hiplittleone

Feb 012021
 

Bye bye lazy wake-ups and late breakfast, hello school rush and mad mornings! My little tribe has eagerly returned to class and I now have five cute students in the same primary school. For most children, including my own, a new school year comes with some nerves and reservations about classes, friendships and fitting in and school can be a real challenge! To make sure no child is forgotten and to encourage children to look after themselves and each other Smiggle and Dolly’s Dream want to invite all children to Choose Kindness in 2021.

What is Dolly’s Dream? In 2018 14-year old Dolly Everett, a beautiful young Australian teenager with her whole life ahead of her, took her own life after an extended period of bullying and cyber bullying. Dolly’s passing left her parents Kate and Tick completely heartbroken and Australia in shock. Dolly’s family is determined for their great loss to be a lesson to others and has embarked on the important mission to educate Australia about the serious impact of (cyber)bullying and to empower children and their families to speak up.

With a new school year ahead of us, now is the time to talk to your children or your students about kindness, (cyber)bullying, being safe, making the right decisions and most importantly standing up for what is right! Sometimes bullying can be hard to spot, and sometimes bullied children hide it well, but by talking about this tricky topic openly and honestly we can all become more aware of what goes on around us and we CAN make a difference.

Not sure where to start? Dolly’s Dream and Smiggle have bundled their powers to spread Dolly’s legacy and are encouraging Australian families to take the DigiPledge. This fun and educational online quiz will provide children and their parents with valuable skills and knowledge to stay safe and be kind and it is a wonderful conversation starter for families to open up about any experiences your child may have.

Are you ready to join the Smiggle and Dolly’s Dream ‘Choose Kindness’ crew? Take the Kindness Pledge and help share the important message of Dolly’s Dream, pop into your local Smiggle store from February 1, 2021, to pick up a FREE Choose Kindness keyring. Be quick, there are only 100,000 Dolly’s Dream limited edition keyrings available and they won’t last long!

To find out more about Dolly’s Dream and the #SmiggleDoItForDolly movement visit www.smiggle.com.au/dollysdream.

LeapStart 3D: Simba’s Surprise

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Dec 242020
 

When you have a big family like ours, storage space is always hard to find especially when it comes to toys. Ahead of the festive season I always give our playroom a thorough clean-out, sorting all the toys in the right boxes, donating older toys they’ve grown out of to our local op-shop or church and throwing away any broken bits and pieces. The kids love rediscovering everything they already own and I like the fresh start before new gifts arrive.

Another space-saving trick is to build on collections/brands you already have, it is often cheaper to buy new additions than to start a whole new collection and it is much easier for kids to put away their toys when there are less boxes/tubs. With this theory in mind we recently expanded our LeapStart 3D library with a fun new title for Ted and Hattie to explore, being compatible with the LeapStart 3D Learning System we already own there is no expensive outlay so it’s a super affordable gift AND takes up next to no space. Everyone’s happy!

If you are a longtime reader you will probably remember all about LeapStart 3D, but just in case you missed it you can check this clever learning system out here. The LeapStart 3D Library consists of many different titles that focus on specific learning skills and interests and new books are always in the making. One of the latest releases is Simba’s Surprise (RRP $19.95, ages 2-5), a cute storybook for preschoolers filled with interactive fun. Let’s go on a journey in the jungle with Simba the Lion King, Timon and of course the oh-so-funny Pumbaa.

To transform your LeapStart 3D book from an ordinary book into an interactive 3D adventure, simply open the LeapStart unit, click your book into place and turn the device on. The device will automatically recognise your book when you touch it with the smart stylus and guide you through downloading the audio for you new book (PC with internet connection required). While the main part of Simba’s Surprise is (of course) the story of Simba who wants to treat his friends to special gift, there is actually a lot more hiding on each page than ‘just’ words…

The stylus can be used to hear the story read out loud (allowing learning readers to read along with the words) but also to activate games, puzzles. challenges, hints and eye-catching animations that show up on the unique LeapStart 3D flip screen. Just touch anywhere on the page and see what happens! What do Ted and Hattie love most about Simba’s Surprise? They enjoyed playing the Animal Matching game (spotting body parts and connecting them them to the right animal owner), they liked watching Timon tickle Pumbaa with a feather and they thought Timon and Pumbaa stuffing their faces with scrumptious bugs and creepy crawlies was very funny. As a bonus the book also includes a page of free The Lion King stickers, nice treat!

Hip Tip: If you happen to own the original LeapStart System instead you can still enjoy all the fun the new titles have to offer (except for the 3D experience). Just another way LeapFrog cares for families and their budgets.

You can find the LeapStart 3D Library at your local Big W and other good toy stores across Australia or online at selected retailers.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

LeapFrog to the Rescue: Touch & Learn Tablet

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Dec 152020
 

Just when you think life is slowly returning to (a new version of) normal a range of interesting curve balls come rolling your way and we’ve certainly had our share! From an unexpected hospital stay for my little Ted (which had us all scared and running back and forth to hospital), to myself being admitted for major surgery right before a statewide lockdown. Thankfully hubby managed to step up as the most amazing full-time house dad, nurse and all the other jobs that come with running a large family like ours and will be doing so for a while longer. I have been ordered not to lift a finger and to act like a princess for at least six weeks, which is a lot harder than it sounds…

Back to Ted in a hospital bed, an experience we won’t easily forget. After the initial shock had worn off he slowly showed some interest in the toys and games I had packed for him in his backpack, including this fun kiddy device by LeapFrog:

The 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is an attractive combination of a colourful book and and a chunky kid-proof pretend tablet (so no screen time!). There are buttons to push, colours and pictures to see, stories to listen to, interactive pages to explore, tabs to flick, lights to look at and more, so there’s plenty to do for a little boy stuck in bed (or a child on a Christmas road trip!).

So what makes the Touch & Learn Tablet a ‘2-in-1’? The secret is in the magic handle! In horizontal position children can flip over the interactive pages to discover numbers, animals, shapes, flowers, opposites and emotions. By simply touching the pages with their finger (no stylus required) young readers can learn facts and play games, at their own pace and following their interests. Each page has more than 14 different interactive touch points to keep little brains busy for ages.

When you switch the handle you can rotate the device vertically to instantly turn the tablet into a book with six sweet animal stories. Give Buddy a bath, go painting with Jake, visit the farm with Pepper or listen to what your other animal friends get up to. Not only can you hear the story read out loud, you can also test your spotting skills on every page with simple touch games (eg. Find the cow, Find the number 4 or Find Bella).

With its many ways to play and learn and its compact shape the 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet has been a real life saver over the last two months. We now always pack it in our bag to use it on a long drive or in a boring waiting room (which we have seen way too much of lately). Ted is a keen learner and he often surprises me by repeating things he has learnt by playing on ‘his iPad’ as he calls it. If you’re looking for a Christmas screen-free gift that entertains AND trains, this is it!

You can find the LeapFrog 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet at your local Big W and other good toy stores across Australia or online at selected retailers.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

Secret Safe Treasure Chest

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Nov 152020
 

VTech

While having sisters is lots of fun, every now and then a girl needs a bit of quiet time away from her nosy siblings. Secret notes, locked diaries, little treasures… our four girls are generally great at sharing but some things are simply private property. So where do you tuck away your special belongings so your curious sisters can’t find them? VTech has your back:

From secret storage to special songs, from games to glowing lights, from tiny treasures to telling the time and more, the Secret Safe Treasure Chest (RRP $49.95, ages 6-11) is the ultimate all-in-one girls gift this Christmas.

Shaped like a sweet purple and pink jewellery box, this interactive Secret Safe is way too pretty to hide away in your wardrobe and deserves to take top spot on your bedside table. It even doubles as a talking alarm clock and you can change the clock front to suit your style, what a cool way to learn to read the time! When the alarm goes off you’ll hear your choice of sound or tune and the top of the chest lights up in beautiful rainbow colours.

On the inside the Treasure Chest offers a heart shaped mirror, a removable top tray to fit your smallest jewellery and a generous main compartment for more storage. Don’t worry, your valuables are well protected by your own unique password. Only the person who enters all four numbers or symbols correctly will be able to open this chest and unveil its bounty! Once the chest has been unlocked the light-up ring will show a colour display chosen by the owner. (Parents can rest assured: The secret code can be reset in case of emergency)

Aside from keeping your precious belongings safe from nosy sisters, there are plenty of other awesome features hidden in this treasure chest. The saying ‘It’s not all fun and games’ definitely doesn’t apply here but because this pink box is loads of fun AND it comes with 9 great games that teach important skills like spelling, logic and maths. Because the games use only the four gem buttons to control they are easy to learn even for young players yet they still get their brains working and different levels keeps things exciting.

Miss 7 especially loves testing and expanding her word knowledge by making as many four letter words as possible in Speedy Speller, and solving the mystery of the hidden butterfly in Hide and Seek. Miss 5 may not have excess to her sister’s precious goodies, but she is pretty chuffed that she can still play games without knowing the password. She enjoys practising her numbers in Order Challenge and she is a big fan of Magically Disappearing Cat.

Last but not least, the Secret Safe Treasure Chest comes preloaded with 20 different tunes in the Music Box and the ability to compose your own simple tracks in Music Creation with the use of the gem buttons. Stop, play, repeat and shuffle to enjoy a personalised musical experience. You can even use the Treasure Chest as a speaker by connecting an external music player like a phone or MP3 player, time to put all your favourite Christmas carols on repeat!

You can find the Secret Safe Treasure Chest right now at your local Big W store and select online stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

To find out more about VTech, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.vtech.com.au.

Go Away, Worry Monster! giveaway

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Nov 042020
 

EK Books

In just a few short weeks this unusual school year will end, which means Hattie is getting ready to leave kindy and become a big school girl. It is going to be quite the change and there’s definitely a mix of nerves and excitement. Time to boost the morale by shopping for some cool new school gear and reading up to prepare. This gorgeous EK Books release tackles those ‘new school’ worries beautifully:

In Go Away, Worry Monster! (RRP $24.99) we meet Archie who experiences a night time visit from an unwanted guest, the Worry Monster… New classrooms, big buildings, tricky maths and a school full of strangers, the Worry Monster knows exactly what’s on Archie’s mind on the eve of a new school year. The more Archie worries, the bigger the monster gets. Archie’s heart is beating fast and his tummy is starting to feel a little queasy; if only the Worry Monster would go away!

After taking a deep breath Archie follows the simple tricks his mum taught him, tackling his worries one by one and replacing them with powerful facts. All of a sudden the monster doesn’t seem so big anymore. Now that all his worries have been squashed the Worry Monster has no choice but to leave. Well done, Archie!

Worry Monsters come in all shapes, sizes and colours, they keep you up at night and make you feel miserable. This sweet picture book takes the scary out of school and the negativity out of nerves, leaving kids feeling strong and empowered to banish their very own Worry Monster. It’s the perfect book for little school starters!

You can find ‘Go Away, Worry Monster!’ by Brooke Graham in leading book stores across Australia.

To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.org.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of ‘Go Away, Worry Monster!’ (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

Myla’s Sparkling Friends

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Oct 282020
 

If you are a regular Hip Little One reader you might remember the arrival of the fluttering Myla the Magical Unicorn back in 2018. Fast forward two years and Myla hasn’t lost her sparkle yet, the girls still play with her often and she is a main character in many of their plays. In fact, they’ve recently welcomed some new fairytale friends for even more mystical adventures:

Myla’s Sparkling Friends (RRP $29.95, ages 4+) are the perfect proof that there is no such thing as too much magic, the more the merrier is our motto! The adorable Ava, Mia and Penny may be smaller in size but they are definitely big in entertainment.

With their fluttery wings, sparkling eyes, bushy tails and long flowing mane these colourful creatures come straight out of an enchanted forest. They talk, sing, move and light up making them a wonderful companion for all your fairytale stories. When you touch their mouths or wiggle their wings they’ll chatter away with more than 100 different sentences, songs, melodies and sounds that will truly bring your fantasy forest to life.

Simply press the jewel necklace to select a colour, then touch your new friend’s eyes, horn, wings or tail to see it light up in the most beautiful colours. You can decorate them over and over again, it’s a bit like make-up but without the mess (Yay!). The animal friends even teach you the name of each colour, now that’s smart.

My girls like playing with Myla’s Sparkling Friends in the dark and I have caught them taking their light-up buddy to bed so they can admire the rainbow colours as they go to sleep. While the animals are rigid and cannot be posed, they can actually perform really lifelike movements. If you push their wing or squeeze their leg you will be treated to a wagging tail or flapping wings, adding a lovely dimension to your child’s pretend play.

To help you care for and dress up your sparkling friend some little accessories (eg. a comb, hair clips or coloured charms) are included. We love the fabulous price point and the compact size of Myla’s Sparkling Friends because it means these cute creatures can come along on car trips and sleepovers, check out the sweet carry bag Hattie found for her friend Mia.

Myla’s girl squad currently consists of Ava the Fox, Mia the Unicorn and Penny the Peacock.

You can find Myla’s Sparkling Friends by VTech right now at your local Big W store and select online stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

To find out more about VTech, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.vtech.com.au.

‘Scientists Who Changed the World: Rachel Carson’ giveaway

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Oct 162020
 

EK Books

If there is one thing I have realised during our unexpected homeschooling this year, it’s that kids love learning as long the topic interests them. As we were thrown in the deep end we had to be creative with our methods, resources, time and expectations and looking back we did really well. We actually found lots of handy, interesting and useful books on our own bookshelf, like this cool science read by EK Books:

The ‘Scientists Who Changed the World’ book series makes science fun and relatable by introducing young readers to a bunch of famous scientists, sharing stories of their childhood, their discoveries and their impact on the world of today. What a fabulous way to raise little science enthusiasts!

In Scientists Who Changed the World: Rachel Carson we travel back in time to the early 1900’s to meet US scientist Rachel Carson and learn about the dangers of chemicals and their disastrous effects on nature. Did you know as a child Rachel excelled at recognising different bird songs and could identify the stars in the sky? She absolutely loved nature and her passion would lead her to become a biologist, writer and well known environmentalist.

We love how Scientists Who Changed the World combines the power of story telling with history and science, it is a winning combo. Reading how everyday children can grow up to make world-changing discoveries is exciting and inspiring and my children were intrigued by this story. We can’t wait to check out other titles in the series too.

You can find ‘Rachel Carson’ by Anita Croy in leading book stores across Australia.

To find out more about EK Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite titles online visit www.ekbooks.org.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of ‘Scientists Who Changed the World: Rachel Carson’ (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!