Clangers Magazine

We were invited to review “The Clangers” magazine, (for those who don’t know, “The Clangers” is a children’s TV programme which runs on the BBC) and given the success of the programme, they have launched a spin-off magazine, aimed at 3-6 year olds.

As a bit of a change, the review is in a Question and Answer format:

Did your child enjoy the new Clangers magazine? Yes, seeing the smile on her face when she opened the parcel and started reading it. You can’t fake that kind of reaction!

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Which part did they enjoy the most? Definitely the stickers! I think that every child likes stickers, although Heidi particularly wanted to wear the stickers for some reason!

Would you buy it again? Absolutely

Did you find it educational? I particularly liked the alphabet pull out (we had been searching for one all weekend. Also, the page about the moon was very good, particularly as we are getting into planets/space etc

The font type particularly for the Singing Asteroid was nice and clear and large and while it sounds like a simple thing, it makes it easier to teach letters

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What did they think of their free gift? (The Clangers Whistle) The whistle didn’t have a blowhole in (presumably a manufacturing fault) and it took me a while to work it out – in fact, that should have been the most educational part…for me!

Once we did a bit of DIY we managed to get a decent sound out of it and played with it for almost as long as the magazine

Which Clanger do you love the most? Tiny Clanger!

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For the purposes of the review, we received a copy of the magazine for free.


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World Museum, Liverpool

So we went on our travels over the Pennines to Liverpool, for a pre-Christmas day out (oops for the delay in writing up!).

It was very much a spur-of-the-moment decision to go and we decided to go by train and head to the World Museum as the exhibits looked good for an inquisitive preschooler, as well as the appeal of the planetarium! The museum is a 5-10 minute walk from Liverpool Lime Street train station and might be the best approach to get there as the museum is in the city centre and you would have to deal with the usual traffic/parking problems.

The museum is on 5 floors, with each floor based on a different theme. At the top floor was the “Space” theme as well as the planetarium which is where we ended up first. More by luck than judgement, we were in time for the “Mr Sunshine” show which was absolutely adorable and was on Heidi’s mind all day afterwards. As the video encouraged interaction, it helped keep Heidi calm and engaged in a dark cinema! The short movies are on throughout the day and we could have watched all the others!

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Space dressing-up

Whilst the “Space” floor could have been bigger (in theory!) the other floors were excellent for a 3 year old to walk through and pick out exactly what they liked.

The dressing up activity within the Egyptian section was always going to be popular but perhaps our favourite was being able to use some powerful microscopes to look at various floral and fauna. The best part was that the microscopes were linked to TV’s so it was much easier for little eyes to see and for adults to describe what is going on!

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It was a Pharaoh way to go!

There was also a section about various animals in various parts of the world, both past (dinosaurs!) and present and the lifelike models really appealed to little eyes!

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The Liverpool wildlife!

The best compliment is that when we got to the aquarium section on the second floor (we went from top to bottom) Heidi was pretty tired and wasn’t taking much in to be honest!

As a free attraction, it was absolutely amazing and the only charge was for the planetarium, which wasn’t too expensive at all. All in all, we spent 3 hours there and we had to pull ourselves away as we wanted to visit “Underwater Street” as well – write-up due shortly!!

If you’re taking a pushchair, there are lifts to get between the floors, but they do get busy and when we went to the toilets, the baby change door was locked on the aquarium floor so you might need to find a member of staff to assist.

There is also a cafe on site and if you time it right, you can get a window seat and have a wonderful view over the city.

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The view from the cafe!!


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Mini Einsteins

We have been “Mini Einstein-ers” from the beginning and as the “We are Mini” brand has been launched, I thought that it would be a good idea to do a bit of a refresh of the class. If you want to read a somewhat “serious” experience of our first Mini Einsteins class, you are probably best reading this post (Mini Einsteins – Rainbow Factory)

However, in a vain attempt to be creative, I thought that I would go all poetic and write about our story so far..

We started in June
going to our favourite science class
We learnt about solids, liquids
and even some gas

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Homemade lava lamp with Alka Seltzer

At first there was just us two,
and a helper with Professor Ellen
We learnt about vegetables, plants
and fruits such as melon

As the group grew,
so did our knowledge
Some of the topics took me
straight back to college

We learnt some long words,
we learnt to predict
We knew that the lesson plans
had been professionally picked

They learnt why things went up
and why things went down
They learnt what would float
and then what would drown

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Taking Mini Einsteins knowledge into nursery

The classes were different
in fact they are unique
I think I’m turning Heidi
into a big science geek!

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Using cabbage juice at home to work out the acidity of items

We have used household items
to blow up balloons
We have used vibrations
to play nifty tunes

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Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

We have tested our senses,
our taste, hearing and sight
The children were blindfolded
to see if they could still write

Joining the class was one of
the best things we’ve done
So why don’t you come along
and join in the fun!

While the post is slightly “jokey” – the class is seriously, seriously good, especially if you are wanting to challenge your child a bit and get them interested in science and generally learning. On the back of this, we have really explored both the activities and sought out some good science museums.

It is pitched at the right level for a to 5 year olds (there is an older class as well) and last for an hour, which is more than enough! The staff are so friendly and welcoming and you never know, you might learn a thing or two as well!!

To find out more about Mini Einsteins and the rest of the “We are Mini” classes, go to http://www.wearemini.co.uk/  or check out their Facebook page (search for “We are Mini”) or Twitter site (@wearemini)

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Mini Heroes – 2/1/2017

So the turn of the calendar brings with it a new suite of classes held at the Rainbow Factory – under the “We are Mini” banner.

We were invited to the “Mini Heroes” taster session and it was the usual Rainbow Factory creativity, mixed with boatloads of enthusiasm and the key ingredient of learning.

While the activities are sure to be different each week, there was a warm-up exercise and a structured walk through the venue solving a problem before the group split into 2 and alternated between a craft activity and a couple of physical activities.

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Craft time making a mask and shield!

After that, the group came back together to do the structured task – learning how to use the “999” service. Even though Heidi is 3 1/2 years old, I have been hesitant to teach her how to do this, but seeing how she very nearly got the concept today has given me the confidence to carry on teaching her this. Sometimes these activities are more for the parents benefit to show that their child is able to do them. However, the session is only the start of it, as the “lesson” must be carried on at home for it to sink in!!

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Don’t you hate it when you go to a party and there is someone there with the EXACT same outfit!!

The “learning” themes are focused around First Aid and general life skills which might seem a bit advanced but at this age, and having seen it in action, it does feel like a perfect time to get started.

While the theme is “Heroes” and staff and children were dressed in all sorts of outfits, there was not one mention by staff of actual superheroes on TV/books – it was all about what a hero did, and the qualities of a hero – it was good to see the staff not go down the easy or safe route…

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“Apprentice” Superheroes!

As the theme is “Heroes” it does attract itself to boys more than girls – however, there is absolutely nothing gender specific about the session so even if your child is not uber into superheroes, it doesn’t really matter.

One thing to note is that there were around 25 children there (it was Bank Holiday Monday) and if your child likes one to one attention (I have one of them!) it might not be totally for them. However, there were 4 staff taking the session, so it never felt out of control.

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Strike a pose!

In terms of age ranges, I don’t think any child under 2 1/2 years old would be able to keep up with the activities or take in the information. However, I’m sure the excellent staff would be able to help out if you drop them an email before booking. It did last 1 1/2 hours which was really good for the older ones (and value for money!) but you might just have to keep an eye out for tiredness if you have a younger one (or a grumpy one in my case today!)

The sessions are to be booked in advance in 6 week blocks, as are the other “We are Mini” activities. Given the popularity of the taster session, I would book quickly! For more information, please check out the “We are Mini” or “Rainbow Factory” Facebook pages. There are other classes within the “We are Mini” banner, which are available via the above pages.

Full Disclosure 1: We were invited to attend the session free of charge

Full Disclosure 2: I was the parent of pretty much the only child not in fancy dress – I feel like a terrible parent 😂


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