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We love our card and board games and I think they are far more beneficial with our children growing up to give them something else to concentrate on rather than just sitting in front of video games all day long. The game of sequence is another simple game but also is great fun. We manageded to get this last year for around £14 off amazon to add to our collection and have played it a few times since then. Sequence is essentially a card game but you also have a board contained in the box that you have to play in conjunction with. It is a game of strategy really and you need to think about your next more all the time. The objective of the game is for eacy player to place a coloured tile on the correct card picture on the board and the aim is to get 2 five disk lines. Each player takes it in turn to lay a card and the Jacks in the standard pack have special powers. You can play with 2 to 4 players and the more the merrier really. The board itself is basically 10 by 10 and depicts all the cards twice in a standard pack with the exception of the jacks and the jokers in the pack. The corners of the board have stars in them and thus can be claimed as a colour of any type. As the game commences each player gets dealt seven cards and one player has to start. Once a player plays a card they can place a tile on one of the two card places that are available on the board. With the exception of Jacks that have special powers, every other card has the same power so each card is worth exactly the same as any other and there is no advantage of having an ace for example over a 2 or 3. So it all starts with players taking turns to place their tiles in areas on the board they may have the opportunity to build a row of five tiles. However, it's obviously not that simple as your opponents will be trying to stop you from doing this when it's their turn. Once a player plays a card they are placed on a pile of discarded cards and they pick up a card from the unused pack so they will have seven cards in their hand all the time. A Jack can either allow you to remove a tile from the board and this is extremely handy if a player is close to five in a row and you need to stop them. They also allow you as a player to place at tile of your own on it's own place. In general this does seem to be a simple game but to win you really need to think about it and use some strategy too. In some ways it's like card and board version of games such as connect 4. As well as skill of course there is an element of luck as you would get in a lot of games. It is great fun though and well worth purchasing if you like games like this.
We bought this card game Jelly Elephant made by Orchard toys last year and it is recommended for children of three years and over. Our oldest son plays this with us now and does seem to love it. Orchard Toys are a pretty well known manufacturer nowadays of all sorts of toys and games and puzzles and I have always found them reliable and the manufacturer of some high quality products. This one is no exception. When we bought this it was only around £7 so pretty good to be honest with you. A lot of their games stimulate minds of young children and this particular game states that it will develop colour matching skills and develop personal skills. So the question is does it? Inside the box when you open it up are 20 Jelly cards, 20 bowl cards, 4 Jelly Elephant cards, 6 puzzle cards and the instructions for the game. The objective in this game is to become the player who has the most jellies in their bowl at the end of the game. To commence the game shuffle the cards up and place them in a pile that is face down on the table. Each player then takes it in turn to take a card from the top of the pile. If you pick up a bowl card then you keep it, but only one of each colour. Then if you pick up a jelly card that matches an empty bowl card they hold then they can keep that too. Otherwise you have to put the card back on another pile. The Jelly Elephant cards come into play when picked up because if you do then you have to get rid of one of your bowl cards and place in the pile for discarded cards. Picking up a puzzle card means you have to start by making a puzzle on the side of where your cards are. Once all the puzzle cards have been drawn the game is finished and the winner is announced. That winner is the player with the most bowls with jellies in them. It's a really clever and easy idea that really does seem to help with matching colours for young children. They find it really fun too to play. They not only match colours but it helps them with their counting skills etc. Each game is very short and an added bonus is that this can be taken anywhere you go as it's small enough to be a good travel game.
I was given this Big Brain Academy card game for Christmas just gone and believe you can purchase it for about £5.99 on Amazon if you want to get it. I wasn't too sure what it was all about but after playing it a few times found it quite fun. The card game itself comes in a blue rectangular tin with the logo for Big Brain Academy written on the front of the metal tin. There are instructions inside, along with 125 question cards, 24 medal cards in gold, silver and bronze colour and and a marker pen. So what is the aim of this game? Well the main idea is to be the player who manages to collect the most gold medal cards by the time you reach the end of round four in the game. There are questions and problems to solve along the way to help you acheive this. All of these are shown on the question cards that are contained. Of the questions they are split into five different categories. The categories you can choose from when answering are compute which revolve around solving mathematics problems, memorize, surrounding memorizing things, analyse, which is about counting blocks in picture for example, think, meaning you need to use your brain to work out for example the heaviest object of two, and Identity which is finding a pair that match in a grid of different pictures. In each round when you are asked questions you have to write down your answer on the card with the pen. Thankfully it wipes off so you can reuse them. Some of the cards that contain problems have a red strip at the bottom of them. The revealer will come into play here and you can place it over the top of it to show the answer underneath. Each player is given a time limit of 30 seconds which is not long at all to complete as many cards as possible correctly and then whichever ones you've completed will be calculated and dependent on how many points you have will determine which medal card you get. This is a very simple game to play but it is great fun, and above all really gets your brain working and thinking hard. You have to act quickly too with the time limit available, although you can extend that time limit accordingly as you wish. I have played this several times now with friends and family and everyone really enjoys it and getting to grips with the problems they are confronted with.
Nintendo really knew what they were doing when they brought out their Nintendo Will, as the different types of games they have released for the console require different controllers. From Wii remote to balance board there are a number out there that you need to buy to play certain games effectively. We bought this Nintendo Wii Classic controller for around £12 earlier this year as another extra for our Wii console. This classic controller is an accessory that you need primarily to play some older style platform games that you can download on to your Wii like old Super Nintendo games you used to play. It is different to the Will remote as it has no sensor that registers movement. It is more similar to the Playstation type controllers. The controller we bought is the same as the Wii remote in terms of colour and is made with white plastic with the directional controls on the left and the action buttons on the right with analog controls in the centre. It is easy to use and comfortable to hold which is all important. The disadvantage of these controllers is that they plug into the back of the Wii remote and rely on this device to be able to use it. Therefore, unfortunately if your Will remote has run ojt of batteries then you won't be able to use this Wii classic controller. It is a decent idea for playing retro games on the Nintendo Will, and although it's just another marketing tool to make more money it is an essential item to anyone who owns these types of games on the Wii console.
If you own a Nintendo Wii then you will know that the official game controller to use is the Wii Remote. It's the one you get given with a lot of the starter games you buy for this console and then normally need to buy another one if you want to play with a friend. We got one with our first game and then bought another one for about £20. There are other controllers you can use for the Will console but this is the one you use with most of the games and is the standard. It essentially works on movement and can be used going side to side, diagonally forward and back etc. It is a new revolution in controllers when you consider years ago when you used to use joysticks with old computers. These are far more flexible and versatile to use and interact with the game on screen with the sensor that points at the console. The controller is very easy to use and comfortable to hold in your hand being made of long white strong plastic and also has a strap to avoid losing your grip on it while swinging it about as a lot of the games you will find energetic. There are directional arrows in the form of a cross on the front and also buttons that you use to control your actions in certain games. There is also a button with a picture of a house on it which takes you back to the home screen of any game you play. They take batteries that slip into the back and seem to last a fair while depending on how much you use it. I guess £20 is a fair bit for a controller and Nintendo know what they are doing on this score as they know you will normally need an extra one as the Wii is intended to be played with more than one player. This is essential if you own a Wii anyway and is pretty good overall.
I don't know if this is common, but our children whenever they were young always preferred their bottles of milk warm and really didn't want to drink the bottles cold and if they did have them cold they always seemed to get indigestion more readily. At the start we used to boil up water in a jug and put the bottle in there for a few minutes to heat up but this Avent bottle warmer we bought a couple of years back now is so much easier and simpler. Avent is a great brand as far as I am concerned when it comes to baby products and are always reliable. The bottle warmer cost us about £20 which is not too bad. The warmer is made with strong white plastic so quite durable and has a silver dial and an insert made of blue plastic for the inside. The one we bought came with a bottle and feeding spoon. The great thing and beauty about this product is it's easy of use and that for me was the best thing about it. You basically just plug it in to the mains and fill it up to the marker level on the inside with water. Place the blue plastic insert inside the container and then put the bottle in. You can set the timer to how long you want to warm the bottle for and that's about it. It really is that easy and it normally takes between 2 and 4 minutes to warm a bottle to it's optimum temperature. Another bonus of this container is that it is very clean as it's plastic so can be wiped down. I have found that this is suitable for a lot of bottle sizes and overall I would recommend this as it's very simple and effective to use and won't set you back too much money.
When we originally were looking for a high chair a few years back now we searched around and couldn't decide initially which one to go for and how much to spend. Should we go for a cheap one that might not last or something that would last but was a bit more expensive? The choice can be quite daunting when starting your search. In the end we plumped for this Mamas and Papas high chair as we liked the look of it but it was about £100 which seemed a lot. However, from experience now this is still going strong and I can recommend it if you can afford that sort of price which is not for everyone. The thing that appealed to me when buying this and I maintain to this day is that this high chair is sturdy and very well made. It has never looked like collapsing and is very safe. Also, it is very comfortable too with the padded head rest and seat which is all important for your child. You don't want them to be hating it every time you put them in it for food and them trying to get out of it. Plus, Mamas and Papas have always struck me as reliable too. Another plus feature of this high chair is the ease it takes to assemble and then fold up for easy storage when you're not using it. It doesn't really take up too much room so doesn't clutter up your kitchen. The tray fits on easily and slides in and out making it no problem to get your child in and out. It is easy to wipe down and clean which is another important factor when purchasing a product such as this. The tray is made of plastic and the seat covers are too. There is also a leg rest for your baby or toddler to rest his or her feet on while eating and sitting in this. Overall, if you can afford a high chair like this then it's well worth buying as mine has lasted a number of years and is still going strong, but it might be too expensive for some and that's fair enough.
We owned an Avent Microwave steriliser for our first child when he was growing up and we also now use one for our present addition who is about five months old. Avent is a brand I trust along with a others that I rely on making high quality and safe baby products. This is another that I have found to be very reliable and last well. We managed to pick up ours for around £25 so not too bad as you can reuse it. We used it the first time until our baby was about 6 or 7 months old and will most probably do the same now until he is on solid food and you don't have to be quite so safe. This Avent microwave steriliser works very well though from experience and is very easy to clean out. It fits into most standard microwaves and is ideal for anyone who doesn't have too much room to play with as it doesn't sit on your counter constantly. The product itself holds four bottles which is okay, although sometimes I wish it held a few more. But to be honest with you it's not too bad as our baby will have about 4 bottles a day so you can just do them all in the morning. The way that this works as well is very simple. Just wash the bottles yourself and place in the steriliser. The bottles stand up in specially made slots and then the other parts of the bottles like teats etc. can be placed anywhere within it. It is only one level and once you have put all the items you want sterilised in there they you add about 200ml of water and put on the lid. The lid and the base are made of strong plastic and are quite sturdy. The lid is clear plastic while the base is white. Once this is all done, all that's left to do is put it in the microwave for about six minutes and then allow to cool for a bit. And that's it. Very simple and effective. I would recommend this to anyone with young babies or who is thinking of buying their first steriliser as it's easy and convenient to use and is very quick too if you are in a hurry for a bottle.
When we have raised our children, including the latest who is now about 5 months old, we have always used these Tommy Tippee Heat sensor spoons. I know if was for us, am I'm sure for many other parents, that you always worry and fear that food you are giving your baby is too hot to give them and may burn them. Sure, you can taste it but then that's whether you think it's too hot and it might be okay for you and not for your baby. These spoons are a great little product for anyone with young children who you are weaning on to solid food. The manufacturer is also one we trust and have many products from them and they are both reliable and last a while. I think you can pick up a pack of 4 spoons for around £2.50 so well worth the money for me anyway. The spoons are made of flexible soft plastic which is ideal for putting in your babies mouth as they are not too hard, especially when the start teething. Also they can put through the dishwasher or sterilised easily enough which is very handy. We bought red coloured spoons that turn yellow at the tip where you dip it into the food if the it's too hot. They recommend using these from about 4 months and we did that pretty much as soon as our baby started eating solid food. I really think these spoons are great and do work. Obviously you should always try and test the food as well as you don't want to completely rely on the colour of the spoon but they certainly do give an indication of the temperature. We basically put the spoon in first of all to check how hot it is and then wait a few minutes before testing it again. I would recommend these spoons to any new parent, however with a word of caution that you shouldn't just rely on the tip of the spoon. They are great idea and probably not an essential item but at the price they are they are good value and worth investing in.
When our first son was learning how to drink from a cup from the first time we searched around for something for him to use when he was around 8 or 9 months old. As I'm sure any parent knows, when your child is trying to drink for the first time it's important to purchase something where the drink doesn't spill out every time you turn it up as children have a habit normally by accident of spilling it everywhere and all over the floor. So we bought a couple of these tommee tippee tip it up cups for him in blue and orange and they cost us about £3.50 each one so not too bad. Tommee Tippee has always been a brand I trust as I owen a few things from them and they are normally pretty reliable with baby products to be honest with you. The colours of the cups are bright and appeal to young children and get them interested which is what you want. He really took to this cup straight away which we were very pleased about and it didn't take him too long to get quite good at sipping out of the cup. We would fill it up every day for him and place it near him or next to him so he would gradually get used to it. He didn't always want it but if you leave it around then sooner or later he will go back to it. The cup size is pretty good for a child that young and is comfortable enough for them to get their hands round. He can easily pick it up and tip the spout into his mouth while holding it with both hands. They are strong too made with plastic and durable. We have experience of this from my son throwing it around on occasion. The lid fits on tightly and the spout folds flat down so you can take it with you when travelling with no fear of leakages. The claim is with these training cups is that it's impossible to spil anything due to the spill valve. Now I have to say that is almost true, however if you son or daughter holds in straight down veritcally then liquid will dribbe out of the spout but not too much. However, in general it is very good and we haven't had any accidental leaks. Overall, I would recommend this cup to anyone who wants to get their children started on drinking out of a cup and is well worth the money as we have used it a fair amount and it's still in a good usable condition.
Anyone who has young children will know what a nightmare it can be at times with their toys. Nowadays they all seem to have more and more toys to play with or know what to do with. These are then strewn across the floor no matter how often you try to tidy up. It's just the way it is. We searched for a while for a toy chest we could use to store most of the toys for our children and also something that would fit well in their bedroom. In the end we settled for this Four Friends wooden toy chest. It wasn't that cheap at £78.99 but we have had it now for a while now and it's still going strong. My first impressions are that it looks pretty sturdy as can imagine it would last a fair bit longer. The chest itself is made from solid wood and measures 64cm x 40cm x 37.5cm. On the sides of the chest are pictures of a bear, frog etc in different colours. These are particularly appealing to kids and might even make them want to put their toys in there if you're lucky! The chest comes flat packed but thankfully it is very easy to assemble which is what you want. There's really not much too it which should be the case as it's only a chest you are putting together. The lid is fitted with hinges which makes it simple to lift the lid. Also this prevents the lid shutting down on little fingers and stopping any accidents. If you want to move the box then you can lift it and relocate it even it's full of toys as there are handles you can carry it with. However it's not that light as it's made of solid wood. I really like it as it's high quality and doesn't look like it will fall apart at a moments notice. I really hope this will last and it does look like it might do for a good few years. So when you think about the cost, it's not bad value really when you consider the use you will get out of it.
We went for a visit to Ikea a few months back and although I have to admit I find it annoying due to the crowds some of their products are very cheap and above all effective. We noticed this children's stool in there and thought we'd go for it as it was only £1.99 and looked pretty simple and exactly what we needed. The problem we have with our son who is now about 2 and a half years old is that he is now really into brushing his teeth before bedtime. However, he isn't tall enough to reach up to the sink and see in the mirror so I have to hold him up which can be hard as he's getting quite heavy. This we believed would eradicate that problem and it really does. Again, it's such a simple idea as you get with a lot of baby products of this type, but works very well and serves the exact purpose you want from it. It's effective and is just basically white plastic with a a gripping surface on the top for your son or daughter to stand on and not slip off and have an accident. On the base there are four rubber feet, again to stop the stool moving when your child stands on it. We have now been using this for a few months and as our son gets bigger and heavier by the day, I have noticed how sturdy this is to be honest with you and safe. It never looks like it will collapse. He is really pleased with himself now as the step is the perfect height for him. He can now get up on it easily and see in the mirror in the bathroom. As it's made out of plastic it is extremely easy to clean and wipe down too as you can imagine this can get dirty. Overall, I would recommend this to any parent with young children as it's very cheap and a great asset to have in any bathroom
When it comes to doing househould chores like the ironing and washing, myself and my wife both chip and do our own bits in the house. However, whenever possible I try to avoid the ironing unless it's really needed as it's a very tedious duty to be honest with you. If you are going to a bit of ironing the last thing you want is an iron with little power that is a struggle to use. Instead, you want one that is very powerful and literally glides over the clother with little of no effort on your part. Our existing Iron was on it's last legs earlier this year so my wife went out and bought this Morphy Richards Turbo Steam Iron and it's fantastic. We own a couple of electrical items from this manufacturer and have found them to be reliable and robust. This iron cost us around £29.99 and is great value it seems. The iron we bought looks quite trendy and is white and purple in colour. It has 2000w of power and also an important part of it is that it's not overly heavy and weighing you down. It has a non-stick hot plate that glides over clothes and I have found that it smooths out creases etc. with not much pressure. Plus it has the steam feature to aid the ironing process. I have to admit I love the non-stick plate as there's nothing worse than an iron sticking to the clothes and burning them and in the process ruining the iron too. You have the option of choosing between three different heat settings with this turbo iron which gives some flexiblity when using it. In addition there is also a linen setting. In regards to the steam and how much comes out there is a slider switch that resides on the handle that you can move to adjust that. I tend to not use much steam but it's each to their own which is why the iron gives you the option. If your iron has packed up or is on it's last legs then you could do worse than this iron that is fantastic and makes the chore of ironing a lot easier which is what you want I'm sure.
I don't what it's like in your house but in mine there are always socks around somwhere whether it be in the washing machine of or on the floor or under beds. Just about anywhere you look you are always likely to find a sock. And the problem of course is that the socks are very rarely a matching pair. What is it about socks that they never seem to stick together but wander off on their own! We have three children now and with two of them they always seemed to throw their socks anywhere. It's not just them to be honest as us adults tend to do it too. However, a while ago now we found this great product called Billy Oddsocks which we bought and is a box of 10 odd socks for about £15. The are a fantastic novelty gift item to be honest with you and it doesn't matter which sock gets paired with which as that's the idea. No more worrying about socks not matching. The socks are all bright strip colours which appeal to children. They look quite trendy actually and great fun. One example is blue and white stripes with a red colour on the toe. But there are so many different variations which means that your son or daughter will love them. One of my first impressions when buying these socks were that they were soft and looked very comfortable to wear which is a big thing for kids. We have washed these a number of times now and the colours don't run and they are still in the same condition and quality as when we bought them. If you want to buy these socks then they come in 0-12 months and 1-2 years and are unisex which is useful, as it doesn't matter whether you have boys or girls. I would highly recommend these as a great little Christmas present for any parent.
When we had our first child and he started walking about and geting into everything in the house, we knew it was time to start improving the house so that it was child friendly and safe. From stair gates, to catches for cupboards etc..we bought them all. Then we saw these window catches from Mothercare and thought they were another simple, great idea to make your home safer. We managed to pick up a four pack for about £12. You don't really need to put in on windows that are high up that your child cannot reach. You just need to fit on any windows that little hands can open and trap their fingers in or even worse climb through. This product is essentially white catches that you can attach to the base of the window frame. These mothercare window catches are white and are easily fitted on to the frame which is very handy, and are even easier if you read the instuctions carefully. The thing I love about this product is that they are very simple to use and are such an original idea when it comes to kids. They not only stop your child from climbing out through the window in question, but also are locked in position to ventilate your house too which is fantastic. They are pretty sturdy as well and have not broken in the time we have them anyway. Basically if you have young childen then I would highly recommend this to anyone as it does give you the safety your require to make your evenings more relaxing.