Tag Archives: games

The Lollibop 2013 Queen Elizabeth Park

29 Aug

We are a Lollibop loving family who have made it our mission to attend the festival for little people ever year. With its new location (Queen Elizabeth Park) in Stratford, we couldn’t wait for this years event.

So… What did we think?

This year attending the event was myself and my sister, her 3 year old toddler Amy and my daughter Alice and toddler Harley. We opted to visit this years event on the Saturday (day two of this three day festival). With the new location being in Stratford this was meant to make it a whole lot simpler to get to! That was true except London Transport had decided that Saturday would be the perfect day for some engineering works on the DLR completely throwing our travel arrangements into chaos. This meant that instead of the one DLR train into Stratford we found ourselves having to take two trains, making our journey a little longer than first planned.

Once we arrived in Stratford we found there were plenty of staff designated along the main route to the festival to guide festival goers in the right direction. We arrived in the afternoon and given there had been a little rain that day the festival wasn’t as packed as I’d first expected which was fine by us as we got to do some of the things we had previously missed out on last year such as face painting and various other activities.

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We saw Katie from cbeebies ‘I Can Cook’ and also Sid and Andy entertaining little festival goers in a big top style tent. The characters dotted around the festival were awesome, there was always someone to surprise us and make the kids laugh. This lovely bird was one of our favourites from the day…

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The kids also had meet and greets with the Mr Men (much to the toddlers delight)! We had great fun getting creative. The kids used stamps to decorate Bandannas and we all enjoyed making sheep out of clay.

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I think the biggest highlight of the day was watching the little ones get their groove on as they danced half the afternoon away. My three year old niece also bagged herself a prize in one of the dance offs and Harley was still dancing on the way home.

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On site this year there was plenty of toilets avoiding long queues and little accidents. A buggy parking lot was provided which was undercover just incase of unexpected rain (which we experienced a little off throughout the afternoon) what’s more the buggy park was attended meaning we didn’t have to worry about our buggy going walk about.

The staff on the day were most helpful and we enjoyed a good proportion of our time down by the Heart FM tent were the kids had their face painted, danced to the music and played with the giant outdoor games provided, while we were able to relax and take a breather on one of the many deck chairs dotted about outside the tent.

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We brought our own picnic along this year and found that there were plenty of picnic benches dotted around the festival site. Out stuff wasn’t to badly priced such as the balloons (£3 for small and £5 for large) we opted to buy ours before we left as we saw many balloons flying off into the sky throughout the afternoon. Lucky for the toddlers ours made it home in one piece. Our only complaint was the prices in which the ice cream vans were charging… £2 for an ice lolly and £3 for an ice cream! When there are 5 of you that really isn’t an option!

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As we had expected the festival was a total hit with the children. Will we return for more Lollibop fun next year? Without a doubt we will… We can’t wait!

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To find out more about the Lollibop festival and all its upcoming events check out there website, Facebook and Twitter Pages.

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Game Inspiration For Last Minute Shoppers

23 Dec

Its almost Christmas and with literally a few short shopping hours left I thought I’d share a couple of great last minute gift ideas for that special someone that you find all to hard to buy for.

As a mother of a child on the autism spectrum I have found myself in this situation numerous times. I can normally be found on Christmas Eve running from shop to shop like some stressed, crazed headless chicken as I try to beat the clock and find my son those perfect gifts (thankfully I’ve done my crazy chicken run already this year)!

As you all know little man is a whizz on a games console and is pretty fond of his PS3. With this he reviewed a couple of the latest PS3 games.

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Rise of the Guardians Video Game (PS3)

Let kids imaginations run wild as they enter the magic land of make believe in Rise of the Guardians (based on the Dreamworks film animation). Kids choose to be a magical childhood Guardian from characters including: North (aka Santa Claus), Tooth (aka the Tooth Fairy), Bunnymund (aka the Easter Bunny), Sandman, and Jack Frost. Each Guardian has their own set of upgradable and extraordinary powers that will help you take on the evil spirit “Pitch” and his infectious nightmares. Along the way.
As you progress through the realms treasure can be found and various mini quests undertaken to help level-up your characters and pry the fingers of Pitch from children’s minds.
These include freeing children from cages guarded by all sorts of nightmarish creatures to time-based defending quests where you frantically fight off a horde of evil spirits hell-bent on harming a stranded child.

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kids can unlock new powers and spellbinding moves that increase each character’s strength and skills throughout the game.

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There is also the option of a drop-in-and-out team up multiplayer mode that allows players to swap between any of the characters in drop-in-and-out four-player squad based multiplayer action on consoles. This basically means you can switch characters which is great as this allows you to experience each one therefore learning what each can do to assist you throughout the game.

Little man is 12 and really enjoys the game. It did take some getting used to but he got into it fairly quickly. Little man explained that his first task was to convince Jack Frost to join his Guardians on their quest to defeat the evil that is pitch. From here on he then needed to defeat a number of Pitch’s evil allies.

I’ve quite enjoyed watching him play and review this animation game. Ive watched as his explored each of the Guardians imaginative worlds from the Tooth’s Palace to North’s Workshop. If your hoping for a game that involves a jolly Santa in a red suit that runs around with a load of cute Elfs than you may be disappointed. The rise of the guardians is made up of iconic children Legends with an edgy twist.

The Graphics are great and although the music can become somewhat annoying, The Rise of the Guardians is in our opinion a great game for a child aged 12+

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Rise of the Guardians is available to purchase now from all good game stockists & is available for the PS3, DS, 3DS, Wii and XBox 360

Ben 10 Omniverse video game on PS3

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This game is sure to delight any Ben 10 fan. Based on the new Cartoon Network series of Ben 10 Omniverse, children can play as both Ben in the past “Young Ben” as well as that of Ben in the present”Teen Ben”
The game offers 2 player mode allowing Ben to work together with Rook (a brand new character to the series) to defeat the evil plans of a villain who’s ultimate mission is to defeat the world.

Rook, Ben 10s newest sidekick, will fight alongside Ben using his Proto-Tool, a high tech multi-functional weapon that turns into a Blaster, Power Sword, Quantum Staff, or Grappler.

The game is fast paced, offering players an assortment of action-packed levels that have been set in various show-inspired settings like the subterranean alien city of undertown.

Little man really found the game exciting and given his not a massive Ben10 fan this surprised me.

He told me that each level offered something new. Each equally exciting yet challenging in its own way meaning he wasn’t easily bored. He also explained that the game allows you to switch forms and battle as one of 13 playable alien heroes, including never-before-seen aliens like Bloxx and Gravattack.

Alfie, little man’s cousin who is also on the autism spectrum found himself captivated by the game. The boys have enjoyed engaging themselves in some serious gameplay as they have come together as Ben10 and Rook helping one another through each level as they play in 2 player mood.

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Ben 10 Omniverse is available to purchase now from all good game stockists & is available for the PS3, DS, 3DS, Wii/WiiU and XBox 360

Monopoly Zapped (Compatible with iPhone, iPod and iPad)

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What Hasbro have to say about the game…

“MONOPOLY Zapped Edition is an amazing new game experience from Hasbro. Now you can bring your favorite game to life with loads of awesome mini games on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Landed in Jail? No problem! Just play the Get out of Jail app mini game…if you can launch Mr MONOPOLY over the prison walls to his getaway car, you’re free!

Plus you can transfer MONOPOLY dollars directly to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using your own personal Touch-banking cards! The whole family will love this exciting new way to play MONOPOLY!

Play MONOPOLY and your iPad together!”

Little man has had the game a month or so put has only just played it as things have been so hectic.

He was actually lucky enough to win an iPad on the school reward system Vivo, who ran an online raffle. With this he downloaded the monopoly app from Apple app store and we put the game through its paces.

Their is no questioning it, this is monopoly on a whole new level. Gone are the days of your basic game board and plying pieces. Technology means monopoly is now compatible with smart phones and iPads… innovative it really is.

We loved the mini games and the whole concept of escaping jail. Banking becomes electronic with each player having its own electronic bank card. This is great though it does take away that little bit of educational magic that monopoly brings with it.

But we are moving with the times and there is no disputing the fact that the digitally interactive game experience is a great one!

Available from all gone toy stores for around £25.

Giant Pass The Pigs

GIANT Pass The Pigs

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Giant Pass the pigs is a groovy game, one that myself and the kids have had loads of fun playing.

GIANT Pass The Pigs (RRP £14.99) has been designed for children of the ages 8+ and the game is for 2 players.

This game of Pass pigs is like no other. The pigs are of the giant type, simply Inflate your pair of porkers, throw them and see how they land. Will you get a Leaning Jowler, a Mixed Combo or will you Pig Out

The pigs are of the huge inflatable type, so there really is no little parts to contend with (every mothers dream). The game can be played both in and outdoors, just ensure you have a lot of space so nothing gets broken.

We love the family game and welcome it onto our santas little helpers Christmas gift list. I found it to be perfect for little man. He had lots of fun dashing the pigs around the garden, there really is no skill involved yet it does help better a child’s gross motor skills.

Just remember to keep them away from any toddlers who may try and use the inflatable pokers as a space hopper.

Available from all good UK toy stores for around £14.99

So there is our round up! Whether its a game for a console, an innovative iPad compatible game or a good old fashion hands on traditional family game, I hope we have helped to give you a little inspiration.

Have Yourselves A Merry LEGO Christmas

16 Dec

As many will already know my little man is a tad LEGO crazy. That’s why we are very pleased to have been granted the privilege of becoming official LEGO family bloggers.

A week or so back I wrote a post titled “What children with Aspergers really want for Christmas” I wrote this as result of a tread I started on my Facebook page asking other parents of children diagnosed with Aspergers what was on their child’s Christmas wish list. The feed back was amazing what with some 5,000 + page members I managed to start a decent conversation thread and gather lots of great answers.

The list featured the unusual strange requests such as leaf blowers and doughnuts to the more desired gifts of smart phones, Star Wars and iPads However, appearing most frequently on the list was that of LEGO… Whether Lego StarWars, Lego city, or Lego friends… Lego was most definitely the most desired gift of all. You can read the post Here.

With this I couldn’t wait to bring my readers this very awesome Lego gift guide which won’t break the bank. All the Lego sets below are currently being sold for under £20. I do hope this will provide you all with some last minute Christmas inspiration.

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Lego Creationary: This is a must buy family game for Christmas that allows players to really show of their Lego building skills. This interactive game requires 3-8 players allowing larger family groups and friends to enjoy the game together.

With four categories, vehicles, buildings, nature and things, a Roll of the Lego Dice will reveal which one. As you build your fellow players have the job in guessing just what it is your creating. With three levels of difficulty imagination is the key. Recommend Age 7+

The game normally retails for around £23, however Argos currently have it on special for £18.75 (the joys of last minute Christmas shopping)

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Lego Technic Tracked Crane. This is Lego like I’ve never seen before. This kit has all the pieces to create a perfect fully working Tracked Crane. It can be manoeuvred into different positions and has a number of fully operational features such as the extending crane arm. What’s more this is a 2-in-1 model that rebuilds into a bulldozer that features moving tracks, rotating superstructure and more. Suitable for Age 8 Years + and currently priced in many stores online and in store for as little as £11

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LEGO Marvel Superheroes The Avengers – Hulk (4530)

This is a brilliant kit, especially for the child who loves both superheros and Lego. There are a number of figures that can be purchased in the Avengers range and the hulk is one of them. The kit includes a Hulk buildable figure that can be customise using the flexible building system. Hulk stands over 7″ (18cm) tall when fully built.
Build bigger figures with the exclusive high friction joints.

This kit is targeted at children aged 6-12 years and its priced really reasonable with many retailers selling for a little over £10.

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LEGO Friends Andrea’s Bunny House (3938)

Andrea’s bunny house forms part of the Lego friends range of toys that has produced and targeted more towards girls (though boys can quite happily play with them too). This is one of five smaller sets, you can also get Olivia, Mia, Stephanie and Emma all complete with their own play set. Andrea comes complete with buildable bunny hutch where she keeps her much loved bunny Jazz. These sets are targeted at children aged between 5-12 years old. They are reasonably priced with amazon currently selling this particular set for just £9.50

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LEGO CITY MINING 4200

4200 Mining is one of many Lego city kits. This particular one comes with a yellow 4×4 vehicle with open back storage. You also get a mining Lego figure minifigure as well as a whole host of other accessories designed to help the miner find his gold. Little man is a fan of this set… The contents is more than enough to keep the kids busy for an hour or so on Christmas morning.

Set recommended for children ages 5-12 years and can be brought for around £7.99

LEGO Stocking Fillers…

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LEGO NINJAGO – Masters of Spinjitzu – Slithraa (9573)

The Ninjago spinjitzu range are a great stocking fillers for Lego lovers. Both the excitement of a figure and a game where you must spin your way to victory against the Spinjitzu masters with the help of your 4 battle cards and weapon sets.

Set Includes… Slithraa minifigure.
blue transparent spinner, blue crown, LEGO bricks, golden weapon, 2 regular weapons, a character card and 4 battle cards.

This suits Kids between the ages of 6-14 years. They can have great fun with the spinjitzu sets as they battle it out with their friends. I’ve managed to find these on the Symths website for £7.99 other than that I could only find a number of them on various eBay stores who seem to be selling these for a frightening £17.99 or more. So… get yourselves to Symths… And quick!

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LEGO NINJAGO – Masters of Spinjitzu Booster Pack (9556)

If you like the sounds of the above than why not also get a booster pack for the stocking. The Booster pack 9556 contains some 25 pieces including minifigure snake bytar in dark purple. You also get a whole host of other accessories and weapons including 4 more cards.

The booster pack is recommended to children between the ages 6-14 years and can currently be purchased from symths. Again, I’d get in quickly as this is pretty hard to find so at £3.99 its an awesome price.

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LEGO NINJAGO – Lloyd ZX Keyring

LEGO Ninjago fans will love to find a Lloyd ZX who is attached to a keyring within their stockings. The minifigure provides Lego lovers with a funky way to dress up their keys. Perfect stocking filler for LEGO fans both young and old.

Little Man The Secret Agent On A Mission

21 Sep

When little man was asked to review items from the Spy Net range he was more than happy to oblige.

Me, I didn’t mind! Yes, I’d be required to record his thoughts and opinions but a little writing never killed anyone, especially when it means you can sit back and enjoy watching your sons confidence grow as he gains more and more self confidence with each review he does. Growing up he had limited interests but this kind of thing was right up his street. For starters it’s Tech and he relates to this very well. Secondly it involves spying and he quite enjoys this too.

Was I worried… No…. After all it’s just a toy isn’t it!

But as usual I had spoken way to soon, and I mean way to soon!

The Spy Net™ range isn’t just some plastic fantastic toy that lets the child feel like a spy… No, no! It’s the ultimate in cool spy technology, Spy Net™ offers a range of fully-functional gadgets and I’m not talking alarm clocks or fancy sound effects!

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Spy Net™ provides today’s secret agents with everything they need to do the job and do it well.

Little man was sent two products from the range, one being the Spy Net™ Video Watch RRP £49.99. Now I understand this is for today’s spy but again I didn’t think to much about it, after all, as mention, it’s just a kids toy!

Yes, the clever device had me fooled! So well in fact that the Little man and his watch have caught me of guard more than once.

The Spy Net Video Watch looks just like your everyday watch (if anything a tad bulkier, but not obviously different from the norm)! As one would expect, it tells the time like an ordinary watch, but hidden deep within its packed with a whole host of innovative features, the type that only an under cover secret agent would require.

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Amazingly one of these features is a real-working hidden video camera and audio system that allows its owner to record and store over 20 minutes of video (thats a lot of time to collect some pretty incriminating evidence). Whats more the watch has the capability to collect over 4 hours of audio evidence, or even 2000+ still photo! All features are displayable on a built-in, full color 1.4 inch TFT video screen so Mr Secret Agent can sit back, relax and watch the playback!

Once back at their headquarters, agents can upload to SpyNetHQ.com via USB where analysing of evidence commences

If this isn’t enough the watch has even been loaded with lie detector software… Yes, I did just say lie detector software! With this the little agents can check if your telling lies during a conversation or instead analysis the audio produced on that secret video you know nothing about.

When they are finally bored of spying on family members they can move onto something else like having a go at ‘Secret Code Cracking’ or maybe train for missions in way of the preloaded mini games.

To say little man loves this watch is to much of an understatement! His bonkers about it. Again I’ve been proven wrong this versatile Spy Net Video Watch that also downloads video missions from the HQ is far beyond a toy.

Do you know that thing we do as parents! We’re tired, stressed and not in the mood. The kids go on & on about something and we end up saying… “Yer maybe” or “OK, Ok whatever” Those with a child on the autism spectrum will particularly understand as the child with Aspergers has mastered the fine art of obsessiveness. Well, Little man has been doing this about his birthday and the little sneaky devil (that’s a polite term) has been secretly recording me as he bangs on about wanting the entire contents of Amazon. He has some pretty strong evidence of myself saying “OK, OK, we will see” as well as “Yes… Yes” I try not to do this as a child will never let you forget it, especially one with Aspergers but Yesterday I received a little shock. We had a discussion on the subject of birthday lists and he states i’ve agreed to get him something that I’m pretty sure I haven’t! To my complete and utter horror it turns out that I kinda have agreed to something and he holds the proof in that of his little watch. I’m considering suing the boy for entrapment… Seriously! His even got me singing (extremely badly) as I dance with the mop in my PJs… Something I’m not wanting leaked on YouTube! The boy has the potential to make a mint in blackmail money but we won’t tell him that ah!

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Verdict: 9/10 it’s a brilliantly clever piece of kit that I’m considering borrowing when I speak to his father next * Evil Laugh*

Parents be careful your child could be spying on you.
www.SpyNetHQ.com

Little Man also received the Spy Net™ Bionic Ear Stealth Listening Device RRP £19.99
Another devices that allows him to become a top spy and does so by allowing him to hear distant sounds through walls and doors in-order to detect intruders and defend against enemy… AKA the parent.

By Putting on the Bionic Ear a long with his Spy Net Video watch, Little man has all the tools needed to be a super agent. The Bionic Ear has real ultrasound technology and allows him to listen in on all the action (not always appropriate I know)! He can even use it to hear round corners ensuring him a safe distance from his enemy (in our language… Little sister).

Does it work? Just look at the Little mans cheeky chops! Do you really need to ask?

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At £30 cheaper than the Video Watch it’s a good price! However it doesn’t compare in terms of what it is able to do and the many features that come with the watch does put it way up there on a pedestal! I do love the watch and together with the Bionic Ear it’s the perfect set to delight boys and girls alike.

Verdict Bionic Ear 7/10 Great product that kids will love.

Both products are available from all good retailers including Toys R Us & Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for writing this post! Little man received product samples for the purpose of the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Educational Games Can Be Fun

16 Sep

When I was younger my mother only had to mention the words Education and Play within the same sentence and I’d be rolling my eyes while saying to myself… “whatever!”

So, it doesn’t much surprise me when my own kids do it to me. I used to accidentally on purpose forget to relate the two aspects when offering my children something to play with that was remotely educational. It was only once they were enjoying it that I’d slip it in.

The kids are getting older and wiser and can’t be easily tricked anymore. The good thing is that my eldest child, Little man is now more inclined to give things a chance. Education is much less scary than it used to be! Now little man is in a school that meets his needs his learnt that the two (education and play) can be tied together nicely.

Little man has just started secondary at his independent special school for children on the autism spectrum. His adjusting to a timetable that is split into different lesson slots. Within these slots you’ll find the subject of History and this is one subject his keen to learn more about.

So, when we were contacted to see if we’d be interested in taking a look at a new history game, we were happy to oblige.

Harry Hastings History Heroes is the first in a series of card games developed for both children and families who love to learn.

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One of the games within the series is that of “How well do you know your monarchs?” a brilliant new card game designed to test the whole family’s knowledge of British monarchs from William the Conqueror in 1066 to today’s reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

To some that description may just have them yawning with the thought of it! Others will want to discover more just like little man did.

The game has been created by Harry Hastings and what better person to create an educational game than that of a school teacher from Sussex.

What I loved about this game was how much fun and interaction could be gained through a packet of cards and not much else. There is no board, counters or even that of a dice, yet, children can play in more ways than one! There is 6 ways to play, children can be challenged to identify monarchs either from a series of facts, from a portrait or from the dates of their reign, thereby capturing their opponents cards in the style of Top Trumps.

Admittedly Little man knows quite little on the subject of monarchs and neither do I really! This at first lead to a pretty useless game. We therefore enjoyed discovering each card and as we did we both learnt more along the way. We have since had lots of fun playing with the cards and little man couldn’t wait to take one of the two games we were sent into school so his class could enjoy them with him. He told me that his History teacher was most impressed and even used them in one of his lessons.

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Children and adults alike can have so much fun while learning some interesting facts about the history of our kings and queens.

The illustrations in this game are beautiful. They are by the well-known cartoonist Bill Stott and are really impressive. The actual cards themselves are also really good quality. They are strong and durable and should last the test of time given they are well loved by their owner.

I’d recommend the game to history loving families, those wanting to improve their own or their child’s history knowledge and that of teachers in both the primary and secondary sector.This is a game that would provide teachers with a fabulous teaching resource that children would be much more inclined to engage in. Little man’s teacher is now very much a fan.

History Heroes is the first of a series of similar games created by Harry Hastings, covering famous Battles, Shakespeare, Inventors, Scientists and Explorers.

Harry Hastings History Heroes is priced at £7.99. For stockist details, or to buy direct, email Harry at harry@historyheroes.co.uk.

Check out the site at www.historyheroes.co.uk

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post we were sent the games free of charge in-order to share our honest opinions which we have given in this review. We donated one of the games to the school for all its students to enjoy.

Orchard Toys New Monster Catcher Review and Competition

29 Aug

We love Orchard toys, they are a brand who symbolise the importance of learning but also the importance of having fun! They have this talent when it comes to designing games and puzzles that are both educational yet fun to play.

Earlier this year little man along with some of his classmates at his special school for children on the autism spectrum, reviewed a couple of games from the Orchard toys range.This review did a fab job at highlighting the importance of learning through play and all the children involved had a great time testing the games.

So, I was delighted when the guys at Orchard Toys sent us one of their newest game releases, ‘Monster Catcher‘.

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The game is targeted at children aged 3 to 8 years, and although Harley is not 3 in-till the beginning of December I figured his big sister Alice-Sara could show him the ropes of play, which she was more than happy to do.

Packaging:
This game comes in a nice strong but compact box for good easy storage.

Game contents:
20 monster head cards
20 monster feet cards
6 full net cards
4 empty net cards
Six monster Cachar cards

There is a total of 56 cards altogether. Cards are strong and durable so will last the test of time I’m sure.

As mentioned monster Catcher is one of Orchard Toys newest releases, so I had no idea what others thought of the game and knew very little about it up In-till it arrived. Believe it or not, I also like to read reviews before purchasing products as well as reviewing products myself.

Setting up the game proved a bit of a mission as the toddler insisted on constantly grabbing a hold of the cards and doing a runner.

Finally, once the initial excitement had settled down a little we were then ready to go catch some monsters.

The Object of the game is for each player to match the coloured monsters feet to that of the correct monsters head all while avoiding the monster catcher who will swipe all the players cards leaving them with none. The player with the most complete monsters at the time the monster catcher is completed, wins!

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It’s a simple enough concept, though smaller children may need some help along the way.

What’s more this is a game that is so easily adapted. Kids seem to do this without even thinking about it! Harley asked to play with the game yesterday but he didn’t want anyone else disturbing him, preferring to play alone. This is actually a game for 2-4 players, So, play alone is impossible right? Not for Harley it seems. This little clever clogs placed all the cards facing upwards and one by one he matched up all the monsters, placing the catcher cards etc to one side.

I love how he adapted it to work for him, treating it as a puzzle as opposed to a game.

Monster Catcher has done well to help harley develop his colour recognition as-well as his matching and pairing skills. He used a lot of logic when trying to place the pieces together correctly (not only match the colours but ensuring he had placed them the correct way around, etc).

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£7.50 is fabulous value and a really reasonable price to pay for this game.
Monster Catcher will be sure to provide children with years of fun while teaching them a thing or two. The educational benefits to this game make it seem a very little price to pay.

Educational information
• Develops matching and counting skills
• Encourages social interaction
• Develops instruction following and turn taking
• Links to National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals.

Orchard toys have been great and offered me another Monster Catcher for one of my readers to win right here on the blog. Here’s how….

Compulsory action: Leave a blog comment below telling me your child’s favourite board game.

All comments should be left with a means of contact (twitter or email).

You can earn additional entries by doing any of the following….

Tweet: “I want to win Monster Catcher with @clairelouise82 and @OrchardToys” comment to let me know who you are on twitter.

Subscribe via my rss reader (top of the sidebar) comment to tell me the name or email u are subscribed under.

Follow my sister blog Mummy of many talents then comment below to tell me the name you follow as.

Follow me on pinterest then comment to say who you are below.

Use any of the share buttons below commenting to tell me which ones (email exempt)

Competition will close on the 25th September 2012 at midnight.

Terms and conditions: UK only please, all comments should be left with twitter or email contact. Prize drawn a random, winner has 72 hours following winning notification to claim prize. Prize will be sent directly from PR/Brand. Winners name maybe published on blog with winning notification if author decides.

Summer Garden Play to Chilly Christmas days

15 Aug

With the Olympics 2012 having had its ‘closing ceremony’ many have been left feeling a little lost. After all, what are we going to watch now? Ok, we still have the Paralympics but this is also due to become a memory (a great one but a memory nonetheless).

I’ll be honest when stating that yes, I’ve done a lot of sitting while watching the games at home. Sadly this meant the children failed to have my full attention and family play was done around the TV. However, there was positives too! It was nice to see how inspired the children had become following each event & awards presentations.

Then I remembered about a certain press release I was sent a few weeks before and the realisation started to set in! I’d not done much at all and with this release I could go about changing this.

The Press release was sent by them lovely lot over at Argos, a great brand that I’ve worked with on my blog for almost a year now. This time Argos were promoting their latest play campaign where they aim to encourage British families to swap a sedentary summer for one of a Playcation.

This was of particular interest to me given I’ve recently blogged about the alternative ways one can entertain the children on a low budget during the school holidays.

As I mentioned before, money isn’t exactly flowing out from my purse in the form of twenty pound notes. We do have some trips line up (more so over these last coming weeks of the holidays) but I love gaining new ideas of ways to entertain the children.

Argos has teamed up with television presenter and exercise enthusiast Laura Hamilton to create a ‘Summer Playcation Guide’ full of games and tips.

Argos sent me a copy of the guide along with some outdoor toys for the kids. The toddler in particular has had lots of fun playing with these.

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The guide features three original games alongside a whole host of activity and toy suggestions. Families wishing to download the Playcation guide should visit the Argos Chad Valley Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chadvalleyendlessplay

Staying on the subject of Argos, I also attended the Argos Christmas show last month with Harley. There was lots to do and see (not that I got to do much, what with the toddler finding it so difficult to remove himself away from the fab toys on display). Argos were great though and Harley and I had a really great time. It wasn’t just toys on show but everything from homeware to Emma Bunton’s new clothing range to see.

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During my visit I was able to see the Argos Top Ten toys for Christmas 2012:
· Furby – price available from September 2012
· Web Shooting Spiderman – £34.99
· Lego Monster Fighters Ghost Train – £59.99
· LeapPad 2 – £89.99
· Batman ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ The Bat – £34.99
· Cinderella Feature Doll – £29.99
· Star Doll Fallen Angel – £23.99
· Vtech Innotab 2 – £84.99
· Minnie Mouse Precious Pets Tour Van – £29.99
· Twister Dance – £26.99

The Furby was awesome, it’s come a long way since I was a kid.

The Top Ten Toys for 2012 are available in all Argos stores and online at www.argos.co.uk

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Learning through Play

7 Aug

It’s the 6 week holidays, time for the children to have some fun. But just because it’s the holidays this doesn’t mean we should reframe from education, after all education can be fun.

I don’t know about you guys but I like to keep the children’s mind stimulated. This can be difficult for Little mans, his interests are quite obsessive, a trait of his Aspergers Syndrome, I worry he will isolate himself, fallout of routine and have difficulties reintegrating back into school. Alice-Sara is also currently being assessed for dyslexia. She has been placed on the SEN register at school and I sadly wasn’t informed. Thankfully though things are improving with the school, it’s now my aim to involve Alice in lots of fun educational play throughout the summer. Lastly there’s Harley, his 2 with a mind like a sponge and as his mother I hope to help him to learn all there is to know during these early pre-school years.

As a blogger I receive a number of request from brands & PRs and one from RM Education ( a leading provider of technology for learning) has really helped me to undertake the above mission.

RM Education have a mission of their own, “To make learning fun” and as a result they have launched the fabulous online resource “RM At Home’ with the help of presenter Philippa Forrester.

I’m so pleased that I have been introduced to the ‘RM At Home’ website, it’s overflowing with great articles and resources for both parents and teachers.They also cover lots of different topics on different areas of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and have some lovely inspirational ideas for creating a sensory room.

As well as the above resources presenter and mum of three boys, Philippa Forrester, is helping RM At Home raise awareness among parents of the products that are available through ‘RM At Home’ that make learning enjoyable and effective outside school hours. It’s a few of these products that the children have been having fun discovering.

RM At Home have some excellent fun yet educational toys that both parents and child can experience together.

The Cannon Stomp: There is no other word but funky that describes this toy. Aim it then Fire it to see how far your ball can travel. Cannon Stomp is great fun and can easily be played together with others. When your child jumps or stomps on the silicone cannon a foam ball is dispensed with great speed, the harder you stomp the further & faster it travels.You can make it extra fun by making and setting targets for the ball to hit! You may wonder why or how a child can learn anything by playing with The new Cannon Stomp! But they really do as such an activity will better the child’s skills and development in ‘Reaction and agility training’ which is great for a child like Little man who is on an Occupational Therapy programme integrated into his school timetable as a result of his difficulties within this very area.

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This actually has come at a very convenient time. Have you noticed my blogging over the last few weeks has been a bit non existent when my life remains as chaotic? No, it’s not down to the kids being of school but the fact I’ve been unwell with flu and a horrid chest infection. Cannon stomp gave Little man something to enjoy while developing some important skills. Honestly, I’ve been laid up on the sofa and his been keeping himself busy with it in the garden for decent periods of time at a go.

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My tiny tot ‘Harley’ is only 2 but already his loving the Cannon stomp. Admittedly he spent sometime trying to figure out just how to get the ball out from the Cannon. However, when he did finally discover how from his big brother ‘Little man’, his Been non stop bouncing up and down on it trying his hardest to launch the balls… They fly out, he does this seriously adorable giggling and cheers with excitement.

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Little man loves his new sensory friendly toy which is easy to use. All you do is load the ball by pushing one of the two foam balls down the cannon and stamp to shoot. Simple, educational, yet extremely fun too.

I feel the the Cannon Stomp is a really good toy which is particularly great for those on the autism spectrum, children with Gross Motor Skills & coordination difficulties as well as those child who sensory seek.

Another product sent to us for testing was the children’s New Recordable Magnifier which allows a child to record and share a 30 second audio message about what it is they see, therefore introducing essential learning skills in a fun way.

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Where Alice Sara is Dyslexic she struggles with writing and spelling. However, My daughter is very vocal and is able to express herself in the most creative of ways (singing, story telling, vlogging, acting, singing etc) This would therefore be an assets for schools who have pupils registered with SEN and also those without SEN.

This recordable feature is a great way to get your child talking about their observations before they forget them without the pressures of writing. Or you can leave your own messages on the magnifier for a fun treasure hunt or tips on finding creepy crawlies etc.

The Magnifier can be brought as one (ideal for the parent) or in a pack of six (perfect for schools/playgroup etc). The Magnifier is a fantastic size, its bright and chunky yet extremely Lightweight which is perfect for small hands, it can also be attached to a lanyard.

Alice-Sara and my youngest Harley had great fun with this one! Little man however was sticking with his Cannon Stomp (the close ups of those creepy friends in our garden were freaking him out a little)! Alice-Sara spent a good proportion of her day on Sunday becoming amazed at the close ups she obtain of a number of creepy crawlies. I did shoot some awesome pictures but these are unfortunately still on my memory card due to my lack of living I’ve been doing while sick! However, don’t worry! I’ve included one of the RM At Home videos that shows you how the Magnifier works and why it can benefit your child. As for my pictures I’ll be adding these to an up and coming post on ways to education children with SEN at home.

Check out this video on YouTube:

All of RM At Home products have proven educational value – they are used and trusted by schools throughout the country so the quality is extremely high – it has to be to survive in a classroom!”

Commenting for RM Education, Senior Educationalist Kat Howard says: “You can buy fun stuff that’s not educational and you can buy things that are educational but not fun. We are fulfilling a need for learning resources that have proven educational worth while also being enjoyable for children to play with.”

“One product we’re particularly excited about is Easimaths. It’s an online maths tuition software for children aged five to 11 and it’s adaptive, which means as soon as the child masters something, they are immediately moved on to the next level. It’s bright, colourful and games-based and costs just £34.99 a year.”

RM At Home also offers another solution for parents – RM School Finder. There is currently no one place parents can go for information about their local schools – they have to trawl through several sources of data. RM School Finder, which is free to use, takes all available school data and presents it in a user-friendly format so it’s easy to see not just Ofsted reports, but exam results, extra curricular activities, what pupils achieve, plus softer information on the culture of the school direct from the establishment itself.

Why note check out this excellent video to discover a little more about this excellent resource or check them out at any of the links at the very end of this post.

Myself and the Children highly recommend RM Education (RM At Home) to all families of both pre-school and school age children. Its a brillent resource for the teacher/parent of a child with SEN but equally as fab for those who don’t. Visit RM At Home or like them on facebook follow on Twitter

Guest Post – How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

12 Apr

How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

Modern in-car multimedia entertainment systems give children access to the same sorts of backseat delights that you’d expect on a long haul flight.  However, while plugging kids into a drip-feed of movies and games might keep them quiet, there can be more to be gained from the experience of going on a long car journey.

Every parent knows that a long car journey can be miserable for all concerned if youngsters are not kept happy. Wailing, arguing and fighting from the back of the car can drive you to distraction. But there are many things you can do to make your journey not only bearable, but fun as well.

Joining in

Kids like to be involved in what is going on around them and that applies to car journeys too. Discovering new things is what childhood is all about, so why not use play as a way to make kids feel like they’re part of an exciting expedition?

Forget ‘I spy’ – car bingo is far more fun. Before you leave home, spend some time with the children designing and making bingo cards. Instead of numbers, draw pictures and write the names of things that you’ll see on the way. The first to spot every item on their card shouts, ‘Bingo!’

Make a stop

The longer the children spend in the car, the more likely they are to get bored and grumpy. So be sure to schedule in stops along the route and let the kids know when you’ll be taking a break.

The UK is full of interesting things to see and do. A little bit of research before setting off could make all the difference to a long car trip. A short detour to visit a castle, for example, will give young ones something to look forward to.

Treats

Be careful when it comes to handing out sweet treats during the journey. Sugary snacks may buy you temporary respite from complaining children but you could pay a heavy price later. Sweets and fizzy drinks are soon guzzled, and the rush of calories can make kids restless and bad-tempered.

Try freezing bottles of fruit juice before you leave. Children will enjoy sipping at the melted juice, which will help to keep them topped up with fluids.

Packing lots of healthy fruit is also a good idea. Treat kids to a taste of the tropics by including unusual items like star fruit to tantalise their taste buds.

Stories

Audio books are widely available either as downloads or on CD, but nothing soothes like the sound of mum or dad reading a story. Why not record yourselves reading some of your children’s favourite tales so you can play them in the car?

Alternatively, encourage children to come up with their own fairy-tales. Just start a story off and let children take turns to add the next part of the fable.

Contented children can help towards a hassle-free trip. Adequate car insurance can also give you peace of mind, so you that if there’s a problem, you’re covered.

Author Bio:

Liam Williams writes for the Sainsbury’s Finance Money Matters blog. In his spare time he enjoys motoring and organic gardening.

 

Sponsored Guest Post

Win Orchard Toys New Teddy Bear Game

17 Feb

My fab Britmums Live sponsor Orchard Toys are giving my blog readers the chance to win one of their awesome newly launched game, and what a great game it is!

 Teddy Bear Game is aimed at children between the ages of 3-6 years old and can be played in groups of 2-4 players. This is a fun but educational game , helping your little one’s to master the skill of counting and colour recognition.

 Children will have great fun as they race to collect and count the teddy bear cards before the puzzle is complete. 

 I got a peek at this game pre-launch, at the fabulous 2012 London Toy Fair last month and was really impressed with how simple, yet fun the game was (despite it being demonstrated by a fully grown man as opposed to a toddler)!

 It’s very durable and great on the eye, with a brilliant design and the use of some visually inviting colours. With links to Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum maths key stage 1, its certain to not only keep the kids fully entertained but also teach them a thing or two!  

 So… fancy trying to win your little one’s a Teddy Bear Game in our latest competition? Here’s how!

 subscribe to the blog via “Feedburner” then comment to let me know you have subscribed as well as telling me what educational games you like to play with your children?

 For extra entries you can… Tweet, “I want to win a Teddy Bear Game with @clairelouise82 & @orchardtoys http://wp.me/plAS9-18g”

 Follow Orchard Toys on twitter

 Follow me on twitter

 Subscribe to my sister blog Mummy of many talents

 Subscribe to my Youtube channel

 Follow me on Pinterest 

 Use any of the share buttons within this post (One additional entry for each used)

 PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EVERY ACTION YOU MAKE OR EXTRA ENTRIES WILL NOT BE VALID!

 NO EXTRA ENTRY IS VALID IN-TILL THE COMPULSORY ACTION HAS BEEN COMPLETED

 Email or Twitter handle must be supplied with comments to valid all entries.

 Competition is open to those in the UK only, and will close at midnight on the 15th March 2012

 Good Luck

 T&C

Open to those in the UK only, all entries are checked and verified before winner is randomly selected. All rules must be followed and those entry must leave a valid email address or twitter handle so they are easily contacted in the event they win. All that enter need to complete the compulsory action before submitting any extra entries. Winner details will be passed to the prize provider in-order to dispatch the prize. Winner must respond to winning notification within 72 hours from time of draw or may risk losing the prize due to another winner being drawn.  

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

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