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Welcome to toys-toys-toys.co.uk, the official toyday blog where you will find craft projects to make, local news from our shops, toy reviews, interesting toy facts, games and other toy news.

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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Catching Bugs


Someone has just told me about another use for our fishing nets. They could be used like a sweeping net to collect bugs for examining. We think it would be great fun to get the little ones out running through the long grass in a nearby field to see what they can find. The correct action would be to gently sweep the net from side to side to collect the bugs, hence the name sweep net. Hopefully we'll catch some interesting suspects by surprise and then pop them into our bug viewer to have a closer look through the magnifying lenses. If you don't have a bug box any old jar will do, with a few air holes. Once we've had our fun and maybe even taken a few pictures, we'll pop the creatures back.

Here in Looe our fishing nets get used for crabbing or rock pooling. It's a great spot for catching crabs on the Looe river. With one crab line and an hour to spare we managed to catch 28 little crabs. All you need is a bucket, crab line and some bait and we happen to sell all three for £3. If your in Looe it's a must do activity for the kids while you sit and relax by the river.

At granddad's house (known as Granfa) he has a lovely pond. This is great for pond dipping as he has no fish, it's completely left to let nature run it's course. It is teaming with life such as water boatman, pond skaters and newts. As kids we would collect up some tadpoles and watch as they gradually turn into frogs. We have also floated many a boat across his pond often with the assistance of a long stick to prod it out of a patch off Lily pad's.

I have used a fishing net in water many times but I have never tried sweeping so I'm looking forward to seeing what we find.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

How to play Shut the Box


Shut the Box is a traditional game and can be played by one or more players. It is usually played with tiles numbered from one to nine, although there are variations with numbers up to twelve, and two dice. Although the origin of the game is a little unclear there are references going back to roughly the 12th century in Europe and it is believed that is was being played in England in the middle of the last century.

In recent times this game has become very popular again and is a very good mathematical game for teaching children basic numeracy and improve counting skills.

At the start of the game all the numbers are turned up and are facing you. The first player throws the two dice and the numbers thrown are added up and a combination of tiles equalling that number are turned over. So for an example if the dice thrown are showing a 3 and a 6 then the following numbers could be turned down, 9, 1 and 8, 2 and 7 and so on. If the remaining numbers uncovered do not total more than 6 then only one dice is used.

The player carries on throwing the dice until he unable to turn down any more numbers and then his total of the remaining numbers still standing are added, so if he had a 1, 3, and 4 left his score would be 134 and the next player starts his turn. You can play an agreed number of rounds and the winner being the one with the lowest total at the end of play. We now have a smaller travel shut the box version of this game which is great for occupying little minds on long car journeys and a handy addition to take on any holidays.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Knitting Workshop at Totnes Library

With knitting becoming a hobby more than a necessary skill, more and more children are taking an interest in the technique. Our French Knitting Doll is as popular now as it was when it was first made and our Knitting Art Kit is a great way for Children to get to grips with the beginning stages of knitting.

Totnes Library is hosting a free knitting workshop for people to exchange tips, learn new techniques and make new friends. Mainly aimed for children but teens and adults are welcome to come along and join in.

Wednesday 1st June, from 11 - 12.30 you can turn your knitting into a bag, a purse or a scarf - anything you choose! If you are interesting then please collect a ticket from the library as there are a limited number of places.

This is a fun way for the skill to be passed from generation to generation - something not to be missed!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Toyday Building Bricks Bundle Competition

Since the expiry of the LEGO Groups patented design of their world famous LEGO® bricks in 1988, there have been many manufacturers that have started producing building LEGO® compatiable bricks, which are the same size and interlock with all original LEGO® sets.

We are pleased to announce that we now supply both the Cobi and the M.Y range of building blocks, which we believe represents the best  quality and value for money LEGO® compatiable sets out there.

Our new range of building bricks start from just £3.99, which will buy you a cobi tractor and trailer or an M.Y 56 pce Digger or dumper truck to build. Our mid-range sets include a police helicopter or fire engine for under a fiver, right up to our Creative Power 1000 piece brick set which includes a storage tub to keep all the pieces in, and would make a very exiting present for any child for just £49.99.
To celebrate the launch of our LEGO® compatible building bricks, we are giving away a bundle of M.Y building blocks to the lucky winner of our competition.

PRIZES

The prize bundle consists of:
  • 1 x 339 pc Space Explorer Building Bricks Set
  • 1 x 129 pc Police Helicopter Building Brick Set
  • 1 x 56 pc Construction Building Bricks Set

HOW TO ENTER
All you need to do to enter is click on the link below to visit our facebook page:
Toyday Facebook Page and then click the button on that page.



Don't worry if you are already a fan, you will automatically be entered into the competition.

The winner will be selected at random from our facebook fans on Thursday 14th July 2011, just in time to keep the happy winner busy over the school holidays.

Remember: You've got to be in it to win it! - Good luck!

Mr Grasshead


Just a little up date on how our Mr Grasshead in the Totnes shop window is getting on.

It's been a week and a half now since I started off the Mr Grasshead and he is doing well, despite his lack of water. I keep forgetting to water the little fella but I've not killed him yet. Comically he doesn't seem to have a forehead, his hair is growing right from his eyes and over his head. Quite thin on top at the moment but I will try and water him more frequently and we should see a fuller head of hair next week. I'll keep you posted. Can't wait to give him his first hair cut!!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Gardening time in Looe

Well we seem to of been waiting a long time but spring is well and truly here in Looe and this month we have a window display of some ideas for you to introduce your children to having fun in the garden. My father was a very enthusiastic gardener and I was brought up with having a large garden but unfortunately gardens seem to be making way for driveways and patio's but there is a comeback with a huge increase in the number of garden allotments becoming available all through the country.

A must have for any little gardener is a good sturdy wheelbarrow and our metal one will have no problem coping with heavy loads. In the wheelbarrow are a pair of Monster Feet, which can be used as a pair of stilts but as any child will know they make good flower pots! No gardener would be complete without a metal watering can and we have a good quality of small garden tools which are perfect for the garden or can be equally as useful on the beach.

Now there is no need to go down to the woods to find the teddy bears having a picnic because we have a range of tea sets that would delight any child and when its break time from the garden let them make you a nice cup of tea and of course pour an extra one for teddy.

If they still have the energy after a day in the garden them let them tire themselves out with our junior space hopper, which comes in a variety of colours and if you feel left out in the excitement then we also do an adult sized one but watch the bedding plants!

Whilst in the garden keep an eye out for our little feathered friends as we put food out for them in the winter but its also good to to do this through the year and water too if possible. If you want to listen to the chirping of birds in your house you cant help but enjoy the little singing bird cage we do and there is no mess or vet fees. Just wind him up and he chirps merrily and bobs up and down. I hope this gives you some ideas and that you have some fun with your children in the garden and outdoors.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Bag a bargain with our clearance lines on ebay

Have you ever wondered how all the toys in our shops are always in pristine condition? Never a battered box or split packaging?

Well things do arrive damaged or tatty from time to time, but these products never make in into our shops because they have to be 100% perfect to sit on our shelves!

So these items all go into a big brown box and until we would forget about them altogether!... Until now, where we have decided to let them go to the highest bidder on ebay.





All of our auctions start on a 99p with no reserve auction, with fair postage, and we are happy to sell them for that, so long as we know they are going to a good home.

Most of the toys are brand new and just have a battered box, or split bag, others are ex shop-demos that may need a dusting off, and others may need a spot of glue and a little bit of tlc.

Just visit our ebay listings and read the description carefully to find out why they ended up in the big brown box. There are some real bargains to be had, and the auction clock is ticking.

Why not add toyday_clearance to your list of favourite sellers, and be notified when a new bargain is up for grabs.

In the Garden in Totnes


Totnes shop window taking on this months 'In the garden' theme.

With the growing season upon us we need to get out in the garden and we have a lovely selection of toys for the children to join in the fun.

In the top picture you will see the whole window and then in the next picture you can just see a glimpse of a few games for the garden such as boules and cricket as well as some creative idea's.

How about having a go at pressing some flowers, with the gardeners permission of course, we don't want you pulling up mummy's favourite flowers. Another great idea is the paint your own bird house which you could decorate how ever you choose and then hang up in the garden. Also in this picture is our new wheelbarrow set, a bargin at just £7.99 and our beautiful wooden horse swing for little ones.

The bottom picture has some classic metal garden tools for little hands and an always popular addition to the garden, a little wooden windmill perfect for decorating flower beds and plant pots. I'll have to take another picture of this section of the window again very soon as we are actually having a go at growing a Mr Grasshead. He has a few small shoots but you can't really tell yet.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

ABC Cubes feature on the Hotel Inspector - Update

Back in April we told you that our stacking ABC cubes our due to feature on Channel 5's Hotel Inspector. The people at Channel 5 have kindly sent us some pictures of the ABC Cubes in place.

In this episode, the family-owned Merlin Court Hotel in Ilfracombe, Devon is in a financial crisis, with their future under threat with rising debts and fast decreasing occupancy rates. Alex Polizzi steps in to try and reverse these problems and turn their Hotel into a happily run family business.

To watch this episode, tune into Channel 5 on Monday 16th May at 9pm!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Lost And Found At Dartington Barn Cinema

Dartington Barn Cinema Presents....

Lost and Found
presented by Travelling Light and Polka Theatre

by Oliver Jeffers

Saturday 21 May
11.30am & 2pm, Barn Theatre

Once there was a boy
and one day he found a penguin at his door…

He didn’t know where it came from or who it belonged to. The penguin looked sad and the boy thought it must be lost. So he decided to help it find its way home, even if that meant rowing all the way to the South Pole.

Travelling Light teams up with Polka Children’s Theatre to create an enchanting new show for children aged 3 to 7. Based on the award-winning book by the popular author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found is a heart-warming tale of adventure, bravery, and true love.

“Delightful.. appealing.. children’s theatre at its strongest” -Whatsonstage.com

Lost and Found was previously a piture book and is the first to be made into animation.

Lost and Found is available in paperback and hardback as well as the animated version of the story on DVD produced by the BBC.

Oliver Jeffers has skillfully designed this book to appeal to the vivid imaginations of children all over. Using a combination of a simple, yet touching storyline that is brought to life with his artistic visualisation, creates a storybook that defines how the traditional medium of print can still be exciting and entertaining for both the young and of the aged.

Oliver Jeffers has also wrote other books so check out his website if you want to look - http://www.oliverjeffers.com/shop/book01.html

The Dartington Barn Cinema...

An Independent Cinema...

The Barn Cinema is a independent cinema situated in a renovated 14th century barn, that be found in the beatiful grounds of Dartington Hall estate near Totnes.

The Barn runs a wide ranging film programmes,that includes independent arthouse, world and mainstream cinema, seven days a week.

To see the list of films Click Here.

They also have a children matinee programme (where children must be accompanied by an adult) on saterday afternoons.Tickets for our children's matinées are only £3.00 in January





Monday, 9 May 2011

Growing Instructions For Venus Fly Trap




Grow Your Own Venus Fly Trap

Sowing instructions:
Place compost tablet in 30ml warm water to produce 60cc of potting compost.
Fill pot with compost.

Sprinkle seeds on surface of soil and gently firm down.

Place pot in small saucer of water, cover loosely with clear plastic bag and place in warm (20°c) bright position avoiding direct sunlight.

When first seedlings appear (4-6 weeks), remove bag and maintain water in saucer (do not water for the top).

When young plants large enough to handle transplant to larger pots.


Here's what your venus fly trap plants should look like once they have grown up, eager and willing to catch it's next victim!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Fairytale Jigsaw Puzzle to feature on Coronation Street

Next month, Britain's longest running Television soap opera, Coronation Street is to feature one of our products!

To be aired on ITV1 on Monday 6th June, our colourful Fairytale Jigsaw Puzzle will be on-screen in the second episode of the evening at 8.30pm.

It will feature in a scene that's set in the back of the residents local, Rovers Return. Steve McDonald is with his Daughter, Amy, waiting for Becky to arrive. Amy is trying to complete the puzzle and tells Steve she is having trouble with the sky. Becky then arrives and tells Amy "The harder it is, the better it feels when you get it right."

If you miss it the first time, it's to feature again in a later scene where Becky and Steve have a heart-to-heart.

This is one of our most exciting "on the TV" features, as every episode of Coronation Steet is watched by millions.

Keep a lookout and let us know if you manage to spot it.

Friday, 6 May 2011

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" - Anon.
Or girl. There is a lot more to this quote than we may first think. Throughout our childhood, the experiences and lessons we learn from playing have a vital role in our adult life.
 "It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them." - Leo Buscaglia, Author
Researchers have found that a child who doesn't engage in play, has a 20-30% smaller brain than others and can also experience loneliness, downheartedness, unjoyfulness, and weakness.

Children that don't play are often unable to be social and play with friends, have low self-confidence, and suffer from shyness which can continue in later life.

The Importance of Play
It is through play that children develop essential life skills. They learn how to interact with their peers and adults, how to choose friends and enemies, they learn how to run around, play team games and sports, they learn to be creative, to adapt and develop new skills, and they learn a whole range of emotions.

It has been said that children who are encouraged to express themselves freely through play are more able to adapt and learn new skills and perform better at school.

Play allows young children to be "in charge"
In their everyday lives, they're small and powerless, always being told what to do, and how to do it. When they are with their friends, without an adult around, they're literally running the show!

Play helps children learn about the world in which they live

Children love to investigate and discover, test their theories, explore cause and effect, societal roles and family values. Such is the importance of play, that there's virtually no area of life about which it can't teach a child something.

Play builds self-esteem
Children will often play at something they know they can do well, at which they can be successful, which makes them feel a sense of achievement and builds up their self-esteem.

Play builds social skills
Children first practice their interactive skills by playing with inanimate objects, like cuddly toys, and then build on this foundation later, playing with other children as they learn to share, take turns, assert themselves and begin to empathise with others. Research also shows that children whose parents play with them ultimately develop superior social skills.

Play helps children to work out their feelings
The importance of dealing with difficult or unpleasant emotions is immense. A child who's worried about going to the doctors for his jabs, for example, may deal with the anxiety by setting up a doctors clinic for his teddy bears.

Play helps with language development
Play encourages children to communicate. Think of the vast number of words a toddler uses whilst playing, many of them repeatedly, enhancing their language skills.

Play allows children to develop into maturing adults
A child can pretend to be all sorts of things in play - a doctor, a train driver, a parent, all valuable life lessons.
Don't forget the importance of stimulating your child's creativity and imagination; from making a birthday card, building a sandcastle, taking an order in their imaginary restaurant to dressing up as a swamp monster, a king or queen - these all allow children to stretch the limits of their world and experience the fun in make-believe, which enhances their creative ability which will prove to be an invaluable skill as an adult.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." - Plato, Greek philosopher

How To Play Solitaire...

Peg Solitaire is a game board that has 33 holes arranged in a pattern that will be shown below.
At the start of the game every hole, but the centre must be filled in with a peg.

Then the player will start jumping pegs. Any pegs that are jumped over will be removed, just as in draughts.


Vertical and horizontal jumps are allowed, but diagonal jumps are
not.

The goal of the game is to reach a position where only one peg remains, and that peg will be the one in the centre








How To Play...


1 Player...


Set Up: Place all the pegs on the board and remove the centre one.


You now have to jump one peg over the another, one at the time, making sure to remove peg that you have jumped over from the board each time.


As you know you can
only jump over a peg vertically and horizontally, and they have to be in the space right next to the jumping peg.

Once you can not jump over anymore pegs you have completed the game, count your remaining pegs and that will be your target to beat next time you play.


The aim of the game is to leave one peg in the centre of the board.


You can also vary the problem by choosing any other hole, you don't have end in the centre hole, you can have any, just leave it empty at the start and finish with that one peg in that hole.



Good Luck!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Fancy Dress Costumes


I am constantly adding new products to our range and am always on the lookout for exciting new products. Recently I added a whole new catogory to the website, Dressing Up. Within this new catogory we have a selection of fancy dress outfits for boys and girls as well as hats, face paints and other fancy dress accessories.

Our new range of fancy dress costumes for girls includes a pretty princess dress, a cheerleader outfit complete with pom poms, a mermaid costume and a ladybird dress with wings and a headband.

For boys we have a fireman's uniform, policeman costume, indian costume and even a medieval knight outfit. We still have our favourites like pirate or cowboy hats to complete your fancy dress costume.

Being a girl myself, I would have loved the Royal Princess dress (pictured). I'm pretty sure my friends and I would have had some fights over this one, had I been lucky enough to have a dress as pretty as this in my fancy dress box while I was growing up.

We have plenty of fancy dress ideas if your looking for inspiration of what to wear to a fancy dress party or some great classic costumes that every dressing up box should have.

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