Thursday, 24 April 2014

Inspiring Playtime with Tomy Toys

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Being a Tomy Official Blogger means that we get to try out new toys all the time. Test them out for durability, style and fun-ness and the kids have a great time doing so. This time, we have been sent a range of items from the Tomy range of musical and moveable toys. 

Tomy are celebrating 20 years of expertise in infant developmental and creative play. They have a fantastic range of toddler toys, suitable for children from six months right up to three years old although Thomas is nearly 5 and still plays with them. This new collection that inspires playtime now falls under the Tomy Infant and Toddler Toys umbrella. There are new toys and a whole new look for the brand this year, including modern, vibrant packaging with more visible age grading, allowing the bright and colourful toys to really shout out on shelf. 

This new range launched in January and we were lucky to be sent 3 toys from this range. 

Luke the Loop
New for January is a counting toy called Luke the Loop. A loveable elephant in his own little plane, who loves looping and counting. In his little stunt plane the engine sounds, the propellers turn and as you rotate the plane around, it counts from 1 to 10. 

Designed for small hands to hold, it has a small handle on the top to make playing with it even easier and as the child makes a loop with the plane, it counts. It is an absolutely fab toy that both boys love playing with. The fact that they are having fun, getting to play and fly the plane around but also learning the basics of counting too. 

Luke the Loop, Mummy Blogging, Official TOMY Blogger, Parent Blog, Push ‘n’ Chase Turtle, Ready Steady Musical Giraffe, review, TOMY, Yorkshire Blog

Ready Steady Musical Giraffe 
This one is probably the favourite of the toys and is also new to the collection. You simply push the giraffe’s head down and the engine starts. It rattles around as it's starting and then this cute toy rolls along the floor. 

The car vibrates as it revs and plays music and eventually shoots off. I love this toy as not only is it a great motion toy but for smaller children, it will help them in learning to crawl as they'll want to follow it as it moves aiding them in the process of growing up. 

Push ‘n’ Chase Turtle 
This is the perfect toy to encourage follow-along fun for little ones. It has a ring-shaped body. making it easy for children to hold. You can simply push him down and release to see him roll forwards.

The motion makes little ones want to follow along, encouraging movement, like the toys above, aiding the ability to crawl. If you push the turtle along the floor, you hear him ‘click’ as he moves and you can also shake him to hear a rattle sound too. I think that this toy would be perfect for children of a younger age as, it will help with learning to move around the floor but also the shorter, quiet sounds will keeps them entertained too. 

I have done a short video showing the Ready Steady Musical Giraffe and Luke the Loop in motion which you can see here:

I am so privileged to be a Tomy Official Blogger and get to receive these items to test out. If you would like more information about them, or to see the other ranges they do, check out the Tomy Toys website.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Keeping Busy In The School Holidays

These school holidays will end soon and Thomas will be going back to school. I am glad that nearly every day of these holidays, we have been out, visiting new places, having fun and going on holiday. But after these 2 weeks out of school, I realised just how expensive keeping the boys entertained for the 6 weeks holidays will be and so thought that I better had start getting prepared now. 

6 weeks is a huge amount of time to fill so I thought that if we started saving now, we would have enough money to plan ahead and get everything ready for when the summer arrives. 

Seaside Escape
The main things that will make a huge dent out of the time and money will be a break away. As you all know, last week we took a family holiday to Cayton Bay, near Scarborough, and even though we loved it, we were gutted that it was such a short break. And so we are planning on booking again for the summer holidays but going away for a full week. 

Paddling in the sea, building sandcastles and getting to do loads of activities that are being held their. All keeping the boys entertained whilst we get a lovely week away from work, away from bills, away from everything. 

Wheely Good Fun
Buying the boys some ride-ons will be great for the summer days of playing out on the street. Thomas already has a bike, which he loves, but has recently been wanting to play at the skatepark at our local park. For that reason, I have been checking out Penny Skateboards UK to find a nice skateboard for Thomas to practice on. I remember when I was a child, sitting on a skateboad and riding down the street and it would be nice for Thomas to learn some new skills whilst playing too. 

Creating a Masterpiece 
Well, maybe not the Mona Lisa, but getting the boys to get creative is a good way to pass the time and make something that can show off their creative sides. Papier-mâché hot airs balloons are fun to do and easy to make. Finger painting is messy but what child doesn't like being messy. Even getting a couple of sticks of chalk and drawing on the pavement is fun for children, heck I find it fun too. I love a bit of hopscotch.

Keeping It Educational
Going out for the day can be super fun but also educational too depending on where you decide to go. We regularly take the boys to significant spots, to bird watch, look at ruins and educate them whilst they get to play. 

This week, we popped to Kirkstall Abbey for a walk around. Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire in Leeds. 
The picturesque ruins are open for the public to walk inside (after extensive renovations a few years back to make it safe) and they are truly beautiful to see. 

Not only did the boys get to run around, climb and check out hidey holes, but as we walked around, I explained all about it's history to help them understand about the building, what is was built for, why it was destroyed and how come we love to visit places like this. 

There are so many activities we can plan to keep the boys entertained for the holidays and I just can't wait to get started organising our days. What do you have planned to keep your children entertained?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Enjoying The Great Outdoors For Free

I love being outdoors, okay I prefer it when the weather is warm, but nevertheless, I love being outside. Being stuck inside is so depressing so we try to get out as much as possible, even if it's just into the garden. The boys love being out too, although they much prefer the getting muddy aspect of things.

The only negative thing about going is, is the expense. I see a lot of advertisements for 'family days out' but once I research them, £300, £400, £500 later, I decide that we cannot afford to go. Recently, we have been out quite a bit so I thought I would write about what we have done, things that haven't cost a penny. 

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Beach Fun
Okay, okay, the holiday did cost us money, but I am talking about the actual activity. Going to the beach cost us nothing. You don't have to go abroad to get the good weather, the UK has some of the most amazing beaches around and when the weather is right, they are just perfect. 

The amount of different things you can actually do at the seaside is immense. From, building sandcastles and burying daddy in the sand to paddling in the sea and blowing bubbles into the breeze. Everything is free, fun and fantastic. 

We visited Scarborough beach and Cayton beach whilst on our holiday in Cayton Bay which I wrote about last week (you can read my post here)

Water Fun
If the weather is warm enough, dig out the paddling pool. Once again, it costs nothing to have water fun and we regularly have ours out in the summer. 

The pool is a great way to have fun and keep children cool in the hot weather also. Water fights are even better and these needn't cost a thing by using jugs, cups and good old splashing hands instead. We even put our slide into the edge also to create our own water-slide which the boys love. 

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Walking In History
Getting out and about is great fun, but it's even better if children can learn as your having a fun day out too. We love going to historical buildings, learning about nature and seeing beautiful surroundings. 

Local reservoirs are a great place to visit. We went to our local, Eccup Reservoir (you can read our post here) and learnt all about birds, the water system and had a fun filled day. Yes, it was a really long day, a 7 mile walk left us feeling shattered at the end but it was a stunning place to see and the kids loved seeing all the nature. 

Old buildings are also great places to learn through play. Kirkstall Abbey, in the north-west of Leeds, is a ruined Cistercian monastery that has now been opened up to the public for viewings. Little sign posts all over explain about the history and what actually happened in each area. (you can read our post here). Not only can you learn about the Monastery but you can run, climb and play in the areas to keep learning fun. 

All these days out are super fun and cost nothing to do. You could even simply play football in the garden or at the local park or dig out your chalk and get sketching on the pavements. Days out don't need to be expensive, you just need to use your imagination and figure out how to do things on a budget. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Photo A Day Project Week 16

The last week of the school holidays have flown by. We have managed to get out quite a bit and the great weather means that we've had fun in the sun also. 

The boys got bored of sticking to paper all the time, so this week I bought some chalk and they loved drawing on the pavement in the garden. We made a hopscotch, wrote our names and even did little doodles too. 

Just making sure the Easter eggs taste okay. Ooops, naughty mummy pinched an egg. Don't worry though, I have replaced it now hehe!

The reason I am always up early on a morning. These 2 monsters always pop into the bedroom and slip into bed with me, usually kicking me out in the process.

Kirkstall Abbey is a beautiful place to visit. We live close to it so visit quite a lot. A few yeas back, they renovated it all, fixing the unsafe parts and then opening up the building to the public to view the beauty and history. 

We've had lovely weather this week so I thought I'd get a selfie whilst chilling in the garden. The boys enjoyed some down time in the pool and Charlie enjoyed riding his scooter. Well, not really riding it, but having fun nevertheless.

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