The world’s BIGGEST weaning event for babies opened its doors a couple of weeks ago on Thursday 14th May at Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens and we were lucky enough to be part of it.
Created by Ella’s Kitchen, The BIG Wean was designed for little ones from 4 to 16 months. The idea was to collectively experience new tastes for the very first time, as they got started on or progressed with their exciting weaning journey.
Parents were invited to attend the BIG Wean with their little ones for a two hour session 11am – 1pm or 2pm – 4pm. We chose the morning session to fit with Ted’s routine and after a rather frought journey into London, we had a great time exploring our senses with the Ella’s Kitchen Big Wean team.
The event was held in the beautiful Nash Conservatory in Kew Gardens. Upon arrival we were treated like celebrities as security rushed to shield us from the rain with their huge umbrellas and rather than valet park our car, they provided valet parking for pushchairs! What a great start to the day.
Upon entrance each parent was greeted with a goodie bag filled with age appropriate Ella’s Kitchen food, a bowl and spoon and a rather fancy BIG Wean bib (which turned out to be very necessary!)
The conservatory had 2 sensory play experience areas providing an exciting opportunity for the little ones to engage their senses and explore a range of fruits and vegetables. There were big buckets filled with broccoli, carrots, bananas, limes, leeks and many more wonderful foods. The babies were allowed explore them as the wished and the parents encouraged them to use their senses. Ted licked them, bit them, smelled them, rolled them and threw them. He put each fruit or vegetable well and truly through it’s paces. No vegetable was left unturned, or unharmed!
The BIG Wean team also provided miniature herb gardens filled with thyme, basil, mint etc. The parents could help their little ones to touch each herb and smell it too. Ted was not so keen on this activity and scrunched his nose up time and time again; but what a wonderful experience and one I would not have thought of providing him at home. The sensory play areas provided the little ones with experiences they have most probably not had before and may not have again. Ted has eaten each of those foods within his meals but we have never thought to just let him explore the foods whole in that way. It was fascinating to watch and he had a great time as you can see in the photos below.
All that sensory play meant the conservatory was full of hungry babies. The Ella’s Kitchen Wean team provided an eating area of 100 high-chairs readily available for when each baby decided it was lunch or tea time. Ted wolfed down his Ella’s Kitchen pouch and his Ella’s Kitchen Puffits and showed off his new skill of using the beaker one-handed without help.
Alongside the eating area was an enormous television screen playing the clips from the new Ella’s Kitchen Weeny Weaning Channel. Obviously he couldn’t tell me himself but I’m pretty sure Ted was very proud of his appearance in the clips! The weaning hub is a fantastic resource for parents starting, or on, the weaning journey. With clips ranging from how to start the weaning process, to what to avoid and information on allergies.
The Ella’s Kitchen Wean team also provided extra support and help for mums + dads by having nutritional experts on hand to answer any questions, share advice and provide help with any challenges they may be facing. This was a gem. How many parents have a nagging question about weaning that they wish they could ask an expert? Ella’s Kitchen provided just that.
For those amongst us who love a visual display the Wean Team had provided all the information you need to know for the weaning process on a huge colourful weaning journey map representing the different stages of weaning. Ted had a good read and we picked up some handy hints. If you’d you’re your own weaning journey guide you can find out more about them here.
After lunch and a fair few minutes admiring himself on the big screen it was time to head home; full, happy and tired.
Thank you Ella’s Kitchen for providing this sensory experience for Ted and other little ones to enjoy. We had a great time. Now where’s that cauliflower?!