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Learning maths with a wooden abacus

2 Oct

Wooden Abacus

Now that the office is near enough straight I thought it was about time I got on with writing some more reviews and adding more products to ToyBoxLive.  We have just got this delightful wooden abacus in stock by Plan Toys and it offers lots of play as well as educational value.

The wooden abacus has long been a staple teaching product at nurseries and primary schools, often giving children their first introduction to mathematics.  The abacus has been around for centuries and this corful version will help to introduce children to visualise counting, addition and subtraction.

Each line on this Plan toys wooden abacus has ten colored beads on string that can be easily slid from side to side, it is also bright and will encourage early colour recognition.  With one hundred beads in total your child can really start to get to grips with numbers and mathematics.  Educating your children doesn’t have to be just whilst they are at school you can really help them by making it imaginative and fun using the wooden abacus.

Suitable from ages 3 years – 12 years this toy certainly retains its value and can also be a great way to engage children with additional learning needs who may require a more tactile learning experience.

Instead of cluttering up your house why not add the Plan Wooden Abacus to your toy hire subscription today.

Some other useful details are the measurements of each toy so here are those for the Plan Wooden Abacus…

Width:  27cm
Height: 30cm
Depth:   3cm
Weight: 590grams

Less spending more e-lending

25 Sep
toy rental

E Lending

Our culture has changed a lot in the past 10 years and the internet has seen the introduction of many services we didn’t even know we needed. who would have thought we would be buying our shopping online or through a device that was originally designed to make phone calls, or talking with our friends on social networks and seeing them live using web cams. Things really have changed

I remember my first day at secondary school and sitting down to my first ever IT class. We were taught about word processing software , how to type using the traditional type writer method. “Place your right finger over asdf and your left over jkl; and from here you can then type as quickly as possible” Said Mr Singh (Mansfield High School 1995). Each week we continued learning about the programs in the Microsoft Works Suite, there were spreadsheets to calculate and a presentation software tool. There was Encarta that had begun to replace the traditional encyclopaedia and then came the internet with Ask Jeeves (the main search engine at the time) and msn messenger(the equivalent to today’s facebook for chatting to friends).

You know that saying your parents used to say…You don’t know your born, all we had in our day was a black and white TV and a toilet outside for four of us if we were lucky, I was often guilty of thinking “whatever”.

It makes me wonder what we will be saying to our children in 10 years time, who would have thought we would all have a computer the size of our palm in our bag, that we just can’t live without and that you could choose toys and rent them all from the comfort of your own home. Times really are a changing…

E Lending of books was discussed tonight on the news and it’s no surprise that services like ours now fall readily into the E Lending category. ToyBoxLive.co.uk launched in January 2012, and has rented hundreds of toys to customers throughout the UK.

The development of children in the early years is so fast that as a parent you want to educate and challenge them and accumulating toys as well as the unnecessary spending that follows can become challenging for even the most budget minded. Renting toys from ToyBoxLive.co.uk offers the perfect solution.

For £24.99 families can rent their choice of three toys for a month, choosing to return them or extend the rental at the end of the month – in a system likened to DVD rental. If a child becomes attached to their new plaything parents can even buy it from ToyBoxLive.co.uk at a discounted cost. All toys go through a three step cleaning process which includessteam cleaning, additional cleaning, followed by additional cleaning with an organic antibacterial toy cleaner and then finally being wrapped to ensure it arrives perfectly clean and looks like new when it arrives at your door

Toyboxlive.co.uk is the UK’s first toy rental business with customers coming from acrosss the country, despite it being a new concept for many families.

ToyBoxLive.co.uk is a finalist in the Mumpreneur UK Awards

21 Aug

Well it’s all been a bit quiet on the blog recently what with the summer holidays and the shocking English weather hasn’t really provided much inspiration for writing about outdoor toys as we had planned.

On the plus side we have some really exciting news to share with you ToyBoxLive.co.uk is in the final of the “Best Green Business” category at this years Mumpreneur UK awards.

We truly believe that ToyBoxLive.co.uk offers parents and carers a cost effective, green and ethical way to have the latest and best toys.

We are so pleased to have reached the final as there were over 1200 applicants to the award we are really proud to have been selected for the final.   We will be going down to both the conference and the awards ceremony on 30th September so please keep all your fingers crossed for us.

Haba Ghost Tower and Knights Castle

24 Jun
Haba Ghost Tower and Knights

Haba Ghost Tower and Knights Castle box and Construction

Why is it when you see or hear German you automatically assume quality.  ‘Vorsprung Durch Teknik’ (the Audi slogan) allows you to automatically know its a premium brand without needing to know what it means. Vorsprung Durch Teknik actually means innovation through technology to us English speakers.  The Germans are so proud of the quality of their products that they proudly encompass it into every element of their product and Haba is another German gem that oozes premium quality and style.

Haba Ghost Tower and Knights

Haba toys are designed to last, they are packaged beautifully and include a range of play opportunities.  We received the Haba Ghost Tower at ToyBoxLive which is a master piece in engineering itself and offers countless variations and settings that a young architect can construct.

Haba Ghost Castle and Knights Village

Haba Ghost Castle and Knights Castle

Made from sustainable wood, the Haba Ghost Tower comes with a selection of shapes and characters which can be constructed into a whole manor of buildings.  We created a castle on a hill which housed the ghost and a dragon and a village where the knights were battlers.  We were pretty proud upon completion.

This type of toy can be adapted for all ages whether you are teaching your little one to build a tower or whether you are encouraging their imagination to run wild, you are sure to gain a lot of play value from it. Despite it having a lot of pieces it is a great toy and one that will be cherished by all ages.  You can buy the Haba Ghost Tower and Knights Castle from Haba for £58.99 or it is available form our toy library at ToyBoxLive

The German toy manufacturers have carefully postioned themselves as leaders in innovation and design through clever marketing and quality products.

Ravensburger Jolly Octopus

20 Jun
Jolly Octopus

Ravensburger Jolly Octopus Game, suitable for ages 4-99+, 2-5 players

Now this is our first adventure into the board/games market that is suitable for the over fives and Jolly Octopus certainly didn’t disappoint.

Since opening the game its been enjoyed and played with by a number of ages from six right up to 60 and has had many outings in our house.

The game comes mostly assembled you simply have to insert the tentacles into the green base (which an adult should do as a child would find this difficult) and then insert 3 x AA batteries into the base.

Jolly Octopus is a newer version of the old style game of operation except you have to rescue crabs from the rock without touching the octopus’ tentacles.

This Ravensburger game is really simple to put together and you need 2-5 players.  Each player chooses a colour and must collect the crabs relating to their colour from the rock, without touching the tentacles.  Each player takes their turn and tries to grab a crab without it touching Jolly Octopus’ tentacles, the player keeps trying to collect crabs until they touch a tentacle and make Jolly the Octopus laugh at this point the next player takes their turn.  The winner is the first to collect all of their crabs.

This game is quick and fun and requires children and adults to maintain concentration and have a steady hand, it also has two levels so you can set it to easy or hard depending on the children or adults you are playing with.  It will help with colour recognition, numeracy and develop hand eye co-ordination

Great childrens game

It reminds us oldies of operation however it is more forgiving and not quite as scary.  When you touch the tentacles the octopus laughs and its tentacles stop spinning, the laugh is also nice and pleasant to hear.  I think this toy is sure to be a hit and one that will be played with again and again.  The Jolly Octopus is £19.99 to buy or you can add it to your toy hire package if you want to try before you buy at ToyBoxLive

Meet Zac Zoob

8 Jun

Moving Mind Building Modelling SystemHi my name is Zac and I recently arrived at ToyBoxLive HQ.  I started off in a cool box in pieces and Alison took me home to see what I was made of.

She started building me that very first night, trying out the different locking positions which enable the connectors to move and connect in all different ways, to teach you how the pieces fit together to build the models.  Antony soon became interested so he had a go too.

As he was going along he looked captivated in his work and had followed all the diagrams and instructions in the book, two hours later and I was led out in all my glory on the kitchen worktop ready for the final pieces to be put together

Top tip count all the pieces and match them to the instruction book before you get started so you are sure you have everything that is relevant.  Hey presto here I am in all my glory.

This toy requires concentration and skill and but is lots of fun and real size and feat. As a parent r carer if you want an afternoon of peace and quiet from your 6 + child give Zac Zoob a try, be prepared to have to join in  but your child/children will get a great sense of achievement when Zac is built. There are lots of other characters and designs to build that will keep a skilled constructive child entertained for days.

Zac Zoob Alien Creature is available to buy from Bright Sparks Toys or he is available from the toy library at ToyBoxLive

People Like People

6 Jun

Last night I was introduced to a totally new way of networking via www.airtime.com and thought it would be interesting to share my experience, as the site when I first went on had been live for less than 12 hours.

Image

Heres a pic of me talking to Sam Nady, Professional Rugby League Player For Canada Rugby League

The concept behind it is a more controlled version of chat roulette (I’ve only encountered one or two weirdos and it appears that they are being filtered out).  You log in through your Facebook profile and it connects you to people who have similar likes and dislikes. I found it really interesting speaking to people and chatting to them face to face, although it did seem a bit awkward at first the conversations did eventually start to flow. There were a lot of laughs, sharing of ideas and also a lot of nexting.

I spent in total about four hours talking to people last night and found it good fun and something I would encourage adults to try.  People like people and ultimately this sort of service may be what we are currently missing in the social media world.  Twitter is great but I personally think it is better to talk to people face to face…I enjoy meeting people, working for yourself can sometimes get lonely and this can be a much welcomed break.

Within the first couple of hours I had chatted to people involved in start-ups, tech companies in the USA and also those working for forward thinking companies and established big players in the tech field.  Talking to owners, programmers, designers from all over the world made for an interesting mix of conversations which mainly followed this format.

Awkwrd Silence….Me waving and smiling..Other person saying hello..Me Saying Hello and then carrying the conversation on with where in the world are you? What do you do? to finding out about their interests and what they thought of Airtime.  Time will tell how useful this tool is, I think it’s success will be down to matching people with similar interests and ensuring that the quality of people using it stays high.  For me it was great interacting with early adopters.

When I look back over this blog it’s interesting to see the stats and the most popular story so far has been The Jet Set Flopsy Bunny which was uploaded only a week ago.

I write product reviews on the toys we supply at ToyBoxLive to help parents decide which toys they might like to add to their toy hire package and combine these reviews with the general ramblings of a mum, business woman and general business goings on.

What do you think of Airtime have I met you yet?