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Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

Intelino Smart Train Review

16 September 2020

24 comments
Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

Intelino Train Track

We have always enjoyed playing with train sets. From when Big J was little we still have both the wooden and plastic Thomas the Tank Engine sets that come down from the loft from time to time. Of course times have moved on and although the classics are usually the best there is also room to add and innovate these days with technology. 


Intelino Smart Train

Intelino have developed the 'Smart Train' which looks to build on the classic set with a number of add-ons that can help children's development in STEM and in coding, which is really popular at the moment. 

Intelino Smart Train track pieces

The starter set itself contains the Train and Wagon, 20 pieces of track, 40 colour snaps and some stickers to decorate your train. You can also buy extra packs containing track, snaps and there is also an adaptor set that you can buy that will allow you to add the intelino set to your existing wooden train track. 

Intelino Train and Track

Intelino Train and Track

Set up is easy. The track pieces snap together easily and you have enough to create a reasonably complex track if you wish. The train requires a charge before first use, but does last a long time before needing charging again.  The snaps, which are the coding instructions for the train to follow snap into the track really easily and come out again just as easily. 

The Smart train offers two different ways to play. You can choose to use a device such as an Ipad to control everything, or you can use the snaps alone to code instructions onto the track that the train will then follow. its good to have an option that is device free to give some time away from the screen. 

track pieces

To use the Snaps, you first start with a white snap piece that tells the train an instruction is coming. Next you use a combination of colours from the instruction sheet to give instructions.  You can choose the speed from three settings, tell the train to go left, right or straight on at an intersection, make the train stop, make the train drop off the wagon, make the train make different sounds and also change the lighting on the train. You can even put the train into reverse.  Its amazing to see how the train reacts quickly to the snaps, especially when you put a sequence of instructions one after the other. 

ipad

Intelino Train Track

When in device mode, you need to download the intelino app, pair the train within the app via bluetooth and then you have a very simple control panel to control everything. You can control the same things as you can with snaps all at the touch of the screen. The added benefit of pairing with the app is the ability to design your own snap instructions. This gives an extra layer of complexity for the child, and we loved the idea of choosing our own instruction for the train. 

Intelino Train and Track

Intelino Train

Overall, the Intelino Smart Train is great on its own, or when combined with your existing wooden set.  We haven't added the wooden set in yet as we wanted to explore everything that the set can do before hand. Little J has really enjoyed playing with the set and creating his own tracks, and it's been good to see him using his imagination with the snaps and coding and develop an understanding of how programs work in a simple way. 

To read more visit Intelino or view the range to buy on Amazon.

If you would like to be in with the chance to win your very own Intelino Smart Train Starter Set then all you need to do is complete the entry form below. Make sure you pop back every day after 8:30pm and check the entry form for extra chances to win. 


John
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Nintendo in 2020 - The Fun Games

9 September 2020

14 comments
Disclosure - this post contains affiliate links. These add no extra cost to you but if you do buy through my link I may earn some pennies.

A selection of Wii GamesThis year both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing the next generation of Xbox and Playstation. What are Nintendo releasing? Nothing.  There are rumours of a Switch 2 or Switch Pro but nothing will be released in 2020.  Does that mean that Nintendo are ahead of the competition following the updated Switch Lite release late 2019, or are they behind?  Are they even in the same competition? 

I have owned Nintendo consoles since the early days of the Super NES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.  Right up to the later releases of the Wii, Wii U and more recently the Switch. That said, Nintendo have never been my favourite consoles and often left me thinking "how much better that could have been", although many people would disagree with me. 

However, there is one thing about Nintendo consoles that still ring true today, they have fun games. Fun games that I find myself returning to, to play with the family, especially on the original Wii.  There are so many game releases these days that look amazing, offer huge gameplay times and detailed storylines but actually miss out on the whole point of gaming.  In my opinion, the fun. 

That is why, these days, where we spend more time at home than anywhere else, I recommend you dust off your old Wii or Wii U console.  Boot it up and then play some of the games below to rediscover what fun gaming is all about. 

wii u and switch



 1 - Wii Party.  (Wii) An absolute classic and the reason why Wiimotes are still for sale on the likes of amazon. The original Wii Party has so many games modes to choose from, made up of mini games that are really fun to play for all ages and accessible to all.  We still play at least once a week and this game has been in out home since 2010. 

2 - Nintendo Land (WiiU).  Another mini game orientated fun set of games.  Makes use of the Wii U control pad to add an extra layer to the mini games.  The extra screen on the control pad is really useful for hide and seek type games. This is also played on regular basis here, originally released in 2012.

3 - Super Mario Bros. U (WiiU)  / Super Mario Bros U. Deluxe. (Switch).  There isnt much to be said about Super Mario Bros that hasn't been said a thousand times before. The game is much the same as it always has been - why change what isn't broken?

4 - Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii). Another game that has been with us for a while. In fact since 2007 around the time we first got a Wii console. This game offers a replayability that even the most up to date Fifa can't match.  Its frustrating and fun all at the same time. 

5 - Wii Sports (Wii). The original Wii sports came packaged with our Wii in 2006. Its another one that comes out time and time again.  The Tennis is the best of the games, although the bowling is a close second. If you are looking for some quick sports action that is really fun - then look no further. 

You can still pick up most of these games for a reasonable price on amazon, however if you are looking for a Wii or WiiU you may best looking in some car boot sales or charity shops as the prices on these are really high at the moment as they are no longer made. 

Whichever you choose, there is no doubt that Nintendo still have a recipe for a fun game, and its this quality that keeps gamers coming back for more, no matter the generation of console they are using. 

Do you still own any older devices? What are your fun game recommendations? 

John
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XBox Series X - Casual Gamers Guide

2 September 2020

12 comments
Xbox Controller



Most things are now known about the XBox Series X release, due before the end of 2020 and hopefully in time for Christmas this year.  There is a lot of focus on Power, Components and many comparisons being made between the new Xbox and a high powered PC, but what does this all mean for the casual gamer, and will the Series X be an upgrade that the casual gamer needs?

There is a lot of talk around 'Teraflops' - This is basically the ability of the processor that is central to the operation of the console.  To give you a basic idea - the Xbox One S has 1.4 Teraflops of processing power and the Series X will have 12.  That is a huge increase in processing power.  Whilst the Xbox One X was more powerful than the One S, it doesn't have the power that the Series X will have. 

So power aside, what else is new? Loading speeds are going to be much faster. I'm not sure how much this affects the casual gamer, as having been playing since the days of the ZX Spectrum, loading speeds now still impress me compared to a fifteen minute loading time from a tape.  But to some it will be important and a significant improvement.   This is mainly through use of an internal Solid State Drive, with the ability to buy expansion Solid State Plug in drives to hold anything above the already included 1 TB.  This is one area that I feel could get expensive to make the most of.  I currently have an 8TB External Drive plugged into the back of my Xbox to hold all my games and those I have downloaded from Game Pass.  With games likely to be significantly larger in size than previously, 1 TB wont last long. As an example Red Dead Redemption 2 on currently generation was nearly  89GB, that is almost a tenth of your storage gone with one game.  That said, existing drives should still work, but may not take advantage of the faster load times.   One idea could be to have the games you are currently playing installed to the Console and those on the 'waiting list' or played less on your external. 

What else do we know? The console isn't everything.  Microsoft are heavily promoting the game pass service, to the point where X - Cloud is included, and all Microsoft Studios games, including Halo Infinite, are going to be available to game pass subscribers from day one, without having to purchase the game itself.  Game Pass works as more of a rental service, where you pay a monthly fee and have access to the games on game pass at that time.  As new games arrive, older ones leave and you have an ever changing library of games to play.  These are all digital games, removing the need for physical discs, and also any chance of trade in you may once have had. 

Backwards compatibility is always important. The Series X will run all Xbox One games (except those that required the Kinect) and all games from Xbox 360 and Original Xbox that are already backwards compatible so thats good news from Microsoft. 

What we don't yet know at this point are prices. And if there are likely to be any variants of the console. Sony have opted for two PS5's at launch, one with a disc drive and one without so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft do the same.   Prices are expected to range from £400 to £500 for the console, however this is yet to be confirmed. 

Although I am a casual gamer, I am hoping to be able to buy a Series X at launch. The two things that appeal to me are the new games (including Halo Infinite) and the processing power of the console. 

What are your thoughts on the next generation of consoles? 

John
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Osmo Pizza Co. | Review

10 July 2020

10 comments
Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

boy playing a game on iPad

We have been using Osmo now for almost a year now and it has made our home schooling a little easier and definitely more fun. We currently have Osmo Detective Agency and Super Studio Mickey and Princesses but today we are reviewing our newest addition to our games, Pizza Co.

What is Pizza Co?
You have been left in charge of a pizzeria whilst the owner takes a well earned vacation. He hands you the keys to the shop and that's when the fun begins. Each day you will have a variety of customers come in to your pizzeria to purchase a pizza. It's up to you to make the perfect pizzas for each customer and create a 'buzz' about your shop.

osmo pizza co game

osmo pizza co game

How To Play
To play Pizza Co you need to have the Osmo Base, red reflector and a compatible device (iPad or Amazon tablet) which is not included. If you already own the items you are ready to play.

Place your pizza base close to your iPad with your ingredients to hand. Your customers will enter the shop and order a pizza. It's up to you to create the perfect pizza for each customer. They may order plain cheese pizza or a pizza with two mushrooms on and a pepper, it changes every time. Once you are happy that you have made their pizza you swipe the pizza to the right. This will push the pizza in to the oven on the screen. You will be able to tell from your customers reactions whether they are happy or not.

The customer will sit down and enjoy their pizza. They will let you know when they have finished and are ready to pay. To let them pay you turn the pizza base over and they will hand you their money. However sometimes the customers require change so you will have to work out how much change is owed and place their change on the upside down pizza base.

It may sound easy but believe me you will soon have a queue of customers waiting to be served and also waiting to pay. It's very fast paced however you can change the setting to fit the level of ability. There is also a junior mode too.

osmo pizza co game

What Is The Aim Of The Game?
The overall aim is to make your customers keep coming back for more and have lots of people talking about your pizzeria creating a 'buzz'

At the end of each day you will be given a review of your day including your income, how much you spent on ingredients, rent and also how much in tips you received. You will be then given your total net income which will go straight in to your bank and you will receive your buzz score. You can use the  money you have earned to upgrade your shop with new items such as a new oven or wall decorations.

osmo pizza co game

osmo pizza co game

Is It Educational?
Absolutely.  Osmo definitely makes learning fun and can help encourage the following..

Following Instructions - You need to follow the customers instructions to make their pizza.
Colour Recognition - Customers may ask for just green ingredients or red.
Sorting - Your ingredients and money have their own trays so they need to be sorted after each day ready for the next.
Patterns - Some customers may ask for a smiley face pizza or a sunflower.
Maths - Maths features throughout the game with addition and subtraction when customers are paying their bills and also fractions when a customer just wants half a pizza with ingredients on.

osmo pizza co game

What We Loved
Having physical items to use really enhances the play and makes it more realistic when playing. The pieces come in a compact storage box too which is very easy to store. The option to change the settings based on ability is a great feature. You can choose to just include notes when handling the money or for more complicated maths you can include coins too. The game can be played alone however I really enjoy playing with little J too. Sometimes I will be in charge of restocking the ingredients or handling the money whilst little J creates the pizzas.

What Could Improve
Not really an improvement just a recommendation but you need to be in a well lit room as sometimes the sensors don't pick up the pizza sliding in to the oven or the ingredients on the pizza.


For more information regarding Osmo and games available you can visit Osmo 

Pizza Co is definitely our favourite Osmo game so far. It's fun, fast paced and educational too without the kids realising.

Michelle
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MentalUP Brain Games For Children | Review and Giveaway

26 June 2020

7 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted an annual subscription for the purpose of this post plus prizes to giveaway. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated.

MentalUP App

We found out last week that little J won't be returning to school till September and I have to admit I did let out a sigh of relief when I heard the news. When lockdown began I always thought he would return in September and any earlier seemed too soon so I am definitely happy although our home schooling has hit a brick wall recently. Like most at the beginning we had a strict routine for home schooling with lots of ideas although now it's 14 weeks later and the excitement and motivation has definitely fizzled out. I have been looking for ideas on how to make home schooling fun again for little J and I came across MentalUp.

What is MentalUp?

MentalUP is an award-winning brain game app for children between 4 and 13 years.

MentalUP was developed by game designers and academics incorporating innovative teaching methods to offer dozens of mind games with suitable difficulty levels to improve cognitive skills in a gamified format to engage children.  MentalUP also receives a 5 star review from teachers on Educational App Store which is a discovery, review and recommendation platform for educational apps by professionally experienced teachers.

MentalUP believes the ability to solve problems and think in new creative ways is as important as literacy and numeracy skills and they have devised a series of brain games that expose learners to new types of problems and the different ways of thinking required to solve them
. The app addresses five key skills: Attention, Memory, Problem Solving (Logic), Visual and Verbal and includes sub-skills such as counting skills, and geometry.  Importantly it provides a safe space for children as it does not include any adverts, harmful content or in-app purchases.

MentalUP App

Getting Started

After downloading from the Google Play Store or App Stores you are ready to set up your account. First it will ask whether you want to set up an account using email, facebook or google. We chose email and had to enter our email address and a chosen password.

Next we had to select little J's grade, this means what year in school. I had to google this as it is American and we don't have 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades etc here. Little J is going in to year 3 in September so I chose 2nd Grade.

It will then ask what areas you would like your child to improve on. You can choose from
Memory
Attention
Logic
Visual
Language

I selected all but if you want to just focus on a specific area or two you can just highlight those areas.

That is it, we were ready to begin. The limited version of the app is free and you can have access to 20 free games however if you upgrade to premium you open up 120 games.

MentalUP App

Let's Begin

The app sets out a very colourful path which you follow completing games along the way. You click on number 1 to start and a random game will be selected and you will be given the instructions and rules for the game. They are brief and very easy to understand.

Once you have completed the first game you will be given a score out of 3 stars and also some MentalUp coins. These can be used to customise your character.

Next you move on to level 2 and so on...


MentalUP App

What Type Of Games Can I Expect?

There are so many games available however so far we do have a few favourites...

Memory Cards - Find The Pairs.

Ice Creams - Find the cone which has the number of ice cream balls specified in the voice instructions.

Highway - Count the number of specific vehicles moving along the highway.

MentalUP App

Should I Upgrade To Premium?

The premium version of the app, which usually costs just £20 for an annual subscription, provides access to over 120 games (compared to 20 on the free version) and includes reporting systems which MentalUP believes is important in the current situation in order to help parents monitor progress, provide skills analysis and highlighting strengths and weaknesses so that they (and teachers when they return to school) can easily track children’s cognitive development and compare with same age groups.

MentalUP has five million users worldwide and to help UK teachers, homeschooler parents and parents that have found themselves working from home with the kids is offering a discount of 30% at the moment taking the cost of the app to just £14.99 for the year. This works out at less than £2 per month!

You can read more by visiting the MentalUp and you can also download the app from Google Play Store or the App Store

Giveaway

I have teamed up with MentalUp to offer 5 of my readers and followers the chance to win an annual subscription and 25 runners up prizes of a 3 month subscription.

All you need to do is complete the entry form below and remember to pop back daily for bonus chances to win.

Who would you like to win MentalUp for?


Michelle

Terms
Competition closes on Sunday 12th July 2020
Entrants must have a valid UK address. 
Bulk, third party or any other entries using automated software will be disqualified. 
All entrants and entries are checked and verified. 
30 lucky winners will be chosen at random by the Gleam application. 
Playdays and Runways will contact the lucky winners within 7 days of the competition closing. 
The winners will be emailed to the email address given at the time of entering. 
The winners must respond within 28 days, if no response a new winner will be chosen. 
This prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative 
Prizes
The first 5 winners drawn will win an Annual Subscription to MentalUp
The next 25 winners drawn will win a three months subscription to MentalUp
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Win 2 Amazon Kids Tablets To Celebrate Tiny Pop TV Friendship Wherever | AD Giveaway

5 June 2020

31 comments
boy playing on an iPad
These past few months have been so strange, we have been taken away from our normal everyday lives and thrown in to the unknown. Most of us have been in lockdown and not been able to see our family and friends. As an adult I have struggled at times with every day feeling the same as the last. Luckily both the boys have taken it all in their stride and have adapted their lives quite easily. The one thing I worried about was how they would both be able to keep in contact with their friends. It's been easier for big J as he is 18 so has a phone but little J has been relying on his tablet to send messages.
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Is Social Media Dangerous For Our Children? | AD

8 December 2019

No comments
Disclosure | This post is a paid collaboration with Manor House Farm

Boy lying in bed holding an ipad
The internet is an incredible tool and can provide children with a huge amount of helpful information, however many parents worry about their children using social media channels and the dangers they can bring. There are risks involved and there is always the worry whether our children are safe online as we let them explore the internet and use social media networks, however by talking about these dangers with your child, you can help to keep them safe online.
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Moving On From Fortnite

21 October 2019

9 comments
*This post contains affiliate links, they work at no cost to you however can help towards the running of my blog.* 

fortnite figures
It's been well over a year now since Fortnite started to dominate the boys Xbox time. Big J started first and at the time John and I knew very little about the game. Big J would play it in his room and we had no need to know about the game or anything else until little J started to talk about it. He hadn't learnt about it from his big brother, it was his friends in school. He would come home and talk about characters and dances and was desperate to play it. John and I limited his Fortnite time but it has been his 'go to' game ever since when he has Xbox time until recently, he's starting to drift towards other games and is desperately searching for another game as popular as Fortnite.
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Ice Age - Scrat's Nutty Adventure Video Game

18 October 2019

21 comments
Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

Ice Age Game on Nintendo Switch
From Outright Games, makers of Dragons Dawn Of New Riders and Paw Patrol On A Roll games comes the latest Ice Age game for Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.  Scrat's Nutty Adventure is available now and we have had the opportunity to try it out on Nintendo Switch.

The game is aimed at Ice Age fans, however from my first hours play through, I am really enjoying the game and I haven't watched many of the later Ice Age films, and wouldn't say I was a fan! Little J, however is a huge fan of Ice Age, and was really looking forward to getting his teeth into this game!



Ice Age Game on Nintendo Switch

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Learn With Thomas Range

13 October 2019

32 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted the below items for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Thomas and Friends Electronic Toys
Around this time of year I am always on the lookout for toy ideas for Christmas. Not just for little J but for my family and friends little ones. Since becoming an Early Years Practitioner I always seem to steer towards toys that have educational features but obviously keeping it fun for the little ones too. I really love the Learn with Thomas range from Trends, not only is it educational with lots of interactive fun, it's Thomas and Friends too which is a character we have loved for many years.


 The learn with Thomas toys are designed for those 18 months up to 4 years old however little J enjoyed playing with these especially the smart tablet and he is 6. I think it depends on the age and stage of your child but if they are a Thomas fan they will love the range no matter what age.

Thomas and Friends Flip and Learn phone


Thomas and Friends Flip and Learn Phone

The Flip and Learn Phone is a great addition to role play with the kids. Flip the phone to open and reveal a very colourful keypad. The number buttons are red, yellow, green, blue and orange which is not only eye catching but great for colour and number recognition. Press a number and it will make a beeping dialling noise. Once you have dialled your number press the green phone button to ring Thomas. He will answer ' Hello 'I'm Thomas, the number 1 blue engine'. Press the red phone button to end the call.

Thomas and Friends Flip and Learn phone
Press the ? button on the phone and Thomas will ask you to ring someone by pressing a certain button. For example Thomas will say 'Shall we ring Emily? Press number 8. This gives the child the chance to find number 8 on the keypad. Again great for number recognition. Thomas will also ask you to find a certain colour button too.

Press * to begin lots of fun sounds and press # to activate the Thomas tune. There is even a camera button which makes it very realistic for the little ones.

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet


Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet

Most children now know how to work an iPad or tablet so they will love the Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet as it has lots of interactive fun.

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet
The Thomas tablet is really colourful and has lots to do and see. Switch the Thomas tablet on my pressing the large yellow button at the bottom of the tablet. Then you can choose what feature you would like to play with.

Press one of the circle 'places' buttons at the top of the pad to learn about places to visit. A great way for children to learn about different destinations.

The number and shape buttons are perfect to help with number and share recognition. Press the button once and it will tell you the number press again to hear the shape.

Move down to the letters that spell out T R A I N. Press a letter once to hear the phonetic pronunciation and press again to hear the name of the letter.

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet
Press the characters to learn their names and if you press again you can hear more about the character.

Next you can learn colours by pressing the trains.

Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet
There is a Thomas button at the bottom of the tablet, you press this to activate the quiz. Thomas will ask you a question and you have to find the correct answer and press the button. Lots of fun for little ones and encourages listening and attention too.

I have teamed up with Trends UK to offer one lucky Playdays and Runways reader the chance to win their very own Thomas and Friends Smart Tablet.

Our giveaway may be closed but the Learn With Thomas range is still available to buy on Amazon.

  

Win Thomas & Friends Smart Tablet

Michelle

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TechDen The Home To Healthier Screen Habits | Review

19 June 2019

10 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted TechDen for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

Boy looking at a TechDen
Screen time for your children. Is it a problem?  There are clearly some different thoughts out there when you have a look at some of the recent press around screen time. One thing is for certain though, only you the parent can really decide how much screen time you want your child to have.

We limit Little J's screen time to an amount we feel is appropriate depending on what his day has been like. We look at what time he got up, what he has done before and after breakfast and what activities he has done during the day. Some days he is more tired than others and he may have more screen time that day.  For us, that makes sense, but for him, its difficult to understand how it works!

TechDen
This is where TechDen comes in. TechDen is the first ever combined physical storage and charging device with its own app to give the user the ability to control screen time on each device. Once the device is in the Den, it's locked away with an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to support parents decisions around screen time restrictions.

The TechDen App is what makes the device so unique. TechDen works with the main app being installed on the parents device and the childs versions of the apps being installed on their devices. The parent is able to predetermine the amount of time available to the child and also how many sessions are available throughout the day.  The system works by requiring the devices be returned to the Den before the end of the allocated time.  Before time is up, the child will get countdown reminders so they are ready to return the device rather than have a "2 minute warning", and they can also request extra time through the app. The parent device will receive all notifications of requests, with the ability to approve or deny requests straight away.

At the end of the session, if the device isn't returned to the Den the parental device will receive notification so that intervention can take place if needs be.

The TechDen app also can operate on a rewards system which can support the child with habits and a sense of achievement.

TechDen
The Den itself is simple enough to use, and a really great feature is that once the device is away and charging, the doors wont open to the childs request for the device unless it's in one of the predetermined sessions of availability. To make it simple for the child, if the light is green they can use the device and if the light is red they can't. The Den was bigger than we expected, however if you think about a unit that would house and charge two tablets then its easy to see why the size is as it is.

I could see that TechDen could be really useful in cutting down on arguments around device time, as often these can be a result of lack of time planning or parameters set to begin with.  TechDen can support by ensuring that everyone knows the rules to start with and offering simple but effective techniques towards device access.

TechDen
If you want to know more about TechDen then visit their website here for parental views and guides on how it may work for your family.

John

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Days Out | Play Expo Manchester

15 May 2019

9 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

Play Expo returned to Manchester last week to a new location at the Central Exhibition Centre. This was Little J's first visit to the gaming exhibition and he loved it more than I expected!
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Review | JBL JR Pop Bluetooth Speaker

13 May 2019

10 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted the JBL JR Pop Speaker for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

We all love our music here, and we have tried and tested so many different speakers and systems over the years. You would think that bluetooth speakers would be much of a muchness but we can tell you that some are much, much better than others and it really does make a difference which brand you use.

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Days Out | Play Expo Returns To Manchester

28 April 2019

No comments
It's been five years since our last visit to PLAY Expo but we are excited to be heading back next weekend to the North’s biggest video games event, as it returns to Manchester for the seventh time on May 4 and 5. Taking place in a new, bigger venue, PLAY Expo will be held at Manchester Central Exhibition Centre and will welcome over 25,000 video gamers through the doors for two days of gaming brilliance.

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Review | Dreamworks Dragons Dawn Of New Riders

22 February 2019

14 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted products for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

The 'How To Train Your Dragon' franchise has been around for nine years. With three films following the release of the latest movie - The Hidden World, a TV series and a number of games, from big screen to smaller screens the movies, shows and games are really popular with both adults and children. The latest outing for How To Train your Dragon moves to the Nintendo Switch, with Toothless and Hiccup aiming to impress on the smallest and most portable to screens. The Dawn Of New Riders game takes place within the same universe, but with an entirely new story.
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Tech | All You Need To Know About the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

11 January 2019

7 comments
I have been lucky enough to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Note, the first phone I have owned with the S-Pen and most powerful Android Phone made to date.  In a family of Apple fans, I moved over to Android a few years ago and haven't looked back.
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Tech | Are Your Children Staying Safe Online - Fortnite

9 January 2019

17 comments
Everyone has heard of Fortnite, the online multiplayer shooter phenomenon that even allows players to play across different consoles in the same game. Maybe your child is playing Fortnite right now, do you know who they are playing with, what they are hearing or being told, the ages of the people they are playing with?  Probably not - in fact I would say definitely not. After all the Battle Royale game is based on 100 people online together on one map, playing in teams or alone - and these 100 people could be from anywhere in the world.
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Review | Paw Patrol On a Roll Xbox One Game

27 November 2018

9 comments
Little J has watched Paw Patrol for a few years now, and the release of a Paw Patrol On A Roll video game for the major consoles isn't a surprise given how its popularity has increased in recent times. It's an interesting release as it surprises me that there are enough children old enough to play console games, but still young enough to enjoy Paw Patrol, to warrant a major game release. Having said that Little J loves his Xbox time, so maybe gaming is more popular with small children than I would have thought.
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Christmas 2018 | Gift Guide - Fortnite Fans

17 November 2018

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Fortnite has been the gaming sensation of the year.  Playable on most devices, even your phone, it has captured the hearts and minds of most children and a good many adults too. If you have an Xbox or Playstation at home then I would be surprised if your children's Christmas lists don't have something Fortnite related on them! So here's some ideas that we think will make your Fortnite fan happy on Christmas morning.
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Review | Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Myth

2 November 2018

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Just over a year ago we reviewed the Oregon Scientific Adventure Smart Globe. Little J absolutely loves the globe and over the past year has learnt so much about different countries and his knowledge of capitals is amazing. Over the past few weeks we have been trying out Smart Globe Myth and we are really impressed.
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