Every now and then you find a kid's toy that just ticks all the boxes and you find the whole family having fun playing together. The Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar does just that. The Code-a-pillar is a robotic battery operated caterpillar, to make it move you simply attach the different body pieces, as many or few as you like, and press the power button. It then does exactly what you have told it to do. Included with Code-a-pillar is 1 sound piece, 3 straight pieces, 2 right turns and 2 left turns to send it in endless directions.
We were recently invited to try out VertiGo, the brand new high rope adventure attraction at Drayton Manor. We had seen it was being constructed the last time we visited and were really excited to try it out. As ambassadors we got to attend on the opening weekend and we all got to have a go to see what we thought.
Now that the summer holidays are about to begin, you might be thinking of ways to entertain the kids. Of course it is great to get outdoors as much as possible, but we still have housework to catch up on and with the kids around things take ten times longer! Whenever I have things to do I give the kids an activity to do or a DVD to watch. That way I have the period they are busy for to get what I need to do done. PAW PATROL: MEET EVEREST! is now out on DVD and contains seven all new episodes of everyone's favourite pups. We have watched the DVD ourselves and have a fantastic printable activity sheet for you below along with a giveaway for ONE LUCKY READER.
Puppy In My Pocket has been a favourite with young children since the 90s and this year it is returning with it's greatest collection yet. With more than 100 miniature puppies to collect, including a few ultra-rare glitter puppies, the soft flocked characters have their own name and unique bio based upon realistic dog breeds.
Every year I spend a fortune on expensive school shoes for the kids to either grow out of them after a few months or for them to look so scruffy before the first term is even over. The fact I have two in school doesn't make back to school shopping any easier or cheaper. This year I am super organised and have their new shoes already thanks to Debenhams.
Finally there is a franchise specifically made up of female superheroes! It has been a long time coming and although Gracie has always been happy being a fan of superheroes, she has had comments from so many children saying that she can't like superheroes because they are for boys. Not anymore! The DC Superhero Girls range has a diverse line-up of kick ass female DC characters at that awkward teenage stage, finding their feet, making friends and of course discovering their unique abilities and superpowers. Each character has their own storyline and they are so relatable.
With the school year coming to an end, you may be thinking of quick and easy teacher gifts, that don't involve pinning cute ideas on Pinterest for 3 days then leaving yourself with an hour or two to complete the over-complicated cutesy ideas that you have promised your child you will make! Well I thought I would source some nice easy ideas for gifts that can be bought online or in local supermarkets. My children's teachers have made a huge impact on their little lives, so it is important to me to give them a small gift to show my appreciation. We will more than likely make some home made cards to go with the gifts but with so many teachers and assistants to thank in one way or another, shop bought gifts are my saviour.
We were recently sent an awesome parcel from Hartley's Jelly containing a kit fit for the party of any Princess/Prince. The parcel contained the brand new Mixed Berry Glitter Jelly, some party hats, a jelly mould, magic wands, streamers and lots of sparkle. We go through lots of jelly in this house, yay for yummy dairy free treats!, so I don't know who was more excited! Our usual favourite is the create your own flavour as we like to be imaginative, but blue and glitter! It is like they knew how much the kids love Elsa from Frozen and created the perfect Frozen party dessert.
I must say never before in my life have I managed to make jelly in a mould and transfer in onto a plate in one piece but TA-DAH. I did it and all the cool mum points were earned
that day. Of course I got video footage as proof forever that I managed to do it. The video also shows you how I managed it and yes it is really easy!
As you can see these two little people loved it. They loved having a pretend glitter jelly party after school where we had fun food, followed by fun dessert, party hats and lots of noise. What more could a kid wish for?
Hartley's Mixed Berry Glitter Jelly will be joining the rest of the range in a supermarket near you very shortly so keep a look out. Also the social media team absolutely love to see your creations and hear your thoughts on the range so make sure you tweet them @HartleysJelly they are a friendly bunch!
We were recently sent the Butterfly World, butterfly rearing kit from Interplay. Using this kit we cared for 5 baby caterpillars until they transformed into beautiful butterflies and were ready to be released into the wild.
The kit contained:
- Pop Up Butterfly Rearing Cage
- Jar Cover
- Small Plastic Pot & Lid
- Paint Brush
- Informative Guide Written By Nick Baker
- Caterpillar Order Form
There is so much I could say about this kit but the most important thing to me was how loved this activity was, not only by my own children, but also their friends who came to see how they were getting on and also watched them through every stage. I have written numerous times on my blog about Gracie's fear of all animals and creatures, I knew she would be ok with this activity as long as the caterpillars/butterflies were caged at all times.
What I didn't expect was for her to be so filled with love for each individual one. She named all five, Rosie, Robbie, Caitlyn, Tinker and Belle. She spoke to them every single day and was the first to notice any changes. She was heartbroken when two of them eventually died, one as a caterpillar which never developed into a Chrysalis and the other a fallen chrysalis which then meant we had an underdeveloped butterfly which couldn't break free of the chrysalis. Towards the end she even wanted to hold one and on the day of letting them go I carefully placed on in her hands so she could set it free herself. This was a huge deal for her and as silly as it sounds she has been approaching all kinds of animals since rather than screaming in fear. She has still been very wary but it is such a success for her!!!
As there was so much to see throughout the 5/6 weeks we had them, we put together a video diary starting as 5 teeny tiny caterpillars and ending with us saying goodbye and releasing them in the wild. They are fascinating creatures and all of us really enjoyed watching them through every stage.
We did have a few hiccups as you may see in the video, we had a butterfly emerge out of the chrysalis whilst still in the pot as we still had a caterpillar and the guide says to wait until a few days after the last caterpillar turns. I noticed that a chrysalis turns almost black right before the butterfly creeps out so if you notice that then it is best to transfer what you have into the pop up rearing cage. We managed to knock down a chrysalis in the panic to move the butterfly and chrysalides into the net and the poor one which was knocked down stopped developing, hopefully this can be avoided if you know the signs to look out for.
One thing I must add though is that the caterpillars are not included in the set. There are tips in the guide book on how to find your own OR you can use the order form included to purchase your caterpillars which come in a pot of 5 with the food included in the pot to last them until they transform. Then once they transform into butterflies you can simply feed them honey water using a soaked cotton wool ball for them to extract it from or you can find fresh cut flowers (certain ones are listed in guide book).
It is a really fun, educational activity and are extremely low maintenance. It was an easy alternative to having an actual pet for us and was such a novelty having something different in the house. If you have young children it is definitely worth a try.