The Happy Cat Kids Blog


Apologies for those of whose kids have still got another week of term but mine finish school tomorrow so I thought it was probably time to start thinking about what on earth I'm going to do with them for the next 7 weeks!!! I'm aware that I probably should have put some thought into this a little bit before now but hey-ho better late than never I guess!!


So, if, like me you haven't really thought much about what you're going to do with the kids this summer, here's a few ideas:


1. Picnics


I don't know about you guys but my kids love a picnic! I find it's one of the easiest activities to do in the summer hols! Just chuck some food in a cool bag, grab a picnic blanket, a football and a frisbee and find a nice park that has a kids play area to keep them occupied! One of my top tips with a picnic is to arrange to meet friends there too! The kids can then all play together and if you're lucky, you might even get 5 minutes to sit and have an actual conversation with another adult!!


2. Garden obstacle course


This activity is a bit of a favourite one in our house! All I do is lay out a few items around the garden and then set a course, e.g. crawl through the play tunnel, run zig zag through some cones, do 10 skips with a skipping rope, throw a ball into a hoop, kick a ball into the football goal, do 10 star jumps, 5 press-ups, etc. then time the kids around the course and see if they can beat their time each time they do it!


3. Arts & Crafts!


Love it or hate it, craft activities can be useful for keeping the kids occupied on a rainy day or just if you want to actually keep them sitting in one place for a short amount of time! Here's a round-up of some of my favourite sets that we have on offer at Happy Cat Kids:


I love all the RecycleMe craft sets - you get everything you need for all sorts of creations within the box, all you need to add are items of household recycling!


We have various styles of the casting kits! Everything is included within the kit. Choose from horses, dinosaurs, cars, fossils...



And if you don't fancy a whole craft activity, why not simply give your child a sketch pad and some pens and let their creative juices flow!! These party animal design sketch books have lovely hard back covers for easy drawing when out and about or in the car!


4. Water Play


Let's face it, kids just love getting wet! So many options to choose from taking them swimming to simply sticking the hose pipe on in the garden! One of my son's favourite activities when he was younger was taking his outdoor vehicles to the 'car wash'!! This involved a bowl of soapy water, a cloth and a hose pipe - and the bonus was that the toys actually got clean at the same time: win-win!! Running through the sprinkler is also a popular activity along with water-painting the fence! When my kids were younger they could while away loads of time with a pot of water and a paintbrush 'decorating' the fence!


5. Camping in the garden!


OK I know this one is not for everyone and after doing this for nearly a week in half-term, I'm pretty sure I said I would never do that again!! But the kids do absolutely love it! Stick the tent up in the garden, play some games, stay up late and toast some marshmallows on your BBQ!! If you're lucky enough to have older kids, you can let them do this by themselves! Just stick up the tent and let them get on with it whilst you get to sleep in the comfort of your own bed in the house!!


So I hope that's given you a few ideas, I'd love to hear yours. What are your kids fave summer summer activities?


If you're still looking for further inspiration for great toys that will keep the kids occupied this summer, here's a pic of some of my favourites:











Enjoy your summer!!



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Updated: Jul 15


We often see 'encourages imaginative play' or something similar written in toy descriptions but what exactly is it and is it important?


Put simply, imaginative play is acting out various different situations or tasks - it is also known as role-play or pretend-play.


Why is imaginative play important for your child's development?


Through this type of play children can learn to process the world around them, they can develop their problem-solving skills as they play out different scenarios and work out which action they are going to take. They are also developing their emotional world at the same time - exploring their reactions to certain events and how things make them feel. Role-play is great for language development as the kids may begin to narrate what they are doing or act out the character they are playing - whether it is a shop-keeper, a café owner, a superhero or an office worker.


Now I know that you don't need to buy expensive toys to develop your child's imaginative play skills, I've seen enough on Pinterest to know that there is much you can do with a washing-up bowl, a blanket and some wooden spoons but I'm going to hold my hands up and say that those types of activities fill me with a little dread! Whenever my kids uttered those five little words 'can we build a den?' my heart would sink just a little and I'd have to psych myself up for this particular activity! I always enjoyed watching my kids play in this way, if I'm totally honest, I enjoyed it a little less when I was required to also play!! But as a busy and usually knackered Mum I often felt like I didn't have the mental capacity to create imaginary worlds using saucepans, cardboard boxes and kitchen utensils! So in these moments, I was incredibly grateful to have my go-to toys that I knew would spark imagination and encourage those role-play activities.


When choosing toys for Happy Cat Kids, I often had this in mind. Which toys would help busy, tired parents? Which toys would give kids the most play value? So if you, like I did, want to make sure you have a handful of go-to toys that will spark their imagination and develop their skills then here are my top 5 toys for imaginative play:


  1. Wooden Pizza Oven

If you've followed Happy Cat Kids for a while then you'll know that this pizza oven toy is one of my absolute favourites! I love all the different topping options! Your child can play restaurants or pizza delivery, or add it to other food-themed toys to play house!


2. Baby Rag Doll in Carrycot

Children really do love to play with baby dolls - to role-play being parents, siblings, doctors, nannies or running nurseries or hospitals. This baby doll is so sweet and is completely soft and therefore suitable from birth. A great doll for your child to be able to carry around in it's basket, keep the baby warm with the blanket and feed them with the bottle included. At just 23cm long as well, this doll is small enough for it not to be overwhelming for a young toddler.


3. Wooden Afternoon Tea Stand

This is a lovely toy for role-play! Your little ones could get dressed up in their fanciest outfits and pretend-play going out for yummy treats at a fancy hotel! Or they could collect together their favourite dolls and teddies and organise a teddy bear's picnic! If they can play with this with other children then it will really help develop their collaborative play with turn-taking and sharing. They could take it in turns to share out the treats equally which will also help develop their counting and early maths skills! It's a win-win in my eyes! (Plus - look how pretty it is!!)


4. Wooden Car Garage

When my kids were little both of them absolutely loved playing with their car garage! It was just one of those toys they never got tired with and was played with over and over again! They began with just simple pushing the cars down the ramps and then as they got older this toy grew with them and they began to build towns, races and complex storylines over where each car was going and who was in it! These garages are an investment but they really do give years of play value! This garage is suitable from 2 years.


5. Rag Dolls

I'm so pleased with our lovely collection of soft-bodied dolls we now have available! You can see the whole collection here - I think dolls make great companions for little ones for developing those all important language skills and learning about relationships. With a doll your child can explore unlimited role-play activities from taking them shopping, dressing them up, having tea parties, the list is endless and these beautiful rag dolls make wonderful heirloom toys to be passed down to the next generation!


I hope you like my top 5 toys for developing imagination but it doesn't just stop there! I have a whole collection of imaginative play toys which you can browse through by clicking here!


What were your favourite imaginative play toys when you or your kids were little? I'd love to know in the comments.

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