Pond Dipping: Monkey loves pond dipping ever since trying it out at Arundel Wetland Centre just after Kipper was born. Many places offer the activity but our only issue is that inevitably we are already busy on the time or day its available. Ive also found local to us those places that do offer it are not consisitent. We have been caught out thinking it was on only to discover its not leaving one upset little boy. So when we were offered the chance to review a Pond Dipping kit from the Green Board Games Company I wondered if this would be the end to our woes.
We headed over to Warnham Nature reserve to test it out. The reserve itself is popular with many a bird watcher and wildlife photographer. Warnham nature reserve is run by volunteers and has a little cafe at the entrance which sells a selection of snacks and hot and cold drinks. Its very reasonable although the chocolate bars tempt the kids on the way in. There is both inside and outside seating, inside there are toys and books to keep the little ones entertained. To enter the reserve its £2 an adult, children are free. In the centre there is a large lake which you can not really get access to, but with lots of hides around the outside.
It also has a millpond plantation which I thought would be the perfect place to engage in. A but of pond dipping. We have visited before with puddle suits as Monkey loves to splash! Theres a maze of criss crossing raised wooden paths across the reed bed. The perfect place for pond dipping …or so I thought. Its obviously been uncharacteristically dry this year. To get to the millpond area you need to walk around the whole reserve, the terrain is pretty even although you have to watch out for the odd tree root and muddy bit. Thankfully we had our new Omino Stroller
which coped well and meant Kipper was happy to take it all in. It is bright red through so I am not sure that the wildlife photographers approved. Its a lovely walk amongst the woodland and we found loads of wild garlic. Monkey was really interested by it so we picked a couple of leaves which we took home and added to our crustless quiche
And then we reached the Millpond Plantation… Monkey was very excited by the pond dipping kit, laying it all out on the decking. He couldn’t wait to give it a go. The only issue was that there was very little water! In fact many of the reed beds were bone dry. For a place which is normally wet and soggy most of the year round I was annoyed. We still had a nice time eating our lunch on one of the benches but it did mean that Monkey hadn’t really got a chance to try out his new kit. I felt bad because for the next week he asked every morning if he was going to school club and if he wasn’t if he could try out the kit again.
So the following weekend we headed to Southwater Country Park, as they have a large lake with fishing jettys off of the side. We do love the park, visiting a lot in the Summer as there is so much to do there. Not only is it a great outside space but you can also hire canoes and kayaks.
Plus theres a cafe which sells ice creams and jacket potatoes and our much loved Dinosaur Park
. The council has recently made the carpark pay and display to capitalise on the number of visitors the park gets. Other than that its completely free.
As you can get right up close to the lake I knew we would be more successful. Monkey was in his element dipping the little green net in and having a swish around excited by what he may find. The kit also comes with a little notebook to write down what you find and a set of picture cards so that you can easily identify the mini beasts. Everything is reusable. The first thing that Monkey found was tadpoles! Needless to say this invoked a whole conversation about how frogspawn turns into tadpoles and then into frogs. It was very apt because he had brought a book home from school that week that showed the lifecycle of a frog. He wanted to take them home with him… Thankfully Hubby managed to distract him by finding some other creatures – water boatmen, whirly gigs and Mayfly larvae (thanks to the cards). It kept him entertained for well over two hours, I was astounded. He had such a great time, the perfect outside activity.
We had two lovely days out, okay so the first wasn’t exactly as planned. Yet we were still having fun as a family and making memories which I hope will stay with the boys for a long time. I am sure Monkey will always remember the first time he caught frogspawn. Personally I would much rather gift an experience and I know like many other mums I know, recieve one. if you would like to try one of these pond dipping kits out for yourself then they are available from various online retailers including Amazon
So the kit did solve my woes and Monkey’s already talking about the next place we can go pond dipping… I think we will probably stick to the country park for the rest of the Summer. Is there anywhere close to you that you could go pond dipping?
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