Friday, 28 May 2010

Looking for recommendations from mums, dads and bloggers on child friendly things to do this summer

We'd love to hear your recommendations on:
  • Fathers Day activities
  • Football clubs for little ones
  • Family picnics
  • Paddling pools and waterparks
  • Summer family festivals
  • Baby friendly beer gardens
  • Child friendly gems in your neighbourhood
  • Things to do when the weather doesn't cooperate
If we publish your articles, blog posts or Top 3 lists on the site, you'll qualify for our top tier prizes this summer, which include Organix hampers, childrens toys, Sainsbury's vouchers, very cool baby gear, pampering experiences, and much more.

Interested? Email ideas@reallykidfriendly.com or join the Contributors mailing list below, and we'll send you a few guidelines.

If you'd like your article / blog post to be featured during the launch of our new improved website, please make sure it reaches us before Wednesday 9th June.







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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Top 10 for Bank Holiday Weekend and Half Term in London

Sam has scoured the web and picked out her favourites among the many family events and activities this Bank Holiday Weekend and Half Term, including some great indoor activities in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Comment below if you want to tell mums & dads about other great half term activities!

Sam's Top 10 for Families in London this Bank Holiday & Half Term:

1. Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace
Sat 29th-Mon 31st May. £15 adults / £8 concessions, tickets for the whole weekend. Children under 16 go free.

Celebrating all things food and drink. A great day out for all the family with Cooking with Kids master classes, food and drink workshops. Families can sample some of the finest chocolate and for the adults there is a cocktail sampling to help you deal with the inevitable sugar-rush madness!
More details    |   Family friendly facilities     
Rate & Review Hampton Court Palace and you'll receive an exclusive 20% off at Egmont Childrens Books
 
2. Slide, Glide and Ride Workshop at The Design Museum
30th May, 2 to 5 pm.  £8.50 adults, £4 children, includes entry to the current exhibits.

This creative workshop gets kids aged 5 to 11 to design their own outlandish form of transport. Booking is essential!
 More details    |   Family friendly facilities   

3. Spitalfields Sheep and Wool Fayre
30th May, 12 pm to 4 pm. Free admission.

Taking place at Spitalfields City Farm, there will be plenty of events to keep both kids and adults happy over the bank holiday weekend. Several rare breeds will be on show, and families can see the annual shearing when the sheep get their winter coats removed. Children can take part in a series of fun activities including face painting and craft workshops where they can make their own toy sheep and badges.
More details    |   Family friendly facilities     
Rate & Review Spitalfields City Farm and you'll receive an exclusive 20% off at Egmont Childrens Books

4. The Deep at The Natural History Museum
28th May to 5 September.£8 adults, £4.50 children / concessions, £22 family. Free for members, patrons and children aged 3 and under.

With an opener like "If you lived down here, you'd look weird too" there is no doubt that children will love this fascinating look into another world. Taking you down 11,000 metres under the sea The Deep invites families into an unknown world of marine life, with creepy looking fish, amazing images and plenty of interactive exhibits to get the children really involved.
More details    |   Family friendly facilities     
Rate & Review the Natural History Museum and you'll receive an exclusive 20% off at Egmont Childrens Books


5. Jazz it up with Gymboree!  at the Barbican Children's Library
29th May, Barbican Children's Library. Free.

A day of high energy and fun to enhance your child’s development and love of music through dance, songs and games at the Barbican’s Children’s Library. Suitable for children aged 2 to 5.

More details 

6. Half Term Fun for Families at the Museum of London
29th May- 6th June

A series of interactive workshops and storytelling sessions for kids taking place during half term. Puppetry classes and a chance to design a Pearly King's outfit and make a mask for the Victorian pleasure garden.
More details   |   Family Friendly Facilities
Rate & Review the Museum of London and you'll receive 20% off Egmont childrens books


7. The Pirates are coming! Workshop at Story Explorers
1st to 4th June. £5.50 per child.

There will be story workshops throughout the week for 2 to 5 year olds, all stories and activities will be linked to the theme of pirates. There will also be book making courses for children aged 5+. Here children have the opportunity to be author, illustrator, editor and publisher as they create their own book.
More details


8. Walk a Lamb and Horseshoeing at Belmont Children’s Farm 
31st May. £4 adults, £2 children 3 - 12, £10 family of 4.

Kids can get up close to friendly animals this half term, pet new rabbits and chicks, enjoy a ride around Belmont Valley in a tractor and trailer, enjoy sheep shearing and horseshoeing demonstrations, and much more. There is a fun Spot the Tractor competition with a prize for every participant, and the children can even take the little ophan lambs (Flossie and Woolly) for a walk.
More details 

9. Carnival-Themed Half Term Art Workshop at The Little Art Room
1st June to 4th June. £12

A variety of workshops from designing colourful flowers, carnival accessories and t-shirts run throughout the half term in preparation for Hanwell Carnival. So let your imagination run wild and design something funky to wear for the carnival.
More details


10. The Fabulous Flutterbys at The Little Angel Theatre 
1st May until 4th July. £10 adults, £8 children/concessions. £5 for all tickets to the Friday 5 pm shows.

The Little Angel Theatre in Islington is presenting an enchanting puppet production for children aged 3+, The Fabulous Flutterbys, the story of two caterpillars on a journey to becoming butterflies.
More details  |     Family friendly facilities     
Rate & Review the Little Angel Theatre and you'll receive an exclusive 20% off at Egmont Childrens Books

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Nappies, wipes and some Grandmaster Flash on vinyl: why Dads love Storksak

It's Saturday morning and you're taking the baby out for the day while your wife catches up on some much needed rest (we can dream can't we?). The little one is dressed, fed, dry, and the changing bag is packed and ready to go, so you just need to grab it and head out the door, right? Wrong.

Chances are that while you were in charge of hunting through your Man Drawer looking for just the right tool to assemble the bugaboo, your wife was in charge of picking out baby clothes, nursing bras and changing bags. The bag she's chosen is just perfect - it's sophisticated, stylish, and practical... and...errrm.... covered in enormous colourful butterflies.

Let's face it, you'd rather eat a whole jar of Sudocrem* than spend the day out carrying what looks like an enormous girly handbag, and your gym bag just doesn't cut it. We feel for you, really we do, so we've found you this very cool baby bag for Dads - the khaki Alex Messenger Bag from Storksak:


Looks great, and it even comes with its own changing mat, but how does it measure up?

Style: 5 out of 5
In terms of style, this bag could easy be passed off as an every day messenger bag, and is actually designed to fit most laptops. We decided instead to work with its rugged yet boyish "I made you a mix tape" feel and fill it with some classic vinyl. In theory it fits about 20 records, including Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five "The Message", but we would recommend a maximum of 3 if you are also going to leave room for some nappies, wipes and other baby essentials.


Practicality: 4.5 out of 5

The Alex Messenger bag passed our "out for the day with two under two" test with flying colours. With very little effort, I managed to pack a change of clothes for two babies, a few spare vests, 2 muslins, 6 size 5 nappies, a pack of wipes, a little pot of Sudocrem, teething gel, two bibs, a formula powder dispenser, two packs of Plum Baby, 2 boxes of Organix raisins, a flip-the-flap book, and... well, you get the picture.

Somewhat incredibly, I then tucked not one but two Tommee Tippee bottles (the widest on the market) into the insulated pockets, as well as a copy of Freakonomics for Dad to read in the park in case the babies fall asleep.

Amazingly it still looked like a could get a few more things in - if only I had a Y chromosome and knew how to pack a bag more effectively. It looks small from the outside, but seems to be some sort of nappy TARDIS. 

The Alex is wipe clean, has loads of useful little pockets, a detachable keyring, and everything else you could possibly need. The only drawback I can find is that you need to buy some stroller clips separately in order to attach it to your buggy.


There you have it. Stylish, practical and no butterflies - finally a baby bag just for you.

To see the full range of Storksak changing bags for both mums and dads (including the ones favoured by Brad Pitt, Jools Oliver, and Jessica Alba!) visit http://www.storksak.co.uk/



* It has been done. He was 2, and yes, his bottom was really smooth for a really long time.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Prize Draw: Giving away 10 books from best new talent in children's illustration!

We were feeling inspired by that wonderful feature in the Guardian last week, and wanted to introduce you to the hottest new name in children's illustration. Nicola Killen recently graduated from her MA in Children's Illustration at Cambridge University, and won the prestigious Best New Talent Award.

Her debut children's book is a sweet, delightful, and fun take on life with endearingly impish toddlers and young children. We love her beautiful hand-lettering and stylish artwork, and little ones will enjoy spotting the puppy bouncing across the pages as well as shouting out NOT ME!! every time you turn the page.


We're giving away 10 copies of Not Me!

Thanks to our friends over at Egmont, we've got 10 copies of this charming picture book to give away. All you need to do to enter is tell us the name of your favourite children's book using this nifty and ridiculously short survey.

For extra chances of winning, write a blog about it (link back to us!), add our survey link (http://polldaddy.com/s/44C1F63BE1A77C0A) to your site or facebook page, tweet to your heart's content, or comment below. Have a quick read of the small print below.

Exclusive discount on all books at Egmont
Don't forget, Egmont are offering 10% off for members of ReallyKidFriendly.com, and 20% off for anyone who writes reviews on our site about places to go and things to do with babies and young children. Register now and we'll send you your discount code.

Prizes donated by:

Egmont is the UK’s top specialist children’s publisher selling more than 25 million books and 12 million magazines each year. The company is home to some of the world’s best loved authors, illustrators and characters such as Michael Morpurgo, Andy Stanton, Michelle Magorian, Julia Donaldson, Winnie-the-Pooh, Wallace & Gromit, Tintin, Mr Men, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Waybuloo and Ben 10. www.egmont.co.uk

The small print: 
  • There is no maximum number of entries into the draw - the more often you write / tweet the better your chances, but if we think you're a spammer we'll have to disqualify you.
  •  Every tweet or comment gives you 1 extra entry into the draw. Write a blog about your favourite book, with a link back to us (and tell us about it!) and you'll get 5 extra entries. 
  • This prize draw closes at midnight on Tuesday, 1st June 2010, and we'll notify the winners as soon as we can.
  • The prize draw is open to everyone in the UK over 18 years of age.
  • We will need to provide Egmont UK with the winners' postal addresses. No, they won't do anything with it except send you a lovely book.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Animate the World 2010

Sat 22 – Thu 27 May

The Barbican's annual celebration of animated film is back with another bravura showcase of the best new animated features and shorts from around the world. With special events, a jam-packed Junior programme, a special focus on the work of influential Czech animator Karel Zeman and distinctive animation workshops for kids and adults and more, we guarantee there will be something for everyone! 

Don't miss this year’s Opening Gala Breakfast Party and Screening of Eleanore's Secret, an enchantingly beautiful animation from France.
To book tickets or for more information, games, downloads and competitions visit http://www.barbican.org.uk/animate

Image from Eleanore's Secret used with permission from The Barbican Centre. 

Le Weekend Parisien - a Bank Holiday hop across the channel

In honour of the Bank Holiday and half term break, we've got an extra special guest post for you with great ideas for things to do with children in Paris, including some lovely buggy friendly spots. Unfortunately it's all in French, so if you are a little like MumVersusKids' hubby and think that speaking English very loudly is equivalent to speaking French, you may want to plug it into Google Translate.

Paris Old Metro Signboard
Image credit: Pedrosimoes7

Le Shopping:
Beautiful kids clothes, nursery decor, baby essentials and children's hairdressers in Paris


Classique : Bonton Store
Situé à l’emplacement de l’ancienne manufacture de papiers peint Zuber, la marque de prêt-à-porter pour enfant a investie les trois étages mixant poésie et style industriel. On y trouve tout l’univers Bonton : mode, déco, la ligne Papillon mais aussi une confiserie, un salon de coiffure et une petite librairie.
5, boulevard des filles du calvaire, 75003 Paris
www.bonton.fr

Pionnier : notsobig
Créé en juin 2002, notsobig est le premier concept-store parisien entièrement dédié à l’univers de l’enfant. Mobilier design, prêt-à-porter créateur, doudous d’artistes, en plus de sa sélection pointue, il propose également ses propres collections toujours pleines d’humour.
38, rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
www.notsobig.fr

Créateur : French Trotters
L’enseigne multimarque French Trotters a ouvert une boutique uniquement consacrée à l’enfant. Dans une ambiance Rubik’s Cube, on y trouvera une sélection créateurs de la naissance aux 10 ans avec de la mode, de l’accessoire et de la déco.
28, rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris
frenchtrotters.fr

Bio : Le petit Bazar
Bio, éthique et surtout créatif, au Petit Bazar, on trouve des meubles en carton recyclé, des couches lavables, des jouets en bois de forêt éco-gérées, et une sélection de vêtements doux pour la planète et les enfants. Pour une pause gourmande, on peut faire une pause au salon de thé.
128, rue Emile Zola, 75015 Paris
www.lepetitbazar.com

Les Restaurants
Baby friendly places to eat in Paris

Le poussette café
Le lieu idéal pour déjeuner sans se soucier des poussettes. Ici tout est pensé pour les enfants, le parking à poussette, l’aire de jeux, les coloriages.
6 rue Pierre Semard, 75009 Paris. Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 63 03 51.

Les 400 coups
Voici un restaurant Kidsfriendly d’un nouveau genre proposant un espace de jeux intérieur attenant à l'espace de restauration, des ateliers culinaires (architecture à déguster), écologie (apprentissage ludique du recyclage et du tri), cinéma (travail à partir de la pellicule) ou artistiques, et même des spectacles.
12 bis, rue de la Villette, 75019 Paris Tél : +33 (0)1 40 40 77 78, www.les400coups.eu

Les Activités
Things to do in Paris with babies and children in tow
Musée en herbe
Fondé en 1975 par des passionnés, c’est un musée différent qui présente des expositions-jeux sur des thèmes artistiques et civiques, spécialement conçues pour un public familial. Sa pédagogie originale est basée sur le jeu et l'humour et développe la sensibilité, la curiosité et la créativité de l'enfant.
21, rue Hérold, 75001 Paris
www.musee-en-herbe.com

Musée des arts décoratifs
Ce musée fait découvirir aux enfants les arts décoratifs : leur histoire, leurs évolutions grâce à des expositions et des ateliers spécifiques. Une véritable sortie éducative (on peut aussi y organiser son anniversaire) !
Après la visite, un encas s’impose au saut du loup, avant de déambuler dans les jardins du carrousel ou des tuileries.
107, rue de rivoli, 75001 Paris. Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 55 57 50.
www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr

La Galerie des enfants
L’artiste japonais Tadashi Kawamata installe ses drôles de sculptures en carton à la Galerie des enfants du centre Pompidou pour une exposition atelier autour de la nature, l’architecture, l’urbanisme et la société. Un vaste programme pour prouver aux enfants qu’avec presque rien, on peut toucher à l’essentiel.
Jusqu’au 23 août.
Centre Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris.
www.centrepompidou.fr

La ménagerie du Jardin des plantes
Le plus vieux zoo du monde. On y découvre des félins, sans oublier les dromadaires, loups, flamants roses, les autruches… Un lieu paisible dans lequel les enfants s’amuseront à faire des grimaces aux orangs-outans qui n’oublieront pas de leur répondre ! Et jusqu’au 14 février 2011, on peut faire un tour à l’exposition « Dans l’ombre des dinosaures » au Musée d’histoires naturelles attenant.
Jardin des plantes, 75005 Paris. Tel.: +33 (0)1 40 79 36 00
www.mnhn.fr

This guest post was written by Julie Malait, Editor of French webzine www.thesmallers.com
Julie is ex-Chief Editor of Extra Small, a French magazine about children, and created www.thesmallers.com a year ago. She also has a trend agency specialising in children's brands, and creates the trend space for international fashion kids fair Playtime in Paris.

Don't miss:
Disneyland Paris is offering 40% off, and kids under 7 stay and play free. Click the enormous banner at the top of this blog post for more info and to book tickets.

Getting to Paris:

Enjoyed this guest post? Please comment below to show your appreciation!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Launch of The Railway Children Live at London's Waterloo Station

Looking for an exciting theatrical experience to take the kids to this summer? We think we've found a perfect solution.

From 4 July 2010, the old Eurostar Terminal at Waterloo Station is being transformed into an exciting new theatre space. Above one of the tracks, a huge tunnel-like canopy will keep most of the noise of the station out, and provide the backdrop for an exciting, site-specific children's theatre show: The Railway Children .


Photo credit Southbank London

The star of the show is Stirling Single, a real steam locomotive, which'll appear from a tunnel at a dramatic moment, pulling a carriage, its pistons gleaming, atmospheric steam adding to the theatrical tension.
Any young (or old!) fans of Thomas the Tank EngineE Nesbit's original book, or trains in general are sure to be enchanted by this show. I can't help thinking how many grandparents are going to want to take their grandkids along to see "proper" trains puffing smoke!

Other sections of the old Eurostar station are being transformed for the show too. So while you're waiting for the play to start, you can browse an exhibition all about the novel, the history of the railways, The Railway Children Charity, and the setting of the play: Yorkshire.

There'll be workshops and interactive exhibitions perfect for involving little locomotive lovers before the show. One of the partners is London's Science Museum, so you know the exhibition will be of a very high standard!

While you might think older railway sites like Shunt at London Bridge would've been a better fit for a story published in 1906, I think The Railway Children Live at Waterloo Station will make excellent use of the space. And there's certainly something to be said for using a more modern site: nightly audiences of around 900 will be able to choose from 1,800 Eurostar toilets! A luxury you don't often get at the theatre in London...

It sounds like it's going to be one of the family theatre events of the summer.

The Railway Children opens at the Waterloo Station Theatre on 4 July. Running time is 2 hours 20 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

Guest post by Zoe J Griffiths, Visit London


Discount Tickets for The Railway Children available from :
Discount Theatre
Theatre Breaks
Theatre Tickets Direct
UK Theatre Tickets

Love Thomas the Tank Engine?
The Thomas the Tank Engine website has some fun games, quizzes, online colouring-in tools for your kids, and downloadable Thomas the Tank Engine activity sheets. To celebrate their 65th anniversary this year, Egmont children's publishers also have some gorgeous personalised books for only £7.99 - the personalised Birthday Surprise book would make a perfect birthday present.


Write a review of a any child friendly gem or family day out on ReallyKidFriendly.com and you'll get 20% off anything you buy at Egmont online children's book store from now until 31 Dec 2010. Too busy to write? Just register on Really Kid Friendly or like our Facebook Fan page and you automatically qualify for 10% off (just ask us for the code).