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Upcycling An Old Dolls House

Dolls House
My actual dolls house, in the process of being built!

Just recently, I was having a conversation with my sister and we both agreed that some of the best presents we got when we were kids were things that had been bought secondhand and upcycled by our parents.

One of my favourites was a bike I got when I was around Burrito Baby’s age. My dad bought this bike month ahead of Christmas and spent weeks in the shed stripping off the old paint, re-spraying it with a cool flame design and sticking custom stickers all over it, so that by the time it was given to me for Christmas and it looked brand-new and actually way cooler than it had looked before he started upcycling it.

As you’ll know if you’ve read my blog, another toy from my past that is precious to me is the dolls house that was made by my Nan and Grandad, from scratch. I’ve talked about renovating this for many years and just recently I’ve had some new ideas of ways that I can update it and get it looking back to brand-new again. Here are a few of the ideas: despite having been up in the loft for many years now,

Update the Exterior

Despite having been up in the loft for many years now, The exterior of the dolls house is actually in pretty good condition. There are however a few areas where it could do with a little bit of renovation and while I don’t have the same level of skill as my Grandad, who made the brick effect on the outside of the house from actual brick dust, there are now brick patterned wallpaper for dolls houses on the market which will make a really good replacement for my grandads original method.

New Wallpaper

As you can tell from the brickdust anecdote, my Nan and grandad were all about authenticity when they made this dolls house, which means that the inside is decorated with real wallpaper. The house was made in the very late 80s which means the decor on the inside is very “of the time”. Something that I’ve been planning to do is grab some samples of some more modern wallpapers from a decorating store and use these to repaper the inside of the house to give it an updated look.

New Lights 

My grandad was an incredibly skilled person in so many ways and one of the things that he did in the original dolls house would put individual lights in each room that could be controlled with separate switches and were connected to a battery pack in the loft. Over the years some of these lights have stopped working and I don’t have the same skill as Grandad so fixing individual lights is a little bit beyond my capabilities. There are however individual battery powered LEDs that can be stuck in each room without needing to rewire the whole house and this is something that I would definitely consider doing.

Kids

Best Scooters for Children

Best Scooters for ChildrenPixabay License

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If you are looking for a present to buy your child for their birthday or Christmas then you should certainly consider a scooter. This is a toy which has been popular amongst children for many years now and thus there is a high chance that it will go down a treat with your little one. We’ve compiled a list of the top scooters available in toy stores and off of the internet today, take a look for some ideas and inspiration for your little one…

But, before we go into the different products that are available, it is important to stress that you must also teach your child about the importance of riding their scooter safely. A lot of parents have had to work with a trusted car accident lawyer because of their child being injured while out playing. You also need to make sure you invest in th correct safety accessories to go with the scooter too.

So, now, let’s take a look at some of the best scooters out there…

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien In Line Scooter

Ben 10 is a popular children’s television programme and if your child is a fan then this is certainly the scooter for him. The scooter itself is blue and boasts lime green handlebars and wheels. This design is eye-catching and is thus assured to be loved by your son. Moreover, it features an exciting and intricate alien graphic on the footplate. In addition to this, it is also worth noting that the scooter boasts a rear footbrake. It is suitable for those over the age of five years old and it has an adjustable handlebar height between 74 cm and 80 cm. 

Cosmic Light Scooter in Pink

Most little girls love pink and thus they are assured to love this scooter. It features a transparent footplate as well as bright pink wheels and bright pink handles. This scooter is assured to be the centre of attention. In addition to this it features three wheels rather than two, with the extra wheel being at the back of the scooter. This is extremely helpful because it helps your child with their balance and ensures a safer and easier riding experience. You are yet to learn about the best part of this scooter; the multi-flashing deck. 

Sponge Bob Scooter

If your child is a fan of Spongebob Squarepants then there is literally no better scooter for them than this one. The scooter is covered in images of Spongebob – even the handlebars feature mini images of the popular cartoon character on either side. This scooter is vibrant and eye-catching; it is one of the most exciting scooters on offer today. Moreover, this scooter is easy to fold away and store because of its simplistic fold and lock mechanism. 

My First Scooter

If you are looking to buy your daughter her first ever scooter then this is certainly a good option. It is bright pink in colour and boasts bright yellow handles and wheels. This is one of the most eye-catching scooters available today. Moreover, the scooter has four wheels – two at the front and two at the back. The wheels at the front are bigger than those at the bike. And this design is something which is extremely beneficial because it makes riding the scooter a lot easier. Furthermore, once your child feels comfortable on their scooter you can then remove one of the wheels, and then further remove another so that you are left with a two wheeled scooter. This saves you from buying another scooter once your child gets older.

As you can see, there are a lot of different scooters on the market today. If you are looking for a fun and exciting scooter for your child, you should have no trouble finding something that is going to put a massive smile on their face. However, it is vital to choose with care because you need to make sure you select a scooter that is age appropriate and is safe as well. When buying anything for a child, safety is always one of the main concerns, and a scooter is certainly no different. 

Kids

What Was Your Favourite Part of the Playground Growing Up?

Remember running out to the playground at break time after lessons, or a walk down the park, as a youngster and getting all excited because your favourite spot was free? For some, it is the slide, while others immediately run over to the bars.

Not all playgrounds are created equally, with some encouraging more play than others. Yes, you may have loved playing hopscotch, but did anything really capture the imagination like an all-singing-all-dancing structure filled with endless possibilities?

It probably depends on what type of child you were. Here, we take a look at some of our favourite parts of any playground.

Slide

What young child didn’t love the slide? Of course, some slides were better than others – there was nothing worse than getting stuck halfway down the slide, only for the next child to dislodge you on their way down. The best slides were, of course, the slides that had a spiralled design, rather than a straight slope down.

You might also remember the unfortunate discovery of a landing pad that wasn’t quite padded enough in parks that hadn’t been maintained as well as they should be. It was all good fun, though, wasn’t it?

Seesaw

The seesaw could be a lot of fun, as long as you had someone to actually go on it with. If you were something of a loner, the seesaw only served to compound your loneliness. But it was okay, because you could make friends on the playground and jump on the seesaw with them – after all, you are in a social setting.

This was a very simple piece of equipment that would keep us entertained for a long time. Of course, if you would get a little overzealous, your parents would get a little twitchy, but that was what the rubber matting was for.

Field

Is the surrounding field technically part of the playground? At school, everyone would be excited when they could play football on the grass, so for that reason we are saying yes. When we were at school, the grass field was used almost exclusively for sport, especially football.

Do you remember sliding around in your new school trousers and seeing your mum’s face drop when you returned home? Now we know how mum felt because, as any parent will tell you, grass stains aren’t fun to get out of clothes. Especially whites…

Rocker

Going back to those that loved to play on the seesaw, anyone that couldn’t find a friend to participate with them could jump on the rocker. This is a one-man seesaw, if you will, where the child can swing backwards and forwards or side to side to their heart’s content.

The best part of the rocker was that you were not reliant on another’s momentum (or lack thereof) and could go as fast or as slow as you wanted. The simple things always made for the best park equipment when we were young.

Swing

A staple of the playground, the swing was the reason for many a bump and graze when you fell off. You would always hear fables of how one kid managed to swing all the way over the bar (almost always when no one else was present, funnily enough) and foolishly try to replicate the feat yourself. It would never end well, or you would chicken out at the point your body would become inverted.

Looking back with an adult’s perspective, playground’s seem such a simple concept but, through the eyes of a child, they really do represent a world of opportunity.

Family · Kids

Sudocrem – Getting Kids to Play Outdoors

Hands up who’s relieved to have seen a little bit of nice weather this week? In a week full of terrible news and nasty political tactics, sometimes something as simple as feeling the sun on your face is enough to bolster your mood a little. It’s really nice that a little less rain means that we’re able to spend more time outside, taking advantage of our lovely surroundings and blowing away some of the cobwebs of what felt like the longest winter in living memory.

Now that Chuck isn’t as able to go on long walks, we limit his walking time by allowing him to take us on shorter walks and let him dictate the length and pace, and this newly relaxed attitude from him makes it a lot easier for me to take both girls along with me while I walk him. Spending time walking with all three of them (and even better when Husband is with us, too) is one of my simplest, happiest pleasures in life.

Getting Outside with Sudocrem

Last year, I teamed up with Sudocrem to tell you all about the Play More campaign they’d launched which was intended to get our kids outside more, by donating funds to schools and nurseries for updating their outdoor play areas. The project was such a huge success that they’re doing it all again this year and they’ve asked me to tell my readers about it.

“With stories of childhood obesity never far from the headlines, it’s easy to believe that each generation of children is lazier than the last. But a new survey of 6 – 11 year olds suggests that British children believe they’re wrapped in cotton wool by their parents and would like more freedom to play outside.

The research by family skincare brand Sudocrem found that almost 3 in 5 children (57%) said their parents worried too much about their safety and almost two-thirds of those aged 8 – 11 (64%) thought they should be able to go to the park with their friends, unaccompanied by an adult.Sudocrem Play More for schools and nurseries

 Encouragingly, the study also revealed a generation of children who recognise they don’t play out in the fresh air often enough, with 52% of those questioned admitting they spend too much time on games consoles and a further 60% saying there should be more games to encourage kids to play outside, like Pokemon Go.”

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Georgina Fotopoulou said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

If you think your child’s nursery* could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub and nominate.

Education · Happiness · Health · Kids

Getting Our Kids Outdoors

One of the main reasons that we moved to the countryside back in September of last year was that we wanted the kids to be able to spend more time outdoors, surrounded by nature. Our house, as well as having big front and back gardens, is completely surrounded by farmland and footpaths which are perfect for exploring or going on an evening ramble after tea. Here’s a shot taken by Husband just this evening whilst taking Chuck out for his evening constitutional (isn’t it absolutely stunning?!):

outdoors

The thing is, Husband and I were raised during a time when it was completely normal for kids to play outside; we both remember leaving the house in the morning and only ever popping back for lunch and dinner, and we often comment about how sad it makes us that our girls will never experience the same sort of freedom. That’s why when I heard about the new campaign being spearheaded by Sudocrem and PlayMore, I knew I had to write about it.

Their research has shown that, on average, the modern child spends less than five hours a week playing outside, compared to over 11 hours for their parents’ generation.

Child psychologist Dr. Lindsay Ip explains, “Children today are more used to immediate gratification from technology and digital games than active, creative play in the outdoors and connection to humans and nature. That’s why we have a responsibility as a society to encourage our children to get outside and play. It’s important for their health and educational development.”

Based on this research, Sudocrem has teamed up with PlayMore to offer 10 nurseries across the country the chance to win £500 towards improving their outdoor play facilities, in an effort to get pre-school aged kids outside more.

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Nick Lang said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to get stung by stinging nettles and scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process for parents as well as children. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

The reception classes at Sausage’s school have recently upgraded their outdoor facilities, including an astro-turfed area to allow year-round ball sports, mud kitchens to let kids enjoy messy play and a canopy-covered area so that they can still get fresh air during wet weather. It’s really refreshing to see the outdoor space being incorporated into the classroom in this way and I can’t wait to see how BB enjoys it when she starts school in a couple of years.

If you think your child’s nursery could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub and nominate.