Peaceable Kingdom Board Game – Co-operative Play

‘Race to the Treasure’ Board Game Review

Have you ever wondered why we get kids to play board games that pit them tooth and nail against one another, when we’re otherwise so keen for them to work and play together? I certainly have! Often, playing board games with my kids makes me feel less like I’m raising the Brady Bunch, and more like I’ve birthed the next Addams Family. While the thrill of a win can raise one child up, inevitably another is cast down into deep disappointment and rage (oh my goodness, the rage!).

Thankfully the lovely One Hundred Toys has come to our rescue – sending us a game by the ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ board game company to review. Peaceable Kingdom create co-operative games requiring kids to work together, rather than competing against each other, to win. How intriguing – and possibly sanity-saving! Perhaps with these games we could find that nirvana of family harmony I’ve heard so much about. Read on to find out what we thought, and if both siblings are still alive to tell the tale…

Peaceable Kingdom board game 'Race to the Treasure'

No, you don’t get our big pile of treasure with this game (sorry!) but the kids do get to have lots of fun working together to win.

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Winter Flower Craft – Snowdrop Bottles

The kids and I been talking about winter a lot lately, inspired by the grim, cold and grey weather, the bare branches and muddy fields. But though we’re at the bleak midwinter stage of the year, there are still signs of life for the kids to find. Some of the prettiest are the early snowdrops that are just beginning to bloom – we’ve spotted the first few flowers, and many more green stalks with buds about to open. We’ve used these lovely flowers as inspiration for some indoor crafting, and also made a bunch of our own junk-model snowdrops out of a few empty bottles and some straws. Two simple and sweet little activities that are great for practicing fine motor skills. Read on to see what we did!

Make snowdrops from paper or plastic bottles

Why do one snowdrop craft when you can do two?!

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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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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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Leaf Painting – Quick and Easy Nature Craft

Leaves painted bright colours, with a stick used as a paintbrush

We love leaf painting! Use natural materials like leaves, sticks and stones as the canvas for your kids’ artwork!

Painting is a great activity for young children. It’s a fantastic work-out for their imagination, and helps them practice their fine motor skills, as well as helping to develop their understanding of colour, shape, texture and viscosity (yes, wet paint WILL drip onto the floor/your clothes/the dog’s dinner…). We do a lot of painting in our house, and love finding different things to paint – after all, flat paper can be SO last earlier-this-morning. We try to bring natural materials into our play at every opportunity, and painting is the perfect thing for this as its easy to find natural objects to decorate. Stones, sticks, pinecones, shells… you name it, we’ve painted it. Leaf painting is an absolute favourite, though, and something that we do all the time – read on to find out why!

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How to Magic Up a Perfectly-Imperfect Mud Kitchen Today!

There are images of some amazing mud kitchens out there on the web, and it’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole of great ideas without actually ever making one for your child. I was certainly guilty of it, until one day my sister stopped by and interrupted my description of the great mud kitchen I was going to make (one day), by pulling together a few things lying around in the garden and making one in about thirty seconds! My kids have been playing with it ever since (we’re talking for years now!), and though I still dream and plan of a more beautiful and robust solution, they’re out there having fun today – and they really couldn’t care less that it’s not perfect.

So read on to see what you need to make a mud kitchen right now, and I guarantee that you’ll have enough stuff already to get your kids playing today!

child pouring muddy water into saucepan in mud kitchen

Mud kitchens are great for kids so get them playing dirty today!

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Playing with Stories – Why We Love Our DIY Playdough ‘Bog Baby’ Kit!

If you’ve read ‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward, you’ll know that bog babies are round and blue, with goggly eyes, spiky tails and ears like a mouse, and their wings are no bigger than daisy petals. This magical book is perfect for inspiring creative model making and small world play, while at the same time gently encouraging children to explore what it means for a thing to be wild and free. Read on to find out how to make a home-made play dough bog baby kit with our play dough recipe and basic craft accessories – not only are they great fun, they also make fantastic and original gifts when given with a copy of the book!

Book 'The Bog Baby', home-made play dough bog baby kit, and fishing net

A magical story about two children who find a mysterious wild creature, ‘The Bog Baby’ is perfect inspiration for creative play!

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Help your child practice their scissor skills with a Nature Snip Box!

Handling scissors correctly is a difficult skill to master, and so we try to practice every chance we get. In the house, we have a “snip box” full of different scraps to cut up, following patterns and lines or just snipping away. But sometimes we like to take our scissor skills practice outside, to try our hand at cutting things we find around us while exploring in the sunshine. Creating a Nature Snip box takes absolutely no effort at all – in fact, the kids do pretty much all of the work!

scissor practice with leaves

Practice scissor skills with garden cuttings!

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