Wednesday, June 03, 2020
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Play at Home Fest 2020 Announces Fantastic Family Favourites Lineup

Free virtual festival over Spring Bank Holiday weekend (23rd-24th May 2020) to raise funds for charity

Thrive not just survive over Spring Bank Holiday weekend with the Play at Home Fest organized by Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide alongside 3foot People Festival and family entertainment providers. Featuring a host of eclectic performers, the festival will stream virtually across the weekend in a bid to raise vital funds for the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.

Lifting spirits across the nation and around the world, the festival is free to be involved in and will bring together stars from across comedy, toys, TV and children’s entertainment. The festival is child psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer’s innovative initiative to remind families that even while in lockdown, fun is not cancelled!

Broadcast via and across the Good Play Guide’s social media channels, the festival’s performers include comedian and author Shappi Khorsandi, The Giggle Doctors from Theodora Children’s Charity, Merlin Crossingham from Aardman, Miffy and tonies® among others.

Children will be able to take part in Morph model making workshops, arts & craft activities, science experiments, music, comedy and more as part of the fun-filled weekend that guarantees smiles for all the family.

The family-friendly virtual festival promises to be an upbeat celebration for all, so pitch your tent in the garden, get out your camping chairs and enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend with two action-packed days designed to nurture children’s imagination, creativity and connectivity whilst putting play back at the heart of the home.

Dr. Amanda Gummer, founder of Good Play Guide, the team behind the Play at Home Fest, said, “…the response we have had from the day we first launched Play at Home Fest has been phenomenal and we are excited to be able to bring in so many wonderful people and brands to put together a fun-filled weekend for families. It is so important during this time to understand that we can thrive and not just survive, and we encourage everyone to join in and embrace the fun as we raise money for the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.”

Families are able to register their interest for this free event via the Good Play Guide’s

The festival takes place on 23rd and 24th May at and is free to be involved in. All profits from the event will be donated to charities.

Fortnite For Children?

With an enforced shut down, many more children and adults are turning to the games console and finding their way to Fortnite. A game which has no blood or gory graphics and allows people to team up, socialise in creative and go up against other players in a battle to virtual death. Fortnite has had great criticism about the number of children that play and the effect it can have on their developing brains, though this can be said of any game. However, Fortnite also allows them to learn how to co-operate with other people and keeps them in contact with friends, even if that friend moves away or is unable to get to them.

Anything used incorrectly can be problem but something like Fortnite also has many benefits for children and teens provided it isn't over played. It is is not unusual to meet six and seven year olds whilst playing, sometimes you can hear their parents in the background. The cartoony appearance and the lack of gore or blood make it very enticing to young people. The creative part of the game lets them just play with people they want to. Also if they go into a match, it also teaches them about team work and getting on with others, not losing their temper and controlling frustration.

It would be nice to see Epic Games (the makers of Fortnite) have a new playground/battleground for children. Mircrosoft monitor the XBox and what goes on during games and bad sportsmanship, swearing and being aggressive to other players is not tolerated and a ban can be applied. This means the game is somewhat monitored so if a child becomes uncomfortable with anything that is said to them online, they can immediately report the player and it will be looked into. This does give some protection, not just for children but for all of us that don't like being sworn at whilst trying to enjoy a game. Not many games have such an immediate way to report something that is not in keeping with the spirit of the game.

That is something that should not be overlooked. The spirit of Fortnite is fun and frollick, player's avatars dance, show emotion, play ball games and much more whilst hiding out in the game or waiting for a game to start. Our own Red Moon Puppy character spends most of her time hiding in solo games. You can try and find her soon with our new game. 'Where's Red Moon Puppy?' More on this in May. I have always found a good feeling on Fortnite, most people do not take it too seriously and even those that do still get into the fun aspect of the game.

How we see Red Moon Puppy, however, she currently plays in disguise at present and usually can be found as a hedgehog tree. (you'll know it when you see it) 

As with everything there are things to remember, children's eye sight and brains are still developing, so they should not be left to stay on games consoles for too long. 

More on the effects of games, games to avoid and best games to follow.

A Trial of Witches

By Cameron Readman
Rogue Events £13.99
ISBN: 9781916195608
available from Amazon or Bothwell School of Witchcraft

The Bothwell school of witchcraft based at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex runs 4 day courses where you act out a fantasy of being a student witch and follow a storyline.

They have now released a novel by Cameron Readmasn which creates a fictional back story to the creation of a Bothwell sanctuary in England by a Scottish coven decimated by the witch hunts instigated by James the King of Scotland and his unpopular minister Maitland.

Lord Earl Bothwell, Francis Stewart, is a powerful political figure and charming rogue but is also too impetuous for his own good let alone the coven that he is master of. Driven by his vanity and his hatred of Maitland he is too reckless and this costs him the lives of many close to him.

There are descriptions of torture and of a burning alive, as well as plenty of magic, and even an encounter with an elf, as well as betrayal. There are also two major plot twists toward the end, but no reveals from us!

The book's creator; Cameron Readman, is the Creative Director of Bothwell School of Witchcraft and has already created a rich background and lore around the school. While this is his first novel, he has been writing about Bothwell School of Witchcraft for the past two years, whether that be fictional articles for the student handbook, stories of the founders or simply the characters that people are given for the experience, it has all lead to this. The book was launched via the Crowdfunding platform; Kickstarter, on May 1st and it reached it's funding goal within two hours!

This is a fast paced story primarily set at the end of the sixteenth century from the time of James wedding to Anne of Denmark through the Berwick witch trials and Bothwell's fall from grace. It does feature real life characters such as Lord Bothwell and Agnes Sampson. There is even his half brother Hercules, although his fate differs from history.

Readman in his first full length novel has created a fine work which combines historical fact with a fictional account and mixed in some strong personal motivations for the main character, but there is no skimping on lesser characters and the witch finder Oswyn and King James are fully fleshed out.

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Mensa Kids Brain Busters

Carlton Kids £9.99
ISBN: 978-1-78739-282-3

Split in three levels (Starters, intermediate and advanced) there are over 240 puzzles and in each section you will find ones that seem easy and others fiendish. Most are of the what number comes next or what would the next variant of a picture be. Just now and again there is a text question.

You will need to know your basic maths and apply logic to overcome these but given time and patience you should crack most of these. There is, of course an answers section at the rear and it does explain how the answer was arrived at. Knowledge of prime numbers is amust and square roots as well.

This is aimed at children, but parents will find plenty of challenges here too.

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