Childhood has changed hugely over the years. When I consider the experiences I had as a youngster and compare them to my own kids’ upbringing, things are very different indeed. I started school at an older age, computer games were in their infancy and children’s TV was screened for an hour on weekdays between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.
Some things, however, have stood the test of time. One of them is the Guinness World Records. I remember as a young kid getting a copy of the famed book at Christmas and spending hour after hour going through the various records.
The other day my eldest daughter Helen and I had the good fortune to attend the annual Guinness World Records family blogger event. Several other great bloggers were there with their kids including Jenny of Thebrickcastle, Cloette of Weregoingonanadventure and Ellie of Themummydiary. We all had the chance to qualify to break certain records, meet some record breakers and learn more about how the famed books are put together (there’s more than one, see below).
What I’ve found fascinating is how inspiring Helen found the day. Ever since the event she has spent huge amounts of time reading her copy of Guinness World Records 2016, which was kindly signed on the day by Craig Glenday the editor. She’s even tried replicating some of the record breaking attempts, thus far with no success but I’m sure she’ll get there.
To meet demand and ensure the records are kept up to date with changing fashions, there is also a Guinness World Records Gamer’s edition. This lists records held by gaming fanatics and we heard from the writers how the book is put together.
For anyone who is into gaming or has kids who like gaming, this edition would be a great read. I fear, however, that this family simply doesn’t ‘do’ gaming and so I was left feeling truly staggered, not to mention slightly bemused, at how some people had broken records playing Minecraft, Super Mario etc.
Having learned about the books and had a chance to hear about how records are awarded, it was off to a venue in Camden, North London to meet record breakers and try and break some ourselves. We met a couple of hula-hooping superstars from the Marawa’s Majorettes team who hold the record for most hula hoops spun simultaneously by a team and Gunniess World Records judge Anna Orford. Anna is something of a TV star in her own right as she’s well known from her appearances on Guinness World Record’s Officially Amazing TV programme.
Freestyle footballer John Farnworth was also in attendance. John was kind enough to give me a moment of glory. Having given a demonstration of his skills, volunteers were asked to step forward and my daughter very kindly dragged me up to the front.
My football skills are truly shocking. When I went to college, a friendly match was organised so all the new students could get to know each other. I foolishly volunteered to go in goal and found myself being replaced when my team was six-nil down. I was never allowed to forget that.
Yet again I demonstrated to the world how shocking I am when armed with a football. On my third attempt at replicating the trick John showed me, I sent the ball flying over the heads of all the kids sat directly in front of me and nearly took out both Debs from the Superbusymum and Ian Newbold of the Singleparentdad blogs. Ian caught the whole thing on video and you can see it here.
We were then given the chance to quality and break certain records. At this point I have to declare an interest. I was at the BritMums conference earlier this year and so was a part of a successful attempt to wrap as many mummies in lavatory paper as possible in three minutes (read about it here). Helen, who can be incredibly competitive, tried to follow in her father’s footsteps and did all she could to qualify in the star jumps, steps, handclapping and picking up as many LEGO blocks as possible with one brick categories.
Alas, it wasn’t to be and I can’t lie, I had to console a tired and upset youngster on the way home. She did, however, get over this when she wrote out her own certificate and awarded herself a record the following morning. Okay. So I’m her father and therefore extremely biased, but come on, you gotta love her chutzpah, right?
Although there were no records for this family on the day, two individuals did qualify and were successful. JJ, son of Michelle of the Mummyfromtheheart blog, went home with the record for most wood collected in Minecraft. That’ll be an impressive show and tell when he returns to school after half term.
John Farnworth also regained his record for most football touches with the heel in one minute. This is a record he previously held but lost and he seemed delighted to get it back again.
It was fun and it was inspiring. More than anything it was great to see that Guinness World Records is as inspiring to kids today as it was when I was young. Huge congratulations to those who went home with records and well done to everyone else who tried.
Guinness World Records 2016 and Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer’s Edition are available to buy now. More information and a list of stockists can be found on the Guinness World Records website. The cover price is £20 and £9.99 respectively.
Pic credit: Ivan Gonzalez photography