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.

To the rescue with LeapFrog

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on To the rescue with LeapFrog
Nov 292019
 

Dump trucks, cherry pickers, buses, motorbikes, ambulances, diggers… Ted loves them all! Unlike many other young children Ted thoroughly enjoys car trips and is easily entertained by spotting all kinds of transportation. At home he has his own collection of cool vehicles to play with too, with this funky firetruck being his new favourite:

Emergency, emergency! The bright red Tumbling Blocks Fire Engine (RRP $49.95, ages 1.5-4 years) is always on standby to help a desperate toddler in need of distraction. Siren? Check! Flashing lights? Check! Ladder? Check! Water hose? Check! Get your fire fighting gear on and get ready for a rescue mission that is both exciting and educational at the same time.

Created by the learning experts at LeapFrog this emergency vehicle is packed with educational features, helping playful toddlers develop important skills whilst having fun. Sounds and songs, letters and lights, buttons and blocks, wheels and words, if you’re looking for a quality, versatile Christmas gift that will be enjoyed long after Boxing Day this is it.

There’s a fire at the Bakery, send help! There’s a cat stuck in a tree, to the rescue! Firefighters Scout and Violet are on their way to yet another incident and could do with a helping hand, let’s give the engine a push and get started. Kids can turn on the siren and flashing lights, turn the hose reel and check the water gage to hear the corresponding number.

Knowing your ABCs is a must for any good firefighter. The five coloured blocks represent all 26 letters of the alphabet, 26 different animals as well as 4 types of emergency vehicles. Simply pop the interactive block in the driver’s window to learn more about the letter, the sound and the picture of your choice. Using the music button kids can also hear and sing along to several alphabet themed songs and other catchy tunes.

Ted’s favourite part of the Tumbling Blocks Fire Engine is by far the tumbling ladder mechanism: When you push the ladder down it automatically ‘picks up’ the next animal block and when you lift the ladder up the block tumbles down back into the truck and repeat. It’s like magic! Super easy to do for little hands and virtually fail-proof, this is a brilliant design feature that brings endless joy to curious toddlers.

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

A is for Apple

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on A is for Apple
Nov 162019
 

Time can’t go fast enough for our Hattie who will be having her first taste of kindy next week. She enjoys art and craft, she can’t get enough of outside play and dressing up and she loves music and dancing… sadly learning her letters is a different story. Just like with her older siblings we’ve turned to the magic of fridge magnets to help her on the way.

LeapFrog‘s Fridge Phonics range has been adorning fridges across the globe for many years. Since its first release little learners have been practising their ABCs with a Fridge Phonics bus, a house, a sun, a pond and other fun shapes and the concept is still successful as ever so why change it? Today’s curious toddlers and preschoolers can master the alphabet with the help of friendly frog Tad.

Tad’s Fridge Phonics (RRP $29.95, Ages 2+) consists of a bright magnetic red apple console and 26 letters magnets. The clever apple recognises each individual letter, just pop the magnet in the letter slot to hear which letter it is, which sound it makes and learn interesting words that start with that specific letter eg. super stinky skunk, luscious lemon lollypop or groovy green guitar.

There are lots of different ways to enjoy and learn with this cool magnetic letter set. Explore what each letter sounds and looks like, learn new words with each letter, find the first letter of your name, put all the letters in alphabetical order, try to make simple words, sing along to the alphabet song, sort the letters by colour, separate the vowels from the consonants and of course practise your fine motor skills while you play!

This year’s Fridge Phonics set also includes 3 new large magnets that celebrate three special people (Dad, Mum and Me) with a series of fun sentences eg. ‘Dad’s a rockstar’, ‘I can do anything’ or ‘Mum is funny’. You can even add a unique touch by sliding a nice photo of your child and each parent into the corresponding magnet, how cute is that?

We’ve been using our old Fridge Phonics set for many years and I can definitely vouch for the versatility (suitable for different ages/stages) and durability. After countless drops and throws our previous set is still going strong, however several letters have gone on an extended holiday along the way hence the upgrade to a full new set. Tad’s Fridge Phonics is guaranteed to keep our last two preschoolers entertained while mum does the kitchen chores.

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

‘Letters from Australia’ giveaway

 Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘Letters from Australia’ giveaway
Sep 102019
 

Sometimes it is hard to picture just how big Australia is. There is still so much our family would like to see of, do in and learn about our beautiful country and (until then) my children thoroughly enjoy exploring our nation on paper. Award-winning artist Maree Coote has expertly combined her love of Australia, art and the alphabet into this sweet picture book:

Letters from Australia (RRP $29.99) is a fabulous celebration of all the things that make Australia special and unique using the magic of the alphabet. The gorgeous illustrations depict our native animals and nature, our  famous sights, well known characters and more with each picture built entirely out of letters.

What a unique way to look at Australia in a whole new way and at the same time practising the alphabet too. ‘Letters from Australia’ is a great tool for parents and educators to build letter recognition, after all every child loves a game of seek and find. It would also make a delightful Aussie souvenir for young readers living overseas so we’ll definitely pack a copy or two for our next European adventure.

To find out more about Walker Books and to take a look at Letters from Australia visit www.walkerbooks.com.au.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of Letters from Australia (RRP $29.99) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter, good luck!

Dino’s Delightful Day

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Dino’s Delightful Day
Dec 142018
 

At 14 months old Ted is trying very hard to make himself heard in his own little language and we can actually understand quite a lot of it. He likes yelling ‘die die’ at people when they leave and when I give a one, two, three warning to one of the other kids he cheekily shakes his finger and says ‘two, two’. Ted also loves copying sounds and songs so this cute LeapFrog toy book is very entertaining:

Dino’s Delightful Day book (RRP $34.95, ages 12 months +) is a fun, interactive book that combines lots of features cheeky toddlers like. Colours, sounds, music, books, balls, buttons, lights… it’s got it all!

Let’s start with the outside. This green dino is quite the big fella with a chunky handle for little hands to hold onto. It has 10 numbered buttons, a large yellow butterfly button and his left foot features a spinning bead roller. Dino’s lovely bright colours make him very appealing to young children, you will regularly find Hattie or Ted in a quiet corner checking him out.

Across 16 pages the book not only tells the story of Dino’s Delightful Day, it also teaches letters, numbers, colour, words and music. Simply choose the ABC (letters/words), Music or Book mode to get started. Once you’ve had a good shot at practising those letters you can test how much you’ve learnt by pressing the Butterfly button: Find the letter …! If you get it right she’ll say it’s correct, or otherwise she’ll simply tell you the sound of the letter you pressed, no harm done.

I particularly like that the ABC mode teaches different words than most standard ABC books (eg. E is for Exercise, M is for Market, P is for Popcorn and Y is for Yawn) and that the words tie in with the story in the Book mode. You can also play seek-find and spot each ‘word’ written in the story and pictured in the illustration. This really helps children to recognise words, understand their meaning and how to use them in sentences.

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

DigiArt Creative Easel, a stroke of genius

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on DigiArt Creative Easel, a stroke of genius
Jun 302018
 

VTech

Well, the kids have just finished their first full week at the new school and everyone seems to be settling in just fine. There are still some tears from miss Sybbie in the morning (just like at the old school) but five minutes later she is happy and smiling and she is showing some great improvement in her reading and writing already, she is even keen to try more at home. She’s been having lots of fun testing her new writing skills on Hattie’s new easel from the clever toy makers at VTech:

The 3-in-1 VTech DigiArt Creative Easel (RRP $89.95, whiteboard, blackboard and drawing table) is a fabulous interactive design that comes jam-packed with awesome features. There are many different ways to use and enjoy the DigiArt Easel, keeping it fun and interesting for young children as they grow, learn and develop.

At almost 3 Harriet is only just hitting the right age for the DigiArt Creative Easel (ages 3-6) but that is not stopping her from trying out all there is to do and learn. Using the attached magic pen little learners can follow the lights on the light-up white board to learn how to write letters, numbers and more all by themselves. Hattie is pretty pleased with her efforts and loves showing off her work, maybe she’s a school teacher in the making?… With more than 150 numbers, letters, objects and shapes to write and draw there is no shortage of design ideas!

Using the brightly coloured buttons underneath the board children can swap and change between different modes of play (Eg. learn to draw, a guessing game or free drawing), adjust brightness and sound, play 10 classic songs or listen to each letter of the alphabet. But there is more: when you turn around the white board a cool blackboard is revealed, get ready to put your new writing/drawing skills into action with chalk!

The easel features a handy clip-storage spot for the magic pen (which is attached with string so it won’t get lost) and plenty of storage for a bunch of coloured white board markers or a pack of chalk. Three pieces of chalk are included, white board markers are widely available and can be purchased/replaced as needed. Hip Tip: If you are planning to wrap this one up for Christmas you may want to tuck in some extra markers too.

I especially love that in just a minute or two the DigiArt Creative Easel can be transformed into a fantastic drawing table at perfect kids’ height. It allows your little artist to use the Easel like a proper desk and the drawing surface can also be shared by siblings or friends who can sit around the table together and create to their heart’s content. The only downside is that there is only one magic pen but of course you can always use multiple white board markers or clip on a big sheet of ordinary drawing paper.

The DigiArt Creative Easel is available in green and pink, which colour would your little artist like most?

VTech toys are available at major department stores, 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.

‘The Wiggles: Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas!’ giveaway

 Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘The Wiggles: Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas!’ giveaway
Nov 052017
 

the-wiggles-logo

If you’re a big fan of Christmas like I am you can’t get into the spirit early enough, time to get out the decorations and put on the Christmas carols! Our kids love listening to The Wiggles during the festive season so we can’t wait to add this brand new Christmas album to our collection:

There is no shortage of Christmas cheer with over 60 minutes of songs and carols on The Wiggles: Wgiggly, Wiggly Christmas!. From old classics and family favourites to brand new tunes and even a beautiful duet with Greg Wiggle, The Wiggles sure know how to celebrate this special time of year.

Whether you can never resist a lovely rendition of Away in a Manger or enjoy a good Christmas Carol medley, or want to swing those hips and tap your toes to Let’s Clap Hands for Santa Claus or Here Come The Reindeer, The Wiggles, together with their friends Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog, have everyone covered this Christmas. Do you want to sing along with The Wiggles on the go? There is a The Wiggles: Wgiggly, Wiggly Christmas! CD too, perfect for in the car or to play in your little one’s bedroom.

The Wiggles: Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas!’ is now available on DVD (RRP $19.95) and CD (RRP $12.95) at major retailers across Australia.

To find out more about ABC for Kids get social with ABC for Kids for Parents on Facebook and to order your copy of ‘The Wiggles: Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas!’ visit the ABC Shop online.

a Rafflecopter giveaway