Friday, 1 August 2014

Mooshka: Myra's Birthday Surprise App

You may remember that, back in April, we reviewed a Mooshka Doll from Zapf Creation, Ina remains one of LM's most loved toys and she was one of the first toys into the car for our recent holiday. During that review I mentioned the free interactive app that is available with Mooshka dolls, well LM and I have been taking a closer look at this.

LM has recently started to take an interest in the tablet and I've taken to sitting with her to show her an app or two every so often. She knows exactly what to do though, as this photo shows when her Daddy left the Galaxy Tab alone for a little while when she should have been in bed!

LM trying out the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Myra's Birthday Surprise is a beautifully drawn app which takes us into the world of the Mooshka dolls, and sees the dolls coming together to celebrate Myra's birthday. It's an interactive story book and allows you to have the story read to you, or for the child to read the story themselves. This would be a great support for learning to read I think. You navigate through the story using arrows to move forwards or backwards through the story.

Mooshks: Myra's Birthday Surprise App

The story is quite short but I would say a perfect length for the age of the children who Mooshka dolls are aimed at. LM loves to sit with me or her Daddy while the story is 'read' to her and she enjoys the music that plays too.

On completion of the story there is a pairs matching game. LM is too young for this at the moment but I've had a couple of goes and it's a simple game featuring all of the different Mooshka dolls and various other pictures. Bud is perfectly capable of playing and enjoying this at age four and a half, although he says it is 'for girls'. There's no way that I can find to skip straight to the matching game without reading the story, you also can't skip through the musical animation at the start of the app and I can imagine older children may get a little frustrated by that. LM doesn't mind at all though and I quite like the music!

Mooshks: Myra's Birthday Surprise App Matching Pairs

We've been trying out the Mooshks: Myra's Birthday Surprise App on an Android platform where it is available from the Google Play store and Amazon Kindle Store, my friend Eileen reviewed the app for the iTunes store and you can see how her five year old daughter enjoyed it in her review. Tami also reviewed the Android version.

I'd recommend this app for any little girls, aged from around two up to Reception or Year One. It's a lovely app for children of this age, especially if they already love the dolls and it's free!

Disclosure: We will receive a doll in exchange for this review.

Young Games Inventor of the Year

Brainbox Games have set children a challenge this Summer, with the launch of their Young Games Inventor of the Year 2014 competition. They want children to invent their very own board game and the winner will receive their height in games and the chance to see their game idea brought to reality by the Brainbox Games team.

Young Games Inventor of the Year 2014

If you have a young inventor or board game fan at home you can point them in the direction of the 'How to Enter' page on the Brainbox Games website. You can also download their free 'Ultimate Guide to Creating a Board Game' for extra tips.

Designing a board game could be a really fun project for your children over the Summer holidays. My two are too young for this at the moment but, if they are anything like me, I'm sure this might be the kind of project that interests them when they are older. I think that if Bud was to design a game it would definitely involve animals or dinosaurs. 

Designing a game offers a great way for children to get creative and imaginative and decide exactly what they would like to see from a game. Children will need to think about all the details of the game - number of players, how the game is played, what's inside the box - and draw a picture of their games for their parent to upload.

The website entry form features the full terms and conditions and entries should be received by 21st September so there's still time to get your entry in after the Summer holiday. Two prizes will be awarded - the Judges Choice and the People's Choice which will be open to the public vote.

Can you think of an idea for a game? Will your children be entering the competition?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

What's Happened? What's Happening? - Foodie and Family Fun

With the Summer holidays now in full force it's been great to see so many of your days out. If you're out with the children, or on your own and write about it, please link up. I'm starting to see a real mix of posts which is exactly what I want to capture with #WHWH, hopefullly it will offer a bit of inspiration if you're looking for ideas too..

Some great food posts linked up last week with Oh So Gawjess' relaxed evening meal at Ye Olde Black Ladd and Hodge Podge Days family day out at Foodies Festival where they tried some really great food in What's Happened. Food of a less tasty variety featured in Six Degrees of Harmony's account of Summer Activities at the Imperial War Museum North which focuses on the First World War, including seeing the rations that the soldiers were subjected to!

Some very lucky children had some lovely days out including a trip to cBeebies Land for Inside the Wendy House (we're off there at the weekend so this really got us excited about our day out) and a trip to the Early Learning Centre/Mothercare Press Day for Clearly Bex.

If you're looking to plan some fun days out this Summer then you can't beat a trip to the cinema. I think we'll be going to see Planes 2: Fire and Rescue at some point and In the Playroom's trip to the gala screening of this only raised our anticipation. Equally entertaining was The Brick Castle's visit to see Cirque du Hilarious in Blackpool. What's Happening? is definitely the place to stop by if you're looking for ideas!

Just a reminder that #WHWH opens every Thursday and stays open until the end of Tuesday every week. Please link up your days out, events, holidays, restaurant, film and theatre reviews to What's Happened? and any posts about forthcoming events to What's Happening.

I've created a Pinterest board where I pin all of your posts, feel free to follow it.

As always, I would love it if you would add the linky badge to your post to direct your readers here

What's Happened? What's Happening?

Bigjigs Music Set for a Musical Little Miss

Our newest Bigjigs Play Patrol toy is their Music Set. This was an inspired choice for LM as music is one of her favourite things. It's a cliché to say she could dance before she could walk but she has responded to music since being a tiny baby and loves nothing more than dancing and clapping her hands to any music she hears.

Bigigs Music Set for Play Patrol

The set comprises two wooden castanets, two wooden handled jingle bells and a bright wooden xylophone with metal keys and two wooden beaters. The first thing to note is the high quality finish on all of the instruments. They are all beautifully, and colourfully, painted and Agent LM wanted them out of the package straight away!

As soon as the toys were freed from their packaging both children were keen to start playing straight away.Bud is familiar with all of the instruments from music time at nursery and identified each one, telling his Sister the name of each one. 

Bud spotted that there were two castanets and sleigh bells he decided that there was one for him and one for LM. He decided that the red castanet and bells were for LM and the blue ones were for him. Castanets were first to be tried out and both LM and Bud could confidently make them 'clack'. They are quite substantial so it'a s really satisfying noise and LM was delighted with how easily she could make the noise. The two wooden pieces are firmly attached and there's no gap for little fingers to get stuck in, as I've seen with some inferior sets of castanets.

LM plays the Bigjigs Music Set Castanets and Sleigh Bells

Sleigh or Jingle Bells are always a hit with little ones and the two sets in this collection were no exception. Each has five metal sleigh bells attached to a plastic strip, with a bright wooden handle. The bells are very securely attached and I felt confident giving them to LM as she's still at the stage where she explores things with her mouth as well as her other senses!

The Xylophone is probably the toy that has seen the most use since it arrived and rarely a day has passed without my two entertaining us with a 'tune' on this lovely instrument. The beaters are plain wood but the xylophone itself is really lovely. All of the keys are different colours, with a beautifully painted base too. Obviously it's not properly tuned but each key offers a different 'note' so children are able to play a tune on it. Using the beaters also helps with hand eye co-ordination  and making connections by needing to use the beater to generate a sound, it won't work with their fingers!

LM plays the Bigjigs Music Set Xylophone

Music is an extremely important part of our family life. We always have a radio on and the children sing and dance every day. LM still doesn't really speak much but she will happily 'aaaahaaahaaah' along to music. I'm always so keen to encourage both of the children musically and the music set from Bigjigs is a fantastic way to do this. The brightly coloured design is great for helping LM to learn her colours and she's really getting to know the difference between the red castanet and the blue. An older child would be able to understand that the blue one has dots, and the red one has yellow stripes too.

I think this is a fantastic set and, with an RRP of only £15 it is excellent value for money. It is available from Bigjigs Toys themselves and other wooden toys retailrs. It would work well for a childminder, or even nursery school, as a basic music set and is perfect in a household like ours, with two children to play with it. Bud and LM have been making the most of their new set and entertaining me on a daily basis and I think I'm going to purchase one for my niece at Christmas. Agent LM's first Play Patrol mission is completed!

To see what the other Play Patrol agents have been up to follow #PlayPatrol and Bigjigs Toys on Twitter and like Bigjigs Toys on Facebook.

Dsiclosure: We received this item for review purposes.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue Jigsaw Puzzles from Ravensburger

Planes 2: Fire and Rescue from Disney looks set to be the Summer Blockbuster and we're definitely planning a trip to see it with Bud after it is released on 8th August. To get Bud even more excited about the forthcoming Disney sequel we have recently received two Planes 2: Fire and Rescue jigsaw puzzles from Ravensburger for him to try out.

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue Jigsaw Puzzles from Ravensburger

The first puzzle is the Disney Planes 2 35 piece Puzzle, which features five of the main characters from the film. this sees the return of Dusty who is no longer crop spraying and has found alternative employment working as a fire spraying plane for Piston Peaks Fire and Rescue Department. This puzzle features Dusty and new characters Dipper, Cabbie, Blade Ranger and Windlifter along with a movie style 'Piston Peaks Fire Department' slogan.

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue 35 piece Jigsaw Puzzle from Ravensburger

The second box is a set of four puzzles, Disney Planes 2 4 in a Box. All measure the same size but they step up in number of pieces, and therefore difficulty, from 12 pieces to 16, 20 and 24. Windlifter features on the 12 piece puzzle with Dusty on the 16 piece. Dipper and Cabbie can be found on the 20 and 24 piece puzzles respectively. The puzzles are all mixed together in the box so the first challenge is to work out which pieces belong to which puzzle. I helped Bud to do this but he needed no help with the puzzles. Helpfully each puzzle has a different coloured edge which helped with the sorting. The pieces also decrease in size as the puzzles increase in number of pieces.

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue 4 in a box Jigsaw Puzzle from Ravensburger

Bud has really loved completing the puzzles and learning about the new characters before the film comes out, of course we didn't know the names of them but a combination of my friend Anna, who got to see the film early at the Gala Screening and Google helped me to keep him informed. I always find Ravensburger puzzles to be of excellent quality and these were just the same. The pieces are cleanly cut out, with neat edges and stand up to my four year old assembling them with ease. Both of these puzzles are aimed at age 3+ and I would say that is correct.

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue 4 in a box Jigsaw Puzzles from Ravensburger

We are working on assembling the frame of a jigsaw before the centre at the moment and the 35 piece puzzle was perfect to practice on. Bud found the 12 and 16 piece puzzles quite easy and completed all of the four in one set with little difficulty. The main challenge was the 24 piece Cabbie puzzle. I'd definitely recommend these puzzles if you have a young Planes fan who is as excited about the new movie as Bud is.

Disney Planes 2: Fire and Rescue Jigsaw Puzzles from Ravensburger

The 4 in a Box puzzle has an RRP of £5:99 and the 35 piece puzzle has an RRP of £3:99 which I think are excellent prices for a high quality, fun and educational puzzles. Great for keeping little ones busy this Summer and raising anticipation for the film. The puzzles are available from all usual stockists including Amazon.

Disclosure: We received the puzzles for review purposes. Post contains affiliate link. 

Mummy of Two