Wednesday, 14 December 2011
What will you do with the kids over Christmas?
There are some fantastic family events happening at MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, Manchester from 8-22nd December.
They are all sport theme in the run up to Sports Personality of the Year so the perfect way to burn off some excess energy!
You'll need tickets for these free Celebrate Sport events with the BBC (first come, first served) just go to bbc.co.uk/showsandtours for more information.
The events are happening from 4-8pm on weekdays and 10-6pm at the weekends.
4pm – 8pm, Weekdays - Come and join in at the Celebrate Sport Playzone in the Studio Block where you can take part in a football radio play; practice your sports commentary; conduct all your favourite BBC Sport theme music; get a sneak preview of the National Football Museum’s exhibits, play a brand new computer football game that helps with your maths or take a penalty in the mascot challenge.
10am – 6pm, Weekends - The National Football Museum in partnership with Celebrate Sport is offering Baby Moves and Movement Matters classes for Budding Busby Babe toddlers and babies. There’s storytelling by Pickles the dog, the hero of the 1966 World Cup or come or help us create a giant Celebrate Sport collage. (Sat 10, Sun 11, Sat 17 and Sun 18 December)
Celebrate Sport with the BBC is a collaboration between BBC Sport, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Children’s, BBC Learning and BBC Manchester, working closely with local partners.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
A merry techno Christmas to you
With less than a month until Christmas final present buying decisions are upon us. And yes we’re feeling the pressure at MumPanel too. Lynne and I (Nicola) have daughters of the same age and they both seem to want exactly the same things this year. We’ve both had serious discussions with Santa (in our house he’s watching when the red light comes on in the house alarm monitors, in Lynne’s house she speaks to the elves on the phone as Santa is so busy at this time of year).
We’ve negotiated around the fact that Santa isn’t keen on the idea of dolls that poo green and flimsy plastic Barbie doll houses. And although we know daft, fun toys are an important part of development we’re both keen to include at least one gift that has some educational value. Both our daughters started reception this year and are in the throes of learning to read. Just this week I was told I pronounced a certain letter sound incorrectly (that would be my Lancashire accent coming back to haunt me). Reading and language development is taught in a very specific way in most UK schools – they initially teach sounds rather than letters, phonics and work on chopping up and blending sounds to understand and create words.
I played with the idea of buying my daughter a laptop (to ‘do’ letters as she says) or an iPad but I couldn’t bear the thought of hundreds of pounds of technology smashing to the floor in a forgetful five year old moment.
Lynne and I had actually struck on an identical present idea without even realising it – the Leapfrog Leap Pad, a child friendly learning tablet. It’s sort of an iPad for kids, complete with downloadable apps. I was first introduced to the Leap Pad at Cybermummy earlier this year and was impressed with both the concept and the price point. And it seems the rest of the world thought this was a great idea and it soon raced to the top of the most popular toy for Christmas 2011.
I mentioned the Leap Pad idea one day to Lynne and she shared her thoughts on the product (she’d already bought one for her daughter). The real downfall with this product is it that it doesn’t tie up with current educational practice in the UK – so it teaches letters rather than sounds, American spelling and grammar. For both our children we want them to take part in activities that will reinforce what they learn at school, especially at a stage when they are just beginning to establish these skills at school.
It’s seems like a missed opportunity that LeapFrog haven’t considered what the UK market and school age children need – something that builds on what they are learning.
It’s been enough to put me off purchasing the Leap Pad which is such a shame as it’s ideal in so many other ways. I’m keen for my daughters to interact with technology (and even Fisher Price are aware that babies want to get their hands on mum and dads tech) but I want it to have at least some educational value (so I’m afraid Santa had said no Nintendo DS this year). And an article in the Guardian last week says there are more preschoolers who know how to use smartphones than tie their shoelaces. That just shows how important it is for technology companies to take into account what's happening at school during the product development stage.
I have a feeling my tangerine and nuts in the stocking isn't going to cut it this year.
If you'd like to know more about working with MumPanel on product testing and development drop us a line.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Mamas & Papas blogger event
The Mamas & Papas blogger day at their Huddersfield HQ was a great success. Our handpicked bloggers got to see how Mamas & Papas develop their products (and a sneaky peek of some brand new products). They also heard the family story behind Mamas & Papas and how that impacts on everything including the quality of the products (each one is still individually signed off by Luisa Scacchetti, co-founder).
The most important aspect of the day for MumPanel was that the feedback that we gathered from previous product reviews is clearly listened to. There are a number of changes being made to the Urbo and Mylo prams based on feedback from MumPanel mums. And we know from our day with Mamas & Papas that they are always listening and learning from mums.
You can read more about what our mums thought of the bloggers day here...
Mamas & Papas - I am in love
My day at Mamas and Papas
The one where I got to visit the HQ
At the heart of the word family
Trip to Mamas & Papas HQ
If you'd like to know more about spreading the word campaigns then get in touch.
We worked with mums, dads and grandparents across the UK to determine what they wanted to see on the site and what sort of features would help them help their children’s learning and play processes. If you visit the site you’ll find many MumPanel mum tales and tips.
Monday, 14 November 2011
Mums trust mums for product recommendations
The big supermarket chains know this and have all recently run campaigns that got mums chatting at the school gate – from Morrisons Disney campaign and Let’s Grow vouchers to Tesco Mum of the Year and Asda Election Mums. It’s vital that companies remember that although some mums are online, gathering information and chatting for many mums their main interaction will be at a school gate, PTA meeting or coffee shop with friends.
Monday, 31 October 2011
A good start to the day
Kellogg’s have also introduced a new children’s cereal brand, Mini Max, a healthier cereal choice which is low in saturated fat, high in fibre, a lower salt choice and a source of D and B vitamins and iron. By creating a cereal that meets certain nutritional criteria it means it can be advertised on children’s TV (their other cereals are not currently allowed to be advertised on children’s television). Here at MumPanel we think product development that means children and parents can make healthier food choices can only be a good thing. We hope other food manufacturers will take notice.
Friday, 21 October 2011
Reviews – what our mums think of Mamas and Papas pushchairs
Monday, 17 October 2011
Mummmmmm I want
What we wanted to know is whether children or grandchildren have a significant say in the grocery brands or products you buy. And once again the results surprised us. We knew from other research we’d done that some parents bend fairly easily to the demands of their children but we actually found that 53% of parents (and grandparents) said that children didn’t have a significant influence on what they purchased in the supermarket.
And the other 46% caved in a little more! But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the products our children influence are unhealthy. In our survey we found the items of grocery shopping that children have the biggest say on are 31% cereal, 21% fruit and 14% yogurts.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
We’d expected that children would want their lunchboxes packed with crisps and chocolate but what we found is that they are just as opinionated about fruit and yogurts. We usually associate pester power with junk food but in fact it seems it also applies to healthy food choices.
• Lunchbox items were high on children’s food preferences – 17% of mums specifically mentioned lunchboxes (21% mentioned fruit, 19% snacks, 15% yogurts and 7% crisps).
• Children aren’t just influenced by television or other advertising in the supermarket but also by looking in other kids lunchboxes.
• Mums recognise the influence of advertising on their children. Some mums give into the demands of their children but most try and strike a balance between healthy foods and treats.
• Many children are now more clued up about five a day than their parents and are both educating their mums and dads and pestering for healthy alternatives.
Keep your eyes peeled for new products from Soreen early next year.
Monday, 10 October 2011
A good night’s sleep
We know they have to be robust but do parents want a waterproof cover or hypoallergenic materials? We’ve been asking our panel of thousands of mums, dads and grandparents what they think and then this feeds into the process of new product development.
Getting the right bed can mean the difference between a great night’s sleep and a poor one. A lack of sleep means not just a grumpy child (and mum or dad) but it has an impact on their ability to concentrate at school and even socialise and make friends. We’ll keep you updated on the new Silentnight products.
Monday, 3 October 2011
Positive messages for kids
In the last few years there has been a real movement in the UK to get our children eating healthier food – whether that’s moving them away from a junk food, processed diet or improving the food they eat at school every day. One change we’ve seen is that some food manufacturers are taking on this idea and communicating healthy messages on their food. I was recently in the supermarket with my daughter and she spotted Yoplait yogurts.
Yoplait want to emphasise the goodness in yogurt and they do this by featuring a big bone on the front of their pots. My daughter immediately spotted the bone and told me that yogurt made her bones healthy because of calcium. This allowed me to open up a conversation about healthy eating and food choices and it was good to know that the education she is getting at both home and school is getting through.
One of the many positive benefits of this kind of messaging is that my daughter pesters me for that product – rather than a chocolate bar or junk food. We’re currently working with Soreen on new product development and as we’ve being doing consumer and market research we’re seeing an increasing trend of the introduction of healthier alternatives for children.