Okido Children’s Arts and Science Magazine Subscription Review

​The Perfect Gift for Curious Kids

A magazine subscription can be the perfect gift for children who are otherwise drowning in heaps of new and old toys. My kids love magazines, but too often it’s the shiny (and short-lived) ‘free’ gift on the front cover that attracts them, rather than the content of the magazine. There are a couple of exceptions out there, and one of our favourites is the very brilliant Okido magazine, so we were thrilled when we were invited recently to become Okido Amabassadors. Read on to find out what makes Okido so different, and why I think their Christmas Subscription Package this year is one of the best around.

Issues of kids' arts and science magazine - Okido

Okido is a gorgeously illustrated arts and science magazine for kids around 8 and under.

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HABA ‘Master Building’ Wooden Marble Run

Reviewing the premium HABA wooden marble run

We LOVE marble runs, and over the years have amassed a few different versions. Wooden marble runs are usually considered the best of the best – not only do they look and feel beautiful, they also offer far more flexibility, challenge and play-possibilities than their plastic counterparts. Wooden marble runs can be quite an investment though, so what is it that makes them so special? We were very privileged to get the chance to review one of the best – and biggest – sets around when the lovely people at HABA sent us their Master Building set, plus one of the many add-ons that are available. Read on to see what we thought of this HABA marble run, and if it’s as special as (let’s face it) it looks…

HABA Master Building Marble Run set in its box

Reviewing the Master Building wooden marble run set for HABA

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Essential Toys – Marble Runs

Why a marble run is such a marble-ous toy.

A marble run is one of the toys I consider essential for children of any age, offering as it does a wide range of play and development opportunities whilst simultaneously giving a sensory experience too. But understanding why and how these toys are so great is vital if you want to encourage kids to play with them and help them get full value from the activity. Read on to  find out more about the benefits of this type of toy, and how to find the perfect set for your child.

Wooden marble run. Text 'Essential Toys: Marble Run'

Marble runs are great fun, and great for helping kids learn and grow!

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Book Love: ‘Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night’

Bonfire Night is a very special night for our family;  it’s a birthday for one of the kids as well as probably my all-time favourite event. Who doesn’t love fireworks, bonfires, roasted chestnuts in a paper bag, and (let’s not underestimate this thrill for kids) going out after dark for all of the above on a crisp and cold autumn evening? So when I saw this vintage edition of the ‘Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night’ book, I had to buy it – read on for a look inside!

Front cover of vintage children's book Topsy and Tim's Bonfire Night by Jean and Gareth Adamson

Front cover of Topsy and Tim’s Bonfire Night by Jean and Gareth Adamson

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Conker Comets! Autumn Fun for Kids

Have your kids conkers gone wrinkly? When autumn comes around my kids just can’t help collecting bucket loads of shiny horse chestnuts, but they start to loose some of their charm once the shrivels (as we like to call it) sets in. There are only so many games of conkers we can play, so, to avoid being buried alive by these puckered leftovers, we’ve found other ways to make use of them. One of our favourites is to turn them into Conker Comets… Probably the most fun you can have with conker – and it makes a great bonfire night craft too! Read on to see how we do it.

Brightly coloured conker comets - kids' conker activity

A quick, easy and fun autumn conker activity to use up all those wrinkly old conkers!

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The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe in the World!

There must be a million or more chocolate cake recipes around, and I’m sure most of them will make you a lovely cake. However, all of those recipes are just pretenders to the throne when it comes to being the greatest, as in my humble opinion, this classic milk chocolate cake has it in the bag. But don’t take my word for it – read on to find out why it’s so good and how to make one for yourself.

Milk chocolate cake covered in colourful sprinkles

Could this be the yummiest chocolate cake recipe in the world? You’ll have to make it to find out!

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DIY Sparkly Spiderweb Stamping!

We’ve combined two of our favourite activities – threading and printing – to make these autumnal and spooky spider-web pictures. They’re simple and quick to make, and the best part is you can make them from bits and pieces that you’re bound to have already. Read on to see how we did this fabulous spiderweb craft!

Sparkly spiderweb stamping

Use a simple, homemade stamp of a spiderweb to create glittery web art!

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How to Conquer Playing Conkers!

At this time of year, our local park is littered with conkers (otherwise known as horse chestnuts) – at times they are literally (and rather painfully!) raining down on us. Who can resist prising open spiky cases for that thrill of discovering shiny brown nuts inside? My kids certainly can’t, and so over the first month of autumn we tend to accumulate a big pile. And what better way to make use of this autumn bounty than through a smashing game of conkers?  We love it so much, I had to share it with you. So read on to discover all the do’s and don’ts, rules and the cheats, hows and whys of playing conkers!

Horse chestnuts threaded on butchers string for playing conkers

How to conquer playing the traditional childhood game of Conkers!

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HABA Terra Kids – Real Woodworking Tools

We love a bit of woodwork with the kids – whether out in the woods, at forest school, or at home with a bit of softwood, so we were very happy when One Hundred Toys asked us to test out a pile of fabulous-looking, kid-sized real tools from HABA. Read on to find out why we’re now eschewing pretend tools for the real deal.

Boy using saw at a worktable in a forest

HABA’s folding saw is kid-sized and just right for taking to forest school.

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