Monday, 21 November 2011

Sentimental Jewellery Gifts for Boyfriend without being Mawkish

Buying jewellery for a boyfriend to say I love you might not be to every boy’s tastes. What if the jewellery comes across overly-sentimental or smaltzy? What if the jewellery gift was received with stiff thanks only to adorn the inside of a bottom drawer? Well here are some jewellery gift ideas for a man that might hit the right note regarding the giver’s sentiments.

Jewellery Gift Ideas for a Man during Times Away

Gifting Jewellery for a man could be the ideal way to express how you feel during times of separation. Silver Mizpahs, pendants or (for the man’s man) dog tag Mizpahs that comes in two pieces to fit a whole will remind boyfriend of you if the boyfriend spends long periods away. Personalised Mizpahs (with a customised message) are sure to add a unique touch for boyfriend’s birthday or Holiday season without being overly slushy. Alternatively Yin and Yang or lover’s lockets might be the ideal adornment.

Charms and Jewels for Boyfriend with a Message

Why not customise your own personal message on the jewellery instead of the usual ‘I love you?’ These simple three words, although powerful could be exchanged between any couple and may say little about the special relationship you share with your boyfriend. Perhaps quote a line from a favoured poem or the meaning of his name and how this applies to you. Take time to decide upon the message, as fewer words often mean more. Getting the right message across could take more time than finding the ideal jewellery present for your boyfriend.

The Ideal Jewellery Engraving

Make sure the jewellery chosen has ample space on it to have the message engraved. Celtic charms, emblems, rings, Yin Yang pewter necklaces or lover’s pendants can be found with blank spaces for the engraving. Make allowance for the time and cost to have the engraving done and always stick to a recommended jewellery engraver for a professional finish.

The Best Jewellery for a Boyfriend

Think about the design of the boyfriend’s jewellery in that it doesn’t come across as feminine or overly-decorative. Silver, gold, titanium, stainless steel or pewter jewellery are popular choices for men. Cut diamonds or sapphires provide ideal focal points without looking too decorative. Weave designs or simple adornments might be more appreciated by boyfriend if his tastes are not too plain.

Personalised Charms for Boyfriend

To demonstrate how well you know your boyfriend, incorporate something about his tastes or personality in the jewellery gift, such as a love for music, art or a particular place. Better still incorporate a symbol of something you both share, perhaps the very thing that caused you to meet. The personalised jewellery could only be for him and only gifted from you.

The Best Jewellery for a Man to Make a Statement

Jewellery gifts for a man or boyfriend could come across as overly-sentimental if the message is too powerful or cloying. The usual ‘I love you’ might not be to every boy’s tastes. In such cases, consider personalising the jewellery in a way that proves you know him well. A customised message or careful choice regarding the jewellery design is more likely to find itself embellishing your boyfriend. Furthermore, Mizpahs, Yin and Yang lockets or similar pieces that comprise two pieces might be ideal for the boyfriend who spends a lot of time away from you.

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Puzzle Toys for Boys as an Antidote to Computer Games

Buying the perfect puzzle toy for a boy can be a nightmare when trying to compete with the computer game. The fear 3D toys do not match when it comes to entertainment value is a constant fear. But hand-held puzzle toys can be found to keep kids happy at Christmas relegating the computer for once to forgotten item (well for a while, anyway).

Perplexing Puzzle Games for Boys

Pla Smart’s Perplexus range has proved a hit with good reviews, exercising hand-to-eye coordination. Perplexus Maze puzzle offers a 3D experience as a marble has to be navigated through a 3D complex maze with different levels. For the master, the Perplexus Epic, winner of the Fat Brain Toy Award possessing 125 barriers with layer upon layer of mazes and tracks offers a natural progression. Reviewers report that adults get hooked too, and have to buy another Perplexus for the children. Prices range from a few dollars to around thirty.

Toys to Develop Cognitive Reasoning

Logic toys such as Kanoodle develop cognitive reasoning and problem solving. Boys must configure colourful shiny balls to create 3D shapes. A selection of shapes (challenges) offer choice regarding level. Hundreds of combinations are possible, but only one combination will create the assigned shape.

Brain Teasers to Help Kids Learn

Gordian’s Knot by ThinkFun will pose a quandary that will keep your kids wondering for hours with just 6 interlocking 3D puzzle pieces. It takes 69 moves to dismantle the knot. Some moves are easier than others, but that doesn’t mean the right move has been made. Don’t worry if your child get stumped, there is a step by step booklet that gives the answer.

Puzzles to Stimulate Kids

ThinkFun have other puzzle toys with good reviews such as Shape by Shape, based on the ancient puzzle of Tangrams, the premise is to fit 14 pieces inside a puzzle frame via 60 puzzle posers. It is not as easy as it sounds, as there are almost 30,000 ways to arrange the pieces. But don’t worry there are prompts on the backs of the pieces. Other recommended ThinkFun puzzles for boys are Square by Square and Brick by Brick which help aid spatial awareness and shape relationships.

Mindless Games for Young Boys

Boys might enjoy some mindless fun after engaging their brain matter with the aforementioned puzzles. Mattel’s Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game, following the popular app game could be the answer as they build, launch and destroy. Contains 3 angry birds, egg-stealing pigs, a slingshot, launcher, structure pieces and mission cards. Great for aiming skills as well as hand-to-eye coordination, as the structural pieces have combinations of varying difficulty.

Puzzle Gift Ideas for Boys

The most interesting puzzle games are not always to be found on the computer. Puzzles that exercise hand to eye coordination and promote cognitive reasoning such as the puzzle toys mentioned in this article could keep boys engrossed for hours as they try to work out how to solve the puzzles. The perfect antidote to computer games on Christmas day.

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Creative Gifts for Budding Authors and Artists of Junior Age

All kids are prodigies in the eyes of the parents. Whether this is really the case or not, why not foster the fantasy with some great creative gifts to increase kids’ self-esteem? Whether you have a young Einstein, Austen or Michelangelo there can be found award winning gift ideas for young kids to fulfil their fantasy. Here are a few suggestions.

Gifts for Young Authors

For budding authors, why not try the IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit. Kids can create their own book after writing and illustrating their own ideas. This award-winning creative gift for kids includes an author bio, blurb, dedication page and title page, just like a real published book. Once the child has completed the manuscript, send off via a prepaid envelope and just wait a few weeks. The final book will measure 7x9in and is 12 pages deep. Copies can be ordered for friends, family and even teachers as a keepsake. The book can alternatively be created online via the Creations By You website. The result is a professional-looking hardback with typesetting and illustrations that cannot be differentiated from the real thing.

Artistic Creative Gifts for Kids

A beginner’s kit for artists might be an ideal Christmas gift such as the Royal and Langnickel Acrylic Painting Art Easel Set. It has a fully-adjustable table easel with storage drawers, 12 tubes of acrylics, 4 brushes, acrylic artboards, canvas carry bag and more. Acrylics paints are watersoluble paints that are easy to clean and odourless. The serious beginner might like to try the Easel Artist Set All Media 100 Pieces, which contains all manners of art related mediums within an adjustable box easel, with drawers and artist’s palette.

3D Creative Gifts for Christmas

The Complete Pottery Tool Set by Royal and Langnickel might be ideal for the child who likes to experiment with clay. Contains a ribbon cutting tool, sponge steel kidney scraper, potters rib and more. This kit does not include air-drying clay but which can be purchased from Craft Direct. Kids can create relief images with some cheap scoring tools for Sgraffito effects.

Musical Gifts for Children

Kids with an ear for music might benefit from access to a musical instrument from an early age. Acoustic guitars can be found with or without cutaways and at cheap prices. It is advisable to try it out in the shop as some guitars can sound tinny.

Flutes can be pricey, but used ones can be found at cheap prices. Just check that the keys still move freely and there are no signs of rust around the moving parts. Other musical instruments such as the violin or keyboard are popular, but care is needed that the musical instrument is the right size for the child and that special needs are catered for, for example, plastic guitar strings might be preferable to steel ones if the child’s fingers are sensitive.

Creative Tools for Learning

Young kids who exhibit a talent would benefit from a creative gift that encourages that particular talent, whether it is artistic or musical. The secret is to find the present that is tailored to the child in that it is not too difficult or easy, and that the child experiences a sense of achievement after a period of pleasant diversion. This will prevent frustration.

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Science Toys for Kids without the Fuss

Buying science toys for children may conjure images of ghastly goo or fiddly components to drive you up the wall. But learning toys of this nature seem president to getting your kids ‘ahead’ in school. But it needn’t be that way. Smart science kits for kids can be found to suit you as well as the child, regarding cost, setup and fun.

The Best Science Learning Toys for Children

Elenco’s Snap Circuits 300, a Lego-type toy is a great way of learning electronics the easy way. With great reviews, this learning kit helps kids learn about physics, electronics and circuitry. Just follow the instructions in the manual to build FM radios, burglar alarms, voice recorders and much more. No tools required, components snap together. Snap Circuits range include junior, pro, extreme and with computer interface.

Other electronic learning kits in the Snap Circuits range include Snap Circuits Electromagnetism, which teaches kids the difference between a standard magnet and an electromagnet. No fiddly tools needed as all components fit together and can be used as an add-on to any Snap Circuit toy.

Educational Science Kits for Children

Learning Resources’ Primary Learning Set includes real science equipment scaled down for small hands, like tweezers, test tubes, goggles, funnel, eyeglass, dropper and more. Clear activity cards instruct young scientists from age 6 up on how to conduct science experiments such as mixing colours and producing volcanoes, great for helping children learn about the world about us.

Learning Kits on Science for Kids

Winner of Parents’ Choice Award, Science Explorer’s Mind Blowing Science Kit for Young Scientists contains just about everything kids need to conduct experiments from recreating a sunset in a test tube to crystal growing. Be warned, some parent supervision is required at the risk of learning something and getting involved yourself. Some experiments take a few hours to complete, but then mum/dad can go off and watch TV or read.

Which is the Best Science Toy for Boys and Girls?

Other science kits with excellent reviews include Be Amazing Lab-in-a-bag Test Tube Wonders, Scientific Explorer Ultimate Gum Kit and Sciencewiz Chemistry Experiments and Book. Look out for mess control and parent supervision factors.

Toys to Help Kids Learn

Toysmith provide a range of science kits for kids wishing to learn about the earth, including Solar Science and Clean Water Science. The Toysmith 4 M Weather Station Kit is ideal for learning about the weather without fuss or mess with an easy-to-assemble weather station kit that educates kids about the greenhouse effect and weather changes.

Choosing the Best Science Kit for Kids

When choosing a science kit look out for fuss and mess factor. If you don’t mind supervising your kids regarding such things, then all well and good, but many kits require little or no supervision. Snap Circuits and the Toysmith range for example are likely to keep your kids happily diverted with very little input from yourself.

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Alternative Board Games for the Family to Monopoly

Once the Christmas presents have been pored over or a wet rainy weekend looms, what is there to keep the family occupied? Board games seem the obvious solution, but if you want something different to the usual Monopoly and Scrabble, here are some new and exciting board games for families over any holiday period, whatever the age concerned.

Family Board Games with a Difference

How about Mindware Qwirkle Board Game? Winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold and Mensa National Award, this board game brings together family members of ages from 6 to 100, combining fun with logic. This game consists of 108 blocks featuring coloured symbols which in the manner of Tetris, players must try to create matching rows (regarding symbols or colour) and score points. The rules are simple but the game requires strategy. Will provide hours of fun. Great reviews speak for themselves.

Tactical Games for Families

Blokus Classics Game by Mattel is easy to play board game for anyone aged 5 up which makes family play ideal, but is really suited to 4 players. Receiving a Mensa award, Blokus consists of 84 tiles of 4 colours and a 400 square gameboard. Each player must try to fit every tile onto the board (not adjacently but adjoining) before anyone else. Strategies can be used to block opponents. A novel way to play Blokus is to reverse the goal, so the winner is the one with the most Blokus tiles.

Novelty Board Games for Kids and Adults

Rummikub by Pressman Toys is another example of a family board game that develops logical thinking for all ages and is fun to play. Each player starts with 14 tiles, each tile exhibiting a number of a particular colour. During play, components place the tiles into racks to keep them in place. The aim, like the traditional game of rummy is to meld all the tiles into groups of three of a kind (sets of numbers of the same colour) or a ‘run’, groups of 3s, 4s and 5s of the same colour). As the game progresses, finding sets becomes harder.

A Different Kind of Family Game

Headbanz Game by Spin Master Games is a board game suitable for anyone over the age of 6 and could be a great party game for adults with a little adjustment. Each member is dealt a card and 3 tokens. Each card exhibits a noun which the member must place into a headband without looking at the picture. Against a one-minute clock, the member wearing the headband must fire questions at his/her group against a one minute clock to establish what the noun (or member) is. Any deductive question can be asked except ‘what am I? Get the answer right, you get rid of a token. The first to get rid of all 3 tokens is the winner. Of course, you could substitute ‘safe’ nouns for anything you want by making your own cards, including pictures of celebrities or rude words.

Board Games for the Holidays

Spending time with the family during any holiday period could end up with the usual dusty board games, but there are alternative games on the market to liven up any protracted time with the family that could test anyone’s tolerance. Look for the fun factor, durability, compatibility to all age groups and test of skill.

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The Best Games to Promote Creativity in Children

Getting your kids off the computer or the TV can seem an impossible task. Often, they appear bored when you tell them what you did before the advent of computer games, like play solitaire or read a book. Developing your child’s creative skills need not be difficult if the learning toy is fun and stimulates the child’s creative juices at the same time. Here are some suggestions.

Story Maker for Children

Making up stories can be made fun with Rory’s Story Cubes. This toy promotes artistic expression and storytelling skills via story cubes (9 in all with pictures on each side) that can be played groups, in solitaire, an icebreaker or fun what-ifs. Simply roll the cubes and use your imagination, either alone or in collaboration. Odd combinations are sure to stretch the creative brain to make connections. Go to to view stories other users have come up with by using these cubes.

Word Making Kits for Kids

Bananagrams, a simple-to-understand game for Scrabble rookies is also great for developing spelling, logic and strategy. This game is perhaps best played between children of a similar age for a level playing field. This award-winning game comprises numerous letter tiles which are shared between players. Unlike Scrabble, all letters are worth the same, players play independently of each other and speed is the essence. The first player to create a ‘crossword’ by using all the tiles must shout ‘bananas’ to win. It’s as simple as that. With great reviews, this game is ideal for keeping kids occupied during travel or on a wet afternoon. Appleletters is a similar game but adds the extra challenge that you can only attach a word via a first or last letter like Dominoes.

Make Kids Use Their Imagination

Voted Best Party Game of the Year, Mattel’s Apples to Apples is ideal for kids wishing to get to grips with adjectives and nouns, but in a fun way. Red cards showing nouns are dealt to each player. A judge places a green card showing an adjective in view or all. Each player must then select a red card that they think best represent the adjective. The judge awards the person with the closest associations. Weird and funny associations will be found that will sure to bring laughs as well as developing creative use of language.

Creative Games for Kids

Finding a gift toy for kids that promote creative learning whilst having fun will be greatly appreciated by parents who begin to worry about their kids getting square eyes. The best games are those that promote social interaction, lateral thinking and strategy-developing as well as games that concentrate upon the core curriculum. And as a bonus, a game that will keep kids out of your hair whilst your are reading, watching TV or falling asleep. Sadly, it is likely you will find yourself involved with some of these creative games and discovering you could do with a little cerebral honing yourself.

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Silly Party Games for the Family to Liven a Dull Holiday

Christmas holidays, birthdays or rainy weekends can sometimes wear thin when spending time with the family. Well, this need not be like pulling teeth if the best family games are at hand. I have found the sort of games most families would love, regardless of age and with good reviews.

Fun Party Games for the Holidays

Never mind ordinary Charades, how about Reverse Charades? Winner of 9 awards including the Laugh Out Loud Award which this game certainly cause. The aim is to act out as many words as possible in 60 seconds with the choice of around 700 silly words to keep the family in hysterics. With time as an element, family members are sure to look ridiculous during play.

Party Games for the Family

Telestration is a sort of Chinese Whispers’ version of Pictionary. Each member picks a card listed with named items, for example, a dog, a castle etc. On the first page of the ‘Telestration,’ (an erasable 8 page booklet) the opponent must draw a picture of a numbered object. The next person writes down what they think the person has drawn. The next person draws a picture of what the prior person has written down and so forth until all 8 pages of the Telestration are completed. Once the Telestration has done its round, it is time to reveal what people have put, which is guaranteed laughs. The game needs 8 players for maximum laughs.

Yet More Novel Games for the Family

Wits & Wagers creates a level playing field between Trivia buffs and those who groan at the idea of quizzes. The aim of the game is not to answer a question correctly (the questions are purposefully obscure, like what is the speed of the fastest recorded fish?) but to make bets on your components’ guesses using chips and keeping track of their bets with ‘bet markers.’ The component who comes closest to the correct answer (as the answers are numerical) without going over, wins all the chips. This is a game that really combines the fun of trivia with betting.

How to Create a Fun Family Party

North Star Games’ Say Anything has a similar spin to Wits & Wagers but settles hot debates between family members such as ‘if you could have anything big, what would it be?’ All players write their answer to the question posed. The aim of each player is to guess who gave what answer.

Daring Games for Families

Loaded Questions is sure to present laughs and surprises as it tests your knowledge of other people’s opinions. Correct answers to how another person answers a ‘loaded question’ advances you around the gameboard. Loaded questions include: ‘who is the loudest in this room?’, ‘which 3 creatures would you rid of from this planet?’ and ‘what are you afraid of?’ A game for getting to know your components better.

Fun Educational Board Game

Mattel’s Apples to Apples Party Box is a hilarious game that is easy to play. An award-winning board game (Best Party Game of the Year), Apples is a card game, where red cards exhibiting nouns are dealt between players. The judge draws a green card exhibiting an adjective and places it where all can see. Each player chooses their own red card which they think best represents the adjective. The judge then decides which card best describes the adjective. Unexpected comparisons can be found between nouns and adjectives, some of which will create laughs, such as ‘first kiss’ with ‘dandruff.’ A reverse version of Apples can be played where each player chooses a red card that they think least represents the adjective.

Secret to a Painless Holiday Period

Lulls in times of celebration such as Christmas, birthdays or holidays can be livened up with funny board games for the family. The secret is to find a board game suitable for children as well as adults, with easy-to-understand rules and which will yield laughs almost instantly.

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I Don't Know Which Kindle Reader to Buy

Confused by all the Kindle ereaders on the market? Well, choosing the best kindle gift for a particular person can be straightforward with a little basic knowledge, as one kindle might not suit another person. Currently there are five Kindle models available, but no doubt this number will increase in the future and prices will change. Here is a list of the Kindle models available to assist with the gift buyer’s selection.

What to Expect from a Kindle Reader

All Kindle models have in common lots of storage space for ebooks, emagazines, games, documents and newspapers as well as free cloud storage (remote storage space to keep your Kindle uncluttered). All have Wi-Fi, browsers and long battery life (although the newest model, the Kindle Fire is a little shorter than the rest as it also plays movies). All have ‘E Ink Technology’ which means the text remains crisp even in direct sunlight and so prevents eyestrain. All have built-in dictionaries and software to adjust font size. All Kindles except the Kindle Fire have a monochromatic screen.
This is all well and good, but which Kindle do you buy for a particular someone?

The Kindle – the Most Compact and Cheapest of all Kindles

This Kindle is the smallest and lightest of all models at 6.5x4.5in and only .34in deep, ideal for keeping in a small bag, wallet or back pocket. Its simplicity is perhaps best suited to the first time Kindle owner who still hasn’t made the full transition from hard copy books. It might also be the ideal gift for the technophobe who simply wants to get on with reading without too much technology. student whose main concern is cost or of losing a costly gadget. At only $79 this need not be a major concern.

The Kindle Touch and the Kindle Touch 3G – Lots More Storage Space

The next model up is the Kindle Touch, a little larger at 6.8x4.7in and .40in deep, it is still remarkably compact for its huge memory bank, double that of the aforementioned Kindle, able to hold around 3000 books for the serious bookworm. This Kindle model also has a longer battery life at around 2 months and has the benefit of a touch screen. The Kindle Touch also has the option of Kindle Touch 3G model. 3G simply means the Kindle works like a Cellphone without the cost, ideal for people who do not have a wireless router or fast internet connection at hand. The 3G will come in useful for the traveller or commuter who likes to browse for books when Internet connection is not at hand.

The Kindle Keyboard or the Kindle Keyboard 3G For Note Making

This Kindler reader has a keyboard for those who like to make notes and look up words. A little larger than the above, at 7.5x4.8in and .34in deep, this Kindle reader also has a built in PDF reader for viewing documents. Like the Kindle Touch mentioned above, you also have the option of the Kindle Keyboard 3G for people who cannot get an internet signal.

Kindle DX the Largest Kindle Model for Reading Large Print

A little more costly than the Kindles mentioned so far, the Kindle DX measures 10.4x7.2in and is .45in deep. You can rotate this reader portrait or landscape mode as preferred and has a free 3G for wireless browsing. No worries about finding an internet signal. The screen being larger than the other Kindles might be ideal for people with poor eyesight, as large font on a small screen permits but a few words per line, which can be off-putting. This makes the Kindle DX ideal for people who habitually read large print books. The DX model also has a PDF reader.

The Kindle Fire the Multi Media Colour Kindle

The newest Kindle, the Kindle Fire displays in colour. A multi-media Kindle, this model can store books, songs, games and movies. Compact for all that, this model measures 7.5x4.7in and is 0.45in deep and with the biggest memory of all, with 8GB. One advantage of the Kindle Fire is that it is half the price of the Apple Ipad. The Fire of course is ideal for those who want to view in colour, whether it is art books, children’s illustrations or simply watching movies. Amazon Silk enables fast browsing too. This model perhaps would suit someone who loves the latest, most colourful and modern innovations and for someone who wants to do more than read books on their Kindle.

Which Kindle is the Best Gift?

A Kindle can be found for just about anyone’s needs, whether that person does not always have internet connection to browse by, needs large print, requires something compact or likes to have a multi function for their Kindle. No doubt in the future, there will be further innovations, competitive prices and added features as well as more Kindle models.

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