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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Baby toys first 3 months

Baby toys in the first three months should match his or her abilities. So what abilities does he or she have?

Your baby can't see clearly anything which is further than 12 to 15 inches away but they can easily distinguish anything which is less distance than that. Your baby likes bright colors but is not so good on delicate pastel shades. They like curves but are not so fond of sharp edged objects. They don't like loud noises because they frighten them but they love the soft tones of voices particularly their mothers. Babies hands will want to investigate the objects around him or her but they won't be able to pick them up in the first few weeks.

So which babies toys can meet these abilities?

In the first few weeks a musical mobile will fascinate your baby particularly if it is brightly colored. It will also add soft music to lull your little one to sleep. Mobiles can also be used in the car. Whilst baby can't see out of the windows a car mobile will keep them interested whilst they are awake and the movement of the car normally sends them straight off to sleep.

Your youngster will spend most of their time when they are not in their parent's arms lying down in the crib or pram so a playmat will add a colorful alternative. It will also give baby their first experience of touch. Most play mats are brightly colored so once again the little person will be fascinated by the colors.

Once your baby starts to explore with their hands a soft book will have a number of advantages. Firstly it gives baby and mother the opportunity to bond whilst mum "reads" the book to their child. Secondly baby can feel the book and the different touch it has to the sheets and clothes it is used to. Babies experience will also be enhanced by seeing animals or household objects in fact there are soft books about almost anything.

So you can see there are lots of baby toys which can help your babies development in sight touch and sound.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Londoner's day out

This year for the first time I went to Epsom race course on Derby Day. Now traditionally Derby day is the Londoner's day out. For those of the non racing fraternity the Derby is one of the 5 classic races in the United Kingdom with prize money of over £1,000,000.

It is an amazing experience. There were thousands of spectators most of whom were inside the race track itself. It is free to enter (unless you go in the grandstand) and most people take a picnic and make a real day out of it.

We were standing right by the rails in a spot which had been reserved by one of our friends. Every year she goes very early on Derby day morning to stake a claim for a bit of space.

As it was a nice fine day this year it was busier than ever and the atmosphere was electric. There's the excitement of the races, the groans as you lose your money and the shouts of delight for those who pick the winners.

If you're wise you do as I did which is to decide how much you can afford to lose, then divide it by the number of races you will be seeing and just bet that amount. I being a wonderful tipster managed to lose all the £10 (about $20) I had decided to risk. So if you ever see me at the Derby in the future look at what horse I'm backing and then back something else.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Do you have bad months?

For me May is the most expensive time of the year apart from Christmas. My daughter and sister in law have their birthdays on the 13th, my wife has hers on the 22nd, my son has his on the 25th, my ex-wife has hers on the 27th and my sister has hers on the 28th. It used to be worse my late dad's birthday was on the 9th. So you can see I have to start saving for May just after Christmas.

This year my daughter organized a family birthday party on the Sunday before her birthday and all the family were invited. This included my grand-daughter Rosie Grace (9 months) and my great-nephew Johnie (18 months) and both had the time of their lives being spoiled by their relatives (including me).

Of course there were lots of presents given and in particular there was a present which my daughter in law Emma had wrapped up for Rosie to give to her aunt. I don't think Rosie quite understood the instructions. She spent half an hour trying to eat the present.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Kids Saving

To some kids saving comes naturally. My interest in saving goes back to my childhood. My mother used to save money in jars to pay the bills. There was a jar for the milkman, for the gas bill, for the electricity bill and two savings jars. One of the savings jars was fed with farthings, halfpennies and pennies which came from the purses of my mother and aunt and was given to my cousin and me for holiday spending money.

Although I did not know it at the time this practice of saving small change in a jar is reputed to be one of the reasons that the name Piggy Bank came about. Sealed Jars were fed with small change and broken open when they were full, just as pigs were fed with scraps until they were fat and then slaughtered for their meat so that the farmer could get back the investment he had made in them.

An alternative theory of the name Piggy Bank is that it comes from the word pygg a type of clay used to make storage jars in the Middle Ages. Money was sometimes stored in these pygg jars and these eventually became known as Piggy Jars.

Whichever is the true reason behind the name of the money bank, the practice of saving money using them, gradually became something that was mostly done by children. They became pig shaped because that was an easy shape to model out of clay. Originally they only had an opening at the top, but modern money boxes also have a means of getting the savings out without having to break the bank.

Nowadays Piggy Banks come in all shapes and sizes and are made from many different materials including wood and plastic whilst there are still many pottery ones available. So getting your kids saving can be fun.

There are no Creative Toys

Toys by their very nature are inanimate and can't demonstrate any creativity. No it is the child who is creative. They are the ones who pick up creative toys and experiment with them to do something with them the manufacturer and retailer would and could not have thought of.

Creativity in young children is demonstrated by imaginative thinking, adventuresome personality and intrinsic motivation and the creative wooden toys or creative toddler toys they use are only a means of showing one or more of these actions.

When my eldest boy Timothy was 18 months old his grandfather and grandmother bought him a pedal car for Christmas. When the time came for handing out presents his eyes lit up when he saw this big parcel in its pretty colored wrapping paper. His grandfather was delighted and helped him unwrap his present. His delight however was short lived because once the pedal car was out of it's big box my son ignored it and immediately rushed to play with the box where his imagination could turn it into anything he wanted.

When my youngest son Anthony was about 9 months old he nearly gave his mother a heart attack by diving headfirst out of his baby carriage. He was just doing it to see what happened. Luckily he was not hurt other than a minor graze but this "experiment" didn't stop his adventurous nature at 1 year old his favorite toy acquired from a kitchen cupboard was a teapot.

What creative toys must do is to encourage our youngsters to use their imaginations, be able to experiment and to have the motivation to keep on until they have succeeded.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Nursery Folding Trampoline

The world we live in seems obsessed with health and fitness so its not surprising that Galt Toys have produced a Nursery Folding Trampoline.

This kids trampoline is ideal for children from 2 years of age upward but the safety limit of 77 pounds will probably determine the upper age limit.

As you would expect with a children's fitness toy it has a number of safety features. Firstly there is the weight limit mentioned above. Then there is the safety handle to give that added confidence when jumping. There is also a padded cover around the bungee cords so that little feet don't get caught. Finally the manufacturers advise that children using the trampoline are always supervised by an adult.

The assembled size is 32 and 1/4 inches high by 33 and 3/4 inches wide by 33 and 3/4 inches long so it should make outdoor play possible in even the smallest garden or perhaps indoors in the play room in bad weather. The manufacturers have also made it easy to store away. The handle can be quickly unscrewed and the legs fold down.

We all know the benefits of regular exercise. What better way to start your youngsters on the way to fitness and health than to get them a Nursery Folding Trampoline.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Londons most wonderful church?

If you were asked which was the best Wren church in London what would you reply? St Paul's Cathedral? Well for me there is a hidden gem known only to a few people and that is St Stephen Walbrook. Now I've lived in and around London for most of my life but I only found out about this delightful church this week.

When my wife retired she joined the National Health Service Retirement Fellowship and as her spouse I was also eligible to join so I did. Now every month we go on a trip to various parts of Greater London. This month we were guided round some of the churches of the city of London.

Our guide was Tony Tucker author of the highly informative The visitor's guide to the City of London Churches. I could prattle on about what a wonderful guide he was but I don't suppose you've got two days spare. What I will say is that if you ever see that Tony is giving a lecture in your area go to it.

We saw a number of really great Wren churches but Tony saved the best till last. St Stephen's church is built on the banks of the River Walbrook which flows into the Thames but is completely hidden under the city.

This church is really stunning. From the outside it hides the treasure trove of delights which are found inside. London's first ever dome above a Henry Moore altar showing that old and new can co-exist.

The church is situated behind the Mansion House which is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London and I would advise any visitor to the capital to pay it a visit.