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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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Saturday, 29 June 2013

five top games in the garden

So it's officially summer (even if the weather disagrees) and it's now time to get the sun cream out and start enjoying the sunshine!

So here's a list of 5 fun, messy and exciting things to do in the garden-

1) water pistol- what more fun than soaking your friends, parents or siblings with water! Especially on a really hot day!
2) bubble rocket - this has to be one of coolest toys in the shop...show off at a barbecue, party or infront of your friends
3) mega ball- you can use this at the beach or in your back garden. It's soft and light which makes it perfect to throw around!
4) water bombs- these can also be used with your water pistol. A great way to soak each other and cool down in the heat
5- cricket set- a perfect time to play sports and get yourself in to teams. Cricket is time wasting, fun and perfect when the weather is nice and you have lots of space to run around. You can use it on the beach, in a field or just in your garden.

I hope you enjoy the sunshine, whether it be frequent or very rare... Let's just hope we're in for a good summer here in Britain!

Butterfly Face Painting Tutorial

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to paint a realistic and beautiful butterfly with face paints.
The material and tools are very important, you'll need to visit a good art shop and invest in a collection of good brushes. You will need 1 medium round sable (about a size 6), 1 small round synthetic water colour brush (size 2) and 1 long haired acrylic Rigger brush (any size, smaller the better). Along with a set of face paints you will also want to have some cosmetic glitter, a couple of water pots, a mirror and some face wipes.
The first step is to paint a white background for the butterfly, this helps brighten the overlaying colours, using the large sable brush. Keep your paint  fairly thick and ensure the wings are not touching each other. Then begin to build up the layers of colour, beginning with the palest. Switch to the smaller brush for the final red details.
Now use the rigger brush to put on the fine details in black. First the body and antenna, then the viens in the wings. This is done by putting a black edge on the wing tip with the med No. 2 round, then use the rigger (with no paint) to drag the paint down into the wing. The shakier your hand the better.

Finish it off with some swirls, dots and glitter. With a little practice these can be done in just a minute or two and you can cover a party with butterflies within half an hour or so!

Many thanks to my beautiful and brilliant model Beth x x

Tips for Success

When you are doing this at a children's birthday party the kids will often cluster round you or queue up, this is not ideal for you and it can take an hour to do everyone and that will mean they spend most of the party in a queue rather than running around playing. You can manage the flow of children and ensure you get a break if you need to by having a list for the children to write their names on and then call them out in turn. If you are at a public event and there is a never ending flow of children with a queue that just keeps getting bigger then you will be needing a sign which can be hung on a child's back like a ruck sack which says 'I'm the last one today'

Health and Safety

 Never paint on irritated skin or eczema sufferers. Professional face painters are trained in ways to avoid the spread of germs and are insured in the unlikely event of an allergic reaction. If you are doing face painting for fun then you can cover yourself against most contagions simply by avoiding eyes, noses, mouths and hands - the areas which harbour germs! This design is specifically created with health and safety in mind. 1 in 100,000,000 can produce an allergic reaction, this is not your fault it is just bad luck but parents can become very upset about it, here's what to look out for. The child's skin will begin to itch, this will often cause them to scratch and smear the paint, this is a good early warning sign. If you see little ones with smeared faces, have a closer look at it to see if the skin has become red, inflamed or blotchy. If so, they might be having a reaction and a spoonful on Benylin cures 99.9% of these cases in minutes. The next thing to do is remove the paint but be very careful of baby wipes, they often contain all sorts of nasty preservatives and are not as PH neutral as you may think. Skin which has flared up will become even more sensitive than usual, the safest thing to use to remove the paint is a cool damp cotton cloth and tiny bit of baby shampoo. This advice comes from the Snazaroo safety guidelines website, visit it here for more information.

Next week I will share some easy quick and safe ideas for boys, what this space.......

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Marco's experience in Totnes

Here is Marco, these are my last days in Totnes. Here I have found a lot of friends all from different nations like South Arabia, Spain, Russia ecc... I had a really good time with them, I have improved my English (I think and hope).

I have been living with a fantastic hostfamily which is very kind with me and my friend Nicolo', they have 2 young children and I enjoyed a lot with them. The first week I studied in the Totnes language school which I found quite boring :) but after the first week I came here in the Toyshop where I worked for 3 weeks. I could understand how a shop works and I am happy with this job. Emily Adam and Jenny are always smiling so there is a good atmosphere.

Sometimes was hard for me to understand something because, in my opinion, English is difficult to understand but I tried and sometimes I understood a wrong thing and people saw me with strange eyes... but never mind I am here for learning. A lot of people especially teenager don't speak a lot of English because they are shy... but if you don't try you will never learn anything.... I am very happy with this opportunity and I would like to this again. See you.

Baby Toys

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Creating Art With Rubik's Cubes

Here at Toyday we love puzzles! The Rubik's Cube is usually seen as being one of the best puzzle games ever. 

The Ribik's Cube was invented in 1974 by Ernő Rubik. The Rubik's Cube - originally it was called 'Magic Cube' - was put on the toy market in 1980 and went on to win the German Game Of The Year special award for Best Puzzle. By 2009, 350 million Rubik's Cubes had been sold.

Many people use Rubik's Cubes for art. Pete Fecteau is an artist who used Rubik's Cubes to create different images. For one of his pieces, 'Dream Big', he used 4,242 Rubik's Cubes which, in total, measured in at 5.8m x 2.6m x 5.7cm and weighing around 1000 pounds. It took him around 40 hours to create and five and a half hours to install it here, even with 6 helpers.

His next big idea is for a 8,484 cube image of Albert Einstein as a tribute to him. Pete is currently waiting for a sponsor to make this idea a reality and he already has the design ready.

The largest Rubik's Cube sculpture is called 'Groovik's Cube' and is 30ft high. This huge piece of art was put together by a whole team of artists in Seattle for the US festival 'Burning Man'.

Many people have made different designs using Rubik's Cubes, here are some images of what people have created using Rubik's Cubes. 

Visit our website today to see all of our great puzzles, just click here

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was written by Eric Carle and published in 1969. The children's book is about caterpillar who eats its way through a wide variety of food before emerging as a butterfly. Amazingly, the book has sold 30 million copies worldwide.
The story highlights different life stages where transformations take place, such as- metamorphosis. 
I personally as a child just adored the book, especially my older brother. He would recite the story again and again because he knew it so well. 

In our Toyday shop we have the loveliest, Very Hungry Caterpillar wooden pull along for babies and toddlers that I wish myself and my siblings had at a young age! It's a perfect toy for children that know the story and the caterpillar's character.

Have a look on our website- www.toyday.co.uk

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Learning the Tin Whistle

Tin Whistle
I have just started to learn the Tin Whistle and I am finding it much harder than I expected to! As a child I had ear trouble and consequently never learned to play a musical instrument like the other kids. My singing voice was so bad I was asked to mime at the school concert so as not to let down the other choir members! I had corrective treatment when I was a teenager and I now enjoy almost normal hearing so I thought I'd attempt to master one of the many musical instruments we sell at Toyday.

I began with the mini accordion but the noise that I was making was scaring the seagulls outside, let alone the customers, so I decided instead to try the Xylophone. I had a bit more luck with this and after an hour or so I was competently playing the music to Tetris which goes like this:




I decided to up my game a bit and moved onto the Tin Whistle as I remember my class mates having recorder lessons in primary school. I also remember my father throwing mine on the fire so I proceeded with caution, not wanting to frighten any passers by. The scales and fingering technique are slightly different to the Recorder so I spent a few minutes getting used to the feel of it. I then set about playing Tetris again as I have now memorised this tune and found it was way too hard to get the tempo right. I searched on line for more music for the Tin Whistle and found a number of resources. I eventually settled on Annie's Song by John Denver because it has a nice easy tempo and it is after all my song (I'm Annie, and I'm ok thanks Michael).

Annie's Song

D    D  C   B  D  C
You fill up my senses
B     B B     C D  A   F
Like a night in the forest
A     A   A     B     C  D       C
Like the mountains in spring time
B      B B     C D   E
 Like a walk in the rain
D     D D     C  B   D   C
Like a storm in the desert
B     B B     C D    A   F
Like a sleepy blue ocean
A     A  B C   D   C
You fill up my senses
B        C  D  E D
Come fill me again

One of the important things to know about playing the Tin Whistle is it plays in two keys, depending on how hard you blow down it. Annie's song is in high D which is the key you get if you blow hard, (not very hard, just like saying P or T) if you blow softly (this is more like breathing out than blowing) you get a C key which is softer.

I found it easy to get the right notes but the whistle had a slightly airy tone so I covered the air hole very slightly with a piece of sellotape, experimenting with this is a great way to create a clearer or more broken sound. This song is a great beginners tune because it requires some extreme fingering, I found it very difficult to get all 6 fingers covering the holes in time.

I accidentally discovered that if you keep your last 3 fingers over the holes the whole time, it makes no difference to the high notes, this makes it a lot easier to manipulate. I can now finger my way through some much more complicated songs. I am currently practicing 'Take On Me' by A-Ha, however I cannot find a tin whistle fingering chart for this so I am relying on my ears to guide me to the right notes. So far I think it goes a little something like this;


But if anyone knows the right notes I'd very grateful if they could post them below for me.

As you can tell from my music selection I was a child of the 80's, but if your children are practicing the Tin Whistle today, here is a more timeless classic which your kids will love. Rather than a list of notes this is a finger chart, i.e. the 6 dots below each note show which holes on the Whistle to cover. Black = covered hole, white = open hole.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Discover The World With Our New Retro Range

Just arrived and totally new are some brilliant ideas for the explorer within.

Desk Top Globe - £11.99
We already stock a full sized globe but now we also have a desk top sized globe with a diameter of 15 cm. At only £11.99 it is not only a practical size but a practical price as well. A globe is a great gift for anyone with an interest in the world, travel or the planets and this one comes in a lovely vintage school room design box. You can even wrap it up with our world map wrapping paper so that your gift is completely themed.

World Map Gift Wrap - £1.25 per sheet
We have a brilliant new pair of green binoculars with an integrated compass and neck strap. They are the perfect binoculars for any little explorer take them together with our bug box and magnifying glass for an outside adventure.
Nature Trail Binoculars - £3.99

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Marco's favourite summer toys

hello everybody here is Marco again :) today is a very sunny day and it's unusual because there is always bad weather... with this beautiful day is like to be in Italy where now there are 37 degrees.. is very hot... Today I would like to tell you something about summer games :)
Here in Toyshop they sell all different type of games, from wooden to outdoor games. I like especially 3 games which I used to play when I was young in summer holidays.
The first one was the comical game of "who?" is for any number of players young and old, a game full of laughter caused by ridiculous questions and answers. We enjoyed a lot and had a good time while all the people all near us were laughing for our "beautiful" performances.
Game of Who

The second game is different... I played with a lot of planes, like this one, when I was outside with my friends, everyone had one.
Rubber Band Aeroplane
I liked the planes because they are easy to build and at the same time they can fly high. They are very cheap so I had a very big collection.
The last summer game for today is:
retro marbles 

Retro Marbles
every time I went to the beach I played marbles with my dad, we built a route with tunnels, jumps and holes to make it more fun. At the end of the construction we played and fortunately I always won :) This is a good game to play with a lot of people and with different marbles colour.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Global Smurfs Day - 22nd June 2013

On Saturday 22nd June it's Global Smurf Day, which is held in celebration of the birthday of Peyo the creator of the Smurfs and also the impending new Smurfs movie, which is released later this month.

Before reaching us on television and film screens, Smurfs first featured in comic books.  Like many children's cartoon and comic book characters they have inspired collections of figurines and toys that are always introduced to new generations. We also love Smurfs here at Toyday and you can purchase your very own little smurf figure from our website.

Last year, people all over the world showed their love for these pesky little blue creatures by dressing up like them.  Venues in various cities were full of people painted blue wearing white floppy hats and white trousers. In 2011, a new record was set in in Andalusia where the famous white town was painted
blue and there was the largest gathering of people dressed as Smurfs within a 24 hour period.

This year, some of the events lined up include festivals and celebrations, including Australia's Surfers Paradise which will become Smurfers Paradise for the day! There will be Smurfathons being ran around the world, a huge sing-along with Right Said Fred in London and in L.A the Smurfs will be making an appearance with people having the chance to play the Ubisoft video game and sample Menchie's Smurfberry frozen yogurt. Visit Instagram and search #GlobalSmurfsDay to see photos from the day.

The Smurfs 2, stars Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Katy Perry and is released in cinemas 31st July. In this sequel the evil wizard Gargamel creates some mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties to help him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. However, he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs, Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world's greatest sorcerer. It's up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to rescue her!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

All The Instruments A Budding Musician Could Possibly Need

Here at Toyday we sell a range of musical instruments the any child would love.

For the younger children we have a wooden xylophone. It is suitable for children 12months+. It is made up of 4 notes and each note is a different colour therefore helping the child learn its colour also.
Xylophone - £12.99

Next we have a small toy guitar. Made from wood, it has 6 strings made with metal and nylon and is 50cm long. The small size makes it perfect for young children 2years+.
Guitar - £18.99   

The accordion we sell is scaled down so that it is easier for children around 3 years+ to play.
Accordion - £22.99

Last we have the traditional harmonica. Made from all metal so that it is hard wearing and makes good sounds. Suitable for both adults and children around 2years+.
Harmonica - £4.99

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Our Marvelous Mobiles

Today I've had three customers, all after another, admiring our different selection of wooden mobiles for their children/nieces/grandchildren. I've noticed how popular they are, especially for couples setting up bedrooms before the baby is due. It adds such a sweet quality to a room whether it's for a girl or a boy. They remind me a lot of my childhood in which I would stare for hours at the wooden one above my bed. 

Our mobiles are made out of wood and are very multi-coloured, giving them a very vintage and traditional look!
 I also love our different mobile themes such as, a princess mobile, farm mobile and my most favourite mobile- the noah's ark mobile.

We also have individual birds with flapping wings such as, seagulls and parrots.

Check out all of our mobiles on our Toyday website- www.toyday.co.uk

Friday, 14 June 2013

Father's day

Hi here Marco again :) Saturday 16 of June is the father's day here in England... every father will recive a present from his family.. in toyday toyshop you can find a lot of things for him, a lot of old toys that he would like... I was thinking to make a present to my "new" father here in Totnes.
He said to me that he likes playing table tennis so here in Toyday they sell a set for playing everyday to improve your strength, fitness and skill. For me this is a good idea because whenever you want you can take the set and play. It' easy to bring with you and with this he will be a famous table tennis player :)

Table Tennis Game

The game of tabletop tennis, like many others was invented by the British. During the 1800s gentleman would regularly retire to the smoking room after dining for a brandy and an impromptu game of tabletop tennis. Using nothing more than a line of hardbacks as a net and cigar boxes as bats they would "crack" champagne corks to and fro across a large tabletop. From these simple beginnings evolved the sport that we see played by today's modern sporting stars in tournaments across the globe.
A game shall be won by the player first scoring eleven points unless both players score ten points, when the game shall be won by the first player subsequently gaining a lead two points. A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.
In my opinion table tennis is one of the best sports because it is easy to play but and at the same time you can enjoy a lot. You can also play doubles with a lot of friends.
Table tennis set is a good present..... I think :)

Fun Father's Day GIft Ideas

One of the best parts of parenthood for my father, was the excuse it gave him to indulge me in the toys he wished he'd had as a child. He thought that his darling daughter deserved a scalextric set for her 3rd birthday,so if I was being fair to him I'd get him a baby doll this fathers day.

Melissa and Doug Jenna 12" Doll Sweet Smelling Soft Cuddly - Click Image to Close

But I'm not that mean, so I think I'll try and get him something nostalgic from our traditional range of toys. My dad grew up on rations in post war London and had the kind of toys that his father could make for him out of wood.

Throughout my childhood a game of cards or dice was a daily reward for finishing my homework and when I was old enough we moved onto Chess. I grew up thinking I was an excellent Chess player but once I played a game against my friend Alex and realised that Dad had been letting me win just to make me happy. Looking back I wonder how many other games he tactically lost.

So how do I  find a game that will bring back his childhood memories just as a scalextric set does for me?
Well, I did some research and discovered that the most popular toys of the 50's were train sets and other imaginative play toys. There is some wonderful things in this picture of an old Woolworths toy department, many of which are still sold in Toyday today.
Boys Toys from Woolworth's in 1951, with clockwork trainsets the latest craze
Using this as my guide I have decided to get my dad one of the wind up tin toys in our range of collectables
In his youth, before he became a responsible father, my dad was into racing. Specifically he was a racing cyclist, but I'm sure that was because he was a working class lad who couldn't afford a Bugatti, if money was no object I'm pretty sure my dad would have loved to have driven one of these so I think I will buy him a more affordable version


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Marco's favourite toys

Hellooo, my name is Marco and I usually live in Italy but I am here for a European project called Leonardo da Vinci. I arrived in Totnes one week ago and I studied in the Totnes language school where I improved my English with excellent teachers.
For the next 3 weeks I will work here in the TOYDAY toyshop. I started yesterday and I have found this very exciting because you are in contact with people, you can improve your English and at the same time I am working in a very pretty shop that makes me child again.
Here I found a lot of toys which I played while I was young.

The yoyo: each boys had one, and if you had not one you would ask to your mum to buy one. With the yoyo you can do a lot of tricks and catch the attention of people. I used to play when I was 5 and I was very good with that. 

The pinball games: it is maybe my favourite game, it is very small and you can bring with you. When I had only five minutes I used to play with the pinball. Now there are a lot of different types of this game like in the computer or in the playstation but for me the best one is this:

The jumping popper: I had a lot of this jumping poppers because are very cheap and at the same time you enjoy a lot, usually my grandma gave me one each time she went to my house like a present.

Glitter Jumping Popper
Glitter Jumping Popper - 50p

The catapult: hahah a lot of memories. I used to play the catapult with my cousin.. we had a lot of competitions: we shooted to the bottles and the winner was always him... but never mind it is one of my favourite games.

The cap gun: If you liked films with cowboys and you liked their guns you would have a gun like this. I used to bring my gun when I was with my friends and I received a lot of attentions because none of my friends had one :)

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