Living on a farm, we can’t fail to love the outdoors, and Spring is just brilliant for enabling us to get outside after work and nursery. Even just walking down to the farmyard to see what his dad’s up to (in the hope of going out and doing some work with him) is a great excuse to get out and get some evening sun.
I’m always looking for more outdoor activities to do – I loved them as children when my friends and I used to play on the green on our estate, and want to introduce them to N – so we were pleased when House of Fraser said we could choose some outdoor toys and games to review. I’d never usually think of House of Fraser for toys, but there’s a fair selection to choose from, although we went a bit old school and chose a croquet set.
My brother and I used to have a great wooden croquet set complete with trolley, so I wanted to see how this one compared. Ours lasted for years until our shed was cleared out and pulled down, so I had high hopes for this one.
Straight away N was in the delivery box and it had been unwrapped and pulled to pieces so he could investigate. He’s played croquet at a couple of National Trust properties, so knew what he needed to do to set it up. The hoops were set up in a random pattern…and then his attention turned to the trolley.
I have to say I was disappointed in the trolley. As soon as it was opened up, the holder for the mallets and starter/end sticks was knocked out and it won’t stay in. It needed to be properly attached rather than just slotted in, so our trolley is destined not to be used for storage. It’s a shame because a trolley is handy, but the alternative that might be better for this set, would have been a bag/sling to carry the items.
N decided the trolley was going to be his delivery trolley like the ones used by our online food shop delivery drivers. So it was taken to our local village shop and used to take his cereal back to the car.
Then of course, it had to come on car journeys with us for a while, until he found it was easier to leave it at home.
I did manage to get him to play a couple of round of croquet with me. The hoops are easy enough for him to push in the ground, and the mallets can give the balls a good whack.
I’m not sure about N’s technique, he’s definitely got cheating down to a fine art, placing the ball by hand right in front of the hoops before hitting them through!
Two rounds and he’d had enough, but I think he takes to outdoor games a lot better than board games. He will listen to the rules, even if he doesn’t follow them, and he even tidied up afterwards!
We then got out the Hamleys Booma Outdoor boomerang we’d been sent. I love playing Frisbee (I can’t wait until N is old enough to play), but have wanted to try a boomerang for ages. This one is meant to be failsafe, claims to be the best in the world, and certainly gives a lot of tips on how to throw it, and shape it to improve its performance.
My brother gave it a go, and after a few attempts was getting it to vaguely return in his direction. It’s a little lethal on its return, so none of us want to attempt catching it. There was a lot of collecting it from the paddock behind the garden!
N isn’t really a thrower at the moment. He’s improving accuracy all the time with a ball, but the boomerang is fun for him to throw but not really getting airborne. I love how he gives it a go though, and he’s a lot better at going to collect what’s been thrown vs the dog. Our dogs must be some of the only ones that have no concept of chasing a ball and picking it up to return it. The lab just jumps around, then goes for a mad chase round the lawn…all without going for the ball or boomerang. Dozy dog.
I’ve also been out to have a go with the boomerang in slightly less wind. It doesn’t take long to get the knack of throwing it to come round in an arc, but catching it is going to be beyond us. It’s definitely a great toy for everyone in the family to have a go with.
N has also had his Ezyroller out in the garden. He didn’t seem too concerned when I said it wouldn’t work on the grass.
He made it work…it might have taken about 10 minutes for him to make it move all the way round our ‘freeway’ (the ride on mower broken down half way into cutting the lawn), but he was determined to get it round himself.
Even his uncle had a go, although without the extension length, it wasn’t really working for him being an adult.
That’s what I love about outdoor toys. The classics don’t date, with adults harking back to their old days, and teaching children how to discover them. They really are great for family outdoor time. Children also seem to lap up outdoor toys and grasp them a lot quicker than some indoor toys which get pushed to the side after a while.
What’s the favourite outdoor toy in your house?
Disclosure: We received toys from House of Fraser to review. All opinions and words are my own.