As a home educator finding great resources is invaluable, so when we were offered the chance to review DK’s new Children’s Encyclopedia it sounded perfect. 240 topics and over 1500 facts, spread over 304 pages. Great for my children’s curious little minds. The book itself is beautiful. Bright, colourful and wonderfully presented. With everything in alphabetical order it makes it easy to find your subject. In an age when we all too often just say “let’s ask Google”, it’s easy to forget that books can be such a wonderful way of expanding our children’s knowledge.
I asked the children what they’d like to learn about. S thought that as we have an Elephant Hawk Moth cocoon in our kitchen, we should look at how a caterpillar becomes a moth. We found everything we needed to know under Metamorphosis, from the life cycle, to the meaning of the word. The “see also” box at the top of the page also refers you to other pages that may be of use, much like a link on a website but with the added fun of flicking through real pages.
We got out our moth cocoon and compared it to the chrysalis on the page. We used the information from the encyclopedia and combined it with internet research to find out more. Using the two together gave us a rounded view of our topic and enhanced our learning experience. The encyclopedia and the internet are the perfect combination for learning and complement each other well.
Flicking through the pages of the book we found lots of interesting ideas of what else we would like to learn more about. From the story of clothing, to the food chain, to how light works. The DK Children’s Encyclopedia has it all. We love the double page ‘story’ spreads, investigating the subject from many different angles.
We love this book and it is a very welcome addition to our bookshelves. At £25 RRP, for a hardback book packed full of highly illustrated pages and 120’000 words, it really is “The book that explains everything”.
**We were given this book free of charge for the purpose of reviewing, all thoughts and opinions are our own.**
One things my kids have always loved is a good face painting session, whether at home or at fetes and parties. So when we were offered the chance to review a Snazaroo Weekend Box we were really excited.
The box arrived in the post addressed directly to the children, which is a lovely feature. I mean, what child doesn’t like receiving post? The box is fun, colourful and easy to open, great for little hands.
Inside the box were two little face painting kits. The first came with a little brush, sponge and 3 coloured face paints. There were also 3 very easy to follow instructions on how to paint your face.
The second little kit contained 3 stampers and 3 more coloured face paints. The stampers worked so much better than I anticipated. The girls loved playing with the stampers and printing on each others faces. The cupcake was a particular favourite.
The Snazaroo Weekend Box also has a certificate printed on the inside that the children can colour, complete and cut out. The little kits are the perfect size to take out and about, and share with friends too. My only qualm was that coverage on a full face was a little patchy. That may have been down to technique rather than the Snazaroo paints themselves though.
All in all the children gave the Snazaroo Weekend Box a massive two thumbs up.
**We were sent the Snazaroo Weekend Box Free for the purpose of review, all thoughts are our own.**
When my child is presented with a new battery operated toy, I tend to grumble inwardly. Eurgh, not more noisy, irritating toys that won’t turn off surely! So imagine my delight when not one but two cute, fluffy little Zhu Zhu’s arrived in the post for us to review.
To be honest receiving two was great as it meant less arguing about them, both of the little girls had one each. S chose Pipsqueek, a cute little yellow hamster, and the “unofficial leader of the Zhu Zhu’s”. Little S chose Chunk the blue Zhu Zhu, They were ecstatic, because as well as a new pet each they also got the Hamster Wheel and Tube rrp £14.99 and the Adventure ball rrp £12.99 for their pets to play in. Both the ball and wheel were quite easy to put together and the girls could customise the wheel with the stickers that it came with. The ball does come apart quite easily though, so I have to pop it back together regularly.
These furry little toys have not left their sides since they got them. They’ve been to the park, Grandparents’ houses, and even to bed with them. The girls have loved making their Zhu Zhu’s dance, sing and run around. It’s been lovely hearing the girls squeal with laughter as they chase their little pets about.
They are without doubt the best pet, no mess to clear up, they don’t shed hair everywhere, and after 4 minutes of inactivity they turn themselves off! The only problem I have now is that they want to collect every pet and all the accessories too. I guess we’ll be off to Toy’R’Us soon, but at an rrp of £12.99 they’re quite reasonable.
**We received the Zhu Zhu’s and accessories free for the purpose of reviewing, all thoughts are our own. **
One thing I love to do is encourage my children to push themselves out of their comfort zones occasionally and try new and exciting things. Whether it be a new sport, group or just meeting new people. I also try to lead by example in all that I do and that means that I too have to step out of my comfort zone from time to time.
I was recently asked to try out the comfort of a new pair of Hotter shoes, whilst stepping out my comfort zone and off the top of a tower into thin air! Yes, I was asked to go on the Bournemouth Pier Zipline. In return though, I get a funky new pair of shoes. Sounds fair.
I chose the Shake shoes in cream floral. One thing I really love about Hotter shoes is their range of sizes. I’m a 6 and a half which can mean shoes often don’t fit well, but Hotter shoes do half sizes which is fab.
I was so nervous on the day of the Zip slide. I don’t mind heights too much but I don’t like jumping off them! We arrived and got all kitted out in harnesses and helmets, and headed up the big tower at the end of the pier.
The view from the top was amazing, the sun had come out and you could see right along the beach. For some reason I volunteered to go first. I was clipped onto the wire and the gate was opened. I lent back into for harness, took a deep breath and shuffled of the edge of the the tower. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life but I did it and after the first 2 seconds actually enjoyed it. I was not however, going to to go back for another try!
I had my harness removed and stood and watched all the others whizz by. Afterwards we did a quick interview on camera about our new fab Hotter Shoes, again not something I’m overly comfortable with. Once everyone had finished the lovely ladies at Hotter treated us to a meal in Aruba. We had fun chatting and eating together.
It was a wonderful evening and an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.
**I received a pair of Hotter Shoes for free in exchange for this review, all thoughts are my own **
Many children don’t get to do much imaginative play, trying to fit it in between school, homework and other activities. One of the many things I love about home education is that we have lots of time for imaginative play, creating stories and acting them out with toys. So when R was asked to review the Powerpuff Girls Dine&Dash Story Maker we jumped at the chance.
She was very excited when a big parcel arrived for her to open full of new toys. She loves watching the Powerpuff girls on TV. The ultimate crime fighting sisters Bubbles, Buttercup and Blossom made of sugar, spice and everything nice, plus some chemical X! The Dine&Dash set comes with a Buttercup action figure plus movable crime figures than you can knock down by shooting a burger at them. R also got Bubbles and Donny the Unicorn in a separate pack.
You can create any story you like, even adding to it with other story maker sets. There is endless fun to be made with the Dine&Dash set. We’ve enjoyed playing with the Powerpuff Girls set, Bubbles wins as the favourite character. We recommend the Powerpuff Girls story maker sets to any fan who wants to create the ultimate crime fighting tale.
As a mum of 4 children and a home educator, I am always on the look out for new and exciting activities to do with the children. I was recently asked if I would review Pottery Cool Studio Set. My girls in particular love doing all things crafty, so this was great for them.
When the parcel arrived in the post they couldn’t wait to get their hands on it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get started straight away as it needed batteries. After much nagging we walked down to the corner shop to buy some.
The girls decided which of the projects from the instruction booklet they wanted to try first. R chose a little jewelry holder, which was nice and simple to make. S chose a dog shaped photo holder, that was a little trickier and more fiddly. The instructions would have been easier to follow with better pictures, but we got there in the end.
Little S loved the sensory element of playing with the wet clay as it spun round on the potters wheel. As she was a little young at 3 to follow the instructions, she used some leftover clay to make a little pen holder/vase.
The clay was left to dry overnight as per the instructions, but the following day it still felt quite damp so we left it for another day before painting. While S was painting her dog, one of its ears did fall off which was a little disappointing but we have managed to stick it back on.
We enjoyed painting our clay creations, and particularly loved the metallic paints. R (aged 8) says “It’s a great way to get creative and stop you getting bored” We are looking forward to see what else we can make and buying some extra Pottery Cool clay disks in the future.
**We were sent the Pottery Cool Studio Set for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.**
Buying new shoes for your child can be stressful. Finding something they like, that are comfortable, durable and within budget sometimes feels impossible. Add in a child that dislikes any change can be very challenging. E had his last pair of shoes for over 18 months, by the end there was barely any sole left, there were holes in the fabric on top and the Velcro fastening was falling apart. If you had seen my son walking around in these tatty, too small, and falling apart shoes you’d probably have thought me a bad mother!
But all was not lost, I was given the opportunity to try out Brantano’s website. Browsing online took the stress out and we were able to find that perfect pair of shoes. I was impressed by the great selection of boys sandals online as often boys designs can be a bit limited. (They have a lovely range of girls sandals online too.)
He chose these gorgeous Mountain Peak sandals. I love the bright orange.
They arrived quickly and we were both really impressed with the shoes. What’s most important for me is that he finds them really comfortable and he is happy wearing them. After almost 3 weeks we’ve no complaints about them, an active boy using them as brakes on his bike, climbing, running, jumping and they’ve not worn at all.
Although we didn’t need his feet measuring this time as they had been done recently its worth noting that Brantano do run a free fitting service. We have used this service in the past and always found staff very friendly and accommodating especially with E’s needs.
This weekend the children received a Mini Weekend Box to review. They loved the colourful box and fun characters.
They were very excited to see what was inside.
They decided to do one craft each. S did a little gardening project, which was absolutely perfect for her. She needed a little help cutting the bottle and reading the instructions but the rest she did on her own. We’re now waiting to see what will grow.
Little S had a mask to make. She loved colouring it in and gluing, and I helped with all the cutting.
It took about half an hour to complete the box and then the children coloured in the certificate in the bottom of the box.
The boxes normally cost £4.95 each and are definitely worth the money. They’re the perfect Sunday afternoon activity for creative children. Little S is still running around with her mask on 3 days later!
Weekend boxes were founded to deliver inspirational, creative activities to busy families who love to spend time together. All boxes come with free delivery and fit through your letter box.
All weekend boxes are themed around topical events and the activities fit into one of four four categories.
-Something to make (arts and crafts)
-Something to bake (cooking activities)
-Something to explore (sensory exploration activities) and
-Something green (things to plant or up-cycle).
If you would like to pick up your free box go to www.weekendboxclub.com and enter code TANYA305 at the checkout.
*I received the mini weekend box free for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts are my own.