A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

The Beckhams’ decision to name their newborn daughter Harper Seven may have split public opinion, but many celebrities are known for giving their offspring some very strange names.  Kate Hudson’s new baby boy was called Bingham Hawn Bellamy, but it is certainly not the weirdest! Frank Zappa, named his child Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen!

As children’s names become stranger, our pet’s names are becoming more traditional, with Poppy being the most popular name for cats as well as dogs. 

However according to the Huggies Club, Jack is still favoured for boys, with 914 boys being named Jack in 2010 and Grace is topping the chart for girls. In general, the figures show that girls tend to be given a wider variety of names than boys. Last year 4,710 girls’ names were registered compared to 3,866 boys’ names.

Some baby experts claim (and I think we agree) choosing your baby’s name is a very important task as the name is central to a child’s earliest sense of identity.

But as quoted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.

So we are keen to hear your opinion – do you think the Beckhams have gone too far with Harper Seven? The fact the baby was 7lbs 10oz, arrived at 7.55 am and David wore the Manchester United Number 7 shirt, brings a sense of sentiment to the name; a lucky number, so to speak! Or perhaps you agree with maternity concierge, Rosie Pope that we should stick to more traditional names and stay away from numbers?

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National Childcare Week

Next week is National Childcare Week promoting the importance of childcare, especially in the early years of development, strengthening and contributing to children’s play and learning, building a good foundation for their future.

At Galt Toys we understand the importance of development in the early years – making sure children have a good foundation will undoubtedly set them up for school and the future!  Research over the years has clearly shown that good-quality early education benefits the child in the long term, underlining why childcare is so important.

Perhaps this explains why Gwyneth Paltrow felt the need to spend £60,000 on a nanny, and Supernanny Jo Frost’s TV show Extreme Parental Guidance on Channel 4, is a huge success. According to Jo, as quoted in the Telegraph, “The average child spends less than 49 minutes a day doing things together with their parents.”

Communication and interaction are key to a child’s development. We are always designing toys to meet the needs of all stages of child development from 0-10 years, which are fun and to encourage learning through play.

Our award winning innovative Playnest is a self-contained play environment for babies and toddlers. The triangular fabric covered inflatable ring provides additional sideways support for baby during rest and play.

Around the Playnest, there are 8 multi-sensory features to stimulate touch, vision and hearing, providing the early experience and interaction a baby needs.

To celebrate National childcare week we are giving away one Playnest  – for your chance to win please subscribe to our blog.

Closing date: Monday 25th July 2011

Winner announced: Wednesday 27th July 2011

Posted in Childhood development, Children’s Toys, Competition, First Years, James Galt, Playnest, Toys | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Let’s hear it for the balls!

You can’t have failed to notice we’re in the midst of Wimbledon fever again. Everyone’s talking about Kate Middleton’s white dress, the heat wave hitting Murray Mount, formally Henman Hill, the mount of strawberries being eaten and then of course there’s the actual tennis! This annual event falling in the height of summer at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, with its strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream, and Royal patronage has a genteel feel which is quintessentially English.

By the end of the tournament a fair few of us will have been tempted to reach for our racquets and ball and give it a go!

But for us, as impressive as the players undoubtedly are, our respect goes to the ball boys and girls. We feel these guys are the unsung heroes, crouching patiently in the line of fire for their moment, as tennis balls whizz overhead at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Do they ever get cramp and find it hard to run?! Their skill lies in patience and the art of bouncing the balls to the competitors. Let us tell you this is pretty vital!

So for all those budding ball boys and girls out there, why not get a bit of practice in by making your very own bouncy balls. Their cool glow-in-the-dark coloured crystals mean you can keep practising right into the dark so you can get Wimbledon-worthy in no time! They’re easy to make, all you have to do is simply layer up the crystals into the moulds provided and place in water for a few minutes. And then get bouncing!

In celebration of the last week of the tournament here are a few Wimbledon factoids for you fact fans:

  • Wimbledon is the oldest grand slam in tennis, dating back to 1877
  • Tennis balls were white until replaced by yellow tennis balls in 1986 because they are more visible to TV cameras. One ball is only in play for about twenty minutes of an average two-and-a-half-hour tennis match.
  • Last year, 23 tonnes of strawberries were served to visitors. When laid end-to-end, these berries would stretch almost 60km (37 miles), i.e. from Wimbledon to Reading. Fancy cream with that? An estimated 7,000 litres of fresh cream racked up each fortnight. Blimey!
  •  54,500 tennis balls were ordered for this year’s tournament
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To hide or to seek, that is the question!

With the summer solstice falling this week, the longest day of the year reminds us to get out and enjoy the long summer evenings while they last. And what better way for kids to burn off some excess energy than with a game of hide and seek? Everyone loves this game but do you prefer hiding or seeking? Some of us have the patience to spend ages waiting to be found, whilst others can hardly bear the suspense and give themselves away early into the game!

Did you know this game is as old as 2nd Century when it first appeared in writings by a Greek scholar called Julius Pollux but has developed lots of variations over the centuries? Traditionally it involves one person closing their eyes (and often standing in a corner although we’ve no idea why!) and counting to 100 while everyone else hides – counting to 100 can feel like a lifetime, especially for little seekers!

Here are our favourite variations should you feel inspired:

  • Hiders try to run back to “home base” while the seeker is away looking for them; if all of the hiders return safely, the seeker stays the seeker into the next round
  • The seeker can be helped by those that he/she finds
  • The midnight version – play in the dark for added atmosphere!
  • The sardines version! Only one person hides and all the rest are seekers that hide with the original hider when they find him/her until everyone is squashed into the same space

This is a perfect family game for all ages, with even grandparents seeking the grandchildren. Tell us your favourite variation! Of course the idea of hide and seek has inspired other types of play and learning. Galt has a fabulous Large Soft Book to introduce little hands to the joys of hide and seek.  

The 8 fun pages have a variety of different textures and activities to explore, including a squeaker and has a peep-o activity on each page. The padded pages are filled with crinkle material which is so appealing to babies and for all you parents rest assured it’s soft, safe and machine washable.

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Father’s Day – building that connection!

Father’s Day celebrated on the third Sunday of June (YES, this coming Sunday!!) is all about celebrating DADS and the influence of fathers in society.  Many of us will be thinking about the perfect gift to give the man of the house this week…whether he would think ‘socks rock’ or ‘power tools are cool’! Or you could show your Dad how you dote on him this Sunday with our fantastic construction set – Connecta Straws

Connecta Straws contain over 200 pieces of flexible plastic straw, with wheels and connectors, so Dad and the kids can build for hours, constructing and reconstructing endless models and designs – anything from a helicopter to a giant spider!

What would you and your Dad build?

Just for a bit of fun we have put together a list of famous fathers, to see whether they would get the Top Dad or Bad Dad vote from you:

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Homer Simpson
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. King Lear
  5. Jonathan Ross
  6. Darth Vader
  7. David Beckham
  8. Peter Andre
  9. Prince Charles
  10. Barack Obama

Do keep a look-out on the Galt Toys website for our Father’s Day creativity pack, containing three fab card designs – for the kids to make.  We will be putting the FREE downloads up in the site’s Activity Zone later this week!

Let’s hear it for the DADS…

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Bedtime Reading – Fairy Magic!

Gwyneth Paltrow and husband, Chris Martin, are rumoured to be advertising for a tutor who can speak multiple languages, play two musical instruments and travel internationally with the family – all for a cool £60,000 a year for looking after the kids.

Any parent knows the importance of extra curricular activities – a place to learn new skills, improve grades and make friends, plus offering a safe haven for creative learning.

@officieus on twitter, quickly tweeted – Where is option 3, home-educating my children myself?

But if you had the cash, would you get a private tutor for your children?

I think one of my great childhood memories is bedtime reading; listening to my Mum or Dad read to me while I fell asleep. This is something I now enjoy with my children, picking a great bedtime story and acting out the different parts while they snuggle down in bed.

Reading to young children stimulates their development and gives them a head start before they reach school. According to research, in addition to helping with their reading, sharing a bedtime story with children promotes their motor skills and memory, plus improving their emotional and social development.

Bedtime reading is ‘one of the greatest gifts’ a parent can give. Apparently, once offspring turn five, far too many mothers and fathers stop reading to their children and leave it all to the teachers!

For hundreds of years, fairytales have been read by children and adults alike at bedtime. I think if I had to pick one fairytale, it would have to be Princess and the Pea, such a cute story! What would yours be?

We have designed these fantastic Fab Fairies which will help any parent re-enact a fairytale story, bringing the pages to life through creative play and letting childish imagination take wing and fly!

If you had these two fab fairies what bedtime story would you create?

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Half-Term Mayhem

With the Bank Holiday weather putting the dampeners on the start of the half-term we thought we could help you out with some free ‘make and do’ ideas from our fab Activity Zone.

Grow your own Stalactites and Stalagmites! With our fun geology experiment your kids can watch these grow almost before their very eyes! To get started, just download the easy to follow instructions and find the simple household items needed.  Do you know the difference between a Stalactite and Stalagmite…?  

The stalactite is above and hangs downward like an icicle; the stalagmite is below and sticks up.  Tip to remember the difference – stalactites hold tight! 

Lava love: With this great experiment your children can make their own gloopy lava lamp at home.  Once again simply download the easy to follow instructions via our Activity Zone and have Lava-ly fun! 

Slimy Slime: This is a must for budding scientists who want to make their own slippery slime. Just download the easy to follow instructions via our Activity Zone.  All the ingredients are common household items, but remember it can be MESSY so it’s a good idea to do it over a bath or sink…. the slime is definitely NOT to be eaten!

Remember – do upload your Make & Do photos to our Facebook page….we’d love to see how you get on! 

Actress Denise Richards has teamed up with a group of fellow celebrity mums to trade parenting tips in a Mothers-Only Club….so we thought we’d for the same! With many of you off on holiday this week, perhaps taking longer trips in the car to see relatives or visit attractions, we’ve been asking some of you for your traveling tips to keep the kids entertained in the car: 

@blackbirdgames tweeted – each person chooses a colour, then looks out the window to identify objects that are their chosen colour – first to ten wins

@karawalesguppy tweeted – Yellow car: first one to spot a yellow car wins

@katiePybus tweeted – Audio books

@danielleGparker tweeted – CD full of kids’ songs, great traffic jam saviour!

As Sir Elton John and David Furnish have made the shortlist for Celebrity Dad of the Year, perhaps the Lion King Motion Picture Soundtrack is a fitting buy as is it contains songs composed by Elton John, such as, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” – oooh! I can feel a sing-along coming over me now!

But if you are looking for something to keep the kids quiet in the back of the car, we have the perfect toy for you – Water Magic. It is a super duper colouring-in book with a twist! The book is full of pictures waiting to be painted with our magic pen which you fill with water and the pictures appear. No paint – no mess!

Don’t just take our word for it….here’s what the parents think:

Writings, Ramblings and Reviews – a blog review from Kelly Brett

 

YouTube review from Kate Pollard.

Hope you have a fantastic half-term, and whatever you are up to, we would love to hear about it…..

Posted in Art and Craft, Childhood development, Children’s Toys, Half-term activities, James Galt, Make & Do ideas, Toys | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment