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Ted’s Birthday Catch

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Ted’s Birthday Catch
Oct 142020
 

VTech

It only feels like yesterday that I held my beautiful chubby newborn in my arms, admiring his big rosy cheeks and full head of dark hair. Suddenly the next day Ted is a cheeky 3-year old who keeps us on our toes 24/7 with his busy chatter and silly antics. Birthdays are a strange thing, they are both a joy and a heartbreak in one.

Of course Ted himself absolutely loved being in the birthday spotlight and he has been thoroughly spoilt by friends and family last month. Among his gifts were a big stack of Campbell Busy Books (I highly recommend these!), some cool new Imagicard games for his LeapPad (Blaze and the Monster Machines, perfect for our car-crazy boy) and this fun interactive play set by VTech.

Remember that old school fishing game with a small plastic rod and tiny magnetic fish? Well, the toy specialists at VTech have given it a trendy and educational makeover making it the perfect catch for curious preschoolers of today. Get out your fishing gear and hook a winner in Wiggle & Jiggle Fishing Fun (Ages 2-5, RRP $44.95).

The bright blue ocean is home to 7 colourful sea creatures: A crab, a clam, a lobster, an octopus, a puffer fish, a marlin and a seahorse. Using the magnetic fishing rod, fitted with a pretend reel and ‘smart sensor’ hook, you can catch the creatures one by one, watch them wiggle and jiggle on the line and learn about each animal as you go. The chunky shapes are are easy to hold for small hands, but at the same dangling the rod above a specific animal is a great exercise for those important fine motor skills and requires a bit of concentration.

The clever fishing rod automatically recognises and teaches little fishermen and women the names of the different animals, their colours and their numbers and the buoy light even changes colour to match your catch! In ‘game mode’ children are encouraged to search the sea for a certain animal or colour, giving them a little hint by lighting up the buoy in the right colour. Add to that some fun songs and happy tunes and you’re in for a fabulous fishing adventure.

Even though there is only one fishing rod this play set is definitely good fun for siblings or friends to enjoy together, Ted and Hattie happily take turns reeling in an ocean creature. They encourage each other by telling the other which colour to aim for next or they catch the pieces in numerical order. When you are done fishing and it’s time to head home you can store your catch in the handy green basket.

Hip Tip: Because we would like the ‘paper sea’ to last a little longer we intend to laminate the sheet, making it stronger and easy to clean.

You can find Wiggle & Jiggle Fishing Fun right now at your local Target 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.

Bedtime, Daddy! giveaway

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Sep 062020
 

EK Books

Happy Father’s Day! Our six children are blessed with a wonderful, amazing, giving dad who loves nothing more than to spend time with them. He makes silly jokes and does funny dances, he plays games and drives them everywhere, he builds LEGO and watches dance shows and I can count on two hands the times he missed the bedtime routine. On this special day of celebration, here’s a sweet bedtime story with a twist from EK Books:

In Bedtime, Daddy! (RRP $24.99) the roles are reversed as we follow the adorable Little Bear who, at the end of a long day, sets off to put his big cuddly Daddy Bear to bed. As good parents know all too well, bedtime routines are tricky and you have do it exactly right…

All the elements of bedtime are there: The delaying, the messy tooth brushing, a story or two or three (but the extra ones a little rushed), the stalling, the strange questions, the mysterious monsters and unquenchable thirst, the open door, the sudden hunger and then that final stretch of waiting around the corner for the breathing to slow down.

This putting people to bed business is surprisingly exhausting! In his final moments of waiting Little Bear is getting pretty tired and his eyes are slowly closing… Thankfully parents tend to outlast their little ones (most days!) and there comes big, strong Daddy Bear to pick up Little Bear and tuck him in for the night.

With its cute illustrations, catchy lines and funny jokes Bedtime, Daddy! makes the perfect bedtime tale for young sleepyheads. Kids just love the familiarity of Daddy Bear’s bedtime antics and my tribe had a good giggle as they recognised their own delaying tactics on each page. What a blessing good dads are, on Father’s Day and every other day.

You can find ‘Bedtime, Daddy!’ 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 Bedtime, Daddy! (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ giveaway

 Eco, Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ giveaway
Sep 052020
 

Pan Macmillan Australia

Gut health, good bacteria, microbiome, digestive system… every day we hear about these things on TV, in catalogues and on product packaging and we are constantly reminded of how important our gut it is for our general wellbeing. Of course the same goes for our children’s health, but those are pretty big words for kids to understand! Before you throw this one in the ‘too hard basket’, check out this fantastic book by Pan Macmillan Australia:

As an international expert in Nutritional Psychiatry and gut health, professor Felice Jacka is your go-to girl for all your tricky gut questions. Felice has teamed up with clever teacher, musician and illustrator Rob Craw to create There’s a Zoo in my Poo (RRP $24.99): a funny, easy to understand book that teaches children all about gut health.

If you thought gut health was boring, think again! Felice Jacka has managed to make it both educational and very entertaining by inviting kids to become zookeepers of their very own internal zoo. Learn about good bugs and bad bugs, where they live and what they do, follow the poo-train down its track, discover the secret messages hidden in your poo, see why dirt is awesome, find out what to feed your zoo creatures to make them strong (and what to avoid), try out zoo-friendly recipes and become an expert zookeeper!

Of course the word ‘poo’ is bound to make kids smile and there’s plenty of poo-fun in this book! We love the jokes, the rhymes and let’s not forget the gorgeous illustrations by Rob Craw which put a cool face to all these zoo bugs. All jokes aside, There’s a Zoo in my Poo is a wonderful combination of laughing and learning and it is sure to leave them with some valuable knowledge for a healthy future.

To find out more about Pan Macmillan, to take a closer look at ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ by Felice Jacka and to order your favourite titles online visit www.panmacmillan.com.au.

For your chance to win a copy of ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ (RRP $24.99) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

‘The Battle’ giveaway

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Jul 202020
 

EK Books

As we’re gearing up for a brand new term it is definitely a mix of nerves and excitement at our house. The older kids are super keen to go back to school, but the younger ones are not so sure. The teachers, the students, the building, the school work… it all can be quite scary and daunting! If your little student is feeling a tad nervous too here’s a lovely EK Books read to help them prepare for the big day:


When Edward starts Knight School he is counting on his protective armour to keep him safe from any upcoming trouble. Giants, ogres, dragons… when he enters his classroom he sees scary creatures everywhere! Edward decides that Knight School is just as scary as he had imagined and he is relieved he is wearing his armour to keep him safe in The Battle (RRP $24.99).

Thankfully a friendly ogre reaches out to him, showing Edward that there are no monsters at all. Slowly he realises that his armour is actually stopping him from having fun with his new class mates. Time to take off his protective gear and open up to all the fun school has to offer!

Young readers will love the sweet illustrations by Cara King and Ashling Kowk’s lovely message of battling school nerves and facing your fears will hit home to everyone. The Battle is a perfect gift idea for school starters and a win for the family book shelf.

You can find ‘The Battle’ 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 The Battle (RRP $24.99) head over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

Jul 082020
 

EK Books

We all have them, those days where you wake up in the morning and you instantly know it’s not going to be a good day. You may not even know exactly why but you just want to hide under the blankets and avoid the day all together. I think during these last few challenging months we may have had more of those days than ever! Kids have days like that too and it is important we help them to stay positive and empower them to beat the blues and find the silver lining in every day. This gorgeous read by EK Books does just that:

The moment Tabitha wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and spots a dreary, dripping raincloud hovering over her she realises she is about to have ‘one of those days’. A yucky, miserable day where everything goes wrong and nothing goes right. From breakfast to class, from playtime to lunch, wherever Tabitha goes the raincloud goes too and ruins her day…

No matter how hard Tabitha tries she can’t seem to shake this bothersome cloud, until she decides to stop escaping the splatter and to make the most of it instead. The wet drops make perfect puddles to splash in and bit by bit her day gets a little brighter. Tabitha and the Raincloud (RRP $24.99) is a fabulous book for everyone who has a yucky day every now and then.

Author Devon Sillett has teamed up with up-cycle artist Melissa Johns to deliver a delightful picture book that kids will love to read and look at. It promotes the important message of optimism and resilience through the sweetest recycled paper illustrations, it even inspired my girls to have a go at their own mix and match paper art too.

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

Built for street smart kids: Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2

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Jun 302020
 

Now that the older kids have settled back into school, I am realising more and more how much of a challenge our home isolation has been for miss Hattie. She was really enjoying her daily adventures with just mummy and Ted, then suddenly we were stuck at home spending our days madly trying to complete a gazillion homeschool duties for the big four. She handled all these changes like a champ and absolutely adores unicorns, so she totally deserves this amazing Kidizoom reward:

Like a good watch should the Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 (RRP $89.95, ages 4+) helps busy kids keep track of the clock, never before was being organised and on time this cool! With more than 55 different 3D digital and analogue displays to choose from children are able to customise their clock face to suit their taste, mood and personal preferences. Other handy time elements include an alarm, timer, stopwatch and even a calendar.

So it tells the time, but what makes it smart? Think games and photos, videos and voice recordings, sound effects and selfies, a pedometer, a bunch of motion-controlled activities that will get kids up and moving and much, much more. As expected the front camera (for selfies) and side camera (to record exciting things kids spot when out and about) are getting a thorough workout in our house, and with 256MB internal memory there is plenty of room to store all the snaps.

As a mum I love that the Kidizoom Smartwatch encourages different ways of play, both on and off screen. When you’re on a long road trip, waiting at the doctor or have to sit quietly at grandma’s you can enjoy a fun on-the-spot game or brain buster. When you’ve got space to move and energy to burn you can challenge yourself in Funky Jump, Crazy Dance or Racing Run. Parents can also set a time limit to keep game time in check.

One of many educational functions of the Smartwatch DX2 is Time Master, a handy tool that teaches children to read the time using verbal cues (yay, for learning through play). Simply change the hours and minutes on the clock and then tap the owl teacher to hear your set time read out loud.

The Smartwatch DX2 features a super clear, full-colour touch screen that looks incredible and is very easy to use, so that even our young adventurer can easily control her very own smart watch. The strong, kid-tough design is durable and has been developed with active kids in mind, it is also splash proof for those little unexpected drops. Last but not least the gorgeous unicorn print watch brand is soft, flexible and adjustable in size to ensure a nice, secure fit on your child’s wrist. It’s definitely a perfect fit for our cheeky 4-year old!

Just like your kids the Smartwatch DX2 does run out of energy sometimes, but there is no need to worry about fiddly little button batteries. Simply recharge your watch with the included micro USB cable and within no time it’s good to go for more smartwatch adventures. You can use the same cable to upload your child’s photos and videos to your computer and save all the special memories for later.

The Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 is start-ready with multiple built-in apps for play-on-the-go and you can get even more out of your watch by downloading additional content through the VTech Learning Lodge. Add some dazzling new clock faces, extra games, a real calculator or timer or maybe an awesome photo effect to spunk up your snaps, completely free of charge!

The Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 is currently available in 6 trendy colours at select online stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

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

All aboard the Playtime Bus

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on All aboard the Playtime Bus
Jun 282020
 

VTech

As a mum of 2 boys and 4 girls I love seeing how our two sons are alike in many ways. Our oldest son Tommie (now nearly 12) was extremely interested in learning his letters when he was just a toddler and he still an avid reader now. He loved ABC puzzles, wipe off letter boards and any toy that would sound out the alphabet and the individual letter sounds. Five siblings and ten years later our boy Ted (2) is obsessed with the alphabet too so I had no doubt this cool VTech ride would get his (brain) wheels turning:

If your little learner is crazy about everything that moves the Playtime Bus with Phonics (RRP $34.95, ages 2-5), with its bright colours, realistic traffic sounds and push along handle, is guaranteed to be a huge hit. Initially there may just be lots of laps around the house, but there is plenty more to discover along the way…

Ted’s eyes instantly lit up when he spotted all the buttons on his new Playtime Bus. With more than 40 buttons to press, four different modes of play (Phonics, Numbers, Music Station and Challenge Time) and a door that opens and closes there is certainly no time for sitting still. All together this fabulous vehicle offers more than 100 interactive curriculum questions and 30+ melodies, songs and sounds so it really is jam-packed with learning fun.

On the top of the bus you find 4 chunky buttons to control the engine sound, horn, brakes and the intercom telling you where the bus is heading next (The next stop is the zoo) accompanied by a catchy song. By opening the door you can learn to count by counting the number of children get off the bus. Three happy passengers have a window seat and share easy-to-understand sentences about their trip when you press their picture, eg ‘A green light means go’, ‘Always wear your seatbelt in the car’ and ‘I sit with my best friend on the bus’.

The main reason the Playtime Bus caught our eye was because it teaches children all 26 letters of the alphabet, as well as the number 1-10. Simply press one of the coloured letters to hear the letter, the letter sound and an easy everyday word that starts with that particular letter. It even distinguishes between vowels (blue) and consonants (yellow), which you don’t see that often in pre-schooler toys!

Of course Ted is only just starting to practice his ABCs, but once he’s a bit more confident he can test his knowledge with a fun question and answer game in Challenge Time mode, eg. Which letter sound does elephant start with? Can you find the letter C? Let’s count how many children get on the bus!

As a mother one of the things I love is that VTech understands that praise and encouragement is a great motivator, therefor this clever bus is full of positive affirmations eg. Great job! Terrific! If kids get it wrong there is no harm done either (Nice try, let’s try again) and they’ll be keen to give things another go. Are you ready to hop on the VTech Playtime Bus?

You can find the Playtime Bus with Phonics right now at your local Big W store and soon at 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.