Noddy is a relatively recent favourite in our house. The little man loves watching the TV series on Milkshake and I have fond memories of it from my own childhood.

The little man was excited when we discovered that Kuato had teamed up with Dreamworks Animation to recreate the Noddy Toyland Detective game which is based on the popular TV series.

The game has been designed with teachers, parents and children to help develop a range of literacy skills and aptitudes so it’s something I am happy for the little man to use. It was developed by the multi-award winning team behind Dino Tales, Safari Tales and Dino Tales Jr and is available for download via the App store and Google Play, for just £2.99.

In the game, children can join Noddy as he becomes Toyland’s most famous detective in an adventure filled with storytelling, learning and creative fun!

Playing the game can help younger children with their reading and storytelling abilities, sentence structure and memory. It’s also a great way to help with word knowledge and comprehension and I think it’s ideal for it’s suggested age range of under 5 years.

Children can take part in mini-games, interact with characters like Bumpy Dog, Revs, Pat-Pat and the Panda Pockets, Fuse and the Naughticorns. Children can become a Toyland Detective themselves and use the ‘Who, What, Where Book’ to solve mysteries.

I love that once children have finished the activities and solved the mysteries, they can read a narrative photo storybook. It’s a great way for parents to interact and enjoy the game with their children.

I think the little mans favourite bits of the game are painting and decorating Revs car, completing the jigsaws and driving Noddy’s car around the screen.

I’m also a huge fan of the fact the app contains no advertising or in-app purchase options. It means I don’t need to worry about what else the little man is seeing or that he may accidentally click to purchase anything extra via the app. It’s refreshing to see that the app has a passcode-protected ‘Grown Ups Corner,’ which has a range of features that you can change things like the length of your childs screen time.

The Noddy Toyland Detective game is probably one of the best apps we have on the iPad for the little man. It’s lots of fun and at just £2.99 I think it’s totally worth the money.

 

 

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It’s rare that hubby gets five minutes peace when he’s in the house, so he was excited to have an excuse to sit down and make up the Meccano Ferrari 488 spider from Spin Master.

The kit comes with 305 durable metal parts including rubber tires, pose-able steering, 2 ergonomic tools and easy-to-follow instructions.

We have junior Meccano for the little man so I had an idea of what to expect. However, I hadn’t expected there to be so many tiny, fiddly pieces.

It certainly wasn’t an easy build, even for a child like 35 year old. The box states it’s aimed at children 10 years or over but I think that’s maybe a little optimistic. I can’t imagine many ten year olds would be able to put it together without quite a bit of adult intervention.

The parts are separated into individual packets when they arrive so we found it easier to separate each selection of pieces into the little mans plastic bowls (this was my job!). It meant smaller bits were easier to find and we didn’t have to keep rummaging through the bags.

It took hubby around two hours to put together so it’s not a quick build. He did rant a couple of times, purely because he found some of the parts quite fiddly ( I blame fat fingers). He was grateful to find the instructions showed the exact scale of the screws so he could hold them up to check he was using the correct ones.

Despite a few issues with the smaller parts, hubby said he really enjoyed putting it together and found it quite therapeutic – perhaps because he did it with out having the TV on or looking at his phone.

Once it started to take shape, the car looked pretty impressive. The pieces are robust and fit together well.

Made up, the 488 Spider is sturdy and looks good. The little man has demanded it goes on display in his room, and I’m sure when he’s a little older he’ll enjoy taking it apart and rebuilding it with his Daddy.

If you fancy trying out the Meccano Ferrari 488 Spider building kit, you can pick it up from Amazon for £29.68.

I think the building kit would make a great gift for an adult or a teenager who has a little bit of adult assistance.

* We were sent the building kit in return for an honest review.

 

 

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We’ve recently purchased a National Trust membership for the three of us and have been trying to visit as many local properties as possible.

Our most recent discovery is Washington Old Hall which is about 15 minutes drive away from our house. It’s a small building in comparison to some of the National Trust buildings, but it’s a hidden gem.

Washington Old Hall is a relatively small manor house which is associated with the family of George Washington, the first president of the USA.

Outside, the grounds of Washington Old Hall are very pretty and filled with greenery and flowers. It has a tranquil atmosphere and feels a million miles away from noisy roads not too far away.

Inside, the house is partly set out like a medieval home with an exhibition upstairs and rooms set out as they would have been in history.

They often have children’s trail running through the house, last time we visited we had to hunt out mice which had been hidden inside.

After our first visit, we knew there were lots of bugs to be found in the Nuttery area of the gardens, so we decided to take along our new ‘About Bugs‘ kit.

The kit contains some handy bits for the bug hunting enthusiast and the little man was keen to get the magnifying jar filled as quick as possible.

We headed off to the huge homemade bug hotel to search for creepy crawlies. We spent ages checking in the holes for insects. The bug hotel seemed to be most popular with spiders ( unfortunately for me!).

We enjoyed reading through the 24 identification cards and learning more about the founds that we found.

The little man loves learning about bugs, he’s obsessed! At just three, he can tell you more about bug varieties than I can!

As well as lots of bugs, we saw two squirrels, tadpoles and lots of little birds during our visit to Washington Old Hall.

You can also grab a drink and a slice of cake from the small cafe to enjoy while your child plays on the wooden play equipment.

If you don’t have a National Trust membership then entry prices will be £6.60 for an adult and £3.30 for a child. It’s a lovely little hidden gem and a great way to spend a couple of hours with younger children. We’ve been a couple of times now and the little man loves it. It’s small but perfect for exploring with little ones.

If you’d like to buy your own ‘About Bugs’ kit, you can pick it up on Amazon for £13.99.

* We were sent the ‘About Bugs’ kit to feature within this post *

Country Kids

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The little man loves dinosaurs and is a huge fan of the Dinosaur Train tv series which is based upon the adventures of Buddy, an inquisitive preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his adoptive Pteranodon family. They travel around on the special ‘dinosaur train’, exploring the world in which they live and engaging the viewer with interesting facts about dinosaurs and the Prehistoric age. 

Fans of the Dinosaur Train will love the new Dinosaur Train: Paint and Match app. Based on the popular Dinosaur Train TV series from the Jim Henson company, Kuato Studios brings the App which is available on both iTunes and Google Play. The App costs just 99p and is has been a huge hit since we downloaded it. It’s aimed at children under the age of 5 years and at 3, I think the little man is the perfect age to enjoy it.

The little man does use the Ipad but I try to ensure he watches videos and uses apps that are educational but still fun for him.

Dinosaur Train: Paint and Match is an educational game which helps to unleash your child’s creativity as they play along with Buddy the dinosaur and colour in 24 fun-filled pictures of his friends and their adventures.  They can easily choose from pencils and brushes and even print off their creations when they’re finished.

As well as colouring in, the app offers a memory skills game with Mr Conductor. It has 4 different levels and children have to beat the clock while matching up the images.

The little man loves both the colouring and the matching pairs game. We must get round to setting up our printer and printing off some of his coloured pages, he’d love to see them on the fridge. For just 99p it will bring hours of fun and I’m sure it’ll keep the little man entertained in the car during some of our Summer adventures.

Dinosaur Train: Paint and Match is just one of the many games by Kuato Studios, all of which can be downloaded via iTunes and Google Play.

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Calling all parents and carers to be part of THE biggest ideas-sharing activity in the UK!

Last year the (Infant & Toddler Forum) ITF launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help raise awareness, that it’s not just what we put on toddlers’ plates – it’s also how much. Using the helpful portion size plates images, the campaign showed parents how much food should be offered to young children. The feedback from parents was one of genuine surprise at the amount of food recommended for 1-4 year olds. However, there was also a real appetite for more information on how they can feed their toddlers the right balance of foods in the right amounts.
 
I was involved in the campaign, and tried out the very helpful Tot it Up food tracker which was a great addition to the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign.
 
This year, the Infant & Toddler Forum are asking parents and carers to Think Toddler-Sized and to share their suggestions on ways in which we; can make feeding toddlers easier. The ITF have created helpful guidance on what foods and in what amounts we should be feeding toddlers, but we know that for this to be used by everyone caring for little ones, it needs to be practical and easy to use. 
 
The ITF has joined forces with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, Netmums and PACEY to ask you, as those who care for and feed toddlers, to take this expert advice and put forward your suggestions on what else is needed. Whether you already have a method which you use to feed toddlers or if you have an inkling of an idea, they need YOU to help solve this challenge!

Judy More, Paediatric dietitian and member of the ITF, says: ‘Last year’s campaign reinforced what we already knew, that some parents find feeding their toddlers a challenge as they are not sure about the best foods to offer, and how much they should expect their toddler to eat. However, we know that those caring for toddlers are constantly innovating to solve everyday challenges. So, who better to recommend practical ideas to help take the guidance and make it easy for everyone to use’.

Sign up here to take part and then add your details here 

What you can win 

There will be one prize of £1000 and two runners up will each win £500. There will also be spot cash prizes of £100 for commenting and engaging on the forum.

The Challenge
Your answer to the Think Toddler-Sized Challenge could involve repurposing something already in the kitchen, an app, or something brand new that you create from scratch.  How can you take all the ITF’s guidance and make it PRACTICAL and easy for all parents to follow every day at every meal?

I’ve been asked to spread the word about the Think Toddler-Sized Challenge and encourage my readers to get involved and enter their own ideas. The most important thing to remember about your ideas is –

1. Which types of food in the right balance – carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables 

2. How often different types of food should be offered every day

3. How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions

I’ve decided to take part in the challenge myself. My own idea is a simple one but a great way to ensure your toddler is eating the correct amount of the each food group.
 
Using small stackable bowls that fit inside each other, you can measure out portions of carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables which should be offered to your child each day. It would give parents a rough idea of what their child should be eating and offer parents reassurance for portion sizes.
 
 
I made some simple paper versions of the design to give you more of a visual idea of what I mean. The bowls would be lightweight and easy to split inside a handbag or change bag so that they could be taken out of the house. 
They’re simple to use and would help parents have a visual guide to correct portions which would be much easier to use when out and about than a set of scales. 
 
Your idea doesn’t need to be a complicated one – just one that will help with the way we feed our toddlers. 

How can I take part?

Signing up to submit an idea is easy, just follow the steps below for your chance to win £1000.

  1. Click ‘Join Co-Creation Community’ and sign up and either login with your Facebook or Twitter account OR click ‘Register for a new account’ and sign up with your email address
  2. Once you’ve registered, scroll down to our ‘Featured’ Challenge and click ‘View Full’ to see the competition in more detail
  3. Once you’ve read more about the competition and looked at the Toddler Guidance link, click ‘Add your Idea’ to submit your Idea
  4. Every idea will be reviewed and a decision made on whether to take it forward to the next stage.

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