have to leave. Inside there are reptiles and fish, we are talking huge snakes, dragons etc. You can see by Nates face how much he liked the fish! Then upstairs is where the rabbits, guini pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, degus are. THEN the dreaded bird part!!!!!!!!! My phobia is birds. I checked with the woman and she said the ones roaming free can’t actually fly. There are 3 different rooms, one with small pretty aqua blue birds. There was the biggest rainbow parrot! it was beautiful. Warning- some of the parrots can TALK! it legit said HELLO!!!!!! Make me crap myself. Last but not least, there are pups! who doesn’t love pups! Overall, this gets a big thumbs up from me!!! There is so much to do and see for just a garden centre.

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Strawberry picking-  On fathers day we decided to go strawberry picking and wanted to go to Grays farm as it is down the road however it is closed every Sunday!! We ended up going to Copas farm which was nice. However, I do recommend Grays as it has every fruit and veg you can think of! There is just nothing better than fresh picked strawberries, Nate is OBSESSED. So obsessed that he didn’t even fancy picking them, he fancied eating them on the go!

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Beach- Who doesn’t love a cheeky lil beach trip! It was a spontaneous trip to the Beach one sunny Sunday and it was so lovely! We ended up going to Bournemouth beach, parking was steep and hard to find a space but we drove round and got one in the carpark on the beach front! I love Bournemouth so much because there is so much to it. After the Beach we strolled through a massive grass area which had a stream going through it and everyone was sat on the grass areas having picnics etc. The high street is also amazing and so many shops! There is also a pier with arcade games on which is fun! It took us about 1hr40 to get there but the kids slept on the way home which was good!b534701c-b8cf-467d-8905-701d6084822d

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Walk to woodford paddling pool park & Woodley precinct-  This is one of my favourite activities for the summer! My mum lives a 10 minute walk from Woodley precinct so we walk or trike up there. There are shops and many places to have coffee! Also some lunch in Bosco Lounge. The precinct is a short walk away from Wokingham park which has a fun park for kids and the famous paddling pool! I’ve been going there since I was a kid! It is free, lots of parking at the paddling pool too which is free. I can’t fault it! You can get ice lollies and drinks from the leisure centre which is where the paddling pool is.  It is just so so so so good for kids! There are tables and lots of shades areas. Nate absolutely loves it, and it isn’t deep. He will walk to the centre and it will be at his waist – if that! The only thing is- it can get very busy at peak times. Nate doesn’t seem to mind though!

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Coral reef or carnival pool- Just keep swimming!!!!! Nate has always been a water baby.  We go to Coral Reef or Carnival Pool. However when he was really little we went to a leisure centre pool as he was in a float seat and there was no point taking him to a fun place when he couldn’t do any of the fun bits! Coral Reef is good as it has a shallow part for kids with splash bits and little slides, there is a little slide on the huge pirate ship in the middle too. The only thing is, it can be a little expensive and I’ve attempted to go at the weekend once and there was the BIGGEST QUEUES EVER!!!! All the way out the door so it was a no from us and I’ve since only ever been during the week. I’m not sure what it will be like now as it is Summer holidays. Carnival Pool is very good, it was about £3 for the both of us and Nate loves the children pool. There is a mini slide and water cans and splash parts. Having armbands made it so much easier to take him in the bigger pools as he kind of floats. He loved jumping in and out! There is a bigger slide too which Malakai loved however it goes into the deep pool so Nate was way too small for it and it needs two adults.  It is down the road from me and there is a Burger King opposite! Obligatory Burger King after swim! Literally everyone in there is always from the pool! Parking is good as you park in the multi story and it is free for 2 hours if you use the pool.

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Jungle mania- My favourite softplay. It used to be Kids in Action (R.I.P You’re greatly missed) However since that shut down, Jungle mania is the next best thing. It is in Woodley near my mums and it is the perfect size. It isn’t too big so you can see your child even if you choose to sit down on the tables. It is around £3. It also has a big floor space with little tikes cars. Theres also another soft play bit for under 2s which Nate loves, it has a mini slide which goes into a ballpit. My child is a daredevil though and goes straight into the big part!!!! He then ventures into the small part. I’ve also tried Jakes in sandhurst, I just thought it was busy, dark, stressful and expensive!!! I quite like Monkey mates however I thought it was a little dirty. We also like the mini soft plays in Wyevale garden centres.

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Red Kangeroo- I WISH this was a thing when I was a kid!!!!!! It is SOOOO fun! I can’t even confirm who enjoys it more, me or Nate. Honestly, Nate is in his elements, running round playing! He loves jumping into the foam pit too. It is very reasonable priced at around £6. There is also a toddler session which is amazing as it means no big kids can bump into Nate or sending him into the roof with a double bounce. The toddler sessions are always quite quiet – max 10 other toddlers , so Nate can properly run around and not get in any other kids pathways. THUMBS UP!!!!!! Just remember to bring your red kangaroo socks with you every time 🙂 I keep ours in his backpack.

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Baking- Easy and fun for them to do! and working those motor skills! I picked this Paw patrol one up for £1. Nate loved doing the stirring (and eating the mixture) He loved being involved and loved eating the cakes even more LOL. I recommend for a rainy afternoon!

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The White Horse pub,  Wokingham- If you fancy a bev or a pub lunch then this is the one! It is child friendly and has lots of outdoor toys which kept the kids entertained!

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Bracknell summer of fun! YOU ALL NEED TO GET ON THIS! It is amazing! We went to the one in Great Hollands, however the location changes every week. Some weeks there are even two! They are so good for the kids and FREE! It was a fun day out, I took a picnic and Nate had a blast! I’ve attached a picture of the timetable.

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California country park- So I’m going to be brutally honest about this one. I’ve only taken Nate once, when he was smaller. It has a MASSIVE pool for kids and it clean and lovely. HOWEVER, tad expensive!? Parking was not cheap at all, then you also have to pay for the paddling pool!!!!! Also, there is no where to sit around the paddling pool. You end up sitting on your towels on the water edge. I mean it is ok, I would probably go again…. Maybe once if we had exhausted this list of things to do. I won’t be rushing back though.

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So the next days out are a little more reaching into the bank account. If you have the extra dosh then YAS go for these! They’re fab days out. Also I’m not talking mega expensive here, I’m talking £20-£30 for the day.

Showcase Cinema- I took Nate to the cinema to see Toy Story 4 and had SO many messages asking how he was. I used to take Nate to baby cinema before he was crawling and he used to fall asleep on my lap. It gave me a chance to watch a new film.  If you don’t know what baby cinema is then you need to know! It is £5 for you and baby and every Thursday. (this may have changed, I haven’t been since Nate was 8 months old) It is just for parents and babies and buggies galore! It is so good, and best thing is no one judges you when baby cries as it is kinda the whole point! But anyway, Nate is an almost two year old now and cinema. For the first hour he was absolutely golden. I took my mum along with me because I straight up told her if he acts up then please take him home because this is my childhood film and I WANNA SEE IT!!! LOL. But anyway, so he was sat on mine or my mums lap and we honestly pumped him with snacks. Im talking nachos, he loved the cheese dip (Nate loves a dip, ketchup etc) He then moved onto the popcorn and he full on was shoving his whole hand in and scoffing! He was watching the film as he has started to watch films and actually sit and watch them. All was well, then THAT SUGAR RUSH HIT!!! Imagine a hyper toddler running up and down the cinema aisle. Nightmare. So mum took him outside for the last 30 mins and apparently he was running round in circles around the snack bar. Touche, you have fun Nate, aslong as mummy can watch Toy story 4 undisturbed. I do kind off think the hour 30 was a little too long for him to be sat in one place. At home he will watch a film but will go grab his car whilst still watching etc. I do recommend going, however maybe on the snack front- take some nice fruit. NON sugar. But then again- cinema without popcorn?! criminal offence.

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Coppa club & walk down Sonning river- One of my fave establishments. How good is Coppa club though?! Good menu, good location, Good vibes!!!! We go for lunch, usually sat outside and then venture down to the front grass bit which has lots of deck chairs with a BEV. Nate runs around causing mischief, however there are gates to the river and out the restaurant so he is safe. We then head down the river for a walk, Sonning is so beautiful! I recommend! PLUS, there are mini deck chairs for Nate! Deal breaker, I love it.

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Beale Park- This is such a lovely day out. Priced around £11-13 per person. There is so much to do here though! Zoo, Train, paddling pool, loads of parks. There is also a little tikes village!!! A track with all little tikes cars etc with the dolly houses etc!! Nate LOVED this part. I really do love it here and recommend!!!!! We saw meerkats! HOWEVER, warning- THERE ARE PEACOCKS ROAMING AROUND. I truly believe Peacocks are up there, possibly even taking the crown for the worst bird in the world. You think there all chill and pretty and a normal bird walking around then BOOM their feathers go up like a handheld fan. Terrifying. Devastating. Traumatic. I’m sure one chased me as a child and thats why I feel the way I do. Anyway, no one else seems to see the same danger as me as they roam about the park. One was coming towards us and I had to leave Nate with mum and save myself. I legged it. Awful. There were two BLOCKING the cafe entrance. I just wanted a mozzarella and tomato panini but NO. The cafe had bodyguards. It didn’t ruin my day but it definitely raised my stress levels on the day.  If you are ok with peacocks then you should definitely go to Beale Park!

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Odds Farm- Suchhhh a cute farm! It is so so good! Lots of animals and then also lots and lots of parks!!!! We went during lambing season so saw all the babies. It was £10 each however I think this may be more now as it is high season. Anyway, Thumbs up from me, I recommend and will definitely be going back.

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Bucklebury- Another lovely farm!!! Possibly even my fave. Lots of animals and parks again. What makes it truly special though is the deer part. You go on a little train thing and drive around the deers. You then stop and get to feed them. They come right up to you and eat out your hand! Nate loved it. Again price was £10 per person. We went during lambing season and even got to bottle feed a lamb! I have a youtube video of the day- This was filmed a year ago and was Nates first ever farm trip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPN4PyJk6Uw

 

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Wellington country park – We went for the first time last week and it was UNREAL! Can’t recommend this enough!!!! Heaps to do. We went early and headed straight to the splash pad which was MASSIVE!!! They also have a dinosaur part which is about 40 dinosaurs in little exhibits and they were huge! Nate was honestly obsessed! He LOVES dinosaurs! He was running up to them pointing and just staring in amazement. There are loads of parks also dotted around. There is a jumping pillow which Nate loved but may have been a little small for. Lots of picnic tables dotted around, a cafe and lots of sand pits! There is also a train, only annoying part is you have to pay £1 separately for the train, I thought it should have been included in the price. It was £12 each. (Nate free) They also have soft Cornish ice cream yum! Nate also loved the little digger car things! There was also a farm! Honestly this place has everything, it was amazing and so much for the price! It had sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens, alpacas!

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I hope you enjoyed this blog post! I hope it helps you out in the Summer holidays. I’m always on the hunt for new things to do so if you have anything in mind you think me and Nate would like then please get in touch! I’d love hear!! If you do go to any of these places after reading this blog then please do let me know! I’d love to know how you found it and if this is something people would like to read about in future – days out we do and activities etc.

 

Lots of love, Daisy & Nate x

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