LoopDeLoom – Review

LoopDeLoom is a fun spinning weaving loom, that is not only simple but fast! LoopDeLoom from Map toys is available online for RRP £24.99, and is suitable for ages 8+.

The LoopDeLoom box contains the loom base with 15 pegs, a ball of multi coloured yarn and instructions. The basic set up for the LoopDeLoom is very simple the pegs are fitted in alternate directions, so that when the lever is moved from left to right the pegs turn. The instructions guide you on how to do this, and there are also online videos.

Once you have decided on the size of the piece you want to weave and cut the yarn to length then you clip the warp threads into the pegs. To weave you simply take your weft tread and hold it taught across the top of the pegs pulling it down between the center of the pegs. Rotate the lever and repeat.

LoopDeLoom weaving is really that simple! In the instructions it tells you not to pull the weft (weaving) threat too tight, and I found if you do it causes the end pegs to start to touch and will make your weaving shrink. If you forget to turn the lever the thread will simply slide out. So you can’t really go wrong.

Once you have a reasonable amount of weaving you can move it down the pegs and this will tighten the wool. This was very satisfying as you watched the weaving grow, and I found you get very quick after only a few goes. If the pegs get to full you simply slide out a peg from the weaving. Making sure that you place it back into the base of the loom the correct way around.

To finish the piece you can knot the ends or sew them depending on what you plan to make. Knotting my piece was simple with a neat fringed edge that looked pretty. LoopDeLoom was great fun and perfect for a child that has a little patience as the results grow quickly. The enclosed multi coloured wool is also pretty and is a great first make.

For more ideas on what you can create with LoopDeLoom visit the website and video tutorials.

Disclaimer we were sent this loom in return for a review.

Friendship Bracelets from My Style – Review

Friendship Bracelets from My Style are great kits with everything you need to make 10 projects and are available from the InterplayUK website for RRP £7.99.

The boy and lots of his mates love to make friendship bracelets so I knew this kit would be suited to a boy as well as girls. The kit contains nine different coloured cords, safety pins suction cup and instructions to make 10 projects. I love the box too which keeps your friendship bracelets safe and is easy to open.

friendship bracelets

The instructions are easy to follow, and once you have learnt the basic forward and backward knots, you are encouraged to make more complex pattered friendship bracelets. The boy chose his favourite colours from the supplied cords and decided on a v chevron pattern. Using a safety-pin to hold your project tight is a great idea. The pins supplied are small and we found a larger pin was easier and less bendy when pulled tight. You can alternatively use the sucker on a shiny surface to hold your bracelet.

friendship bracelets chevron

We found the Chinese knotting thread in this kit is bright, but does have a tendency to slip when you first start. There was some patience needed to get an even pattern as your bracelet is made. There is plenty of cord in the kit to make bracelets of all length’s and a handy ruler printed across the top of each instruction page means that all you will need is scissors.

friendship braelets finished

The finished bracelet is very effective and makes a great gift for friends and family. Once you are confident with each style of the friendship bracelets you can add beads and even charms. The boy loved the finished friendship bracelet in purple blue and black, his favourite colours. The addition of a silver cord makes for a fun and different bracelet.

I can see us making a few of these friendship bracelets as gifts as they are so easy to finish and look great. For more great My Style Craft kits have a look at the website of follow them on social media.

Disclaimer we were sent this kit in return for an honest review.

 

Spirograph – Review

Spirograph is a classic art and design toy from Flair, and available in all good shops and online starting from £10 we were sent the Deluxe set to review. Suitable for ages 8+ when I was younger I desperately wanted a Spirograph set so have enjoyed this set more than the boy.

spirograph

The deluxe Spirograph set comes with 19 wheels 2 rings putty to hold the rings in place and pens. The clever design of the box means it doubles as a travel pack and work surface for your designs. The enclosed booklet is a great start, and you even have sheets of paper supplied to get you started. I found set up easy as you simply use the Spiro-tack provided to place a ring, then choose a wheel and off you go. The enclosed instruction book is a good starting point for ideas, I found that after a few goes it was more fun to find the patterns you like and just experiment. There are literally thousands of possibilities for patterns and colour combinations.

spirograph deluxe

The enclosed Spirograph booklet gives you ideas on how to make repeating patterns, some look very 3D and with the three enclosed primary coloured pens you can make some pretty stunning patterns. The boy finds he doesn’t have the patience for this type of activity, and you would need lots of patience. You need to carefully position the rings with the Spiro-tack as they can move if pushed too hard. be prepared for some failed patterns, but once you have discovered which way the wheel will move I found it easier to predict when the wheel might jump.

spirograph deluxe

Spirograph is a great way to teach maths as the patterns are very rhythmic. Concentration, patience, and try a try again attitude are also needed. Spirograph is defiantly more suited to a more arty or driven child, although the boy did try again, he was disappointed with the results if they went wrong.

I liked all the different ways of using the wheels inside and outside of the rings. Before long you will be hooked and making your own great colourful designs. Spirograph are looking for some young designers, so have a look at the Cool Create website, and why not enter for some fun Spirograph prizes. I have loved making the Spirograph patterns, and think it could be the new colouring craze for adults as it is very relaxing in the evening to sit and draw. Why not have a go for yourself and see what patterns you can make, the pictures make great phone screen savers!

 

Disclaimer we were sent the Spirograph deluxe set to review the words remain our own and have not been altered.

 

 

The Craft Shed – Ravensburger puzzle review

The Craft Shed is the first in a new series of havens from Ravensburger puzzles. This 1,000 piece puzzle is available for RRP £11.99 and suitable for ages 10+.

craft shed

The craft shed is an illustrative puzzle and has everything I would expect from a high quality traditional Ravensburger puzzle. Steve Read who illustrated the puzzle is from the East coast, and has been a self-taught artist for many years. The craft haven is the first in the series depicting sanctuaries and retreats, and certainly depicts a place I would love to retreat to at the end of the day.

craft shed puzzle

I was interested to see exactly how long it takes me to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle so timed myself while completing the craft shed. I started with the edges, then found the flowers and blue of the window stood out. This process took about an hour, and was followed by picking out the dominant colours from the illustration. The craft shed has some great detail, cute creatures and all fits beautifully together with the Ravensburger soft click system. I found interesting parts of the puzzle from the start, and enjoyed the different textured and coloured areas of this puzzle.

craft shed haven puzzle

I think it took me about five and a half hours to complete the craft haven. I don’t know if this is fast or slow, but I know I get quite addicted to puzzling and find I have to complete them in one go. I think the haven series of puzzles will be very popular with puzzle fans as it has a lovely traditional feel to the completed picture. I love the addition of the fact and picture sheet that you get in these puzzle boxes. I find it much easier to use the sheet than the lid for a guide to completing the picture.

craft shed haven

Have a look at my amazon affiliate link below for the current price, and offers

Disclaimer I was sent this puzzle to review the words remain my own and have not been changed.

Eco Beads Giveaway from Interplay and My Style Crafts

Eco Beads are one of the many My Style Craft sets available from Interplay and I have a set to give to one lucky reader. I saw lots of fantastic new craft sets while I was at Toy Fair this year, and am looking forward to trying some of them out for myself. The boy enjoys bracelet crafts and I can see that even he would like the idea of using old paper and recycling them into interesting and different beads.

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Have a look at this review by My Mummies Pennies to see what she thought of the Eco Bead set, and complete the rafflecopter below for your chance to win Eco Beads for your budding crafters.

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The giveaway is open to the UK only
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  • Winner will be drawn by randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Tuesday 22nd March 2016
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Fun with Plasticine

We have been having fun with Plasticine, and have enjoyed making some great creations which we can mould and keep without drying out! I can remember when Plasticine was something my Nan bought me for Christmas and came in shades of grey, brown, and green. So I was interested to see what modern Plasticine had to offer and how it has changed.

plasticine

The consistency of Plasticine is the same as I remember, it is cold and hard but once warmed up is easy to mould and shape however you want it. The boy and I were excited to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that you can make from Plasticine called Squidgems. These mini packs come with enough to make and create your own turtle. Each pocket money pack contains card cutouts and enough Plasticine in green and brown for your model. You simple shape, add faces, and weapons and you have a great little fun character. There are of course four to collect, and these would be great to make you own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle battle scene. We found the Turtles great fun to make and easy enough for the boy to be happy with his Leonardo figure. proving Plasticine is not just for younger children.

fun with plasticine

Plasticine comes in many colours and we were sent Fluro, which are fun neon colours great for silly monsters. Basix, with 6 basic colours for fun mixing and play. Plasticine also comes as 24 colour packs, and the boy thought this would be perfect with so many colours for making a fun Minecraft scene. Many of the packs come with small plastic tools to aid the modelling process, handy if you don’t want the kids to use the cutlery.

My favourite pack has to be the animal creations, this pack comes with a plastic stencil like shape that you can mould your Plasticine into, to create a fun animal. There is 12 different coloured sticks of Plasticine, so you can go wild and make crazy coloured animals if you like. Our reindeer was easy to make, and looked very effective when finished, and a little overlapping f colours gave his some character.

plasticine reindeer

Plasticine, is fun safe, and best of all I didn’t have to pick little crumbly bits out of the carpet afterwards, like I have done with some modelling clays. If you are looking for something for the school holidays for kids, then Plasticine might be the answer with something for every pocket and sets starting at £1.49 for the Turtle Squidgems, up to FunTubulous buckets at £6.99. I can see the boy using Plasticine again for some fun creative play, and even school projects.

Disclaimer: we were sent a selection of Plasticine to review and keep the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.

Summer Holiday Activities

I cant believe that the summer holidays are here and we are already a week in. I decided a while ago that I would attempt to put together Summer Holiday Activities to help make the time fly by. This will be the first summer since the boy started school where I haven’t had to play the childcare juggling game, it has therefore taken planning of a different kind.

Each year I have made a simple wall calendar that the boy can customise, with details of which childcare provider he was visiting, a mix of grandparents, paid clubs, and parent holidays. This year I have made a planner and added days out. Having one special day out a week means he can see where things fit in. The fridge is the ideal place, and post-it notes can be added for extra activities.

I have been looking for inspiration from from other bloggers, like this summer holiday boredom board from The Life of Spicers. I have searched websites as well as social media for ideas of fun things to do together as a family. I also hunted out some fun kids competitions and this year there are some great ones, look on Super Lucky for a list of current kids competitions, and tips on how to maximise your entries.

So here is my list of Summer Holiday Activities.

Treats: Treats don’t have to be expensive, sometimes a walk to the park, playground, or beach and an ice cream are a great way to get out of the house over the summer and have an inexpensive treat on the way!

scooby-doo selfie with beechdean and butlins

Family Days out: Days out can be expensive, so I plan one or two over the holiday, and this year we went to Arundel Castle to see the Jousting, this was a great way to spend the day, and something new that we had never done before. Look for vouchers in newspapers, and your local Tourist information, sometimes you can get some great discounts.

a day at arundel castle

Going out on two wheels: We love to get out on our bikes, but the next best way to get out is on a scooter, and this is the boys new favourite mode of transport. The Zycho stunt scooter from Zinc, you can see our review here.

stunt scooter

 

Playing board/card games: sometimes it nice, especially if its wet outside to get out some of your favourite board games. One of our favourites for this year has been Dobble Kids as its easy to play and great on days out.

dobble kids header

Sandcastles: if like us you are lucky enough to live near the coast then why not pop to the beach and build some sandcastles. This year we took part in a sandcastle competition, and it was great fun.

sandcastles on the beach header

 

 

 

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt is the latest in a series of Galt Mini Masterpieces to inspire children to look at famous painting, and create new masterpieces of their own.

We were sent a Galt Sponge Painting kit to start us off, but the boy had ideas of his own on how to approach decorating his template. We started by downloading and printing off a copy off The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. This picture sparkles like a thousand jewels and the boy wanted to use his imagination to make the picture as colourful as possible.the kiss

I didn’t show him the original as I didn’t want him to simply copy the painting. So the transformation began. The boy loves to make his creations in pencil, and very occasionally coloured pencil, this time he chose loom bands. These colourful rubber bands lent themselves well to the brightness needed for The Kiss. The boy is fairly fast at weaving these rubber bands together and soon had a band long enough to fill the cloak.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

While I popped off to finish dinner, he continued to fill the picture with different colours for the hair and faces, and said he was very pleased with his finished artwork. I will confess he is not as arty as I had hoped, he does like a craft or two, and loom bands are his thing at the moment. He has never been much for painting, although he has been enjoying it a bit more now with his school projects. Hopefully the Galt Minimasterpieces might have inspired him to create something different, and we cant wait to see what the painting will be over the summer holidays.

The Kiss Gustav Klimt

If you would like to join in the Galt Mini Masterpiece this month you have until 21st July to download and submit your child’s handy work. There is a new famous piece each month so why not have a go with your children. You never know your little Picasso might win a bundle of Galt art and craft goodies for their efforts.

Disclaimer we were sent a pack of painting materials in return for post.

Parragon Paper Planes

Parragon Paper Planes has gone down very well in the Soup Dragon house. Considering the boy is usually disappointed when a book arrived this one has proved very popular.

parragon paper planes

Paper Planes from Parragon is available now for RRP £8.00, the folder contains a book of instructions, pad of printed papers and a sheet of stickers to personalise your creations. I knew the boy would enjoy making the planes as much as he enjoyed making up the dinosaur models from Dinogami which we reviewed earlier in the year.

making paper planes

The Paper Planes pack comes in a great folder which you can store your creations once constructed and with 25 to make there is plenty to keep you busy. The boy found the book a little tricky to follow, but after some encouragement was able to complete a few models on his own. The paper pad is not thin and flimsy so the planes that you make are pretty robust and there are some interesting shapes including flying saucers as well as dinosaurs. With 50 stickers you can really make the planes personal to you.

paper planes flying saucer

The book not only has instructions, it has jokes and even suggestions of games to play. The only one the boy wanted to do though was test the planes from his bedroom window. It was a bit breezy but was fun to see how each different shaped plane behaved when launched from height. Bingo Granny became official collector of the planes and had to return them to the boy for the next launch.

paper planes

Our favourite game from the book was the target game with Dad M becoming the target on his return home from work. Since Monday, the boy has continued to go back to the book for more planes and spent most of the week having his own races around the living room. This book would be the perfect rainy day book for the summer holidays, and would also make a fab birthday gift as I think it is great value for money.

The Parragon Paper Plane book gets a huge thumbs up from us, and is our favourite book so far this year. The Parragon Paper Planes book is available now from bookshops and online.

Family Fever

Disclaimer we were sent the book to review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Half Term Fun

Over the half term I had a break from blogging and it made a nice change, we had Dad M at home for the week and had a few days out planned.

We started the holidays with our planned trip to Shropshire and the British Fencing Youth Championships. Something the boy had been excited about for weeks. We went fossil hunting in Much Wenlock’s disused quarry, and found some amazing fossilised shells. We treated ourselves to an extra day in Shropshire exploring the Ironbridge gorge and the iron museum.  With some fun dressing up, and a cream tea with strawberry milkshake before our long drive home.

half term

After a wet drive home the rest of the week was spent catching up on shopping for uniform, clearing the boys bedroom and cleaning some of the toys out. The boy is so pleased with his new desk to do his homework at. He looks so grown up now when he is sitting doing his maths books with his headphones on singing at the top of his voice! We had a photo shoot with all of us, something we haven’t done for a while and the photos are lovely, now we have to wait for our order. We went for shoe fittings and bought school trousers, treated ourselves to lunch out, and even a big box of donuts. The boy finished off his roman shield which I think he is pretty proud of, thanks to Duck tape! We even sorted out the wooden train track and boxed some of it up, for when the boy has his family to play with it.

half term fun

Finally at the weekend we went and did another B&Q workshop, and made a trinket box. Made Pom Poms at Hobby Craft and entered some into Kirsty Allsops world record attempt which is taking place in September. Visited the dinosaurs at Marwell Zoo, and spent some time in the garden. We went roller skating which we do as a family each week, and I even managed to catch the boy in action.

half term week

With an inset day on Monday it was time for Dad M to go back to work and for us to finish off a few projects at home. We made paper planes from Parragon books, and flew them from the bedroom window. Bingo Granny popped in for tea, and watched the boys planes fly, we even had time for a Drumond Park Game.

half term at home

Now that half term is over we are looking forward to the summer holidays and 8 weeks of family fun days…