Category Archives: competition

The Queen is Coming to Tea: Book Review

 

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Disclaimer: Links to the book title are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you purchase the book from my recommendation I will receive a small financial incentive.

The Queen is Coming to Tea by Linda Ravin Lodding, is a sweet book that children who love to play at tea parties will adore.  My girls love to grab a blanket, turning it into a  royal cloak and lay out all their cuddly friends for tea parties. As such, they loved this story about a little girl travelling around the world to gather essential items for the Queen’s tea.
Ellie finds out the Queen is coming to tea and with her best friend, Langley the Elephant,  travels to Paris, China, Italy, and New York to make sure they have everything they need for tea with the Queen. But will the Queen patiently wait? And what exactly will be waiting for the Queen?

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I love the bright colourful illustrations by Constance Von Kitzing, but they may be a little too pink for some boys to enjoy.  The illustration of Ellie’s playroom gives clues as to where Ellie’s ideas about gathering items from around the world came from. I liked this insight into the child’s imagination.
The Queen is Coming to Tea would be a great book to read aloud and inspire play and learning.
You could..

  1. Prepare tea and cakes for the Queen using play dough or clay or outside in a mud kitchen.
  2. Bake cakes, or traditional British teatime treats like scones, biscuits and cucumber sandwiches and prepare a tea party or picnic.
  3. Watch footage of real royal events like the Queen’s coronation or a royal wedding and plan your own pretend street party. You could make flags and bunting, make posters or invitations, play games or have races and dance to music.
  4. Taste or smell different types of tea. Which country do they come from? Which is your favourite? How do the leaves turn into a drink? investigate with loose leaf tea, tea bags, warm water and tea strainers.
  5. Make a graph or tally chart of the children’s favourite types of tea.
  6. Could you make tea from herbs or leaves you find in your garden? These could be real or pretend.
  7. Give the children tulle, paper and plastic bags and scraps of material. Can they design an outfit fit for tea with the Queen.
  8. Are there any people from your community who have been invited to tea with the Queen? Perhaps recipients of MBE’s or OBE’s. Invite them to come and talk to the children.
  9. Further investigate some of the places featured in the story – perhaps some of the children have visited them.
  10. Practice squeezing lemons or perhaps try this fruit tea recipe
    Peach Mango White Iced Tea RecipeIngredients:
    4 Cups Water
    3 White Tea Bags
    1 Peach
    ½ Cup Chopped Frozen Mango
    1 tbsp sugar plus Sugar to TasteInstructions:
    Boil the 6 cups of water; remove from heat
    Steep the tea bags about 5 minutes; remove bags and allow tea to cool to room temperature
    Add chopped peaches and mango to a mixing bowl and mix with sugar; let fruit soften
    Place fruit in pitcher and pour cooled tea on top; add sugar to taste and stir

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Giveaway

For a chance to win a copy of The Queen is Coming to Tea and a porcelain tea set enter the giveaway below. The closing date is August 6 2017.

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America’s Most Playful Family?

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We have recently received some very exciting news.  Our family have been selected from over 700 applicants as one of 50 semi-finalists in America’s Most Playful Family Contest. To enter we were asked to answer a number of questions about our play, including why it is important and how we make time for play.

I strive very hard to make my children’s lives playful and to share the things we do with others, so to be chosen as a semi-finalist makes me very proud.

washing the car

As a semi-finalist we receive a video camera and have been asked to create a 90 second video sharing tips to encourage other families to be more playful and showing that play can happen anywhere.  I have a huge list of things that I would like to show and it will be a big challenge to my editing skills to fit everything into 90 seconds. Brevity isn’t always my strength, so it will be good for me to pin down the most important messages to share.

walking on ice

The videos will be posted on a You Tube channel, so families can get tips and ideas about play and will be judged by a panel.  You will be relieved to know that I won’t be asking for votes but it would be nice if you would view the video and tell us what you think (I’ll embed the link here once it goes live).

sand man

The winner gets to choose a community in their state that deserves a very special playground.  This will be a great way to learn about local worthy causes and  help disadvantaged kids. Of course there are prizes for us too but for me being chosen as a playful family is a great prize in itself.

goop

Spitter Spatter Stain Free Anti-Bacterial Children’s Clothing Giveaway

spitter spatter logoI have an exciting giveaway for my readers today from a new children’s clothing company Spitter Spatter.

What is Spitter Spatter?

Spitter-Spatter is a new children’s clothing range for 0-5 year olds with anti-bacterial properties woven into the fabric and also claims to be stain and odour resistant.

Spitter Spatter builds revolutionary antibacterial performance into the fibres of every fabric, without altering the natural breathability or feel of the fabric. Using a proprietary process to modify fabric at the molecular level by creating an invisible barrier on the exterior of the fabric to defend against over 100 different types of germs.

As you can see from many of my posts I love to get my kids outdoors in the dirt. Getting dirty and picking up germs are a natural and necessary part of childhood fostering independence and  building up their immune system.messy play outdoors

So what on earth am I doing reviewing anti-bacterial clothing?

  • I love my kids to get messy, but that doesn’t mean I want them to ruin their clothes.  Through the weaning stage I lost count of the number of t-shirts that had to be thrown away because the stains wouldn’t come out.

Stain Free, Odour free clothing; that interests me

  • I have twin nephews who were born prematurely. Their immune systems are weak and since attending nursery they seem to pick up every bug going and of course pass it to each other. I can see that for children like this Spitter Spatter clothing could be a worthy investment.
  • Many moons ago I worked as a nursery teacher. As any teacher will tell you in the first few months of working in a new school you pick up all of the children’s germs. Working with young children involves lots of sitting on the floor, playing with messy materials, wiping noses and cleaning up spills.  I would always go home feeling grubby, needing a shower and a change of clothes.  If Spitter Spatter had made our uniforms it may have made a difference.

spitter spatter parcelOur Spitter Spatter parcel arrived beautifully presented in a cake box, wrapped in tissue and a note attached.

It contained a dress for my 4-year-old and a t-shirt for my 2-year-old. The clothes are pretty yet practical.  The dress can be worn on its own or with leggings and the t-shirt with pretty ruffled sleeves is great for wearing under sundresses or with trousers.

On the first day the dress was worn my neighbour invited the girls to play. She gave them a home-made slime mixture to play with coloured with blue colouring. A  few spots got on the dress but after washing I was impressed to see that they were gone. I gave the girls permission to eat chocolate ice-cream and get it on their clothes to test it further. Again the dress came out clean.

I only have one small suggestion for improvement. My 4 -year-old chooses her own clothes. She doesn’t often choose the Spitter Spatter dress because she only chooses her ‘prettiest dresses’. I think if it had a patterned fabric she would put it in this category.

Giveaway
The competition is open to readers in the UK and the US.
One reader will be chosen at random to receive a piece of Spitter Spatter clothing in the form of a voucher code that can be redeemed on the Spitter Spatter website.

Competition closes on 25th May 2013 at 12pm PST

To enter follow this link:

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Fed Up With the Same Old Books for Your Kids? Try Something Different From Quirk Books.

monkey fartsI had never heard of Quirk books before but when I was approached to review a couple of their titles, the concepts grabbed me. As the name would suggest, Quirk books publish titles that are a little different. They are most well-known for the Worst-Case Scenario series and have a large catalogue of slightly off the wall books.

The first book I was asked to review is ‘Monkeyfarts – Wacky Jokes every kid should know’. My kids love jokes and joke books and we are always on the look out for new jokes so I knew this would be popular. The book begins with typical boyish toilet humour jokes that young boys will love and my girls did too. With a mixture of well-known one liners, longer story type jokes and old favourites that make you groan, there is something for everyone The book itself is a lovely little hardback edition, light durable and easy to hold. With a rrp. of £5.99 ($8.99 USD) it is very good value and ideal for a party present or stocking filler.

The second book would be attractive to children and adults alike. Fill in the Blank – An Inspirational Sketchbook contains a wealth of ideas to inspire creativity and design. Each page begins with the slogan ‘You are a….’ and then a design prompt. Some of my favourites include

 

 

  • You are a street artist – and won’t be arrested
  • You are at grandma’s – who’s in the family?
  • You are a genius – these ideas will make you rich
  • You are a tattoo artist – make your mark
  • You are an autobiographer – start telling the story of your life
  • You are in detention – confess your crimes

Most of the designs are for drawing but some involve writing or a combination of written and illustrated thought.

gingerbread menWe picked out some of the simplest pages for my 4-year-old, she loved designing ice-creams and she shared the gingerbread man page with her 8-year-old sister.

My 8-year-old loves this book, it is an inspired transition from colouring books for older children. There are some lovely projects that we could work on together and it is a wonderful way to encourage children to draw for pleasure. With such a huge variety of blanks, boys and girls of all ages will find plenty to hold their interest, from designing a hat to creating a city at the end of the road.

This would also make a great coffee table book, a resource for teachers or an interesting addition to a waiting room. Additional blanks can be downloaded from the Quirk website where you can also create a profile and share designs.

Fill in the blank is currently retailing on Amazon.co.uk for £11.70

Competition

I have one copy of each book to give away to my readers in the UK

Simply leave a comment stating which book you would like and one winner for each book will be drawn at random on 3rd November

Terms and conditions

This competition is only open to entries from residents of the UK

One entry per person

one additional entry can be made by commenting on rightfromthestart’s facebook page under the link to this post

winners will be notified by email and first names published on the site.

Great British Party Ideas

toddler in union jack hatOn Saturday we are hosting a Farewell Party before we head off to pastures new and the theme is everything that is British.  This could be a grand affair and the kids see it as the event of the year. However, I am pushed for time and organising it on my own, so could use a little help.

Everyone will be turning up dressed in red,white and blue and my 8 year old has been practising face painting Union Jacks all week.  Beyond photocopying Union Jacks for the kids to colour I haven’t yet got any activities planned. The party is for children of all ages and adults.

I’m sure lots of you have been attending Jubilee parties this weekend and have loads of ideas.  The only criteria is that they are low cost and easy to prepare. I’d  love it if you would share activity ideas, simple recipes (or even better ready prepared British food) and cocktail recipes (I’m using up all my alcohol as we can’t take it with us).  In return each comment will be entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of beach goodies, consisting of a snorkel, goggles, arm bands, crab line, sun hat, beach ball and frisbee.

Terms and Conditions

Open to UK residents only

Entries will close at midnight on Friday 8th June

Multiple Entries will be accepted

The winner will be drawn at random and notified by email. The Winners name will be published on this page.

 

Kids Jokes and a Chance to Win one of 5 Copies of My First Justin’s Jokes

justins my first jokes

I  think it is a great landmark in children’s language development when they begin to understand jokes.  At first they are not remotely funny but they begin to understand the formula behind jokes and to remember ones that they find funny.  My 8 year old and 3 year old love jokes and we are often subjected to hours of awful jokes in the car or at the dinner table. Their favourite is

Why didn’t the worm go into the Ark in an apple?

Because they had to go in pairs.

They have even invented a game for us to play in the car.  My 8 year old gives the punchline and we have to guess what the joke is.  This is very hard especially as she leaves little room for creative licence, it ends up as an annoying variation to cryptic crosswords. I do think however this would be a great school task, understanding and creating jokes would be an entertaining way to improve children’s language comprehension and creative writing.

The jokes from the joke book in the car have been wearing a bit thin so when we were offered the chance to review ‘My First Justin’s Jokes’ I thought we might finally get some new ones.  This is a perfect joke book for young children as it is full of pictures, with 2 or 3 jokes to each page and can be read in one sitting. My personal favourite

Knock knock

Who’s there ?

Dunnup

Dunnup who?

Yuck!

A perfect joke for little boys.

I have 5 copies of My First Justin’s Jokes to giveaway.  To enter make me smile by telling a joke, funny story or posting a link to a humourous blog post or picture. My 5 favourites will win a copy of the book.

Terms and conditions

Winners will be chosen at midnight on 3rd June and notified by email.

Multiple entries are permitted

Open to residents in the UK and Ireland only.

Justin Fletcher Hands Up the Album – Review and Competition

justin fletcher hands upCall me sad but I’m a little bit of a Justin Fletcher fan.  I’m a little bit in awe of how he understands what kids find entertaining and has them eating out of the palm of his hand.  So when I was asked to review his latest CD I jumped at the chance.

My 1 year old is just becoming old enough to play with her 3 year old sister. What fun they had when I put this CD on for them, I haven’t seen them laugh so much in ages.

Hands Up is full of children’s favourites like ‘Heads,Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ but the vibrant dance beats behind give the songs added energy.  The opening Song ‘Hands Up’ had me dancing around the room with them, much to the amusement of my youngest.

The children’s favourite is ‘The Hokey Cokey’, we all joined in with the actions before collapsing in a heap of giggles at the end. I’m not usually a fan of children’s CD’s with twee tinkly music and the same songs dragged out time and time again.  Justin’s enthusiasm and well produced, energetic backing tracks makes Hands Up a refreshing change.

If you have a children’s party coming up Justin Fletcher’s CD would be perfect (there is even a calming lullaby at the end to bring the children back down to earth).

Justin Fletcher Hands Up … The Album is available for a retail price of £8.97 From Amazon.

Right from the Start readers have a chance to win a copy of the CD. Simply enter a comment asking a question relating to musical activities with children.

You might like to  request  a song idea, tune or lyric, an idea for introducing children to music, ideas for games or movement, ideas for a particular age group, how to encourage listening skills or perhaps you would like to know about the benefits of musical activities for the very young. All questions will inform future posts about music with young children.

Terms and Conditions

  • This competition is only open to residents of the UK and Ireland
  • Only one entry per person
  • Post a question on my Facebook Page for an additional entry.
  • Winners will be drawn at random at 11.59 on 16th March
  • Winners will be notified by email and names posted on this site.

Congratulations to Maya Russell who won this competition.  Maya’s question and other selected questions will be answered in posts over the next few weeks.  If you weren’t lucky enough to win there is a competition on my other site Practically Perfect Mums which runs till the end of the month.

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