Tots Breaks with Haven
Last weekend we were invited back to spend some quality family time with Haven. Back in October we were lucky enough to visit their Rockley Park site in Poole and had a wonderful time. You will know if you are regular readers of Mudpie Fridays that we try to get away once a month. Now Kipper is almost two its important that these breaks cater for his needs as much as the rest of us. Having a four year age gap between the boys means it can be problematic to find breaks that do just that. When Haven told me that they have launched a whole load of new tots activities I hoped this would help solve my problem. Designed to specifically for children aged 0-5, I was looking forward to seeing how Kipper got on with them. So what did we think?
Activities – Hopton Park
The first thing I liked is that there is several places to find out all about the activities which are going on. If you are super organised then you can book in advance by looking at the website and contacting their head office. If like us you tend to have a rough plan but want to be flexible then the new Haven app is a great source of knowledge. For each day of your holiday you can pull up a list of activities, for each one it tells you the time, age range, brief synopsis and where its being held. Prefect if the weather is forcing a rethink of the days plans. At check in you are also a given a paper list of everything which is going on during your stay.
During our holiday I used the app the most, having everything at your finger tips was very convenient. I hope in time that you will also be able to physically book through it too. We took part in six planned activities.
Learn to Scoot
Aimed at 2-6 year olds, costs £5 and lasts 30 minutes. Both boys enjoyed this session although Monkey embraced it more than Kipper did. The idea was to complete a series of scooter tests to gain confidence on three wheels. The preschool expert who was running the session interacted really well with the kids. It wasn’t long until he had Monkey weaving in and out between cones and parking!
Kipper on the other hand wasn’t so sure. Despite being very interested in Monkey’s scooter at home he preferred to be pushed around by us. The instructor was very sympathetic to this meaning Kipper was left to explore the scooter with our help in his own time. We took our own helmets but they were provided along with scooters if you didn’t have your own. All the equipment looked practically brand new. Also because the session took place in the Sports Range, it meant it wasn’t weather dependent. Monkey got on with the instructor so well that he wanted to stay on to do the next activity so we did!
Aimed at 2 – 6 year olds, free and lasts 30 minutes. Kipper decided he would prefer to play on the slide in the little park so we headed out of the Sports Range for an explore. While Monkey took part in what can only be described as organised chaos. Although he thought it was brilliant fun as did all those involved. You could hear the squeals and laughter from outside.
Each participant was given a foam sword and directed to practice proding, before proding each other. At the end there was a competition and Monkey won last man standing. Mini Fencing is one of the Mini Sports range of activities which are offered across the parks.
Nature Rockz – Fire Lighting Techniques
For 6 years+, costs £5 and lasts 60 minutes. This is the only activity we took part in which was too old for Kipper. However we were still able to get involved as a family. While Monkey was learning how to light a fire with a flint and cotton wool. Kipper had good fun finding sticks for the fire and generally rooting around in the mud and leaves. What more does a toddler need?
Once all the children had mastered the use of the flint, a larger fire was built and lit for toasting marshmallows. I really enjoy the Nature Rockz actives after discovering them on our last visit where Monkey made a grass head creation. Each Haven Park has its very own rangers, who are fully trained and offer a whole host of different activities for your little ones to get involved with. All of which involve the outdoors (box ticked). A large number of activities which are suitable for all ages but during our stay this was the one which fitted with our schedule. Their new activities include Leaf Art, Painting Plant Pots and making Stick Creatures.
Aimed at 2-5 years, costs £5 and lasts for 30 minutes. Designed to be a physical session for tots it includes a lot of climbing, jumping, balancing and exploring activities. Kipper particularly liked the soft play elements being entertained no end by the little tunnel. Before opting to line up dots and trying to balance things on top of each other. Watching him construct and play made me realise just how much Kipper is developing at the moment. It was also really nice that he could make the decision on what he chose to do.
Monkey on the other hand made friends with another little boy and had fun constructing the large shapes into impossible towers and houses. Which were only fit for knocking down and starting all over again… Listening to their play we heard all sorts of imaginative stories coming out.
Both boys really enjoyed the free reign the session game them. It took place in the Beach Hut which also meant there was somewhere for adults to sit and grab five minutes piece. The session ended with a couple of nursery rhymes to help settle everyone down before leaving. The following day we also took part in two further activities which were held in the same location.
Aimed at 0-4 years, the session is free and lasts for 45 minutes. The Beach Hut had five different activity stations set up on the floor to allow little ones to choose what they wanted to do. The five we had were:
- Painting with cars, stamps and brushes
- Hand printing
- Stencils and felt tip pens
- Glitter hanging Easter Egg decorations
- Colour matching with drawing and crayons
Kipper headed straight for the felt tips and set about scribbling. He loves felt tips and decided to decorate his hands as well. Before we moved onto the glitter which went everywhere! Not that the lady running the session seemed to mind. She seemed pretty use to cleaning up after the little ones. Monkey gave everything a go. Although he spent the longest time with the paint. It made me feel slightly guilty that we don’t get it out much at home.
Monkey is probably a little on the old side for this activity. However like most kids he will take the materials and adapt it to his needs. So although I wouldn’t choose to do this activity if we were away without Kipper he still had a great time too.
Aimed at 0-4 years, the session is free and lasts for 45 minutes. I took Kipper alone to Sensory Tots so that Monkey could try out the pool. Although we love doing everything as a family its also nice to have some one on one time with each of the boys.
We opened the door to the biggest parachute I have ever seen! Around the outside of the room there were several different stations set up designed to help little ones learn about their senses. There were some changing mats with little mirrors set up for the tiny babies. A series of different smells to match with cards for the older kids. As well as three different touch stations. In the centre a box full of sensory toys, bubbles, windmills and rainbow streamers.
Kipper loved the bubbles. He would have probably played with them for the whole 45 minutes given the opportunity. Instead I encouraged him to match up some of the sensory pairs and build some towers. He liked looking at himself in the mirror as well. Although his favourite seemed to be the parachute, a little nervous at first he took a little time to warm to it. But then he loved rolling around underneath it. To was lovely to watch.
I cant quite believe that we managed to squeeze so much in. Not only did we take part in all these activities but we managed to spend time on the beach at the resort. Monkey went swimming and we spent an afternoon in Great Yarmouth visiting the Sea Life Centre and strip. There was so much to do. I was surprised by just how much of it was free and not weather dependant. It turns out that Haven have managed to create a holiday which is great for both the boys. The activities run throughout the year so are perfect for off season breaks as well. You can watch the boys getting to grips with their activities on a little video I put together below:
Accommodation – Hopton Park
I often envisage mobile homes like they were when I was a little girl. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We had a Platinum mobile home with decking. Which meant it came with blue tooth music throughout, central heating and double glazing. We opened the door into a spacious and well thought out living area. With a flat screen TV (much to Monkey’s delight) and a stylish fire. Theres a fully equipped kitchen with a good amount of cupboard space. Ours had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. There wasn’t enough space in our room to put up the travel cot which meant that Kipper slept in the lounge area. At his age this isn’t too much of a problem and to be honest we probably slept better because of it.
We had towels and linen provided with the Platinum package. Plus the beds were all made up for our arrival. I liked the fact that there were duvets on all the beds rather than just blankets. Water pressure can be a bit of an issue in mobile homes, but the shower was hot and powerful.
Patio doors in the living area lead out onto a small veranda with a small table and chairs. It would be a lovely place to sit in the Summer months and enjoy a glass of wine. We were located on a little close of newer mobile homes. It was the prefect location as the centre was literally a couple of minutes walk away. Just as well since we left the buggy at home by accident. Monkey even made a little friend in the mobile home opposite, which was really nice as they spent some time scooting around together.
Amenities – Hopton Park
In the centre there is also he crazy golf, bungee trampolines and a play area. We saw a number of guests hiring go karts which looked like great fun and is something that we would like to try out once the boys are older. In the centre there is a Pic N Paint ceramic painting studio to keep the little artists amused.
Hopton Park has two pools an inside one and an outside one. When we visited the outside one was shut because of the time of year. The inside pool has a slide for all those over 1m in height which ticked Monkey’s must have box straight away. There was also an infinity pool with a long seat in it which looked over a splash pool for young ones. The main pool was 1.25m deep. There was also a jacuzzi which came on intermittently.
Food wise there is a Papa Johns takeaway, which can he delivered to your mobile home if required. There is also the Garden Restaurant which has giant garden gnomes all around it. Its more like a pub and seres typical pub food. We ate in it several times during our stay and found the staff to be super helpful and friendly. There was a kids menu which could be produced in two sizes. It had what I would call typical kids food – pizza, spaghetti bolognese, fish and chips, burgers, etc.
There is also the Live Lounge which is where all the entertainment happens, both during the day and in the evening. Theres also a shop on site selling essentials and all important bucket and spades and all the necessary crabbing apparatus for a successful fishing trip.
Location – Hopton Park
When we are looking for a holiday location we try to select somewhere which allows us to visit attractions in the local area. Hopton Park has a beach which was a short ten minute walk from our mobile home. It is dependant on the tides as when the tides are in there is no beach. When we arrived the lady at reception explained this and gave us the tide times for our stay.
Just up the road from Hopton park is Great Yarmouth which has a long sandy beach. There are also a lot of attractions in the local area. Including the Sea Life Centre which we visited and Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park. Discounted tickets for both can be brought at reception. There is a detailed map in the reception area which shows where the main attractions are.
We really enjoyed our time at Hopton Park and although we dint get much of a chance to relax the kids were kept fully entertained. And for once there was plenty to keep Kipper entertained too