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Family Fun With Spin Master Games

17 November 2020

12 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. 

One thing we have loved this year is playing board games together as a family. Little J is at the age were he has the concentration to sit for longer without being distracted and enjoys the competitiveness of playing a board game. We have had a lot more free time than usual this year so it's been nice finding something that we all enjoy and we can all do together. Our pile of games has grown over the year and the newest games we added to our collection are Grouch Couch, Headbanz and Beat The Parents. 

a selection of spinster games


Grouch Couch
Ever wonder what happens to those little items that go missing? Now’s your chance to find out and maybe get some things back when Grouch Couch spits out Lost Goodies! 

Grouch Couch


Grouch Couch is a fast paced game that's easy to play and fun for all the family.

Set up is easy. All you need to is pop in the batteries (3x AAA not included) then lift up the middle cushion on the couch to place the counters in. That's it you are ready to play.

grouch couch contents

grouch couch
To play all you need to do is take turns feeding Grouch Couch tasty treats.On your turn roll the dice. The number on the die is the number of treats you need to feed the couch. You place the treats on his cushions and then press the remote-control and see what happens. He might grumble, chomp, burp and (hopefully) eat your treats.

When he does eat your treats, he’ll spit out Lost Goodies (counters you placed in the under the sofa cushion earlier). 

Grumpy Grouch Couch


If you roll the vacuum you collect lost goodies from other players and you’ll want to collect these because the player with the most Lost Goodies when Grouch Couch plays his victory song, wins!


Headbanz
A fun spin on the traditional game 'What Am I?'. Headbanz is a family friendly game that is perfect for games night. 

headbanz contents


Each player pops one of the adjustable headbands on their head. When it is your turn you need to ask questions to try and identify what you are. The other players can only respond yes or no so make sure you ask a good question. 

The three 'What Am I?' cards are Animals, Food or Things. There is a quick guide to glance at if you are stuck and unsure what to ask. It gives you questions to ask for the specific categories. 

headbanz contents


If you guess right before the timer runs out you win a token and the first player to win 3 tokens will be crowned the winner of the game.


Beat The Parents
The head to head family game of questions and challenges. Beat The Parents is a game of adults v kids. Adults need to answer questions correctly to move up the board however the kids have the chance to answer kids questions too so it's anyones game. 

Beat The Parents

Beat The Parents games

Beat The Parents game


It isn't just about questions though as there are challenge spots on the board when the game stops and a challenge needs to be done. 

If you land on a challenge spot you must read the card aloud. It could be 1 player from each team or it could be an all play so everyone joins in. 

Beat The Parents game

Beat The Parents


Once at the top of the board you will reach final challenge you can only advance to the win space by winning the challenge first. 

The first team to enter the win space is crowned the winner of Beat The Parents. 


If you are looking for some gift inspiration this Christmas you can read more about Grouch Couch, Headbanz and Beat The Parents over on our Christmas Gift Guide - For The Kids as well as lots of other ideas. 

Michelle
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Visiting Dream, Sutton Manor

21 October 2020

11 comments
For the past 11 years we have travelled up and down the M62 for both business and pleasure and every time we pass 'The big white head' I always say we must go and visit and see what it is all about, but we never had until last weekend. We are always looking for ideas for walks in the North West so we headed to Sutton Manor. The big white head which is actually called Dream is situated in the old Sutton Manor Colliery grounds and was created in 2009.

Dream Statue
Dream is located in Sutton Manor, St Helens and was the result of St Helens entering Channel 4's 'The Big Art Project' in 2008. Artist Jaume Plensa visited the site and had a vision of a piece of art coming out from the ground. He decided on a neck and head of a woman with her eyes closed as if she is meditating. He later decided to base the sculpture on a 9 year old girl representing the idea of 'future'.

Sutton Manor Woodland is very popular with dog walkers and visitors to Dream. There is a car park and plenty of road parking surrounding the area. 

Dream Statue
When entering Sutton Manor via the main entrance sign posts for Dream are dotted along the pathways however if you wish to explore the woodlands and circular paths you can choose a variety of ways. 

Some of the paths are a little steep and not very well surfaced however most of the routes are accessible. 

The Dream Statue is located in the middle of the woodlands and is very hard to miss. Other than visiting the statue there are no other facilities at Sutton Manor Woodland but it was a very enjoyable walk. 

Facts about Dream
Designed by world-famous, award-winning Catalan artist Jaume Plensa
Standing on a plinth, Dream is 20 metres, 66 feet high and is fifty times life size
The sculpture weighs 373 tonnes and sits on the site of Sutton Manor Colliery
Made from brilliant white pre-cast concrete with Spanish dolomite, the whitest marble
The plinth in the shape of a miner’s tally is 17 metres in diameter, made of 36 units
The casting of Dream by Evans Concrete of Derbyshire took a total of sixty days
A total of 6160 man hours were spent in constructing the sculpture
54 different panels each weighing 9 tonnes comprise Dream’s head
The supporting piles go 38 metres underground, nearly twice Dream’s height
An estimated 55 million vehicles pass Dream each year on the M62

Dream Statue



We really enjoyed our visit to Dream however I'm not sure whether we would visit again nor would I recommend travelling a great distance to visit. I think if the woodlands itself was to undergo a makeover to include maybe a cafe, toilet facilities, children's play area and other facilities to make a trip worthwhile then I do think it would attract more visitors per year. 

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If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

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Michelle
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Updating Our Book Collection With Little Tiger Press

19 October 2020

12 comments
Disclosure - We were sent the books to enjoy however we were not asked to promote on our blog. This post includes affiliate links. 

Although little J stills enjoys a bedtime story as part of his bedtime routine over the past few months he has really started to enjoy reading alone and it's nice to browse books perfect for 7-9 year olds. This month we were sent a selection of books from Little Tiger Press which he is currently working his way through. He started reading alone during lockdown and I'm happy to say he has continued even now he is back at school and his reading has paid off as he has been moved to the highest reading group in school.

A selection of Little Tiger Press Books
      

Yeti Collective
Henry is the new boy at Halbrook Hall – a crumbling boarding school in the Scottish Highlands. He thinks the rumours of yeti lurking in the misty hills are nothing more than stories. Until one day he gets lost in the forest…

As a young yeti, Tadpole loves living in Shadowspring. But now the precious spring water is disappearing and no one knows why. The situation is serious – surely there’s something she can do to help…

When Tadpole accidentally reveals the top-secret location of Shadowspring to Henry, the lost boy she saves, she knows she’s in deep trouble. But what if this human actually has the power to help the yeti not harm them?

The Egyptians
How did the Egyptians remove a mummy's brain? How much solid gold was used to make Tutankhamun's sarcophagus? Was the world's first pop star an Egyptian choral singer? Readers can discover the truth behind some of the most incredible ancient Egyptian stories and superstitions and unearth the most fascinating aspects of an ancient culture in this immersive book. With flaps to lift on every page, there's plenty of history to uncover!

Dragon Detective Sky High
When a visitor turns up unannounced at Dirk’s office with a new case for him and Holly to solve, all is not as it seems. A Sea Dragon has disappeared and the only clue left at the scene of the crime is the ashy outline of an elusive Sky Dragon.

As their investigations take them from a dodgy billionaire’s HQ to the top of the city’s tallest skyscraper, trouble is set to soar sky high for this dragon detective and his partner-in-solving-crime. Will they be able to hunt down the suspect and find the missing dragon before they both disappear into thin air?

Midnight Maker
In the middle of winter, three kittens are born in a barn. Two are ordinary, but the third, jet black and born on the stroke of midnight, is brimming with magic from whiskers to tail – even sparking life into a dusty old broomstick! While her siblings pounce at rats, Midnight perfects her flying skills on the broom, not noticing how her mother disapproves of her magical ways…

When Midnight finds herself abandoned, the little black kitten sets out to find a new home with only her loyal broom Twiggy at her side. The pair soon befriend a kind-hearted girl called Trixie. But how will Trixie’s family react to Midnight’s extraordinary powers and taste for mischief?

 
The hat full of secrets

Henry’s got a secret … a big one! And he doesn’t know what to do with it.

Grandpa suggests he should keep it under his hat ­– and he’s got just the hat for the job. But when Henry puts it on he discovers that Grandpa has some secrets of his own!

A lyrical and heart-warming story celebrating the magical bond between a child and a grandparent, with full colour illustrations on every page.

 
Skeleton keys
Greetings! My name is Skeleton Keys and these fantabulant fingers of mine can open doors to hidden worlds… Join me for the curious tale of Gap-tooth Jack – thief, adventurer and champion of imagining!

When Skeleton Keys banishes Wordy Gerdy from the present using his Key to Time, he thinks he’s seen the last of the troublesome unimaginary. But Gerdy uses her ghostly pen to wreak her revenge, and before Skeleton Keys knows it she’s written his precious keys out of existence.

Skeleton Keys and his partner Daisy must follow Gerdy into the past to retrieve her pen and make her restore his keys. But Skeleton Keys has unknowingly sent Gerdy back to his own past and her pen is now in the hands of notorious thief Gap-tooth Jack. As they set off to find Jack, Skeleton Keys can’t help noticing that everything looks strangely familiar. Then he comes face to face with the thief – could it be that the two have met before?


I'm sure these will keep little J busy for the next few weeks. I love that he enjoys reading and cant wait to see what books he wants to enjoy next. 

Michelle
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Mighty Cards Review

5 comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration. We were gifted a set of Mighty Cards for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

We are finally coming up to the home stretch of the first half term back at school since lockdown in March. I had no idea what this half term had in store for us and whether we would all make it to the end in one piece but we did, just about. There have been a few isolation days for us all while we waited for test results but on a whole we made it however we now have the uncertainty about when the boys will return and whether a 'circuit break' lockdown will be imposed over half term. Everyone has been through so much this year and although children are resilient and most have returned to school with smiles on their faces, the unknown is still hanging over us all and I have been trying to look for ways to help us as a family to deal with what this year has thrown at us at so far.

Mighty Cards

When we were recently sent a set of Mighty Cards, I knew that these may be what I had been looking for. The cards which are designed for ages 4-11, provide effective and engaging strategies to help children manage their feelings and emotions. The pack consists of 36 cards which are divided in to 3 types of activities.

There are a wide range of emotions that we experience every day including happy, sad, excited, worried, embarrassed and anxious. Sometimes these may be difficult to deal with so having some simple strategies to follow can really help deal with those tricky feelings. 

The cards are really simple to use and understand, and for us we have been taking the time to choose a card just before dinner to help us enjoy our evening a little better and then before bed to help us feel rested and content. 

Mighty Cards


Breathe 
Breathing strategies to calm your body and focus on your mind.

A sample of a Breathe Card is Finger Breathing.

Use a finger from your right hand to gently trace up and down the fingers on your left hand.

Each time you trace up a finger, take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Each time you trace down a finger, slowly release your breath through your mouth. 

Once you have traced the fingers on one hand, swap hands and repeat. 

Mighty Cards


Move
Physical exercises to help relieve tension in your body.

A sample of a Move Card is Wall Push.

Stand in front of a wall and place your arms out in front of you so your hands are touching the wall. 

When you are ready, try with all your strength to push the wall over. Count for 10 seconds, pushing hard. Then shake your arms and legs gently to release the tension in your body. 

Repeat 3 times. 

Mighty Cards


Create
Creative activities to build a sense of calm and control. 

A sample of a Create Card is Calm Poster.

Write the word CALM on paper in big writing. Colour and decorate the page using your favourite colours and stickers. 

As you are colouring and decorating, imagine that you are filling yourself with calmness and joy.

Place your CALM poster somewhere where you can see it often. 

How you use the cards is down to your own personal choice however even though they are designed with children in mind we have all been using the cards and after just a few days we have already felt the benefit. 

Mighty Cards


Dr Gail Sinitsky is a child psychologist and founder of Young & Mighty and has been working with children and families for over 15 years, providing assessment and therapy, in schools and NHS clinics. As part of her work, she specialises in designing and delivering highly successful workshops and groups for children experiencing 'tricky emotions', low self-esteem, trauma, and relational difficulties. I have teamed up with Dr Gail Sinitsky from Young and Mighty to offer one lucky Playdays and Runways reader and follower the chance to win  their own pack of cards.

All you need to do is complete the entry form below and pop back every day at 9pm for bonus chances to win. 

If you would like to know more about Dr Gail and Young and Mighty you can visit the website.

Good Luck.

Michelle



Terms

Competition closes on Sunday 1st November 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. 

1 lucky winner 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 

The Prize : A set of Mighty Cards

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Asda Photo Canvas Review

12 October 2020

13 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted our Asda Photo Canvas for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

I have written previously about the different types of framed prints and canvas that we like to display at home. As the seasons change we like to update the pictures to be up to date and remind us of all the good times we have had over the last few months. 

Asda Photo Canvas


Asda was not a provider I had considered before for Canvas, although we have used them before for photo books and prints. Asda offer a range of Canvas prints, amongst other photo related items, and it is really one of the easiest ordering experiences of any Canvas or Print site. 

There are four frame types to choose from for your Canvas:  Slim, Premium, 2 Panel or 4 Panel.  We chose Premium as a closer match to our existing displays.  Next you choose your size. The larger the Canvas, the more it will cost you and the higher resolution you will need your chosen photo to be.  You can also choose borders or break points for multiple pictures. Next you simply upload your picture from your device to the site and it will display what the finalised Canvas will look like. Once you are happy its checkout and wait for your new display to arrive. 

The ordering process is really quick, its actually picking the perfect picture that takes some time! From ordering to delivery our Canvas was with us within a few days, delivered well packaged and safely. 

Asda Photo Canvas


The quality of the Canvas is very high. The Canvas is thick enough to withstand some slight prodding and poking if thats likely to happen, and the frame, although lightweight is sturdy enough to be able to be hung however you may wish.  Included is a frame hanging kit, however I always just hang the top of the frame onto nails in the wall that means I can change the canvas at any time and not worry about having to have the nail in different places for each canvas depending on the fit of the hanging kit.  As the frame is lightweight this has always been sufficient. 

Asda Photo Canvas


The one thing different about Asda Photo Canvas was the sizing. All our previous Canvas have been the same size, however as this wasn't available we chose slightly bigger dimensions rather than smaller, however the frame really does look a lot bigger than our existing canvas.  That said, the quality is really good and we love our chosen picture so on a wall with nothing else on it doesn't look out of place. 

Asda Photo Canvas


Overall I was really impressed with the service and the quality and wouldn't hesitate to use Asda Photo again next time we change the prints we have. 

John
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Discover The World Game | Review

22 September 2020

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

Boys playing Discover The World Game
Over the past few weeks we have been racing around the world, visiting different countries and learning lots of facts as we go and we haven't even left the house. We have been playing Discover The World game, not only is it fun for all the family, it's educational too.

Boys playing Discover The World Game



The Aim Of The Game
To be the first person to collect 10 destination cards.

Before You Start
Discover The World game by Fiesta Crafts is aimed at children aged 7+ up to Adult. You can play with 2-6 players and set up is very easy. All you need to do is open your map of the world game board, shuffle the destination cards, arrival cards and journey cards and you are ready to play.

Boys playing Discover The World Game



How To Play
Each player takes a coloured token and places it on any country of their choice on the board, this is your starting point. Once deciding on your starting point is done each player picks up a destination card. The destination card is the country that you need to visit. You can show other players your card if you wish.

Play begins once every player has chosen a starting point and has a destination card. You can decide amongst yourselves who goes first, we usually each take a roll of the dice and highest roller wins.

On your turn you roll the dice. If you roll a 1,2,3,4 or 5 you move that number of countries from where you are starting. For example if you are in France and roll a 2 you can move your piece to two connecting countries in the direction of your destination card country. Play continues until a player reaches their destination.

Journey and Arrival Cards



Journey Cards
If you roll a 6 on your turn you do not move that number of spaces you have to pick up a journey card. Each card has different instructions to follow. It may let you add moves on to your dice roll or it could send you on a detour to a different country.

Arrival Cards
Once you arrive at your destination you have to pick up an arrival card. There will be instructions on how to claim or not claim your destination. You may have to challenge another player if so whoever wins will get your destination card.

Discover The World Game



Win The Game
Once a player has claimed 10 destinations the game is over and the player is the winner.

Boy holding up a fact card




You can adapt the game to the ability or attention span of the players. We started with a player just needing to claim 3 destinations to win. Also the destination cards are full of fun facts about the countries which we enjoyed reading too.

You can find out more about Discover The World Game by visiting Fiesta Crafts or you can buy online at Amazon.


Michelle
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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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Snowdonia View Farmhouse

8 September 2020

15 comments
Snowdonia View Farmhouse


For the past few years every Summer we have come together as a family and booked a trip away for a few days. We have visited Simgill Cottage in The Lake District in the past which was a great base to explore the Lakes but this year we decided to head west and visit North Wales. Finding a property that can accommodate 14 can be tough but we managed to find Snowdonia View.

Snowdonia View is a large cottage farmhouse situated in Bryn y Maen with Conwy, Betwys-y-Coed and Llandudno being a short distance away.

On arrival Snowdonia View can comfortably park 4 cars at the side of the property and 1 at the front.

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Dining Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Kitchen
Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Kitchen


When you enter you will be greeted by a large hall/main entrance. This leads on to an open plan dining room with seating suitable for up to 16 people. The kitchen is to the right of the dining room and has everything you need for a self catering holiday. Just at the side of the kitchen are two utility rooms with washing machine and also another full size fridge.  The door from the utility leads on to the back garden.

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room
Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Conservatory


Back to the main entrance if you turn left you will enter the living room which is a decent size and was more than comfortable for us all.  The living room has a step up towards the back of the room leading to a pool table area and then a door into the conservatory.  The living room comes equipped with tv and DVD player and a wide range of DVD's to choose from. There is also a selection of games and books too. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - downstairs bedroom


There is a bedroom downstairs just to the left of the dining area. It is a double bedroom with a fireplace, wardrobe, dressing table and looks out on to the back garden. We actually popped a single bed in the room too as there was plenty of space. 

There is also a small toilet room downstairs with sink. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - bathroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Triple Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Twin Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - double and single Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - twin Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - ensuite

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - master bedroom
Upstairs consists of a master bedroom with double bedroom and ensuite, a double room which can also include a single bed on request, two bedrooms with two single beds in each and another room with two single beds and a third on request. There is one master bathroom with toilet, sink, bath and walk in shower. 

At the back of the property you could see horses on the field which the children really enjoyed. 

We all arrived at different times during our first evening but the property was ready and waiting for us. The owners do not live far from the property and the key was waiting for us on arrival. 

Check out time was 10am and within minutes of the check out time a van arrived which I think may have been cleaners so there is no hanging around. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - boy on rocking horse


Snowdonia View accommodated our needs perfectly. Some of the decor and furnishing was a little dated and could do with a freshen up but we definitely would return in future.  The property and gardens are very spacious and with 4 children travelling they had plenty of space to explore and play both inside and outside. 

For us Snowdonia View was the perfect base for us to explore North Wales including Greenwood Forest Park, Llandudno and The Welsh Mountain Zoo which were all a short drive away. 

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If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

Visit our Out and About section for more days out ideas

Like us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

Michelle
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