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9 fun camping games for kids

By Kirsty / August 7, 2017
fun camping games for kids

It’s not often that I hear the words ‘I’m bored’ when camping, but sometimes it does happen and it’s good to have some ideas of fun camping games for kids to share.  Depending on your space, the time of day and how many kids are involved there are lots of ideas for camping activities that will bring some fun and laughter in to your day.

9 Fun camping games for kids:

Ball games

Lots come under this category so my tip for you is to bring a fairly lightweight football sized ball that can be used for lots of things and potentially a smaller ball too.

Football, rounders (bring a bat if you like this game), tennis, piggy in the middle and just general throwing/kicking/catching practice is good fun.

Circus skills

Camping and being outdoors is a great time to introduce a fun camping activity which mine have loved – circus skills!  From juggling to wandering around on stilts the wide open spaces make this one a really good option.

Our favourite has been juggling balls (or bean bags), plastic stilts and poi (balls on strings that you swing around).

Hoop tossing

Get a hoop, put something on the ground (maybe a can or a bottle?) and see if you can throw it on to it.  Really good for developing hand to eye co-ordination and all ages can have a go.

Frisbee

Frisbees are great for taking camping and it’s something that even young children can learn to use and fly.  Why not have a game to see who can throw it the furthest?  Or if there’s a few people, maybe a game of Ultimate Frisbee?   If you go camping with your dog, perhaps you can involve him!

Nature scavenger hunt

Kids love searching for things so why not incorporate that into a game that they’ll love – a scavenger hunt!  You can of course make these hunts with all sorts of themes, perhaps look for colours for really little ones or go for a nature walk and see if you can find lots of bugs, birds and flowers!

Skipping

Another skill that can be honed with the long days outdoors is skipping.  It can take a while to get the hang of but that’s great for kids who perhaps are playing on their own and need to occupy themselves.  Longer skipping ropes can be used with more people – do you remember any skipping songs from when you were little?

Tag

Needing no specialist equipment tag is a perfect camping game for kids.  You don’t even need that many kids, the rules are simple, even adults can join in and it won’t be confusing for them!

Bubble blowing

Blowing bubbles can keep almost all children happy from little babies right down to teens (they might not admit it but they’ll still enjoy it!  See who can blow the biggest one and have fun trying to catch them!  Keep them away from people’s tents if possible as the mixture can ruin the waterproofing.

I-Spy

Finally, a fun game that can keep the kids close by, perhaps if it’s getting closer to bed and it’s time to settle down and is good for all ages.  It can be played in the tent, outside the tent, while eating, you name it!

 

For more camping tips with kids see here.

Best climbing frames for toddlers and kids in 2017

best climbing frames for toddlers and kids

If you have the garden space a climbing frame is a great investment.  Kids just love to climb and explore their limits.  Safety precautions must always be at the forefront of your mind when buying and investing though, so here are the best climbing frames I’ve found on the market in 2016 for toddlers, kids and even older kids!

If you haven’t time to read the whole guide then do take a look at my best all round choice which is the TP Explorer Climbing Frameyou can see it on Amazon here.

What to consider when buying a climbing frame

Climbing frames are excellent garden toys, but there’s a few things to think about.  You’ll need to consider the following when looking for the most suitable climbing frame for your needs:

  • How many children will use it
  • The age of the children it will be for
  • how big your garden is
  • your budget
  • whether you want plastic, metal or wood

When looking at all these points, perhaps you’ll want something that will last all the way from a toddler age all the way to older child, or perhaps you might just have the space for a small toddler climbing frame that you want to bring inside in the winter and you’ll be looking to invest in a larger climbing frame in a few years.

Best climbing frames for toddlers

Many of the climbing frames in the other categories, including my best pick, are suitable from a young toddler age, so do look at those as well.

Toddler climbing frames tend to be much smaller and plastic which has the added benefit of them being easier to move around and if you have space they can even come indoors on wet and cold days in the winter which means their play can get massively extended.

Little Tykes Junior Activity Gym

One of the best plastic climbing frames for toddlers is this one by Little Tikes.  The design has been going strong for many years now, certainly since before my teens were toddlers, so you can be assured that it’s a good one and built to last.

These climbing frames are easy to assemble and not so big that you’ll be worrying about if they fall off it.  The play value is immense, it’s a plastic climbing frame with slide attached, spaces to crawl through and of course plenty of bits to climb over!  It’s brilliant for wearing out toddlers and as mentioned above and it’s small enough that it could definitely be used inside as well.

It’s suitable from the age of about 18 months to 4 years old and is a reasonable price should your budget not stretch to some of the larger climbing frames around.  Little Tikes toys always have a good resale value should you want to sell them on when your kid gets a bit older.

Pros:

  • Brilliant for toddlers
  • Lightweight
  • Can be used inside
  • Easy to clean
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • limited age appeal – they’ll grow out of it soon
  • sun can bleach it and make it fade

You can see more about the Little Tikes junior activity gym by clicking the button below

Best climbing frames for kids

TP Explorer Climbing Frame – my best choice!

This is my best choice out of all the products.  TP is an excellent brand with many years in the business so they are well established.  We’ve used this one ourselves and found them to be a great choice.

They make this as a base metal climbing frame and it’s perfect for small gardens on its own or you can add some of the extras on to it if you have a bigger garden.  You can get monkey bars (the jungle run) and a slide which make it a much bigger option (can be bought as a whole or separate), but just the base set is excellent on it’s own in my opinion.

The reason I like it so much is for the added den at the top which just makes a great place for kids to sit outside and enjoy the world going by.  They can use it to spy on nature, have picnics, read a book, anything!

It’s also a climbing frame that’s suitable for toddlers so if you want something that will grow as your kids do without having to pay out again, this is great.  You simply build it to a smaller height and it’s find for ages 18 months +

 

Pros:

  • Can be used from a young age
  • Good value for what you get
  • lots of add ons
  • good for small gardens

 

Cons:

  • add ons can bump price up

 

You can see more about this frame and buy on Amazon by clicking below

 

TP Lil Monkey Climbing Dome

Another great idea from TP is this climbing dome.  It’s like all those monkey bars that you see in play areas but on a smaller scale and suitable for gardens.

Perfect for kids who just want to climb and swing, it’s even good for a couple of children to play on at once so if you have more than one it could be good for you.

It also comes with an app designed for it to add another layer of fun for your child.

Pros:

  • A unique item
  • inexpensive
  • good for 2 children

Cons:

 

You can see more and the latest price on Amazon here:

 

Hudora Turnreck Fabian horizontal gymnast bars

A slightly different option for older kids are these horizontal gymnast bars.  It would be perfect for any kids who also do gymnastics or just kids who like to climb and swing about.  This set is a single bar set but you can buy a larger set and have the heights set differently so that kids of different ages can use them.  They’re really a fun idea and can certainly help to get your kids more active.

It does need set in concrete so requires a bit of planning but for the price it’s an excellent bit of kit.

Pros:

  • Good swinging bars for active kids or gymnasts
  • can get kids interested in gymnastics as a sport

Cons:

  • Some kids might not like the limited appeal
  • Not much else to do with it
  • needs concreted in

You can see more, including reviews, on Amazon by clicking below

 

Best wooden climbing frames

Wooden climbing frames can be a really good investment – they can last for years if you choose wisely.  They are at the higher end of the budget compared to plastic and metal versions but sometimes nothing beats wood outdoor toys!

Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre

This one is really great and comes with it’s own climbing wall and scramble net so it’s a little different to some of the other climbing frames.  There’s a slide and also a play area underneath which has some camouflage side panels.  Its an excellent choice if your kids want a den or if they are a bit obsessed with soldiers (I wish we’d had this when my son was younger – he’d have loved it!)

It’s recommended for ages 3 – 12.

Pros:

  • climbing wall is unique

Cons:

  • expensive
  • can’t move round the garden

 

 

Dunster House MonkeyFort Wilderness Wooden Children’s Outdoor Climbing Frame

This is a perfect wooden climbing frame for older children as it’s suitable up to the age of 14 and so you’ll likely get many years of use out of it.

It consists of monkey bars, a swing and a slide with a covered den part at the top.  You get to the slide by climbing up a climbing wall.  It’s a great option if you are looking for something for multiple kids to play on too as it can suit up to four kids playing at once (although only one on the platform at a time).

Pros:

  • suitable for a wide age range
  • lots of years worth of play
  • covered den for imaginary play

Cons:

  • expensive
  • can’t move

You can see more about this climbing frame here:

 

Jump rope and skipping songs to learn

By Kirsty / August 4, 2017
skipping songs

Playing outside either with my friends or simply on my own in the garden seemed to always include a skipping rope when I was young.  I had loads of skipping songs as well that I would run through and it just always helped.  In fact, I’m not sure I could skip now without singing a song!  It’s a bit of old fashioned fun that can easily be brought in to our kids lives now.

My favourite skipping songs

These are some of the skipping rhymes and songs that I remember from my childhood.  I guess some of them are also general nursery rhymes – but if they have a good rhythm they can be good for skipping too!  If you have any that you remember please let me know and I’ll update the page with them.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Touch your shoe.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
That will do.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Go upstairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Say your prayers.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Turn out the light.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Say good night!

(This one normally had the jumper doing the actions while jumping)

 

A Sailor went to Sea

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
To see what he could see, see, see.
But all that he could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

Jelly on a Plate

Jelly on a plate
Jelly on a plate
Wibble Wobble
Wibble Wobble
Jelly on a plate

(while wobbling as you jump!)

Farmers in the den

The farmer’s in his den
the farmer’s in his den
eee-oh-daddy-o
the farmer’s in his den

The farmer wants a wife
the farmer wants a wife
eee-oh-daddy-o
the farmer wants a wife

The wife wants a child
the wife wants a child
eee-oh-daddy-o
the wife wants a child

The child wants a nurse
the child wants a nurse
eee-oh-daddy-o
the child wants a nurse

The nurse wants a dog
the nurse wants a dog
eee-oh-daddy-o
the nurse wants a dog

The dog wants a bone
the dog wants a bone
eee-oh-daddy-o
the dog wants a bone

One person would join for each verse being the wife/nurse/dog etc.

BINGO (B-I-N-G-O)

There was a farmer had a dog

and bingo was his name-o

B-I-N-G-O

B-I-N-G-O

B-I-N-G-O

and Bingo was his name-0

Michael Finnegan

There was an old man
Named Michael Finnegan
He had whiskers
On his chinnygan
The wind blew them off
And blew them on again
Poor old Michael Finnegan, Begin Again

Bluebells, Cockleshells

Bluebells, cokcleshells,

evie, ivy, over,

I like coffee, I like tea,

I’d like ….. to jump with me

(friend joins in)

Rooms to rent

Rooms to rent
Apply within
If you don’t pay your rent
Mrs … will come in.

The next person to skip then joins in

Best fitness tracker for kids in 2017

best fitness tracker for kids

Getting kids active can be either something that is increasingly hard or something that you don’t need to worry about at all.  if you have a child that’s bouncing around day after day then you might not feel the need to help encourage them to be more active.  On the other hand, if you have kids that prefer watching the tv and playing computer games to going out for a walk then maybe a fitness tracker might be something to consider for a bit of gentle encouragement to get more active.

What to look for in a kids activity tracker

Fitness trackers for kids should always be something that is fun and that doesn’t penalise kids.  We want them to be encouraged to move around rather than feel like it’s a chore and that’s a tough thing to get right.

You probably also will want to have something that is inexpensive, simple to use and comfortable on your child’s wrist if it’s a watch design.

When I’ve been looking at the best kids fitness trackers that are for sale right now in 2017 I’ve found it tricky to get some that aren’t too expensive and that actually work!  There are plenty for adults but getting something that is good for kids?  A bit harder!

What’s the best fitness tracker for kids?

Your kids ages will dictate what the best product is – younger kids won’t have the wrist size for some of the more adult orientated watch fitness trackers that are available so they’ll need something designed just for them.  If you’re looking for trackers for older kids scroll down for my top picks there.

Best fitness tracker for young kids

The following activity trackers are good for kids up to about the age of 8.  Scroll down if you’re looking for more grown up products.

Leapfrog LeapBand Activity Tracker

If you have young kids and want to get them active then this is one of the best things I’ve found.  It really encourages the child to get active by having games to get them moving.  It’s suitable for ages 4-7 approximately.

The LeapBand has a virtual pet that your child will have to keep healthy by jumping, keeping active etc and there are other challenges that the band gets your kids to do as well.  For the price it’s a really lovely little toy and it would be a perfect stocking filler if you’re looking for something for Christmas.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Makes a game out of keeping active
  • Comes in different colours
  • Can be set to not be in use during night and school hours

 

Cons:

  • might be a bit too ‘young’ for some kids
  • it’s a little bulky

 

Check out the reviews and latest price on Amazon here.

 

Garmin Vivofit Jr Motivator and Activity Tracker

 

This is a good option if you have a higher budget and want something from a good brand name that deal with these kinds of trackers.  The Garmin Vivofit Jr is marketed for ages 4-9 but it’s definitely not one that looks too babyish and so I think could last for a long time.  It has some great designs available that are suitable for a wide range of kids tastes.

What is unique about this tracker is that it has a parent controlled app – they can motivate the kids to do more activity through this!

Pros

  • lots of features that are controlled by the parent app
  • doesn’t need to be charged – it’s battery powered
  • can incorporate chores and other tasks as well as active time
  • tracks steps, sleep and active time

Cons

  • On the more expensive side

Overall it’s one of my favourites for this age range especially with the fun yet not too childish designs.

See more reviews and the latest price here

 

Vtech Kidizoom DX Smart Watch

Now this item isn’t specifically a fitness tracker, but it does include a child’s pedometer and motion sensor so you can certainly use it to encourage and keep track of your child’s fitness and activity levels.

It’s a child version of a smart watch, but obviously at a lower price and with child friendly games on as well.  It comes in  3 different colours – blue, green and pink and is suitable from the age of 4 upwards.

Pros:

  • Multi use toy with lots of smart apps and a camera
  • pedometer keeps track of steps and activity
  • Action challenge activities

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive – you’re paying for more than the pedometer

 

Check this item out on Amazon here

 

 

Best activity tracker for teenagers and older kids

Once your kids get a little older you’ll probably be looking for a tracker that’s a bit more grown up looking and so it’s natural to be looking at what is available for adults.  Here’s some good options for kids in the 8+ age range

LETSCOM Smart Watch

A really good option, and one of my favourites for the top spot in activity trackers for older kids is this one from LETSCOM.  It’s an inexpensive watch but it is quite high on the features.

It will track your steps, distance and calorie counting as well as tracking sleep.  It has some other pretty cool features – you can take photos from your phone by tapping your watch, can control the music on your phone and also show you who is calling you.  Not bad for an cheap fitness tracker!

Pros

  • Lots of features
  • Good value for money
  • comes in different colours – orange, blue and black

Cons

  • strap isn’t great

See more about this product here

 

Fitbit Alta

You’ve probably heard of Fitbits, they have a huge following and are one of the better brands of fitness trackers out there.  But any good for a kid?  My choice of the best fitbit for kids is going to be the Fitbit Alta.  This is for a couple of reasons:

  • it’s not too expensive compared to others in the fitbit range
  • it tracks more than just steps – calories and activity should you want that
  • it displays the time just like a watch
  • it’s not huge – so won’t feel out of place on a small wrist
  • the app keeps track of everything – you could put it on your phone or your kids.

There are a few cons to a FitBit of course

  • the cost might be too much for a child item – there is the worry that it will get lost or broken
  • I don’t personally like any emphasis on calories burnt for kids

I do also really like Fitbit because they have an excellent customer service – one of our Fitbit’s stopped working and they replaced it with no questions asked (we just had to show we had a receipt for it), so although there are lots of cheaper versions out there I think getting a good brand is worth it.

You can see more about this Fitbit on Amazon here by clicking here

 

Megadream Sports Wristband

This is a good option if you don’t want the expense of a Fitbit for your kids which still looks grown up and good quality.  The sports wristband will track your steps, your walking distance, calories, sleep quality and will also do things like notify you of incoming messages if you attach it to your phone.  It’s a really good entry smartwatch and will connect to android (above 4.4) and iOS (above iOS 8) phones.

I really like this one because it does all you’d want a more sophisticated tracker to do but at a much reduced price.  It will help your kids feel all grown up yet will be cheap enough to have you not worry about getting it broken.

Pros

  • inexpensive
  • looks good quality
  • tracks a variety of different things
  • comes in 3 colours – blue, pink or black

Cons

  • some people have had difficulty getting it to pair with their phone

Check out the reviews on Amazon here

 

 

 

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What’s the best bike trailer for kids? We look at the top models

By Kirsty / July 30, 2017
best bike trailer for kids

If you like to take the bike out for a ride then I bet once you had kids you started thinking about how to bring them out with you!  There’s no better way to get some fresh air in to your kids while also getting a good work out yourself – especially while not requiring your child to do work too!  In this review post I’m looking at the best bike trailer for kids – I hope you find it helpful.

If you’re looking for a bike seat to attach to your bike you might like my article about it here.

What to look for in a bike trailer for toddlers and kids

toddler bike trailer

when choosing a trailer for you bike that will also be good for your kids you’ll need to consider a few things.

Safety is paramount with these items, especially if you’ll be taking it on roads and in traffic.  Check that the trailer has:

  • bright colours
  • a flag pole with pennant is good too so people can see you before they get too close
  • safety harnesses
  • some trailers have features that allow the trailer to stay upright even if the bike falls – this is a great idea in my opinion.

Other than this make sure to consider the weight of your children that you plan to transport – the weights each trailer takes varies widely – whether you’ll need to transport it by car and also how easy it is to attach to your bike.

Some trailers also convert to strollers which is a great idea if when you get to your destination you might like to use it that way while locking away the bike.  Something to definitely consider!

The best bike trailer for kids – our reviews

Samax 2in1 bicycle trailer – our top choice

One of the best trailers around for kids and toddlers is this one from Samax.  It has a number of really great features but is missing one – a high price tag.  I love that it comes in different colours with plenty to choose from.

As well as being a great bicycle trailer for kids, you can also use it as a stroller too so it’s multi use.   It’s incredibly sturdy and good quality too which when you think about the price is great.

  • comes with a rain cover and mosquito net
  • lots of colours available
  • weight capacity – around 25kg
  • recommended from 18 months
  • 3 point safety harnesses for two children
Check out more reviews of this item on Amazon here

 

vidaXM Kids Bicycle Cargo Trailer

Another in the category of cheap bike trailer is this one from vidaXM.

One thing I don’t like is the blue colour – it claims to be nice and bright but personally I’d prefer something a bit more eye catching.  They do a red version though which is much better!

  • combined weight capacity – 36kg
  • sturdy steel frame
  • comes in two colour options – blue and red
  • suitable for 1 or 2 children
  • All weather canopy and mesh screen
  • 5 point safety harness system
  • suitable for children from 18 months
See more about this item here

Burley MY16 Bee 2-Seater Bike Trailer

This bike trailer from Burley is a really good product but the price tag is definitely getting a little higher than the last couple of trailers I looked at.  However you do get a lot for your money especially as this trailer also doubles as a stroller.

  • for up to 2 children
  • 5 point safety harness
  • full internal aluminium roll cage
  • spacious rear cargo area
  • 45kg weight capacity
  • folds compactly
See the latest price of this item on Amazon here

 

Weeride Unisex Deluxe Trailer

Finally we have the Weeride trailer which again is on the higher price end.  This one is great if you have ideas about doing all sorts of sports and taking your kids out with you.  This is a bike trailer, a stroller and can even be used as a jogging pushchair too!

  • weight capacity – 100lb/45kg
  • padded safety harness
  • bright yellow colour
  • converts to stroller
  • aluminium frame and wheels
See more about this item here

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Best kids trampoline reviews

best kids trampoline

We all need to let off steam sometimes and on those days a bounce on a good trampoline can’t be beaten!  When looking for the best kids trampoline for your garden there’s quite a few things to consider so you’ll want to bear in mind a few things:

  • how much space you have and whether you’ll want or need to move the trampoline
  • the age of your kids and also how many you have
  • whether you want a safety net or not
  • your budget

Now thankfully that last one isn’t such a huge issue any more and many of the items I’m looking at in this trampoline review are really reasonable.  Obviously the bigger the trampoline you get the more expensive it will go!  Price doesn’t always equate with good quality trampolines and there are certainly some great items out there on a budget.

>>>Scroll down for my best choices of trampolines available in the UK or click here for my top choice<<<

 

Finding the best kids trampoline

What is the best size trampoline?

Of course the answer to this depends on a few variables, not least what I mentioned above.  If you have a toddler then getting a huge 14ft monster in your garden might not be the best plan of action!  Similarly, if you’ve older children then a small 4ft trampoline that is suitable indoors and out might not give the best value for money as they grow.

as a guide the following sizes are:

toddler size – self explanatory!!

smaller than 8ft – these sizes might have limited room for long term value, but again check the specs to see what ages and weights they’re suitable for.  Some very small trampolines are also good to bring indoors.

8ft  – good for younger children and small gardens.  Check weight limits if you’re hoping it will last until teenage years.

10ft – good for older children but still a reasonable size for smaller gardens.  A good size to get if you have a small garden but want a long lasting trampoline to get the best value.

12ft – is good if your garden is a little larger and again can be a good long term investment as it will be suitable even when teens.

14ft and larger – depends on the size of your garden!

Oval trampolines – also worth considering if you have a long narrow space, although they tend to be slightly more expensive.

 

What’s the safest trampoline?

kids trampoline reviewsAll trampolines should conform to basic safety standards and if you buy new you should have no issues with buying a safe trampoline.  Of course there are risks with any of these outdoor toys, but thankfully there are ways to make them safer.

The risk of falling off can be mitigated by the purchase of a safety net for the outside.  Often these will come as part of product, but if it’s not consider getting one as they are an inexpensive way to ensure peace of mind.

Make sure that the springs are covered by a pad so that no injuries occur from those.  One of the best trampolines for safety is said to be the spring free ones like this one.  If your budget will allow, that could certainly put to ease some worries in your mind!

It’s also worth making sure you have some rules in place for playing on the trampoline too – having more than one child on at a time might be feel ok on larger trampolines, but it’s not so good on smaller ones and of course on any size it can increase the risk of injury.

When looking for a safe trampoline check out the reviews and buy from reputable brands.  It’s tempting to buy second hand, especially if you’re on a budget so if you do that again stick to well known brands and of course make sure that all pieces are there!

 

Best 10ft trampoline

10ft is the size that is often thought of as the best garden trampoline size.  It’s great for a variety of gardens and should suit kids right through to being a teen.  It’s also not so big that it makes the price shoot up!  These are my favourite trampolines in this bracket but bear in mind they also make them in different sizes too so click on any of the links to see the range.

The first contender for the best trampoline for kids, and my top choice is the Kanga Premium trampoline.

It’s a really reasonable cost and it’s available in different sizes – 6ft, 8ft, 10ft and 12ft.

What makes this one a bit more value for money than the Ultrasport I mention below is that it not only comes with a safety net, but also comes with the ground anchors, the ladder AND a cover for winter.  This means that it really does come with everything you’ll likely need.

All of these trampolines are great options and come from good companies, but this one is my favourite due to the fact you get the extra accessories included as standard.

To read more reviews and see the prices of the Kanga trampoline click here.

 

Another great option with fantastic reviews is the Zero Gravity Ultima 4 Trampoline which is a really high quality brand, with high safety specs.

What I really like about these trampolines is the safety net that it has which is quite unique.  If you’re at all worried about your kids using it while you’re not around and you’ve set the rule that you always use it with the net you can take the net down really quickly when it’s not being used.  This is not only good in that sense, but also if it’s really windy it can be taken down easily which makes sure it’s not damaged in bad weather.  Especially good when you spend a lot of money on it.

The Zero Gravity trampolines are available in 6ft, 8ft, 10ft, 12ft and 14ft sizes and they also come with a ladder.

Check the reviews out of this trampoline and the latest price here.

 

My last choice for a big garden trampoline is the Ultrasport Children’s trampoline Uni-Jump:
It’s a reasonable price and you get a lot for your money I feel.  It’s also a well established brand and the reviews of this product speak for themselves.  If you’re on a budget and want the best value trampoline you can get for your money then this is the one I recommend.

It comes in a variety of sizes – 6ft, 10ft, 12ft even up to 15ft.  You also get with it a safety net as standard, so no worries about adding that to your budget.

If your garden isn’t level there’s also an option to get an anchor set to go with it which will make it really sturdy and not fall over.

If you’d like to read more reviews and check the latest price click here.

 

Best trampoline for toddlers

TP Junior Trampoline

Finally, if you’re looking for a small cheap toddler trampoline then this one from TP is an excellent buy.

The TP Junior Trampoline is small but still very robust.  It’s suitable from the age of just 12 months and will no doubt still be used right up until about the age of 5.

Because there’s a handle to hold on to it really helps little ones to get and keep their balance while bouncing and of course makes it useful even while they’re in the wobbly toddling stage.

You can use this mini trampoline both indoors and outdoors and the size of it will mean it won’t take up too much space.

Find out more about this toddler trampoline and check out more reviews here.

 

Trampolines are such an excellent way to get outside and get a bit of exercise in to your kids lives, if you have room for something then it’s a great investment and something I really encourage you to get.  I hope this article has given you some help in choosing the best trampoline for your needs.

 

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What’s the best sandpit for toddlers and kids?

best sandpit for toddlers

Sandpits are perfect summers day toys for toddlers and young children and I bet you’re like me and can remember the days when you played with them when you yourself were young!  They seem to be timeless toys and can keep children occupied for hours – always a winner with me!  So what’s the best sandpit for toddlers?  Have a read and I’ll go through some of the more popular items on the market right now.

What to look for when buying a sandpit

best sandpit for kids

Buying a sandpit sounds like it must be the easiest thing in the world!  However there are a few things that I think are worth bearing in mind when looking to invest.

  • Do you want a small and moveable sandpit?
  • Do you want something with an inbuilt shade?
  • Does the sandpit have a base or do you need to buy a tarpaulin?
  • Does the sandpit have a cover to protect from weather, cats and other animals?
  • Is it solid and likely to last for sometime in the outdoors – cheap plastic might go brittle and break and may be a false economy.
  • Remember to also budget for buying play sand as it almost always is an extra.

 

Best sandpit for toddlers and kids – our reviews

Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox

I’m a big fan of the Little Tikes outdoor toys for many reasons but the main one has to be that they last.  Plastic toys outside doesn’t always equal longevity but I do find that Little Tikes last quite a while.

The turtle sand box also has another thing going for it – price.  It’s the cheapest of the products on this page yet I think still a great option.

It’s a round shape with inbuilt seats where the turtles flippers are so easy to sit and play in.  The shell doubles up as lid although it doesn’t clip anywhere so I’d be careful in high winds and perhaps get something to sit on top to keep it in place.

A simple design but one that will definitely appeal to lots!

Check out the latest price on Amazon here

 

Plum Store It Outdoor Play Wooden Sand Pit

If you’re at all worried about the sand pit breaking easily then getting a nice solid wooden one is probably on your mind.  I really like this one from Plum which includes everything you need, is sturdy and looks really nice too.  I reckon it will last a lifetime if taken care of!

This design has an inbuilt box that you can store toys in and when it’s open it can be used as a seat for the kids to sit on while playing.  I really like that it keeps the toys separate like that and it makes it nice and easy to be kept clean and tidy at the end of each play session.

This sand pit also comes with a ground sheet that keeps the sand from escaping but also keeps it from allowing weeds to grow through.  For the top there’s a cover that will keep it all nice and clean ready for each use.

For the price I really like this one and feel like it’s a good quality yet simple design that should fit nicely in most gardens.  The size is approximately 102cm x 96cm and comes flat packed for assembly at home.

See the latest price of this item on Amazon here 

 

Wooden Garden Sandpit with shade and seats

If you’re concerned about the kids being in direct sunlight then a sand pit with a shade is a great idea.  This one is a nice design that isn’t too big but does require you to decide where it is going to be as it’s not something that will be easily moved once in place.

The sand pit has a really nicely designed shade which can get moved down and used as a cover for the sand pit when not in use.  It comes flat packed and ready to be assembled and also has a tarpaulin included for under the sand.

The size when assembled is 110 x 110 x 120 cm.

Check the reviews and latest price on Amazon here

 

Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table

Sand tables are great fun and can be a great choice for a small patio area or somewhere that requires it being put away at the end of the day (for more sand and water table ideas see my post here).

This sand table is a really sturdy and great for small kids.  It has a cover that can double as a small road/racing track for using with cars or other toys – I love dual use toys so this is great!  The cover is attached with elastic which keeps it in place nicely and away from any animals that might like it!

Being a smaller item than a traditional sandpit this requires much less play sand to fill it up – something that might be worth considering if cost of filling is putting you off.

The assembled size is H = 42cm, W = 91cm, D = 66cm.

Check out more details of this item on Amazon here

 

Wooden Sandbox with Veranda

This is another one that is great for a larger garden and incorporates another play area as well as the sand pit.  If the kids don’t want to get all sandy one day then they can still get lots of use out of the veranda area which is shaded and great for sunny days.  The shade has a UV protection rating of 50 which can give some peace of mind on those days when you’re worrying about the sun.

The sand pit fits underneath the veranda and can be pulled out when needed or stored underneath when not.  The whole unit is easily transportable with wheels so can be put in different areas.

The size is 130 x 130 x 143 cm and the sand box dimensions are 95 x 95 x 20cm.  It’s self assembly and you would need to buy a separate tarpaulin for underneath the sand as it’s not included.

Check out the reviews of this item on Amazon here

Animal tracking for kids – how to get started

By Kirsty / February 24, 2017
Animal tracking for kids One really fun nature activity for kids is animal tracking – looking for signs that an animal has been around a certain area and working out which animal it is.  It’s fun and accessible – even toddlers and little kids can do it.

So what do you need to get started?

In actual fact, you need very little.  Perhaps a book on animal footprints and signs (I like the Usborne spotter guides), but other than that, you just need to keep your eyes open.

What to look for:

Footprints

animal tracks for kidsThe most obvious of tracks are footprints.  Check out any muddy areas or look for prints in snow if it’s winter.  Can you find anything?  Dog paw prints are probably the easiest to find and recognise and it’s worth knowing these in case you find anything different.  What about bird prints – if you ever go for a walk near water can you see any webbed prints from ducks?

Making a plaster cast of prints is a good activity for keen children – there’s a guide to how to do this here.

Fur or feathers

Finding birds feathers and identifying them is a good way to get started too – how often are feathers picked up by kids with eagle eyes?  Can you tell the type of bird?  What about the size of it?

Keep an eye out for fur being caught on fences too.

Poo and pellets

Another obvious one and something that most kids are fascinated by!  Animal poo is a a classic way to tell if an animal has been around and again, unfortunately, dog signs are the most prolific. It goes without saying as well – no touching of poo!  Take pictures if you want to try and identify it later.

Rabbit poo can be found easily, or sheep and deer poo if you’re off on a walk in the countryside.

Owl pellets are an interesting thing and if you know where some owls are then it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for them.  They are the fur and bones that an owl can’t digest so they cough it up as a pellet and discard it.  If you can find one a quite fun activity (some might think gruesome) is to try and dissect the pellet and see what the owl has been eating.  Put it in some water to soften it up and use tweezers to remove and separate the bones – you might even find a skull in there!

Scratches

Can you see any signs of animals scratching trees or posts?

Trails and worn paths

Lastly, something to look out for is trails and worn paths that don’t look like they have been made by humans.  If you see paths leading to dense bushes or under fences you might have found a path that animals take regularly.  Why not look around and see if you can spot any other signs?

 

Pin for later!

Animal Tracking for kids

Tips for keeping kids active

Tips for keeping kids active

In this day and age sedentary kids who spend all their time in front of screens are not uncommon.  Unfortunately, it comes with a host of problems from concentration issues all the way up to childhood obesity and more.  One way to try and combat these things is keeping kids active.  The funny thing is that kids are naturally active and want to do things, but the way that society has evolved has thwarted that desire.  TV programmes, especially kids ones, are designed to keep them watching.  They are short and brightly coloured, so they keep them wanting to see what’s next.  Before you know it, hours have passed!  Here’s some tips for getting kids more active:

9 tips for keeping kids active

  • Encourage walking over car use

This is one of the hardest things, especially with how busy our lives have become.  It’s so much easier and quicker to jump in the car to do chores, pick the kids up from school and head on to other activities.  If we can commit to walking whenever we can it sets great habits for kids and will get their hearts pumping in a good way!

  • Brainstorm ideas to keep active

Involve your kids with your ideas to keep them moving.  Maybe they’ll have some thoughts on what they’d like to do that you’ve not thought of yet.  The best way for them to be happy to do it is if it’s part of their own plan!

  • Have plenty of toys that encourage movement

Trampolines in the garden, swings and climbing frames are all great toys to have on hand to encourage some activity before an evening of game playing or TV.  Start small if you need to and set a time that you want your kids to be out and playing before they are allowed electronics – maybe 10 minutes at first – you’ll maybe find they are having so much fun to come back in!  It’s definitely a good habit for them to get in to.  Bikes, skateboards, scooters or just some good old fashioned garden toys will mean they aren’t sat down.

  • Turn the electronics off

It will be hard for kids to get themselves outside and playing if the TV is blaring or if their phones are beeping at them. Commit to an electronic free time period and if the weather is playing ball, get them outside and playing.

  • Try a fitness tracker

Some kids love the ‘game’ of trying to get as many steps as possible, maybe beating a sibling or a parent in the process. It can be just the visual stimulus that some children need.  There are plenty of child friendly trackers on the market these days that are fairly inexpensive too – see here.

  • Go on ‘activity’ or outdoor holidays

When booking your holiday for the year why not consider something that the kids will be more active in – maybe a biking holiday, somewhere with a pool or just simply a camping holiday where there is no tv or game console around.

  • Sign kids up for sports they enjoy

If your kids show an interest in a sport then encourage that by signing them up for lessons, groups or maybe a summer school where they can participate.  It doesn’t have to competitive sports and the interest might not last forever, but exploring and trying out what they enjoy is a good way to get them to find something they will be happy doing often.

  • Make ‘being active’ normal

Don’t make a big deal of trying to be active.  Make it a normal thing to walk to the shops instead of driving, going for a weekly swim or having a play in the garden before tea time.  Kids have a knack for seeing that we have an agenda so just try and make it a normal thing.

  • Involve the whole family

Finally – involve everyone!  This is especially important if you have just one child who is perhaps more inclined to put on weight or is just drawn to screens more often.  Don’t single them out and don’t just make them get active – get everyone doing it.  Go for a family swim or have a family enforced electronics down time.  You can’t expect kids to get active if the adults are sitting on their butts!

Garden skatepark ideas

By Kirsty / February 10, 2017
Garden skatepark ideas

I’ve said before that one way to get your older kids outside more is to encourage a sport such a skateboarding, BMX biking or stunt scooter riding.  Choosing the right skateboard or stunt scooter is one thing, but the next part is getting some tricks under their belt and that requires practice.

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a skate park that is nearby, but even if you do you might not want your kids hanging there all day long, especially if they are still young.  So one way to appeal to their new found hobby and keep them practicing is by setting up your own skate park in the garden.  This has the added benefit that if any accidents happen you’ll be nearby to help out.

Some things that you’ll want in your garden skatepark will be:

  • ramps – you can single ramps or double with different gradients.  For larger gardens a four way ramp could be good too
  • a grind rail

Best skateboard ramps for kids

If you’re looking to get some ramps for your kids to have in the garden then the following are some good products.  What I like about these are that they are portable and can be brought to the park for meet ups with friends or even when you go on holiday.  They are really solid even though they are made from plastic – they’d be great to start with for kids.

Rampage Single Mini Launch Ramp
List Price: £13.49
Price: £13.49
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Rampage Mini Airbox Launch Ramp Set
List Price: £39.99
Price: £33.64
You Save: £6.35
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If you’re looking for a grind rail you can get them in a regular size or a mini size too – perfect for smaller gardens

Rampage Mini Skate & Scooter Grind Rail
List Price: £34.99
Price: £34.99
Price Disclaimer
Rampage Large Skate & Scooter Grind Rail
List Price: £29.99
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Building your own skate ramp

Another idea for kids who are really serious about their stunts is to build a skate ramp.  If you have a big garden then you can go all out here and create something really special.  If not or if you want to just start small, then starting off with a small skate ramp  is a good idea.  I’ve found a load of tutorials on YouTube and I’ve shared a couple below.

These projects would be a great way to get older kids involved with making things and it’s a great way to connect with them and make them proud of their first DIY projects.

 

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