21st April 2015Watch us on TV
TP Toys is on TV for the first time ever!
Our brand new advert is showing now across multiple childrens TV channels and you can watch it now below:
1st April 2015Swingball Pro L! Coming soon
Swingball are to release a lefty version of Swingball, something that has long been in high demand.
10th March 2015Why not make and enjoy spring's first picnic?
The Met Office forecast suggests the weather is set to hot up in April and will stay warmer until at least May, so now may be a good time to start planning the first of many picnics.
EASTER-HOLIDAY THEMED PICNIC
If you’re not sure about venturing out while the temperatures are still relatively low, then why not organise an outing during the Easter holidays?
You don't have to go far; just a trip into the garden can provide little ones with a much needed change of scene, particularly if they're starting to get cabin fever from being holed up indoors.
Easter egg hunts are always a hit with children, so why not combine a scramble for chocolate goodies with a picnic?
SAVOURY SNACK IDEAS
Obviously, you don't want your little ones to only eat chocolate, so it pays to make up some savoury snacks too.
A Greek salad makes for a good, filling and relatively healthy dish. Just cook the pasta as usual, toss it in some oil and vinegar and leave to cool at room temperature. You can then add some feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and olives (if you think the kids like them) and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Chicken drumsticks are great if your kids are meat-eaters, as little ones love the freedom of eating with their hands.
For a little extra flavour you can squeeze lemon on the meat and squash some cloves of garlic over the drumsticks, then season with pepper and mixed herbs before cooking in an oven at 180 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4 for approximately 40 minutes.
Pizza pies are great hot or cold and you can get the little ones to help you out. All you need is a packet of shortcrust pastry, two eggs, 150 ml milk, 50g of grated cheese and some herbs.
Simply grease a muffin tray and let the children roll out the pastry - they'll love getting stuck in and giving you a helping hand.
Next, cut out ten centimetre circles of pastry and put them in the tray. Then whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug and add the herbs.
Once you've grated the cheese, you can get the kids to help you add it into each pastry case, then you can pour in the milk and egg mixture.
The pies will need to be baked at 180 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4 for between 15 to 25 minutes until they are lightly browned.
If you're a bit short on time, there are plenty of ready-made treats you can buy as well. Scotch eggs, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cucumber batons, hummous and breadsticks all make great, easy to put together picnic food.
SWEET AND HEALTHY SNACKS
If you want your child to eat more fruit, then why not get them to help you make up some fresh fruit kebabs. Just buy some wooden skewers and some bright, sweet favourites such as strawberries, melon, pineapple and grapes and let them help you put them together.
MAKING THE GARDEN MORE ENTERTAINING
If you have a garden and want to encourage your children to spend more time in it, then investing in something like the TP Kingswood2 tower, which acts as a lookout, sand pit, slide and outdoor play area, may be ideal.
The TP Explorer2 Den can be put up or taken down in minutes, making it the ideal garden accessory. If the weather's not great, this can provide ideal coverage for your little ones to enjoy a picnic without having to worry about soggy sandwiches.
Likewise, the TP Hide and Seek Tunnel gives shelter from the rain and is fun to use indoors and outside.
5th March 2015Enjoy the start of spring by spotting its early signs
As the calendar turns to March, meteorologists are starting to talk about the beginning of spring, which is the perfect time of year to get into the great outdoors with the children.
Despite the low temperatures, there are still plenty of signs that the seasons are turning, so why not venture into your garden, local park. woods or nearby open space to check out what's there? Just don't forget to wrap up warm.
What to look for - flowers?
One of the most obvious signs of spring are the flowers shooting up everywhere, in what will have been a rather barren landscape for the last four or five months.
The so-called 'nature detective' section of The Woodland Trust website has a series of useful 'spotter sheets' that help little ones identify the various plants, flowers, birds and wildlife about at this time of year.
Bluebells are just one of the many pretty blooms that will be out in force, as will snowdrops, elderflowers, primroses and mayflowers, to name but a few.
Why not make it into a competition and see who can identify the most, or if your child is on their own, offer them a small gift, such as some stickers, if they manage to spot, say five different varieties?
There are multiple ways of checking for the presence of animals, one of the most entertaining is to look out for their footprints, which are all unique and distinctive.
Whether it's a badger, deer, dog, duck, fox, heron, otter or squirrel's mark, they could all lead you to some interesting creatures.
Another way to spot animals is by looking out for their droppings, but obviously be careful your little ones look but don't touch.
Hearing birdsong in the morning is yet one more way to tell the seasons are changing, so why not get your child to look out for some of the most common varieties found in Britain such as blackbirds, blue tits, chaffinches, magpies, robins, starlings and wood pigeons?
Children seem to be endlessly fascinated by butterflies, so let your little one glance at a website or book with different varieties listed and then take a walk and see how many they can spot.
There are so many to look out for including the orange tip, peacock, red admiral and speckled wood, you'll be spoilt for choice.
The great thing about bugs such as woodlouse, millipedes, ants, caterpillars, beetles, worms and snails is that they can be quite hard to spot, so you can have plenty of fun searching for the little critters in the undergrowth. Lift up big logs and peer to see what's underneath. Alternatively, you could venture into the garden and get your little one to dig into the ground to see what snails and worms they can unearth.
You could then explain how they help to nourish the soil and keep gardens healthy.
If you're lucky enough to have access to a pond, maybe in your own garden or at a local park, you can take your little one to come and see the frogs that will be emerging at this time of year to lay their frogspawn.
You can explain the lifecycle of frogs to your child and you could offer them repeat visits to see them hatch, become tadpoles and eventually frogs.
Benefits of these trips
Multiple studies have shown that when people have exposure to nature they are calmer, happier and more likely to engage with one another in a positive way, so your child will benefit mentally as well as physically from regular trips outdoors.
Not only that, they are also learning about nature, the cycle of life (think about the frogspawn to frog development), and how to concentrate and identify different species, which will help them in their studies as they grow up.
A trip outdoors is also an important way to spend quality, fun time with your children, without screens to distract either you or them.
26th February 2015The best books to enjoy with your children
When it comes to reading, some children will take to it like a duck to water, while others will avoid it at all costs. However, as a parent, it's important that you are a constant source of support, encouragement and engagement in this area.
If your child is having trouble reading or simply doesn't enjoy it, there's no big issue, but helping your younger family members in this area can help them in many areas of life and development. Being able to read well will help them learn better and easier at school, while it will also help them build confidence in their own abilities.
For many parents, the struggle comes when their child has learnt to read but doesn't seem enthused about challenging themselves further and taking their reading to the next level. Some of the books in this list may seem too advanced for your child, but you can start by reading it to them before they go to bed, and slowly encourage them to read more and more of it themselves.
There are many books that are ideal for helping bridge this gap in reading, and continue to encourage your child.
ROALD DAHL - THE TWITS
Roald Dahl is a fantastic author when it comes to persuading children that reading is not dull. His stories are exciting, gruesome and funny, which immediately inspires most young people to continue reading his books. The story of The Twits focuses on Mr and Mrs Twits, who are nasty people who do horrible things to those around them and each other. This story is full of funny anecdotes, which children will instantly love, but also has a sentimental and important message that parents will love too.
The best thing about Roald Dahl is that, if your child gravitates towards his books, there are plenty more for you to choose from.
BEATRIX POTTER COLLECTION
If your child isn't quite up to reading Roald Dahl, start them off with some of Beatrix Potter's work. Starting off as an illustrator herself, Beatrix Potter's books are full of beautiful and detailed pictures to accompany her heartwarming stories. These alone should be enough to encourage children to delve a little deeper, but the tales are amusing and innocent stories about animals.
JK ROWLING - THE HARRY POTTER SERIES
As the most popular children's series of all time, Harry Potter is an obvious place to start for people that are looking to develop their reading ability. Although fans of the films may worry about the dark undertones, the shorter, earlier books are ideal for young children. There is enough action and excitement to keep them entertained and there are fantastic lessons to be learnt from reading them. Not only does good conquer all in the Harry Potter books, but it also deals with many other issues like the power of friendship, loyalty, bullying and judging others. One of the best things about this series is that, as your child matures, they can carry on reading the series.
Reading with your child is a fantastic way to build a close relationship between yourself and them. Of course, you don't want to be too pushy but make sure to praise and encourage them even when they are struggling.
For lots more help with and information on getting children reading, it's well worth taking a look at the Book Trust website all year round, as well as getting involved with Children's Book Week each summer.