Sip n Sound Farmyard Animal Straws

Sip n Sound Farmyard Animal Straws from Flair are a fun new interactive range of straws for children, that along with the fun element also encourage health benefits by using a straw as opposed to a cup.  In the Farmyard Animals range there are four straws to choose from, Horse, Cow, Sheep and Pig.

Each straw is quite solid and easily slides inside the animal so can simply be removed for washing.  The animals stay put at whatever height you put them on the straw although we did find you need a sturdy cup to use them with so they don’t tip the cup over.

The children’s faces were all smiles when they saw them and they couldn’t wait to try them out, not quite knowing what was going to happen.  When they heard the animal sounds as they drank through the straws they were in fits of giggles and thought they were really funny!

The straws are great fun and the children love using them, it certainly encourages them to drink plenty of liquid everyday as they kept asking for refills so they could use the straw again.  Also drinking through straws is much better for oral health and helps prevent tooth decay.

So what did the kids think:

Mister B – “They are amazing – I love them, can I try a different one now?”

Miss M – “Brilliant, they are really funny, can we use them for dinner later please?”

As you can see the Sip n Sound animal straws have been a success with my children and they can’t wait to share them with their friends when they come round.  Being reusable and easily washable I think these will get many months of use!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Ravensburger My First Pets Puzzle 8+ Review

Ravensburger My First Pets Puzzle is aimed at ages 8+ and contains 200 pieces. It is a really cute design containing eleven different sections each with a different type of pet featured in it.  Being broken down into sections makes it easier to identify where each of the pieces go and having a 9yr and 6.5yr old I was sure they would be able to complete this between them.

With my 9yr old out, the 6yr old got started and without helping him, I encouraged him to find all of the edge pieces.  I knew he could do it if he tried and before long he started piecing bits together. He loved the achievement of joining up sections that he had made and had fun identifying which animal each piece came from.  It also gave us talking points about the various pets on the front of the box.

When the 9yr old got home, she couldn’t resist joining her brother and helping him find the inside pieces.  In fact just a few hours later they had completed it all by themselves!  I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and I’m pleased to be able to share this pastime with them.  I think it’s great for their brain and makes them think, identify and match pieces which are great skills for adapting into other things.

Overall we loved the puzzle.  The animals are all so cute on the front and having different sections gave each child a different pet to focus on so they weren’t arguing over who was putting which pieces in.  The 9yr old did get to put the last piece in though!

A really lovely puzzle from Ravensburger, with their usual high quality of pieces.  It was a pleasure watching my children complete this and gave them just about the right challenge to do without being too easy. My First Pets Puzzle is cute, fun and perfect for animal loving children.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Best First Pets for Children

Kids need entertainment, kids need companionship, kids need fun, and they need to learn some responsibility too. In all reality, there is no better way to provide all of those things for your child than by getting them their very own pet. Here we have a list of the best first pets that you can get for your kids, ones which will certainly make them smile.

2 Common First Pets For Kids & Families

These are without a doubt the most common first pet choices that kids get and the definitely make for some solid choices. Let’s talk about them quickly.

Dogs

A dog is a fantastic first pet to get any child, especially a smaller dog. First of all, dogs are really fun for kids, mainly because dogs love to play. Dogs like playing fetch and they like running around the house chasing things, just like kids. Guaranteed your child will have loads of fun with a dog. Moreover, most dogs are extremely friendly so you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety, plus a good dog can guard your child from threats if need be. There is also the fact that dogs really don’t take that much maintenance either.

Aside from feeding, walking, and a little grooming, there is not much effort needed to take care of a dog. Your child can learn some responsibility by having to feed and groom the dog, and even take it on walks too. Most things which a dog requires can be done by your children. If your child is too young to really take care of the dog, you can be happy with the fact that they don’t provide too much work for you either. Dog is man’s best friend and your child’s too.

Cats

A cat is another great first pet choice for your child, and that is mainly because they require virtually no maintenance. Unlike a dog, cats don’t need to be walked. You can either let them go in the litter box, in which case you will most likely have to change the litter, or if your child is old enough they can do it themselves. Other than that and regular feedings, you really don’t have to do anything to take care of a cat, something that makes it perfect for kids who don’t have too big of a sense of responsibility yet.

Also, cats make for great snuggle buddies and they just love to curl up beside you, something that your child will appreciate every day as they are watching TV on the couch. Moreover, cats can be pretty entertaining too. They do a lot of wacky stuff that we all love to watch, plus they love playing with string and toys. Your child will get hours of fun out of a cat and that is a guarantee. Cats are awesome pets that are fun, easy to take care of, and quite friendly too.

If you do decide on either a cat or dog, it’s always a good idea to consider pet rescue homes as there are lots of animals that need a home, and you are doing a good deed by rescuing too.

3 More Suggestions That Don’t Require Too Much Maintenance

If you are not a big fan of either cats or dogs, and you would like something smaller that does not require much maintenance, you can always check out these great pet ideas for your child’s first pet.

Hamster

A hamster is a fantastic little first pet choice for your child. First of all, they are small and soft, which means that your kid can lift them up and cuddle with them as much as they want. They aren’t heavy, so that’s not a problem, and they are very cuddly too, something that everyone can appreciate. Moreover, as far as rodents go, hamsters are probably the friendliest of them all, with minimal chance of being bitten by them.

Hamsters are also very fun to watch. I don’t know how many times I have caught my own kids watching that furry little creature run itself into exhaustion on that hamster wheel. Something about watching them run on that wheel is just so mesmerizing for little kids. Best of all, hamsters don’t require much maintenance.

All you need is a cage, some food, a water dispenser, some bedding, and of course the hamster itself. Occasionally you need to clean the cage, remove the hamster waste, change bedding, and make sure it has food and water. However all of those things are very easy to do, they don’t take long, and they don’t have to be done that often. Even if your child is too young to really take care of the hamster, at least it won’t be too much work for you.

Betta Fish

In our opinion, one of the coolest pets that you can get your child is a fish, specifically a Betta fish. Now, these animals take a little bit more maintenance than others, and they require some special tools too. You will need a special betta tank (Aquascapeaddiction has covered some good tank options) and a protein skimmer (this post explains how skimmers help), a filter and a light, and some fish food too. However, in the long run, none of these things are very expensive, nor are they hard to set up or use.

Once you have the aquarium set up, all that needs to be done is to feed the betta fish regularly, change some water, and clean the filter, all things which a child older than 6 or 7 can probably do on their own. Also, betta fish are very beautiful creatures that will add a certain elegance to your child’s room. These fish are also very fun to watch as they swim around the tank all day long.

Ant Colony

The final cool first pet choice to get your child, and the one that takes perhaps the least amount of maintenance, is the ant. Well, you don’t get just one ant, you get a few dozen ants, which is called a colony. These are interesting pets, because sure, you can’t

pet them or really lift them up, but they are definitely fun to watch as they borough through the dirt and create a plethora of tunnels.

There is also the fact that ants require virtually no maintenance. As long as you have a glass ant house, some lettuce or carrots, and a handful of dirt, there is nothing standing in the way of a thriving ant colony. All you need to do is feed them, that is literally the extend of an ant colony’s required maintenance, something that every parent will appreciate.

Conclusion

There are many different cool first pet choices which you can surprise your child with. Just make sure that your child will be able to keep them alive on their own, and if your child can’t, you need to be fine with doing the work yourself. That being said, a pet is a fun, rewarding, and educational thing for any child to have.

In collaboration with Craig from Aquascapeaddiction

Wildlife Animals from Schleich

Schleich is always a popular brand for it’s durabiliy, quality and realistic looking creatures.  They have every type of animal you could be looking for from horses to dinosaurs, dragons to fun playsets. This week we have been looking at some of their wildlife animals in the Wildlife Starter Set.

With a zebra, lion, elephant and monkey as part of the collection I just knew my little boy would love these, particularly the monkey which has turned out to be his favourite.  He loves using these in all sorts of imaginative play, adding them in with his other toys, such as tractors, trucks and other figures for fun playing.

As you can see the animals are incredibly lifelike with lots of attention to detail.  Being realistic is great for kids because they can really see what the animals are like and talk about their features and learn to recognise different creatures.  The durability in Schleich figures is fabulous too and they will last without dulling in colour or legs breaking off.  They are without doubt the best quality figures we’ve played with.

If you are looking for animal figurines for little ones to play with then do check these out, you can’t go wrong with them and kids love them.  Here’s my little cheeky monkey with his favourite couple from the Wildlife Starter Set!

Available from Smyths Toys for £14.99.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the dragons in order to write the review.

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Win The Secret Life of Pets Duvet Set

The Secret Life of Pets is a film that both of my children have watched and thoroughly enjoyed.  The tale is about a dog Max who isn’t very happy when his owner takes in a stray called Duke who makes Max feel a bit left out.  If you haven’t seen it, then you must do as the kids found it to be a great afternoon of entertainment.  To celebrate the success of the film is this fabulous The Secret Life of Pets bedding set and cushion from Character World.  As you can see my little boy was absolutely delighted with it and couldn’t wait for me to put it on his bed for him to sleep in.

secret-life-of-pets-duvet-2

We also received a double sided cushion which proved to be a huge hit with Mister B.  He is forever cuddling it and uses it downstairs when he watches tv as well as on his bed at night time.  It is soft and smooth and really comfortable.

secret-life-of-pets-duvet-3The duvet cover itself is double sided.  One side showing all the main characters of The Secret Life of Pets and the other side has smaller images and phrases written across it.  The pillow is mostly plain white but in the corner is a large image of Sweet Pea the bird.

secret-life-of-pets-duvet-4My little boy loved his new duvet set and couldn’t wait to go to bed as soon as I changed his sheets which is always a good sign at night time.  It is a great way to encourage children to go to bed when they have a duvet cover they love and can’t wait to snuggle up in, so I’ve got a great opportunity for one of my readers below to win a duvet set for themselves!

For a chance to win The Secret Life of Pets duvet set then simply fill in the Gleam form below:

pets-giveaway

The Secret Life of Pets duvet set giveaway

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

 

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Creaturepedia – Kids Book Review

Creaturepedia is a fabulously illustrated book by Adrienne Barman about living creatures, giving children a brightly coloured insight into animals, their characteristics and a few facts thrown in too!

creaturepediaThe book is hardback with over 200 thick pages fully illustrated, breaking animals down into types, such as the faithful, the poisonous, the mythical, the long necked etc.  I also love the attached ribbon bookmark to save a page, or mark where you are up to.

I have two children, a girl age 7 and a boy age 4, and they both enjoyed sitting down looking through this book with me.  Miss M knew a few facts and eagerly pointed our animals she knew, whereas Mister B was more intrigued and fascinated by what he was seeing and taking in information of different animals and creatures.

creaturepedia 2Although the pages look simple, there really is a lot to talk about from the colours, shapes and types of animals and my naturally inquisitive children always found more questions to ask me about the creatures.  With so many pages it really is a great book to dip in and out of or just look through a few pages each day or sometimes we read it at bedtime.

I think children will build up on their creature knowledge through looking at this book, without really realising it, which is always a good thing.  It’s so easy going as there is minimal reading, that you can spend as long or as little as you want on a page.  What’s quite incredible is the vast amount of creatures that you come across within the book, it really does cover most things from those living, to mythical and extinct creatures.

Mister B certainly has his favourite animals that we have to look at again and again!  Definitely a book we will revisit from time to time.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the book in order to write the review.

Tractor Ted Xmas Gifts Review & Giveaway

Tractor Ted is one of Mister B’s favourite DVD’s to watch, he just loves watching all the big farm machinery moving around and singing his favourite song, “Digging a Ditch”.  So he was thrilled when he saw the new Xmas pack from Tractor Ted, containing the latest DVD and activity book.

Tractor ted 1Sitting glued to the television, Mister B really enjoyed watching the huge machines at work and then telling me what he saw.  This DVD shows children various tractors along with the jobs they do as well as interaction from Tractor Ted who pops on screen to encourage children to count, sing as well as learning lots of new things.

The special Xmas section of this DVD is a visit to meet some reindeer and shows how they pull the sleigh.  This generated a number of questions from Mister B who was intrigued about what they were doing and we had a lovely chat about Christmas and how important the reindeer’s job was in helping Santa!

The Tractor Ted Christmas Activity Book is of a lovely quality with full colour glossy pages perfect to attract little ones attention.  With 32 pages packed full of activities, there is plenty to do from letter practice, colouring, mazes, spot the difference and even a couple of festive recipes – the reindeer cupcakes look fun!  We also had some chunky farm animal crayons to use to colour in the pictures which are great for little fingers.  We find Mister B tends to break thin crayons so this are perfect for him to get creative with!

Tractor ted 3For one lucky reader I have a Tractor Ted Xmas pack to giveaway containing the DVD and activity book!  These would make a lovely gift for a young child or could even be used as stocking fillers.

Enter below to win, good luck:

Tractor Ted xmas

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the Tractor Ted gifts in order to write the review.

A family day out to Escot

Last week we decided to have a family day out at Escot, somewhere I’d come across on the internet before the summer when researching places to visit for days out during the summer holidays.  The thing that attracted me to visit was the Amazing Maze built using over 4000 Beech plants.  Alongside is a woodland full of of exciting things to find and do.

escot 14When we arrived we headed straight for the maze, and the children were full of excitement as they ran around the hedge lined paths, twisting and turning while mummy and daddy chased after them.  After about half an hour they slowed down and let us take the lead as we attempted to logically think about which way to go, it felt like we were going around in circles but after about 50 minutes of wandering, we finally made it to the centre where we could admire the view and then take a bridge back outside of the maze.

escot 13Around the corner from the maze we found a pond full of busy little otters eagerly awaiting feeding time. They were dipping in and out of the water faster than you could take a picture but I managed to catch a couple of them.  We also saw some chickens including some rather cute little fluffy ones!

escot 16We then decided to follow the path through the woodland and the first thing we came across was a huge fallen tree, Miss M immediately took lead and began to climb up!

escot 10Across from the fallen tree was a huge picture frame, perfect for striking a pose!

escot 11There were also various obstacle courses and climbing frames littered among the woodland that the children were delighted to find and enjoyed the challenge of climbing, balancing and sliding on.  We did find a huge enclosed drop slide at the back of the woods that Miss M bravely ventured down and loved, although she was coming down at such speed I couldn’t get a decent photo of her in motion!

escot 12Mister B enjoyed the various animals we came across, such as a Wild Boar enclosure where we saw the cutest litter of baby boars trundling around after their mummy!  There were also lots of birds of prey and we sat and watched a display where they came swooping down brushing across the tops of our heads!

escot 7The red squirrel cage kept us amused for a while as they darted up and down and across tunnels then stopping momentarily while their beady eyes checked us out.

With trains to climb aboard, tunnels to crawl through, this was certainly a woodland walk with a difference.  Which ever way you turned, hiding behind the next set of trees was something to do.

escot 6I loved this hand built cannon that Mister B found, he pushed it around pretending to fire and made all the right noises to go with it!

escot 5Miss M and Mister had so much fun running in and out of things, hiding behind things and exploring, this is definitely a must for children who love the outdoors, with so much to do, little ones certainly won’t be bored!

escot 9My favourite picture has to be off them in the stocks!! lol

escot 3We had a light shower of rain, but were not deterred as there was a big soft play barn next to the maze for lots of indoor fun, I managed to catch my two rolling about in the ball pool.

escot 8One thing that they both loved, yet was so simple was this huge hanging rope swing from a large tree.  As they swung around they had an amazing view over the fields beyond, I almost wished I’d been younger and could of had a go myself!

escot 17On our way out we found this huge trampoline and the children flew across to have a bounce.  They long for one at home but we don’t have a suitable size garden so they certainly made up for it on this not wanting to come off!

escot 2Miss M went on the trampoline with one very wobbly top tooth and came off with it hanging by a thread and lots of blood, so I told her she’d need to pull it to get it out.  With one little tug it came loose, her first top row tooth to come out.  Although she was a little alarmed by the experience, she was very excited about the visit she’d get from the tooth fairy that night.

escot 4We had a really lovely family day out at Escot, somewhere I’d thoroughly recommend visiting and that we’ll definitely go to again.

Hope you’ve all had some great day’s out this summer and with the warm weather looking to continue over the next few weeks, hopefully we can squeeze in a few more fun days out at the weekends.

 

Tractor Ted Farm Show at Bowood House

Last weekend my children got to meet their favourite tractor.  I hadn’t told them in advance of where they were going but I knew they’d be excited and have a fun day!  We went to Bowood House, where Tractor Ted’s Farm show was being held and we weren’t disappointed, both in the displays and the weather – it was scorching!!

bowood 5My children ran through the gates in total amazement at all the tractors and farm machinery ahead of them, more excited than I expected to be honest but they loved it!  They’ve watched Tractor Ted’s dvd many times and have been pretty glued, and this showed through here at the show.  I half expected them to walk past but they were interested and intrigued and recognised certain vehicles that they saw.

bowood 3The children were keen to check out everything so we had a walk around, viewing different things in marquees, such as farm animals, including some mega cute baby chicks!  There were several Tractor Ted marquees, where we did some colouring, had a go on little ride on diggers and browsed around their shop – which had special prices available just for the show!

We also very briefly met up with the lovely Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to One, a shame we didn’t have time to catch up for longer but there’ll be time for that next weekend at Britmums!

We took a family ride in a trailer, towed by a huge CLAAS tractor around the Bowood estate, saw some sheep being sheared and then watched some amazing JCB displays in the arena.  One of our favourite things was the Bowood Lamb National, a race between five sheep, which the children thought it was hilarious!

bowood 4 We took a look at some diggers and tractors close up and the children were allowed to jump inside to try them out – Mister B couldn’t wait to get his hands on the gear sticks!

bowood 2One thing my children had spotted was the funfair, I don’t normally like paying for them to go on these sort of rides but as we hadn’t paid to go in, and they had been so well behaved, I said they can choose two each.  Miss M, the fearless and ever daring girl that she is wanted to try the trampolines in harnesses and the mini quad bikes which she really enjoyed.  Mister B whose a bit timid and shy stuck to the bouncy slide and swings.

bowood 6Last but not least, my children had been requesting all day to have a go on Tractor Ted’s bouncy castle, so we let them have a go before the long drive home.  They loved it and it made a great end to a great day!

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Win Family Tickets to Tractor Ted’s Farm Show at Bowood House

Tractor Ted’s Farm Show is coming to Bowood House on Sunday 8th June 2014 and I’m really looking forward to taking my children there.  Mister B always asks if it’s Ted when he sees a green tractor and they both love watching the Tractor Ted DVD showing real life on a farm with lots of cute little animals.  I think the Tractor Ted Farm Show is a great opportunity for a family day out where the children will learn and get to play at the same time.
Bowood House looks like a stunning setting for the show and I can’t wait to go.  I also have 3 family tickets up for grabs for 3 lucky families to enjoy a fun day out too!
THE TRACTOR TED FARM SHOW 2014
 BOWOOD HOUSE, CHIPPENHAM, WILTSHIRE, SUNDAY 8TH JUNE 2014
 
The Tractor Ted Farm Show will be held in the glorious grounds of Bowood House, Wiltshire SN119NF on Sunday 8th June 2014 10am – 5pm.  More than 10,000 people are expected to enjoy a day of farming in action where the hit children’s series, Tractor Ted – Real Life Fun on the Farm is brought to life for young children and their families. Non-stop displays of tractors, diggers and a giant combine harvester take place, plus trailer rides, machinery repairs, animal husbandry and of course, the star attraction, Tractor Ted and Les the Tractor Driver star of the hit series. 
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 Alongside runs the Bowood Charity Dog Show with pedigree and ‘have a go’ classes and a Summer Fair of artisan produce. On the day gate proceeds go to local Wiltshire charities with over £200,000 raised over the 8 years this event has been running.
 
Discount advance tickets are available online until 1st June at http://www.tractorted.co.uk/ Adults £8 Children(2-16) £4 – a saving of 20% on gate prices.  Carers accompanying wheelchair users are free.
 
Amongst the entertainments new to the day this year will be the Bath Rugby’s Farm Fitness.  Famous players, from the Bath and England Rugby Squads will be running fitness events for children such as kicking the ball in the digger bucket or completing the Tractor Ted Obstacle Course.   Other highlights include the sheep racing, sheep dog agility, sheep shearing, falconry, donkey rides, circus workshop and the Spanish horse display.
 
If you don’t win and want to go then make sure you buy your tickets on line at  www.tractorted.co.uk for a 20% discount before 1st June.

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