The Top Toys for Girls and Boys.. Gift ideas for Birthdays and Christmas

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Junior Scholars

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
jslogoEducation, Education, Education! Your Child's Future: Junior Scholars Have Got It Covered.

Junior Scholars is an educational online retailer based in a high street shop and offices in Watford, Hertfordshire, UK. Their mission is to help parents, teachers and schools find the best resources to ensure every child has the best start in education. The recent UK PISA performance shows that kids in the UK have a long way to go in catching up with the likes of China, Singapore and Canada in Maths, English, reading and science. What can be done to help improve the UK?s performance in education? A good early start in learning is crucial for our children's future.

We know from the earliest age that baby can learn through play, so JuniorScholar's have taken this head on with a range of learning and educational toys, games and books to delight and entertain. I took a closer look at their online offering and what makes them different from other online toys and games retailers.

Firstly, the website is colourfully displayed and it is easy to navigate the different age groups to find what you are looking for. You can filter on interest, subject, product type or brand. There are over 1400 products to choose from that help play and study at each stage of your child's development, right through to their teenage years. They also stock the major brands like Galt, Orchard Toys, Horrible Science as well as 11+ GL assessment and test papers and the popular Heinemann math's range. Their product range is also strong for toddlers and the early years age range.

For nurseries or schools, they offer a bulk discount of ten percent off, which if you are part of a larger nursery group can be a justifiable incentive to purchase big for the whole year.

I'm a big fan of eco and fair trade toys, and on their site found the Lanka Kade wooden jigsaw range, which is hand painted made from sustainable rubber wood. I know the quality and robustness will stand the test of time from my 2 year old nephew.

JuniorScholars also run Kids events that are centered around arts crafts and play. Drawn on the experience of Celia, (an ex Prep school teacher), who seems to be a natural on camera, as she shows how to make clay cottages and cats out of cardboard and paper, could have been mistaken for an early Blue Peter episode back in the day. The events look great fun which incorporate play activities, colouring, drawing, quizzes, prizes and refreshments. Their past events can be viewed on the Junior Scholar's youtube channel.

They also have a strong following on Facebook and an active blog with varied content and featured categories,'help my child', kids education, product reviews to parenting and teaching tips.


Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
A sledge is great when it snows - order yours before it snows though to make sure you have one in time!

Snow Snyder
This Snow Snyder is a solid sledge with steel skates uniquely designed to fold away for easy transport and storage. It has a fabric seat, steel skates underneath the runners for extra speed and for use on wet grass. For ages 3 plus Dimensions: H 24.5cm x W 45cm x L 118cm Weight 5.2kg

John Deere Snow Cruiser
This John Deere moulded robust snow sledge/cruiser can fit up to two people, has a pull cord and has metal steel skates underneath the sledge for extra speed on snow and enabling the sledge to be used for wet grass racing as well. Suitable for ages 3 plus Dimensions : H 27cm x W 44 cm x L 94 cm

Snowed in?

Friday, December 17th, 2010
Snowed in? Kids bored? Need something to do?
You can mix flour and water together to make a glue. Ideal for cutting and sticking!
Collect all the boxes and cardboard, empty bottles and containers together (Washed and dried containers of course) and see what things you could build. You might need stronger glue than flour and water for fixing plastic together but you can have lots of fun designing things! With a large milk container, jar lids and toothpaste tube tops you could create a ray gun or a camcorder! Paint black for maximum effect.

Make mazes for each other! Then do the mazes. Do them blindfold giving directions to each other. Cover the table so you don’t draw on it with the pen!
Dig out the face paints you got for Halloween and see if you can make some Christmas faces.
Go out and make a snowman! Wait until it’s stopped and then wrap up warm though!
Make up a dance routine to the kids favourite song. Get them to perform it later for the whole family.
Practice singing carols! Kids love singing at the top of their voices!
Find the bundle of last years Christmas cards and cut out circles as gift tags. Or cut out circles and fold as shown here
Make Christmas tree decorations out of Christmas cards cut out and stuck together with a loop of ribbon in between - personalise perhaps with a photo of the kids on one side.
Make a cake! Get a recipe and whisk up a yummy cake! Decorate and eat!

Shriek Week at Colchester Zoo this Halloween!

Friday, October 22nd, 2010
Shriek Week at Colchester Zoo this Halloween! - Save 10% off your admission when you book E-Saver tickets online before your visit for fast track entry to these ghoulish events!
Day Events - Sat 23rd until Sun 31st October
9.30 - 16.00 - Visit the Discovery Centre and take part in a number of Halloween themed crafts
11.00 - Things that go bump in the night - Kalahari Theatre Interactive Story Do you believe in monsters in the wardrobe? Creatures under the bed? In this spooky story, things go bump in the night instead!
11.00 - 16.00 - Haunted Forest- Fantasy Land Take a trip through the Haunted Forest...if you dare!
11.30 - 15.30 - Little Horrors Spooky Road Train - Tanganyika Road Train Station
12.30 & 14.30- A Grimm Tale- Wild about Animals Theatre – Enjoy a different take on the world of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
13.00- Magic, Mayhem & Mishaps- Displays Arena Will the magic ever work in this comic magic act?
14.00- Medieval Bird display- Displays Arena
15.30- Merlin’s Magical fancy dress party- Kalahari Theatre
A Grimm Tale
Late Night Events - 27th, 29th & 31st October
16.30 - 21.00- Visit the Discovery Centre and take part in a number of Halloween themed crafts!
16.30 - 21.00- Haunted Forest- Fantasy Land
Take a trip through the Haunted Forest at night if you’re feeling brave!
17.00- Sealion scatter feed
17.30 - 21.00 - Spooky Road Train- Tanganyika Road Train Station
17.30 -20.30 - A Grimm Tale- Wild about Animals Theatre - every 30 minutes
17.30-21.00- Haunted House -Kalahari Theatre-every 30mins
Join us for a night of paranormal investigation into the strange goings on at Stanway hall house
18.00 – 21.00 Ghost walk – All Saint’s Church at Orangutan Forest
Ghostly walks around the eerily lit All Saint's Church
18.15-20.45 Fright Fest- A skeletons revenge! - Displays Arena- every 30 mins
A skeleton calls upon his underworld friends to take their revenge in a fright fest you will never forget!
18.30- Amur tiger feed- Tiger Taiga
20.00- Aardvark feed – Aardvark Burrow

Simple Halloween Decorations

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
This project is very easy - you need some orange plastic (Start the hunt for a piece of cloth, plastic or a tablecloth perhaps) and cut circles out and mark on the face of a pumpkin! Stuff the "pumpkin" with old plastic bags to make them light enough to hang up, or if you're making a big fat one for on the floor you could put a brick in the bottom and then pad on top with plastic bags. Tie up firmly at the top and voila!
See the finished pumpkins - I think these would be really very cute to have a big one outside your front door.
It also suggests you could fill them with sweets for the trick or treaters! This would be pretty fun but remember the kids might just drop the orange wrapper on the floor!
Hang them from your porch, trees or anywhere at the front of your house!
Cost saving - a real pumpkin can cost several pounds - so if you can source the orange material cheaply enough then you will save lots of money. Look in pound shop and charity shops.
You could also use craft paper but this will get wet but would be great for putting inside the front door or under a sheltered porch. Craft paper and halloween decoration ideas:-
Creative Display Value Pack
Creative Display Value Pack £39.99
A bumper value pack of assorted tissue and paper. Everything you need to create colourful and artistic classroom displays. Each pack contains 50 tissue paper sheets 30 x 2m sheets of crepe paper 6 rolls of cellophane & 10 crepe streamers in 10 colours.
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Spooky Halloween stuff in Holburn

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
As Part of The Original London Ghost Festival 2010
Venue: Ghost Fest HQ, 42 Theobald’s Road, Holborn
Time: 12:00-2:00 pm
Dates: 23-31 October 2010
River Productions is bringing back the time-travelling pirate Revlon Scarlet this Halloween! Join Revlon for a range of FREE kids' activities in Holborn as part of The London Ghost Festival 2010. Available to one and all over the half term week and weekends (which is also Halloween!), Revlon and his pirate friends facilitate pirate ghost stories, games, workshops, and colouring in Central London

Little Monsters Spooky Lunchtimes will continue River Productions’ historical theme by incorporating the real pirates Captain William Kidd, Blackbeard, Captain Henry Morgan and the Mary Celeste ghost ship into tales, games and colouring projects that are free for all.
Facepainting is subject to a charge and donations are welcome.
Nearest tube / station: Holborn/ Chancery Lane / Russell Square

Halloween Craft Kits

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Crafts are always popular and making things for halloween can be lots of fun. There's a huge variety of craft kits out there if you're after something for the kids this autumn half term. Keeping them busy with crafts is easy - the kits have everything you need to be very crafty indeed and they can each make something themselves! Whether you decide it's time to make some halloween spooky jewellery or some other craft they are bound to have fun. Buying craft kits means you don't have to do any hard work sourcing materials - they're all there for you to use!
Halloween Hand Puppet Sewing Kits
Halloween Hand Puppet Sewing Kits £4.64
Kids can sew and decorate their own Halloween character... and then scare all their friends! Each kit contains 26cm pre-cut felt puppet felt pieces wiggle-eyes plastic needle and wool. 4 designs. Age 5+.
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Halloween Stickers

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
All kids love stickers! There's just something so good about having a sheet of stickers and being able to stick them on books, craft projects or make up huge montages of fantastic spooky stuff for halloween!
Use stickers to decorate halloween costumes or to create a halloween poster for the front door! Stickers are ever popular and buying themed sticker packs gives you plenty of halloween shapes!
Glitter Foam Halloween Stickers
Glitter Foam Halloween Stickers £3.99
Add some 'spooky' sparkle effects to crafts and decorations with these fun glittery foam stickers! 112 assorted designs per pack with self-adhesive backing. Size 25mm - 45mm.
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Halloween Craft fun

Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Halloween is the next big event on the Calendar so enjoy it loads with some grat crafting fun kits to make halloween masks! Making their own halloween masks is an activity they can do a few days before halloween - perhaps during half term! Kids love sticking and making things so making their own masks will be lots of fun. The craft kits aren't expensive either so offer you good value for money. Halloween stickers and extras are also available to make them more spooky!
Halloween Wooden Stick Masks
Halloween Wooden Stick Masks £5.56
Become a 'wicked witch' or 'Frankenstein's monster' with these wooden masks! Pre-printed wooden masks with stick attached for children to decorate. Colour with our acrylic paint or Deco pens. 4 designs. Overall size 29cm.
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Bake a birthday cake with these fantastic tins

Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Every birthday party needs a birthday cake and these fantastic tins allow you to make some really good cakes. The heart shaped tin is perfect for baking a birthday cake and it can then be iced with lots of lovely pretty icing as well as sparkly cake decorations! The cupcake tin is superb too and will be a massive hit - but expect the kids to want one each! Top it with a big swirl of cupcake frosting and some sprinkles on the top and it'll be the best birthday cake ever!
A recipe is given for White Chocolate Cupcake with Strawberry Cream Filling but you could use any recipe you wanted so have a dark chocolate one, or a triple chocolate cake - just use the basic recipe as a base and experiment!
Heart Shaped Cake Tin
Heart Shaped Cake Tin
It doesn't have to be a birthday or special occasion for you to show someone you care by baking them a beautiful heart shaped cake with the aid of this elegant Heart Shaped Bundt Tin. This lovely take on the more traditional ring shaped Bundt cakes will mould your cake into a delightful heart shape.

The heavy cast aluminium tin is specially designed to provide superior baking performance, ensuring the cake will rise and cook evenly, be finely detailed, have a delicious golden crust, and be uniformly browned due to the heat reflective exterior. Of course the Heart Shaped Cake Tin is also non-stick to allow for easy removal of the baked cake, as well as hassle free cleaning.
Was £29.95
Now £24.95

Giant Cupcake Tin
Giant Cupcake Tin
Cupcakes are fantastic, bite size bits of cakey goodness! Of course, therein lies the only real problem with cupcakes; their rather diminutive size. Thankfully with this gigantic Giant Cupcake Tin any shortage of cake can now be quickly rectified. Just like making normal sized cupcakes you make the mix and bung it in the oven, but of course when you remove this cupcake instead of being able to lose it behind a tea cup you'll be able to see this giant cupcake from the Moon! Ok, maybe that's exaggerating slightly, but at a massive 38cm tall you certainly won't misplace it anywhere.

This is a great gift for all cake lovers, and let's face it, who doesn't like cake!?
Was £29.95
Now £24.95