Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Space and Steam!

Last week we visited The Space Centre with Families United. It's a multi-sensory centre for special needs children and we had a wonderful time!

Bee loves soft play anyway but when you throw in some funky lights, bubble tubes, sensory wall and a great big slide, she was in playtime heaven!

The moment she got a peep through the door the the centre beyond she wanted to be away. She wriggled so much to be off and playing that it took me a minute to get her shoes off!

Once in she wasn't still for a minute and headed straight for the bubble tubes, discovering a box of musical instruments on the way. Of course, she had to give them a good nibble but then made some lovely music with the shakers.

We climbed the padded stairs and tried the slide, although she would only go down with Mummy or Grandma, never solo. Bee has never been keen on slides. She's always struggled to hold herself in a sitting position and seems to be afraid of lying down on one. Still, with Grandma or Mummy holding on it's much more fun!

Bee's favourite has always been the ball pool. She loves to sit in them, throw the balls around and shout "ba!" Today was no exception. It was a very deep pool, she got a little overwhelmed every time she started to sink and would ask to be taken out. Consequently we spent a lot of time in-out-in-out-in-out of the ball pool. 

That's a girl having a good time

Sadly our session was only an hour and it passed way too quickly. At the end I don't know who was more tired: myself, Bee or my Mum!

We'd already decided to go on and do something nice after Space, so we spent our afternoon on the Ribble Steam Railway. It's a little gem tucked away near the marina in Preston with a lovely steam train journey, museum, workshops and cafe. Your (very cheap) admission price gives you unlimited train rides and access to the museum and we got an even better bargain as Bee was free and my Mum and I got in for the 'carers' price! Win!

I've never been on a steam train before and I wasn't prepared for how much I would love it. The smell of the steam, the sound the train made, it was a wonderful experience. Bee seemed to enjoy it too. She knocked on the windows, waved at the pedestrians we passed, pottered up and down the carriage using the walls for support... it was brilliant to watch her enjoy it.

Enjoying the view with Grandma

The journey was a lovely one, winding past the marina and running parallel to a river for a mile and a half before returning the same way. Bee managed "ba" for boat but train has proved a little more elusive for her. So far "bum bum", meaning brum brum, is as far as we've got. The 't' sound of train is something Bee has mastered yet though, most of her words are 'soft' sounds like 'b, m, p', she has very few 'hard' sounds.

We had enough time before they closed to have two journeys on the train. The first we spent in a carriage at the back of the train where Bee enjoyed standing on Grandma's knee and looking out of the window. I tried standing at the open window with her but she became a little agitated by the feel of the passing breeze on her face.

For our second trip we tried the 'Harry Potter' carriage: the posh little compartments further down the train. It was actually quite exciting, really like travelling in a by-gone age. Bee was happy sat by the window for a short time but her inquizative nature got the better of her and she was off the seat and cruising towards the door. Interested to see how confident she would be walking down a moving (and unfamiliar) train I opened the door and let her go for it! There was no stopping her then, she made it all the way down the carriage by following the walls then onwards through the next carriage to the end of the train! Success! Not only a fair distance to walk with only the wall for support, but on a moving train too! After that it was a breeze for her to walk back and forth, back and forth between the compartment and the end of the train, with a little door-playing in between!

Waving to Mummy

So all-in-all it was a fantastic trip out and my little miss was all tuckered out by the end of the day!

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