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The BBC comic for kids.

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      28.05.2008 21:57
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      a brilliant pre school magazine

      Although my older daughter is now into barbie and other more girly things my 3 year old still loves the toy box magazine.

      It is aparently the uks best selling pre school magazine and i can see why, at only 99p per issue which are released every three weeks it is cheaper than any other pre school magazine in our newsagents and is packed full of things my daughter loves looking at or having read to her aswell as things to do and a free toy every issue, if it keeps her happy for a few hours it is a £1 well spent.

      This magazine is produced by the BBC and contains all of the characters you will find on the cbeebies channel who my daughter just adores like the tweenies, bob the builder, teletubbies and fimbles.

      In the magazine you have 24 pages jam packed full of colour which is always a winner with young children, there are colouring pages, stories about there favorite characters which they will love to have read to them and a free toy so for 99p try it you wont believe the fun a pre school child has with this magazine.

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        23.01.2007 17:49
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        A fun magazine for young children

        BACKGROUND

        My little boy is a huge fan of Bob the Builder. He is also into a variety of other characters from CBeebies. I like to get him a magazine every now and then for a treat. Because he is into so many different characters, it would cost me a small fortune to buy a magazine for each of them. I needed something with a bit of everything in it.


        THE PRODUCT

        The magazine I found was Toybox. It cost me 99 pence and looks as though it comes out about every three weeks. It normally comes with a free gift – such as crayons, stickers and mini games. It is one of the BBC magazines.


        WHAT’S IT ABOUT

        This magazine basically contains all the characters that appear on ‘CBeebies’, such as Bob the Builder, The Tweenies, and Balamory etc. I would say that the age range on this magazine would be from the ages of three to six.

        There is a section at the front of the magazine, which is for grown ups. This tells you what your child will learn from the different parts of the magazine. For example, there are activities to help improve a child’s hand and finger control and to improve the imagination and build confidence etc.

        The magazine usually includes some sort of basic recipe that you can make with your child. It is simple enough so that they can help you out with it to an extent.

        There is also a story include in every issue which contains one of the characters/programme from CBeebies.

        The magazine also contains pictures for children to colour in, copy a drawing into a blank square, that sort of thing.

        The particular magazine I am reviewing today is dated 10 to 30 January. I have not gone into every page of the magazine because it would take to long. I have just included some of the activity pages to give an example of what kind of content the magazine has.

        The free gift that came with this edition is a golf game, consisting of a small golf club, ball, flag, and something for the ball to be putted into (please note that this particular free gift is unsuitable for under three’s due to the risk of choking on small parts).

        On the inside cover of the magazine is a colour match game with the Fimbles. This I thought was a nice section because it goes through the basics of mixing colours to make other colours, such as red and yellow make orange. What they have also done is written the name of the colour in dotted lines so that your child can go around the dots to make the word.

        On a double page is a Bob the Builder section, which gives you a step by step guide to make a simple golf course to use with the free golf game that came with the magazine. There are also some flags to cut out with some Bob the Builder characters on to use with the game. I liked this because it was made from everyday household items such as bottle tops and empty toilet rolls. A young child could help you in making this.

        There is a double page with a recipe for some gingerbread cookies. What I liked with this part is that as well as the normal list of ingredients and instructions on how to make, they have also included a template for you to cut out so you can make your gingerbread cookies in a specific shape.

        There is a single page on exercising with the Rubbadubbers. I liked this section because it shows that exercise is another way that children can have fun. It’s nice, simple things that young children can do, such as hopping on one foot, doing star jumps, so it isn’t too complicated for them.



        MY OPINION

        It’s a great magazine for children aged I would say between three and six. It’s a bargain at only 99 pence. There are so many different magazines around now that feature just a single CBeebies character/show, costing anywhere from £1.50 to £2.50.

        If your child is like mine and loves several of the CBeebies characters/shows, then you could end up spending quite a bit of money on magazines that are read and then cut up to enable them to do the activities inside. With this one being just 99 pence and containing all the shows, then there is no real need to buy another magazine and for the price it doesn’t matter so much about it being cut up.

        What I also like about this magazine is that it is only out once every three weeks, making the weekly cost of this just 33 pence. A lot of children’s magazines tend to come out on a weekly basis, and when they cost anywhere from £1.50 onwards then they can prove to be expensive.

        I liked that the magazine didn’t just contain stories. While children do like having a magazine read to them they can become slightly bored after a while. With this magazine having so many to do’s in it keeps the little ones interested.

        It was nice that they kept the activities different. It wasn’t all just colouring in. The magazine has also included cutting out, making up your own instrument and drawing a picture of it.

        I thought it was good that the magazine also included a page on exercise. With figures saying that more children are becoming obese then having a magazine giving children some fun exercises to do is a good idea.

        The magazine covers a variety of different skills for your child to master, from building confidence to using their imagination.

        I find that this magazine gives parents some ideas for things to do with their children and it also allows a bit of special time together where a parent and child can sit down together and spend quality time together, having some fun.



        WOULD I RECOMMEND

        Yes I would recommend. I have bought several editions of this magazine and me and my little one have had lots of good fun together playing the games and making different things. It’s a nice magazine which allows your child to have fun, whilst also learning.


        Thanks for taking the time to read my review, Cath. xx

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          18.08.2004 03:31
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          'toybox' is one of a numerous spin-offs accompanying the grand BBC project that is cbeebies. I am personally a great admirer of cbeebies. In all honesty I feel vaguely guilty using their web site on almost a daily basis and doing it completely for free - as a no-telly family we do not pay a TV licence. It actually amazes me how an organisation which manages to produce such a wealth of brilliant own material for pre-schoolers, from ubiquitous but still excellent Teletubbies and Tweenies to somehow rarer but perhaps even more charming characters like Binka the Cat; seems to slide into the mire of regurgitating American and Japanese cartoons in its programming for older children (at least if my rare glimpses of what is on offer in the morning on non-school days allow, please correct me if I am wrong). But let's leave the other BBC efforst aside and concentrate on the subject of my review, the pre-schooler magazine called 'toybox'. As opposed to many other cbeebies magazines, concentrating on single characters this one presents a panorama of different ones, with one or two pages devoted to each. As the magazine is not exactly long at bit over 30 pages, the selection can change from issue to issue, although the favourite workhorses (Tweenies, Teletubbies, Bob, Fimbles) seem to be always there. I like the fact that there are different characters. My daughter isn't particularly obsessed by any one of them and a whole magazine devoted to Fimbles would probably bore her (on the other hand would probably last longer, providing it didn't get torn apart). The magazine is aimed at 3 to 5 year olds and apparently supports some early education goals. I am not sure about formalised early education goals personally, I have a bit of an issue with an amazingly early age that children start formal s
          chooling in this country, but I have absolutely nothing against smuggling education into entertainment and at least one of early education goals (reading) has my wholehearted support (I could read fluently at the age of 5 in a country where you start learning letters in play setting at 6 and formal school at 7). In my humble opinion the right age range would be more like 2 to 4, with Teletubbies on one hand and a fairly easy activities on the other; but probably due to more stringent rules about under threes and small-choking-hazard-type objects the under-threes are formally excluded. Of course most children above 2 don't stuff every small object into their mouths and anyway even if yours do, you can always remove the offending freebie toy before passing the magazine into their little hands. We have a mixture of activities from clearly formal-educational (counting, writing, letter recognition, sorting according to size etc.) to more play-orientated (story, picture-comic like story, board game, maze-tracing) to ones aiming at the more creative/artistic side (colouring, tearing out shapes, drawing). I have to complain here; I am annoyed at all these glossy-paged magazines offering colouring which means that virtually the only tool that can be used is felt-tops (unless you want to risk the wee-one going through precious set of grown-up oil pastels or some other expensive type of pencil) or really, really thick poster paint. This is messy and limited and that is why I like buying and printing non-glossy colouring pages as well. It isn't a big issue and certainly not limited to 'toybox', but it does annoy. The balance of activities within an issue is reasonable, I would perhaps like to see another story or two but that is probably because I find reading the least boring of child-directed activities. The issue-to-issue variety is quite good, helped by the fact that each issue s
          eems to have a theme - 'sport' for the current ones which produced a lot of race-focused activities and thus was ideal one for teaching concepts of order, as well as ordinal numbers. My daughter is three and generally she can cope with most of the activities in 'toybox' bus as she cannot read, she obviously needs adult guidance. A setup when she is at her table or next to me on mine with her magazine and pens, and I am on my computer (reading Ciao ops) as well as monitoring, guiding and occasionally helping her seems to work well. Each activity is accompanied by: (a) a little box explaining to adults what the given activity is supposed to develop. I find it slightly patronising and a waste of space - surely it is pretty obvious that a Balamory-Josie-Jump spread showing her (Josie that is) doing different kinds of exercises and asking children to copy her actions would 'encourage children to get active'? Or that following a maze develops hand and eye co-ordination? The same box sometimes gives additional tips for what else to do with or around material provided and that can be useful. (b) Direction to cbeebies website, which also seems a cluttery waste of space; one plug would be enough - they are all there on the home page! (c) A plug for a different magazine, concentrating on one character. This is actually quite bad, and if necessary should be all put on one page saying for example: 'Other BBC magazines'; rather than put on each page. Advertising (apart form website and other magazines plugs) is limited to two pages and these are for mail-order character merchandise (usually not cbeebies ones), so it's bearable. There is the usual letter page featuring pictures-by-children as well as a plug for the next issue. The price is 99 pence (or has been for last few issues) and it's exc
          ellent value in comparison to other pre-schooler magazines, that vary from about 1.50 to 2.00 GBP. Subscription is 16.70 for 14 issues which suggests that a normal cover price is higher than the 99 p I have paid for our few recent issues, but still pretty good value. There is a freebie(s) included with every issue and they do seem to be generally good value. The last issue included for example a DVD with two episodes of Koala Brothers - a nice thing, especially for telly-less and computer-abundant household, as well as some stickers (you have to pay 50 p to a pound for a sheet of stickers normally!) as well as booklet advertising Fiat cars with more activities - I happily scissored out and binned the cars (ouch!) and left the activity pages. Money-off vouchers are sometimes included in the body of the magazine, the one I have in front of me had £5 OFF Koala Brothers VHS/DVD at MVC - if anybody wants it, I am happy to send it to a supplied address. Verdict: It is a good value magazine that would appeal to a pre-schoolers (my suggested age is 2 to 4) and although heavy on educational content is also reasonably entertaining. It requires you to sit with the child and 'do' the magazine, but provides direction and structure so you don't have to stretch your brain inventing activities if you don't feel like it. It is based around a variety known and liked cbeebies characters/shows and this is its main pulling power for children; although if your child has a character they particularly love to virtual exclusion of all others I would suggest getting specific magazine for that character (if it exists). The way it speaks to adults does not appeal to me and although suggestion boxes are OK, I would get rid of patronising explanations and instead have a page
          exclusively for parents with tips, themes or perhaps a short but good article on some developmental-educational subject. I would also like a little bit more directed at social/emotional/creative development and perhaps less concentration on literacy/numeracy/hand-eye skills. -------------------------- PS (not relevant to the product in question but I couldn't resist): BIIIIG BIIIIG bonus point: no Thomas the Tank Engine is sight. I hate the creature and its feudal kow-towing to the Lord Fat-Controler! capital letters thanks to: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php

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            15.07.2001 04:59
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            My daughter is now 2 and-three-quarters as I write this review and into EVERYTHING! She spends far too long watching videos or children's TV, but does like a variety of programmes, not just one or two favourites. In fact, her favourite videos at the moment are "Favourite Friends" which is a compilation of shows like Bananas in Pyjamas, Tots TV and Dream Street, and "Toybox" which is a compilation of various popular Children's BBC programmes. These include the cartoon-type programmes like Angelmouse, William's Wish Wellingtons and Spider, as well as the modelling-type animations like Bob The Builder, Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and the like. She is also getting into reading and writing and can recognise some letters, and hold a pencil or crayon really quite well. Now, her Mum and Dad are both primary school teachers, so you would expect that!! Seriously though, without wishing to bombard her with all sorts of information, magazines like this one (available from all good newsagents and supermarkets) provide a familiar background to learning, through the characters in the popular programmes. Toybox magazine, as well as giving variety for the children, is also just about the cheapest on the market at the moment, with most magazines being around £1.35. This one is a much more reasonable 99p, so into the trolley it goes along with my copy of "Computeractive"! Inside, the comic is packed full of stories. comic strips and puzzles, as well as colouring in pictures and competitions. This comic also has quite a good range of free gifts on the front - this month it's a pull-string bag which my Lucy has put all her little play food in and has spent the evening pretending to go shopping, we haven't even read the comic yet! Well worth 99p of my weekly shopping money!

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              26.05.2001 15:40
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              My son is nearly 3 years old, for the past 3 or 4 months he's been drawn to the children's magazines in the shops, OK what initially draws him in is the free gift on the front cover, but lately he's got a bit more discerning!! Toybox is a BBC magazine, therefore it has all the BBC favourites in it, such as: Tweenies, Bill & Ben, Teletubbies, Bob the Builder, El Nombre (who?!), Playdays, 64 Zoo Lane, Noddy, William's Wish Wellingtons, Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and more. So there should be plenty that your child will recognise and love. STORIES In the May edition there are stories on the Tweenies, Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Anglemouse. The Tweenies and Postman Pat stories have more writing than pictures and the Fireman Sam and Anglemouse have more pictures with less text. COMPETITIONS There's a chance to win some Bill & Ben books by filling in some missing letters to make up a word. ACTIVITIES There's a sort of mini-crossword based on Bob the Builder. There's pictures of certain characters/object and each has a number beside them. You get your child to name the character/object and then write that word into the correct place. The answers are down the bottom of the page along with some brief instructions to help you help your child. There's a page to colour in the Teletubbies. There's a find the shape picture, to help your child recognise circles, squares etc. There's a Bill & Ben game, where you can throw a dice to move along the numbered pots. There's a pizza recipe to make. There's putting words to pictures game, with four pictures with a sentence underneath with a missing word. There are four words to choose from at the bottom of the page. There's a spot the difference. There's a rhyming game which has pictures such as Bee and Tree. Your child has to draw a line between the wo
              rds that rhyme. Then, of course, there's the letter's page where your little darling can send in a picture of their favorite character, for which they get a little prize if their picture is shown. What I like about this magazine is that there's so much variety. Not only with the characters contained in it, but the amount of things to do. It's not just all stories, there's plenty of things to get your child's brain working. All the activities have little instructions at the bottom which I think is a really good idea, i.e. on the Find the Shape the instructions are: "This puzzle requires children to focus on the small detail involved in the picture. Encourage them to point to other shapes that they can see in the picture. You can extend the activity by prompting older children to think of everyday things which are similar in shape to those found here, for example, round, square etc." I know that most of us parents could work out what to do with the activities in the first place, but it does help you understand what the child is learning from what particular activity they're doing. Toybox is available monthly for a cost of £1.10, which includes a free gift. This month's free gift was a little paint pallette and brush.

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                08.04.2001 01:51
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                This is not really the right place to put this op. but I could not find a general site. I would just like to say that the prices of teenage magazines these days are so expensive. I was looking at the magazines for the first time in ages and I could not believe how expensive they are. A magazine for a teenager today costs between £1.60 and £2.50. These have the names Bliss, Sugar, Top of The Pops. They are all over £1.50. Even the prices of magazines for younger children are expensive for what they are. Most of them are over £1.00. Women’s magazines are not really that cheap at 65p each but how can they charge at least double that for the children. I remember when I was a teenager we read mags like Jackie. They were only about 20p. I think my mum’s women’s mags were around the same price. Do the people that market these think that as children have more these days that they can charge what they like. Knowing that they will still sell. Someone is making a vast profit here. If a company started to sell good quality children’s and teenagers magazines for a lot less, a more realistic price for the product, then I think it would do well. I am sure that there are plenty of mums out there who cannot afford the prices asked so their children go without. If you have more than a couple of children how would you ever be able to buy them all a magazine at the same time. You would not receive any change out of £5.00!! Why are they so expensive?

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                28.03.2001 23:48
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                On Friday, I was shopping in Asda, trying to walk straight pass the magazines, my five year old daughter said "please mum can I have a magazine?" Normally if I say yes she would pick one around £2 ,so when she pick Toybox I just put it in the trolley,and as I was paying for it I realised it was only £1.10. After I put all my shopping away she asked me to read it with her ,I was suprised how full it was with all the latest characters including Postman Pat, Tweenies, Bob the Builder e.t.c, just for one price of £1.10. It was packed full educational thiings to do like puzzles, counting games,and things to make. Toybox is a very good buy value for money, entertaining and recreative and I would recommend this to a friend for their child.It is colourful and you always get a free gift on the front of it.

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                  01.03.2001 13:24
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                  If your children like to do puzzles and love Tweenies, Bob the Builder, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Yoho Ahoy, Playdays, Angelmouse and William's Wish Wellingtons then this is the magazine to get. BBC Toybox Puzzles is just the same as the normal magazine but it just purely puzzles, no stories. I bought the February issue for my 4 year old boy (designed for upto 5 year olds) for £1.25 and got a free paint palette with 4 colours plus a brush. There are plenty of puzzles from dot-to-dot, colouring, spot the difference, match the picture, mazes, finish the picture and draw over the lines. Apart from spot the difference by son can do nearly all over the puzzles. His favourite at the moment are the maze ones, where you will have Bob the Builder and you need to get him from his house to the office or find Peggy Patch's hat. This magazine is educational and definitely helps children with hand and eye co-ordination, knowing the difference between straight or curly lines and counting, which all will come in handy for when they do start nursery/school. Excellent magazine that keeps my son happy for ages (well until he finished it that is) and a great price. Wish they could bring this our every 2 weeks instead of monthly as I haven't yet found another one quite like it.

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                    15.02.2001 22:10

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                    I recently bought my daughter a copy of Toybox Storytime magazine after much "please can I have it" in the newsagents, thanks to those very clever people who put the kids mags on the lowest shelf so all the small children can easily see them...and nag their Mother for them. What I couldn't get over was the price of not just this magazine but other childrens magazines aswell. Most are priced between £1.00 and £2.00, which is alot compaired to womens mags like Bella or Take a Break that only come in at around 50p - £1.00, and are of simailar size. You'd expect kids magazines to be cheaper, as most childrens things are cheaper than adults, except magazines it would seem! Although saying that Toybox is a good read if your a small child as it's packed full of story's, colouring, puzzles and activities from all their favourite characters, such as, Teletubbies, Tweenies, Bob The Builder, Noddy, Playdays, Spot The Dog and others. There is usually a free gift to, this month we were making the free masks my daughter got in the special edition (which is £2.00). So, if you don't mind splashing out a bit more to keep your little one entertained then Toybox is a good read.

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                    08.01.2001 04:17
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                    My 4 year old son is a big fan of magazines, but when he chooses one he usually goes for something like the Tweenies or Bob the Builder, so I was quite surprised when he picked this one. What's good about Toybox is that it features all your child's favourite BBC characters - including Fireman Sam, Postman Pat, the Tweenies etc. It's excellent value too at £1.10, most of the other similar children's magazines seem to be around £1.35. Last month there was a free gift of a calendar complete with stickers to put on the appropriate dates; for example there's an Easter egg, a Christmas tree, a bucket and spade for holidays, several birthday cakes for friends or family birthdays, and of course the most important one of all - the one that says "My birthday"! A very useful gift that can be used and enjoyed all year. My son put his on his bedroom wall immediately! Like the other BBC magazines, Toybox has the usual stories and puzzles to help your child learn while having fun - counting games, things to make (last month Fireman Sam showed us how to make a Christmas cracker), colouring and so on. Toybox is a good value magazine which we will definitely buy again. It's also nice to have all the characters together, if your child can't choose between all his/her favourites!

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