Toys

Toys we play with including reviews

Project Mc2 doll

The twins love the Project Mc2 girls and I am happy to let them watch as they are inspiring. The Project Mc2 characters are proud to be nerds, proud to be geeks and show that intelligence is something cool. A way of thinking that is close to my heart and I am keen to encourage too.

As Year 5 has kicked off, we are looking forward to a successful year with their new teacher, where they slipped last year I am encouraging them to catch up and do extra at home. I am bribing them with pocket money to sit down and do an exercise or two of Mathletics each day, call me harsh but they are liable to burst into tears over maths as they totally lost their confidence last year. I am of the idea that if I can beat that fear over the next few months, I will have won the battle and they will be more confident in maths as they go through the remainder of their school life. It’s worth it for me and I am determined to get them to the best of their ability again.

The Project Mc2 doll series help me on that journey and as I encourage the twins to do extra, they are reminded that these girls do too and yet they look great, they are funny and intelligent too.

Project Mc2

The new set of dolls added to the fun existing list are the Project McExperiments with Dolls. Each doll comes with her own experiment using ingredients found at home and can be performed over and over again.

The experiments include: Make your own Lava Lipgloss with McKeyla McAlister, |Create your own Gummies with Adrienne Attoms, Make your own Light Up Earrings with Bryden Bandweth, Design amazing Tie Dye with Camryn Coyle, or Create Glitter Tattoos with Ember Evergreen

The dolls, based on the girls in the show are fully movable and can be dressed and undressed. Their hair can be played with and they inspire hours of fun play. Do you know someone who would be happy to receive a Project Mc2 Experiments with Dolls? I have one doll up for grabs in the competition below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I realise how early it is to be talking about Christmas but we all know that before we know it, it will be knocking at the door. Trust me, if you are in retail or marketing you have already started speaking about Christmas and laying down plans to make your business boom in this period.

On that note, I am starting to receive ideas to share with you and of course, those that appeal to me are the ones that get a mention.

This post is all about family games because it is something my family make a big part of the day when we are spending time together. We have ping pong, a dart board, Pass the Pigs and many other fun games to play together… who didn’t have a go at Pie Face?

The Very Merry Christmas Game

very merry christmas game

Christmas crackers, Carol singers, Christmas presents and Brussel sprouts go into making the Very Merry Christmas game. The idea of the game is to scheme your way around the board to get all the best presents which you can only open at the end of the game. What lavish gifts will you find in your stocking? Or will it be full of naff tat?

Suitable for age 8+. 2 – 4 players can enjoy the game or it can be played in teams. The board game has 42 Cracker cards and 32 present cards to land on and collect, you can use the Christmas cracker cards to steal a better present from someone else’s stocking and if you land on a carol singers space you have to sing your favourite festive song to prevent losing one of your gifts.

As with all games, there is always the card you want to avoid – in the Very Merry Christmas game it’s the dreaded sprout cards which have a bad effect on you, watch out for those!

The Very Merry Christmas Game will be available from Debenhams and Amazon for £19.99

Mr & Mrs Family Edition

Mr and mrs family game

Think you know your partner, family and friends well? The Mr and Mrs Family game will put that knowledge to the test!

The game is aimed at players aged 10 and above and requires 2 or more players. It is based on the popular family TV show hosted by Phillip Schofield and has 100 question cards plus some blanks for you to write your own questions on.

Work your way through the questions and the Paddle round questions before arriving at the It’s a Match stage. There is sure to be a lot of laughter as you play, plus some blushing and some blank looks too!

Mr & Mrs Family Edition RRP £19.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, WHSmith, Amazon, Next, House of Frasier

Mr & Mrs Pocket Edition RRP £9.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, Amazon

Disclosure: I was sent the board games to review for the purpose of this post.

old trampoline

When we moved into our current home we inherited a trampoline from the previous owners. It was barely used and I have no idea why they left it behind but after a quick bounce from Dad and a thorough check we decided to hang on to it. Great decision because the girls have used it so much! It’s a perfect excuse to get them out of the house all year round and from tiny bounces they have evolved into ‘bum drops’ scissor jumps, star jumps, and 360s.

I am amazed at how long it has lasted. We have had to replace various parts over the years like the padding that goes around the bottom and the net too, but it was a photo I took earlier this year and posted on Facebook which drew some comments in from our friends.

Deathtrap!

I think that was the one that really opened my eyes and made me start searching ‘parts for trampolines ‘ online.

The photo was of the children bouncing away merrily with no safety net. The net had deteriorated over the winter and I hadn’t got around to replacing it. Plus every time I made a mental note to do so, it would immediately be covered by another trillion mental notes.

Deathtrap!

It might seem a bit harsh but all it takes is a nasty landing and you could potentially be looking at life changing injuries and even fatality.

parts for trampolines

As my trampoline is an odd size and shape (just different to the standard size) I couldn’t find the right net for the right amount of poles, all of my regular searches showed plenty of items but none that fitted our trampoline.

Would I have to throw it away? Where does one start with disposing of an old trampoline? the thought of dismantling it is enough to make me want to sit down and open a bottle of gin!

Time to get my finger out, I sat down in front of an empty browser began my search – parts for trampolines.

People of the internet, I came up trumps!

I found the perfect net and springs from the website – Parts for Trampolines, as all of ours were rusty. I was able to order online and the products arrived swiftly plus, they were easy to assemble thank lawd! No swearing from Dad.

parts for trampolines

Top tips for looking after a trampoline

Keep it clean – That might sound odd but dirt and debris left on the mat can eventually damage it or get caught in the springs. To clean it all you need is a bucket of soapy water and a soft brush, if you’re clever you could even convince the kids to do it for you. Surely it would be fun? Make sure they also check for spider webs, bugs, insects and build up of leaves and dirt. If you store your trampoline in the winter, make sure it is completely dry before packing away.

Placement – I discovered this one on my searches. A well placed trampoline can extend the life for years. Look for a shady spot but make sure there are no overhanging branches or other objects nearby that avid jumpers might bang into! Plus, if it’s directly under a tree, that’s going to be a lot of leaves to clean throughout the year! Do we have to say – don’t place it near the barbecue or the fire pit? Possibly yes, let’s cover all bases.

If you are going to place it next to your fence, make sure it’s not by your neighbour’s fire area as embers caught in the wind can travel and land on your rubber mat singing burn holes into it.

parts for trampolines

Parts for trampolines

Are all of the springs connected? Are they damaged?

Are there any holes in the net?

Are any of the poles broken or bent?

Is the netting ripped?

Is the trampoline standing on a flat surface?

Look out for wear and tear on the mat or any sagging or tension issues. Excessive stretching of or damage to the springs.

Is the mat excessively stretched? Is it frayed, ripped or has the stitching come undone?

Check the frame connections. Is it bent? Are the welds broken?

parts for trampolines

Weatherproof your trampoline

Look for a rust resistant frame and a rugged mat. If you have bad winters remove the mat, leaving the frame where it is. The springs can be stored in a box and oiled before reusing. If you can’t store away, turn the frame on its side to prevent leaves or snow collecting on the mat and weakening it. Just make sure there is nothing sharp close by that could rip the mat.

A weakened mat won’t hold a jumper and they could find themselves jumping straight through! So keep an eye out for any accumulation during the winter months and remove it as and when. If it’s snow – it’s the perfect spot for making snowballs, just don’t tell the kids ;)

You can also invest in trampoline covers which protect the mats from frost and make the cleaning of debris easier.

If you have high winds you’ll need to think carefully about the trampoline, we found ours shunted and bent one year after a strong storm. You could look at getting an anchor kit if you didn’t want to dismantle it. over the windiest months. Trampolines have been known to travel quite far, next door’s garden, onto a parked car …

Rules for the trampoline!

To keep your trampoline in the very best shape there are a few rules to put in place that EVERYONE has to adhere to, no excuses for anyone.

No shoes

Only one jumper at a time – we need to be more rigid on this rule.

No climbing up the safety net.

 

Above all have fun! Look after your trampoline and you’ll have years of bouncy fun!

giant pass the pigs

I am organising a family barbecue soon; my daughter is coming over from Italy with her family, my grandmother is going to be 97 and it’s the perfect excuse to get everyone together and enjoy some family time. On family days like this we often play a few games and this year, I have a brand new game up my sleeve which I think is going to be an enormous hit…

Giant Pass The Pigs

Let me tell you more.

Paul introduced the game to me during our first Christmas together and I have been thrashing him playing the game ever since. It’s a really simple and fun idea; you hold two plastic pigs in your hands, shake and drop on the table. The two pigs can land in many different ways, razorback, trotter, snouter, even a leaning jowler and if both pigs land in the same position it’s likely to double your points! Take a look at the scores below for an idea.

Pass the pigs points

This version is perfect for playing at home, pulling out after a meal one evening. Christmas and family get togethers are always a great occasion to play and being in a handy case, they are great for taking on holiday too.

Back to the Giant Pass The Pigs, they are really cool, they are easy and quick to blow up – the twins did ours! They also have a string bag to keep them in once deflated along with the score pad, pencils and other bits and pieces that you need for the game.

We had our first game one weekend whilst staying at our caravan in Thanet, it was a really fun moment playing in the garden. Although Bessie’s face might not say it – I think she was concentrating on a win ;)

playing giant pass the pigs

 

This game can be played anywhere, indoors and outdoors, it’s easy enough to take to the park, beach or even on holiday as it packs away neatly and is quick to assemble. Like I said, it’s a family favourite.

Just look at them … they’re adorable, aren’t they?

Treat yourself to some family fun!

giant pass the pigs

Disclosure: Pass the Pigs and it is suitable for all ages, the younger players might need some help adding up the scores but that’s it. We were set a set of each game for the purpose of this review.

unicorn 3D puzzle Ravensburger

We haven’t done a puzzle in ages and it’s a task that once we start we really enjoy completing. I’d go as far to say puzzles are therapeutic and great for stilling the mind and creating at the same time.

Ravensburger continues to be a huge favourite of ours, we’ve been using them for years, and we have been asked to review some of their latest 3D puzzle range.

This will be a new challenge for the girls, working out how to make a 3D puzzle and the beauty of these jigsaws is that the finished puzzle is also a handy object that they can use and keep in their bedroom. No more breaking it up to put it back in the box!

There are many different kinds of 3D puzzles, the first that I ever saw were of buildings, like Big Ben which we gave as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago to my nephew, who loved it. The latest range of 3D puzzles includes unicorns, and we love unicorns in our house so we were delighted to take a look at them

3D puzzle Ravensburger

Discover unique puzzle fun in the third dimension with 3D Puzzles from Ravensburger! Thanks to ourEasy Click Technology, the plastic puzzle pieces fit together precisely. Create stunning 3D objects with individually shaped and bendable puzzle pieces – no glue required!

There are four products in the unicorn range, a vase, a vanity box, a jewellery tree and a pencil holder. The puzzles are different sizes and this may help you decide which one to get judging on the age of the child.

Unicorn Vase – It’s aimed at children 9+ but the twins, who are 8 can do this with a little help. There are 216 pieces in the box and the finished vase stands 24 cms high. There is also a water container to place inside so your vase can hold real flowers.

unicorn 3D puzzle Ravensburger

Unicorn Vanity Box – Also aimed at children 9+ and also has 216 pieces. The finished dimensions of the box are 23 x 16 x 13 cms (LxWxD) and there are some handy plastic containers that sit inside to hold the objects you wish to place in it. The box is perfect for hairbrushes, hair bands and paraphenalia, nail varnishes, make up and jewellery.

unicorn 3D puzzle Ravensburger

Unicorn jewellery Tree – The jewellery tree is aimed at children 8+ and contains 108 pieces. The finished product is a flat picture of the unicorn held in a pink and purple plastic stand with branches to the sides which can hold all manner of bracelets and necklaces, plus the tray at the bottom can hold hair grips and bows, rings or earrings.

3D puzzle verdict

I think they are really cool gifts, they will keep children occupied whilst they are constructing their toy and afterwards they are able to use the product in their room and be rewarded daily by their creative efforts.

This is a toy that challenges the brain, keeps children occupied and away from screens and also offers a purpose once completed. They are reasonably priced

One last mention, if unicorns aren’t your thing then you might like the owl range.

Disclosure: I was sent a selection of puzzles to review from the unicorn range, all opinions are my own.