Monday 26 March 2018

The Benefits of Learning to Swim

Swimming lessons offer a wide range of benefits and they may be cheaper than you'd think. Here at Dotty Hippo we love getting out and about with the children, going on long walks alongside rivers and canals, visiting the beach and using the local swimming pool for fun. Water may be fun however it may also be dangerous if not respected which is why our blog post today is about keeping little ones safe by teaching them to swim. 
Swimming Lessons
All local swimming pools offer swimming lessons to children. These are run by a qualified instructor and are taught in fairly small groups. Many swimming pools have a website or app that allows you to see how much progress they have made and how far they are from their next level. This enables you to support your little ones better outside of swimming lessons and to help motivate them.

Not all children develop new skills at the same pace. Some children may require additional support when learning to swim. For this reason, swimming pools often offer 1-1 lessons. If you feel this might be beneficial speak to the pool about availability and costs.

If you aren't a confident swimmer ask about adult swimming lessons, so that you may enjoy the many benefits too!

Don't forget a waterproof swimming bag for bringing back wet swimsuits and towels.

What are your top tips for helping little ones to learn to swim, or what to pack for swimming lessons (such as a trolley coin or pound coin for pool lockers)? 

Social Benefits
There are a number of social benefits associated with teaching your little one to swim, from interacting and learning with peers to going on to enjoy swimming with friends as a leisure activity. Learning as part of a group may also help with turn-taking, listening and additional learning development. Swimming lessons are also a great way to built confidence, both in their own skills and abilities but also boosting water confidence.

Health Benefits
Any activity is great for little ones and swimming is a great way to stay fit and active. Despite being fun, swimming and moving around the water provides a great work out for all of the family.

With the weather now turning warmer and play moving outside we hope you all some wonderful, safe fun.

Monday 19 February 2018

Creative Fun with Dotty Hippo

Art and crafts with the kids can be great fun (as well as fabulously messy). As people who have spent much time up to their eyeballs in glue sticks, glitter and tissue paper in the past we can tell you that crafty and creative fun with your little ones is something else! Our problem wasn't the fact that we were finding tiny pom poms and googly eyes anywhere and everywhere, it was more running out of ideas for what to make or do.

Pinterest can be a fabulous resource for craft ideas that are fun and affordable and we heartily recommend all things Red Ted Art too. Sometimes, however, someone having already put something together for you in a box may be a lifesaver for planned and unplanned creative sessions, for example, rainy days, when friends come round to play or when you and your children fancy making something special.

Here are a few creative kits and so on that we stock and which are proving very popular. We hope this helps!

Create Your Own Nightlight

The Seedling Design Your Own Nightlight Craft Kit is a fairly new addition to the site and yet is already proving very popular. Most children love nightlights and with this particular one, you may make it entirely your own. Adult supervision is required and permanent pens are used however the end result is a bespoke nightlight that glows and changes colour when it's bedtime or when the under kitchen table den is dark.

Colour Your Own BackpackLet your little one unleash their creativity on a new colour your own backpack for school, nursery or for while out and about. Little ones may customise their bag as they see fit which means that it will be special to them. Everything needed is included and this set offers a fabulous afternoon of colouring in, making patterns and more, with something great to show off at the end. 

Alex Toys Tots Art Gallery
With twelve easy to follow projects for ages 18m+ and with everything you need included in the kit, you'll be very grateful for this Tots Art Gallery set when crafting is on the cards yet you don't have anything planned and haven't restocked the craft supplies tray/drawer/room. There is even an included portfolio so projects may be kept safe as keepsakes to look back on.

These are just a few of the art and craft kits and fun projects we have on the websites and we will admit to having raided stock ourselves sometimes, when the weather is grim or friends have come over or when that terrifying phrase, "I'm bored" is uttered. Helping children to experiment with their creativity is fabulous however at the same time, a little helping hand for us grown-ups is appreciated too!

Monday 22 January 2018

Top Tips for Toy Storage

If your house looked like our house after Santa had been, just a month ago now, you’ll understand what we mean when we say that we are very glad we stock an extensive range of toy storage options.
 It’s brilliant to see the excitement on a little one’s face when they open up a new toy or game and fall in love with it. Having your living room, dining room, the bedrooms and so on strewn with much-loved games and toy is less exciting for us grown-ups.

Our top tip for buying storage solutions is to buy quality. In the past, we wasted so much effort and money on cheap, flimsy storage items which never really did the job right, didn’t last two minutes and didn’t fit in with the bedroom or playroom décor whatsoever.

Here are a few examples of storage solutions we stock (and use ourselves).

Wall Storage
Sometimes you just have to realise that the only way is up, and that applies to Yazz fans (a terrible 80’s music reference, sorry!) as well as those looking to maximise their children’s storage without leaving them with nowhere to play. These wall organisers from 3 Sprouts and Win Green offer brilliant storage room which may be placed anywhere you want and at a height that is suitable for your children.

Laundry Hampers
Ok, the chance are that to start with, your children will put their laundry around the washing basket or near the laundry hamper (why do they do this?!) however with a little training they will soon get into the habit of immediately putting old/dirty clothing in the basket before putting new on. With laundry hampers as cute as these, we’re hoping that your children will want to put their clothes straight in there, rather than on the floor, under the bed, on top of the bedside table, back in with the clean clothes……

Cube Storage
We just love these fabric storage cubes from BabyFace and from 3 Sprouts. Both fit brilliantly into Ikea Expedit systems and offer a substantial amount of storage that is hidden away yet easy to access. These cube storage solutions also work well as freestanding/standalone alternatives to storage caddies and more. Whether you use them in the children’s bedrooms, in their playroom/nursery or anywhere in and around the house, we’re sure that you’ll soon appreciate these excellent storage cubes as much as we do.

Storage Caddies
Perfect for smaller items, as well as being portable, storage caddies are much loved by both children and families. These cute and cool caddies offer a great way to store arts and crafts supplies, homework must-haves, Legos and much more besides. The portable nature of these fab-looking storage caddies means that they are also great for using when you want your children to tidy up items downstairs to take them back upstairs and put them away or to bring a small selection of toys downstairs.

Bathroom Storage
Toys aren’t just cluttering up your living area, they breed in the bathroom too, taking up space in and around the bath, on the shelf and more. We love the 3 Sprouts bathroom storage solutions (such as this penguin one) as it puts all the bath toys away in one place, is mould resistant and drains away old water, leaving toys clean and ready for your next bath-time play session.  

Not only do great looking, hardy, well-made storage solutions clear the clutter, they also help you set up a toy storage system that your children may adopt so that in time they too may take responsibility for keeping their own items safe and tidy.

And a little something for those of you who now can't get Yazz out of their head 😄