Tuesday, 26 August 2014

What an A-MAZ-ing day #newthings

I have been asked to be apart of the CSMA Club New Things campaign where over the next four week I along with a few other bloggers will be set new challenges to do with my family each involving #newthings. The idea behind it all is that UK psychologist Dr. David Holmes came up with a scientific formula to booking the perfect holiday which stated that the best holiday memories are created when you try something new. Whether it’s introducing your family to a new recipe, visiting an attraction you’ve never seen before or just playing a new game, a unique activity leaves a stronger impression in your memory and helps you and your family remember the fun times you had together.

Our first challenge has been to visit a new place. We love visiting new places as a family and the time we spend doing so has become very precious over the last few months due to our strange in-between living arrangements; camped up with family until we finally get into our new house. With the boys only being 2 and 4 I don't like to travel too far in the car, as too long a journey can spoil a great day. So I started to think about places that we always pass and say "we should go there" but we never get around to. When planning a day out with my boys (that includes my husband too) it has to be practical and hands on to be successful. They get the most enjoyment when they are in the thick of it, not viewing it from the sidelines. So we decided to go to the Milton Maize Maze, the perfect place for hands on exploration.

Forget about my boys being excited, I was leaping around and raring to go too. We must have past the maize maze hundreds of times on our journeys in and out of Cambridgeshire and been intrigued by all of the activity on the site around it from go-karts and animals to a farm shop. I was really surprised when we got out the car and saw just how much there was to see and do; bouncy castles, tractor rides, a fire engine! Wow! 

We headed straight for the Maize Maze on arrival, after all that is what we came for and we figured it might take us quite a while to work our way around it. My husband took the map and my four year old took the lead, he was determined to find his way around and collect his stamps for his paper map. It was quite interesting hearing my husband trying to negotiate with him about which way we should be going, and which way he wanted to go. My son won. He walked us around in quite a few circles, and I really enjoyed letting him take the lead and make his own decisions. I love new learning experiences like this and seeing just how much my kids get out of it. I was surprised at how undaunted my four year old was by the maize as it towered above our heads, and he enjoyed looking at the crop itself and spotting corn. I loved his concern that someone else had trampled some of the crop and how he carefully moved it to the side of the path, so that no-one else could step on it. Sometimes I think it takes an activity like this to really step back and be able to see the young leaders and men that I am nurturing in their element. 

We loved going up on the walkway towers which had all of the united kingdom flags on them. We could see the maze below and just how much more we had to do, as well as how far we had come. My youngest started to flag a little, two is a tricky age and his desire to chase after his brother and keep up soon became the desire to be carried on shoulders. I think when you're small sometimes its nice to see what you're doing from higher up. The maze has two levels this year (as they grow a new one every year) and we only completed level one as our little explorers were tired. However they got a new lease of life when they saw the tunnels, the tower of tyres to climb up, on and through, the bouncy castle slide, the animals and a few other things. I was impressed with just how much there was to do. We just went for the afternoon, but we could have easily gone for the whole day and taken a picnic lunch. 

The boys beelined towards the fire engine and had great fun clambering inside to take a look and worked out what was what. They already have such an interest in how things work and learning more about the mechanics of it all. They also had a go at pumping a duck around with water from a hand pump (Daddy had to help as it was a bit stiff and needed some elbow grease). We then worked around the activities they wanted to go to and have a bit of a nosy. I love days where we have the space to choose what we want to do together and just have extra time just to explore.

The water pump

The boys talked about the maze all the way home and it was fun to hear about how much they had enjoyed it. The good thing about it being made of maize is that next year the maze will be new again and we will have more exploring to do. This year our four year old was a bit on the young side to be shown the map but I think next year he will be ready to learn all about it, and how to navigate using it. 

Overall we will be talking about the Maize Maze for a while to come and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the Cambridgeshire area. 

Look out for my other three posts about the activities we have been doing as a family and trying out #newthings along the way and feel free to check out the CSMA Club as they have plenty of ideas for free attractions and places to visit around the country.  They also have a page to give you some ideas on fun activities to try that don't cost too much: Ten Cheap Things To Do with The Kids

1 comment:

  1. It sounds as though we may have a couple of future Maze Marshals in the making!