Sunday Supplement

A few weeks ago someone got in touch offering us a ‘half-term’ in a box. Now, I don’t know about you but our half-term ‘out of the box’ was busy enough what with trips to the National Railway Museum, the Natural History Museum and a Scalextric Spectacular to fit in. Then it was school again and, well, half-term in a box stayed right there until just recently.

Now, however, the nights are well and truly drawing in; it’s colder; the park shuts earlier. So we got half-term out of its box and had a play. Among other things, the box consisted of a Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure starter kit.

Although we’re not big gamers here, the advantage of this particular item is that it comes with an interactive display stand called, rather grandly, the ‘Portal of Power’. Now the manufacturers might say that this serves as ‘a mystical as a gateway between our world and the amazing world of the Skylanders’ allowing players to ‘teleport real-world toy characters directly into the game’ but we – you and I, parents of several children some of whom are far too young for such things – know different. Yes. We know that the Skylanders ‘Portal of Power’ is a cunning means to let the player play the game while keeping younger, irritating siblings amused. Which, translated, means Sally gets to play (she loves it) while Charlie does the ‘teleporting’ with the figurines.

And they – the figures – are actually rather good: well-crafted, robust enough for toddler handling and genuinely interactive. Honestly, the fun a three-year-old can have just putting them on and off the ‘Portal of Power’ (it pains me to keep typing that!) is seemingly endless. He’s too young for the game proper, of course. But he finds Spyro (a sort-of junior dragon-type creature) and his chums rather entertaining.

Eloise, meanwhile, is into much simpler pleasures. And so, if truth be told, is Charlie as you can hear by the ever-increasing urgency of his asking, ‘can I push her’ in this short film of tranquil joy, taken a few weeks ago. Before the park shut its gates at half-past-three.

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