With the warmer weather and drier days upon us it’s great to get the children outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. When at home it’s good to have things to encourage them to go out in the garden away from technology and Addo Play have an Out and About range of simple garden toys that are great value for money and can be played both in the garden or taken out with you to the park, beach etc. All toys are available from The Entertainer toy shop.
We were sent a few items from the range to try out:
The Mini Soccer Goal is actually a really lovely set for young budding footballers. I’d say this is more aimed at younger players although I’m surprised at how much fun my two children have had playing with this. It comes as a set which includes push together poles and corner pieces, anchor pegs, a small football and pump.
My children have had so much fun with this over the last couple of weeks. My 8yr old isn’t a huge football player at school but really enjoyed kicking the ball into the goal himself – a great way for him to keep occupied and moving about outside. He also played with his football mad sister and they created little obstacle games to play to get the ball into the goal. They’ve literally had this out everyday that it’s been dry and sunny in the garden which is great to see.
Next up is the Racket Set which comes with two rackets, a ball and a shuttlecock.
I like that this comes with two ways to play, either ball or shuttlecock and the bats themselves look really nice with a soft padded handle. My children got stuck in straight away with these playing along the garden. I actually think these would be great to take on holidays for either an open space at the beach or a park – a great activity that adults can join in too for a bit of family outdoor fun!
Finally we tried out the Baseball Bat & Ball set which was a surprising hit. I wasn’t sure how much they would play with this but it’s actually been a fantastic addition to our garden games collection.
The children used the bat to create a mini game of rounders in the garden. They put some cones down as markers, asked daddy and me to join in and we played our own little version of rounders, trying to run around the cones before the others got our ball back to one of the bases.
Whilst playing on their own they just practiced bowling the ball and improving their batting technique!
Overall these garden games are great value for money and simple sports that children will enjoy and keep them active.
The Tamar Trails Centre is located on the border of Devon and Cornwall just a short drive from the town of Tavistock. The centre covers over 25km of trails with stunning scenery over which you can walk, bring you bike to cycle or even ride a horse along and enjoy at your leisure. There are also some chargeable activities such as tree surfing and archery which we were invited to try out and share our thoughts with you.
Not being particularly keen on swinging through trees myself, I seem to have produced a rather adventurous 8yr old daughter who loves nothing more than being outdoors or playing sports. Being in the house for more than a few hour invokes cabin fever so the Tamar Trails Centre is right up her street and I couldn’t wait to see what she thought. I also have a 5yr old son who doesn’t have the same outgoing nature and I was a little sceptical as to how well he’d fair, but knew this would be a great opportunity to expose him to something new and in the end, I needn’t have worried in the slightest. After an initial nervous five minutes he became fearless zipping down the high wire and didn’t want to go home at the end of our trip!
First up was archery, something my eldest has done before. Both children were totally engrossed in sitting the arrow across the bow and firing at the target. They only had a few goes but really enjoyed it. The archery is set amongst a clearing in the trees, hence the photos are a little dark but it was a sunny day and there was plenty of light to see what you are doing.
Then we moved onto the even more exciting stuff… Tree Surfing! The children were very eager to try this out and couldn’t wait to get their harnesses on. The staff assist and check the harness is secure before briefing the children on safety and what to do. The tree surfing course consists of wooden bridges of various designs high up between the trees and ends in a zip wire that brings you to the ground. The circuit doesn’t take too long to go around and once you’ve completed it, you can climb the stairs and start again. In fact you can complete this as many times as you like for an hour session and by the end my children were whizzing round, having heaps of fun, not wanting the excitement to stop.
8yr old Miss M had no hesitations and was straight up the stairs and venturing across the course. She loved it and had a huge grin every time she looked down at me. She was full of concentration and soaking up every minute of the fun.
The pictures above give you a perspective of how high up the course is and as you can see there are platforms at each tree where you step off one obstacle bridge before starting on another.
Mister B was really quite nervous crossing his first bridge, but as he moved around the course his confidence grew until he finished down the zip wire and ran straight back to the start again eager to do it again. The zip wire at the end was a highlight for both children. They just loved it and each time they zipped past me they tried to create different poses in the air!
There is an extra high zip wire available as an extra activity which my two did also experience. They had to climb small rung like steps built into the tree to a super high height, I could hardly see them amongst the tree canopy. They then came flying down through the trees and thought the experience was totally amazing and exhilirating, wanting to do it again but unfortunately their thrill seeking time was up and it was time to head to the Beech Tree Cafe for some refreshments.
I’m sure the pictures above of Beech Tree Cafe speak for themselves but the outside looks fresh, inviting, friendly and clean, somewhere I’d want to chill out in for a drink and snack after spending time on the outdoor activities. I tend to find that cafe’s on days out can be very hit and miss, especially when there’s no competition around, but I can safely say that the Beech Tree Cafe was a hit! With it’s relaxed interior, friendly charm and pretty bunting it was a joy to sit in and enjoy some refreshments.
The menu is on a blackboard on the wall beside the counter allowing you to easily view the options available which are simple but contain a good choice of interesting sandwiches, light bites and homemade cake. Being vegetarian I opted for a cheese and onion pasty which was served deliciously crisp and hot. The children went for cheese and ham fillings, one had a sandwich and the other a toastie. I have to say they were impressively filled and freshly made up while we waited. They were a decent size which the children needed after their mornings activities and they both devoured them immediately satisfying their hungry appetite.
The cafe is known for it’s particularly good coffee although not being a coffee drinker myself I chose a hot chocolate which was perfectly served and tasted just as it should, frothy, rich and chocolatey!
I hadn’t heard of the Tamar Trails Centre before visiting, but realistically it’s only a half an hour or so drive from where I live so a very viable option for a few hours out. For me it is a hidden gem in the Devon countryside with it’s great views, beautiful scenery, fun activities and friendly cafe. The facilities ares well maintained and clean making the centre an inviting place to be. If you are visiting the area and looking for something to do then this should definitely be on your list for fun and adventures in the great outdoors!
If you want to see the children tree surfing then check out this short video of them in action!
All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received complimentary activities in order to write an honest review.
With the weather so unpredictable and the husband working I was on my own at the weekend and didn’t really fancy venturing out, so in order to let the children enjoy some fresh air, I took the opportunity when the sun made an appearance to get out in the back garden and do some bubble blowing with the new set that Miss M won in pass the parcel at a party the weekend before. Miss M was so excited as this was a giant bubble blower unlike the little sticks you poke in a pot.
So we poured the liquid into tray and waved the bubble wand in the air – Miss M loved the giant bubbles and the volume of bubbles she could produce so quickly. She was jumping all over the patio with a delighted look on her face that was such a pleasure to watch. It was great to see so much fun being had with an inexpensive piece of plastic and some bubble solution. And she was getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time.
We soon finished the entire bottle of bubble solution and as Mister B was having his afternoon nap I suggested we try some skipping (With only having limited space in the back garden skipping is not an activity suitable for when Mister B is running about!!). Miss M has had a skipping rope for a while now but has never got to grips with it so we put it away until she was a little older. I started off by demonstrating – and soon realised I’m not half as fit as I was back in the days when I loved to skip and count to 1000!! So I quickly handed the ropes over to Miss M. She put all her effort into jumping just as the rope came down in front of her and eventually she got it – hooray!! It was so sweet to see her skipping around and the delight showed in her face that she had finally mastered it.
The clouds soon came over dark and dreary again but I was really glad that we took advantage of the few hours sunshine that came our way.
During the summer we were asked to review Crayola Washable 3D Outdoor Chalks for izziwizzikids.
The 3D Outdoor Chalk allows you to create eye-popping 3D effects with the dual coloured 3D outdoor chalk and 3D glasses. They are simple to use, give you amazing results and the special chalk combines the right colours to make the magic happen! To get your creative juices flowing, there’s a “How To” leaflet included which shows you how to start with simple shapes, eventually building up to using the 3D effects.
When I first showed these to Miss M and told her she could draw in the garden her eyes lit up and she couldn’t wait to get started. At first we followed the simple instructions to create a basic drawing which allowed us to sample the 3D effects successfully. We then had to wear the 3D glasses to view the effect which proved a great hit with Miss M. I was impressed with the 3D results as the drawing really did seem to lift from the ground with the different colours appearing at different levels.
Miss M loved this activity and the chalks were continued to be used day after day to turn the entire patio area of the garden into a myriad of colour. This was a thoroughly fun activity that could be done again and again. We loved it and would definitely recommend it for children as a fun summer outdoor activity that encourages creativity, has a fun novelty factor with the 3D effect and keeps them occupied for a good length of time.
Here is the video review we produced for izziwizzikids:
All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.