Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Pocket Playground from Ribena Plus

You know how parents always smirk and complain that you spend a fortune on the latest must-have toy only for your toddler to cast it aside within moments and play with the box ? Well, looking at the latest research from Ribena Plus, I think they're really on to something. They explain : "We recently released the second chapter of the Ribena Plus Play Report, which revealed that parents felt under pressure to buy new and expensive toys for their children so as a response, Ribena put together a Pocket Playground which has just 8 simple items but that can be used in over 50 games. The items are ones that can be found around the house, or in everyday shops, and the overall price is just £6.12" So not just a Pocket Playground but a Pocket Money-Priced Playground then !

They kindly sent us one through the post to see what the Madhouse Mini-testers would make of it. When we unpacked it, I was impressed to see that it is the kind of stuff that will fit easily into a pocket or handbag for playing with in the car, at the grandparent's or in the doctor's waiting room. It is also the kind of stuff that needs no batteries to operate, just a hefty dose of imagination and creativity. I passed it over to the Madhouse Mini-testers and was pleased to see that it kept them quiet for quite some time, stringing the beads then pushing them into the modelling clay, making pretend cakes for the little dolls with modelling clay, drawing round the shapes and colouring in the cardboard cut outs. But Ribena have gone even better and come up with 50 ways to play with the contents of the Pocket Playground :

1.   Make a bracelet using thread and beads 

2.   Play ‘hot and cold’ by hiding toys and answering hot or cold to questions from other players trying to find them 

3.   Create your very own board games using cardboard, pencils and wooden shapes / people as pieces

4.   Weave your own friendship bracelets using coloured thread

5.   Long hair is perfect for braiding using the coloured thread

6.   Play a game of cat’s cradle using thread

7.   Design and decorate your own paper crowns

8.   Create a town for toy people using the modelling clay to make trees, houses and streets 

9.   Create your very own game of snap using paper and pencils 

10.Make paper airplanes and see how far they fly

11.Learn the art of origami and make a bird with flapping wings 

12.Make masks with thread and paper and decorate them with beads and drawings

13.Make a concertina fan with paper and colour it in 

14.Build a castle / spaceship / house with wooden blocks

15.Create famous landmarks with the blocks and modelling clay. Who can make the Eiffel Tower or the Angel of the North?

16.Build a house for the toy people using cardboard, modelling clay and pencils 

17.Make impressions in the modelling clay with things from around your home, garden or things you have collected on family days out e.g. shells, leaves and tree bark 

18.Take leaf, bark and coin rubbings with the paper and pencils

19.Push small items (match sticks, buttons, paperclips, paddlepop sticks, googly eyes) into the modelling clay to create faces or weird and wonderful sculptures

20.Create a modelling clay bakery. Make cupcakes, doughnuts and pastries 

21.Create the alphabet or spell your name using moulded modelling clay 

22.Build a tower with the blocks. How many blocks can be added before it tumbles down? Who can build the highest tower?

23.Shut your eyes and identify the shape of the blocks by hand. It’s not easy!

24.Create a dream catcher with cardboard, beads and thread

25.Create a ‘magic bird’ spinner – draw a bird on one side of a circle of card and a cage on the other.  Make two small holes in the centre and pull through the thread, making loops for fingers at each end. Wind up each piece of string (by spinning the card round) and then, once wound up, pull the string tightly at each side – the bird will seem to appear in the cage!

26.Create medals for games, using the cardboard, modelling clay and string – first, second and third – and use these for whoever wins!

27.Make a rattle – attach beads to a piece of card using the thread and attach to a pencil.  Then when you twist the pencil between your fingers, the beads hit the card and make a sound

28.Wherever you are, arrange some objects and draw a still life picture with the paper and pencils

29.Make a cardboard robot, using the thread to hold it together and beads for eyes.  And give it modelling clay hair

30.'Names in the hat' - everyone writes names of well-known people on pieces of paper, folds the paper and places in a hat or tub.  Then take it in turns to pick a name out and describe that person without using the initial letter or any rhyming words. Go through as many words as possible in a time limit

31.Use the thread for finger knitting. Make mini scarves for the toy people

32.Make mini pom poms with the thread

33.Create an imaginary mini sweet shop using beads as sweets

34.Make your own beads using modelling clay and thread

35.Make a mini game of draughts

36.Create sculptures of your family using the modelling clay and beads

37.Write down some objects on pieces of paper and fold them over. Take it in turn to pick an object and mould it from modelling clay. The other player(s) have to guess what you have moulded 

38.Make your own Bingo game using card, paper and pencils

39.Draw lots of circles on a piece of paper. On the first go one player draws an object - e.g. cat.  The next person has to guess what it is and then draw another object in the next circle which begins with the last letter (so perhaps a tiger) and so on 

40.Draw a well-known person e.g. a TV, celebrity, sports star or politician - everyone has to guess who it is!

41.Have a game of noughts and crosses or hangman

42.Make a fortune teller – folding your paper into a ‘rose’ and using it to tell the future!

43.Play a game of ‘Boxes.’ Draw dots randomly all over the paper. The first player draws a line between any two dots, and draws another dot in the middle of that line. The next player draws a line between any two dots, and puts a dot in the middle of that line. No lines may cross each other but they don't have to be straight, so they can loop around other lines. Only three lines in total can emerge from any one dot. The dots put in the middle of the lines already have two lines connecting them to the two other dots, so they can only have one more line. The game continues until no more lines can be drawn. The person who draws the last line is the winner

44.Play ‘Why? Because.’ Each person writes down a question beginning with why (for example, ‘Why do dogs bark?’). Fold the top over to hide the question, and pass to the next player who, without looking at the question, writes an answer starting with Because (for example, ‘Because chocolate tastes good’). Then read out all the questions and answers – there’ll be some funny answers!

45.Play a game of ‘Monster Consequences.’ Draw a head on a piece of paper, then fold and pass on. The next player draws a torso and passes it on. The next person draws legs and the next draws feet. Open out the paper and see what monsters you’ve created

46.Play a game of ‘Written Consequences.’ Along the same lines as Monster Consequences but instead of drawing a monster, write down in turns: well known man’s name, well known woman’s name, a particular location, he said, she said and then the consequence. An amusing story should unfold!

47. Trace around your hand and adorn your drawn hand with jewellery, either drawn on or using the beads

48. Put on a play with the toy people and the objects 

49. Make little drum kits with the wooden shapes and pencils

50. Play ‘Mini Boules’ with by rolling beads. Use the paper as your boules green


Just goes to show, you don't need expensive equipment and toys to keep the kids entertained. We actually have a "rainy day box" where we keep lots of interesting odds and ends for the Madhouse Mini-testers to sort through which always goes down well when they start getting bored.

Disclosure : We received a Pocket Playground from Ribena Plus.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Yellow Moon rainforest-themed crafting supplies review

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