Toddle About Blog

Childcare for Working Parents Explained

Did you know that working parents now spend more than the average mortgage on childcare? According to childcare voucher provider, EdenRed, this is now the reality for many families.

With the summer almost over and the term-time regime resumed, many parents will be reeling from the burden of additional childcare costs over the school holidays.

The Guardian reports that working parents face an £800 bill for summer holiday childcare alone. Working parents on low incomes are the worst hit, as are those working unsociable hours who struggle to find childcare options outside of normal office hours.

A recent survey by children’s charity, Coram Family and Childcare, shows that childcare provision in the UK is inadequate and the cost is rising.

Many families miss out on help, simply because the government’s systems are so complex. A recent report by Money Saving Expert states that of the 1.6 million families eligible for tax-free childcare, only about 315,000 are claiming.

Availability of nursery places is also an issue – just 57 per cent of councils in England, and 43 per cent of councils in Wales have enough childcare for parents who are working full-time.

Most parents are entitled to some support when it comes to childcare costs. Let’s take a look at what support is actually on offer and how you get it. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Dear Thomas!


As you may know, we invited all our readers to send in photos of your little ones so we could wish them a happy birthday in the next edition of Toddle About.

And you did! It’s always such a privilege to receive your photos, and we’re super excited to wish your little ones a happy birthday in the next magazine.

Party Pieces Logo1All the children were entered into a prize draw to win an Ultimate Birthday Party Package, courtesy of Party Pieces, worth over £60 – to make their special day that little bit more special. And we’re thrilled to announce that Continue reading

Fun Learning Activities To Help Improve Your Toddler’s Development

Sometimes entertaining a toddler is hard work. After all, they are curious little creatures who roam around your house, putting their hands in and on anything they can find. That’s why parents find themselves in the position of performing tricks to distract them from what they aren’t supposed to be doing, to something that they can be doing.  It isn’t always easy, especially on days with low energy. Take some notes, because we will give you some awesome indoor and outdoor ideas for your job as a master toddler entertainer. 


Continue reading

Review: Start-Rite Boys Black Leather Riptape School Shoes, worth £49.99

Start-Rite ShoesReviewed by Lorraine Holmes and Tim Freed at Toddle About HQ.

Lorraine’s Review:

With my son Joey starting his Primary School journey in September, it was perfect timing to be able to do a review of these shoes.

I received the STRIKE Black Leather Boys Riptape School Shoes and was very impressed with them as soon as I opened the box. The quality of them was outstanding with absolutely no flaws whatsoever, they are a solid, sturdy shoe but at the same time they are lightweight which I really liked. With it being the first time Joey was going to be wearing this type of shoe all day every day whilst at school, I wanted to make sure they were going to be right for him and I am so happy – they are just what I wanted his first pair of school shoes to be like.

Upon showing them to Joey he got very excited and asked me if he could try them on with all of his new uniform (he is looking forward to starting big boy school so much), I handed them to him and he managed to put them on and also take them off himself easily with the two easy Velcro fastening straps.  When I asked him what he thought of them he said in his own words, “They are nice I like them,” then when I asked him if they were comfortable he said, “Yes and you know what mummy? They make me run faster!” And off he went running round the house for the next 5 minutes :) Continue reading

Review: Thumbs Up For Ted’s Thumbsie Book, worth £6.99

Thumbs Up For Ted's Thumbsie BookReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Nicky Baker.

I was personally unaware about Thumb Guards, however upon receiving the book to review, I felt that this was a nice way of discussing the issue with children.

The book is designed to help parents who are struggling with getting their children to stop with thumb or finger sucking. I liked the positive approach of the book and the areas and discussion covered, for example starting big school and the enjoyable activities to come with the transition. Continue reading

Playground Escapes Nearby Popular Holiday Sights

Playground Escapes Nearby Popular Holiday SightsYou may be familiar with the drill already, you’ve managed to survive getting to the airport, getting on the flight, arriving at your lodgings, unpacking all your belongings and keeping everyone together and alive for the first night. You’re now desperate to do some sight-seeing, after all this is your holiday too and it may also be your first time in a new location, be it Paris, Barcelona or Rome and you want to get some picture mementos. However, the kids aren’t as keen, after all, to them it’s a case of looking at a pointy tower for hours or walking around a dusty building made of old stone.

As most young children aren’t capable of seeing the wonder beyond their immediate surroundings, you need a way to find a balance between your holiday experiences and their child desires. If you are trying to get out to some popular holiday locations this year, consider this playground guide as your cheat sheet to allow the kids a place to let off a bit of steam while giving you a moment’s break to enjoy the scenery. Continue reading

Review: Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower, worth £15.00

Hape Flexistix Eiffel TowerReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Michelle Rose.

My son aged five and I really enjoyed playing with and building the Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower. It was nice to be able to have some one to one time together making it. I love the fact that it is made from bamboo and is sustainable so does not add more plastic to our house and the colours are lovely and bright.

The pieces are very sturdy, easy to use and hold. The instructions were a little difficult to use on some of the parts when fitting the pieces together with the right gaps but we loved the measuring guide and loved matching the sizes up to the images this was a really big help and clever idea. Continue reading

Review: Once Upon a Unicorn Horn Book, worth £12.99

Once Upon a Unicorn HornReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Nicola Martin.

When I showed my two daughter’s (ages 6 and 3) the new book we had to read they were very excited. Unicorns are a firm favourite in our house so I had high hopes for this and I was right, they were transfixed with the story from the start and didn’t ask any questions (unlike some books where they don’t fully understand the story).

They were really pleased with the happy ending of the story and wanted to read it again straight away. I personally thought that some of the story was a bit basic and not as much detail as there could have potentially been, however, my girls loved it and both myself and my husband have read it to them both a few more occasions since then. Continue reading

Review: Hape All-in-1 Easel, worth £60.00

Hape All-in-1-Easel-Review written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Laura Griffiths.

We recently received the Hape All-in-1 Easel through to review and although there are quite a few less expensive easels out there, I feel this one is well worth paying the extra money for. I think where the value for money lies with this product is the fact you can adjust the height so it grows with your child and ultimately this should mean it gets played with for longer. Continue reading

Review: Johnson’s® Strength Drops Haircare Bundle, worth £7.50

Johnson's Strength DropsReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Carrie Olech.

I have been using the Johnsons Strength Drops Shampoo, Conditioner and Spray on my little boys hair since receiving them to review, although I think the range is aimed at a slightly older child, I found it mild enough for my 16 month old. He has a lot of hair (3 haircuts already) so keeping it in good condition is important to me. We haven’t used a conditioner before; again, I think it’s probably designed for an older child, however I was impressed with how soft it made his hair. Continue reading