Edu Print Plus Posters

We were invited to review a number of Edu Print Plus posters for this review. Edu Print Plus supply a range of educational prints which are fun, inspirational and really well designed.

Poster Content

The Edu Print Plus posters fall into two main categories – Educational and Motivational. The educational posters are either based around multiplication, which we have, or around vocabulary. I guess it depends on what stage your child is at, but the vocabulary ones are lovely because they provide a number of synonyms which will expand your child’s vocabulary.

The motivational posters are my favourite however, because their messages are so powerful.  The problem that you’re going to have is picking one (or two!) that mean the most to you and your child!

I chose the “Dream Big, Be Kind. Work Hard” poster because it is everything that every child should do and hopefully it will rub off on Heidi.

I also chose the “Don’t be afraid to be different”. This is because Heidi is at an age where children can start being a bit cruel and it is important to reinforce the message that it is ok to a bit different, a bit special. The image along with the narrative is very simple to understand for a child as well.

I love these types of posters so much, that I wouldn’t mind having a few of them in the office at work!!

Poster Quality

The posters are not made out of the glossy paper which you normally associate with posters. The are made from art paper and with a velvet finish and surface protection, they are really durable.

One slight problem is because of the weight and the finish, the Edu Print Posters don’t stay on the wall with sellotape. As such, blu-tack is the way to go!!

The poster is A3 in size and as such, is just big enough for above a child’s bed. They don’t come with a frame, but to be honest, they look really nice without a frame!

Shipping

As at November 2018, Edu Print Plus will ship for free anywhere in the world, when you order 4 or more posters.

All in all, Edu Print Plus provide a really good quality of poster, which would be ideal for a Christmas or birthday present. I’m sure that over time, we’ll get some more as Heidi grows up.

Full Disclosure: We were provided the posters free of charge for this blog post. However, no attempt was made to influence or alter the content of the post.

 

You can purchase these posters here

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Sounds of the Forest

Sounds of the Forest is a book and owl whistle combination that is designed to help bond adult and child whilst reading. It is beautifully presented and is perfect to introduce children to the world of reading.

Sounds of the Forest

Sounds of the Forest – Book

The story is about a baby owl going through the forest, experiencing all the sights and sounds that the forest has to offer. Given the age range (2 to 7 years) there clearly won’t be anything scary or anything that needs checking beforehand!

The book is about 12 pages long with generally a short paragraph on one page, and illustrations on the opposite page. It isn’t a difficult read and so children in Year 1 and 2 should be able to read most of it.

When reading it, it is quite an easy book to get into a rhythm whilst reading and it is more like a poem rather than a book. As such, it is quite a soothing read.

Just a word of note that the story uses “Mommy” rather than “Mummy”, which might need some explaining!!

Sounds of the Forest – Owl Whistle

The Owl Whistle is relatively small for grown-up hands, but pretty much perfect for pre-school hands. Even better, the whistle isn’t too loud, therefore it’s not going to get on anyone’s nerves, or wake up younger siblings!

The Owl Whistle is also not too difficult to use, even for pre-schoolers. This means that they can get involved with the story pretty much straight away. This is especially because the whistle needs no assembly or batteries, only a quick little wipe!

The book is quite easy to follow and so your little one will easily learn when it is the right time to blow the whistle!

The book lends itself to using other sounds, rather than just the whistle. As such, if you get creative, you can have a tapping of a woodpecker and a crunching of a squirrel. Perfect if you have children fighting over the whistle!

Where you can buy Sounds of the Forest?

You can buy Sounds of the Forest from a range of retailers. However, a couple are:

JoJo Maman Bebe

Debenhams

As at October 2018, it is retailing for around £12.

Importance of Reading

If you’re still wondering about whether to buy a book for your little one, I have done this blog post. it is all about the importance of reading and it is something that I am passionate about.

Continue reading Sounds of the Forest

Jackson Saves an Owl

Jackson Saves an Owl is a children’s book about a superhero child, who, well, saves an owl! The twist in the story is that Jackson is based on a real-life superhero. Real-life Jackson, aged  nearly 3, has Krabbe disease and the character was designed to give spark real-life Jackson’s imagination at night, to allow him to be free.

Jackson Saves an Owl

The Story

Almost the best way to describe the story of Jackson Saves an Owl is to say that it is the book version of PJ Masks. Jackson is free at night to take to the skies and use his superpowers! Of all the ways he could use his superpowers, he flies to help an Owl stuck in a puddle in the middle of the night.

The book has a rhythmic flow to it when reading it and as a result, it is lovely to read out loud. The language within the book isn’t too complex and the words within it is such that Heidi, aged 5, could probably read it quite well. The problem with letting your child read it is that it is 20 pages long and they might lose concentration and not be able to finish it in one go.

The illustrations

The illustrations are bright and colourful and a pleasure to look at. Rather than describe them, here are a couple of photos!

The story behind the story

On the inside back page is the real-life story about Jackson. Whilst he is a superhero in the book, more importantly, he is a superhero in real life. At the time of writing, Jackson is approaching the age of 3 and suffers from the rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease.

Jackson Saves an Owl was written by Jackson’s dad who developed the book character to help the real  life Jackson to dream at night, when he was free to be whatever he wanted to be. This book will be a loving and lasting legacy of Jackson.

Top Tip! Before reading Jackson Saves an Owl, check out the page about real-life Jackson. Depending on your child, you may not want to talk about the issue just before bed as it might upset them. However, the message is delivered in a strong, yet sensitive way, but clearly you know your child best.

One really cool thing

It might sound a really daft thing. However, as the pages are white or near white, and the text is black, it makes it really easy to read at bed time. You know, when you dim the lights trying you get your darling child to sleep!!

Where can you get Jackson Saves an Owl?

You can buy the book using the following links:

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42141736-jackson-saves-an-owl

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackson-Saves-Owl-Superhero/dp/8799506262/

Related Reading

Here you can read about why reading is so important to Heidi and I.

IMPORTANT! We received a free copy of the book for the purposes of this blog post. However, no attempts have been made to influence this post.

Continue reading Jackson Saves an Owl

Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer

The Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer is a really cool remote control toy, aimed at children 3 and above. It has a full range of movements and the tipper can go up and down. Whilst the remote control aspect may be difficult for some, it is a good toy even if you only use it manually.

Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer

Because the toy is a bulldozer and a car, as well as being manual or remote controlled, little ones should have hours of fun with it!

Durability

The Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer has a sturdy outer plastic shell which means that it should be fine it it gets rammed into doors and walls constantly!! Because the wheels are on tracks, it means that it can take a bit more wear and tear compared to other such toys.

 

 

The remote control is a bit small and I can see that it could get lost to the bottom of the toy box. As a result, you probably need to keep an eye on it!! We did notice that the remote control lost signal at times as well. However, the set up of the toy was quite straight forward.

Movement

The videos within this Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer post will speak much better than the words!!

The vehicle can move forwards and backwards at ease and has a very small turning circle. At a push of a button, it can transform from a bulldozer to a car and whilst it does make a bit of noise, that is probably good so that oncoming adults and pets can move out of the way!

The vehicle moves really well on carpet. Whilst a hard floor would be best to get top speeds, we didn’t have any problems on carpet.

Because the toy is easy to use, it makes it a really fun toy to play with. You could imagine that the grown-ups would have just as much fun with it as the little ones!!

Batteries

The Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer requires 8 AA batteries to work (6 for the vehicle, 2 for the remote control). These do not come with the product, so please be aware of this before giving it to your child!

Conclusion

The remote control aspect of the Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer may be a little too precise for preschool fingers without assistance. However, that just means that they can have fun pushing and pulling the bulldozer manually.

This saves the batteries for when the children are asleep and the adults can have a play!!

IMPORTANT! I was gifted the Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer for the purposes of this blog post. However,  no influence has been made to influence this post.

Continue reading Little Tikes Remote Control Dozer Racer

Thomas & Friends – “Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie”

We were invited to see the new Thomas & Friends movie “Big World! Big Adventures!TM  The Movie” at the Showcase de Luxe at Leeds.  Due to it falling on a “non Heidi” weekend, Heidi didn’t come along. So it was me, my new-ish girlfriend and her 2 year old boy watching the sneak preview.

The Plot

The plot is relatively simple and given that this post is aimed at adults. As such, I’m going to assume that you don’t mind reading about the plot!!

Thomas comes across a new character, called Ace, and his eyes are opened to the possibility of travelling the world. Along the way, he comes across friends and challenges to make the journey easier and harder in equal measures. Thomas has to work out for himself what is the right path to take throughout the movie.

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Thomas in a spot of trouble

The movie takes in all 5 continents along the way, so there is some geographic education within the film. However, the basis of the film is educating morals and the right way to behave.

The Length

The Thomas & Friends movie is 80 minutes long and that is more than long enough for the target market. After about 45 minutes, you could hear that some of the children were getting a bit restless but that is bound to happen. However, it appeared that virtually everyone made their way to the end of the movie, which is quite an achievement.

As with all trips to the cinema, it is always worth getting food and drinks to keep the little ones occupied. A teddy bear often works well, especially when it goes really dark!

The Characters

The old favourites from the island of Sodor are in the movie at the beginning, including Annie, Clarabelle, James and Gordon. However, when Thomas makes his around the world adventure, a couple of new characters enter the world of Thomas. These are:

  • Nia, who is a Kenyan female train, voiced by Yvonne Grundy. She is remarkably positive and thoughtful throughout.
  • Ace, who is an Australian rally car, voiced by Peter Andre. He is quite a selfish character, who leads Thomas astray but he isn’t as brave as he thinks he is.
thomas 2
Thomas and Ace

The Scary Bits

As the movie is aimed at the little ones (probably 8 year olds and under), there aren’t any very scary parts. There is a scene towards the end which might be considered frightening. This is when the trains are on a snowy mountain and might crash, but that is the only part really.

The movie doesn’t contain any really loud parts of the movie either and so little ones who get scared of loud noises or music should be fine. Given this, I can imagine that the movie would suit children with autism, but I can’t speak from experience on that one.

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Thomas does look a bit scared!!

The Verdict

Thomas & Friends’ “Big World! Big Adventures!TM  The Movie” is certainly a child friendly movie that will entertain Thomas enthusiasts throughout. If a movie can keep a 2 year old entertained and still, then there must be something good about it. At the time of writing, IMDb has the movie 6.7 out of 10, which feels a little mean to be honest. I feel that if you’re in the target market, you’ll enjoy it.

The release date is 20th July 2018, and you can book your tickets now for your local Showcase Cinemas here.

Full Disclaimer: We were offered free entry to Thomas & Friends for the purposes of this post. However, no influence has been made to alter the content of the post.


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Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag

How do you make Science interesting to kids? One way is to make it not seem like science at all. That is what the “Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag” tries to do.

All in all, there are 20+ pieces to the science/spy kit, including a magnifying glass, test tubes and beaker, alongside a booklet full of experiments to perform.

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Scientific Beaker

All of this is held within a carry case that can also be used as a stylist handbag within the house!!

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Showing off the carry case

TOP TIP!! Make sure you take a photo of how all the items fit in the carry case. It makes it so much easier when it comes to packing it all away!

The most unusual part of the Spy Bag is the fingerprinting kit, including dust powder. This can also be used as shimmer makeup (not until Heidi has left home!!!) and cards to collect the fingerprints. I say that it is unusual because you don’t really see many products on the market with this specific product. So if your child is into fingerprints and/or the whole CSI thing, then this is going to be a good product for you.

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Part of the fingerprint pack

The most fun part of the kit is the lipstick that doubles up as a secret message launcher. It was very fun and also the most frustrating item because we couldn’t get it to work!! This is through no fault of the product, more the fault of an overexcited child. She thought that she knew EXACTLY what to do (without reading the instructions!)

Your child will require parental involvement with this product. Your child will gain so much more out of it if they are taught as the items are used, rather than just being left to get on with it, so it isn’t a bad thing. There are no dangerous substances within the kit and so safety equipment isn’t needed. Adult assistance is probably needed because some of the pieces are quite small within the product.

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Instruction Guide

The Adrienne Attoms Project MC2 brand is the driver behind this product. Whilst that might be a plus point for some, you certainly don’t need to know or understand the brand to enjoy the kit. However, it might lure you into a YouTube path that might make you lose an hour or so!!

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Contents of the Spy Bag – all neat and tidy!

All in all, it is an excellent product on a number of different levels. If your child has an interest in science, or problem solving, this is likely to be a hit with them.  As at July 2018, it is retailing for £39.99, although there may be offers on if you research a little. The recommended age for the product is 6+ and that feels about right. However, I feel as though a 5 year old could have a good go at most of the things, especially with a high level of adult assistance. Best of all, it includes the batteries needed for one of the items – woohoo!!

Full Disclaimer: The Project Mc2 Utimate Spy Bag was offered free of charge for the purposes of this post. My opinion was not influenced by this.


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Picniic App

Ok, I’ll admit it straight away, I am not the most organised of people!! Working full time, whilst having Heidi half of the time means that I struggle to know if I am coming or going. This is one of the problems separated parents have to deal with as communication is not as easy as when you live together.

I was given the opportunity to review the “Picniic” app, which is a free app, but does have premium features*.  Carry on reading to see if it was a way of helping my problem.

What is Picniic?

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Picniic is a simple app where you can share photos, have a mutual calendar and have a combined “to do” list. The premium version also allows you to add birthdays and anniversaries into the calendar on a recurring basis, have a meal planner with suggested recipes and a funky family locator section.

However, this video will probably tell you more about the app.

So why is it good?

Quite simply, the app is really easy to use. Yes, you can have a shared calendar on Google, and you can send photos on Whatsapp, and you can send hundreds of text messages reminding the other person to do something.

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However, this is all in one place.  You can control the information flow into one app. This will make things a lot more organised and civil going forward.

Also, the app is so simple to use.  I found it hard to break the app to be honest because it is just neat and tidy. It sounds so simple, but it really is!!

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One thing that would be especially good for those with younger children is the meal planner, so both parents don’t give their child the same meal on 2 consecutive nights.  It sounds so simple, but they are things that can happen now and again!

Why is it not so good?

Firstly, there are some features which is behind a paywall. However, there are no adverts within the app and so it is only fair that the good people at Picniic make a little bit of money!

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Secondly, there doesn’t appear to be a way of sharing videos within the app, which might cause a problem. You can happily share photos however.

Conclusion

This app seems to do everything that you need it to do, to be able to get yourself organised. Life is hard enough – this app might make it a little bit easier to be separated parents who want to do the best for their child.  That is the only thing that really matters.

* Thanks to the good people at Picniic, if you use the code BLUKLD you can have a 30 day free trial of the product.


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No More Worries Kit

As a single parent, I do worry about how certain things affect Heidi now she has started school. This is especially true now her mum and dad live separately. When I was offered the chance to review the No More Worries Kit, I jumped at the chance to see if it would help Heidi talk about any things that was on her mind.

A gentle way to get your child to talk about their feelings

The pack contains the following:

  • A no more worries kit plaque
  • Journal
  • Conversation cards

The plaque is a cool piece of kit where your child puts their thumb on it and it turns red to show that the fairies are listening (I did not verify whether the fairies did listen!). Once it turns green, the fairies have taken the worries away!! It is a really good way of trying to get your child to put aside their worries and stresses of life and keeps alive the magic of fairies! Best of all, it comes with a battery already!!

Fairy Plaque
Fairy Plaque

The journal is designed to allow your child to write down their thoughts and perhaps get an emotional release in that manner. As Heidi is only 4, this didn’t really work for us, but it did work well as an opportunity to draw the fairies which took her worries away!!  In truth, the journal is just a nice notepad, but a useful tool nonetheless.

Feelings Journal found within the pack
Feelings Journal

The final part is what I thought was the best part – the conversation cards. Without wanting to give too much away, these are questions that, we should be asking our child very regularly. This include “What makes you happy?” and “If you could describe how you feel in one word, what would it be?”

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The questions are quite simple to ask and answer (Heidi was fine with them) but they promote open answers and hopefully an honest conversation will follow from that. There are about 15 cards in the pack and generally you would only want to go through a couple at a time. This is so that it doesn’t feel as though you’re bombarding your child with questions. Using the plaque afterwards would be a good way to bring closure to the questioning.

Conversation Cards
Conversation Cards

After going through the pack, what did I find out about Heidi and her worries? Well, she seems absolutely fine with mum and dad being separate, and seems really happy with my new girlfriend.

So what did worry Heidi…..?!

Not being able to meet a real, live unicorn, and I am not sure that any type of product is able to make that happen for her!!!

child holding unicorn toy
I need to find a real one of these!

You can buy the “No More Worries Kit” from the Irish Fairy Door Company – https://gb.theirishfairydoorcompany.com

Full Disclaimer: The product was offered FOC for the purposes of this post but no influence has been made to alter the content of the post.

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