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Just in case We wake up one morning and find ciao gone may I say" So long and thanks for all the fish" Thanks for all the friendship Mary xx

Reviews written

since 23/09/2002

2730

Little Tikes Cozy Truck Ride-On 24/09/2016

Cozy Truck for little Tikes

Little Tikes Cozy Truck Ride-On We had many Little Tikes toys at the school where I worked (just retired) this truck was one of them. Since the new term has just begun and the weather fine I can just imagine the children zooming round the playground in it. In my experience the little tikes truck was popular especially with one or two children that I remember. ~Age This truck is suitable for children over 18 months old should be big enough for a 5 year old I have seen small children of 7 yrs squeezed into one. ~Colour Blue body yellow roof ~Design This is a truck design with a cab in the front for your tot to sit in and a small flatbed area behind this has a drop down flap at the back. The door opens on one side of the truck. The front of the truck has a couple of eyes . A flat grill front which seems to smile. At the back there is a petrol cap this flips up. There is a steering wheel which turns this has a working horn. This truck has no pedals so ideal for those who can not pedal. There is a removable floor so a tot can sit in the truck without feet dangling and be pushed in the truck by adult and adult need not worry about little feet. The roof is about 88cm high a comfortable height for adult to push. Mostly at work we did not have the floor in. There is a little seat just above floor level for your tot to sit on When floor removed their little legs stick out the bottom of the truck and they can scoot themselves along. The little truck behind is good as children can take lots of clutter ...

Gowi Toys 559-19 Spade 23/09/2016

Big spade , ideal for the beach or sandpit

Gowi Toys 559-19 Spade Gowi Toys 559-19 Spade This Spade from Gowi is yet another toy which the children played with at the special needs school where I worked till I retired this last year. ~Age. Recommended for 1 year's and over. I think a bit big for a 1 year old. One of the reasons why we have it is because its size suitable for our older children. ~Size This spade is about 70cm long, the blade 18cm wide. ~Material Plastic Not such a hard plastic as some other spades. Amazon says this toy needs batteries, NO it does not Amazon (I have noticed Amazon frequently make this battery mistake) ..Design This spade is made in 2 parts the handle and shaft then the spade blade. These are well fitted together and do not come apart. The blade is a very hard strong plastic the shaft and hand le a softer plastic, the handle a 0 not a T has grips moulded into it. The handle is designed so that it sides for a child to grasp and use. ~Durability. This spade is quite strong but the shaft of ours at work is bent having been bashed into hard objects too often. I prefer the spades made out of one piece the shafts seem stronger. ~Colour. Blade yellow, shaft orange. ~Use. Because of its size it is more suitable for the outside sandpit, garden or the beach. I believe this style of spade also available in a smaller version. Children use this Gowi spade to dig holes in the sand to scoop up sand and fill a bucket. ~Education. Good for spatial awareness development and good for helping a child perfect ...

Learning Resources Attribute Apples 22/09/2016

Theres a maggot in one of your apples learning resources

Learning Resources Attribute Apples These Learning Resources Attribute Apples are another learning aid/toy which I used at the special needs school where I worked till recently. I expect my old class will be using them this term in their autumn topic. These apples are suitable for children aged 4 and over. They are quite small, largest 4cm so could easily be put in mouth and swallowed/get stuck in throat. Something that working with special needs children of any age I had to be very wary of.. I like these apples as the shape design not babyish so suitable for use with the older special needs children. These apples come in a plastic tub a good tub for continuous storage of these apples. As well as the apples an activity guise comes with this set. In this tub there are 27 apples. They are made of a rubbery plastic. These apples are red, green or yellow There are large apples, medium apples and small apples. Some of the apples have a just a stem some a leaf attached to them some a maggot /grub crawling out of it (What's worse than finding a maggot in your apple? finding half a maggot in your apple) ~Use We use these for sorting activities children sorting them into size, colour, leaf or maggot. I put a few small dishes on the table for the children to sort them into. These apples are good for patterning. Have made activity strips showing a row of different coloured apples the children have to match them, I may start a row of one red apple one green apple one apple with a worm then the children continue ...

Hape International Fun Farm Magnetic Maze 21/09/2016

Fun on the farm, ball maze.

Hape International Fun Farm Magnetic Maze This Hape fun farm wooden Maze puzzle is a toy we I played with /alongside children at the Special school where I worked (recently retired). This Maze has magnetic balls in the maze grooves which can be moved by the magnetic wand which is fitted to the puzzle. I recently wrote about Hape Mighty Motorships magnetic maze which is a bit simpler and easier than this Fun Farm maze. The age suitability for this farm maze is 2 years , I personally think that a little young, it will depend of course on your child's development ( remember I have just spent 30 years working on a special needs school ) . ~Size shape A square 25 .4 x 25.4 cm x 2cm thick. ~ Construction 2 wooden boards the top one has a maze run cut out of it and stuck to the other the wood is from a sustainable source. On top of this there is a plastic sheet firmly fitted together. ~Safety I am always wary of toys with magnet balls so many of the children I worked with mouth everything. The balls in this puzzle maze are secure under the clear plastic top. ~Picture The picture is a farm this has a red farm building, a pig, a hen and a cow. The animals are not so easy to identify because of the way the maze track is cut out. ~Magnetic balls and wand There are 6 magnetic balls 3 red, 3 blue. The red wand with a magnetic tip is firmly fitted to the maze with a red cord. ~Use. The aim is to move the balls around the maze using the wand. There are dead end docking points in each of the animals and the farm. When ...

bettycrocker.com 20/09/2016

Oooh Betty I do like your cookery website.

bettycrocker.com Oooh Betty I do like your cookery website. I have got lots of spinach so will make your spinach balls sometime. I open http://www.bettycrocker.com/ and a red header bar with Betty's logo a red wooden spoon with her name in white on it. Also on this bar are the words recipes, everyday meals , deserts, snacks holidays and entertaining, guide to fall baking, how to , coupons and sales. Click on these and you get drop down menus Under this on the front page there is Bettys daily special. Today special featuring 10 easy make ahead breakfasts. Let's click on the drop down menus. There are loads of recipes on this drop down menus. I like the solar birthday cake an idea for my grandson's birthday maybe. Most of the menu's I looked at have Betty Crocker ingredients included in them like Bisquick and Gold Medal all-purpose flour or Betty Crocker cake mixes. Fair enough Betty it is your site. However for the menus which have Betty's ingredients I can usually change them to something else for example Bisquick is 1 cup flour.1. 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.1/4 teaspoon salt.,1 tablespoon olive oil, or melted butter I know , or can look up ingredients for a cake do not need a cake mix. As an experienced cook sometimes I like to look in cookery books, on line recipe sites for new ideas. I like these recipes and ideas. I did try the spinach and cheese balls they were good The recipes are clear and easy to follow., I found It easy to navigate the site and to find what I wanted. I ...

Bigjigs Toys BB081 Wooden Safari Animal Building Blocks 19/09/2016

Build a bear or a giraffe with Big jigs building blocks.

Bigjigs Toys BB081 Wooden Safari Animal Building Blocks One of the first basic toys are bricks. There are many toy building bricks at the school where I worked till recently In one of the classrooms where I worked I have noticed and played with (alongside children) some Bigwigs Toys Safari Animal Building Blocks. These bricks come in a cloth drawstring bag. Ideal for storage or for carrying around. There are 32 of these wooden bricks in a set. They are wooden bricks of varying sizes and shapes with designs printed on them. There are arches, semi circular and circular bricks, there are square bricks and rectangular ones (twice the size if the square ones) The colours and patterns on these bricks are attractive. There are bricks with green tufts of grass on; there are tree designs on some. On the square ones there are faces of jungle animals, a panda, a bear, a giraffe a lion, tiger, and hippo. Another bricks are the same animal fur patterns to match so your child can make an animal.The arch bricks do look like legs and a back. ~Age suitability These Big jigs Safari Animal Building Blocks are suitable for a child aged over 1 1/2. ~Educational. I deal for helping encourage and perfect those early skills the gross and fine motor skills. Helping muscles develop. Picking up, moving positioning the bricks. Helps with eye hand coordination. Helps with matching skills, Helps those building and placement skills.. The pupils that I worked with need lots of practice at these skills. Building these bricks and making an animal which ...

Hape International Peacock Curves 18/09/2016

Pretty, durable peacock

Hape International Peacock Curves This Peacock Curves is another toy which we had at the special needs school where I worked. Peacock curves are a puzzle described as part puzzle part stacker. Although the pieces will stack on top of each other the pieces are too thin for it to stand up really so is a puzzle to lay flat each piece stacked on each other flat. ~Age suitabiity These Peacock Curves are suitable for a child aged over 12 months. I think maybe a bit older. ~Material This toy is made out of wood ~Design The shape is a semi circle made of 5 concentric semi circular pieces. The outer, the largest semi circle edge has semi circular crimped edge to help represent the end of the feathers. To represent the peacocks tail. Also has a 6th piece which is the body. ~Colours This is an attractive puzzle the "feathers are blue green , yellow, orange and red , the body is blue The outer ring of feathers has some blue spots to represent those peacock "eyes" The body has eyes and peak on it ~Size This puzzle is wider than it is high about 20cm long about 11cm wide. ~Use/play The 5 curves each decreasing in size fit snugly alongside inside each other. Then the peacock body fitted on top at the bottom of the "feathers" It is possible for someone with a bit more skill and steady hand to fit the larger ones on top of the smaller ones in a vertical standing up position , but as the pieces only about a couple of cm thick this is hard; ~Educational points. This puzzle is attractive and encourages those ...

Gowi Toys 559-07 Rake 17/09/2016

Rake that sand flat

Gowi Toys 559-07 Rake This Gowi rake (559-07) is one of the many sand toys that I have played/supervised play with. Sorry I have none of my own photos as I have not played with this toy since I retired last year. :-) ~Size this is a long rake about 45cm long. The rake hed about17cm wide. The tines/prongs about 4cm long ~Material This rake made of a strong not brittle very durable plastic it is molded in one not many pieces. ~Durable Yes very durable should last a few years ~Design The handle a loop not a T shape. Easy to hold and grip, ok for an adults hand (just) Handle has some grip spots. Long shaft going to the head which has 9 well spaced tines. ~Colour As far as I am aware this rake only comes in red. This rake ~Use This rake a bit big for indoor sand pit use. But ideal for the outside pit. Also ideal to rake the beach flat. Also good for a child helping in the garden. At work I used to enjoy helping the children to rake up huge piles of leaves in the school grounds. They could use this rake safely. Also goof for raking the school garden. A great toy to help your child feel involved when you are doing the gardening as I do not feel a real rake is safe. Still do remember to put this rake down with the tines pointing down as if the tine's stood on it the handle end will bounce up and jock your child. ~Educational Yes the usual motor skills, grip, hand eye coordination, spatial awareness this toy will give your child practice with these. Tool use learning to use a tool correctly, ...

What products are essential to prepare the start of a new academic year? 16/09/2016

I hope you've remembered everything It's of to school you go..

What products are essential to prepare the start of a new academic year? Sing this to the tune of a hunting we will go. Off to school we go, It's off to school we go; we'll take our lunch and ride the bus, with everyone we know. Off to school we go, It's off to school we go, I hope you've remembered everything It's of to school you go. Sing this to the tune of a hunting we will go. I am writing this from the perspective of someone who has spent who has spent over 40 years in a school in some role or other first as a pupil, as a student as an employee have worked as a classroom assistant/special needs support staff for my working life Also I am a parent and grandparent. I can look at the Question what products are essential to prepare the start of a new academic year from the perspectives of a child, a mother and school staff. Let's start with clothes. Most schools have a school uniform. Some are stricter than others about the child wearing the exact uniform. In fact I have reads this week about a few schools which have been very strict about uniform and sent children home , not allowed them to come to school in non uniform clothes. The debate about school uniform is too big for me to go into in this review. Do look at the schools website most have the school uniform requirements there. Think about your child and how they will feel if school sends them home. Shoes can be a big issue with a lot of children, and some schools, colour style, feel. Do help your child get it right first time shoes are expensive. Then there are pants and socks ...

Hape International E1801 Double Bubble 15/09/2016

Move those beads along now.

Hape International E1801 Double Bubble This Hape double bubble bead maze is a toy that the children play with at the special needs school where I worked (I have just retired) Age suitability This bead maze is suitable for children over 6 months old. ~Materials Wood from sustainable sources and plastic covered wire, rubber suction pads. ~Construction. Suction pads on the wooden base. Two wire loops are fitted into the wooden base .One a simple single curve (green) which passes through the other loop which is a double loop. There are 10 rings/beads fitted onto these loops, some plastic some wooden. Some flat small hoops, some larger, some beads. These are red or yellow, green, blue or orange. ~Size About 20 x 9 x 19cm. This is a good size for school/nursery or home, a good size to take with you to grandmas, (or any other visit). At 449 g it is not too heavy ~Use This bead run maze is suitable for use on a table or wheelchair table, or on the floor. The suckers although giving a fairly good grip while keeping this toy attached to a surface normally do not stop this toy being thrown on the floor. This toy is for solo play too small for more than 1 child. To play with this toy all that your child needs to do is move a bead along the wire. Moving a bead along the wire is compulsive and I have known children (and adults) move the beads along the wires for ages. This is a very simple but fascinating toy. The loops of the wire make it more interesting than a maze with straight wires. ~ Educational ...

Hape International E1703 Mighty Motors 13/09/2016

Motors on a ball run

Hape International E1703 Mighty Motors Hape MIGHTY Motorships Hape produce many toys in China and naturally export them all over the world. The toys they make are made using sustainable materials and methods, their wooden toys hold the FSC certificate. The Hape toy which I will be talking about today is the Hape Mighty motorships. This is a magnetic ball maze. I have had experience of this toy whilst working at a special needs school ~Age suitability , safety 2 years and over , although as long as you supervise I imagine safe for a younger child, The balls are not likely to come out of the ball maze so your child will not swallow them. The one we have at work has not got any wooden splinters, No sharp or pointy pieces. So yes I would judge this as a safe toy. >Size This Hape mighty Motors ball maze is square 24.4 x 2.1 x 24.4 cm. >Picture, A light green road with dark green surrounds looks like the road is running through a field or past hedges. Then a light blue sky with little white clouds and a smiling sun. Looks like a lovely day for the motors to be out for a run. > Materials. Made of wood from a sustainable source. > Construction This is made of two sheets of wood and a thin plastic cover. There are blue plastic studs one in each corner then 4 others mid way of each side to hold the plastic cover to the two thin wooden boards together The wooden sheets held together with glue, The ball maze is held very tightly together. The top most board with the picture has a thin track about 1cm wide cut ...

Ss Great Britain Maritime Heritage Centre, Bristol 11/09/2016

My visit to the SS Great Britain

Ss Great Britain Maritime Heritage Centre, Bristol When visiting Bristol Earlier this year I visited the SS Great Britain. ~Location On Spike Island south west of Bristol city on the south side of the harbour Great Western Dockyard, Gasferry Road, Bristol. BS1 6T About half an hour walk from the Temple Meads railway station. Ferry services from Temple Meads, Town centre or Hotwells .See http://www.bristolferry.com/ferry-service/timetable. Or threes a ferry from Capricorn quay which is opposite The SS Great Britain Cafe this only takes 10 minutes at most see http://www.numbersevenboattrips.com/cross-harbour and my review Ferry cross Bristol harbour. ~History The Great Britain was created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel an engineer master. The SS Great Britain was built in Bristol in 1843. It is an iron hulled, steam powered, ocean-going ship the first to be driven by a screw propeller. ~SS Great Britain's sailing history The SS Britain spent her working life first carrying first class passengers from Britain to America. She did not continue carrying passengers to America as in 1852 she carried emigrants to Australia. After this sometime between 1954 and 1955 she became a troop ship in the Crimea war and the Indian Mutiny. In 1861 she had another moment of fame she took the first ever English cricket side to an Australia tour She was converted to sail in 1881 .The SS Great Britain became a cargo ship carry coal then after a fire in 1937 which made her repair not viable. The Great Britain then used as coal store. Until In ...

Gowi Toys 558-51 Sandmould 09/09/2016

An assortment of 4 sand moulds

Gowi Toys 558-51 Sandmould Gowi Toys 558-51 Sandmould Gowi a toymaker from Australia make many sets of sand moulds. The moulds from this one are ones I have "played with at work often." ~Shapes included This sand mould set includes a blue teddy a red fish, a yellow duck and a red round sand mould. These sand moulds are not exclusive to this set but can be bought as part of other sets. I have seen a set with 4 different coloured round sand moulds, the duck in a duck set which includes a bucket, spade, watering can also the set which includes a boat and a bucket and spade. The bear fish and duck are all included in a set of 12 sand moulds too. ~Age suitability. Suitable for a 1 year old child. ~Composition Strong durable plastic. ~Size The sizes vary a little but are about 12 or 13 cm in diameter, length or width. ~Use. We still might get a few sunny days to go to the seaside will be less crowded now children back at school. These sand moulds would be great for sand play on the beach equally at home in the sand pit. Or at nursery or school are ideal for the sand or water tray. I worked in a special needs school and we had many of these sand moulds around. These sand moulds are good for helping your tot gain muscle control, hand eye coordination. When used with sand or other sensory items they will help your child gain experience of texture. Hep they understand the meaning of full or empty. Talk to your child while they are playing add appropriate words , like full empty name the mould and ...

Gowi Toys 558-09 Simple Bucket 09/09/2016

Simple Red or yellow Gowi bucket

Gowi Toys 558-09 Simple Bucket Today I shall be reviewing a Simple bucket made by Gowi. ~Age suitability This sand toy is suitable for a child ages over 1 year old. ~Composition This bucket is made of plastic, a thick strong plastic. It is made from 2 parts a bowl/bucket and a handle. ~Colour As far as I know only available in red or yellow. We had both colours at school and have not seen other colours advertised anywhere. ~Size These buckets are 18cm in diameter. They are a good size for making sandcastles or carrying water in. ~Design. These are solid colour buckets the red one has a blue handle, the yellow one has a blue handle too. These buckets are good for older children as they do not have a picture on them. The top of the bucket has a rim around it with a pouring spout. Opposite the pouring spout there is a wider lip to grip and help pour. These buckets are easy to use and handle for children. ~Use This bucket is ideal for use in the water or sand /gravel play tray at school or home inside or outside. It is ideal for use on the beach. My grandchildren when a little bit younger liked to use their bucket for many alternate uses. When out in the garden and I was weeding the children used to put weeds in their bucket too. They used it to catch newts and tadpoles from my garden pond. At work we would sometimes use these buckets as receptacles when sorting. Ideal for sorting that pile of yellow and red bricks. ~Educational benefits. All children need practice at holding and moving ...

jamieoliver.com 08/09/2016

Jamie Olivers website

jamieoliver.com Jamie Oliver I expect most of you will recognise the name Jamie Oliver as a TV celebrity chef. He is well known for starting a campaign to improve the standard of Britain’s school meals. Also for his stance on eating healthy. I sometimes look at Cookery websites for inspiration either for food I have grown and have a glut of or for inspiration when having visitors. Recently having a lot of tomatoes and some vegetarian visitors for the weekend I was browsing various cookery sites including http://www.jamieoliver.com ~First impression I put the address into my browser click and up come the front page. When ever I open this site it seems to have an advert behind it I noticed the one about IKEA. Still it's easy to ignore I pulled the Jamie page up and the add disappeared. Sorry Jamie your front page has not got that wow factor. It does not really inspire me to investigate further. The first page which opens simply has a green banner at the top saying Jamie Oliver, recipes, family food, health, discover, more Jamie, log on/sign up. Follow. These when clicked on have drop down pages. Before I click on a drop down page I scroll this first front page. There a few pictures of plated meals which will scroll to the right /or left. Click on one of these pictures and the recipe appears. Under the recipe sideways scroll bar is an advert for a book Jamie's Super foods family classic. Yes, click it takes you to an Amazon page where you can buy it Scroll down and there are more ...
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