You may think that as I’m a mother of 4 boys, then I know a thing or two about how to be perfect – you know happy kids, working, clean house etc. Well the thing is that I’ve learnt how to be perfect for my family, and some times that means moving with the times. Whilst I do have admiration for families who do not own a tv, keep their children off technology and entertain themselves with reading, eat healthy and never have a thing out-of-place – it’s not for us. I don’t see why I should upset myself even trying. My children’s friends have games consoles, eat the odd bit of junk, stay up too late – and one million other things we as parents can be judged by others about. I mean it’s always there isn’t it – bottle/breast, dummies, letting them get in your bed, giving them a pack of crisps as you go around the supermarket, etc. But whilst I do let them do things that I feel aren’t the most ideal, I do try to balance it out too. They always have cereal or toast and juice every morning, they aren’t allowed on computer games until 11am (weekends, holidays and special occasions), they have set bedtimes, they help around the house – etc.
As mentioned before (in this post) social media heavily influences how our children develop. When Emma de Vere Hunt’s son Edward turned 6 he was no longer interested in traditional wooden toys sets, trains etc the only thing Emma could see on the market was drawing him into technology and television characters – such as Spiderman. Emma told me that although she has no problem with these products, she just wished there were more things geared towards getting children active and outdoors, doing things that we used to do as children. So with her son Edward’s passion for climbing trees, exploring, and making dens, together they created Battlebox – which helps children come away from a world of virtual reality and use their imaginations. The kits come in a box (as the name suggests) and contains all that the children need to set them off for their adventures.
There are various kits ranging in price from £14-£98, with an option to create your own (items start from as little as 55p). For £14 you can purchase the Scout kit which teaches the very important lesson of tying knots. The £98 kit is in collaboration with Bear Grylls: The Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit. See the Battlebox Website.
If you spend over £20 on Wednesday 7th August 2013 – NationalPlayDay – you will get 20% off.
Tweet a photo of your children’s latest adventure – whether it be tree climbing, den building or bug hunting – to @BattleBoxUK @PlayEngland #PlayDay2013. A selection of the images will be displayed on the BattleBox Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and the winning picture will receive an Essential Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit.
We were delighted to be invited to a day out with Battlebox and The Bear Grylls Survival Academy to find out what we thought about The Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit.
Well it turned out that this wasn’t just a day for getting the children outdoors – but to get the parents involved as well. There are so many demands on today’s parents, that I think we lose sight of how important us spending time with our children really is. I am guilty of setting up activities, and at most, just taking photos, rather than getting in on the action.
We were taken off to a secret location (Kensington Gardens) and started off with some survival tips and training exercises. This involved some camouflage make-up – to say that the boys enjoyed covering my face is an understatement! Luckily it easily cleaned off with baby wipes.
It also involved me jumping up and down, running around and pretending to be a horse! Children model the behaviour of their parents, so me joining in was a great way to encourage them, and felt like a fun way to keep fit (it was very hot and I was sweating).
We were told about things we needed in order to stay alive in the wild – such as food, clean water and somewhere dry and safe to sleep. This is where we were introduced to the meal worm – which contains as much protein as a steak. That the youngest person in the WORLD to EVER eat one was 6 years old, before they were offered up to the group. I am very proud to say that my 5 year old son’s hand shot straight up as he eagerly tried a meal worm.
He was then rewarded with a badge. My other son also ate one, relieving me of the need to encourage them – yes, I was chicken and waited until lunchtime for sandwiches.
The Kit itself was a heavy box and we were supplied with newspapers (to fill the 6 Hessian sand bags, but we could have used the dry leaves on the ground). It contained a Hefty Khaki Backpack which will carry the whole kit in. The boys were given one of these bags each and loved them, they used them on their next trip back to London.
The boys had already found a tree as soon as we arrived at the secret location, and made sure it was a good one for climbing. They had found some broken branches and were keen to use them to help further camouflage the den. With some strong para cord the tough camouflage tarpaulin was draped across and held into the ground by 10 holdfast steel pegs banged in with a sturdy wooden mallet. I was impressed with the fact that my son knew the names/techniques of some knots from Cub Scouts. The boys came across their first challenge as they had ran out of pegs doing the first side, they not only needed to do the second side, but to put up their Wooden “Danger mines” sign and Union Jack Flag (they ended up cutting some of the para cord and tying it up). They then covered their den in a tough camouflage net.
The kit also contains a Caley’s Heroes Chocolate bar – the original Marching chocolate given out to British Troops during the Great War. Retailing at 80p with a 5p donation from Battlebox to Help for Heroes with each bar sold. We also had some Snaps – which enable me to teach the boys the importance of not throwing them near people (and actually that they needed a hard ground to work). They were also given a 7 in one survival whistle (retailing at £8.00) and it most definitely was a hit – and will be useful on the next hike with the Scouts!
The Bear Grylls Living Wild book that comes with the kit is fantastic. Only having time for a quick look it is beautifully illustrated and very informative – such as advice on if your feet are going to get wet taking a couple of sets of socks. My boys and I could have benefited from this advice when we went in the Brook as they got very sore legs walking home from where their wellies rubbed.
I try to be really thrifty, and if I was asked before the day, I would say that this could easily be achieved by using a bed-sheet in the garden. But actually the quality of the product was really good, and could obviously be used over and over again, storing neatly in the bag. I am pretty certain that the boys could camp out in the rain in it too. We talked about how we didn’t have the right trees in our garden – but that, actually, we could utilise the washing line! This is definitely on our Christmas wishlist.
The boys even took their dad to their tree to show him where they had made the den. I bet my 10 year old would love for his dad to do the 24 hour survival course now and it would be great for a bit of male bonding!
You may recognise the Battlebox brand as it was on episode 7 of series 9 of the Apprentice, where teams had to sell products at the Motorhome and Caravan show. Both teams bid for the chance to sell the Dangerous Den kit – but winning team Evolve were the ones that won the pitch Battlebox on The Apprentice – A different Kind of Adventure.
The Bear Grylls Dangerous Den Kit was named the winner of the ToyTalk Outdoor Toy of the Year 2012 and was Highly Commended Toyology’s Active Play Award 2013.
Kind thanks to Battlebox, CampbellBell.com, Bear Grylls Survival Academy & Photos courtesy of MacPhotography. We were invited to the event and provided with lunch, a travel allowance and the boys received a gift bag each. I was not asked to write this post but decided to because I really endorse the product. All opinions are my own.