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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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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Toyday's Gift Wrap & Delivery Service

Let us wrap and deliver your gift to a UK address for just £5!

We now offer a great value gift wrapping service for all of our toys, which you can have sent directly to your recipient.

Simply choose the gender that the present is for, the celebration style and the toy you would like gift wrapped.

The present will be wrapped in the appropriate gift wrapp ing paper, tagged with your message and finished with curled ribbons. Order online at www.toyday.co.uk or pop into one of the shops.

Next Day & International delivery also available. Email us at customerservice@toyday.co.uk or visit www.toyday.co.uk for more information and prices.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Can a Toy Gun Hurt?

Having just read a very anti toy guns blog I felt the need to write my own.

Whether we like it or not children will find out about guns and weapons from the TV, Video games, books, fairy tales, the list goes on. For them it is as simple as goodies and baddies and the weapon of choice can be as simple as fingers. We learn many things from play and the difference between imaginary and reality is an important lesson.

By not letting a child have a toy weapon are we making them want one more? Well I guess that depends on the child and like with all parenting there is no rule book you have to do whats right for you and your child.

Personally I think whether we choose to let our children play with toy guns or not, the important part is educating them about the harm they can do. They will not turn in to sadistic serial killers just because they played with a toy gun as a child. To behave responsibly is something we teach them.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

I spy with my little Eye

It was my day off on Monday and I joined my daughter, granddaughter and grandson for a walk around Siblyback lake, our local reservoir.

Anyone who knows Siblyback will know that it is a cold place to be and even in the summer there is a chill out there with it being so high up on top of the moors.

My granddaughter, 7, thought it was going to be too cold and sitting watching television on the settee was a better option. My grandson, 5 who was trying to persuade her it would be fun remembered some binoculars they had both been given by a relative at Christmas and he wanted to try them. This did the trick and before long we were parked and donning coats, scarfs and gloves for the trek around the lake.

It seemed a good idea to play the old game that everyone must remember called 'I Spy'. I must admit trying to spot something that they could see about a mile away wasn't easy and they didn't always know what letter it began with and how silly was I because I didn't know water began with the letter ' T ' and geese with the letter 'Z' but it was great fun for all of us and surprising how a little pair of binoculars made them so happy and no one felt the cold.

There were also geese to look at, ducks and sheep and so much to see with binoculars and questions about everything that moved or didn't move. These were good binoculars and they also had a compass built in and when my grandson asked what it was for it seemed easiest to say it showed you which way you had come from and where you were going. After staring at it for a while and shaking it he asked me how did it know where he was going and what if he didn't want to go there.

Ok, so it needs a bit more explaining another time but I will wait until he is a bit older.

Another idea for him would be a telescope as I am sure he would enjoy this but trying to get my grandson to close one eye and look out the other is a challenge so its on his next present list!!

We had a brilliant day out and for the rest of the evening he wore his binoculars around the house often bumping in to things but we all agreed television is nowhere near as much fun..

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Air Drying Clay is fun whatever your age

It seems air drying clay is a craft idea that never grows old....

In this picture on the left is a pot I made at school when I was about 7 or 8, I think we were studying Aztecs or something, it's around 23 years old now. The pot on the right is one I made with Blake when he was 2. Both are made with air drying clay. Mine was done by rolling the clay into long worm and then spiraling it around into a pot. We made Blake's by pushing the clay around a small plastic pot. He then pushed pasta and lentils into it to decorate it.

This Candle holder was made by Blake at preschool the other day, he is 4 now. They have pressed clay around a tea lights for Chinese new year. We love it because it reminds us of the candle holders we saw on holiday in Iceland. May have to have a go at making a ruff and ready candle holder myself.

We made some beads by rolling balls and piercing them with a skewer.
When they were dry we painted them with some shiny pink paint that we had left over after doing one of our make your own fairy puppet kits. Blake likes to make pretty things for Mummy. I just need to thread them onto some ribbon now.

The Aliens in the bottom picture I started to make when we were playing with the clay and Blake loved them so much he stopped whatever he was making to help me. He dug the googley eye out of the cupboard and just pressed it into the clay. These again are painted with some left over poster paint from a craft kit.

Get yourself some air dry clay and see what you can come up with.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

How To Play Pairs on Wheels

In the shop I often have people come in and ask for Children's card games. A popular choice, especially for boys, is Pairs on Wheels. The rules are as follows:

The aim of the game is to gather as many pairs as you can. Any player can start with the others following playing in a clockwise order. Taking it in turns, each player turns over two cards. If they turn over two matching cards then they take them and continue by turning over two more. If they turn over two different cards then they are turned face down in the same spot. It is then the next players turn. The game continues like this until all the cards on the table have been used. The winner is the player with the most pairs.

This game is perfect for children over 4 years and 2 or more people can play.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

History of the spinning top - How does the spinning top work?

I received a lovely letter this morning from the year 1 pupils at Highters Heath Community School in Birmingham, that are currently studying toys from the past. When I opened the letter, it contained many letters mainly asking how a spinning top works, and does the spinning top contain a spring?

In an attempt to settle these curious minds, let me tell you a little bit about the history of the spinning top, and then how a spinning top works.

The History of the Spinning Top
The spinning top has been in existence for thousands of years. Like many traditional toys, such as marbles, the earliest spinning tops are made from clay, and were discovered in the Middle East as early as 3500 BC, although it is likely that children would have been spinning small rocks or acorns long before. Later wooden spinning tops emerged in around 2000 BC, and early spinning tops made from bone have been found in Europe.  These spinning tops would have been much simpler than many tops found in old fashioned toy shops today, and would have been spun with a twist of the finger.

Different types of Spinning Tops
Twirling top - A twirling top is spun by manually twisting the crown. These were the first type of spinning top to be made, yet they are still popular today as pocket money toys, or in games.

Whip top - A whip top is set into motion and kept spinning by whipping it with a whip. A common toy in the Victorian era, along with the wooden hoop.

Throwing top - A throwing top has a string wrapped around its body which is attached to a stick. When the top is thrown causing the string to be rapidly released from its body, the top spins.

Supported top – A spinning top which is spun with a string while the top is held upright by a support. The gyroscope would be an example of a supported top.

Pump top - A pump top has a crown that is pushed down or pumped several times to create the spin. Usually made from metal, these spinning tops contain a twisted metal rod and a spring inside which make the top spin. Pump tops often have small holes in the sides which cause them to hum, which means they are also known as humming tops.

How a Spinning Top works
Once a top is set spinning, it tends to keep upright, no matter what happens. Given that it is in fact balanced on a very small, sharp point, this may seem surprising. No way will you ever get a pencil to stand upright like that. Why should this be? It is because of what is known as the “Gyroscopic Effect”, which combines the universal laws of inertia (& momentum), friction and gravity, and the transference of potential to kinetic energy.

How a Spinning Top works - In Simple Terms
For the sake of the year 1 students above who asked me this question, I shall attempt to explain the gyroscopic effect in simple terms: -

When  the top is spun, imagine it spinning very slowly, from the side. When the energy is on the right side, the top is heavier that side and tries to fall over, but before it does, the weight has moved to the left side, trying to make it fall that way, so the top stays upright while it spins. Eventually friction between the top and the table make the top spin slower, and if you watch it carefully you will see it wobble from left to right before it falls over and stops.

If you don't understand, or want to know more - Ask your teacher!

Make your own Spinning Top
Why not make your own simple spinning top?
All you need is a piece of card, and a pencil to make your own spinning top.  Simply cut out a circle from the card, and carefully push a pencil through the middle. You could colour the top in bright colours, and then race it against your friends to see who's top spins for the longest.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Half Term Holiday

At last it feels that we are over the lull after Christmas and the New Year and January was the usual quiet time here in Looe but most of the schools break up on Friday for half term.

It will be lovely to see the town busy again and it will feel as if it is the start of the season for us.

One of the main roads into Looe was going to be closed for 3 months from January for pipe laying for a new housing development just on the outskirts of the town but there has been a change of plans after consultation with the Looe shop keepers and residents and the road will stay open to every ones relief.

It was the last thing the town needed with the expected influx of visitors coming here for the holiday week and all we can hope for now is that the weather remains fine and dry which is how it was this morning when I took these photographs.

Here's hoping for a busy week and if you are in Looe on holiday or just visiting for the day than do pop in and as usual you will find a welcome in the shop.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Totnes Events in February

February looks set to be quite a chilly month, but there seem to be some good events in and around Totnes this month to take your mind off the cold and keep you busy.

Saturday 4th February

Story telling hour at Totnes Library 11am - 12noon. Bring your favourite story or poem to read.

Saturday 11th February

South Devon Railway Totnes to Buckfastleigh Steam Trains. Take a trip on the steam railway this February Half Term. Saturday February 11th 2012 - Sunday February 26th 2012

Sunday 12th February

Daniel Brazier is at The Shops in Dartington creating fun and mayhem with his comedy juggling show.

Saturday 18th February

The Saturday Creative Club (free taster session) for Children aged 5 and up. Painting, dancing, crafts, puppetry, drawing, sculpture, junk modelling, writing. Saturdays 10am-12 noon. At Bridgetown Community Hall. £8 per session, 3 sessions for £20. To book call 01803 862821 or email: emma@emmacapper.co.uk

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Solar System

At one of the local schools they are having a project involving the Solar System so I have been asked about some of the items we stock on that line.

One of them is a Solar System Mobile Making Kit which contains a complete set of Solar system planets, a glow paint stick, stencils for applying the glow paint and the complete hanging structure along with detailed assembly instructions and loads of fun Solar System Facts.

When it is assembled, hang it from the ceiling and watch it glow in the dark when the lights are out.

There is also our Solar System Planetarium Model which when assembled represents the planets within the solar system and their orbits. This also comes complete with glow in the dark paint for special effects and an informative wall chart of the Solar System.

Still on the same subject, I would be interested in making these next two items myself and seeing how they work.

One is a Green Science Solar Rover kit. A excellent little kit where the instructions and parts are enclosed to enable you to build a solar powered car out of a drinks can and learn about solar energy while recycling.

The other is a Green Solar Science Kit which has all you need inside to build a small solar oven and a solar powered water heater which at the same time gives you the chance to learn about solar energy.

All these kits are great educational items and hopefully give an insight to our Solar System and Solar Energy.

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