Products I love!
Below is a selection of my favourite products, as well as books I have written.
If you have any great ideas for products to list here, please let me know.
DIY Electro Dough
The box might be gorgeously retro but the concept is super modern. Children not only get to create play dough pieces but ones that light up! Not only do they get to create characters, these guys come to life! This is a super versatile and totally unique gift/toy, suitable for children of ages 4+.
Make your own London Landmarks
This offers something a little different - the chance for children to get up close to buildings by creating their own models. The different models you can buy are among the best known of London's many famous sights: St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Palace and Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, the glittering Shard, and of course, the unmistakable London Bus! Each is accompanied by educational facts and figures that will really bring your miniature London to life!
Charades for kids
A fun-packed, active game of charades, designed especially for children to help them learn through play. This educational game, that will provide hours of family entertainment, helps children express themselves by acting out the object or action listed on the card, for the other players to guess. The game contains cards to suit all ages from 4 years and up, and in addition to written objects and actions the game also includes 50 picture cards so young children can participate.
Solar powered sunography
Sunography is a great platform for creativity. Use old photo negatives, x-rays, bit of lace, leaves and everyday items to compose your designs. Sunlight sensitive paper was a forerunner of modern photographic processes. This type of print dates back to 1842 and was popularized by Anna Atkin, one of the first female photographers.
Outside the box series
Although designed for teachers, this photocopiable book is full of innovative, user friendly, exciting and unusual activities that promote creative thinking and problem solving skills for 7-9 year olds. The challenges in this book make an exciting change from strictly subject-based lessons. All the activities have been tried and tested in the classroom many times by the author who is an experienced teacher.
Make a face memory game
The cards of this new memory game depict all kinds of funny faces created with everyday DIY materials such as paper, cardboard, elastic bands, brushes, buttons, etc. Your task, as ever, is to find the matching faces made with the same materials. Great fun to play for children of every age and, as a side effect, playing the game also gives you tons of inspiration for creating your own faces or other figures with everyday materials.
Dr Seuss wall sticker
Nothing can quite prepare you for how wonderful these wall stickers look on your child’s bedroom wall - they are arty, empowering and downright gorgeous! Who doesn’t love Dr Seuss? A tip for putting them up: iron out the creases on the wall with something like a wallpaper smoother before you peel back to see how it looks. There are many different quotes available for these stickers and all are available on Amazon. Enjoy selecting one from your child’s favourite Dr Seuss edition.
Minecraft Digging Wall Cling
They all seem to be obsessed with Minecraft these days. We might as well get on board with it! This wall sticker gives the illusion of the character digging through the wall which is so much fun for those avid Minecraft fans.
Creature Clash Card Game
Combine these playing cards to create crazy new creatures out of real-life animals! Add up the points for the newly formed creature and then stage attacks against the creatures in other players' hands. The highest score wins! Promoting maths skills, strategic game play and creativity, Creature Clash! ensures hours of fun for the whole family.
How To Be An Explorer Of The World Book
Keri Smith is a Canadian conceptual artist and author of several bestselling books and apps about creativity including Wreck This Journal (Penguin), This is Not a Book (Penguin), How to be an Explorer of the World - the Portable Life/Art Museum,(Penguin), Mess: A Manual of Accidents and Mistakes (Penguin), The Guerrilla Art Kit (Princeton Architectural Press), Finish This Book (Penguin), and The Pocket Scavenger (Penguin). The book featured here is one that she has created for children. I picked my copy up at the Barbican Centre in London which has the most fabulous shop packed with eclectic treasures.
Lessons To Get Children Thinking Book
Another great addition to the family or school library from the philosopher Peter Worley, as he introduces new ways of getting children to think outside of the box with his creative suggestions for thought adventures across the curriculum. Whilst this is a book primarily aimed at primary school teachers, it provides a wonderful resource for parents who wish to enrich their child’s thinking skills.
Gorgeous gift for boys or girls of all ages - they love the intricacy of using their fingers to create shapes, faces and patterns. Great for fine motor skills and such fun on rainy days or even on long plane journeys!
These panoramic pop outs of the world’s cities really bring skylines to life for children. They are also stunning gifts for adults which is how I came across them in the first place. The next time you head on a city break with the kids, bring one of these along. They are easy to carry around and the kids will enjoy spotting attractions in their 3D pop out! As well as featuring cities, the makers are now helpfully developing a new series on art and literature. We recently bought the Shakespearean pop out which displays all of the Bard’s plays in one long panoramic strip. Splendid!
A Step Outside Guide
Fancy taking the kids into London for the day, but want to make it fun as well as educational? Well in that case, check out these amazing Step Outside guides. They have child-friendly area guides to help making getting around London with the kids easy. They are replete with historical facts, and what’s more, are also packed with games and puzzles for children to do on the train getting there! We can’t get enough of them in our house and grab them every time we head into London looking for an area to explore as a family.
50 Science Things to Make and Do
Usborne are constantly coming up with new educational products for children, but this one is particularly useful. If parents can get into the way of trying out science at home, it will make those lessons at school so much more enjoyable and meaningful for the kids!
My Magnetibook Alphabet
I bought this stunning book primarily because it looked so good in the country shop in Bath where I came across it, however it has become one of the most loved books/toys in our home. You open it up suitcase style to reveal a grid magnetic wall. Children then select letters from the tray below and spell as they wish. My 6 year old has moved on from phonic play and now enjoys simply stacking the letters! It is a great tool for kids learning to spell and for early readers. Slightly older children can enjoy fiddling with it too! It’s French of course - they seem to produce the chicest things!
For those of you trying to encourage your child to start thinking and writing more creatively, I highly recommend story cubes! Simply roll them out and then take it in turns to tell a tale around the theme suggested by the dice. Alternatively, each person gets to tell a part of the same evolving story. Simple to carry around in a handbag, good fun for all the family, story cubes are also hugely helpful for developing young writers!
Who can resist this pencil? Naughty but nice it’s bound to be a winner with kids who want the coolest pencil in the classroom!
This fun and educational art activity will keep kids of all ages occupied. With 36 generously sized mats printed on art activity paper, placemat art is a great way to nurture your children’s creative side. Kids can draw whatever they like, from food to animals or anything else their imagination can conjure up! Not only is this a great way to encourage creativity, it is also a winning way to get young children calmly sitting at the table in preparation for dinner time.
Chalk piggy bank
This is not just any piggy bank - it has a nice coating of chalkboard paint and children can scribble exactly how much they have in it each time they fill it up! (Or whatever else they care to write). It caught my eye in the shop as it comes in a box with 'Capitalist pig' written on it!
Bird, Dog and Bug Bingo
Super chic and super stylish, boy do these board games have learning opportunities for children embedded within them! Younger children enjoy listening to the names being called out and matching them with their individual bingo board to help them learn the different species. I still recall, on holiday abroad last year, hearing my five year old (an avid player of Bird Bingo) shouting out: 'Blue-winged pitta' as we spotted a favourite bird up a tree! Children and adults alike can enjoy stunning illustrations of the birds, but also their exotic names. In our house at least, the 'blue-footed booby' constantly gets the family chuckling! I can also recommend the Bug and Dog editions, which are equally as fabulous.
Make your own eco-friendly cardboard nightlight which recharges during the day from its solar panel.