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Category: Blog

Travel Toys For School Aged Children
Travel Toys For School Aged Children

In April, I wrote a very popular blog on ‘Travel Toys for Pre-School Aged Children‘ and now, with the school holidays looming, I thought I’d write one with older children in mind. So, if you have primary aged children and you’re looking for some small, light toys or games to bring on holidays with you, here’s my favourite.

Are We There Yet? Travel games for school aged childrenTravel Card Game. This game is perfect for families to play on long car journeys. €5

Djeco Mini Cards.

Travel games for school aged childrenThese come in boxes with 30 cards and a pencil and cost €6.99. Choose from:

 A Kite. Outdoor fun, toys pocket kitesPerfect if you are planning on spending time on a beach. The ones I sell cost €7 and are small and light for travelling with.

Arty Party Boxes.Travel games for school aged children These little boxes are perfect for creative children and come with colouring pencils. They cost €4.50. Choose from:

Gepetto’s Penguin.

Gepetto's Penguin

Gepetto’s Penguin from Eureka! 3d Puzzle

This wooden puzzle would be perfect if you have to spend some time indoors due to weather or sunburn. Pop out the pieces and slot them together. It costs €3.99

On the Go – Scratch Art.Travel games for school aged children I love these pads of scratch art. They are perfect to bring out in a restaurant while you wait for your food to be served. They cost €7.75 each. Choose from:

Putty Peeps. Travel games for school aged childrenAgain, this is great to play with when you’re waiting for food to be served. The tin costs €7

Wind Up Torch.Wind-Up Flashlight Torch

If your kids are going to be in a different bedroom to you, it is nice to leave them with a torch so if they wake up in the dark, they can use it to reassure themselves or find their way to the bathroom. These ones cost €6.50

Great Little Games.Travel games for school aged children I stock 4 different games which come in small boxes, easy to travel with. They cost €4.50. Choose from:

On the Go – Colour by Numbers.Travel games for school aged children I love these pads because they come with colours and they are super easy to travel with. They cost €7.75 each and you can choose between a boyish themed one or a girly themed one.

Yahtzee.Yahtzee Hasbro Game This game is brilliant for older children and the adults will love it too. It costs €15.99

Pick Up Sticks Game.Pick up sticks game This is light and small but great fun to play. It costs €4

Mini Construction Kits. mini wooden construction kitsThese wooden kits allow you to make vehicles from the wooden pieces without the need for glue. They are reduced to €4.50 each.

Cluedo – Grab and GoCluedo - Grab and Go Game Hasbro A travel version of Cluedo that costs €10.99

Creativity Placemats.Creative placemats place mats table mats If you are planning on eating out a lot and you have kids aged 7+, then I’d recommend these really cool placemats for your child to be working on while they wait for the food or wait for you to finish eating. They cost €12

Boggle Boggle hasbro classic game Great fun for older kids and adults to play in the evenings. It costs €14.99

Tintastic GamesTintastic GamesThese games are also great for older children and adults. Each little tin costs €5.99. Choose from:

GrabbitGrabbit Rabbit Party GameThis is a fun game that you can play around a table with the whole family. it costs €12.50

I hope this blog has helped you and that you all have lovely holidays, whether you are staying in Ireland or going abroad.

xx Suzie

New Lottie Doll Has Arrived : The Royal Flowergirl
New Lottie Doll Has Arrived : The Royal Flowergirl

I’m delighted to be able to inform you that Lottie Dolls have added a new doll to their range this month. It’s the Lottie Royal Flowergirl and she was worth the wait!

Like all Lottie Dolls she has a girl shaped body and is proportionate to a 9-year-old girl. This doll has blue eyes and dark brown long hair with a fringe.

Lottie Dolls Royal Flower Girl

Her dress is knee length and is cream with a pink hue. She wears white tights and has little cream flat shoes. She comes with a headband made up of roses and a small bouquet of flowers. She also has a handmade wedding card (Lottie sized) to go along with the pretend play she will inspire.

Lottie Dolls Royal Flower Girl

Lottie Dolls are made by Donegal company, Arklu so when you buy a Lottie doll from my website, you not only support my Irish business but this one too.

This Lottie Doll is very pretty and she would make an ideal gift to give to your own flower girl at your wedding. She is part of the Gold Collection of Lottie Dolls and Retails at €24.95. Buy your Lottie Doll Royal Flowergirl here and don’t forget that if you spend over €25, delivery is only €2, so why not invest in an extra outfit for your Lottie to avail of this cheap delivery rate? The full Lottie range is available here.

7 Fun Ways To Teach The Alphabet and Phonics
7 Fun Ways To Teach The Alphabet and Phonics

The summer holidays are just around the corner now and maybe you’re already thinking that it will allow you extra time to spend with your kid. Perhaps you want to encourage them educationally, over the holidays and prepare them for the next class they will be going into. In today’s blog, I want to focus on younger children – approximately aged 2 to 6 years. During this period, children in Ireland are encouraged to recognise letters and know their name and sound. For some, this can come very naturally, but for others, it can be difficult to grasp. Here are some fun educational toys that will help your child learn what each letter looks like and from there, you can teach them the sound it makes.

  1. Alphabet Peg Puzzle – €7.99

As soon as children can speak, we tend to teach them the alphabet song. This is also the perfect time to show them what the letters look like. This fun wooden alphabet puzzle from Melissa and Doug Toys has each letter cut out of the board. It’s also great for your child’s fine motor skills as they attempt to place the letter into the correct letter shape. As you do this with your child, tell them what the letter name and sound is. Underneath each letter  is a picture of something that begins with that letter. So, for example, underneath Z is a picture of a zip. This will help reaffirm the sound z makes.

Educational toys learn the alphabet letter recognition phonics

2. Octaland Flash Cards  – €9

Flashcards are a great way of learning letter recognition and sounds and I love that they are card sized, so they are easy to slip into your bag if you’re going out and need to distract your kid for a few minutes while you wait in the car or travel on a plane. What makes these flashcards even more impressive is that you can view them through an app on your phone or device and they turn into 4D form. So, for example, if you view the L card as it is, it will have L and the word Lily and Librarian. The picture will be of a young lady in a library. Look at the card through your phone and she becomes a moving cartoon character working at her library desk. Rory the Racecar Driver actually drives a car around the track and the Daisy the Dancer does a little hip-hop dance.

Educational toys alphabet flashcards

 

3. See and Spell Wooden Puzzle – €30.99

Once your child has learnt what each letter looks and sounds like, it’s time to introduce blending sounds. This See and Spell Puzzle from Melissa and Doug Toys is a perfect way to introduce this. Each board has a picture of a word and letter shapes for your child to find the correct letters for. It’s wooden, so it’s super durable and it will last through several kids.

Educational toys blending sounds phonics montessori

 

4. Magnetic Letters – €14.99

These are for children aged 3+ and are ideal if you have a metal front to your fridge or freezer. It means you can put them up and you’ll find that your child will gravitate towards them. Initially to learn to letters but over time, they will ask you how to spell words or they will put letters together and sound them out. If you don’t have a metal front to your fridge or freezer, I’d recommend purchasing this magnetic whiteboard for your child and they can play with these on it. This set comes with capital letters and lowercase letters.

letter magnets educational toys sounding out words

5.  Alphabet Stamp Set – €22.99

For older children who love making cards and gifts, this alphabet stamp set is lovely. It has all the letters in lower and upper cases, so your child can stamp out and spell out whatever words and sentences they wish.

alphabet stamp set jolly phonics

6.  Djeco Wordsearches – €6.99

This pack of 30 wordsearch cards is designed for children aged 6-10 years. As your child searches for the words, they will be sounding them out unconsciously.

Wordsearches for children

 

7. Boggle – €14.99

Boggle is a really fun, fast-moving game which you can enjoy playing with your children aged 8+. Find as many words as possible from the letter combinations drawn out.

Boggle word game letter dice

No matter what stage in letter recognition and phonics your child is at, I’ve something to help in a fun and enjoyable way.

Happy Learning,

xx Suzie

Whoever Heard of Pet Worms? Wormery Toy Review
Whoever Heard of Pet Worms? Wormery Toy Review

Every month new toys arrive in my stock room and being a working from home mum, my daughters are usually the first to check them out. When these wormeries from My Living World arrived my six-year old couldn’t wait to try one out and have her own pet worms.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

I was very impressed with the set up. The main part of the Worm World is a clear, slim, plastic box that measures approximately 29 cm x 18cm x 4cm. It has a removable lid (which is useful as you need to be able to feed your worms some leaves) It also comes with 2 slide-on feet to stabilize it once it’s been filled. The cardboard sleeve is essential (so make sure you don’t accidentally throw it out with the packaging) Slide it over your tank when you are not looking at your worms. This keeps the area dark as worms choose to live underground in the dark.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

 

The booklet that comes with it is easy to follow. The first few pages are instructions on how to set up the wormery and the second larger half is all about worms. It is very interesting and educational. There’s lots of pictures and its worded so even young children can understand it.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

The kit doesn’t come with soil/sand or worms but its part of the fun digging up earth and finding worms. The booklet is very helpful in instructing you how to find worms in your garden or local park and transport them from the garden to the tank without harming them.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

The way the wormery works is that you layer up soils but between each layer, you do a layer of coloured sand (which is included in the kit). This allows you to see how your worms are moving through the soil all the time. My daughters really enjoyed laying each layer of soil and sand. We did this in the winter, so we brought everything inside to do it and did it over a tray. If I was to do it again, I’d make sure we all just wore more coats so that the project was done completely outside.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

We were able to find 3 earthworms which we moved into their new habitat and fed daily with dried leaves. After a month, in accordance with the instructions, we moved the worms back into our garden and have cleaned out the tank. We used all the coloured sand for this first attempt but I think we’ll ‘adopt’ more worms this summer, as the girls really loved it. We will have to do it without the coloured sand separating each layer but we might be able to use fine gravel, sand or something similar to help us to be able to track where our worms have been.

My living world worm world wormery pet worms

Here’s what we liked about our Worm World

  • We learned so much about worms
  • The girls enjoyed the responsibility of feeding the worms
  • It was easy to do
  • It wasn’t expensive, only €19.99
  • It was controlled messy-play
  • We can use it again

 

If you are interested in having your own pet worms, you can buy a Worm World here. Alternatively, I also stock Ladybird Worlds, Spider Worlds and Ant Worlds so now you have no excuse for having a pet!

Enjoy!

Suzie

 

Get Your Kids Playing Outside – Check Out These Top Nature Toys
Get Your Kids Playing Outside – Check Out These Top Nature Toys

The weather is gradually changing for the better, so how can we encourage our kids to spend more time outside? For some, this isn’t a problem but for many parents this is. Toys often help draw kids outdoors. I’ve recently written a blog ” 8 Great Outdoor Toys for Summer 2018 “. The toys listed in this blog focused mainly on physical exercise outdoors like skipping ropes. Today’s blog is different. My focus is on educational toys that will help your children fall in love with nature.

  1.  The World’s Best Bug Viewer

The worlds best bug viewer nature toys

This clear jar has a lid that doubles as a magnifying glass. Simply transfer the little creatures you find into the jar and you’ll be able to examine them much easier. Since it’s a jar, pond and water creatures can also be examined by moving them with some of their water into the jar. This costs only €4.99

2.  A Retro Flower Press

flower press nature toys

Encourage your children to learn about flowers and preserve them, by pressing them in a flower press. This one costs €7.49

3. Pocket Microscope and Telescope

mictroscope telescope nature toys

There are some animals and insects you just can’t get near before they fly or run away. This handy little microscope and telescope is easy to carry around and costs only €6.99

4. Pocket magnifying glass

nature toys magnifying glass

For just €2.50, you’ll be able to look at the detail of nature using this pocket magnifying glass.

5. Compass

 

compass nature toy

If your child does go exploring in woodlands or mountains, it’s very important that they can find their way home. Spending €2.50 could make all the difference!

6. Build your own Birdhouse

Build your own birdhouse nature toys

If you build your own birdhouse, you are more likely to watch it and learn what birds are coming and going. This simple kitis from Melissa and Doug. It costs €16.99

7. Make your own Habitats

Whether it’s Ladybirds (€16.99), Spiders (€16.99), Worms (€19.99) or Ants (€19.99) that interest your child, you can help them create a habitat in your own home Then collect some ladybirds/spiders/worms/ants from your garden and observe them in their new habitats.

8.  Make your own Insect House

nature toys

Make your very own insect house with this Gift in a Tin which costs €13.95

9.  Build your own Microscope

Now your child will have no excuse that they can’t see the detail in leaves, bugs and much more. This Microscope kit costs €13.95.

Now, let’s see the weather turn and we’ll get to use these fabulous nature toys!

xx Suzie

Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights
Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights

Anyone else have an eight-year-old who acts like she’s 14? Mine spends ages getting ready every day and changes outfits several times before nightfall! So, when she spotted the FabLab Hairlights in my stockroom, she started saving her pocket money and within a couple of weeks, she owned the desired product.

Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights Review Hair Chalks

The packet contains 6 hair colours, 2 hairdressing clips, and child-sized plastic gloves. The hair chalks look like eyeshadows and come in purple, yellow, pink, red, green and blue. There are also detailed instructions on how to get the best results from Hairlights. Apparently, the lighter colours are most effective on darker hair and the darker colours are most effective on lighter hair.

Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights Review Hair Chalks

In order to apply them, you simply lift the lid of the compact and slide it down your hair, transfering the colour from the compact to your hair. For best results, do it several times on the same strand of hair. My eight year old found this difficult to do on her own so I helped her the first time and since then, she has done it with the help of her friends.

Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights Review Hair Chalks

This photo shows the green, blue, pink and yellow in her hair, which is naturally mousy brown. What we found is that it fades quite quickly (within 8 hours), so although it washes out, we’ve never actually had to do this, as it’s virtually disappeared by the time she has been going to bed. She has used it at least 10 times so far (but she only does strands, she has never attempted her whole head of hair) and there’s still plenty left for future uses. So far, it hasn’t stained clothes or skin.

Toy Review : FabLab Hairlights Review Hair Chalks

If you are interested in buying FabLab Hairlights, it costs only €12.99, so it’s perfect for a gift.

So in short, here’s what we liked about this product:

  • It’s appealing to older children
  • The price makes it affordable for gifts
  • It works well
  • It doesn’t need to be washed out
  • It’s not messy
  • It can be used multiple times before it runs out.

If you want to see it in action, check out our YouTube review.

xx Suzie

 

8 Great Outdoor Toys for Summer 2018
8 Great Outdoor Toys for Summer 2018

Last weekend we got our first taste of Summer and wasn’t it lovely? I bet your kids loved going outside and playing. We looked through our box of outdoor toys and gave it a bit of a Spring Clean. Many had not fared well from being left outside all winter and others, the girls had simply outgrown. If you are like us, now is the perfect time to stock up on a few new outdoor toys that will encourage outdoor living over the coming months. Here’s my favourite 8, that I stock.

  1. Sidewalk Chalks

Outdoor toys street chalk, sidewalk chalk, footpath chalk

Let your children get creative on your road with this drum of outdoor chalks. Perfect for little children and older children too. This drum costs €4.99

2. Kites

Outdoor fun, toys pocket kites

These kites are great fun on windy days at the park or beach. They fold up nicely and are light to carry. They cost only €7 each.

3. Marbles

outdoor toys marbles

Set up some fun marble challenges outside. This tub has enough for several children. I also stock nets of marbles

4. Skipping Ropes

Wooden handle skipping rope outdoor toys

These pink ones with heart designs cost only €6.50

5. Juggling Balls

juggling balls outdoor toys

There’s no better time to learn how to juggle than in the summer when you can practice outside! This set of 3 balls costs €5.50

6. Water Balloons

water bombs outdoor fun and games

Be prepared for the next hot day with some of these water balloons. They are quick and easy to fill and they seal themselves! Great value at just €2.99

7. Trucks and vehicles

Bruder Outdoor Toys

Bruder Trucks and Vehicles are sturdy enough for outdoor play. Perfect if you have a sand pit or enjoy visiting the beach. Prices start from €16.99

8. French Skipping Ropes

French skipping Ropes outdoor play

Toys like french skipping ropes encourage children to play with other children and teaches them how to take turns.

If you like these, you’ll like my full range of outdoor toys.

Now roll on some sunshine and warmth!!

xx Suzie

 

Make your own Slime
Make your own Slime

Oh, how I hate slime! But what I hate more is my kids regular attempts at making their own slime from my flour, sugar, food colouring and other ingredients. It ends up so messy and is slimy for about 2 hours before it dries out all over my kitchen. I also invested in contact solution, pva glue and other chemicals in an effort to keep them out of my baking supplies but this ‘slime’ never turned slimy! Last year I stocked these ‘make your own slime kits‘ and my girls and I did it together. It was fun to do and worked perfectly. I stopped stocking it because I grew to hate slime and I didn’t want to inflict it on others!! I am now learning that whether I like it or not, we have to endure it and this is the one type I can endure the easiest!

As far as making slime is concerned, this is as mess-free as it can possibly get. The kit contains 2 bottles (a base and a reactor). Simply measure out the required amount of each, stir for a minute and you have made your own slime. You can choose to use all the chemicals in one go and have a large amount of slime or to hold back and make small quantities several times.

As these are chemicals, adult supervision is required.

So, despite hating the stuff, I’ll continue to stock it until this horrible craze is over, in an effort to spare your baking ingredients (and mine!)

xx Suzie

PS. If you want to try out this DIY slime kit, you can purchase it here 

 

9 Travel Toys for Preschool Aged Children
9 Travel Toys for Preschool Aged Children

A good customer sent me this message last week and I thought I’d reply here so that more people can benefit.

We have a couple of breaks away planned in May, & must get some travel toys for L. What would you recommend? The gifts in a tin? Or have you other good travel toys as well?

If you are going somewhere that has a pool, can I recommend you pick up a few fun water toys? These squirty bath toys are cheap and cheerful but lots of fun.

 

Travel toys for preschool children

Melissa and Doug have a range of travel activities called ‘On the Go’. Most are aimed at school-aged children, however, the Water Wow is great for children approximately 3 years and over. It comes will a brush that you fill with water and then they brush over the pictures in the pad and the colour changes from white to different colours. There are two great things about these pads. The first is that after a few minutes,  it returns to a black and white picture and so it can be ‘painted’ over and over again. The second is that it’s light and the brush doesn’t leak, so it’s mess-free and it’s easy to slip into your bag and produce when you want a peaceful cup of tea in a coffee shop with your other half! I stock several different ones of these, so if you have more than one child, you can get different ones for each of them!

Travel toys for preschool children

The Djeco Duo two-piece puzzles come in sturdy boxes with a carry handle, so they are easy to bring with you where ever you go. Again, I’ve several different designs in these puzzles.

Travel toys for preschool children

If you’re child likes order and putting things where they are supposed to go. Then, I think she’d really enjoy the Edu’stick Shapes from Djeco. The pack contains 30 cards and 194 stickers to stick onto them.

Travel toys for preschool children

You can’t go wrong with a colouring book or drawing pad and some crayons. These Djeco double ended crayons are thick enough that they are hard to break and they are chunky enough for small hands to hold and use.

Travel toys for preschool children

Here’s hoping you get great weather while you are away. These pocket kites are really light and don’t take up much space. Pre-school aged children may find it hard to get the kite up in the air (but that won’t stop them from trying!) and it’s a great family activity to do on a beach.

Travel toys for preschool children

If you don’t mind giving your child your phone or tablet while you are away, then I’m happy to recommend these 4D+ alphabet flashcards.  You can use them without a device to learn letters and sounds but if you put the free app on your device, then your child can watch the characters move and turn into 3D.

Travel toys for preschool children

Just in case you have a rainy afternoon and you’ve already spent the morning at the swimming pool or the soft play area, then I’d recommend a family game. This little box contains 4 games which young children, with guidance from an adult, should be able to pick up and play.

Travel toys for preschool children

Finally, these Gift in a Tin sets makes wonderful travel toys for pre-school children. The ones I’d recommend the most for this age group are the zoo one, the farm one and the train one.

Travel toys for preschool children

As you can see, all these toys that I have recommended cost less than €15 and even having one or two new toys for holidays will add some delight to your child’s trip and hopefully give you some time ‘off’ and some quality time as a family.

Have a great trip,

xx Suzie

Toy Review – Teddy in a Tin
Toy Review – Teddy in a Tin

Last January, my 6-year-old was eager to spend some of her Christmas money, so I brought her into Dundrum to choose some clothes and one toy. She chose a Teddy in a Tin craft set and I was so impressed with the toy, that I later added the Gift in a Tin range to my stock.

The teddy she chose was ‘Cuddly Bear’. I wasn’t able to stock this one, as it was part of last year’s range but I stock one very similar called ‘Travel Bear‘. Some of the accessories are different and the Travel Bear is a darker shade of beige but apart from these small differences, they are very similar.

Here’s what came in the tin

Teddy in a Tin Contents

The instructions were really clear with photos to illustrate the description of what needed to be done. My six-year-old, who isn’t a great reader yet, was able to follow the photos to make her teddy and accessories.

Teddy in a Tin Instructions

It was easy for her to stuff the teddy through a small hole in his spine, which she then sewed closed.

Stuffing the Teddy in a Tin

All the areas that need to be sewn have pre-punched holes, so it’s easy for the child to do it, using the plastic needle from the kit.

sewing the Teddy in a tin

The craft took about 45 minutes to complete which included stuffing the teddy and sewing him up, writing a birth certificate and making a bag, a pillow and a heart for him.

Three months later and this teddy (and the tin) accompany my daughter to bed most nights. It’s a lovely craft set with a quality toy to enjoy after the craft is completed. I couldn’t recommend it more!

Click here for my full range of Gifts in A Tin. They are amazing value at just €13.95 each and they make lovely presents.

xx Suzie