Little Miss Inventor and STEM toys

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Is your little girl or boy full of ideas and inventions? If the answer is yes then they will love our brand new Little Miss Inventor design based on the 36th ‘Little Miss’ character in the popular children’s book series.  She is a female engineer who creates extraordinary inventions in a shed at the bottom of her garden who we think sends a great message to young children. We’re pretty sure that Little Miss Inventor would thoroughly approve of the recent trend in STEM toys.

 

Little Miss inventor

 

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths. STEM is important because it touches every part of our lives in the science that is all around us. STEM toys have become a bit of a trend over recent years, as more and more parents see the value of cool toys that encourage a love of all things science and tech.

 

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There are some great STEM games and kits out there which encourage kids to learn while having fun. One of our favourites is learning about simple electrical circuits with dough, which our little tester absolutely loved. We think this DIY Electro Dough kit by Tech Will Save Us from Pimoroni and all good toy shops looks great and is suitable from age 4+.

 

A product image of DIY Electro Dough Kit

Get Creative this Autumn

While summer may have meant hours spent outdoors, rainy autumn days inside can still be made fun with arts and craft projects to enjoy with your kids. Arts and crafts are great for learners of all ages from toddlers sticking, gluing and painting (not just the paper!) to older children who will relish the time spent creating a jewellery box or paper truck. Here are few of our favourites.

Recycled Boxes 

Recycle an old cereal box or any cardboard box you have handy and your kids will have hours of fun making a house or whatever takes their imagination. younger children will love to cut out the windows with help from an adult, glue and stick as well as decorate with paint and glitter. Older children will love to spend time making furniture to go in the house. My children regularly make houses for their dolls or figurines out of shoe boxes.

Kindergarten Arts & Crafts Activities: Make a Cereal Box House

 

Box of Craft goodies!

If you’re in need of inspiration, visit your local toy shop and find a box of goodies to get creative with. This works well if you’ve got children of different ages so they can all do their ‘own project’. Maybe it’s making thank you cards for a recent birthday or even producing some Christmas cards ready for December? We love this Giant Box of Craft which is great value at just 12€ or find something similar to get you started.

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Invest in an Easel

All children love an easel. Invest in one which also doubles up as a chalk board and a magnetic whiteboard they’ll have hours of fun. Don’t forget to buy lots of paper and paint for your little budding artists. We love this Wooden Easel from Smyths Toys.

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Colouring In

You can’t beat a good session of colouring in to keep kids amused and creative. Besides making great pencils and paints we think Crayola has a great kids section on its website with lots of downloadable colouring in projects. Perfect for rainy days or travelling. Find your free colouring pages at Crayola.

 

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Your Back to School Checklist

We can hardly believe that the summer holidays are almost over and it’s nearly time to go back to school and nursery! Whether you have a toddler, a 10-year-old or a teenager, the first school day of the year is always special. A new class or perhaps maybe a new school and also plenty of new adventures that lie ahead.

We’ve put together a handy checklist to help you get ready for the big day. It’s not just for kids but parents too, so pay attention!

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A good bag is a must whether your little one is heading off to nursery or primary school. Your child’s school may have their own book bag but if not choose something bright and colourful to help your child recognise which one is theirs. Older kids will need a rucksack. Just make sure it’s big and strong enough to carry all those books. And don’t forget to label it with one of our stickers.

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Whether it’s warm or cold, it’s really important that your little ones stay hydrated. This will help them with both their memory and concentration. Invest in a re-usable water bottle and you’ll help save on plastic. Don’t forget to label it too!

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Get stocked up on snacks and lunch box ingredients.  The healthier the better. Try bananas, fruit or rice cakes and vegetables. Or a piece of cheese will keep hunger at bay. Make snacks and lunchboxes fun. Write a message on their banana to make them smile or cut sandwiches into star or dinosaur shapes with a cutter. Don’t forget to label your child’s snack or lunch box too…

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What an amazing summer 2018 has been but be prepared for an autumn chill in September. Have jumpers, raincoats and umbrellas at the ready. We think labelling your umbrella would be a genius idea, given how easy they are to lose…

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A fun pencil case is another way of brightening up the school day. The contents obviously depend on their age, but pencils, glue, crayons and an eraser are always a good idea. Be sure to label everything, as all of these items have a habit of going missing!

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Most children can’t wait to get to school on the first day of term, which is good. School should be fun! But by the end of September, the novelty may start wearing off. Make the journey to school a fun part of the day by investing in a new set of wheels. Maybe they can try scooting, cycling or rollerblading to school?

The Cost of Lost Property and Getting Back in the School Routine

We carried out a survey with Irish Mums and Dads to find out their thoughts on the cost of lost property and the items which they felt would be most likely to go missing ahead of the back to school period*.

We found that 96% of Irish parents reported that their children lose a school item at some stage during the school year. The most popular items that are reported as lost during the school year include stationary (50%), pencil cases (31%), school clothing (27%) and sports kit (23%). Fortunately, children are slightly more mindful about items like travel passes and shoes – but there is still a chance that they can go missing.

Items Most Likely to be Lost

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The research also found that the age of the child played a role on which items were most likely to be lost; younger children in the 6 – 10 age bracket were most likely to lose stationary (57%) while older children in the 13 – 17 age bracket were more likely to lose their calculator (36%).

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Our findings reveal that 1/3 of parents surveyed claim the average amount for the items lost each year was over €91! Multiplied by the years that children attend school, this already striking figure could easily exceed €1,000. It highlights a real need to be vigilant with children’s belongings. Using labels is one inexpensive but effective way of ensuring that school items don’t go missing or that if they do, they are returned to their rightful owners!

1 in 5 parents admit to struggling to get themselves out of bed after school holidays

With children across the country getting settled back into the new school year routine after the holidays it seems that parents also struggle to get back into the early morning wake ups with 1 in 5 admitting to struggling to get themselves out of bed in the morning, never mind their children!

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Our research* also found that almost half (48%) of parents surveyed felt that the return of homework for their children was the hardest element of getting back into the new term routine after the holidays. Interestingly, 35% of dads felt that prepping lunches was the hardest part of the back to school routine compared to 27% of mums.

 

*Research conducted by Coyne Research on behalf of My Nametags based on responses from 1000 Irish adults, including 295 with dependent children in school.

Gardening with kids – Win a Children’s Toolkit!

Spending time outdoors with the kids is good for everyone and if you can get them to help with the garden or plant up some pots even better. If you get them interested in gardening then who knows, you might have a little helper or indeed a gardening fan for life!

We’ve got a cute set of gardening tools for one lucky family to win. Read on to find out how to win!

Here are some top tips to get you inspired. All you’ll need is a pot or two, some earth, seeds and water.

Capture their interest

Plant brightly-coloured flowers, scented plants, tactile leaves and tasty, quick-growing, edible plants to keep children interested. There’s nothing better than sowing some cress and see it appear with in days. The RHS has some great ideas for plants to grow with children:

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  • Easy flowers  – grow sunflowers, marigolds and poppies.
  • Sensory plants to play with include rattling poppy seed heads, furry stachys byzantina and herbs such as thyme, basil and rosemary.
  • Edible Plants – try growing cherry tomatoes, lettuce, runner beans and courgettes as there’s nothing better than eating your own five-a-day!

Make a Bee Hotel!

Bee numbers are falling, so by giving them a home you’ll be encouraging nature into your garden and helping bee populations. You don’t have to make a big hotel. You can make one easily using a terracotta plant pot (9 – 15cm in size), some modelling clay, plastic straws or bamboo canes and string. Here’s how.

image of a bee hotel

  1. Cut the straws or bamboo canes to a length that fits the depth of your pot. If you are using bamboo canes you will need a grown up to carry out this part as it’s tricky.
  2. Tie the bundle of straws or canes together with a piece of string.
  3. Place some modelling clay in the bottom of the pot and stick the bundle of straws or canes in to the clay.
  4. Place the pot horizontally in your garden in a quiet place for the bees to move in.

For more gardening inspiration visit RHS

Win a gardening tool set!

To help you and your little ones get busy in the garden this summer, we are giving away a set of garden tools to one luck winner. To be in with a chance of winning, just send an email titled ‘My Nametags Gardening Competition IE’ to marketing@mynametags.com – full T&Cs below.

Terms & Conditions

  • The two winners shall be drawn at random by My Nametags.
  • Entrants must be residents of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Entrants must be aged 18 or over.
  • Competition closes at midnight on 07/08/2018
  • Winners will be notified either by email within a week of the closing date.
  • The winner will have 7 days to respond after which time we reserve the right to select an alternative winner.
  • There are no cash or other prize alternatives available in whole or in part. We reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event of unavailability of the intended prizes.
  • The entries that are incomplete, illegible or fraudulent will be deemed invalid. No responsibility will be accepted for entries lost, corrupted or delayed in transmission.
  • Bulk entries made from trade, consumer groups or third parties will not be accepted.
  • Data is being held under the terms of our privacy policy and our company terms and conditions – please click links for more information.
  • Entry into the competition authorises My Nametags to contact you,and publish your name on our blog should you be the winner
  • The winner will receive one children’s garden tool set.

Looking Good on the Beach

Whether you’re soaking up the rays further afield or sampling the beaches at home, it’s time to update your beach wardrobe. We’ve done the hard work and found the key items from the best flip flops to beach bags and bikinis. Happy shopping!

The Beachbag & Hat

First things first, a chic beach bag is a must for any visit to the seaside. If you’ve got the kids with you then the larger the better for popping in your beach essentials. With the natural texture trend (think raffia, bamboo and straw) still going strong we know this straw bag (€39.99) and hat (€7.99) from H&M are bang on trend.

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The Bikini

 

Stay cool in this pale blue bikini by beachwear guru Melissa Odabash. Embellished Verona triangle bikini €109  theoutnet.com

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The Swimsuit

Every woman needs a flattering black swimsuit and we think this one with a trim of white is classic with a twist. Marysia Tuscany Rickrack Trimmed Halterneck Swimsuit 335 net-a-porter.com

Black swimsuit

The Kaftan

A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without a beach cover up for when you want to take time out from the sun or get dressed for lunch. This pretty boho-styled white kaftan by London-based designer Matthew Williamson is perfect. Embellished Bell Sleeve Kaftan €58.07 asos.com

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The Flip Flops

Summer isn’t summer without a pair of Havianas. The Belize Flip Flops are brand new and for the first time ever, there is no separation between the toes just a horizontal strap. Available in many different colours but we love these Havaianas You Belize in Pollen Yellow 40,00 € havaianas-store.com

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The Beach Dress

This dress will take you from beach to bar with the minimum of fuss. Stay cool in this flowing, crossover V-neck dress with short sleeves. Wraps in the front like a sarong and ties with a bow to one side. Printed Crossover Dress 19.99 EUR zara.com

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The Shades

Sun and sunglasses go hand-in-hand. We think these super cool shades will look great with any outfit and are a great price too. Tortoiseshell Sunglasses €19.99 in chocolate with UV protection mango.com
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We’re on the Move Again – Plus, Win a Set of our New Smiley Face Designs!

We’re excited to let you know that have moved into new larger offices, which are three times’ the size of our old one. More space means a bigger team and more printers, which for our customers means orders arriving quicker!

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My Nametags has grown considerably since it was started by a husband and wife team in a spare bedroom 14 years ago. Our previous office was 1,650 square foot, whilst our new home is 4,990 square foot! But despite the growth of the company the very first two My Nametags employees are still with the company. We like to think that means My Nametags is a good place to work!

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To make sure our labels remain the best on the market we regularly test them to check for durability etc. and we now have a dedicated area for this with a specialised ventilation system, which will allow us to make them even better in the future.

 

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We have also been busy designing some cute new ‘smiley’ designs. We think they are really great and we hope you do too. Choose a design to reflect your little one’s mood or personality. Are they smiley or cheeky? Are they a cool dude or chick with sunglasses or do they just like to giggle?  There’s something for everyone. You can use our stickers on anything from clothing labels to water bottles, bags and shoes. Here are some of our favourites in the new range.

 

Smiley
If your little one is a happy soul who loves to smile then the all-time favourite icon ‘The Smiley’ is the one for you! It means you feel on top of the world!

 

Cool Face
Be the ‘cool’ one with our ‘smiley’ wearing a big pair of black shades. We think these will be a big hit for the summer – just perfect for naming sunglasses, flip flops and all that beach stuff.

Angel
If your little one is an absolute angel then why not label all their stuff with our adorable angel smiley. Don’t forget our stickers will stick on anything from changing bag, milk bottles, shoes and hats.

Wink
This one is for the cheeky ones out there… This little wink will show off their fun, naughty side. Stick it on your bag, phone, trainers or laptop to show everyone that they’re yours.

Silly Face
If your children love to make people laugh then our silly face icon is for them! Play the clown and label all their toys. They’ll never lose a thing again.

Love Eyes 
We think our Love Eyes smiley is super cute and would look good on anything, especially the things kids love most. Favourite teddy, t-shirt or pencil case, perhaps? Our tags will stick on virtually anything.

Win a Set!

To celebrate the arrival of these new smiley faces, we are giving a set away!  All you have to do is send an email titled ‘My Nametags Smileys Competition IE ’ to marketing@mynametags.com – full T&Cs below.

Terms & Conditions

  • The two winners shall be drawn at random by My Nametags.
  • Entrants must be residents of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Entrants must be aged 18 or over.
  • Competition closes at midnight on 07/08/2018.
  • Winners will be notified either by email within a week of the closing date.
  • The winner will have 7 days to respond after which time we reserve the right to select an alternative winner.
  • There are no cash or other prize alternatives available in whole or in part. We reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event of unavailability of the intended prizes.
  • The entries that are incomplete, illegible or fraudulent will be deemed invalid. No responsibility will be accepted for entries lost, corrupted or delayed in transmission.
  • Bulk entries made from trade, consumer groups or third parties will not be accepted.
  • Data is being held under the terms of our privacy policy and our company terms and conditions – please click links for more information.
  • Entry into the competition authorises My Nametags to contact you,and publish your name on our blog should you be the winner.
  • The winner will receive one set of My Nametags colour sticker labels and must include one of the designs highlighted in the blog above.

Science Experiments for Kids

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Children are naturally curious and without exception all children love learning about science as it means learning all about the world around them. Science surrounds us; in nature (learning about how plants grow), baking cakes (where plenty of chemical reactions occur) or making a model volcano (chemistry and geography). Learning about our bodies helps with understanding the world of biology.

Conducting some simple science experiments at home will help develop your child’s inquisitive mind. Plus they’ll learn how to use equipment such as magnifying glasses, microscopes, magnets, scales, sieves etc safely and correctly. They can also observe changes like melting an ice cube, frying an egg or growing cress. Predicting is another skill set that science experiments require; what do they think will happen? Maybe most importantly, planning skills are essential. Which steps should be followed before carrying out the experiment?

With a little imagination, you can carry out some experiments at home too. The internet is a great resource for finding out how to do some great but simple experiments at home with your kids. Our favourite kitchen experiment is to make a volcano. Here’s how:

You will need:

  • One small plastic bottle
  • Brown modelling clay
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • White vinegar
  • One plastic container
  • Washing up liquid
  • Red food colouring

1. Take the plastic bottle and mould the modelling clay to make a volcano cone shape around it.

2. Place your volcano onto a tray. Squirt into the bottle about 2 tablespoons of washing up, 1 tablespoon of red food colouring and 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.

3. Lastly, pour in the vinegar and watch your volcano erupt! To do it again, wash out your volcano and start again at step 1.

Alternatively, you could buy a science kit to help you discover all about rainbows or how to make slime!

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Our New Allergy Designs

‘Allergy’ is the most common chronic disease in Europe and it’s no wonder perhaps that parents are concerned about what they can do to reduce the risk of food allergies affecting their baby or child. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to alert anyone who is looking after your child, including staff at their nursery and school.

My Nametags have developed a set of ‘allergy’ label designs which you can customise with your child’s name and apply to their bag, lunch box, water bottles, milk bottles or anywhere else you feel they may be effective. You can design your set of My Nametags labels here.

Around 90% of allergic reactions are usually caused by just a few foods.

The key foods are:

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Dairy                                     

              

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Eggs

Wheat allergy tag

Wheat/Gluten 

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Nuts

Fish allergy tag

Seafood 

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Shellfish

 

 

Other foods that cause allergies fairly frequently are soy, sesame, kiwi and pulses. High histamine levels in tomatoes and strawberries often cause rashes on the skin after eating but it is rare for these foods to be “allergens”.

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Sulphates (SO²)     

Sulphites are preservatives added to food and drinks to extend shelf life. Sulphites can cause unpleasant symptoms including lung irritation and asthma. An allergic to sulphites is normally extremely rare.

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Celery

Allergic reactions to celery (sticks, leaves, spice and seed), when they do occur, can be severe. People with celery allergy should also avoid celariac.

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Soya    

Soya is a food protein derived from the soya bean, which is a legume. Soya beans may be eaten fresh but are more usually dried. They are often called edamame when fresh or frozen. There are two types of soya allergy: immediate and delayed.

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Sesame

The incidence of sesame seed allergy appears to have risen dramatically over the past two decades and this rise is probably linked to its increased use. Other seeds can cause allergic reactions but sesame appears to be the most common to do so.

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Lupin

The seeds of the lupin garden flower are crushed to make lupin flour, which can be used in baked goods such as pastries, pies, pancakes and in pasta. It is common in gluten-free products.

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Dander (fur)

We love our pets but sometimes the dander from our furry friends can cause allergies. Pollen can do likewise, so we’ve got allergy designs for those too.

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 Pollen