Celebrating the release of Minuscule by Bug Hunting in the Garden

MINUSCULE is this half-term’s must-see animated adventure film for the whole family that follows a battle between tiny beasts for the spoils of an abandoned picnic, arriving in cinemas May 27th, 2016.

Film still of 'Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants', 2013 France/Belgium animated film, co-written and directed by Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo[11SEP2014 48HRs FILM REVIEW 2]

A fantastic tale taking place at ground level, MINUSCULE is the perfect half term treat for all the family. Based on the popular Cbeebies TV show, MINUSCULE blends stunning CGI animation with live action backdrops to really transport little ones to the undergrowth where they’ll embark on a huge adventure with this half term’s tiniest heroes.

 

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See the trailer here

To celebrate the release of creepy – crawly animated adventure Minuscule (in cinemas on 27th May 2016), we have been given Bug Hunting Safari Kit to seek out the tiny creatures and build them homes. Here’s how we got on.

The Interplay Bug Safari kit enables children to explore the fascinating world of bugs and mini-beasts in their own back garden. The safari kit contains tongs, magnifier pot, tweezers, lens and a brush.

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My boys love to be outdoors and can spend every minute of the day outside running around and enjoying nature. They specifically like to hunt for bugs and believe that they may just find a new species. Their fingers and clothes are always being soaked in hot soapy water after spending hours digging up my garden searching for mini beasts.

They couldn’t wait to try out the Bug Safari and was soon using the field lens and bug tongs discovering fascinating creatures that lie underneath blocks of wood and that live within the grassy area of the back garden. It wasn’t long before they had a woodlice and a centipede to look at in the magnifying pot.

I spy a centipede

I spy a centipede

Look what i've got

Look what I’ve got

The tweezers are ideal for catching larger bugs, but be careful not to damage them and the brush is very useful in catching the smaller creatures as you can sweep them into the pot. The kit is a really fun way of finding and identifying bugs.

Along with the equipment in the kit there is also a book that contains a tick list of mini-beasts and bugs, did you knows and where to find specific creatures.

We found out that centipedes do not have 100 hundred legs as the name suggests but that they generally have between 30 and 70 legs. Using the magnifying pot we counted the legs on the centipede that we found and found that our one had 34. We didn’t keep them in the pot for too long, just long enough to investigate the creepy crawlies and then we let them back where we found them.

The boys now have their very own little bug expedition kit in the back garden, all set up at the top of their fort ready to bug hunt whenever they see a creature.

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The children really enjoyed the bug hunting and are now really excited to see the film and I’m sure once they have watched the film it will inspire them to get out into the back garden and hunt some more.

To grab yourself a bug safari kit take a look on what Interplay have to offer here

Here are some downloadable instructions to follow for the children  How To Go Bug Hunting...

We was sent the bug safari kit to review alongside the release of the film. No payment has been received. 

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Introducing the ant size animation: Minuscule

If you go down to the woods this spring, you’re sure of a tiny surprise as the mini-beasts go antennae-to-antennae for the spoils of a picnic.

Lionsgate Films is proud to announce the release of MINUSCULE, an animated family adventure that follows a battle between tiny beasts for the spoils of an abandoned picnic, arriving in cinemasMay 27th, 2016.

 minuscule

In a peaceful little clearing, the remains of a picnic hastily abandoned spark a standoff between two tribes of ants. A bold and brave young ladybird finds himself caught in the middle of the battle but, having befriended Mandible, one of the black ants determined to protect their haul of sugar cubes, sides are picked. With the safety of the black ants’ nest at risk, our plucky ladybird helps take on the aggressive red ants, led by the evil Butor, and must use all his ingenuity and resolve to win the day.

A fantastic tale taking place at ground level, MINUSCULE is the perfect half term treat for all the family. Based on the popular Cbeebies TV show, MINUSCULE blends stunning CGI animation with live action backdrops to really transport little ones to the undergrowth where they’ll embark on a huge adventure with this half term’s tiniest heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

How to make Sensory Balloons

Introduce new textures to your child with these quick and simple sensory balloons.

Squeeze, Squash, Squish, Swoosh and squeal with delight as you explore the different textures within your hands. It’s a great way for children to touch and feel new textures without the mess. We found them very therapeutic. Even the eldest child wanted to play with them.

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  • Strong latex balloons
  • Cornflour
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Oil
  • Cotton wool
  • Cooked rice
  • Funnel

 

Cornflour

Mix some cornflour with water until you have a gloopy consistency. Using a funnel to pour the mixture into balloon. Tie.

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This has a soft gloopy feel, Feels like water when you squash it but when your fingertips meet you can feel a solid.

Cotton wool

Open up the balloon neck by prising it apart with your fingers. Push in the cotton wool until filled. Tie

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This has a firmer feeling to it. Not malleable. You can’t really squash it.

Playdough

Mix some flour with water to make a dough, add in some olive oil. Combine together and then spoon into the balloon. Tie

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By far the best stress release sensory balloon. You can squash it and squish it. It rolls and stretches.

Cooked rice

Cook some rice. Allow to cool. Prising the balloon neck apart, spoon in the rice until full. Tie

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Feels soft and squishy. When squashed you can feel the grain.

There are so many other ingredients that can be used to explore different textures

Lentils, Hair gel, Flour, oats, pasta shapes, beans, mash potato and custard are a few that i can think of.

Why not give it a go and experiment with different textures. What was your favourite?

Hello Sunshine

Could it be true? Could it possibly be summer?

Yesterday the sun shone, the chill in the air seems to have packed up and gone on holiday. The clouds disappeared leaving clear blue skies and enabled the sun rays to shine down on us.

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I may be acting too quickly, but I’ve packed up the gloves, scarves and wooly hats into a bag and placed them into the back of the cupboard. Winter coats have been replaced with lighter spring coats and the shorts and t-shirts are back in the wardrobes.

I’m hoping that we can say goodbye to layering up in our clothes to keep warm and hello to light cotton layers.

On cold days, mornings are the worse in this household. It can take us up to 15 minutes gathering together our scarves and gloves before we leave the house.

Now that the sun has made an appearance for two consecutive days, I am beginning to look forward to long summer days and cool evenings. I am hoping to spend more days after work out with the boys at the local park and weekends on day trips out or lazy days in the garden.

I’m looking forward to

  • Eating ice-cream outside and eating it quickly before it melts all over
  • Visiting the beach and running along the sand, feeling the water the cold water run over my toes
  • Going on hikes across the countryside and finding some more geocaches to add to our finds
  • Evening trips into London, the City. Walking along the Southbank or drinking tea in Covent Garden
  • Exploring the woods and eating a picnic in the middle of the trees
  • Going on our summer holiday to Malta. Can’t wait for some family time
  • Running along the grass in a country park with no socks or shoes on
  • Finding some lavender in a Forest and breathing in the wonderful smell that surrounds us
  • Eating Al Fresco in the garden
  • BBQ’s
  • Camping out in the garden or at a camp site
  • Glamping
  • Finding a stream to walk across. Have poo stick races
  • Hiking up Mount Snowdon. This is something we haven’t done a while because we have been waiting until our youngest was old enough to attempt the walk. The views are stunning and is one of my favourite places to go
  • Filling the house with flowers, bringing the outside indoors
  • Watching the boys play outside in the garden in the early evenings.
  • Go fruit picking at an orchard
  • Make fruit jam
  • Swim in the sea
  • Build a sand castle and decorate it with shells and pebbles
  • Roast marshmallows over a fire
  • Drink prosecco in the afternoon sun
  • Wear summer dresses (throw away the tights)

Sunshine makes everyone smile, everyone needs a bit of sun in their life. It makes us feel more alive and fresh. The need to get and go wherever takes your fancy. Yes, all of the above can be done in the autumn or winter months but they feel all the more enjoyable when the sun shines.

What are you looking forward to?

Win A Family Ticket to Brainiac Live! London

The show that laughs in the face of SCIENCE

Brainiac Live! London

Strap on your safety goggles boys and girls, due to popular demand Science’s greatest and most volatile live show is returning with a vengeance.

Credit boom ents & Emma Tunbridge 3_opt

Based on the multi-award winning TV show, Brainiac Live! is back in London. More mischievous than ever before Brainiac Live! will take you on a breathless ride through the wild world of the weird and wonderful science. Expect exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and loads of live daredevil stunts!

Watch from the safety of your seat as the Brainiacs delve fearlessly into the mysteries of science and do all of those things on stage that you’re too scared to do at home! There will be sparks flying and lots of loud bangs.

“It’s all good, educational fun.” The Guardian

Watch explosive footage at www.brainiaclive.com

Tickets are available to buy online at Udderbelly

Length: 60 mins

Age Recommendation: 6+

16 Performances only, May half-term from 28th May – 5th June Showings 1pm and 3:30pm

For a chance to win a family ticket to a performance in London then enter below on the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C

One winner will be picked at random from rafflecopter

Entrants must be able to attend the showing in London during May Half term

There is no cash alternative

 

Good Luck!

 

A weekend of achievements and Personal Bests

Living in a London borough gives the children a very good chance of competing in the London Mini Marathon for their borough. Children that live else where in GB have to be within the top four runners of their region/nation.

Each London borough, region and home nation has a team manager who is responsible for selecting a team to take part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, which also doubles as the British Athletics three-mile road championship race. Boys and girls race in 3 age categories and there are 6 races in total.

We are lucky to live in a London Borough and back in February my eldest boy who is 13 years old, attended the trials for a chance to win a place on the boroughs team. For the third year in a row, he managed to get through.

Unlike previous years, he has tried hard with his training. He hasn’t managed to run every evening but attended the training sessions each week that was run by a local running club and went out for local runs after school. Not only has he been running but he has also been attending his swimming sessions at his club three times a week. This has really helped with his stamina. He had more drive this year wanting to achieve and try his hardest.

He was dropped off early Sunday morning, along with his other team mates, to catch the coach into the City. He wasn’t nervous but eager to get running. Not long after dropping him off, we set off ourselves as a family to go and cheer him on.

I was in pain from an op I had the day before but i needed to see him. I needed him to know that I was there supporting and cheering him on.

It wasn’t long before we saw him running past us along the embankment, he was looking strong and doing so well. As we called out his name, he got a burst of energy and it must have spurred him along. He looked over to us and smiled and carried on running.

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The boy in red shorts

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Dad and little brother went off to collect him from the finish, whilst I found a cafe to sit in and wait for my big hero to come.

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He was so proud of himself .

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When the results come through he was in complete shock. Couldn’t believe the time that he had got. Said it must have been a fluke. I say that it was determination. I have always told him that if he puts effort and time into something he will acheive.

Jaks time 17:56 Placed 23rd for the borough challenge.

Now, I have 3 boys and they all run. On Saturday saw my middle boy who is 8 years old run in a local 5k parkrun.

He had asked his big brother to take him along to the park to join in with adults and other children to run 5k. His brother ran along his side all the way, they didn’t stop and he managed to pass over the finish line in an amazing 25:47. A personal best for him.

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I love to see my boys enjoying the outdoors and feeling the freedom of running.

I love watching them grow with determination and dedication.

Little brother can not wait to follow in his big brothers footsteps and compete in the London Mini Marathon himself. I am sure big brother will be cheering him along all the way.