Saturday, 13 June 2020

Outdoor Learning and Education with Learning Resources - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

Like most parents we have been busy trying to juggle our home life, working life and our children's home education over the past few months. My youngest child's school has been fantastic at setting work and this has been easily accessible since the start of lockdown, mixed full of literacy, numeracy and practical homework tasks. However, my son has been flying through the work set and so I have tried my best to introduce some other elements with educational tools we have at home.

With the weather being so nice, both Riley and I have been very keen to work outside and so when the opportunity arose to review some of the fabulous Learning Resources products, we quite literally jumped at the chance and couldn't wait to find out more about nature, our environment and space. We were sent a wonderful selection of items which were sure to keep Riley motivated whilst we explored some fun and creative ways to home school.


The Learning Resources products we received are part of their GeoSafari range and included a GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope, a GeoSafari Jr. Mighty Magnifier, a GeoSafari Jr. Bug Viewer Jar, a GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope and also some Discovery Acorns. My youngest son Riley was so excited to try these out in the garden and my eldest son Ben was also really looking forward to testing out the telescope at night.

The first item we used was the Discovery Acorns. These are recommended for children aged 3-7 years old and are the perfect size for little hands. Riley enjoyed searching around the garden for little objects to put inside the acorns that we could then take a closer look at. The design makes them look just like real acorns with their natural colours and it was very easy for Riley to remove and replace the lids on them as and when he wanted to.


We played a few little games with these items which were great fun. The first game was that Riley would collect a few objects and place them in the acorns without showing me. He would then describe the items that were inside and I had to guess what they were. This really helped Riley to improve his description language skills and it taught him how to speak about colours, shapes and textures. We each took it in turns to do this and admittedly we both really enjoyed it.


We also played hide and seek with the acorns and I would hide them around the garden. We have quite a large garden so there were plenty of hiding places and Riley loved trying to seek them out. Another game we played was a memory game, where I would place items in the acorns and then Riley had to try and remember which item was in which acorn and write it down. Each acorn has a animal silhouette on its base, so we would write all of the animals down in a list, with another list opposite of the contents and Riley would have to try and remember what was in each one and match it up. The Discovery Acorns are available on the Learning Resources website for only £9 which I think is excellent value for money.


The next item we tried was the GeoSafari Jr. Mighty Magnifier which is recommended for children aged 4-8 years old. This allows children to see items up close and are perfect for scientific observation of nature. As we have been doing a lot of work in the garden over the past few weeks, we have come across many creepy crawlies and Riley loved wearing his Mighty Magnifier to see creatures and other objects up close.


The Mighty Magnifier has a built in headset with comfy eyecup supports which means it can be worn. This allowed Riley to keep his hands free, allowing him the ability to still touch or move things whilst he observed. The magnifier could easily be changed between a 2 x and an 8 x magnification, so Riley really enjoyed experimenting with each. We would play a game where he would look at an object in 2x magnification and write down what he could see, before he then increased it to 8x and would write down anything different that he could notice once the object appeared larger.


I really liked how the Mighty Magnifier is light enough to carry around, so it is ideal for us to take in our backpack on one of our walks so Riley can take a closer look at other nature that we might see on our travels. This item has an RRP of £14.00 and it can be purchased on the Learning Resources website here.


Riley also really enjoyed using the GeoSafari Bug Viewer which allowed him to see all kinds of different bugs up close. Admittedly I was too scared to pick up any bugs or spiders to place in it, so I left that in the capable hands of my eldest son, who was more than happy to oblige. The bug viewer is recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years of age and the jar allows children to collect their specimens and see them through the transparent casing.

Once you have found a bug to take a closer look at, you simply place it in the jar and then secure the magnifying lid. I had initially been concerned about the bugs being able to breathe, however there are air holes and also a handy measuring grid. Riley enjoyed finding different creatures and then using the measuring grid to write down their sizes and compare them. The magnifier has a 3x magnification so it was great to be able to see them so clearly. At a cost of only £4 on the Learning Resources website, this is great value for money and is at a pocket money price too!

Riley's favourite educational item was the GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope which allowed him to view items up to an 8x magnification. It's bright and chunky design really appealed to Riley and it was the perfect size for him to be able to use himself. It is recommended for children aged 3 to 7 years of age and the fixed platform means that children can observe both flat and 3D objects.


The dual eye pieces are extra large so it makes for very comfortable viewing and prevents the need to close one eye. Riley absolutely loved pretending to be a scientist and soon got the hang of using the microscope by himself. It has a cool feature of a bright LED light which helps you to enhance the viewing of small details and the button was very easy for Riley to control. With an RRP of £20 I think it is excellent value for money and it can be found on the Learning Resources website here.


Riley's older brother Ben has helped him a lot with his outdoor learning, especially when it involved bugs and spiders, so it was only fair that Ben had the opportunity to stay up late and try out the fantastic GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope once the night sky appeared, so that we could take a closer look at some star constellations and the moon. This is recommended for children aged 8 to 12 years of age and as well as taking a look at the night sky, it can also be used to take a closer look at nature, your surroundings, birds and animals.


The telescope comes with two different eyepieces which are 20mm and 9mm in order to offer different viewing magnifications. We used it together with the included tabletop tripod and we were able to see different objects at 20x, 40x and 80x magnification. Ben loved observing the craters on the moon and was surprised to be able to see so much detail.


We had hoped to catch sight of the International Space Station and the Space X Rocket on the first launch attempt, but due to it being postponed for a few days, we were unfortunately unable to spot this. However, now that the weather is dry again, we are hoping to get back out in the garden and look for the space station once again using the telescope.

We found the telescope to be really easy to set up and really lightweight too. I have already promised Ben that once we can travel again, we will take this on holiday with us, so that we can take a closer look at different environments. The GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope is available on the Learning Resources website for £48 and is the perfect item for budding young scientists.

Although Riley is in bed before it gets dark at the moment, he is looking forward to searching into space later in the year once the early nights return. In the meantime he has loved listening to what Ben has spotted and he has also enjoyed using the telescope to look at some of the birds that land on the top of our shed.


If you would like to find out more about Learning Resources and their fabulous range of products, then check out their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.learningresources.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LearningResourcesLtdUK/
Twitter - @LRUK
Instagram - @learningresourcesuk


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post and we were gifted the items featured for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 12 June 2020

So Slime Tie-Dye Slime Kit - Review

(AD - This post contains gifted items)

You may remember that a couple of months ago we reviewed the So Slime DIY Slimelicious Soda Shop, which Riley thoroughly enjoyed. He loves getting creative and he also loves slime, so the Slime DIY kits are perfect for him and with a great selection to choose from, there is plenty of different products for him to enjoy.

This month we were sent the So Slime Tie-Dye Slime Kit which is recommended for children aged 6+. The front of the box is really bright and colourful and features plenty of images so that you can gain a clear understanding of the product.


The reverse of the box provides very clear images of what is included inside and there is also a colour chart which gives you an indication of what kind of tie dye effect you can create by mixing different colours. Below all of the images you can find a contents list, which consists of:
  • 3 Clear Slimes
  • 1 Tool
  • 3 Glitter Bags
  • 3 Scented Colourants

Riley carefully opened all of the packaging and we lay the contents out on the table and read the instructions before continuing. Just like the previous set that we reviewed, it seemed very simple and after making sure we were clear on what we needed to do, Riley started to create his very own Tie-Dye Slime. Riley's brother Ben also decided that he wanted to join in with this review, so each of them selected their colours and began the process.


The process of creating the tie dye slime was extremely simple. As the slime is already prepared, all that you need to do is select which colours you would like to use in your tie dye slime from the choice of red, blue and yellow. You then add a drop of the colour into the slime and mix it together using the tool provided.



Ben decided that he wanted to make a galaxy themed tie-dye slime and so he mixed the blue and red colours together, before adding the pink glitter. This gave it a fabulous effect and we were all very impressed by the colours.



After seeing Ben's creation, Riley decided to mix the blue and green colours. This created a really vibrant green and created a fabulous effect.  He loved seeing how the tie-dye effect changed as he began to mix it and really enjoyed being able to change how bright the colour was by adding another drop of colour.


When Riley was happy with the colours of his tie-dye slime, he then added some coloured glitter, which he chose to mix in with his hands, whilst also playing with the slime. This gave the tie-dye slime a lovely sparkle effect which you could see glistening amongst the colours.


Riley commented that he would have preferred the 3 clear slimes to have each come in a tub of their own and I would agree with this. As there is only 1 tub, the other slime creations have to be kept in a grip bag. This is of good quality, but for ease of storage Riley would have preferred a tub for each one.

Overall we really enjoyed playing with this set together and with an RRP of only £9.99, I think that it offers good value for money. Riley would have preferred the option to make his own slime as opposed to it being pre-made in the pots, however from a parents perspective I really liked the fact that it had been pre-prepared as this ensured that any mess was minimal. It also meant that it would be the right consistency as when you make your own  I have found it can be a bit hit and miss at times. The fact that there were three lots of slime included, meant that we could also experiment with the colours, as well as having something to store the slime in once we were finished. Again we have been impressed by the So Slime DIY Kits and look forward to trying more of the range in the future.

This item has an RRP of £9.99 and is from Canal Toys. It can be purchased from shops such as Argos and there is also a great choice of So Slime products available on Amazon, If you would like to find out more about Canal Toys and their great range of products, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.canaltoys.com
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/canaltoysglobal/


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post and we were gifted this item for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This blog post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Outdoor Fun with Bunch O Balloons - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

Whilst the sun has recently been shining, we have been trying our best to enjoy the garden along with some outdoor family fun and games. Last week saw temperatures soar, so what better way to cool down than with an epic water fight that saw the battle lines drawn between siblings. Admittedly, it looked far too much fun to let them enjoy it all by themselves, so I was also on standby for some balloon throwing and water gun blasting excitement!

Bunch O Balloons kindly sent our family a fantastic selection of water toys that guaranteed us a splashtastic time. This lovely gifted bundle consisted of over 500 water balloons, a Zuru Filler/Soaker, a Zuru XShot and a Zuru Xshot Micro Fast Fill. We certainly had plenty of equipment to keep us busy and we couldn't wait to put them all to the test.


Admittedly, it has been a couple of years since we last played with water balloons, there was something about having to stand by a tap for lengthy periods of time, along with the struggle of then trying to tie them, that kind of took some of the fun away. I seem to remember it taking around an hour to fill approximately 15 balloons which then only lasted a few seconds at the most.

However, Bunch O Balloons have solved this problem with their awesome fast fill design that allows you to fill AND tie 100 balloons in only 60 seconds. I was really keen to find out if this was really possible and my children found a bucket each to put their balloons into. They also selected their water weapon of choice, with Ben opting for the Soaker, Riley choosing the Zuru X-Shot Fast-Fill and finally Emma with the Zuru X-Shot Micro Fast-Fill.


The products all come in really eye catching and bright packaging, with the items very clearly on view. This means you can see exactly what you are getting for your money which is always my preference when it comes to how toys are boxed. Each product had accompanying images, which all really appealed to my children.

The Zuru Bunch O Balloons Filler/Soaker is dual purpose as this can fill your balloons, as well as blast water at your opponents. It is really easy to use and you simply connect the valve to a water source and pump the water into the balloons. It has an RRP of only £12.99 which I think is very good value for money, considering the fact that it also comes complete with 100 water balloons. This fabulous soaker is also great for the pool or beach and can reach targets from almost 30ft away!

Riley's water gun of choice, the Zuru X-Shot Fast-Fill has an RRP of £12.99 and can be reloaded with water in as little as one second. You simple dunk it in a water source (we used our paddling pool), pull the hammer to fill and then release it again to seal and continue with your water battle. Riley found this really easy to use and it had a great accurate target range of 30ft.

The X-Shot Fast-Fill Micro version works the same, but is more of a compact size. This model has an RRP of £10 and despite its smaller size, it still has a shooting range of up to 26ft. This collection together was the perfect trio for my children and we were all really impressed with their quality and design.


The Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons are completely stress free and are super simple to use. They are self tying, so there is no need to spend ages fiddling with awkward knots and instead the balloons release with ease. We had several buckets and containers ready to store the balloons in, so that each participating family member had their own supply. The balloons each have individual straws connected which then leads to the valve at the top. You then simply switch your water source on, watch them fill and once you are happy with them, you turn the water off. We then just pushed the filler in a quick downward motion (like a jolt) and the majority of the balloons simply fell into the buckets. For the odd couple that remained attached, we just used our hand to push them off the straws at the bottom. It really couldn't be simpler!


We placed a dividing line across the garden whilst the children decided who was on which team. Each of them had a bucket or bowl of balloons and they began to aim them at one another. They were very easy to throw and they broke well on impact. Once the balloon stocks had all been used they began to use their water guns which ensured that the fun could continue even longer.

Another thing we really love about the Bunch O Balloons, is that they are recyclable. Prior to using them, I had thought about the effect of having the remains of 500 water balloons spread throughout our garden. However, I turned the collecting of the rubbish into a game and offered 50p to the child who could collect the most pieces (genius I know)!

They are 100% recyclable which immediately put my mind at ease and with their partnership with Terracycle, this provides the ability to not only recycle the balloons, but all the packaging including the stems, which I think is fantastic. You can read more about their recycling program over on their sustainability page here: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/sustainability/

If you are also looking for other ideas of how to use your Bunch O Balloons, then you can find a great post over on their website which suggests 10 backyard activities for kids and features games such as Water Balloon Pinata, Bunch O Balloons Juggling and Parents vs Kids to name just a few. This handy list can be found here: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/10backyardactivitiesforkids/


Overall, we were extremely impressed with Bunch O Balloons and I will absolutely be buying more in the future. With our holidays for the remainder of the year now cancelled, we are looking forward to making the most of our garden and planning lots of fun that we can have together throughout the summer. I therefore have no doubt in my mind that this will involve a weekly water fight, which I will enjoy just as much as my children.

The products are really good quality and very reasonably priced and I would definitely recommend these items to other families looking to enjoy some outdoor fun together this summer. They can be purchased from toy retailers including Smyths, The Entertainer, Argos and Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Bunch O Balloons, then you can visit their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website: https://www.bunchoballoons.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BunchOBalloons/
Instagram: @bunchoballoons
YouTube: ZuruToys


*Disclaimer - We were provided with a selection of Zuru and Bunch O Balloons products for the purpose of writing an honest review of the items and our experience. Thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Superzings Series 5 Collectibles and Superzings Mission Playsets - A Review

(AD - This review features gifted items)

My son Riley was first introduced to Superzings towards the end of last year and it is safe to say that since then, he has become a huge fan and has regularly been adding to his collection. He was therefore really excited to learn more about the new Superzings Series 5 Collectibles along with the new Superzings Mission Playsets and wasted no time at all, in opening the latest additions.

Created by Magic Box Toys, Superzings are based on everyday objects that can transform into superheroes or supervillains. They are a fantastic collectible series that encourage children to use their imagination and create scenarios that bring their characters to life. Not only are these a great fun range of toys, but they are also excellent value for money, with the blind bags having an RRP of only 80p per pack. They are recommended for children aged 4 to 8, which I would agree is the suitable age range.


The first items Riley began to open were the blind bags. He opened one and then took some time to look over the leaflet inside so he could see all of the different characters that were available. This leaflet also showed which ones were rare in this series and Riley was hopeful that he might find an Ultra-Rare in one of the packs.

This series also features some new special vehicles called Skyracers, which each have their own unique attack method. Priced at only £4 the vehicles also come with a Superzing character, making them ideal pocket money priced toys. There are 4 different models to collect which are the Hungry Hunter, Mighty Cannon, Rusty Blades and Turbo Kicker.


Riley carefully cut each pack open and began to line up his new characters on the table. He did get a couple of duplicates, but this didn't bother him at all and instead he just pretends that these characters are twins. He absolutely loves blind bags and the anticipation of what is inside, makes it so exciting for children as they open them up and get to reveal the character within. I love watching his reaction and then seeing him check the leaflet to find out what their name is.


This series has also seen the introduction of some new Superzings Mission Playsets which have an RRP of £15. The characters can be seen through the packaging on these items, so it does remove the element of surprise, but Riley was extremely happy with these regardless. The first mission playset he opened was Mission Fire Strike and this consisted of a fire engine, helicopter, 2 exclusive figures and some accessories.

Each vehicle has its own special feature and in this playset the helicopter can shoot fireballs, whilst the fire engine can shoot water jets. As you push the helicopter along, the rotating blades also spin, giving a great effect whilst carrying out your imaginative missions.


Riley's favourite however, was the Bank Assault Mission Playset, which contained two exclusive Superzings characters, 2 exclusive vehicles and a bank vault that can be filled with gold bars. Riley really enjoyed this playset, especially as it connected well with some of his existing Superzings toys, such as the police station. This meant that he could come up with countless scenarios and really enjoyed pretending to recover the gold from the Supervillains.


The gold bars all fit into the vault nicely and it is a really fun accessory to have within the set. Riley also asked me to hide the gold around and within his other playsets and he would then try and find it with the help of the superhero figures.


The exclusive figures that come with the vehicles in the Mission Playsets also sit nicely in them. However, the great thing about Superzings is that they are interchangeable, so you can use any of your figures in the vehicles and then swap and change them as you wish.

Riley finds all the toys so easy to use and the chunky, colourful and well made designs, means that he doesn't have to be too gentle with them, or be scared of them breaking quickly. For example on the police vehicle below, the top can open so that you can sit your chosen figure inside. This can be done with ease and doesn't feel flimsy or easily breakable when doing so.


After Riley had finished checking out all of his new Superzings, he began to lay out all of his Superzings Toys to create one huge combined playset. It was great fun creating some new play scenarios and Riley set up teams of superheroes and supervillains. The villains were on a mission to try and steal the gold from the vault, whilst the superheroes were working hard to prevent the robbery and then retrieve the gold.

All of the toys really encouraged his imagination and after capturing all the villains and placing them in the police station, he then created a new hide the gold game. This involved me hiding the gold bars around the various playsets whilst Riley then looked for them using his superhero characters.


Overall we have been really impressed with the Superzings range of toys. The products are such good quality and offer great value for money. Like most children Riley absolutely loves opening the blind bags and enjoys the surprise of seeing what is inside. He was so excited opening each pack in the hope of finding a rare. I personally think that the design of the characters is great and I love looking at the details on each one. They are ideal for birthday gifts or pocket money treats and both Riley and I look forward to seeing what other products join the Superzings range in the future. These items can be purchased from supermarkets, toy retailers and online retailers such as Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Superzings, then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

YouTube - SuperZings
Instagram - superzings_uk
Twitter - @superzings
Facebook - SuperZings.UK



*Disclaimer - We were gifted the items featured in this blog post for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Some products featured in the images from earlier series have previously been gifted or purchased by myself. This blog post features amazon affiliate links.