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outdoor toys

  • Extend Trampoline Life With Regular Maintenance

    When you decide to buy a trampoline for yor garden, you are buying more than just a toy: you are investing in a piece of sports equipment you can reasonsably expect to last for a number of years.

    Your trampoline will provide hours of fun and exercise, but in order to get the most value for money from it, you need to make it last by providing adequate protection and maintenance.

    Trampoline Protection

    Firstly if your trampoline is not used all the year around, and you have somewhere suitable to store it, taking it down for the winter months will provide the best protection from frost, wind and other bad weather.

    You can also buy purpose-built all-weather covers to protect trampolines from the elements, and these provide a good alternative to packing the equipment away, or can be useful protecting the trampoline overnight.

    Trampoline Maintenance

    Secondly, you can prevent a small amount of wear and tear becoming a source of major damage, or worse even injury, by regularly inspecting it for damage.

    How often you conduct these inspections will depend on how frequently the trampoline is used. Choose either the same day each week, or a regular day each month so that you get into the routine of doing the checks, and write it on the calendar so you don't forget.

    A thorough inspection should include the safety net, protective pad, springs, legs and the actual bounce mat itself.

    Spring Inspection Make sure you check every individual spring in turn, don't rely on just a couple of spot checks.

    On each spring look for:

    • Are there any signs of rust?
    • Is the spring stretching or losing its shape?
    • Is the spring becoming detached at from either the frame at one end, or the mat at the other.
    • Are there any springs missing?

    Bounce Mat Inspection

    Perform an inspection both from the ground, and while seated on the bounce mat. Check for signs that the mat is fraying. Small, threadbare areas can quickly grow causing weak points on the mat. Pay special attention to the areas there the hooks are sewn in at the edges. As part of this inspection look for any rips and tears to the safety padding covering the springs. Little hands or feet may get caught in small holes in the apdding, casuing the rip to get bigger, and potentially causing an injury.

    Trampoline Enclosure Check

    This needs to be a very thorough inspection, as a faulty saftey net will give a false sense of security. Check all over for signs that the fabric is fraying. What looks like a small area of unsightly wear and tear can quickly turn into a hole is left unrepaired. Pay particular attention to all the points at which the enclosure fixes to the trampoline, ensuring there are no weak spots or gaps developing that someone might fall through.

    Do not use the trampoline if you have doubts over the function or integriuty of any of the springs. The btramlooline can be easily repaired by obtaining replacement parts, but if you conbtinue to use it before fixing it you run the risk of either further damaging the trampoline or the user being injured.

    If you are considering replacing a trampoline that is beyond repair, take a look at our new line of Springfree tampolines, the safest trampolines for a home environment.

  • 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.

  • The wonderful outdoors!

    In modern times, entertainment has become an industry. Television enchants young children with bright colours and playful characters. Video games offer a window of interactivity into a vibrant world. The Internet provides a gateway to a wealth of knowledge and new experiences. It’s not hard to see why, even when the sun’s out, many children still choose to stay indoors.

    Here at Wicken Toys, though, we still firmly believe that kids need to experience the great outdoors, as it provides a stable base for development – not just physical, but emotional, social and cognitive development too. It seems we’re not the only ones...

    All learning is based on sensory information, meaning what a child can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. The outdoor environment can provide stimulation for all these senses – think of an outdoor picnic in a verdant forest, the scent of dew fresh on the grass, with a blackbird singing nearby.

    Continue reading
  • Playing house - opening the doors to playhouses this spring

     

    As the weather improves and we see more sunny days ahead (the recent snowfall notwithstanding!) it’s a good opportunity to start thinking playhouses for the kids. At Wicken Toys we have some ideas about the best playhouses currently available and what we think will give your children the most fun during spring time.

     

    Playing at home for kids can be turned into a much more exciting experience. Playhouses are a greta way to encourage imaginative play for pre-schoolers. They can cater to children playing by themselves and with their siblings or friends.

     

    The key attraction for children is that they can role play and the educational merits of playhouses are that children (knowingly or unknowingly) can practice social skills while enjoying their playtime. Think about it – playhouses are basically platforms for children to pretend to be their parents by “owning” and “living” in their own house. They adopt etiquette very quickly.

     

    With a playhouse kids can play inside or outside in them. They are designed as outdoor toys but work just as well inside the house on those cold or rainy days. With spring weather and signs of summer spreading across the UK there has never been a better time to encourage children to play outdoors!

     

    Playhouses come in different shapes and sizes that can suit individual gardens and homes respectively according to their specifications.

     

    The Forest Wooden Cabin Playhouse is a compact lodge with window frames and fabric door perfect for children aged between 1-10 years.

     

     

    Go from small cabin house to fortress castle and tower set (which boys tend to go crazier for!) Children will instinctively recognise that the Castle can be a fairy palace, a Wild West fort, or a stage for medieval chivalry and pageantry.   Then they can run accross the bridge into the tower and act out some other imaginary tale.

     

     

    Or for something a little more scaled back and not quite so epic, you can find the All Out Play Jungle Hut more appealing. It has a wooden floor as its base and looks great in gardens.

     

     

    Choose from a standard playhouse or a hybrid playhouse / Climbing frame by All Out Play. All Out Play playhouses look great in any garden, solidly built and strikingly unusual.

     

    Playhouses blend well into any environment. Each design includes an enclosed space that is great in all sorts of weather, but also allows your children to play securely in their own private fantasy world.

  • Creatively challenged outdoors…Let’s get crawling!

    For many children, playing outdoors offers freedom and a whole lot of fun!  Even when the weather is chilly it does not deter the active kid from getting out and allowing his or her imagination to flow.

    Today we thought we would feature an absolute favourite outdoor toy for lots of children! The Creative Playthings Crawl Tube has to be one of the best outdoor toys for creating an outdoor playground with a difference!

    It works by connecting two actual towers together and allows your children to crawl from one space to another. So whether they are on a deep adventure on a newly discovered planet or they’re quite simply competing to see who can get from one place to other in the best time, the Playthings Crawl Tube is a brilliant way to create an adventure playground in the wilderness that is your back garden!

    Continue reading
  • Outdoor toys leads to more creative play...

    The toys your children play and interact with can really impact on their maturity, development and even growth. In fact, the right kind of outdoor toys can really help to inspire them and teach them so many of life’s great lessons early on.

    That’s why here at Wicken Toys we are so passionate about all of the outdoor toys (and some indoor) that we offer. We know the true benefit to them for children and what they can bring to a child’s life.

    There is something very important in outdoor play too – as even pretending can help to inspire a child’s ability to imagine things, which in adulthood could impact on their potential to gain the top jobs and perhaps even help them achieve a first class degree. After all, only the top 5% of the UK who attend university get a top level degree. What this can mean is that these people represent the most individual thinkers – or to put it another way, these are the people that actually shape the world that we live in with new ideas and ways of thinking.

    Continue reading
  • 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.

  • The return of snow days

    If you have been lucky enough to have time off work because of the recent wintery weather, then you'll know how much fun snow can be. This is particularly true if you have children. A snow day is a magical family memory to treasure forever. Waking up to find that your child's school is closed and that you are unable to get to the office can be a blessing in disguise, enabling you and your and your family to spend unpressurised quality time together, enjoying something that is both unique and transforming! Snow has the capacity to transform your familiar surroundings into a magical winter wonderland.

     

     

    However, we all know how disappointing it can be for us and our children when we go to fetch the trusty family sledge from the back of the shed or garage, only to find that it is lost, broken or has an obvious crack in it that will mean that it could easily shatter if put through its paces.

    For this reason it is always a good idea to check the condition of your sledge or toboggan in advance to ensure that a snow day is a go day when it comes to outdoor winter fun.

    We recommend that you go back in time to an era when sledges were simple and durable, and invest in a wooden one. Colint Davos 120 wooden sledge is a classic German built wooden sledge that is simple, practical and will last you many years if it is properly looked after.

    Here at Wicken Toys we value the simple well-made toys of the past and these wooden sledges are no exception. They are a nostalgic treat for parents, who will no doubt remember them from their own childhoods.  However, if wood is not your thing and you are looking for aero-dynamics and speed then take a look at the Super Sledge Firecom Red, which is suitable for older children who will be more experienced at sledging. This sledge is super fast and good in most conditions including ice and hardened snow or soft snow and sludge. Indeed, its wide plastic runners make it extremely stable on all surfaces.

    So if you've been caught out by the recent cold snap and were unprepared for snow day winter fun, then take a look at our Wicken Toys sledge range. There are plenty to choose from to suit all abilities and ages. So why not browse our range to find the perfect sledge for your family, then order it in advance to save disappointment next time it snows.

  • The Christmas Rush – some advice from Wicken Toys

     

    For the past two months we have been blogging about toys and of course the odd Christmas blog hasn't gone amiss.  It’s been a long build-up to the biggest day of the year, particularly for children. But now Christmas is literally a few days away and the question is; are you ready? Continue reading

  • Christmas gift ideas - their first tricycle

    Parents can get stuck when it comes to Christmas gift ideas for children. There’s so much choice out there that your mind starts to fry when you think of them. Add to that the stresses of your son or daughter’s ever growing list of wants from the jolly man in red and you start to have a festive-breakdown. Children want everything. Continue reading

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