While schools across the country were breaking up and students were filing out of school gates ready to enjoy their six weeks of free time, we marked what would have been Js last ever day at primary school with a drive down to Kent. It was our first “Educational Field Trip” that we have done as a family. We have done holidays and trips that have included learning opportunities but this one was a weekend with a purpose, and it went fantastically.
We arrive in Kent at lunchtime on Friday, having left fairly late when we were ready rather than rushing to leave early, our first stop was Dover Castle. This is an English Heritage site and would have cost approx £52 for a family, members get in for free. We have New Zealand Heritage membership which allowed us to enter for free and explore. We did the guided tour of the underground tunnels and learnt about the role that they played during world war 2. We learnt about how the Nazi army occupied Europe and operation dynamo, where hundreds of thousands were successfully evacuated from Dunkirk. We then moved up to the Grand Tower, counting the steps as we climbed to the top to enjoy the views. We watched a short film about the dynasty of King Henry 2, who built the castle, and explored the kitchen to see how it would have been.
Our second day was spent at the War and Peace Revival show. There was all sorts of living history reenactors, showing life in the trenches, home front ww2, Vietnam etc. There were tanks in the arena, and battle demonstrations along with fashion, vintage hair salons (I enjoyed getting my hair put into victory rolls) shooting ranges, stalls, vehicles, emergency services, noon day gun, spitfire fly over, a victory tent demonstrating music dancing and fashion of the 40s and so much more that we didnt even get close to seeing! The children were able to have a go holding up a police riot shield against the blows of a police mans baton, shoot at targets using an air rifle and feel the weight of various weapons. A watched the lady in the vintage salon at work and is quite interested in having a go at doing the victory rolls in my hair for me. It was a roasting hot sunny day and we all caught more of the sun than is ideal so when we left the show we took a trip to the beach where we swam out in the sea, watched crabs making their way across the sand and generally played and had fun. Small was especially interested in watching the crab and splashing in the shallow pools. Lets not forget the important learning experience that EVERYTHING is for a 2 year old. Of course it was “play time”… but to feel the different textures of the sand under your feet as you move down the beach from fairly dry and firm to wet and sloppy is an experience in itself, and not one that went unnoticed as he got stuck in digging his hands into the wet sand, picking it up and allowing it to slop back to the floor through his fingers. And the memories of childhood swimming in the sea with mum are just as important as anything else! … (PS) Mums, get your bathers on, stop hiding under your layers reading your books letting the children get on with it! Go swim, splash and play. Children wont remember your stretch marks or wobbly bits…. they will remember the playing and the laughter!!!
Our third and last day was spent at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park.A treat trip after a pretty fully packed, history heavy couple of days. We were lucky to get there nice and early, we saw the wolves playing like puppies running around with their tails wagging before the heat of the sun got too much for them, we saw the tigers also roaming around being very active where usually they are lounging around either basking or seeking shade from the sun. We took the African safari experience trucks which really was a fantastic, though bumpy, experience and enjoyed our walk around the dinosaur forest, which took us back in time through the stages of evolution from fish through to mammoths, just to top off our history themed weekend.
It certainly was a fun and eventful weekend and lovely to have that family time.