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outdoor play equipment

  • Shelter from April showers

     

     

    Rest assured once Easter has passed, it isn’t long before you hear sudden bursts of rain splashing against your windows and bouncing of the rooftops. April means April showers and your children will now have to prepare for very fast transitions between sunshine and heavy rain as they play in the garden.

    There is a way for your children to continue playtime outside and avoid becoming drenched by April showers. Have you ever considered adding a playhouse or two to your collection of outdoor play equipment?

    Wicken Toys’ selection of outdoor climbing frames and playhouses boasts many designs with excellent shelter; a great solution to all of your children’s April shower concerns.

    In this blog we’ll be taking a look at a couple of our favourite shelters in the form of outdoor playhouses and outdoor climbing frames. Lots of these have exciting features incorporated into the designs such as slides, ladders, rock walls, windows, and even climbing nets and hoops.

    Our wooden climbing frames and wooden playhouse come in a variety of fun shapes and sizes, some of which have a theme like our All Out Play Rocket. With this your kids could end up flying to the moon and back; all in a day’s work (and remain dry).

    All Out Play Rocket

    The All Out Play Rocket’s hexagonal shaped roof is durable enough to last through the worst of April showers with its tough hardwood and marine plywood. Additionally, all of the fixings are either galvanised or stainless steel to help avid unsightly rust and corrosion.

    Inside there is also another floor level to climb up to.

    inside of the All Out Play Rocket

    Another one of All Out Play’s playhouses is this simpler design called the jungle hut. It is small enough to be tucked away at the bottom of the garden and will make a brilliant little den for planning all of those garden adventures. This has the same precautionary features to weather any amount of rain and the same tough hexagonal roof as the Rocket.

    All Out Play Jungle Hut

    Our TP products range also has playhouses and wooden climbing frames with excellent shelters and plenty of entertainment.

    This TP Forest Lodge comes with its very own verandah and a 1.8m green slide. The stilts ensure that the lodge is kept away from the wet mud and big puddles.

    For a larger verandah and platform, the next TP model up will suit. This is the TP Forest Villa 2 which will be a great option to last many April showers.

    TP Forest Villa 2

    Contact us for more information about our playhouses, wooden climbing frames, and all kinds of other garden toys. We can provide you with advice as to which product may suit your garden and children best.

  • Climbing frames for real climbing

    From a young age, children have an urge to climb no matter what environment they are in: trees, fences, walls, the back of the sofa, and all sorts of other things that they shouldn’t climb in and out of the house. Why not present your kids with a brand new climbing challenge?

    There are many climbing frames in the Wicken Toys outdoor play equipment and garden toys selection.

    The physicality of climbing makes it a very beneficial exercise for children. This is why we make sure that our climbing frames provide an exciting challenge that is waiting for them when they arrive home from school.

    There are many benefits of outdoor play equipment with climbing walls; even if it is only a very small one.

    Body strength and core muscle strength will soon increase after a few months of climbing. Your child will gradually develop a lean muscle build and tone. Ultimately it is a physical workout for the whole body whereas a lot of other sports just concentrate on certain areas.

    Additionally climbing walls also improve balance, flexibility, and coordination. Although it may only seem physical there is a lot of thought required for climbing as you have to look ahead and plan your route up the wall; much of which depends on your strength, balance, and reach. It is a great achievement for your child to experience when they finally reach the top of the wall.

    Climbing may seem like a daunting sport to introduce your kids to, but they don’t have to climb actual rock faces or conquer mountains straight away. You don’t even have to get them involved in an indoor climbing club either. Start off with one of our frames with a small ‘rock’ wall.

    Playtime Easton Tower

    Our Playtime Easton Tower has a large rock wall leading up to a large 1.5m high play platform. As you can see, the green holds are accompanied with a rope to help children reach the platform. The wall isn’t on a vertical angle so this would be a great choice for introducing your children to how exciting climbing can be.

    We also have this wonderful All Out Play Climbing Centre which looks like a castle. The large rock wall on several sides means that your kids have the option to traverse around the fort as well as heading upwards.

    All Out Play Climbing CentreTP Kingswood Top Deck Climbing Frame Set 2

    Similarly, this TP Kingswood Top Deck frame presents more of a challenge with its tall, vertical rock wall.

    Take a look at the rest of our climbing frames. There is bound to be at least one which will be a suitable size for your garden and keep your children away from the television for hours.

    Feel free to contact us for more information about our products.

  • Advantages of team sports play equipment for children

    Team sports are extremely advantageous activities for children of all ages as they offer a host of learning developments, encourage character building, and provide lots of enjoyment.

    Why not try introducing your children to team sports before they can take part in the school sports teams? We have many garden toys and pieces outdoor play equipment that can be used for team games with family and friends.

    There are many advantages to encouraging your children to play team sports like football, netball, basketball, tennis doubles, and not forgetting table tennis doubles.

    • Outdoor play equipment best showcased in our tp products will create wonderful opportunities for your children to build long-lasting childhood friendships (they could go from being man of the match to the groom’s best man).
    • Unsurprisingly, after a few team games children will very quickly begin to develop team working skills. In addition to this they will also have the chance to learn about leadership when it is their turn to be team captain.
    • Even as adults we can all have our ‘bad-loser’ moments. Regularly playing a team sport with outdoor play equipment like our tp products football nets, table tennis tables, and netball posts, your child will learn how to respect opposing teams and lose gracefully (although admittedly, some of us never grow out of being a bad loser).
    • Being part of a team means that you are also partly responsible for that team’s success and even if it is only every summer evening in your back garden, teams are often a long term commitment. Team sports can teach children to learn the importance of loyalty to team mates and learn why be committed to something is important. A great life skill to have in time for employment!
    • Our team sports garden toys can help children to quickly realise that to get better at something you have to work hard and practice regularly. Playing a sport like football in your garden most days could produce the next premiership footballer.
    • Even though you might hate sports, a weekend afternoon of playing a sport like basketball with your kids could change your mind. Instead of family bonding time taking place infront of the television, take the family fun outside and get some fresh air and exercise. Furthermore, your kids will learn to enjoy sport, exercise, and outdoor activity from an early age which will be very healthy for them in the long run.

    Take a look at our outdoor play equipment for all kinds of sports like this ‘tp super goal with trainer’, and choose a garden toy that will get your family out into the garden in time for warm summer evenings.

  • Trampoline funtimes to put a spring in their step

    The trampoline is a surprisingly modern device that has its origins in the circus. Bouncing apparatus was used in 19th century French circuses and a in the early 1900s circus performers performed acrobatics on a bouncing bed, which was a trampoline covered with bed clothes. However, it was not until 1936 that the first modern trampoline was designed and built by two America gymnasts George Nissen and Larry Griswold.

    Now, of course, trampolining is an Olympic sport. In the London 2012 Olympics Canadian Rosie MacLennan won gold and Briton Kat Driscoll captured everyone’s imagination; missing out on the final by a tenth of a mark!  At this level it is not uncommon for a skilled athlete to bounce to a height of 10 metres (33 ft) as they perform multiple somersaults and twists.  They are also used as cross-trainers for other sports including in diving, skating, gymnastics, and freestyle skiing.

    For parents of older children the purchase of a trampoline is also an opportunity to engage them in the basic laws of Physics, including the conversion of potential energy into kinetic and Isaac Newton laws of motion. Trampolines are in essence simple machines; it is well known that they have formed an integral part of the American and Soviet space programmes to prepare astronauts for the experience of zero gravity.

    However, one of the main reasons people buy a trampoline is the fantastic health benefits it offers. In particular trampolining improves co-ordination including balance, agility, rhythm, and timing; the fine motor skills that are so receptive to development in children and teenagers.  Regular trampolining sessions have been seen to improve the spatial awareness of young people, boosting confidence and self-esteem: enhancing performance not just on the sports field but in the classroom too.

     

     

    In addition to specific gains in terms of co-ordination and agility, like any cardio work-out use of a trampoline has fantastic long-term health benefits. In a recent study conducted by the Colorado State University it was shown that short bursts of exercise have the same health benefits at prolonged exercise routines; improving fitness and burning calories. Likewise, an ongoing study by Professor Jamie Timmons a leading expert on exercise has shown that short-burst exercise of as little as three minutes a week can deliver the same health benefits as hours at the gym by boosting the stamina and fitness of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. This is good news in an age when we are increasingly concerned about childhood obesity. A trampoline can ensure that your children are getting short bursts of exercise without as much as a thought about their exertion. And all this is without mentioning the benefits of outdoor play that we at Wicken Toys are so found of telling you about!

    So, even without considering the obvious health benefits of trampolining for youngsters, what better way to get them away from sedentary activities like watching TV and playing video games and playing outside in the spring sunshine than a trampoline?  We have a large choice of trampolines in stock here at Wicken Toys, ranging from little ones with support bars for infants such as the TP Junior, through to TP SurroundSafe tramps, which are enclosed and very safe, for older and perhaps more boisterous children.

  • Slide into spring

    Now that things are getting a bit warmer it’s time to encourage your little ones to break away from the TV or games console and get out in the fresh air. At this time of year the first signs of spring are starting to show. A few early spring flowers are beginning to pop up and many garden birds have started to sing their lovely spring songs!

     

    So in today’s blog we  thought we’d talk about an outdoor toy, which is bound to get your kids racing out into the garden, filled with the joys of  spring. A free standing slide is not only a staple of children’s playgrounds everywhere but also a great vantage point from which your little ones can spot the signs of spring such as rousing insects, emerging flowers and nesting birds.

     

    A slide is one of those outdoor playthings that are totally addictive. Like swings, kids beg to go to the park to play on them. There’s something extremely satisfying about climbing up high to shoot straight back down to the ground. Moreover children never tire of this simple activity. It would seem there’s much joy in repetition!

     

    Much like garden swings and climbing frames, these kinds of outdoor playthings are an immense source of pride for children. Up until the point that they have relied on you to take them to the park or recreation ground, and now, suddenly, they are independent and can play as much as they like. Moreover, they don’t have to wait for other children, to take their turn!

     

    So let’s take a look at some of the options available here at Wicken Toys.

     

    To begin with there’s the tp Kingfisher Slide Rainbow. This is a great starter slide, which is made from injection moulded polyethylene, with ultra violet stabilisers to stop it degrading. It also has three heavy duty steps with a grip pattern to help stop your little ones from slipping.

     

    Next up in the range we have tp Green Crazywavy Slide Body and Step Set, which has a very sturdy construction and wave form slope for a rollercoaster ride of gentle yet super fun bumps.

     

     

     

    For older and more confident children there’s the tp Rapide Slide Body and Stepset, which is an extra wide 3 metre straight slope slide with four steps. It is built on a highly rigid steel chassis for greater strength.

     

    So if you would like to encourage your youngsters to use the garden more at this wonderful time of year, then consider getting them a free standing slide or maybe even a climbing frame with a built-in slide for double the fun.

  • Swing into the festive season

    Wintertime can be so beautiful. There is something wonderful about wrapping up warm in a coat, hat and gloves and going out into a crisp frosty Winter's morning. And this is particularly true for children. Yet when it's cold it can be hard to get children to play outside, when they'd rather be snuggled up in their rooms playing video games or watching the dreaded television.

     

     

    Here at Wicken Toys we know the value of outdoor play and the importance of getting children to go outside and an interact with their surroundings and indeed with other children. There is something particularly delightful about watching your little ones playing on the swings. An activity that is a traditional favourite when it comes to visiting the park. Swings not only help with balance and coordination but when it comes to quantifying their value, is justification for buying a swing is far simpler than that. Quite simply, they are fun! Every child loves to play on the swings because of the sheer unadulterated joy of that flying through the air feeling.

     

    So why make them wait to visit the park when they can enjoy the fun of a garden swing. Indeed, gardens can be magical in Wintertime, when they are covered in frost and the sun shines low and bright through the trees and bushes, casting beautiful shadows across the lawn. However, gardens are often underused in Winter. There is little gardening for adults to do, which means that the family as a whole are less inclined to go out and enjoy the garden. However, a swing is a great excuse for parents to go into the garden and give their children a helping hand by pushing them just that little bit higher while they swing.

     

     

    We have a great range of swings available for younger and older children. So you are able to choose the right swing for your child. For smaller children we have the Tp Kingfisher swing and for older children we have bigger swings like Tp toys' giant swing range. Likewise, our German made Kettler swings are very robust and ideally suited for older children. And our Kettler multiplay swing set is particularly good for more than one child.

     

    So if you are thinking of purchasing a swing for your little ones then take a look at our website. Or alternatively if you are in the Milton Keynes area, then why not come and see our wonderful range of swings and outdoor toys for yourselves.

  • Toys helping children to communicate and learn – an exploration

     

    Since the dawn of time children have been using toys and games to communicate and learn. The power of toys has not passed without observation from people over the centuries, clearly playing an important role in a child’s development.

     

    In a previous blog Wicken Toys took you through the history of children’s toys from the early board games that helped children to learn strategy and get them to use their brains to think right on through to the adventurous outdoor toys that helped them to actively discover and explore.

    Continue reading
  • Mum and Dad’s Excellent adventure this summer

     

    Okay, you know that the kids are going to have a totally awesome summer holiday whether they are playing outside in the sun, indoors watching television, or playing video games in their bedroom! They don’t have to go to school and that’s the whole point. But what about Mum and Dad? You poor things always have to put the kids fun times first before your own. Well today in Wicken Toys blog we will take you through how you can enjoy yourselves too!

     

    Mums and Dads have the hardest job... period. Raising children is the most important responsibility in the world, well, next to nuclear weapons release...

     

    This summer you can join in with the kids in activities designed to suit both you and them.

     

    If the weather fits... slide it!

     

    Outdoor Slides in the garden is a perfect way to mix both fun for kids and fun for adults too. Setting up one of these bad boys out back presents plenty of good times to be had by the whole family. Crack out your swimwear because it’s going to get wet!

     

    Tp Aqua Slide is what we are referring to here. You can use it with any slide or just lay it on the garden and away you go. Great fun made better by the extra slippy silicone surface which helps propel you down the garden at great speed. It’s guaranteed laughter for kids and parents.

     

     

    On the other hand, if you are more of a sporty Dad or Mum, perhaps getting your kids involved in an active sport would be the best answer to this conundrum of resolving the disparity between an adult and child’s idea of fun.

     

    It’s the season of sport – Euro 2012, Roayl Ascot, Wimbledon, and of course the Olympics! So why not get your back garden to be a participating arena for your own set of football frolics and table tennis tournaments.

     

    We have Tp Giant Goals which are a great way for Dads to get in on the football action. They work for both children and adults. If your sons are keen football fanatics then this is the ideal choice of garden toy.

     

     

    Alternatively, you can always go for the more relaxed, but just as challenging, Kettler Stockholm Outdoor Table Tennis. It’s an indoor indoor table too with strengthened undercarriage & playback facility. Perfect for use inside or outside, depending on the temperature and weather. It’s a beautiful little package that Mum and Dad’s can play against each other or their offspring.

     

    There’s a little something for everyone. The more the outdoor play equipment translates to the hardworking parents, the better we say!

     

    Enjoy your summer with your children and get in on the adventures!

  • Let’s ride! Children’s bicycle adventures this summer

     

    Anyone who remembers watching ET for the first time will recall the infectious wonder and magic experienced when seeing that bicycle take off for the first time; a beautiful moment that has since become an iconic image recognised around the world. Never has the adventurous spirit of children been so perfectly captured on film – and the film’s portrayal of children getting everywhere on bicycles led to a massive resurgence and demand for children’s bikes that year.

     

    The reason we mention this is because ET helped to get bicycles back into the hearts and minds of children as not just a way of getting around but also as vehicles for adventure. Wicken Toys has always been a firm believer in outdoor toys acting as both fun entertainment for kids and good exercise.

     

     

    Bicycles give children an independence that is very important at the developing ages and before puberty kicks in. It allows them to get to school, make paper rounds, go riding with friends, cycle around the block at weekends, have races in the park, and most importantly of all, give them a healthy day out where they are exercising in the open air.

     

    This summer we are encouraging parents to get their kids back on the bikes or teach them how to ride so they can eventually take off down the street on their own. Learning how to ride a bike is an important rites-of-passage for any child.

     

    We suggest starting them off with Balance Bikes. These have become hugely popular in the last few years in the UK promoting balance, co-ordination and confidence in children learning to ride.

     

    A balance bike provides the opportunity for children to feel stable and confident before moving onto the "real" thing. This range offers a wide choice to suit all needs including budgets.

     

    The Kettler Speedy Balance Bike is perhaps the best value for money with foam filled synthetic tyres and rubber tread, rear brake and safety handles with foam protector. Ideal for children 2 years and up.

     

    The Kettler Sprint Air Princess is more suited to girls sporting the same features as the Speedy Balance. It’s light, easy to assemble, extremely safe to learn on and it comes in pink so that reluctant little princesses might be more encouraged to try it out. Once again the age is 2 years and up.

     

     

    The Kettler Run Air collection (for both boys and girls) tops the range with an innovative easy access frame design, ergonomic padded seat, wire wheels and all the other standard features from the other models in the range. They are perfect for children to learn on.

     

     

    Seek out the Balance Bike most suitable for your child and set them on the path to independence and adventure this summer. For more information on our bicycles please contact us and we’ll help you pick the right bike for your little ‘uns!

  • I conquered the castle - climbing frames for children

     

    Every child has a moment that defines their young life and where they decide what it is they want to be later on in life. Their dreams begin to take shape. Some want to be pop stars or writers, others want to be doctors or sportsmen, some even decide they want to be explorers! All these dreams begin from an early age where children spend their time playing and using their imagination.

     

    Wicken Toys is a big believer in this idea of imaginative play informing children’s dreams and aspirations, which is why this week we’re looking to the most adventurous of all outdoor toys – climbing frames.

     

    Climbing frames for gardens and outdoors don’t have to be stock standard metal bars and plain features. We can prove that climbing frames can be the most exciting, dynamic and aesthetically designed outdoor toys on the market!

     

    Don’t believe us? We’ll prove it to you:

     

    This fun little Captain plum play centre has a fun nautical theme and will be great in role play games. Children can climb, slide and use the look out to look out for pirates; that is if they are not the pirates looking for a treasure island.  Best of all completely "packaged" and ready to assemble.  Designed for Residential use only.  Adult assembly required.

    Playing pirates has never been more fun or more real for them. It’s a great thing to get your kids if they are big fans of Jack Sparrow!

     

     

    This Castlewood Tower has a hexagonal design which will fit into most gardens.  The platform can be fitted at two diffrent heights depending on the age of your child.  It is important to note that this particular tower is not supplied with a slide. You can purchase a slide separately though.

     

     

    The Plum Endeavour Playcentre is an adventurous fort that has a fun nautical theme with 2.4m (8ft) slide , 2 swings, cargo net and rockwall. A play den below opens-out into a fun hull shaped play area.  The swing arm has a 2 seat glider and single swing.  The 2 metre high rock wall with hand and foot grips can be ascended via the high cargo net the other side.

     

     

    The tp Kingswood Top Deck Climbing Frame and Swing Set 2 is a set that includes two swing positions and plenty of possibilities to keep on growing with the children. His wooden climbing frame set features the ever-popular 2 seater Skyride. Other possible add ons for this wood playset set include an alternative swing seat when the youngest family member has grown and a Climbing Bridge if space allows.

     

     

    These are just A FEW of the climbing frames that we stock.

    It’s pretty much a climbing frame paradise over here at Wicken Toys.

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