Friday, 11 July 2014

Summer Holiday Educational Toys and Crafts - CLOSED

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2 weeks to go to the end of term and our much needed Summer Holiday! Are you looking forward to a break from school runs and work? Me too! Although I must say that I'm dreading for the days when we aren't out somewhere having fun, as that's when the kids start to drive me crazy! So I've been gathering some ideas of what to do with them during this Summer holiday. This guide features products that's perfect for the quieter days, and to keep the kids alert for Back to School, the toys and crafts all fit the Learn through Play philosophy.

The lovely people at The Bear and Miss Rabbit has also offered to giveaway 2 of their toys, both reviewed here, so keep your eyes peeled to win something fun and educational for your little ones!

1001 Nights Stitching Cards Box Set (£15.00) - Pierrot et Coco
- Recommended for age 8-12; contains 3 stitching cards, stitching guide, sewing threads, sequins, needle and 2 threaders.

- Currently out of stock at Pierrot et Coco, but they have other unique and beautiful craft kits. You can buy the 1001 Nights Stitching Cards easily online as well.

Skills: Stitching, hand eye coordination, sequencing, pattern, patience

This is one that Abby is eager to try (although it's aimed for 8 plus). The sturdy card makes it easy for children to hold and thread the needle through, and the stitching guide is easy to follow. We love the artistic design, and adding sequins to the pattern really makes it very special! Abby has done some stitching at school and this box set can definitely help her practise. There are 3 cards in the box which will keep her busy for a while.Once finished, the cards can either be framed up or glued on a card paper to make it into a post card too.

3D Solar System (£15.99) and 3D Planets in a Tube (£5.99) - University Games 
- Recommended for age 3+. Both sets comes with 8 glow in the dark planets from our solar system plus Pluto. The 3D Solar System also comes with 200 adhesive stars, 7.5m of string and a planetary guide, where as the 3D Planets in a Tube comes with an adhesive putty and 7.5m of string.

Skills: Planet in correct order, planet recognition, planning

B Toys Aquapade (£4.99) - The Bear & Miss Rabbit
- Recommended for 3 to 8 years; fill with water and pump air into the Aquapade by pressing the button to move fish/ insects/ pirate treasures into the cups. Comes in 3 designs

Skills: Hand eye coordination, reflex

The classic toy we used to play with when we were kids! I was over the moon when I saw this on The Bear and Miss Rabbit's website. Who doesn't like to share their favourite toys with their children? Our Insect Aquapades comes with 5 cute insects. Water can be filled from the top and the rubber seal kept it leak proof, though be careful of little ones peeling it open. It is very easy to play and children wouldn't even noticed that they are practising their hand eye coordination skill. It's also great as a bath toy. Do remember to change water every so often.

If you like this, enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a free one home!

Baker Ross Summer Craft Kits (Assorted)
- Price is around £3.00 per kit for smaller packs. Each kit comes with at least a couple of crafts to make, and larger quantity is also available, making them ideal for parties. Difficulty level depends on which kit you get, some only involves sticking, others require a bit more attention to details, but most of them are suitable for young school age children

Skills: Hand eye coordination, drawing, designing, colour coordination, crafting

If you want affordable and a great variety of craft kits, maybe a packet that comes with many kits to share, you must shop at Baker Ross! We love their Summer range, some are perfect for younger children like Clay to do too. We love the result of the tissue paper flower, they've provided enough materials for 4 flowers in the packet, and extra pre-cut tissue papers for you to make bigger flowers or even tissue paper pom poms! Abby is waiting for me to teach her how to do this!

I love craft kits as everything is included and I don't have to spend ages gathering materials to do a project. These are great for the kids especially those with short attention span, and it keeps them happy between other things or during waits. With multiple kits inside a pack, I can easily entertain both kids and even a visitor or 2 no problem!

Hot Heels Pack of 5 Kit (£19.99) - Crayola Creations
- Suitable for 6 years +, comes with 5 different shoe models and decoration materials including sequins, ribbons, stickers, sticky gems, paper flowers, sticky foam dots and double sided sticky tape

Skills: fashion design, hand eye coordination, colour coordination

Abby really enjoyed designing her Frozen inspired shoe. The kit is perfect for budding fashion designers and can keep children busy for hours. It's a great skill to develop during the holidays too! For full review please follow the above orange link

Glitzy Globes Showcase (£19.97) - ASDA 
- Recommended for 4 years +; comes with display stand, dome maker, water bottle, 2 wand sticks, 4 mini Glitzy globe base, holder and domes, 1 mega Glitzy carousel dome and base, carousel spinner and 3 carousel horses, 7 mini Glitzy Globe animals, 2 extra large glitter tablet, 5 glitter tablets, 12 mini decorations and instruction manual

Skills: design, colour coordination, hand eye coordination, crafting, Science

Abby really enjoyed doing this and she has put more Glitzy Globes on her wish list. It's really interesting to see how snow globes are made, and watching the glitter tablets dissolve in the water is fascinating too (can this be classed as Science?). They are much smaller than we expected, but cute all the same, and if the base accidentally came off, you know that it won't be a big glitter water disaster. After many weeks, water still remains clear inside the globes, so really happy with that.

The carousel is fun to play with after it's been made. You can spin the horses around and see them stirring up a glitter storm! The showcase is definitely worth getting, and children can add another 6 globes to the showcase as well.

Horrid Hangman (£3.00) - Wilko
- Recommended for 5 years+; comes with 1 base unit with lid, 1 x 3 piece gallows, 1 x 6 piece man, 60 letter tiles and 1 instruction leaflet. Suitable for 2 to 4 players

Skills: spelling, vocabulary, vowels and consonants, memory

The classic Hangman game! Every time I add a body part, Abby sulks haha (I'm an evil mum). With Abby I try to tell her what the word is related to, so she has somewhere to start her guesswork. She has a wide range of vocabulary but they don't normally pop up in her mind unless it was required. The Hangman game is fun and can help her joggle up her memory.

Musical Instrument Sound Puzzle (£9.99) - The Bear & Miss Rabbit
- Recommended for 2 years+; puzzle board takes 2 x AAA batteries (not included). When a piece of puzzle is placed on the board, it plays the beginning of "Old MacDonald has a Farm" tune using that instrument. Other designs also available

Skills: hand eye coordination, musical instrument look and sound recognition

Clay loved this puzzle a lot! It's the first time we heard of sound puzzle, and it's definitely better than just normal puzzles where children only learn to recognise the pictures. It's important for them to learn what sound they make too.

The board responded quickly to the puzzle pieces and it plays accurate musical instrument sound. Every time a piece is placed on the board, the previous playing tune will stop. This will allow children to hear the correct instrument playing, although it would be fun to hear a whole Orchestra playing too

To get one for free, enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post and you can even choose the design you want!

My Studio Girl Sew Your Own Craft Kit (assorted) - University Games
- Recommended for 8 years +; all kit comes with prepared materials including a child-safe needle for the project, and step by step instruction manual. there are 3 collections in the range:

The Onesie Doll kit (£7.99each, 6 to collect) comes with a pre-made doll and the project is for sewing a removable onesie for the doll to wear.
The Rescue Pet (£9.99 each, 3 to collect) comes with an adoption certificate and a name tag collar for the finished pet
My Precious Pals (£12.99 each, 3 to collect) is a project for sewing a doll that measures approximately 10.25" x 7" which comes with a pet in her bag

Skills: Sewing, hand eye coordination, crafting

Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Art Academy (£29.99)
- Learn how to draw using a Stylus pen with the 3DS/ 2DS. Teaches basic to advance drawing, sketching and colouring skills through fun game play

Skills: drawing, sketching, colouring (in shades and depth), hand eye coordination, art and design, encourage creativity

This is definitely the game to get for budding artists. Although a Nintendo 3DS/ 2DS game, it teaches children how to use a Stylus Pen with the touch screen to draw with different drawing techniques and tools. Although they practise with drawing Pokemon characters, they will end up with skills they can use in a lifetime, and soon they'll be able to use Paintshop/ Photoshop to draw their own creation (I'm seriously not exaggerating!)

For full review please follow the orange link above, and the video clip in the review post will show you why it's a great tutorial for artists and students alike.

Parragon Books Summer with Gold Stars Challenge (assorted)
- recommended for 3 to 11 years old; the Gold Stars range is Parragon books' premium range of educational activity workbooks, designed to reflect the national curriculum. The Summer with Gold Stars Challenge help parents keep their children active and engaged over the summer holidays

- The challenge: encourage children to complete a page a day of their Gold Stars book for 30 days over the summer holidays. Every child that successfully completes 30 pages of their Gold Stars book will receive a congratulatory letter and personalised certificate via email

- To take part, pledge your child's participation to Parragon on their social media channels using the official hashtag #SummerwithGoldStars. You can then share updates, pictures and progress with the hashtag as well

Skills (Depending on the workbook): Numeracy, Literacy, Science

Although this is a workbook challenge, it only involves 1 page (ie one side of a sheet) a day and children can get a gold star for each page they've finished. At the end of 30 days they can also get an achievement recognition, so in some way it's still learn through "play" (where the challenge is a game). The books work parallel with the national curriculum, and it's a great way to keep their little brain going a bit a day, so Back to School won't be a big shock to them.

I'll be starting Abby on her challenge soon, and I'll probably get Clay a book as well to gradually get him ready for preschool in September.

Chimp and Zee Pesky Pirates Game (£7.99) - Paul Lamond Games
- Recommended for 4 years+, suitable for 2 to 4 players. Game comes with 4 piece treasure board puzzle, spinner, 4 front and back printed pesky pirates playing pieces, 1 front and back printed Parrot, 1 front and back printed Jolly Rodger, 5 playing piece bases, 4 treasure chests, 36 coins and rules sheet

Skills: counting, following rules, patience, fair play

This is Clay's favourite out of this feature. Even though he's only 3 years old, he can follow our instruction to move his playing piece, collect the coin and put it in his box. That's definitely some new skills bagged in his pocket! Soon we can start asking him to look at the number and count the steps himself. Abby really enjoyed this game too, though she's a bit competitive, and she can definitely do with some fair play training here!

The reason why I said it teaches patience as well is because, when there are only a few coins left on the board, things started to slow down when every player tries to roll the number needed to get to the next coin. patience is the key.

I especially like the coins provided. They are the most "jingliest" coins ever! Just listening to them jingle makes me happy! I guess I can understand why evil pirates have to count their gold coins every day now!

Rocket Magnet Target (£8.99) - The Bear & Miss Rabbit
- Recommended for 4 years +, includes a metal dart board and 3 magnetic darts. Can play in different ways: aim for any number and say the number, aim for a specific number, aim for highest/ lowest number, or aim for total highest/ lowest score (involves addition and memory, unless numbers are written down). Suitable for 1 + players

Skills: hand eye coordination, numeracy, counting, memory

Rubiks Cube (assorted) and Rubik's Twist (£12.99) - John Adams
- Suitable for 8 years +; Rubik's Cube comes in 3x3, 4x4 and 5x5, with over 43 quintillion possible combinations but only one solution. The Rubik's Twist (or Rubik's Snake) is created from 24 triangular prisms that are attached face to face and able to rotate 360 degrees. It can be used to create multiple outcomes of unlimited puzzle shapes, and larger shapes can be created by combining multiple Rubik's Twists.

- Guides can be found on the official Rubik's site to help solve the Cube

Skills: (Cube) hand eye coordination, logic, patience
(Twist) imagination, logic, hand eye coordination, creativity

I have always, always wanted to own a Rubik's cube, but deep down inside me, I know that I'll be terrible with it, and no way will I be able to solveit. I was very happy to receive Rubik's products to celebrate Rubik's Cube 40th anniversary, and had a go at both the Cube and Twist. As predicted, I'm awful! I just can't find the logic in the cube, and the more I turn it, the more messy it gets. Luckily, I found out that Rubik's has a solution on their website for incompetent people (my words) like me to study. And it worked! Even though I cheated, I was still very proud of myself. To be honest though, even with the guide it took me hours to solve the puzzle, so it was still fairly challenging. I did understand the logic behind it better, and after a few more tries hopefully I won't need the guide anymore!

Although a bit too young, Abby was amazed by it, and since she loves puzzles and challenges, she gave it a good go. She didn't quite know where to start, as it's very easy to get lost in the mixed colour cube. But as soon as you understand the logic of solving one face at a time (no that didn't came to us), it gets a bit easier.

I think for younger kids, it might be easier to start them off on a 2x2 cube, although even that one require some good thinking. It's a classic brain training toy and I think that everyone should at least give it a go.

Abby is familiar with Rubik's Twist for a few years now, and she has been twisting it into geometric shapes. Who knew you can do so much more with it?! I tried to look for online tutorials again for this but I only found lots of pictures of what you can make out of it. So I tried a few and that sense of achievement! You won't get that if you just copy the design step by step!

Tidlo Play Shop and Theatre (£79.99) - The Bear & Miss Rabbit
- Recommended for 3 years +; theatre can be converted to a shop by raising the theatre curtain with the rotating, clicking dial and reversing the fabric to reveal the market stall's roof. It requires some assembly. Free delivery through The Bear & Miss Rabbit

- Comes with 50 theatre tickets to dispense through ticket machine, chalkboard and clock to advertise the next show and time. Shelves can be used as storage for theatre props and puppets. 3 angled shelves, each features a chalkboard panel for produce names and prices/ offers

Skills: role play, imagination, counting, writing, drama/ acting, time



1. Aquapade of the Winner's Choice (Choose from Insect, Fish and Pirate Treasure)

2. Sound Puzzle of the Winner's Choice (Choose from Musical Instrument, Pets, Farm, Vehicles and Zoo Animals

Deadline: Sunday 27th July 2014 midnight (where 12:01am is Monday)

Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway is open to the UK mainland only
  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in this post's comment section (Disqus) to enter the giveaway. Please make sure that you are not leaving comment as Anonymous, as I would not be able to check whether you've left an answer. If you have to comment as Anonymous, or if your Disqus ID is different from your Rafflecopter entry name, please add a means of ID on your comment that I can use to link it to your Rafflecopter entry. Unfortunately if I can't, all your entries will not be counted.
  • If you have problem accessing Disqus, I also accept the answer answered in Facebook under the competition post.
  • Please make sure that your email used to enter the Rafflecopter is active, and you do check the spam folder in case the email I sent you ended up there
  • All entries will be checked.
  • Winners will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly. First name pulled will win prize number 1 and second name pulled prize number 2
  • Winners will be announced by Friday 1st August 2014 on here, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Winners will have to respond to my email by Monday 4th August, 2014 noon. A new winner will be chosen after that to replace the winner for the prize
  • The prizes will be posted by the PR. Unfortunately I cannot be held responsible for missing parcel, but if you have any enquiry do let me know and I'll try my best to help
  • For a simple guide to Rafflecopter, please read Di Coke's Rafflecopter Guide
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