The last couple of days around here hasn't exactly screamed summer. Rain, and cold rain at that. However, it seems to be back to normal today, with the sun peeping out from the behind the clouds and a general mugginess.
Just in time really as we start running some summer reviews. Really we thought that it was going to be a true outdoors summer this year, to make up for last year's soggy one. And it still might be. Always worth stocking up on some items too to make use of the fine weather when it does appear.
In the past I've always gone to Woolworths first, at the start of the summer. This year was no different, other than it is all online now. We got a poncho, a kit for creating your very own sports day, and a splash water slide. And gave them all to PlayPennies mum of one Theresa to test them out.
Sports Day Set
Now I was particularly interested in this one, the Sports Day Set (£15). There's such an age difference between my son and his siblings that he's effectively an only child. He's a sociable wee chap so we do a lot of playdates, and sometimes kids just need something a bit structured.
The games you get in this set seem perfect for either outdoors in the garden or at the park. The set includes four each of sacks, spoons and plastic eggs, and bean bags, and also comes with a starters flag. It is recommended for age 4 years and upwards.
It would seem that it makes a great indoors toy too. "The sports set is fab. We had an egg and spoon race in the lounge. It was a short race but fun." says Theresa.
She goes on to give it a thumbs up overall. "I heartily recommend this as it includes all the little things that you need to create your very own sports day. There are enough items for four kids (or adults) to play around with and I have actually set this up to be used at my daughter's birthday party. It is that good."
Theresa also thinks that it is ideal for the kids to play with during the summer holidays especially as she find's she's often at a loss for activities to keep them entertained.
"The set is ideal for kids to play with during the summer holidays and is good valuie for money. You can egg and spoon, you can sack race, you can three legged race, you can play bean bag agility and then you can invent games to play with the various ingredients."
Splash Water Slide
Theresa doesn't have a garden, although she is right on the beach at the seaside so I don't feel too sorry for her. She does keep outdoor toys at her parent's house though, as they spend a lot of time there particularly in the summer.
The Splash Water Slide is on sale at Woolworths at the moment, marked down from £20 to £10.
Her first impressions where good. "The splash water slide is ace. Very easy to set up and very easy to plonk down anywhere in the garden." This was very important as her parent's needed to do the assembling, and it would be put in the garden shed when the grandchildren weren't there.
Theresa liked that the build of the slide appeared to be very sturdy. "The plastic appears to be strong and durable and very solid and could handle a pretty bumpy garden (although perhaps the kids bottoms won't) and it looks great."
She felt that you needed to take into account not only the size of the slide but also room for the children to run up to the slide before jumping on. Overall, the kids had a great time and the run off kept the garden watered.
Her final verdict? "I wouldn't pay the full £20 but it is on sale at Woolies for only £10 at the moment making this a whopping great bargain."
Woolworths have a number of towelling ponchos, some of which are on sale. The usual RRP for them is £12, but this WWE Superstars Poncho for example is reduced to £10.
Theresa is a fan of these inventions, and so am I. You just slip the child into one out of the bath, or pool, or sea. They are warm, and can dry, at the same time.
However, the robe that Theresa is currently using is the Morrck Splasha, for which she paid £15. "My daughter has one for swimming, that is made from very thick towelling and has buttons downt he front so you can seal it up tightly." She was not such a great fan of the ponchos, as you throw them over the child's head. "Now the buttons may sound random but they are very helpful for putting on over a wet body."
Nor was she impressed with the quality of the towelling, which she found very thin. Overall, she thought you were paying for the privilage of having characters on the ponchos rather than the quality of the towels.
"You can just pay that much for a thick and fluffy bath towel that does a better job. When kids are finished swimming (or bathing) a thick towel is what you need to dry them off or they get cold and these just don't hold the water effectively. My daughter got out of the pool and into Peppa pig and the pnocho was soaked by the time we had walked out of the shower area to the changing are. With our other bathrobe we can leave her in it until we get home! That is what I prefer."
She gives it good marks for character designs and ease of use but bad marks for quality of fabric.
And finally ...
Woolworths do a great range of outdoor toys. I like the sports set and think I may invest in one myself. I know you can make all these things yourself but I'm rubbish at that!