Category: children

Summer Battles with Zing HyperStrike and Zax

My kids love to run around, make noise and compete with each other. Summer months can be spent chasing each other and battling for the top spot of champion in a variety of games. The hardest part? Trying to think of new ways to keep both an eight and a fifteen year old entertained!

Zax is a soft, foam suction cupped axe that you can use to compete in axe throwing competitions (or if you are like me, to catch your husband off guard when he is walking around the corner!!).

The suction cups work great on any flat surface either inside or outside. For convenience, we tested the Zax out in our living room first. There is definitely a trick to how you flick the axe, so don’t get discouraged on your first few throws! Our first throws were unsuccessful and would bounce off the walls, but once you got used to the way that you had to flick your wrist when throwing it, it easily stuck to the wall. Important to note, it did not damage the paint at all – which I was a tad bit worried about at first.

Our youngest was by far the champion in the competition. He picked up the skills the quickest and loved throwing the axe (although there were a few throws that ended up at his brother that I am not quite were as accidental as he made them out to be!). He perfected the flick and underhand throw but none of us were good at the two handed throws.

Zax come in a variety of colours and can be purchased at Walmart and Target in the US and Mastermind Toys, Canadian Tire, Indigo and Toys R Us in Canada.

The HyperStrike is a high performance bow and arrow that can shoot over 250 feet due to its the bungee cord design. The arrows are made out of soft form and are easy to use. It is designed for ages fourteen and up, and while it was definitely easier for our eldest (and my husband to use), after a few tries our eight year old had no problem loading the arrows.

There are many ways to play with the HyperStrike and the Zing website has some great ideas to get you started, such as: attack and defend, capture the flag, elimination and battle royal. My husband came up with the idea to use his feet to hold the bow in place and would shoot the arrows across the floor in our house at targets (this was a huge hit in our home), along with our youngest shooting arrows off the porch at various targets in the front yard. The arrows come out very fast and make a very loud noise, which my boys and hubby loved but I have to admit the noise sounds terrifying. You expect the arrow to be coming at you a lot faster than it does with the noise it makes.

Both the HyperStrike and Zax will make for hours of fun for your children outside as they battle to be the champions of the summer!

Make sure to follow Zing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news, toys and more.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I Don’t Like to Eat Ants Book Review

Calling all picky eaters and their parents! This book is for you as we tackle trying new foods, food dislikes and more in I Don’t Like to Eat Ants.

About I Don’t Like to Eat Ants

Anteater One is one adventurous eater. He’ll try anything – a grilled cheese sandwich, a nice salad, or a chocolate cake – but he’s eaten his last ant. Anteater Two only wants ants to eat. Anteater Three has the perfect solution: a reservation at his world-famous Peanut Butter & Jelly Deli, where the anteaters can discuss the very important question of what to eat for lunch.

Our Thoughts

Hands up if you have a picky eater. I know we do! It can be a challenging time at home when you fight over meals, snacks – it feels like a constant uphill battle. There are no words to describe the frustration when you have offered every item in the fridge and cupboard as a snack, it is turned down and then ten minutes later you are asked “I’m hungry – do you have anything better to eat?”.

This book tells the story of two adorable anteaters – one who likes the traditional menu of just ants (yuck!) and the other who is willing and wanting to try anything and everything. Variety is the spice of life, right? They argue back and forth their reasons why they should either stick to ants or why they should try something new. They decide to meet in the middle and go for lunch, where shockingly there are no ants on the menu! Our anteater friend has to try a Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich, and what is his reaction? You will have to buy the book to find out! But trust me – it is worth it.

This is an adorable book with beautiful, simple illustrations and easy to follow text. The wording had a great rhythm to it, making it easy to read aloud. We loved these two characters and the simple but ever so important message they deliver. It is so important to just try something new – you will never know what you are missing, if you don’t just try.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

The family of authors known as JTK Belle—father Jeffrey and his children Tommy and Katie—founded Picklefish Press in 2017. Their previous works include Freeda the CheetahKatherine’s Bike was Wonderfully Strange, and Tommy O’Tom in a Tub O’ Trouble. Katie and Tommy both are passionate about nonprofit work, as Katie raises funds for pediatric cancer research, and Tommy focuses his philanthropic efforts toward wildlife conservation. Jeff currently works for Amazon Publishing. The family resides in Seattle. 

About the Illustrator

Sabine Mielke started her career as a master advertising technician. She then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin and worked as a graphic designer for almost 20 years, before deciding to pursue her life long dream as a full time illustrator. Sabine lives with her three dogs in Berlin, Germany.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids

I love to draw and paint. As a child and into my teen years, it was a way to calm the storm and refocus. I could spend hours hunched over a water colour making sure each colour was perfect and the right amount of shading. I strongly believe that each child should be encouraged from a young age to paint, make a mess with markers and paints – it does so much for them!

About The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids

Make art and memories with the special kids in your life! Packed with how-to drawing and painting projects, creative prompts, and original crafting activities, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids will inspire hours of creative fun together. 

This book includes drawing and painting projects featuring popular, kid-friendly subjects—like dinosaurs, pets, flowers, and robots—that adults and kids can create together. Guided practice pages invite interactivity and allow children and adults to draw and paint the same subjects, side by side. The book’s artwork is colorful, approachable, and done using ordinary, easily available art tools, including markers, crayons, colored pencils, and acrylic paint.

In addition to drawing lessons, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids also includes projects and ideas for using artwork created from the prompts in the book to make crafts, including a map, pop-up art, and paper dolls.

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids teaches valuable drawing, painting, and crafting skills to both kids and adults; inspires creativity; and encourages family togetherness. What better way to avoid screen time than by drawing, painting, and creating together with your kids?

Our Thoughts

This fun book is a great resource for those who want to teach and create art with their child but just not quite where to start. I know for myself, I love to paint and draw but if you had to sit me down to teach my kids, I wouldn’t know where to start. I would just give them the pencils or paint!

The book starts off with a great introduction into the art world with a great reminder that you are learning to create with confidence and in a way that is fun and appealing to younger children. You will learn the basics of the art supplies that you should keep stocked (there is nothing worse then planning a craft and not to have everything on hand). You learn the basics of the colour wheel and how to make secondary, tertiary colours as well as mixing and tones.

The book follows the format of a tutorial, followed by a step by step project. The tutorials are incredibly easy to follow and really get you back to the basics. I had completely forgotten all of my initial drawing lessons when I was fourteen and you broken down figures and animals into basic shapes. A person would become a series of circles and ovals with lines. You would then move on to add detail and change these shapes but it is these initials shapes that help you create the overall picture. It is these basics that are a must for developing art skills later on in life. The follow up projects are very fun and Lee provides you with a wide variety of crafts that you can complete to keep your child entertained and having fun. The instructions are easy to follow and for the most part, you will have the majority of the supplies at home.

The book itself is large, with easy to follow instructions and child friendly font. While it is fun to work with your child on the activities, if they are adventurous and want to work on their own, they will have no problem (if they are a bit older) following the instructions. The book also has pages where you can practice what you are learning right there.

The Grown-Ups Guide to Making Art with Kids is an excellent tool for parents looking to help their child explore their creative side and encourage confidence in their artistic skills. A great addition to your family home craft library, especially during the summer months when kids can be spending too much time in front of the electronics.

You can purchase this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About the Author

Lee Foster-Wilson is an artist and a designer in Cornwall, England. She worked as a graphic designer before becoming a full-time artist with her own business called Bonbi Forest. Lee’s artworks and prints have been featured on Design Sponge and in Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, NYLON, and The Guardian. She is the author of Creative Marker Art and Beyond and The Grown-Up’s Guide to Making Art with Kids, both from Walter Foster Publishing. Learn more about Lee at www.bonbiforest.com.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Be a Bubble Master with Zing Bubbles This Summer

Last summer, Zing introduced the Glove-A-Bubbles, an amazing, new way for children to play and make bubbles. They were quite the hit! Making bubbles can be so much fun but for little ones it can become frustrating quickly if they don’t have the coordination and motor skills to use the traditional wand. That is why we loved Glove-A-Bubbles, it made life so much easier.

This summer Zing came back even bigger and better with two new products: the Big-A-Bubbles and the Wave-A-Bubbles. Both items are guaranteed to have you making incredible, large beautiful bubbles along with precious summer memories to stow away.

The Wave-A-Bubbles come in a pack of two gloves with its own solution. Your child can choose from four characters: mermaid, dinosaur, bird and frog. They are sold at Walmart and Mastermind and cost roughly $5.99 CDN.

The gloves are incredibly easy to use – you tear off the bottom part and slip the glove over your child’s hand. You dip the top part of the glove with the holes, which are kind of like fingers, into the bubble solution (you will have to help your child to ensure that they get enough solution on the gloves) and then you can wave, run and move your arms around to create many beautiful bubbles all at once. We poured the solution into a bowl first to make it easier to dip the gloves into and found this made a huge difference. We could not believe how many bubbles the gloves made all at once! They filled our front yard.

We then tested out the Big-A-Bubbles which make long, wide bubbles. The Big-A-Bubbles come in six different character gloves: lion, crocodile, pirate, shark, duck and bear. These are also sold at Walmart and Mastermind and cost roughly $2.99 CDN.

These gloves look confusing at first with the large string that loops between both sides of the glove. At first, we weren’t sure where to put our fingers but the top of the glove has two small slits in them that you slide your fingers into (we did the thumb on one side and then two fingers on the other side) in order to make the glove “flap”. You will likely have to help younger children slide their fingers into the glove but once in they will have no trouble figuring out how to use the glove. Again, we poured the solution into a bowl to make it easier for him to dip the glove into. Because of the shape of the glove and the thick string, they create the most beautiful, long bubbles. They were landing on the grass and not popping right away, we had such a blast creating these bubbles.

The Zing bubble line, Big-A-Bubbles, Wave-A-Bubbles, Glove-A-Bubbles, is an affordable, fun and creative way to keep your kids busy and having fun. We not only played with them in our own front yard but also brought them to soccer where they were a huge hit with the younger siblings. This is a definite must have summer time item you need to keep in stock.

Make sure to follow Zing Toys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with the newest products.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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My Kindergarten in 100 Words Review

Preparing for kindergarten is an exciting and scary time in your child’s life (as well as yours!), introduce them to common words and values that they will be exposed to as they start their educational journey.

About My Kindergarten in 100 Words

My Kindergarten in 100 words introduces a range of different scenes and objects, such as getting dressed and eating breakfast with the family to different activities at kindergarten—including playtime, circle time, and arts and crafts—and then home time. Interspersed with labels for practical objects are more abstract terms like happy, kindness, and family, teaching children about emotions and mindfulness as well as educational vocabulary.

What is the My World in 100 series? My World in 100 Words series of board books helps children ages one to three boost their vocabulary, engage with the world around them, and become familiar with specific subjects.

With bright, playful illustrations from Sophie Beer, each book explores a different theme, including starting kindergarten, the garden, and the seaside. The books contain ten words per page and variation between full scenes and visual lists, there’s plenty for children to look at and enjoy.

My Thoughts

The months before your child heads off to kindergarten can be an exciting yet scary time. There are new words to learn, new rules and new people. It can be both a happy and frightening time for your child, especially if they are not used to being outside the home. It can also be really tough on a parent to teach and talk to them about this time in their life – where do we start? What do we focus on?

This beautifully illustrated book introduces them to key words and objects that they will experience in kindergarten. From learning about the walk to school, to lunch time to going home and everything in between, this book allows you to get the conversation started on school, your own experiences and perhaps even a sibling’s experience.

I love how key emotions and action words are added to each page throughout the book. On the page of going to kindergarten, we see friends but we are also introduced to emotions and feelings like laughing and happiness. As a parent, you can describe your own feelings of going to school for the first time and meeting new and old friends and how happy this made you. You may also want to talk about being nervous and how you got over those feelings.

This is a beautiful book geared to young children that will allow you to have those great talks about going to school for the first time but in a way that they can understand and relate to. They can learn about what they will experience in kindergarten and ask questions about play time and lunch time. They can also talk about the many emotions and feelings that they may be going through. A definite must have for young children as they start off on their journey in school.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About QED

Working with acclaimed authors and consultants, QED Publishing’s mission is simple – to create fresh, informative, high-quality books that will appeal to children, parents and teachers alike.

Ever since QED’s inception in 2003, each book has been specifically designed to make learning exciting, stimulating and fun for children. QED’s diverse range of titles covers everything from entertaining, innovative facts for the classroom to beautifully illustrated fiction that kids will want to take home. Get inspired and get learning – the fun starts here!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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