acepuppets

Archive for November 2015


We are getting to the time of year where Christmas is upon us and we can no longer pretend that it isn’t happening.  Children have been cast in their Christmas plays – mine son is Steve the Donkey this year.  Parents are still panicking about Christmas parents for their children.  Some people have got it all wrapped up,  Christmas cakes baked and Christmas cards sent.  Everybody is rushing around getting ready for the main event and preparing for the Big Man himself.

I am not organised, apart from having bought my son’s main present and thought about decorating the house, I am completely unprepared.  I have had the bright idea of making decorations and buying lots of chocolate so that we can all get into the spirit of things.  My son seems to think it unnecessary to write a letter to Santa because if he has the power to tell if you are naughty or nice – he can hear your present requests.

Any way here are a few phone apps and websites that will make Christmas fun for your children and help you to get them to bed on Christmas Eve.

Kringl

If you want to prove that Santa exists to sceptical children then this may be the app for you.  Basically you project an image of Santa on a picture of your room so that it looks as if he has really visited.  I am not sure exactly how it works but just follow the link and try it for yourself.

Portable North Pole

This is one site I visit every year with my son, he takes Santa’s opinion about him very seriously.  This site is so cool because it gives you the opportunity to add pictures to a video of Santa and recommend if your child should go on the naughty or nice list.  We watch the video just before bedtime between looking at NORAD and the Christmas carols.

Personalize My Call

Santa Spy Cam

This is another evidence based app which allows you to superimpose elves and Santa on an image of a room in your house.  I haven’t tried it yet so I am not sure if it looks as this video when you do it yourself but it is worth a try.

Reindeer Cam

I think this is rather exciting simply because spotting any animal is fantastic – especially Santa’s reindeer.  Something tells me that as Christmas Eve approaches the images will get an awful lot busier and we will possibly get a glimpse of the man himself.

NORAD Santa

This is a great way to hurry up Christmas Eve bedtime because you can look at how close Santa is to your town.  NORAD stands for North American Aerospace Defend Command.  Normally NORAD checks our skies to make sure that no unwanted visitors cause us any bother.  Fans of Stargate will recognise the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, which is a real department.  Anyway from December 1st NORAD activate their Santa search website and track Santa’s journey around the world.  I love it when big serious organisations show that they are young at heart.

However you make the magic of Christmas happen remember to let the child in you come out and have a fantastic time.  We are going for cheap cheerful and tacky this year and going to have a childish time.

 

 

 

 

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As an advocate of play and all of its positive attributes it is really quite fitting that I live very close to a playground equipment manufacturer. In fact every time I drive towards the main road I can see the yellow sign for Playdale Playgrounds Ltd smiling at me.  The playground next to the school has been stocked by Playdale and most of the school playground equipment has been purchased from Playdale.

Nine Generations Of Croasdales

The evolution of Playdale from Barrel makers to playground equipment manufacturers demonstrates how a family business can survive the test of time.  Since the 1800’s there has been a member of the Croasdale family manufacturing goods in Haverthwaite in Cumbria.  From 1770 to 1978 the Croasdale family have done the following trades; cooper, hooper, woodmonger & farmer, woodmonger, timber merchant and playground equipment manufacturer.  In 1978 the concept of Playdale Playgrounds Ltd was born.

Timber Playground Equipment

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Source: Playdale Playgrounds Ltd

John Croasdale was inspired to make playground equipment when he decided to replace the old equipment in the leven Valley Playing Fields.  He looked at a playground equipment brochure and noticed that it was all made from timber and they could make a lot of the equipment themselves. The playground equipment at the Leven Valley Playing Fields has been updated yet again and the fundraising required to purchase it united the local community.

From Classic Adventure Trail To i.Play

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Source: Playdale Playgrounds Ltd

The very first piece of playground equipment was the classic adventure trail which made use of the natural timber logs.  By 1983 the Croasdale’s moved their business on and concentrated on building playground equipment.  Playdale Playgrounds went from strength to strength and in the 30 years of trading have diversified into building; steel equipment, play towers, slides, outdoor classrooms, play panels and much more.  They also combined technology with playground equipment by developing i.Play  which is a fascinating combination of computer technology and playground equipment.

From Haverthwaite To The Rest Of The World

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Source: Playdale Playgrounds Ltd

Playdale Playground equipment can be found all over the world and they have installed playgrounds in 22 countries all over the world.  In 2014 they won an award for their export success at the Insider’s North West International Trade Awards.  They also participated in the, Exporting Is Great’, national campaign featured in the Financial Times and the Spectator. This year 2015 they opened their global distribution centre.

It is exciting watching this fantastic business grow and grow particularly as they are helping to ensure that children are able to play safely all over the world.


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Daily Mail

Natural play equipment has become a necessary feature in playgrounds to create a more natural setting.  As wasteland and fields are being consumed by housing estates,  opportunities for children to participate in natural play has significantly decreased.   Local playgrounds have never been more important than they are today, simply because they are much safer places to play.  Natural play equipment gives children the opportunity to go, ‘off piste’, and create imaginative games based on the landscape of the playground.

Changes In Play Places

An extensive study by Nature England into the changing play behaviour between generations, found that children do not enjoy the same freedom their parents and grand parents enjoyed.  ‘The favourite places to play have changed over time. In the past these were in the streets, near home (29%), indoors (16%) and in some natural places (15%) whereas nowadays children like playing indoors best (41%) and, to a lesser extent, in the garden (17%)’. (Nature England)

Unsupervised Play

Children do not participate in unsupervised play like their ancestors this could be due to; increase in traffic, the use of technology, decrease in natural places to play and over protective parenting.  Gone are the days that children would go out all day and return when their tummy rumbled at tea time.  It is probably unfair to include over protective parenting because 85% of the parents questioned in the Nature England study did want their children to have more freedom.

Natural Landscaping

Playgrounds today are quite different to playgrounds in the past because they have been designed with the importance of play in mind.  Many playground equipment companies started off in either the wood industry like Playdale Playgrounds Ltd or the family entertainment industry like Charles Wicksteed. Often children’s playgrounds were stark places with only the traditional swings, slide and roundabout to play on. These days playgrounds are landscaped and have natural play equipment to increase the play value of the space available.

Natural Play Equipment

Natural play equipment is essentially naturally occurring objects such as; stones, plants, tunnels and mounds that have been made safe for children to play on.  Children benefit from such additions to the playground because they can let their imagination run wild and explore nature first hand.  Children are fascinated by natural shapes and the opportunity to sit on huge smooth stones is too great to miss.

Really the ideal playground would be a safe environment for children to play in with a coffee shop for parents to meet up and keep a watchful eye on their children.