Well after looking forward to it for months the day finally came for us to visit The Digital Kids Show at Event City in Manchester.
The venue was really easy to get to being at the Trafford Centre with brilliant parking facilities and we managed to arrive without the stress of getting lost or trawling the car park for a space which is a bug bear of mine especially with four restless children.
We’ve never been to an indoor event as big as this with the kids so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The space was large with plenty of space between activities and stands for my lot to run and skid about in. It was really easy to find everything and the toilets and babychange were clean and there were enough cubicles which meant we didn’t have to queue which was great.
A really important part of The Digital Kids Show (DKS) is to educate families on internet safety. Internet Matters had a fun Halloween Selfie booth!
I can highly recommend visiting the Internet Matters website for lots of age appropriate infomation on how to stay safe online and you can download their factsheets as well as report anything you feel is inappropriate online. It’s a really good resource for parents to help start conversations with their children. I like to think I’m pretty well up on the internet and social media but I have no idea where to start when it comes to giving the boys the right information and tools they need when it comes to staying safe online.
Now, it was pretty much non-stop with 7 and 5 year old boys and 13 month old twins but there was plenty for all ages which was great. There was even a little soft play area which the girls enjoyed exploring.
My favourite section was CBeebies.
The boys loved the CBeebies iPlayer app which is now a stand alone app in addition to the original BBC iPlayer. The Go Jetters game and the new CBeebies Island app was also a hit and they’d have happily stayed ALL day with the Blue Peter team making phone speakers from paper cups.
The girls were really taken with Funella Furchester from The Furchester Hotel!
The only downside to the show was the queues to play games and my boys really hate queuing for anything. The queues weren’t big and I think in a couple of years the boys will have the patience but this time they missed out on the gaming and Meet and Greets with the Youtube Stars. We did get to chat to Tomohawk later on in the day though which made the boys’ day!
One of the first stands we came to was Alopecia UK which was there to support Tomohawk and raise awareness. I did a bit of homework before the show to familiarise myself with the youtube gamers who were attending and had mentioned to the boys that Tomohawk had something called Alopecia which is why he has no hair. PB laughed and said in disbelief “he hasn’t got any eyebrows!”. He wasn’t laughing because he thought it funny to have no eyebrows but because he’d actually never even noticed that there was anything different about Tom!
There were lots of stands showcasing cool apps and games and PB enjoyed playing with Popjam which is a really fun app for kids to get creative and share their creations with an online community. There are a long list of ways the Popjam team work to help make their app and community a safe place for kids to enjoy making it a great, kid friendly, safer alternative to the usual social media.
Spud loved the Magformers stand and wouldn’t move on until I took a photo of his creation.
As the name suggests, Magformers are magnets which you can put together to make what ever you want to and it was a really popular stand the whole time we were there. I think the boys might be finding a box under the Christmas tree in the not too distant future.
I didn’t manage to get a photo of everything unfortunately. Having four children is like trying to spin plates whilst herding chickens. My sister, Helen came along to help but really we needed two adults for the children and another to take photos all day!
Primo Toys was one of the stands PB and Helen had fun with. It was a really interesting product which can help teach children to code before they can read with a fun little wooden robot ‘Cubetto’ move. It was obviously modern in the way it works but the look and feel of the game and accessories had a really nice retro feel to it.
Ironically at a show all about the digital age we live in, the boys’ absolutely favourite activities were the inflatables.
They had a Sweeper, a game where you were attached to an elastic band and had to collect balls from a central pool to put in your corner bag in competition with three other children, an inflatable assault course and the Big Red Balls similar to the ones on Total Wipeout but enclosed in netting. The Big Red Balls were the cause of a lot of excitement!
The black inflatable runway in the photo above was from Oxygen Freejumping which is a trampoline park not far from the Trafford Centre. Moth was desperate to have a bounce so we’ll definitely be visiting Oxygen very soon to try out one of their toddler sessions.
Another of the areas I liked was Youtube Kids.
How cool are these polaroids they took for us! PB was beyond amazed at the magic photo appearing before his eyes.
Youtube kids is a great app meaning you can safely leave your kids to watch youtube knowing that the only content they can access is child-friendly. Yes, as a parent I should be supervising everything the boys watch but kids are so tech savvy these days and with four children it IS harder to know exactly what they are doing every second of the day. You trust that they are doing and watching what you have discussed but when you are distracted by their siblings it only takes a second for them to decide to watch or do something else or for something less appropriate to pop up. Apps which help limit what they can access are a good way to ensure they are safe when you can’t be there. Another pair of much needed eyes.
Azoomee is a fun app which also ensures your children stay safe whilst enjoying the handpicked child-friendly content. If you pop over to the website they also have some really informative animated learning sessions which discuss all different aspects of internet safety which are a great way to educate yourself and your children.
The boys were fascinated by the puzzle the Azoomee crew gave them. They usually only have that particular look of concentration when they’re gaming!
We had a really fun day but despite there being plenty to keep the toddlers busy, next year I’d like to just take the boys so I can concentrate on them.
The Youtube Kids wall was a great photo op…
Like I said, spinning plates whilst herding chickens!
Overall it was a really good day out but was a bit overambitious of us to take two toddlers and the boys. The only slight downside is that you can’t take your own lunch which can be useful for keeping costs down with a big family but the food on offer was tasty and we didn’t notice any queues.
You don’t need to be a massive gaming fan to have fun at DKS. Next time we will be focusing more on Meet and Greets and playing games but the boys really enjoyed what we did manage to do and see.
If you went this year I’d love to hear what you enjoyed.
***Disclaimer*** As Official Partners of The Digital Kids Show we were given free entry to the show and invited to an aftershow wind down. As always, our reviews, opinions and thoughts are honest and unbiased.