Christmas with Peppa

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Dec 152019
 

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Whether you’re planning a quick Christmas getaway, a long Summer road trip or a traditional family visit, Peppa Pig is the perfect Christmas companion for young travellers. My two little ones absolutely adore this little pink piggy which is why Sinterklaas spoilt them with some fabulous Peppa gifts just in time for our holiday adventures:

Now that miss Hattie has had a first taste of kindy life she is super excited about the school year ahead. Learning to write her letters is quite tricky but Peppa knows how to make it fun with the Peppa Pig Scribbles & Sounds Doodle Board (RRP $24.95, ages 2+). Forget scrunched up paper or blunt pencils, don’t worry about leaking markers or messy crayons, this travel size doodle board has everything you need for drawing and writing on the go.

Scribble, write, trace and draw as much as you like and when you’re done you simply pull the lever to erase everything and start all over again. Using the chunky toddler-proof stylus and three sturdy plastic stencils little Peppa fans can create all the letters of the alphabet or even learn how to draw Peppa or George.

The real magic is in the smart interactive technology, allowing the doodle board to recognise which letter or character you are tracing. How clever is that? The board is a perfect combination of doodling and development: Across four different modes kids can learn letters and hear the sounds they make (W makes the sound w), play a scavenger hunt (Can you find the letter U for Umbrella? That’s brilliant), listen to music (Draw to keep the music playing) or use their imagination and make up stories (S is for Suzy Sheep, Suzy likes to be a nurse).

When not in use the three coloured stencils can be stored on the back of the board and the stylus is securely attached to the board, so there won’t be any missing pieces.

Our little two don’t always get along but they definitely bond over their love for Peppa, who would have thought Hattie and Ted could read a book together without fighting? Admittedly there is so much to see and do in the Peppa Pig Learn & Discover Book (RRP $29.95, ages 2+) that there is no time to argue. They are way too busy exploring pages and pictures, letters and lights, stories and sounds and more.

Designed for little hands this colourful book has large buttons and 14 easy-to-turn pages full of Peppa Pig fun. As young readers grow and develop new skills they can make their way from single letters to recognising words and even read them in short sentences eg. L, L is for Lake, Then we flew a kite by the lake and M, M is for Milk, We bought milk and noodles with Mummy at the supermarket.

The many functions of this Learn and Discover book make it an exciting and educational read for different stages. Our 2-year old loves flicking pages, humming along to familiar tunes in Music Time or listening to the sounds of Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig and George. Our 4-year old is more intrigued by learning her letters in ABC mode or hearing the short stories in Story Time. She also enjoys the challenge of Search and Find (Can you find the letter N? Let’s look for the Onions? Well done!), but only if she gets it right!

Now that he is finally finding his voice there is no stopping Ted. He is always pointing at things in books, singing his favourite songs and chatting to Daddy or one of his Peppa friends on this super sized Peppa Pig Let’s Chat Learning Phone (RRP $19.95, ages 2+).

He can hear simple messages from George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, see them on the LCD screen and listen to tunes from the TV show. His favourite entertainment is blowing up George’s balloon by blowing in the microphone. Usually toy phones quickly lose their charm as toddlers get older but not this one! I love that the Let’s Chat Learning Phone also caters for curious preschoolers like our Hattie with simple math games featuring the numbers 0-9.

Three built-in games are guaranteed to get little minds working as Peppa introduces kids to counting, number recognition and basic addition. Make a batch of cupcakes with Daddy Pig and count them, catch the falling leaves and build a leaf collection with Peppa Pig or count your happy jumps in muddy puddles, but don’t forget your boots!

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

Nov 042019
 

Thanks to the recent closing of Uluru there is a shiny new spotlight on the traditional owners of Australia, their rights to protect their sacred sites and the many ways others can treat Australia’s indigenous people with the respect they deserve. The indigenous community has the most amazing stories to tell and Magabala Books makes them available to all. Today we’re learning about the beauty of Darug Country:

Cooee Mittigar (RRP $24.99), come here friend, welcome to Darug Country (the Sydney area). Darug author Jasmine Seymour invites young readers on a special trip to Darug Country to meet the exciting wildlife, explore the different seasons and discover what they mean to Darug people. Along the way you’ll even get a crash course in Darug language so you can understand the locals even better!

Accompanied by stunning illustrations by the hand of Darug artist Leanne Mulgo Watson Cooee Mittigar is wonderfully warm and inviting, just like the beautiful Darug people. As the traditional owners of the Darug region they know where to find the goannas and the echidnas, they read the stars and watch the rains and they wait for the yams to bloom and the bottlebrush to flower. Each Australian season has it signs, you’ll soon learn to spot them too!

Two lucky Hip Little One readers will soon own their very own piece of true Australian art, as we have two gorgeous Jasmine Seymour prize packs to give away. Each winner will take home a copy of Jasmine’s newest title Cooee Mittigar, a copy of her sweet book Baby Business and a very special bracelet designed by a member of the Darug Custodian Aboriginal Corporation. Made with gum nut and Tuckeroo seeds found on Darug Country together with wooden beads these limited edition bracelets are a real treasure.

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 1 of 2 ‘Magabala Books’ prize packs (RRP $49.98, contains a copy of Cooee Mittigar, Baby Business and an exclusive handmade Darug bracelet) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

‘Letters from Australia’ giveaway

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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!

‘Going to the Footy’ giveaway

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Sep 042019
 

My little students can never get enough of art and craft. Thankfully the school provides plenty of creative opportunities and the kids especially enjoyed learning about (and even trying their hand at) indigenous art at school some time ago. There are many talented artists among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities and how they depict their amazing country in their own unique style is truly eye-catching.

Thanks to Magabala Books people all over the Australia and even the world are able to experience the talent and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, what a fabulous way to share the rich Australian culture! Tiwi artist Debbie Coombes inherited her love of painting from her grandfather and has used his teaching and her heritage as inspiration for this sweet picture book.

We all know Australians love their footy, people come from far and wide to see their favourite teams face off against each other on the footy field. But how do all these footy fans get there? From a bus to a barge, from a tinny to a trail bike and everything in between, in Going to the Footy (RRP $19.99) we take a closer look at different modes of transport. The book features simple words for easy reading and delightful Tiwi art in traditional colours. How will you get to your next game?

As a special treat for our Hip Little One readers Magala Books has put together three fabulous ‘Going to the Footy’ prize packs valued at $60 each. Each pack contains a copy of the ‘Going to the Footy’ book, a beautiful printed tea towel and a gorgeous set of two coasters. Whether your little ones love footy, or is just crazy about transport vehicles of any kind, this real Aussie read would make a great gift (and a fantastic souvenir for family and friends overseas as well).

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 1 of 3 ‘Going to the Footy’ prize packs (RRP $60 each) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

‘I Love My Mum Because’ giveaway

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Apr 142019
 

Pan Macmillan Australia

While everyone has their eye on school holidays, Easter and ANZAC Day it is easy to forget about Mother’s Day, which is rapidly creeping up on us. With only four weeks to go it’s time to start shopping, dropping hints for and/or creating the perfect gift for the special mum in your life or even just yourself! Personally I find nothing warms the heart like a handmade treasure and this is one unique gift that is guaranteed to make any mother melt:

Whether you have a mum, mama, mother or ma, a grandma, nan, oma or nonna, I Love My Mum Because (RRP $14.99) is the cutest keepsake book for all those special ladies. Go grab your crayons, pencils and markers and get started…

‘I Love My Mum Because’ invites little artists to become little authors, using their creative skills to tell the world why they love their mother. Across 31 pages children are encouraged to celebrate mum in ‘activity book’ style with colouring in pages (draw a picture of you and mum, decorate flowers for your mum, trace your hand, show your feelings in colours), little puzzles (spot the mum, match the mother-baby shapes) and of course write sweet notes to/about your mum (write a wish for your mum, describe your mum). The end result is a sweet gathering of personal love notes for mothers and no two books will ever be the same, just like mothers are all different too.

Thanks to the sturdy hardcover this precious book is sure to stand the test of time and will still be treasured by mums years from now. I think it makes a perfect Mother’s Day gift or birthday present: a joy to make and a joy to receive. Hip tip: If you’re a little softie like I am, keep a tissue box on hand when you read because you’ll need it!

To find out more about Pan Macmillan, to take a closer look at ‘I Love My Mum Because’ by Petra James and Alissa Dinallo to order your favourite titles online visit www.panmacmillan.com.au.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of I Love My Mum Because (RRP $14.99) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Jan 202019
 

Smiggle

And that’s a wrap, almost! Just one last week of school holidays to go until the kids return to the classroom for an exciting start to term 1. For most mums this final week is filled with school uniform fitting, ironing on labels, prepping the freezer with healthy school snacks and grabbing all the must-have stationery items from the shops.

Make sure to leave time for a visit to your local Smiggle store because that’s where you’re guaranteed to find the coolest ‘Back to School’ gear. Hip tip: There is no such thing as a ‘quick’ trip to Smiggle, believe me, I’ve tried! There is simply too much fabulous stuff to see, try, feel and smell and choosing favourites is no easy task.

This spacious Faves Hardtop Strap Lunchbox (RRP $32.95) is perfect for kindy, school, daycare or even just a day out. It has a handy (removable) shoulder strap and handle for easy carrying and two large zip compartments to hold lunch, snacks and fruit to last the day. The lunchbox lining is BPA free and food grade safe, so parents can rest assured that all meals are safe from nasty chemicals. Of course if you score an awesome lunchbag like this you’d hate to lose it, so don’t forget to fill out the name tag inside.

Whether you are creating a unique piece of art or just want to add a pop of colour to a boring homework assignment, these Smiggle Scented Bon Bon Highlighter Pens (RRP $9.95, 10-pack) are exactly what you need. Not only are they dual ended, giving you 20 different ways to brighten your day, they are also scented! I wonder if you’ll get extra points from your new teacher if he/she smells a yummy fragrance when doing the marking?

Mistakes happen to the best of us, and they’re certainly not something to get upset about with the Stax On Erasable Highlighters (RRP $5.95). This giant stack of highlighters measures almost a foot tall and features a range of bright fluro shades. If you’ve gone a little overboard on colour you can erase your work with the magic eraser tip, easy as pie. Alternatively it adds a unique touch to an art project too, using colours as the background and making your drawing stand out in white.

To find out more about Smiggle, to locate a Smiggle store near you or to order online visit www.smiggle.com.au.

For your chance to win a Smiggle ‘Back to School’ pack (containing the Faves Hardtop Strap Lunchbox in black, Smiggle Scented Bon Bon Highlighter Pens and Stax On Erasable Highlighters) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

DigiArt Creative Easel, a stroke of genius

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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.