Songmics Toy Storage and Bookshelves Unit

Songmics have done it again with this fabulous value for money children’s storage unit.  If you are looking for something that doesn’t cost the earth, but looks stylish and holds lots of your child’s books and boxes for toy storage then check out this multipurpose colourful unit.

The unit comes flat packed but I found it very simple to build on my own and did it fairly quickly.  It’s quite light to carry empty and does have supports to attach to the wall should you feel you want to use them.  The colourful toy storage boxes are sturdy and strong and ideal for my 6yr old’s endless little bitty toys that he loves to collect and he can remove a box when he wants and just put it back over the bars when he’s finished.

The book holder is useful and I love the way all the books face you so that the child an select a book by glancing at the front cover easily.  I try and change the books around every few weeks with others so that he constantly gets different ones to look at and choose for bedtime reading. Overall I’m thrilled with this storage idea and it has proved a hit with my boy, he loves seeing all his things and has easy access to them to play with or put back when it’s ‘tidy up’ time.

With this being such a useful, great piece, I’m giving you the chance to win one for yourself – exactly as you see in the picture below.  If you’d like to win then scroll down and fill in the gleam form to get your entries in.

Songmics toy and bookshelf storage

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

Get Kids Reading with Roald Dahl Books at McDonald’s

With Roald Dahl being a much loved children’s author and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, it is only fitting that his books are part of McDonald’s Happy Meals for the next few weeks.  This project comes as part of McDonald’s #HappyReaders initiative, which aims to increase book ownership amongst children and encourage both parents and children to find the joy in reading!

This exclusive series of books which has been available since 13th September (Roald Dahl Day) and will be inside Happy Meals for 5 weeks from then.  The series features his fantastical characters from three of his best loved stories, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Each book features an extract from the original story, along with Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations, activities, stickers and a bookmark that can be popped out from the back to help kids keep their place in the book.

Featuring some of the best loved characters over the years, the titles available are:

  • Roald Dahl’s Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka
  • Roald Dahl’s Lucky Charlie Bucket
  • Roald Dahl’s Mischievous Chocolate Factory Children
  • Roald Dahl’s Amazing Matilda
  • Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Miss Honey
  • Roald Dahl’s Rotsome Giants
  • Roald Dahl’s Brave Little Sophie
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantabulous BFG

It’s really important to read with children, whether it’s you reading aloud to them, or them reading to you.  It could even be that you take turns which is what I often do with my 6yr old to maintain his enthusiasm and keep him going through the book.  It’s also a great time to bond together and you’ll find you end up talking about what’s going on, discuss pictures in the book and actually have a lot of fun

Here are 6 top tips for reading with children:

  1. Bring the story to life by using different voices for the characters. Try out a     pompous tone for Augustus, or a high, whiny voice for Veruca.
  2. Make your child the author! Stop at exciting moments in the story and ask your child to invent what happens next.
  3. Make reading with your child a special time for you both every day.
  4. Children of all ages love to hear stories read aloud.
  5. Don’t stop reading to your children just because they can read by themselves.
  6. Let your child help choose the books that you’ll read together. If your child is excited by the subject, the story will hold their interest better.

My children have really enjoyed reading these #HappyReaders books and love the little press out book mark to keep their page when putting the book down.  Being fairly small they are not daunting and encourage children to want to read them.  We share reading the stories to give them some practice but to also let them sit back and relax whilst I read.

You can see Peter Andre launching the books in the Happy Meals at McDonald’s here:

If you haven’t already, take your children to McDonald’s so they can enjoy one of these fun books to enhance and encourage their reading!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of McDonald’s.

i-SPY Books for Kids

i-SPY books for kids from Collins are a great way to entertain children especially when out and about, on long journeys or visiting new places. Pocket sized and packed with over sixty colour pages of things to spot along with useful facts, they are sure to keep children entertained.

With a lot of long journeys for us at this time of year I knew the children would love to try out the i-SPY On a car journey and i-SPY On a road trip books.  We will also be going on a ferry in a couple of months so I knew that the i-SPY On a ferry would be a hit with them then and keep them occupied.  They already been checking out the pages and seeing what they remember from the ferry last time and can’t wait to take it with them on our trip.

The books come with true to life photos of things to spot relevant to the theme of each book so it’s really easy to tell what you are looking for and tick it off once you’ve found it.   There’s even a points system where by each picture is worth a certain number of points which you can add up and apply online for a certificate when you reach 1000 points.  They’ll also send you a badge through the post – a nice little touch that gives that added bit of motivation to keep finding things!

My two children were excited when they caught sight of the new i-SPY books having been fans after using them several times previously and before we had even left the house they were flicking through deciding which things they really wanted to spot when we were out and about.  Just a few days later we embarked on a 260 mile round journey to visit their cousins so this was the perfect road trip to check the books out on.  One had On a car journey, the other had On a road trip and it proved great fun listening to them spotting things and helping each other out along with describing signs for me to look out for in order to help them.

The i-SPY range of books have always been popular with us and we’ve had a combination of both travel and nature themed books which always create a buzz with the children that not only encourages them to learn but they have great fun at the same time.

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

WILF Books Subscription – Review & Win

WILF Books are a monthly subscription service which sends children a box of books (minimum of three) to enjoy, love and encourage their reading skills with.  The box can be tailored to your child’s age and tastes, so if there are any themes they don’t like you can excluded them.  The books can be fiction or non-fiction and are uniquely chosen for each child.

wp_20161124_12_36_42_pro The books come well presented and individually wrapped up with a cute note and sticker.  This all adds to the excitement when the child opens it up and they are eager to see what books are inside.  Also included is a freepost envelope where you can return any books that have been read or any from your child’s own collection that they no longer want.  As long as they are in good condition they will be recycled in other boxes so that more children can get enjoyment from them. The more you do this, the more likely that extra books will be included in your future boxes.

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We received three books all well suited to my 8yr old Miss M:

  • Atticus Claw Goes Ashore – Jennifer Gray
  • Darcy Burdock – Laura Dockrill
  • Gilbert the Great – Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge

Miss M was happy with all of her books and soon got down to reading them at bedtime.  They are all books she could enjoy and read at her leisure and she really enjoyed receiving the bundle of books. The idea of a subscription is a great idea for a gift for a child and something they can look forward to each month.

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For one lucky reader I can offer a one month subscription box from WILF Books, just fill in the Gleam form below:

WILF Books

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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Keep the Kids Occupied with Collins i-SPY Books

Collins books have recently relaunched their iconic i-SPY books in twenty different titles, so there really is something for everyone and each situation.  So if you have curious and inquistive young children, then this is the perfect way to entertain them on days out and long journeys.

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We received ‘On a train journey’ and ‘In the countryside’ to try out.  Each book contains over sixty pages of things to find, each object with a full colour picture alongside a description of what it is.  There is also a points system when you can mark off and score each thing that you find, which leads to an opportunity at the end of the book to fill out a form on the internet to claim a certificate and badge once you’ve reached 1000 points!

i spy 1The book is a handy small size and my 8yr old couldn’t wait to flick through and see what she could spot.  We have a countryside holiday coming up at the end of August and she is determined to reach 1000 points after that as we have lots of woodland walks and trails to pursue on our break.  The points really encourage children to find things and they like to tick things of in the book too once they’ve been spotted.

i spy 2The Collins i-Spy range are a really fun idea, with a hidden educational element as they learn about the objects.  It gives us lots to talk about too and even my little boy was thrilled when he spotted a dandelion out the other day and remember he had seen it in the book so needed to tick it off when we got home – bless him!

If you want something to keep the kids occupied, then check out the various books available. Some others that have caught my eye are London, On a car journey, Every vehicle on the road, they all look great fun and something my kids would enjoy. I definitely think the London book would be ideal for a trip to the capital, which I hope to take my children on soon.

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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My Big Monster Book of Fun – Review

My Big Monster Book of Fun from Parragon books is a jam packed activity book for little ones with over 190 pages of fun things to read and do.  It reall

WP_20151111_14_55_51_ProThe book is divided into sections, starting first with a 24 page rhyming story ‘Scaredy Boo!’ accompanied by full colour page illustrations to keep little ones entertained.  There are then sections for monster activities, colouring, T-Rex Terror, dinosaur activities, dinosaur colouring and an answer section to the puzzles throughout the book.

The activities are so varied from spotting differences, putting monsters in order, finishing drawing some zombies etc that it will keep children interested and motivated to work through the book.  It’s also an easy book to pick up and put down as an when you please.  My little boy loves this and often picks it up to do a few pages.

As well as having at home this would be great to take away on holiday to keep children entertained or whilst travelling as it’s self contained with loads of things to do, you just need a few pencils!

monster funWe love My Big Monster Book of Fun and it has provided many hours of fun.

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

Miles Kelly Children’s Books – Review

Miles Kelly is an independent children’s book publisher that covers everytime of book from fiction, non fiction, activity books and sticker books.  They really have a wide umbrella of titles, something for everyone.

We received a selection of books suitable to my children’s ages to try out and I have to say we were impressed by them all.  They are are of an excellent quality and my children were eager to get reading when they saw them.

miles kelly 4Miss M starting looking through the 100 Facts Solar System and recalled some things she recognised from learning at school last year.  Each page of this book is full colour and packed full of annotated pictures and fact files whilst going through 100 interesting facts about the solar system.  Going through the book with her, we found some facts that turned into quite fascinating talking points which even my young son enjoyed listening to and making sounds/actions to, demonstrating the points we were discussing, such as meteorites being blasted out of the surface by other rocks smashing into them!

miles kellyI think it’s great when children can take in snippets of information from books like this as you know it’s something that they will remember.  The book is fun to look through and you can read as much or as little as you like at a time.  There are short quizzes dotted throughout the book to test your knowledge of the pages you’ve just read which is always fun when you are going through the book together, encouraging children to want to learn so they get the answers right.

The book that really grabbed Miss M’s attention is the mini Encyclopedia of British History, although surprising, I knew she would be interested as she is currently learning British History at school and really does have an interest in seeing things outside of school that are relevant to what she is learning.  She immediately sat flicking through this book and seemed quite engrossed, but she had come across the era that all her homework is based on this term, Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age.  She found a great labelled picture of a round house from which she used the information for her own drawing of a round house which she had to label. And she was really inspired about the Iron Age hill forts and got lots of ideas for the model she had to make for one of her school assignments.

miles kelly 6This book gives a fascinating journey through time in Britain from the era where woolly mammoths existed right up to the 2012 London Olympics.  With just short of 400 pages this mini encyclopedia is packed full of infomation in short bursts of paragraphs and facts with lots of colour illustrations to engage the reader.

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Reading Together Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a brilliant story and activity book for those just starting to read.  Mister B started school this year but his reading is already progressing well and this book has been great for him.  Not to mention Goldilocks has been a topic at school this term!

miles kelly 2The book follows the story of Goldilocks along illustrated pages but at the bottom of each page are some words for your child to read related to words or sounds in the story.  There are 70 stickers to use within the book encouraging children to learn their phonics and find the right ones for each pages activity.  This really engaged Mister B and made the learning fun and is different to other phonics based activity books I’ve come across.

miles kelly 3Our final book is The Three Little Pigs, a picture book for young children.  A lovely size with full colour pages that are beautifully illustrated, this is an excellent rendition of the traditional tale.  The pictures are fun and engaging, with plenty for young children to look at, point at and tell you what they think is going on in the story.  I know Mister B loves giving his version of the a story’s events before I read a page, showing that he’s engaging to what he’s listened to previously.

Overall I think the Miles Kelly books are of excellent quality and full of engaging content for children.  They are beautifully put together and there is such a wide variety of books available to cover each child’s tastes that there really is something for everyone.  My children have thoroughly enjoyed these books, and this is definitely a publisher that I’d recommend.

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

 

Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers Book – Review

Busy Busy Things That Go 2000 Stickers by Parragon Books is an activity book to keep little ones occupied.  Filled with eight pages of stickers and lots of background pages, you can create many scenes using the prompts provided or your imagination as my 4 yr old loved to!

2000 stickers 3This book is packed full of colour pages for to put the stickers on with lots of transport style scenes to get you going.  In the centre are eight pages of stickers with all sorts of people, vehicles and accessories on to add to the scene pages.

2000 stickersWhat I really liked about the scene pages, is that they are full of prompts as to what sort of stickers to add to the page.  There are also questions, asking children to find certain things or draw in an additional item and also a few puzzle pages.  Mister B really enjoyed looking for the stickers he needed for each page.  I sat with him and asked him any questions that were on each page and he enjoyed spotting things as well.  He loves the transport theme of the book.

2000 stickers 2Due to the size and numerous pages in this book, it can be revisited many times to complete it all.  It really is a fun sticker book for pre schoolers and ideal for both at home or to take on holiday with you.  I always like to have something to hand to occupy the children should we have a rainy day or have some spare time, and this book would be just the thing for my 4 yr old.

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

Gold Stars Dinosaurs by Parragon – Review

Travel Back Through Time to the Land of Dinosaurs is a book by Parragon in their Gold Stars series, meaning it is educational but fun, encouraging young ones to engage in learning, almost without realising it.

dinosaursWith over 100 full colour pages there is so much to learn and do in this action packed book and my 4yr old Mister B was eager to get started.  One of his favourite activities in these type of books are mazes, and there were plenty of them in here to keep him occupied.

dinosaurThe pages contain a mixture of facts and activities, plenty to learn and do.  What I really like about the facts and information in the book is that it is set out in numerous different ways encouraging interest rather than being paragraphs of information.  For example to understand how big dinosaurs were, there are diagrams likening them to the size of buses.  There are also things for children to do on the same pages as information, therefore I found that I could read out bits while Mister B enjoyed a bit of colouring or drawing but he also discussed the facts with me.   He was rather amused to learn that a Diplodocus made the biggest dinosaur poo, due to the amount that it ate!!

What a fabulous book to use to occupy your child at the weekends or over the summer, knowing that they are having fun but learning at the same time.

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

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.