Feeding the ducks is a brilliant, free activity* that all toddlers love.
One of the small one’s first words, and still a firm favourite is QUACK. He’s a big fan of the ducks. I’m also a fan, because it gets them outside in the fresh air (it’s not quite ‘educational’ but bordering on it) and if you’re out of the house, they’re not gorming at the TV (I don’t mind a bit of TV-gorming now and again, as you may know if you follow me on social media, my TV is no longer of this world) or demanding messy play activities such as smearing paint on the door handles or grinding Play Doh into the carpet. Win/Win.
If you, like me, fancy braving the duck pond with two toddlers, here is what you need to know.
Always wellies. Even if it’s been dry for a month, wellies. Puddles are like magnets to small people. F!ck you Peppa. You already knew this though. So did I. And yet…
2) You can’t feed bread to the ducks
All our lives, we’ve been doing it wrong. Bread is bad for ducks, and for the water; try not to feel too guilty about the waterfowl and pondlife you may have unknowingly terminated in your youth. You are supposed to remember to bring birdseed. Oats are also suggested, but from experience no bugger will touch them.
This suddenly knocks it up a peg from ‘free activity’, whereby rather than cutting the mould off of the bread before giving it to your toddler to take into preschool, you cut off the mould and feed it to the ducks instead – to one you have to visit a pet shop or garden centre and spend cash to prepare for. Of course there will be someone there with a loaf of bread anyway and you’ll have stop yourself from saying something. I never, ever expected myself to get all judgeypants about feeding the ducks. Motherhood really does change you.
3) Swans are mean and geese are evil
The problem is, it’s never just ducks. Where there are ducks, there are their evil bastard bird friends. Ducks are cute and small and when they follow you about it’s funny and you can pretend you are a duck god. When you have a bloody great swan chasing after your toddler, visions of broken arms and death by pecking flash in front of your eyes.
4) If you have more than one child, they are going to head off in different directions.
This is annoying at the best of times, but next to a big body of water, it could be lethal. The big one is to all intents and purposes very sensible, but she’s not the world’s best scooter-er, and is apparently deaf to my calls. The small one is a suicidal div, who wants to go and live in the pond with the quack quacks and stick his fingers into the beaks of the geese and ride the swans.
5) Ten minutes is about enough
It doesn’t matter how much bird seed or how many peas you remember to bring; toddlers don’t get the whole ‘pacing themselves’ thing and chuck all the food in in one go. After that it’s just looking at ducks and trying not to let them fall in. You might be able to push it to half an hour if you have nerves of steel. More an, uh, it’ll drive you quackers. So, so sorry.
I think that about covers it. Enjoy!
*Although there will be many bills. AHAHAHAHA. Sorry. Water-fowl pun.