As we slowly adapt to the ‘new norm’ and wait for schools to open, work to get back into full swing, and activities to resume whether for us, or for our children, we must try and keep positive and as active as we can. With a long summer ahead with limited travel & no open activities for children and the family, this edition we have turned to the assistance of Charlie Astor Co-Founder of the acclaimed Children’s entertainment company Sharky & George, who will be guiding us towards children’s entertainment and fun ideas to keep them engaged and happy, that doesn’t involve screens and expensive days out.
Storcx are also offering our guide to the best new on-line educational games, old fashioned family games and board games to keep your children busy.
With what’s going on the world today STORCX wanted to take the opportunity to focus on sustainability and changes that we can make that are actually within our control in these tempestuous times. Perhaps the Covid-19 pandemic has given us more to think about and reminded us about the vulnerability of life and all the things we take for granted – one of which is our planet. If we all don’t collectively adopt a social responsibility for climate change, food will be scarce, people will get ill and our beautiful Earth will not be the one we love. We need to think of all the little thigs we can do.
We received a lovely email from a user STORCX, they loved our concept and said by using STORCX it gets rid of unwanted waste and that last-minute panic buying. “We are going to implement it in every year at school and for teacher gifts.” This filled the team at STORCX with so much happiness, as this was the sole reason of conception. To reduce waste and unnecessary excess.
In this June edition we are looking at gifts that carry a truly sustainable label.
CHARLIE ASTOR STARTED SHARKY & GEORGE, A CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY WITH HIS OLD ETONIAN SCHOOL FREND, GEORGE WHITEFILED.
S: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SET UP SHARKY & GEORGE?
CA: It was slightly forced upon us when George and I were at school. We had played a prank on our housemaster which involved water, some coins and a funnel. Our ‘punishment’ was to look after thirty 6-year-olds at his daughter’s birthday party. He told us to just do what we enjoyed doing when we were young and be ourselves as she was scared of the ‘funny man’ from the year before. Not adopting an alter ego but simply being older brother figures and just playing games that we found fun I think was the secret for success in the early days. It was simply pure good fun, rather than a performance which children really seem to enjoy and more importantly, so did we!
S: AS A KID WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE PARTIES?
CA: Treasure hunts, water fights and camping parties were the best! George’s dad is a chocolate maker, and for his 8th birthday party he was allowed to take a load of friends around the factory eating chocolates off the machines, and filling empty ice cream tubs with molten chocolate to take home……sadly we met when we were 12, so I didn’t get the call up to that one!
S: HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR KIDS ENTERTAINED ON A RAINY DAY OR IN THIS CASE LOCKDOWN?
CA: My 2.5-year-old son and I have taken to turning the sitting-room upside down and creating ever more elaborate ‘caves’ from upturned sofas, rugs, cushions and curtains. The last one had an entrance hall, a music room and a garage for the toy cars. Construction normally starts when my long-suffering wife heads out to the gym on the weekend but things are rarely but back in order before she returns. Planning permission is increasingly hard to get these days.
S: DO YOU CAGTER TO ADULT PARTIES AS WELL?
CA: We have done adult parties for a while now but we are starting to shout about it a bit more now. It came from mums and dads asking us to do a party for them as well as their children. A 35/40-year-old is not so different from a 6-year-old when you put a tug of war rope or a giant catapult and water bombs in front of them! We then started doing adventure races and quests for adults as well as children. We have looked after 550 adults doing a challenge race around the Tower of London, 12 adults for a jewel quest around the islands of Ponza and Palmarola with 5 actors, boat chases, and diving into caves to recover ancient chests. It has been really fun turning our creativity to the adult world and this area is growing very fast for us.
S: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH A CHILD THAT DOESN’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES?
CA: Softly-softly is often the best approach. Often it is by asking a question, distracting them away from parents with individual attention. If you give them a role on the periphery of a game (like pressing play on the music or holding the pole in a limbo competition) this will build their confidence and trust. From there it tends to be quite easy to get them fully immersed in the next game.
S: AS AN ADULT WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT TRICK TO KEEPING CHILDREN ENGAGED?
CA: At our parties, we aim to change the game every few minutes so there is always something new to focus on and no time to get bored……
S: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FAMILY GAME?
CA: 40:40. It is so much fun and always exciting, it’s probably best for 4-year olds and up, but you can definitely have a baby in a rucksack, or carry a toddler if needs be whilst playing. You choose a base that one person has to guard. The guarder gives everyone 40 seconds to run away and hide. Then the guarder goes out looking for people, if he spots someone, he runs back and touches the base shouting “40:40 I see Gemma” (or whoever it is that he sees!). Gemma is then caught and has to stay at the base. If Toby then sneaks up and touches the base without being caught and shouts “40:40 I save all”, then Gemma and any other prisoners are free to hide again whilst the guarder counts to 20. Keep playing until everyone is imprisoned.
S: ARE YOU ASKED TO HELP SOURCE GIFTS OR DO A GIFT LIST?
CA: We do organise party bags for lots of our parties, and have been asked about gift lists, but have not done these yet. It would be a great service to be able to offer…
S: WHAT’S THE BEST GIFT YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
CA: A very old but lovely wooden sailing dinghy when I was 7 years old which I might pass on to my son if he stops upsetting his mum with his cave-building!
Remember Keep Life Simple – #storcxit