The best things in life are (often) free

AS the school summer holidays approach, many parents will be preparing for their children’s inevitable “I’m bored” moans.

But for cash-strapped families, beating the boredom with expensive day trips may be out of the question, and cheaper home-made fun could be the best option.

Research by the Nationwide Building Society suggests more than half of parents are worried about how they’ll finance entertainment for the kids and childcare during the holidays.

It’s not just less well-off families feeling the pinch. One in 10 higher-income parents (earning £60,000+ a year) admitted expensive days out weren’t possible this year.

Figures compiled by the national charity 4Children show just how much prices have risen in recent years – for instance, the charity says the cost of buying tickets on the day for a family of five to Alton Towers has increased by 57% over the last four years, from £126.50 in 2009 to £198 in 2013.

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, says: “Days out can strengthen bonds and build shared family experiences and memories that we know are so important.

“But the financial pressures facing families are already deeply concerning and, when combined with the escalating costs of attractions and transport, the traditional family day out is increasingly under threat.”

However, parents worried about how they’ll afford summer entertainment should remember that kids are very good at entertaining themselves, and can have plenty of cheap and cheerful fun at home.

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Recycle Week – 17-23 June

Recycle Week is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. This year’s theme is: “Recycling – at home and away” and will focus on metals, plastics, packaging, textiles and food waste.

Primary schools generate 45kg of waste per pupil per academic year and secondary schools 22kg per pupil per academic year.

Schools can take the week as a chance to look at how their school can reduce its waste and also up their recycling. It’s also a great way to raise funds using one of the various recycling companies that will collect clothes, DVDs, and printer cartridges.

Pupils ‘name-dropping their mothers in short stories’

It’s a generation with unprecedented access to pop stars, actors, sportsmen and TV presenters. But it appears that today’s children still look much closer to home when it comes to finding inspiration.

An analysis of more than 90,000 short stories written by under-13s from across Britain has found that their mothers feature more heavily in their work than any other character.

Research by Oxford University Press found that mums were “far and away” the most popular object of children’s stories this year.

According to figures, the word – in its various forms and regional variations such as “mom” and “mam” – was featured more than 115,000 times.

Mothers comfortably outscored fathers, with figures showing that dads barely crept into the top 15 most featured terms.

However, the study showed that fathers were often portrayed in the “action man” role in several of the best-written stories – fighting aliens, blowing things up and even building a time machine.


Three Primary Colours


Three Primary Colors is a collaboration between OK Go and Sesame Street explaining the basics of color theory in stop-motion. Made me smile.

MF, studio, dbda

Bondi holder – animation

Lovely little animation that does a very good job at promoting a gadget that would probably go very unnoticed in a market of other holder silicone things. Personifying Bondi and making him into a series of characters was a very clever idea.

MF, studio, dbda

“Little Boat” by Nelson Boles

“Little Boat”, an animation by Nelson Boles. A beautiful piece of illustration, animation and filmmaking, with a touching story.

Watch the animation below!

MF, studio, dbda

Nest – the Learning Thermostat

Visionary Tony Fadell who, back in the day, was in charge of the iPod at Apple *just* launched a brand new product called Nest, the world’s first Learning Thermostat.

Nest learns from your temperature adjustments, programs itself to keep you comfortable, and guides you to energy savings. You can control the thermostat from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and Nest never stops learning, even as your life and the seasons change.


Learn more at

Mf, studio, dbda

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