My boys all love Chuggington, especially Mr T and Mr R (age 3 and 2). They love trains, so naturally Chuggington appeals to them.
The Chugger of the Year DVD is ideal for them, containing 7 10 minute episodes and the pack comes complete with one die cast Chugger – Speedy McAllister. This is a great extra touch which was definitely appreciate by my boys as they collect the Chuggington Die Cast engines and Speedy McAllister is one they did not yet have! This character features in the DVD, along with all the favourites you would expect – Brewster, Koko and Wilson!
The episodes included are:
Hoot V Toot
Stop the Press Emery
Chugger of the Year
Chug of War
Chug o Flage
Meet the Chuggers – Speedy, Hoot and Toot (bonus feature)
As I expected, Mr T and Mr R really enjoyed the DVD. It kept them totally gripped and entertained throughout! It will definitely get watched again & again.
If you want some more Chuggington fun, have a look over at the Chuggington website where you can find videos, games and more.
“Chugger of the Year” is available from Sainsburys, ASDA, HMV, Amazon and the BBC Shop with a RRP of £7.99 which I think is brilliant value for both a DVD and a die cast engine!
I will also have one to give away as a part of our Advent Competitions in December! So don’t forget to come back and enter!
This is a wooden Fair Trade product made from sustainable rubberwood and painted with safe non toxic paint. You can definitely tell that it is a good quality product and very well made. Each piece is thick and chunky and there are no rough edges, chips or imperfections anywhere on the puzzle.
We do have a couple of Lanka Kade products already and it’s a company I really like, as our family is half Sri Lankan its nice to support great ethical Sri Lankan companies like this so I was pleased to see Junior Scholars stocking a wide range of the Lanka Kade puzzles. (See the full range here)
Mr T chose the puzzle due to the dinosaur design as he is keen on dinosaurs and he seemed to like the large size of the puzzle. Once we got it home, all 3 of the boys have enjoyed playing with it (age 2, 3 and 5)
Mr T and Mr R don’t yet know their alphabet but by working out where the pieces fitted together they were able to complete the puzzle, and Mr Z (5) was able to complete it very quickly as he does know his alphabet. He enjoyed using the puzzle to teach some of the letters to the younger ones. I can see the younger two (age 3 and 2) getting more play from the puzzle over time as it challenged them more.
It’s a lovely puzzle to help familiarise them with their letters in a fun way.
The only improvement I would say with Lanka Kade puzzles is that it would be good to have a storage tray or box to come with them. We do have a turtle one, which we got from a relative who bought it in Sri Lanka, which comes in a tray so its easier to keep all the pieces together but with the ones you find in the UK you do need to find your own way of storing them. We keep ours in a basket, but any storage boxes or even zip lock bags could work.
The large dinosaur puzzle is £14.99 from Junior Scholars which I would say is good value, and you can get the same puzzle in the number version if you prefer. Junior Scholars also have some really cute small Lanka Kade puzzles which would be great for stocking fillers at Christmas:
Jetpack Journeys is a new app from Inkology, aimed at inspiring children all about the wonders of space. Outer space is a topic I find fascinating myself and would love the boys to develop and interest in it and gain more knowledge about space. It’s something really worthwhile knowing, to understand our place in the solar system and to imagine all the possibilities of how vast our universe really is! There is a lot I could actually learn myself and of course being young the children can only start with the basics but to nurture curiosity is a great starting point. The creators of Jetpack Journeys are really passionate about developing accessible information for preschool children about Space, and I feel that passion comes through in the app that’s been created.
The Jetpack Journeys app is available through the App Store for iPad and iPhone for 69p. The graphics on the app are great and this is one of the apps real strength. In the app, you can fly your rocket around through space and the graphics in the background are amazing, you see the stars and meteors moving around you and it seems really realistic. The children can choose to collect stars (these ones are star shapes and not part of the background, so it’s obvious to the child what they are looking for) and can also choose to land on planets. Once you land on the planet, you can also explore there and collect rocket parts as well as stars. You get the option to build and design your own rocket, and the parts you choose will be the parts you collect. Nasa is no longer building spaceships – so Jetpack Journeys hopes to inspire the younger generation and maybe they can continue this work in the future!
I liked that the app teaches the planet names to the children and also helps them to recognise the distinctive look of each planet. The boys enjoyed the rocket builder, and the game is suitable for all ages as it is not competitive and you can simply roam around space exploring and picking up stars if you wish.
In addition to the app, there is also a Jetpack Journeys magazine, which we were sent to try out.
The magazine has a variety of activities, from spot the difference, to mazes and colouring. It also has comic stories with the Jetpack Journeys characters and some facts and information about space – in this issue it is about the Hubble Space Telescope, and The Moon. The information is explained in pretty simple terms, so for younger children you can read it to them and it should be fairly understandable. I would say the magazine is suitable for children all through primary school age, and may be a little tricky for under 4s.
The magazine is published on good quality glossy paper so it should last very well, so after reading it can be easily kept in the book shelf and returned to later on. We will be keeping ours to go back to again so the children can pick up more from it each time.
I have the chance to offer TEN of my readers the opportunity to win a bundle of an app code and a magazine! Enter via the Rafflecopter below:
The boys have enjoyed Abney and Teal since it first came out. For those who are not familiar with it, its a lovely calm programme for preschoolers about two rag dolls who live in the park on an island in the middle of the lake, along with some of their friends. Since the show started, the toy range has been eagerly awaited, and there is now a good selection of Abney and Teal toys available. We were really pleased to be sent a couple of toys to review.
Neep is one of the boys favourite characters in Abney and Teal. He is so cute and quirky and they love hearing him say Neep, Neeeep!! The talking Neep toy went down really well with them.
It is really soft, so it is lovely to cuddle and snuggle, and when you squeeze him he makes a variety of Neepish noises! It is a medium size at 24.8 x 17.2 x 11.2 cm
This is popular with all the boys so seems to be a toy that appeals well over the full 0-5 age range and won’t be grown out of too quickly. The sounds are very easy to activate and you don’t need to be very exact with whereabouts your squeeze, so Mr R is able to do it easily at just turned 2. He loves to press it and giggle at Neep’s sounds.
As you can see, Neep is making himself at home among the other cuddly toys! I can see him being well loved for quite a few more years.
Next we tried Abney and Teal 4 in 1 Puzzles box:
There are 4 puzzles of 12, 16, 20 and 24 pieces each with a different scene from Abney and Teal. Each puzzle has a different coloured border around the edges to make it easy to recognise which puzzle is which and it also helps little ones recognise the edges when making the puzzles.
The colours in the Abney and Teal scenes are a little more muted than on some toddler programmes, so the puzzles may be a little challenging for those at the younger end of the age range to complete alone, but Mr R was fine with help and really enjoyed doing the puzzles together. His favourite characters of Abney, Teal and Neep are in every puzzle so he loved to point them out as the picture was coming together.
The illustration style of Abney and Teal is really charming and seems to be something which can appeal to both adults and children.This box of puzzles also comes with a free poster included, which would look lovely on a bedroom or playroom wall because the illustrations are so lovely. Again, Mr R is really enjoying spotting his favourite characters on the poster.
Either of these would make a lovely gift. They are both very well made and good quality and have kept the boys happy and entertained!
Recently on Playfest we had a session on Junk Modelling. It’s not something we do all the time but the children always really enjoy it and it gave me a push to let them do it a bit more often.
We were joined by the lovely Maggy Woodly from Red Ted Art, who came to share some of her ideas with us and give us some inspiration. A week or so before that I won her new book on twitter, which I was very happy about and as you can see so was my little boy!
I have to say, none of our projects turn out looking as good as they do in the book! I’m just telling myself it’s more about the “process” and the kids enjoyment, rather than the finished results. We will keep trying!
Here’s some pics of my boys in action, creating some “masterpieces” out of our junk packaging!
Here we have a space themed rattle/shaker made by my 4 year old out of a giant lolipop packet, filled with some pulses, decorated with paint and sparkles, and fixed together with decorative star tape – tada!!
This is our rocket. It’s made out of an old chocolate milk container, covered in tissue paper and foil and painted. This is still up on the shelf in their playroom, 4yr old is very proud of it!
I think this one was a boat 🙂
More junk modelling play, with the younger 2 they were just really exploring the materials rather than having a project in mind.
Here’s some ideas of materials you can put aside to use
Any form of cardboard, cereal boxes, packaging, shoe boxes. Really big boxes can be used to make giant models which can be played in
Any form of tubes – kitchen rolls, toilet rolls
Foil sweet wrappers, or tin foil
Plastic bottles, drinks bottles, fairy liquid etc
Tubs from butter or yoghurts
Bits of felt
Junk play is good for hand eye coordination, fine motor skills – using skills like cutting with scissors, gluing and painting – and of course for developing the imagination. Their creations have the potential to become anything they wish! I love seeing the sense of pride and achievement in what they have made.
As the weather is finally getting nicer, we are able to play out in the garden after school. This gives a great chance to do some more messy activities. The activity we did today – Sensory play with rice and lentils – I wouldn’t have wanted to do inside the house, as it can be a bit hard to keep it all contained.
But out in the garden without needing to worry about mess, the boys had a lot of fun!
We have recently joined the Little Tiger Press parents panel and received a couple of books to look at and review. All 3 boys really enjoy books and reading so they were eager to get started straight away! The first book I am going to talk about is the My First Touch and Trace: Count 123.
Count 123 is a lovely book with hard pages and flaps to lift up on every page but the aspect that really makes it stand out is the tracing. All of the numbers are slightly indented, creating a groove for the child’s finger and have arrows to show which direction to trace. It also has small indented circles on the last pages for the child to touch and feel while counting, first to ten and then to twenty.
It’s a simple concept – but very very good! The idea of finger tracing reminded me of sand paper letters which are used in the Montessori method, and is beneficial for children’s pre-writing skills. I felt that the tracing added a really nice extra tactile element to the learning, particularly for my 3 year old who is on the autistic spectrum and has very delayed speech. He’s not able to clearly pronounce any of the numbers but does have an interest in them and we are starting to teach him the concept of counting and numbers, so what I really liked was that with the tracing he is able to actively participate in the book rather than just passively being read to. He seemed to get a lot out of it and I will be revisiting it regularly with him.
Lifting the flaps and looking at the pictures also engaged him and kept his attention. All the pictures are very nice and bright, and modern.
I like that it goes up to 20 rather than just 10 as some books do, as that made it more suitable for my 4 year old too. Although it is probably more aimed at preschool children and my 4 year old is in reception and able to count and write these numbers already he just absolutely loves numbers so the moment he saw this he was all over it and really did enjoy it. The tracing is supposed to help improve motor skills, which would help to neaten handwriting so it may still help him.
I would really recommend the book, we were quite impressed with it.
Look out for our review of Look Out, Ladybird! also from Little Tiger press, which will be coming soon on the blog as that is the 2nd book we received.
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