Tag Archives: travel

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

When we go out for a meal, a day trip or a break away from home I always pack a bag of activities to keep my son entertained. When we go out we try to encourage him to work through an activity book or play a small game. We think it’s better for him and a more inclusive activity than just giving him our phones to play with. 

We were sent the new Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys to try out. These travel sized games tick all the boxes when it comes to packing our activities travel bag.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Spiders and Spouts is an update on the traditional snakes and ladders game, featuring characters from the Insey Winsey Spider nursery rhyme. Climb up the spouts to reach the finish line, but beware the rain clouds which will wash you back down again! The Spiders and Spouts travel game is suitable for children aged 4-7 and for 2-4 players.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

The Orchard Toys Spiders and Spouts mini game is a cleverly designed 6 piece jigsaw puzzle which you piece together to form your classic board game. The box also contains four counters (for up to four players) and a dice.

Even though it’s only 6 pieces, my son was keen to help out and put the board together. The design on the board is lively with lots going on. The illustrations are really cheery and the Insey Winsey Spider theme was fun. Although it’s printed thick board, this game still has the practicality of being able to break the board up and fit it into a small box. 

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Like the Orchard Toys games, the Sprouts & Spiders Mini Game has some educational and developmental benefits including –

  • Developing Personal and Social Skills
  • Encouraging Number and Counting Skills
  • Encourages Observational Skills

The Orchard Toys mini games cost around £4.99 and I think they are excellent value for money. They are light and compact, so I can just stick them in my bag and take them out with us. They’re brilliant for days out and holidays and are a fantastic travel game for children and families.

Review: Spiders and Spouts Mini Game from Orchard Toys

Note: Orchard Toys sent us the Spiders and Spouts Mini Game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Holiday essentials – what to pack

In the days before children, packing to go on holiday was a fairly simple task. Some clothes, a camera, passport and some money. Not forgetting the sun cream. Since the arrival of my little ray of sunshine, taking a sunshine break has become an altogether more complex affair.

We’re pretty good at packing and travelling as light as we can, but trying to part the small boy from every toy, game, book, puzzle and cuddly toy he owns, even on a temporary basis is something of a nightmare.

I always try and remember, but often forget, that wherever we go there will be shops to buy anything we forget that we can’t live without. I can buy toothpaste and clean pants almost anywhere in the world. Most places have a washing machine or launderette within easy reach, so it’s hardly any bother to pack less and do a few loads of laundry while we’re away.

To make life a bit easier we have a standard packing list on our computer, the things you always need to take, passport, money, clothes, hairbrush etc. We print it off and check things off the list as we’re packing. It really does make life easier and helps to ensure you don’t forget any holiday essentials. 

Storebox have very helpfully put together this Travelling Checklist of holiday essentials. I love the idea of taking some cable ties with you, it seems such a sensible but lightweight thing to take on holiday or if you’re travelling. Portable chargers are also a must, especially in this day an age.

Whether you’re planning a camping holiday in Cornwall, backpacking in Bolivia or going on a beach holiday in Benidorm, it pays to be prepared and to pack for all eventualities. 

What’s on your holiday essentials list? 

holiday essentials

= In collaboration with Storebox =

Travel Toys: Jungle Snakes & Ladders Mini Game from Orchard Toys

One of the latest releases from Orchard Toys is their new range of Mini Games. The games are mini because they are small and very portable, making them ideal for travel or to slip into your bag for days out.

There are six new mini games to choose from –

  • Build a Beetle
  • Dinosaur Dominoes
  • Little Bus Lotto
  • Penguin Pairs
  • Jungle Snakes & Ladders
  • Crocodile Snap

The games vary, but generally they are for children aged 3+ and are based on classic games. We were sent the Jungle Snakes & Ladders game to play with, so I slipped it in my bag and took the boy out for a milkshake and a game or two.

mini games

The Orchard Toys Jungle Snakes & Ladders mini game rather cleverly is a 6 piece jigsaw puzzle which you put together and it forms your classic board game. The box also contains four counters (for up to four players) and a dice.

First of all the boy really enjoyed putting the puzzle pieces together. The board is lively with lots going on and he enjoyed following the numbers to ensure he was putting the pieces together correctly. He liked the monkeys and he’s re-christened the game “Monkeys, Snakes & Ladders” which seems factually accurate if nothing else.

The board is colourfully printed thick card, the usual thickness of Orchard Toys games, but with the practicality of being able to “break it up” and fit it into a small box. The game is really colourful and well illustrated in a way which wouldn’t put off older children or adults so much. 

Like the Orchard Toys games, the Jungle Snakes & Ladders mini game has some very helpful educational benefits including –

  • Developing Personal and Social Skills
  • Encouraging Number and Counting Skills

And that has certainly been evident every time we’ve played the game. As well as reinforcing turn-taking in game play, we also have used it to practice counting and learn to deal with the disappointment of sliding down a snake. He may have also practiced his cheating and I practiced calling him out on that. Cheaters never prosper! 

These mini games cost around £4.99 and are excellent value for money. They are light and compact, so I can just stick it in my bag and take it out with us. They’re brilliant for days out and holidays and are a fantastic travel game for children and families.

Note: Orchard Toys sent us this game for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Preparing for your Christmas getaway – packing tips & entertaining the kids!

A straw poll of my friends tells me that most of them will be grabbing a few days away over the festive season, with most visiting friends and family at home or abroad for a couple of days or more. I can’t think of a better time of the year to jet off for a winter sun break; warm your bones and enjoy some time away from the hectic festivities. 

It turns out that my straw poll was pretty accurate, travelbag.co.uk have recently conducted a survey and found that 37% of people jetting off over Christmas will be visiting family, 24% will be visiting places outside the UK and 18% are on the hunt for better weather. I’m a bit surprised that more people aren’t looking for winter sun though.

I often think that trying to grab a break away with the family can feel like more trouble than it’s worth, by the time you’ve done all the washing and sorted out all the things you need to pack you’re almost entirely fed up with the idea of going away. Whether you’re going near or far, here are my top tips for packing and also in- car/train/plane entertainment –

Packing for your Christmas getaway – 
  • Keep a packing list on your computer, the things you always need to take, clothes, underwear, hairbrush etc. print it off and use it each time you go away as a check-list.
  • Travel light, or as light as you can. If there is a washing machine available you can plan to do a wash or two while you’re away, yes it’s a domestic chore but I’d rather wash than pack half of my wardrobe.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go, it won’t be 100% accurate, but you’ll have an idea of what kind of weather to expect and consequently what kind of clothes you’ll need to pack.
  • Wherever you go they will most likely have shops there, so it’s not the end of the world if you forget to pack toothpaste!
  • Don’t forget to bring a few of your child’s favourite things to help them settle – a book, a toy, a puzzle and their favourite snuggly for bedtime!
Entertaining kids on a journey –
  • If you’re in your own car then it’s often easier, you have your own space and you don’t have to worry so much about disturbing other passengers. We’re big fans of audiobooks and CDs for the car so we can have a family sing along. Planning a “spotting game” is always good, ticking off when you see a bus, a lorry, a smoking chimney, that kind of thing. When all of your efforts are exhausted, we break out the portable DVD player, nearly 2 hours of battery life and a pair of headphones are enough to restore tranquillity to the car.
  • Trains and planes are good for quiet games, such as the Shopping List game from Orchard Toys, Dobble or even Snap! If the kids are old enough some quiet time reading their favourite book can be good, and like in the car a DVD player or tablet with headphones is a good way to occupy them for a while if need be.
  • Whilst we do try and generally limit screentime, playing a game on your tablet, smartphone or hand-held gaming device could be a good way to wile away a bit of a long journey, and it gives you a break from endless games of I-Spy and Snap!

Christmas getaway

Travel is always a great learning experience for children no matter what age they are. Talking to them about where you are going and why, as well as what you might see or do there. Getting them involved and invested in the planning of day trips and things to do whilst you are there is something you can do ahead of time, or while you’re travelling to your destination. Showing them pictures of the famous landmarks in the area, showing them maps of where you are going and talking about currency are all fantastic things to do to not only get them prepared for their holiday but it can also help to develop a whole range of skills and knowledge for later on.

And for those lucky enough to be going away for Christmas itself, Travelbag have created this Christmas hub which is all about people spending Christmas abroad, however, Santa will always find them .

Are you going away this Christmas? What are your plans? What are your Christmas getaway packing essentials? 

=In collaboration with Travelbag =