Monday, 16 October 2017

Book review - Evil Pea Rules by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

We very much enjoy the Supertato books, and so I was delighted to be sent a new one for our collection to review. Supertato: Evil Pea Rules by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet is all about Supertato's nemesis - The Evil Pea.

It's all very well being a superhero and saving the day...but what if there was no one there to cause the chaos? To provide these heroes with their chances to shine? Would we even need superheroes?! Fortunately, this isn't something we will have to worry about any time soon. The Evil Pea is back! And this time he has his biggest, most dastardly plant yet to take over the supermarket...

Supertato Evil Pea Rules book review for toddlers

The Evil Pea has a plan, an evil plan. He's fed up with staying in his boring freezer, and by tricking Supertato he's able to freeze the entire supermarket. But unfortunately his evil plan backfires, and instead the veggies have a fantastic wintery time!

Supertato Evil Pea Rules book review for toddlers

With a Christmas theme, this book is a great one to add if you are planning a book Advent Calendar, or to pop under the Christmas tree to enjoy in the run up to Christmas.

I received a copy of this book to review. Amazon links are affiliate.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Book review - Angel's Great Escape - A Christmas Story

If you are looking for a lovely picture book to share with young children this Christmas then I have a gorgeous book to share with you today. Angel's Great Escape: A Christmas Story written by Kirstie Rowson and illustrated by Kristyna Litten is a new book about Angel and her Christmas friends.

Angel's Great Escape picture book review

It's Christmas Eve, and Angel is looking forward to a magical Christmas with her decoration friends. The only problem is that they are trapped in a box at the home of the Mean family, and they are desperate to escape to a nicer home and perhaps even meet Father Christmas on the way!

Angel's Great Escape picture book review

I love books about Christmas, and sharing a festive book is a really fun way to enjoy this magical time of year with little ones. This book is very sweet, with a lovely flowing rhyming story and beautiful illustrations that bring the story to life. Definitely one to add to your Christmas book collection!

I received a copy of this book to review, Amazon link is affiliate.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

New Netflix birthday feature for children

According to the Office for National Statistics, today, the most popular birthday in the UK for the last 20 years falls today on the 26th September. In addition, eight of the top ten birth dates are towards the end of September. To celebrate, Netflix have released their brand-new Birthdays On-Demand feature.

Netflix birthday feature for children

Netflix has revealed that 64% of children's parties are themed after their favourite TV shows or movies, and 70% of parents find organising a birthday party for their child stressful. With this feature, parents can add a little bit of extra magic to the festivities. Netflix has released 15 Birthdays On Demand, with characters including Pokemon, My Little Pony and Barbie.

All you need to do is search 'birthday' on Netflix and you can unlock a special performance. Your child's favourite characters will sing them a special birthday greeting, and it's a great way to make their birthday special.

Birthday messages from the following shows are available, and you'll definitely find one that suits your child, however old they are going to be!

DreamWorks All Hail King Julien
Beat Bugs
DreamWorks Dinotrux
Las Leyendas
LEGO Friends
LEGO Ninjago
Luna Petunia
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Project Mc2
Skylanders Academy
DreamWorks Trollhunters
Word Party

Survey methodology - The survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey from June 26th-July 10th, 2017 and based on 14,582 responses. The sample was representative of an adult online population who have a child 8 years or younger in the household in The United States, UK, Philippines, Singapore, India, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Turkey, France, Germany, and Italy. The sample was not weighted or balanced. Within individual countries, the margin of error is +/-3% at the 95% confidence interval in all countries except Singapore (+/-5%), South Korea (+/-4%), and Argentina (+/-4%).

Monday, 18 September 2017

Review - Layered Cats Puzzle from Hape George Luck

Today I'm sharing a gorgeous wooden puzzle for toddlers that I have been sent to review. The Cats Puzzle is part of a range of wooden layered puzzles from Hape George Luck. Each puzzle in this range is built up from several layers, and as pieces are removed more and more is revealed. In this puzzle there are six lovely wooden cats stacked up on top of each other.

Review - Layered wooden Cats Puzzle from Hape George Luck

The puzzle is aimed at children aged 3 years plus, and is perfect for children that have cats in the family home or love to see cats while they are out and about. The wooden cats are colourful and friendly, toddlers will love playing with them and completing the puzzle.

Review - Layered wooden Cats Puzzle from Hape George Luck

When removed from the puzzle base, the cats could also be used for all sorts of imaginative play and games. The puzzle is challenging at first, but young children will soon work it out. It's durable, and will help young children with dexterity and shape recognition skills.

Review - Layered wooden Cats Puzzle from Hape George Luck

Other puzzles in this lovely range include Tractors, Buses and Animals, so you'll definitely be able to find one that suits the interests of your toddler, and one would make a lovely stocking filler this Christmas!

I received this puzzle in exchange for a review. The puzzle is available to buy online from Debenhams for £8. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Share your #ChangingTimes with Tommee Tippee, and win a nappy bin and spa retreat!

Having a baby changes lots of things, and introduces you to plenty of new experiences. Tommee Tippee, the UK's leading baby feeding brand, has launched an Instagram competition for parents and parents-to-be to showcase their very own #changingtimes - and you will be in with the chance of winning a luxurious spa break and a Sangenit Tec nappy bin.

The newly updated version of the Sangenic Tec Nappy Disposal System is a compact, odourless and antibacterial unit for storing dirty nappies. When you have a baby, sometimes it can seem as if all you are doing is changing nappies, so a nappy bin is a great addition to the nursery. The bin is available in four different shades - Cotton White, Raindrop Blue, Powder Pink and Urban Grey - meaning that you can choose one which will fit beautifully into any nursery colour scheme.

The nappy bin is 100 times more effective at odour protection than just using a nappy sack, and the unit can store up to 28 nappies at a time. It has an RRP of £27.99 and is available at all major retailers.

Sangenic Tec Nappy Disposal System in grey from Tommee Tippee

If you'd like to enter the competition and have the chance of winning a Sangenic Tec nappy bin of your very own, all you need to do is share and embrace the inevitable lifestyle changes which accompany the journey of having your first baby. Upload a carousel to Instagram with two contrasting images highlighting how much your life has changed since becoming pregnant or having a baby. Maybe you've swapped your high heels for sensible trainers, or a tiny handbag for a stuffed nappy bag.

The #ChangingTimes competition launches on 4 September 2017 and closes on 30 September 2017. A Tommee Tippee judging panel will select a shortlist of finalists, with the winner voted for on Facebook. Valid entries to the competition need to include the hashtags #ChangingTimes, #Sangenic, and a mention of @TommeeTippeeUK, and you can see full terms and conditions here - Changing Times

I received a Sangenic Tec nappy bin in exchange for this post.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Encouraging toddlers to help around the home

If you are home with young children then it doesn't take long before the house ends up in a mess. Sometime it's the regular cleaning that needs to be done regardless, and sometimes it's the extra work that goes along with having children - the clothes washing, washing up and just general tidying.

I think it's really important that children get involved with helping out around the house. Obviously their age will determine the sorts of jobs that they can help out with, and there are lots of lists about which give some suggested chores for each age group, for example this one - Age-Appropriate Chores.

So here are some of my tips:

* Equipment - There are lots of toy versions of cleaning equipment about. I've linked to a few that caught my eye at the bottom of this page (affiliate links). They can be fun for play, but it's also worth investing in a few child sized versions so that the children can actually use them to help. For example, this cleaning caddy (affiliate link) is filled with toy cleaning materials, but you could easily top it up with some bits and pieces of your own that the child can help with.

For example, I've always given mine a small spray bottle and a duster and they love squirting it about, even if I do often have to go back and clean up the excess water! They are also thrilled with the opportunity to have a go with a feather duster, I'm quite short so I have one with an extendable handle that they love using to reach cobwebs high up.

* Incentives and bribery - I've always found bribery to be an effective parenting model. But where possible I try to make the incentive something that we would have been doing anyway. So I might say we'll go to the playground, but only once the living room is tidy. Or if they help to put their plates in the dishwasher after the first course of a meal I'll get on with cutting up some fruit for dessert. As they get older though, often some pennies for their money box also works very well!

* Clearly defined storage - It's easier to get on with tidying if it's obvious where everything goes. We have lots of crates and boxes where toys of the same type can be put, then I can carry them back to the toy cupboard. It's much easier to keep things tidy if everything has a home. An important part of this is keeping on top of the number of toys with regular decluttering sessions. I've shared some tips on dealing with clutter in the home, and I do a regular review of the toys that we have about.

* Timers - Times are fun to make the tidying and cleaning into a game. You can say that the children have ten minutes to tidy the room. However I've found that my children can get a bit stressed by a timer, they don't like the pressure and it can cause more problems. So my other solution is:

* Put away a certain amount of items. I've been doing this for a long time, even back in the old pre-children days when my husband and I needed to tidy our flat! I'll set a number depending on the state of the house, and say 'right, before we can do such and such you need to put away ten things'. Each item has to be put away where it belongs. You do need to set a few rules, for example putting away all the Lego counts as one thing, rather than counting individual blocks. Sometimes the children are happy to keep going to see how many things they can put away.

I hope that you found these tips helpful!

Amazon links are affiliate.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Educational toys you can make for your toddler

I love crafting, and I particularly like making things that have a purpose. Since having children I've found myself making lots of things for them, from homemade toys and games to clothing, blankets and accessories. I thought that I'd share some of my favourite educational toys, some of which they've been involved in making too.

Educational toys and games you can make for your toddler

I loved making these bright and cheerful tactile alphabet cards. The cards measure about 5 cm by 10 cm and were made using the cardboard from a sturdy nappy box. My toddler helped me to paint them in a range of colours, and together we gathered small items from around the home to form the letters. I made a lower case alphabet, and making the cards provided plenty of opportunity to discuss the shape of the letters. When they were finished we used them to practice the letters, with my toddler tracing the shapes with his fingers.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

I made these embroidered felt numbers for my toddler using scraps of felt, embroidery silk, small beads and sequins. They were really easy to make, and a great tactile resource for number ordering.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

Together my toddler and I put together this simple helicopter game. If you click the link you can find examples of the different games that we played together. His favourite was when I hid the coloured landing pads around the room and then gave him the helicopters, letting him match the colours to land the helicopter in the correct place.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

Making a cardboard post box and letters is a great way to encourage early literacy skills with a toddler. We made a post box from an old carton, then we made lots of letters for family and friends, decorating them with stickers. A young toddler can have fun sticking pictures to paper to make postcards, and older toddlers can practice their writing, even if it's just writing their name at the bottom of a letter.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

To help children begin to learn about their place in the world you can make a me on the map book together. It starts with a small circle with a picture of your house, then something to represent your street, your town, your county and so on, finishing with a picture of the Earth. Children can help find or draw pictures to represent each area, and when the book is finished you can flip through it together to help put each circle in context. I've also written more about introducing young children to geography.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

Finally, we had fun making some simple flags together, inspired by a recent football tournament. There are plenty of places where you can print out flag blanks to colour, you can see where we found ours using the link above. We brightened ours up with collage and glitter and I laminated them to make them sturdy. Even with very young children it's interesting to look at the similarities and differences between different flags, and to find the different countries on a map.

Educational toys that you can make for a toddler or pre-schooler

You can find some more of the toys and games that I've made for my children here - homemade toys and games for young children.
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