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‘When the World Went Inside’ giveaway

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Jun 222020
 

From home isolation to hoarding, from shopping limits to social distancing, from hand sanitiser to home schooling… it has been a crazy few months! There are days I myself can hardly wrap my head around everything that has happened and the impact it has on all of us, so I am not surprised that children’s heads are full of questions too. If you are looking for a gentle conversation starter to tackle COVID19 with your little ones I’ve got the perfect find for you:

Written by a lovely Australian mama-of-three When the World Went Inside (RRP $15-$20) tells the story of a young boy called Theo and how his life changes when COVID19 enters his little world. People are worried, playgrounds are shut and schools are closed, he can no longer visit Granny or see his friends, yet he still has to brush his teeth and eat his veggies? This gorgeous book translates the impact, worries and changes brought on by the Coronavirus in a language children will recognise and understand.

Author Charlie Golding has managed to create a book that will hit home with children of all ages, discussing the ways the pandemic has affected their everyday life and making it easier to understand. Often children are unable to express their concerns or word their questions, in which case this beautifully illustrated book might just be the reassurance they need to put their mind at ease.

You can buy When the World Went Inside as a printed book ($20, soft-cover) to read at home or share in your classroom, or you can buy the e-book ($15, PDF) so you can enjoy it anytime and anywhere on your iPad on tablet.

To find out more about When the World Went Inside, to download a digital copy or to order the book online visit www.whentheworldwentinsidebook.com.

For your chance to win a copy of When the World Went Inside (RRP $20) by Charlie Golding hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

The Big LeapFrog Bake Off

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Jun 202020
 

During our weeks of home isolation hip daddy finally finished off our outdoor cubby house and it has been a source of joy, giggles and adventures for all the kids (and even the pets). Tea parties, mums and dads, schools, deserted islands, picnics… there is no limit to their imagination and I love hearing their chatter as they play. Unfortunately the weather for outside play has now ended so we’re snuggling up inside instead. Bye bye cubby house snacks and hello toasty winter treats, welcome to the big LeapFrog Bake Off!

The adorable Number Loving Oven (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is sure to appeal to budding bakers and curious chefs, our two pre-schoolers have been cooking up a storm. Yummy pizza, pretty cupcakes, a fried egg or even a freshly baked loaf of bread, this cute little oven does it all!

The Number Loving Oven is cleverly designed to suit a range of ages, development stages and learning interests, making it a great toy for siblings to share. For early learners the oven brings different types of food and colours, a shape sorting oven tray, the puzzle of building a pizza and a baguette, a sizzling stove top, a door that opens and closes and of course lights, sounds and songs.

As your master chef gets older he/she will start recognising the numbers on the pizza and the oven timer, you can learn about temperature and time, practise sharing and dividing food between guests and serving food on a plate with a spatula.  Seeing how our 2-year old, 4-year old and even 7-year old ‘play kitchen’ together with the Number Loving Oven, yet notice, learn and enjoy different things about it, proves it is a toy that will last the distance in a growing family.

By moving the timer, opening and closing the door and pressing the green chef’s hat button children will hear a wide range of learning questions (Let’s see, how long will that take to bake? Set the oven to four. That’s it! Let’s cook and count), encouraging sentences (That turned out beautifully! Mmmm, delicious. Let’s share), cooking information (1. Pre-heat, this little oven must pre-heat before you start to bake a treat. 4. Hot hot hot, to cook the pizza that’s you’ve got) and catchy songs about hand washing, cooking, waiting and counting. Plenty of kitchen chat to make cooking fun!

Bonus: As a mum I am super chuffed that all the food items fit neatly inside the oven, just close the door and everything is properly tidied away. No missing pieces and easy to store, winning! It is also a perfect compact size to keep in the cupboard at Grandma’s for when the grandies come visit.

You can find the LeapFrog Number Loving Oven at a Big W or other good toy store near you and 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.

Resoftables: Cuddles with a conscience

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Jun 152020
 

While the last few months have definitely not been easy, they have also taught people all over the world some valuable lessons. I have heard so many inspiring stories from people who soaked up this precious time with their loved ones, acquired new skills, reshaped their goals for the future, became more self-sufficient, discovered a love for nature and decided to make better choices for themselves and their families. If you would like to recycle, reuse, repurpose or refurbish more you are guaranteed to adore Resoftables:

Looking at how quickly our household plastic waste adds up each week, I am not surprised to hear that the world produces more than 275 million tonnes of plastic waste every single year. It is impossible to comprehend how much that really is, but it is roughly the body weight of a herd of 55 MILLION elephants!

We can all do our share: By sorting our household waste in the correct bins, donating unwanted goods and upcycling/recycling where possible, avoiding single-use items, bringing our own shopping bags and of course by consciously buying recycled products in store. Thanks to HeadStart now even the youngest family members can do their part, meet the Resoftables.

Not only are Resoftables hailed as the world’s softest plush, they are also made using 100% household plastic waste so they’re a safe and responsible choice for your children and the environment. Each adorable Resoftables toy (14″, ages 0+) is made from approximately 11 recycled plastic bottles, how cool is that? Next time you recycle your empty plastic bottle, your ‘rubbish’ might just turn into someone else’s Resoftable.

There are currently five different Resoftables to choose from: Bobo the Bunny, Sparkles the Unicorn, Snowie the Polar Bear, Kiki the Koala and Ted the Teddy Bear (a perfect match for our 2-year old Ted). You can find your favourite Resoftables toy at your local Kmart or Big W store. Bring on the cuddles!

To find out more about Resoftables by HeadStart and to take a closer look at the range visit www.resoftables.com.

‘Ella & Mrs Gooseberry’ giveaway

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Jun 042020
 

EK Books

During these strange times of social distancing and home isolation it is more important than ever to teach children about kindness, community and caring for those who could use a smile. This sweet EK Books release by Australian author Vikki Conley has all the good stuff covered:

In Ella & Mrs Gooseberry (RRP $24.99) we meet the lovely Ella and her grumpy neighbour called, you guessed it, Mrs. Gooseberry. When Ella asks her mother why Mrs. Gooseberry is always sad and grumpy, mum says it is because she has lost love. But how do you lose love, and more importantly, how do you find it again?

Ella decides that to find something that is lost, you first need to know what it looks like, so she sets off to find out what love looks like. From her mum to her teacher, from her grandma to her dance instructor, everyone has different ways to describe love. Will Mrs. Gooseberry, with Ella’s help, be able to find love again? There may not be one straight answer to Ella’s question, but in this case it is packaged in a brown box…

You can find ‘Ella & Mrs Gooseberry’ 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 Ella & Mrs Gooseberry (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

‘Arabella and the Magic Pencil’ giveaway

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May 292020
 

EK Books

Castles and crowns, glamour and gowns, tea parties and tiaras… if you thought the life of a princess is always easy, think again. Author Stephanie Ward and illustrator Shaney Hyde are welcoming you into the colourful world of Princess Arabella in this beautiful story published by EK Books:

Every year Princess Arabella, adored by her loving parents, is granted one special wish. She uses her royal wish for the most wonderful things, like pretty pink puppies and fluttery fairies. One thing she didn’t wish for, but she got it anyway, was a royal baby brother called prince Avery…

That year Arabella uses her annual wish to request a pencil with the amazing power to make anything she draws become reality. There is no limit to her art, her inventions are simply spectacular and it all comes together beautifully in her carefully designed garden party. Unfortunately Prince Avery turns out to be particularly good at disturbing Arabella’s perfect life and she decides something has to be done in Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99).

Featuring sweet watercolour art and magnificent words that have a royal ring to them this book is a joy to read and look at. Combining the power of magic with a wise lesson, Arabella and the Magic Pencil will help young readers to see the blessing a new sibling can bring.

You can find ‘Arabella and the Magic Pencil’ 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 Arabella and the Magic Pencil (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

National Reconciliation Week giveaway

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May 272020
 

Whether the kids are back at school or still learning along from home, starting today many students across Australia will be learning about National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3). What is reconciliation, why is it important and why is it important to all of us? Reconciliation Australia captures the message like this:

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians’

We thought Reconciliation Week was a perfect opportunity to share a bunch of beautiful Magabala Books for children created by some of Australia’s most talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Cuddle up with your kids on the couch or share a story (or a few) in your class room to celebrate, honour and recognise the traditional heart of Australia:

Respect (RRP $24.99) is probably my favourite pick for Reconciliation Week as it truly echos the beauty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a simple yet heartfelt way that children will enjoy and understand. From their songs and their stories, the respect for their elders, ancestors, family, the country and the nature around them, it is all part of their rich culture and it is something people of all ages can learn from and share in.

If you are looking for inspiration for an Aboriginal art project to do at home or school look no further, Cunning Crow (RRP $24.99) is an absolute treat! Filled with the most amazing Aboriginal art by Gregg Dreise this colourful book takes us back to the Dreamtime, a time long ago when all the birds were white. One day a strike of lightning ignites a magical fire of rainbow colours, painting lorikeets in stunning bright colours, adding a bright yellow crest to the cockatoo and dressing Waan the crow in orange and red shades.

But Waan is not happy with his colouring and wants to look better and brighter than the other birds. In an attempt to improve his looks the cunning crow decides to recreate the magical fire, but instead of bright colours he ends up burning his feathers to a deep, dark black. Next time you see a black crow, remember to celebrate what makes you different and never to change yourself to be like someone else. We are all special and unique and together we make up a dazzling rainbow.

Goannas, mirritji, bull sharks, bakarra… Practise counting to ten, discover ten beautiful animals and learn their English and Ritharrŋu names in Counting Our Country (RRP $12.99). Don’t worry, Ritharrŋu artist and author Jill Daniels has even included a handy pronunciation guide to help you on your way with confidence. With its simple, bright illustrations and sturdy cardboard pages this sweet board book is perfect for our youngest Aussies.

Willy-Willy Wagtail (RRP $24.99) is the first book in Helen Milroy’s new ‘Tales from the Bush Mob’ series, throughout the series we will get to know all the members of the mob. But let’s start at the beginning, when everyone still spoke different languages and no one could understand each other. It all began when curious Willy Wagtail, helped by Gusto the Wind, set off to learn about all the different bush animals, their countries, their languages and their stories.

All Willy’s newfound knowledge comes in handy when a bushfire breaks out and slowly the animals are brought together. With 64 pages and quite a lot of text (and of course lovely pictures) Willy-Willy Wagtail is a great Australian lesson for older children about (animal) diversity, communicating and working together. Keep your eye out for the next two exciting titles in the Bush Mob series: The emu who ran through the sky and The sweetest egg of all.

Living alone in the Australian desert Bubbay wants nothing more than a family of his own. One summer night he makes a wish on a shimmering falling star and that is the beginning of Bubbay’s Desert Adventure (RRP $17.95). Guided by the spirit of his old grandma Gubarlee he sets off on a mission to find five special things for the star: A stone, an egg, a seed, a feather and a shell. Will he find them all before sunrise and what is the special surprise that awaits him?

We know all about puppies, kittens and lambs, but what about the offspring of an echidna, dugong, eagle or bilby? In What do you call a baby…? (RRP $12.99) Kimberley artist Kamsani Bin Salleh will show you a gorgeous puggle, eaglet, chick, pup, calf, tadpole, hatchling and joey and their proud mamas. This delightful board book is made for curious little hands and young readers will love the eye-cathing pastel coloured art.

To find out more about Magabala Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite Magabala titles online visit www.magabala.com.

For your chance to win a Magabala Books prize pack (RRP $118.90) containing the six titles featured above head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

Wave goodbye to bedtime worries with LeapStory

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May 202020
 

I won’t lie: These past months have been hard. I have always been someone who worries easily and this COVID19 outbreak has definitely been a challenge for me mentally. Late last year I lost my wonderful Opa and had to fly to Europe unexpectedly, forcing me to leave my husband and babies behind for the first time. Not long after that my dad received the exciting but scary news that after months on the waiting list a donor liver had been found for him and that he would be undergoing an organ transplant that same day.

We had been waiting impatiently to go and spend seven long weeks with Dad and the rest of family but thanks to COVID19 our flights to The Netherlands were cancelled again and again and after rebooking three times (and travel restrictions coming in) there were eventually no travel options left. With infections sky rocketing in Europe and my recovering Dad in a high risk category we have been terribly worried and still are. The disappointment we (and especially the kids) feel about not seeing our (grand)parents for yet another year is just heartbreaking, not even talking about the money lost through it all. Add to that eight weeks of total home isolation with six kids, home schooling and work worries and 2020 has definitely been a mental challenge I will not easily forget!

For me the only way to keep my head above water has been to grab tight our beautiful kids, take every day as it comes and snuggle up in our safe bubble until this is all behind us. We have baked, coloured, painted, crafted, cooked, puzzled and read. We have spent many days in our pyjamas and enjoyed drives through the country side. We stayed up late, slept in and learnt about all kinds of interesting things. We have built a custom garden bed and set up a chicken coop, we have hatched our very own chicks in an incubator and are watching our chicks and vegetables grow.

As Australia slowly eases back into the ‘new normal’ I look back at a special time with my family and am proud of how we spent it. This week the kids will go back to school and I will go back to my readers, time to tell you about some hip and handy finds that we used a lot during our home isolation time…

While I was away for Opa’s funeral hip Daddy did an amazing job at home. Quite the change for our little troublemaker Ted who was still sleeping with us (and breastfeeding) every single night which was getting pretty exhausting! All attempts at weaning and moving him into his own bed had been unsuccessful until then but with Mummy away he had no choice and it has been the start of a better routine for Ted. He now happily goes to sleep in his own bed with a bit of help from this fabulous LeapFrog bedtime buddy.

Packed full of story classics, myths, nursery rhymes, songs and much more this clever story-telling cube is a wonderful companion for any children’s bedroom or playroom. LeapStory (RRP $69.95, ages 3-8) gives children access to a delightful collection of stories, songs and tunes, they can choose their favourites, listen to them being read out loud and enjoy a mesmerising display of images and animations projected onto the ceiling or wall. Parents can even record themselves reading a special story to their child, which allowed Ted to listen to his mama’s voice even when I was on the other side of the world.

We love the fact that LeapStory presents a great mix of well known classics and lesser known content. With more than 80 preloaded tracks spread out over four different categories (classicsmyths, legends and fables, sleepy time and learning songs children are guaranteed to discover delightful stories and songs they have never heard before. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, from the Tortoise and the Hare to Three Little Pigs, from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Fox and the Crow and so many others, LeapStory offers loads to listen, learn and love. Ted’s favourite is by far the Gingerbread Man!

We have put the LeapStory on Ted’s bedside table so it is always within hand’s reach, he can see the light-up base and projector and he often turns it on himself to listen to a story or two. After six solid months of use we can safely say it has been thoroughly tested by our big family and the kids still turn it on every night at bedtime, if that’s not a tick of approval I don’t know what is!

Whether they want to select a favourite adventure or hear multiple tales, set a timer to listen to stories as they drift off to sleep, flick through the different options or turn on the light projector, we have found the LeapStory cube easy to control. Featuring six simple buttons and an adjustable projector LeapStory allows young children to feel independent and in charge and they don’t need to ask mum or dad for help with every little change (particularly handy at bedtime!).

Getting tired of the same stories? Need a fresh fable or new nursery rhyme? No problem! Simply connect your LeapStory to your computer and download an additional content pack completely free using the LeapFrog Connect application. The LeapStory device will work on 4 AA batteries (great for holidays, camping adventures or road trips) or mains power using the included adapter.

You can find LeapStory at a Big W, Myer or other good toy store near you and 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.