All aboard the Playtime Bus

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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

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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

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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.

Dino’s Delightful Day

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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.

Read and Play with Peppa

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Jul 122018
 

We’ve only been at the new school for two weeks but for miss Sybbie the move has been a real eye-opener. All of a sudden she is super keen to practise her sight words, write her numbers, read her readers and borrow as many books from the library as she can possibly carry. I am so excited to see another little bookworm in the making!

The toy specialists at LeapFrog know all too well that learning new things can be tricky, so instead of it being a challenging chore they make learning entertaining and exciting! Take for example the new Peppa Pig Learning Game:

Designed specifically for the LeapPad learning tablets Read and Play with Peppa (RRP $34.95, ages 3-5) allows young children to enjoy some screen time whilst mastering a heap of new skills at the same time. Usually Sybbie not that excited to tidy up, but it turns out that tidying up with Peppa is actually lots of fun.

Guided by the alphabet little learners need to help Peppa and her brother George to put all their toys back in the toy basket. They will learn to follow simple instructions, recognise different letters and their sounds, discover what their place is in the alphabet, learn about beginning sounds, match pictures with words and more.

In between the chores Daddy Pig lets them play a little game: the more alphabet toys they tidy up, the more games they unlock! In the mini-games kids can try their hand at things like practise balancing the ball (balance the LeapPad to keep the ball steady) before it rolls away, building a train track, playing catch-the-toy with Daddy Pig or spotting the difference.

Once all the tidying up is completed kids can sit down and enjoy story time with Peppa’s Fancy Dress Party. Young readers can listen to the entire story but also touch individual words to hear them or look them up in the ‘dictionary’.

Created and approved by educational specialists LeapFrog learning games and apps expose children to important areas of learning (eg. maths, reading, science, geography and more) that will greatly benefit them on their educational journey. Parents can explore all the different games/apps in the LeapFrog App Centre and use the handy skill selector on the left to find the game(s) that are a perfect match for your child’s interests and developmental needs.

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

Starting School with VTech

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Jul 232017
 

VTech

After a shaky start at kindy due to a 12-month speech delay we were very curious (and a bit nervous!) to hear how miss Sybbie has been getting along in this first half of the year. We were so thrilled to see her excellent results and she has worked really hard at catching up, as of this month she has mastered her final tricky letter and she has settled into the kindy routine beautifully. Now we can make a careful start at getting her ready for school and this cool VTech find is a perfect tool to get there:

From letters to numbers, from spelling to counting, from shapes to instruments, from animals to foods and much more, with 30 interactive activities the VTech My Zone Laptop (Ages 3-6, RRP $34.95) really is the Pandora’s Box of learning fun. What a fabulous way to introduce your pre-schooler to a wide range of subjects, even hesitant learners like our miss 4 will be gaining knowledge as they play!

To ensure your curious pre-schooler doesn’t run out of things to discover too quickly VTech has come up with progressive learning levels, so the difficulty will increase gradually as your child develops and grows. The My Zone Laptop teaches valuable skills like logic, number and letter recognition, problem solving and prediction and at the same time is great practice for that important fine motor dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Since Sybil has recently mastered the letters of her own name and can confidently write it herself we are currently working hard on recognising the rest of the alphabet. She finds the little pictures on each of the letter buttons really helpful and she loves the wide choice of letter games, eg. find the Beginning Letter and the Exploring Letters. Some of her favourite number games are Shapes Counting, Bigger or Smaller and Number Quiz. Now that she has gotten to know the keyboard and direction keys she is getting faster at it by the day!

Good to know: Even though this child-friendly computer is aimed at 3-6 year olds, our 8-year old twins have been grabbing a turn on it whenever they can as well. They may be well past the early learning games but they still very much enjoy having a go at Fishing Journey, Music Quiz or Crossing Iceland. Seeing how one toy appeals to all of our kids really proves it is a fantastic toy for siblings to share and great value for money.

During the last school holidays this interactive laptop has provided us with hours of entertainment for our little busy bee and therefore some much needed sanity for this tired mummy. I love that children can enjoy the My Zone Laptop both at home and on the go, it’s the perfect compact size for a kids’ backpack, holiday suitcase or even to slide in the back pocket of your car seat (for when boredom strikes on long car trips). Just remember to bring the batteries (2x AA batteries)!

For a more personal learning experience your My Zone Laptop can be customised with your little learner’s name, age, an avatar, favourite food, melody and more, this ‘All About Me’ function is a wonderful way to make kids feel special and speak to their imagination.

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.

Dec 162016
 

paw-patrol

Christmas Countdown – Day 16

That’s it, another school year done and dusted! The kids are very excited for the big summer holidays to begin today and personally I can’t wait for a few weeks of family time either. In preparation for kindy next year Sybil has been practising the alphabet through song and play with this awesome toy by VTech, my little girl is definitely growing up!

treat-time-marshall

Young PAW Patrol fans will immediately recognise their hero Marshall, a friendly Dalmatian pup who is always there to help someone in need. All these rescue missions do make a little dog hungry, so what can we feed Treat Time Marshall (RRP $49.95, ages 2-5)?

treat-time-marshall

With 26 tasty treats there is plenty of food to keep Marshall going. Each treat represents a letter of the alphabet and a matching picture, just pop a treat in his mouth and he’ll tell you which letter and sound it is. You can even personalise your experience so that Marshall the first letter of your child’s name, now that’s a clever dog! When not in use all the letter treats can be neatly stored inside his suit.

treat-time-marshallOf course Marshall teaches more than the ABC, with four different ways to play and learn he is sure to keep little minds engaged for hours. He teaches colours, sings songs and recognises the picture on every treat, plus feeding him treats is a great exercise for your child’s fine motor skills. One of our kids’ favourite ways to play with Treat Time Marshall is the Search and Rescue mode, where Marshall asks you to find and feed him a specific letter.

VTech toys are available at major department stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

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

For your chance to win Treat Time Marshall (RRP $49.95) enter our Christmas Countdown giveaway below:

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