Tag Archives: Toys

Paddling-pool perfect toys: Splashlings review

Splashlings reviewMermaids are always in vogue in our house. Not to the point of obsession (Fidget Spinners and Lego cards anyone?) but The Little Mermaid and The Singing Mermaid are firm favourites, as is a toy mermaid that swims up and down in a jars using a little rubber tail.

Our Splashlings also came out to play at the start of the June heatwave, so these new little toys quickly found their way underwater in our paddling pool. Splashlings are part of a little plastic and rubber world made up of mermaids, the Splashling sea creatures and the small shells that they sleep in. These have been just as popular on dry land as pool-side with Scrip (now 5) and also a male friend of hers (H, 4 years old) being engrossed one day.

Splashlings 2

They’re a big hit in the US and now they’re swimming their way to our shores. We tried the Medical Centre which comes complete with moveable weighing scales and ‘working’ x-ray machine. All pretty fiddly for me when I joined in the game but perfect for small hands who seem to love the tiny characters and accessories.

There’s a handy chart so you can tick off which ones you have (and which are next on your wish list…) and some miniature accessories. Scrip also seemed to think they were like Shopkins which is another name that gets banded around the house although we don’t have any here.

Splashings even have their own Webisodes featuring all the characters in undersea adventures which I think Scrip would love but I’m still saving that premiere for a rainier day! At just over 2 minutes each the webisodes are actually a clever accompaniment to the toys.

The sets are relatively cheap and cheerful so would make good small gifts (prices start at £2.49 for the Splashlings 2 Piece Collector Shell). Although one of our shells sadly stopped closing pretty quickly so soon became a ‘daytime shell’ in Scrip’s words. So they’re not always the most robust, but are certainly a crowd pleaser.

Thanks to Splashlings for giving us a new set of watery toys! The Splashlings Medical Centre play set is £15.99rrp, and the Splashlings Coral Playground Set is £22.99rrp.

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Why the best toys aren’t toys at all

Toys that aren't toysChildren are always more interested in the big cardboard box than the shiny new toy inside, so the saying goes. And that’s often proved true in this household, with my husband and I trying to sneak old, bulky packaging outside once Scrip has gone to bed, hoping that out of sight, out of mind works.

Likewise I’ve noticed that she’s a bit of a magpie where toys are concerned, collecting random bits and pieces from all over and enjoying playing with them just as much – or maybe more so – than her beautiful crafted and thoughtfully chosen toys.

I had a bit of a look around the house as I was tidying up today (for what seems like the thirtieth time) and found a range of Scrip’s favourite ‘toys’. Here’s a selection – each comes with its own back story.

  1. Forget the ducks and fancy battery operated fish, some of her favourite bath toys are bottles and cups that she uses to pour out glasses of ‘tea’ or ‘champagne’ (obviously we drink that all the time here!) each evening. I’d be in trouble if I ever threw this selection of a plastic dessert glass and two empty tubes of bubbles away.
  2. This little wind-up plastic penguin came with a box of crackers two Christmases ago. It was a race game and this was her penguin. He still wheels around in circles now.
  3. Scrip was intrigued by this paper fan that her Daddy picked up from the station during the hot weather. Cue lots of opening and closing, fanning everyone in the family and even making her own concertina fans.
  4. This remote control is her second ‘phone’ (see below). Rather annoying when we need to use it and it’s tucked into one of her many ‘handbags’.
  5. This classy plastic green skeleton is a pound shop relic from Halloween past. He has an interesting way of walking and a special skeleton voice.
  6. What fun you can have with an old sweet tin! As well as opening and shutting a lot of things get squirreled away in here – hair clips, 2p coins and beads being the most popular.
  7. Scrip’s original mobile phone is an old iPhone box. A bit bulky to transport but it comes with the same icons as our phones and she’s had hours of fun ‘taking pictures’ and ‘talking’ to her friends. Most of them seem to be busy eating sweets and going to parks, we’re told afterwards…

What random ‘toys’ do your little ones love playing with?

Christmas present inspiration: the BRIO Roller Coaster Set

BRIO Roller Coaster SetThere’s something so exciting about large, squarish packages coming through the post. Forget Scrip, I was like a small child at Christmas when I unwrapped this one. Unfortunately, she was peering over my shoulder at the time so any thoughts of giving this to her as a surprise went out the window. ‘Is it for me?’ were the words that came tumbling out of her mouth.

And yes it was (as long as I can have a go too). The BRIO Roller Coaster Set, from Marbel Toys, looks exciting from the box and the fact it’s tall, twisty and little wagons go whizzing down it means it delivers on the excitement as well. Continue reading

Toy-tidy: how to make a simple homemade drawstring bag

Homemade drawstring bagMine aren’t half as beautiful as Helen’s at Sew Coastal but they’re a quick way to help you tidy away toys – especially the little fiddly ones (where’s that yellow plastic hat from? Is that a rogue bath toy or one of Peppa’s endless fairground ride accessories?)

Ahead of me properly getting to grips with my sewing machine at my Sew Pretty course in a few weeks (I can’t wait), here’s how to make some drawstring bags using simple stitching and materials you should already have.

What you will need:
A canvas bag: the kind you’ve probably been given for free at some stage
A length of ribbon: shiny works best but any will do Continue reading

Braving central London: three toddler tips

Hamley's shelvesIt was the trip I kept putting off when Scrip was little – the buses, the tube, the noise, the busy pavements – it all seemed a bit overwhelming. I did brave it a few times but I haven’t done in the last few months since she’s reached toddlerdom.

But a bit of colleague cajoling meant that I made the journey into Regent Continue reading

Toys for a one year-old that last the distance

IMG_4434We had a toy audit recently – not so much getting rid but stowing away those that don’t get picked out of the big  basket in the corner of the room as often as they used to. It was actually quite hard. Some were obviously for ‘baby’ babies – so the fluffy blocks and left over teething toys could be gathered up. But I noticed many of the toys were still popular even though they were ‘old timers’ by some people’s toy box standards (which means they were at least 6 – 9 months old. And still going strong.)

Continue reading