Oh the simple pleasures of a beetle drive – this was on the entertainment agenda of our local gathering of worthy females in the village here. This is such a great sight – groups of usually serious ladies sat round a table, pencil and paper in front of them with a die in a cup, and the essential prize at hand. The beetle drive commences. As with all games, various rules prevail, like having to throw a six for the body to start, five for the head – you cannot draw the two antennae or 2 eyes until you’ve thrown that five . . . . . but with your body, you can draw each of the six legs, and the tail when each of the needed threes and four are thrown. My word, it is a fast and furious game and all this fun from a simple game idea from a book bought in the much loved local toy shop!
There is nothing more thrilling than getting up, throwing off that quilt, swiping the curtains open and seeing glorious dewy sunshine filling the landscape as far as our eye can see. However we are feeling prior to that moment, it matters not for the sight of that glorious sunlight instantly brings joy and prospects for a happy and warm few weeks ahead.
There are so many toys out there on the market only suited to indoor play – and many hundreds of these are likely to involve sitting on our sofas with controllers or playstation devices in hand and a massive screen ahead of us. There is no doubt that the explosion of online gaming has changed the world of play – sometimes for the better, mentally perhaps. But for all the oldies out there, nothing will ever be able to replace the joy to be had from outside play with a scooter, or those noisy but speedy roller skates and skipping ropes. Whooh. Heaven.
Recently we had an influx of visitors staying. Not all together, but in individual clumps – this is a very serious departure from the norm. Having resided here for nearly 15 years, and only one guest bedroom every having been pressed into service, it made a great change to air out the other 2 spare rooms. The amount of work was a little more than envisaged, it must be said. The pull out sofa beds are easy enough to manage, but the spare duvets, pillows and assorted matresses and bed covers all needing hauling out from various cubby holes around the house.
Board and lodgings aside, there was the major consideraiton of entertainment to be sorted also with military precision. We are not generally a family that likes to sit and watch daytime tv endlessly. The major thrust of the visits was playing board games of all sorts, and some old favourites were dug out of the wardrobes.
There is nothing as exciting for any family, after Christmas and birthdays that is, than the arrival of a new baby. The joy of the start of a new generation of a family coming on stream. The big day is greeted with all the usual plethora of pictures on social media sites – aunts and uncles agreeing to the unspoken rules of play here by not announcing anything in advance of the official word from the owners of the new baby of course! But beyond these small points comes the longer lasting moments to be thought about and thoroughly enjoyed for ever.
Here I am referring to the very responsible task of toy and game provision for the little one as she grows up and finds her place in the world. How much better if great aunts get to grips with the vast selection of products out there. Not just the dolls and prams either, thought they are a good start!
It seems unbelievable that the much longed for Christmas and New Year period has arrived, been dealt with and rapidly moved on – how did that happen? We spend all that time getting ourselves geared up for it too Almost before the summer holidays have arrived, and the children are pond dipping and beach combing or sitting on deck chairs by the villa pool, the matter of Christmas is never far away as shops start their campaigns as early as possible. apparently to meet customer demand.
These days with so many different kinds of toys, games, hobbies etc. it is no longer just at Christmas time that we can revel in the joy of a gorgeously stocked toy shop. There are birthdays throughout the year and asstores need support all year round, to combat these challenging trading conditions, we need to keep buying. Spread the joy of toys and games all year long.
Just entering one particularly old, traditional, family run and family led, toy emporium has been a source of joy three times a year since the year dot. Having several younger members of the family now leaving behind the toddler stage, this means that good sturdy toys are needed, ones that are obvious how to engage with them. Games that have reasonsble playing rules that don’t take all day and a science graduate to understand them. One such fantastic shop is still open in my high street. Definitely a family firm with two of the grandchilren helping out on Saturdays and weekends.
What those family members don’t know about toys and games in this country is not worth knowing. The matriach now looks after the store – she has a very soft but very welcoming voice and before long she’s extacted information about who the gift is for, age, boy or girl. Fantastic knowledge then guides to the absolutely perfect present.
Who can imagine the approach to Christmas without the familiar presence of toys, games and all manner of gizmos to keep the young and old entertained. Since Victorian times, regularly portrayed on the glittery Christmas cards, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are shown happily, standing around the new fangled Christmas tree, looking dotingly down on their little cherubs at play. Usually, it has to be said, with only one or two boxes of delights. The change in this, to each child being crushed under the weight of a hundred presents each year seems to have come with the 1980s onwards.
Getting he right present and toy is always matter of major importance in the senior households. Being able to see and feel the toys is critical. There is something about being able to go down to a proper toy shop and games supplier and actually see hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous toys stacked up to the ceiling. Ah the memories of our own Christmas joys!
Oh happy day – the sound of Christmas tills ringing in the ears of all shopkeepers and retail market leaders. These days however, there is a much more discerning group of shoppers. Time is of the essence for so many households, with both parents out full time working to bring home the bacon and hopefully, enough spare to provide a wow inducing Christmas bonanza for the family.
There is of course a problem now where young folk do seem to be attached to electronic gizmos almost from birth and prising them away from said gadget can be a trial, undertaken with a certain amount of caution. What children do really enjoy, but will probably never admit it in front of their peers, is a jolly good game. The teamwork involved brings out a truly enviable competitive spirit and a sense of fair play can often be achieved. Getting a good choice of toys for all the family requires the very best outlets.
Certainly one of the greatest pleasures known to mankind, eclipsed only by the contented gurgles of that gorgeous new grandchild, is the contented gurgling of the proud parents of said child. There is certainly a air of excitement attached to being let loose in the company of the cutest member of that set of circumstances. There is something truly special about going out on a designated day in December for the family Christmas presents. Gran and Grandad go armed with a list, hastily sought from the parents of the child/children and then suddenly it gets super busy and wow, exhaustion sets in. By 10 oclock, Grandad has had enough.
If only there was a sure fire way to get toys or gifware ideas online, the universal cheer heard from all the dads, grandads and uncles would be so deafening it could drown us all out . The very thought is calming even now – a specialist toy shop, one that really knows current trends, with every toy and game, on the market today.
Families today live such busy lives, there’s the not insignificant matter of working to bring home a sufficient income for everyone with both parents very often out full time. There’s also the time needed to get to and from the workplace. Children have busy lifestyles too these days – the miriad of electronic gizmos and devices in bewildering numbers sometimes take over in the role of family entertainment.
However, all is not lost and these days families are finding joy in the good old board game and toys in general. OK, so a wee bit of persuasion is sometimes needed to prise the child from the gizmo, but very few will sit at the end of a busy and lively game and moan that they’ve not had fun! Today there are hundreds of new games out there. Many are based on popular TV games formats, that in itself is very handy as the participants are more likely to have a rough idea of the rules and turn out to be pretty competitive in their quest for success.