Every Picture Tells a Story

Every Picture Tells a Story

'Every picture tells a story' so the saying goes and 'A picture paints a thousand words', but can story telling really be fun and help children’s learning?

Storytelling isn’t just for camp fires and ghoulish nights.  Many historical events are kept alive by stories repeated over the centuries, but telling stories is a skill that can be learned and should be enjoyed. Telling stories helps to develop listening skills as well imagination, it develops and stretches vocabulary and children learn how to use adjectives and adverbs, linking words and phrases. 

All children use their imagination and make up stories from a young age especially when they role play with dolls, cuddly toys or action figures. When they start school this imagination is channeled more into writing.

Keeping this imagination fired up can be easy just by making storytelling into a family game at home. Find any smallish items from around the house, place them on a tray and cover with a cloth.  This can be played with one or more people. One item is pulled from under the cloth and is the start of a story. The other items on the tray add the next steps of the story. This process can work for a single child, or many, all making up one story. Older children 
working together will probably put the items together in the most bizarre way to make the weirdest story!

For a more portable, travel size version the new Story Cards packs from Green Board Games have large flash-card size cards which are categorised to help develop stories. Younger children can put 2 cards together to develop linking sentence whereas older children or families make up the complete story! 

Created On  4 Aug 2018 14:51 in Education and Learning  -  Permalink

How to Choose a Father's Day Present

How to Choose a Father's Day Present
Finding a present for Father’s Day can be daunting, to be put it off until the very last minute and then go shopping to grab the first thing you see! Not very scientific, but it sometimes works!

Yet the essence of great gift giving is to link something you know about a person to a relevant present. 

The following may help to inspire.

  • What is the family link?  Is this for a father, grandad, or father-in-law?
  • Does he have any specific hobbies or interests?
  • Age does make a difference, you may be able to gift something more unusual to a younger person and a more traditional gift to someone older.
  • Is there a place that is important to him, such as a holiday destination in the UK, or somewhere overseas he lived for a while.
  • For a dad of younger children does he like to do things with his children, taking time to sit down with them to join in with their games, creative activities or learning?
  • Is there a hobby he wished he had started earlier in his life, but never got round to starting or getting involved? Maybe he wished he could sing in a choir or go fishing, learn to juggle or race a car.

How can we help at Activity Chest? Some of our Dad-suitable presents are right here for delivery by the weekend.

Happy Father’s Day!

Created On  9 Jun 2018 15:36 in How to ... Top Tips  -  Permalink

Travelling Activities Top Tips

Travelling Activities Top Tips

Hopefully summer holidays and travelling is beginning to be top of mind. Looking forward to the holiday can be tainted by the thought of travelling, but getting there should be part of the fun. So finding something to do on a journey, whether it’s keeping occupied while travelling or taking the tedium out of waiting around, is key.

Nowadays we use our phones for all sorts of amusements and games, but to go back to basics with ‘real’ activities or games, what do we need to consider?

Doesn’t matter if you’re flying or going by car it’s always weight and/or space.

Take things that can be folded or don’t take up much room in luggage, are lightweight, and that are easy to bring out a use quickly and don’t need a load of time to set us.  Also think about flexibility with a mix of games that could involve a lot of people, or to play solo.  And finally not too many bits in the game to lose!

Flat items can be used either as a lap activity in the car or on the plane’s fold down table, such as colouring books, dry wipe boards and activity books.

Try these activities and games …..

  • Water wow activity book – water only so no mess, the pages go back to plain to use again and again.
  • Dominoes – played all round the world, join together and find new friends!
  • Travel games in a tin – What Am I game like Animal, Vegetable and Mineral with loads of suggestions.
  • Magnetic travel games – easy to put in hand luggage and closes to keep the pieces safe, choose chess, sea battle or snakes and ladders.
  • Small box games – fast and furious 10 Up, or quick thinking Fast Flags.
  • Scratch art - flat and easy to do creative activity for wet days and quiet time.
  • Dry wipe board abc and numbers – double sided with plain and an activity, lightweight, use dry wipe pens for colouring and drawing, practising letters and numbers, playing games such as hangman or noughts and crosses
  • Colouring books adult and kids – quiet time for kids, mindfulness for adults!
  • Books – light weight fabric baby books with peek a boo and crinkles, children’s musical and flip flap books.
  • Travel activity – take binoculars, a compass and battery operated headlight to be the adventurer, or use travel snap cards to learn easy first words in 4 languages English, French, Spanish and Italian.
  • Inflatables – world globe to see where you’re going to or track where you’ve been, inflatable pool toys like swimming balls, rings and armbands, sword play set, or shark game.
  • Tantrix table top game of linking colours – choose the game set in a bag which has 5 different games with over 30 puzzles games solo or for up to 4 players.
  • Playing cards - snap with various themes for children or adults - and standard cards to play myriad of traditional games like Whist, Pontoon, Solitaire and Patience, or even Canasta.

Created On  8 Jun 2018 12:48 in How to ... Top Tips  -  Permalink

Finding Quality Information on Good Toys

Finding Quality Information on Good Toys


We all use search to look for products and services whether it’s Google, Amazon, ebay or any of the other myriad choices. Looking for more specific information and more importantly advice that you trust takes more time to find. For us one of the leading websites that offers sound advice based on professional experience is Fundamentally Children.

Dr Amanda Gummer a leading child psychologist who provides lots of very easy to read and sound advice for parents, but the team have also assessed a vast array of toys to come up with an independent accreditation service, in the Good Toy Guide and the Good App Guide.

‘Working with Fundamentally Children and the Good Toy Guide enables us to show that many of the toys we have on offer are recommended by independent experts,’ says Activity Chest’s Liz Royal.

‘With an enormous selection of toys on the market parents may be overwhelmed by the choice.

‘I would suggest using the Good Toy Guide as an information source to find the type of products that will help at particular ages. Even if you don’t buy the exact product they have in the guide, the information about skill development will make an informed purchase of something similar much easier.’

To see the full list of accredited toys go to

Created On  15 Mar 2018 14:35 in How to ... Top Tips  -  Permalink

Science Week 2018

Science Week 2018

British Science Week
, run by the British Science Association is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages. This year it runs 
9th – 18th March.

The annual Science Week provides a platform to stimulate and support teachers, STEM professionals, science communicators and the general public to produce and participate in STEM events and activities. Anyone can organise an event or activity and the British Science Association provides free activity and support resources.

Activity packs are available to download and aim to encourage young people to think about everyday discoveries and how they affect their lives by exploring science in the world all around us.

Also this year is 'Citizen Science' with a project based on plastics found on our beaches working with the charity, The Plastic Tide.

Created On  13 Mar 2018 11:48  -  Permalink

Advent Calendars

When did advent calendars change from opening a little card door to show a
Christmassy picture or a saying, to those loaded with sweeties or themed with Peppa Pig or Lego?

As an alternative place a selection of goodies appropriate to the age (children or adult!) in a bag and use either a magnetic calendar or a standard paper calendar for the month of December. Move the disc or cross off the date each day and dip into a bag or box of wrapped mini presents for the treat.

As a bonus the calendar can be used again and again and the theme can change as children grow up. 

And for those beautiful, but a little impractical wooden drawer or fabric pocket advent calendars, it saves the problem each year of finding suitably sized items!

Created On  7 Nov 2017 12:40 in Events and Activities  -  Permalink