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.

Get into gear with GearZooz

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Mar 172019
 

After several holidays to the Netherlands with our large family a long plane trip does not worry us anymore. By now I know exactly what to pack and what to do to make the journey as pleasant as possible for young travellers…

For our last European adventure in August we bought Ted the cutest GearZooz Lion & Mouse toy and it was a real hit. It’s colourful and fun, it makes music and moves and stimulates little brains, plus it is compact enough for a holiday backpack or nappy bag. After seeing how much he enjoyed playing with it I was determined to find some more GearZooz styles so I was super chuffed to stumble upon this awesome activity centre recently:

The GearZooz Gear Up & Go Activity Table (RRP $69.95, ages 18-36 months) by VTech is a great 2-in-1 toy designed with curious kids in mind. The chunky shapes are a great size for chubby toddler hands and the 30cm height is a great play height for our big boy Ted. This week Ted will be 18 months old, so he is at the perfect age and there is lots left to learn as he gets bigger. At the same time Hattie (3 years old) really enjoys it too, proving this toy is suitable for different ages and developmental stages.

On side one the Gear Up & Go Activity Table offers busy little bees loads to do and discover across five play modes. Kids can practise colours, learn to count, discover instruments and their sounds, sing songs and more, so they are not just playing but learning too! Switch between Learning Fun, Animal Jam Time, Instrument Fun, Concert Time or even play a Guessing Game: Can you find the green piano key? Can you find the number 3? Can you find the violin?

The 16 coloured mix and match gears can be placed in many different spots and, if you do it right, as you turn one the other gears will start spinning too. Picking up the gears, clicking them place and twisting and turning is a great fine motor skills exercise for small toddler hands.

Keep an eye out for the clever Smart Gear spot, if you place one of the interactive Smart Gear Animals on top it will tell the name of the animal and teach you some interesting animal facts eg. Aligators swim by sweeping their tail back and forth, Baby bears are called cubs, Elephants use their trunk to get food and water.

In a few simple steps the table can be transformed for a whole new way of creative play: turn up side two and test out the gear board. The gear board it a fantastic way to practise the cause and effect principle, develop prediction skills and work on strategic thinking: How does turning one gear affect the other gears? Can you place the gears in a way that you can make the whole series move? Maybe you can even make a specific shape?

To make sure you don’t lose any of the gears you can fix them safely on the activity table, click them on the gear board or secure them to the table legs. I just love that you can use the gears on all other GearZooz too for extended play and that all GearZooz toys are able to recognise the cute interactive Smart Gear Animals. So the bigger your GearZooz collection gets, the more different combinations and set-ups you can create.

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

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

On safari with LeapFrog

 Baby, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on On safari with LeapFrog
Oct 102018
 

And then he was one… As much as I wish it wasn’t true our little Ted is no longer a baby. In the blink of an eye he turned into an adventurous boy who walks everyone, climbs on everything and loves exploring the house. He walks so quietly that you don’t even hear him coming (or going) so I could really do with an extra pair of eyes! Thankfully this LeapFrog birthday gift does an excellent job keeping him entertained so I can quickly get some jobs done:

The LeapFrog Learning Safari Playspace (RRP $99.95, ages 6-36 months) is super versatile educational toy that is designed for growing babies, offering a range of ways to play and learn at different ages and stages. This made it a perfect birthday gift for Ted (and great value for money) as I know it will be enjoyed over and over again.

The Learning Safari Playspace features a sweet selection of animal friends who love teaching your baby new things. Simply press the large buttons to learn about numbers and letters (and watch them pop up on the digital light up screen), practise your colours, turn on the chameleon’s magical rainbow light, discover animal facts spin the beads and much more. Each action helps little explorers work on important motor skills whilst having fun (smile and get smarter!).

Babies can (p)lay underneath the large arch and watch the colours, lights and dangling leaves (when you pull each leaf you hear the corresponding number), they can crawl through it or pull up and stand next to it, great practice for those developing leg muscles. You can even lay the arch flat to transform it into a ‘table’ for baby to sit at. Ted loves showing off his talent for the piano (not only do the piano keys play music, they teach shapes too) but he loves it even more to sit ON the piano so we might keep the arch up for a while longer!

From laying down to sitting up, from crawling to standing and beyond, the Learning Safari Playspace will challenge little minds and help young children develop new skills as they get older. From the moment we unpacked and set up this fun new toy Ted has been intrigued by it, he loves the bright colours, enjoys the sounds and songs and his absolute favourite part is the ball slide.

The Learning Safari Playspace comes with three coloured balls that roll through the monkey’s tail down the slide, it even counts the number of balls as you insert them. Seeing the balls disappear down that mysterious hole and finding out where they will reappear next is a perfect cause and effect exercise and Ted can’t get enough of it.

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.

On the move with Chase me Casey

 Baby, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on On the move with Chase me Casey
Jun 242018
 

VTech

There is no stopping him now! Ted is turning into quite the adventurer and if he sees the chance he is off exploring the house. Thankfully he makes plenty of noise so we know exactly where he is hanging out. His latest hobby is following around this fella by the toy makers at VTech:

VTech Chase me Casey (RRP $59.95, ages 9-36 months) is a gorgeous toy monkey who loves to hang out with curious toddlers. Not only is he very cheeky, he is super clever too as he is fitted with built-in sensors that help him move around the floor without bumping into things, react to movements and interact with your little learner.

Casey is quite the versatile fellow and there are many different ways to enjoy his company, making him a hit with little ones at all different stages. Measuring an impressive 34cm tall Casey is designed with little hands in mind, he is easy to control and easy to spot. Using the five chunky shape buttons toddlers can not only activate lights, sounds and music but also learn about letters, numbers, colours, body parts and more. It’s a fantastic way to train those important fine motor skills and a good introduction to the cause and effect principle too.

At 9 months old Ted loves crawling after Casey in Catch Me Mode, he has just mastered proper crawling and trying to keep up with Casey is great practice! As Casey rolls across the floor he encourages tiny explorers to follow him through music and short sentences. He even recognises when he’s been caught; time for another round of play.

Whether your baby is just sitting up or can already stand independently, with Casey in Music/Dance Mode no one will be able to sit or stand still. Casey can play a range of catchy tunes/music styles for kids to bop, hop, tap, clap and swing along to. In dancing mode Casey will wiggle and dance but not move away so he stays within reach of little hands to press his buttons. Parents will appreciate the volume control for quiet play.

Chase me Casey is available in blue and pink and is 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.

‘Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook’ giveaway

 Giveaways, Mum, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook’ giveaway
Nov 282017
 

Exisle Publishing

If you are a longtime Hip Little One reader you may remember that I introduced you to the talented Delia McCabe, the talented author of ‘Feed Your Brain’. Delia has a Masters of Psychology under her belt and for the past 20 years has been researching how certain foods influence brain function. To help people create quick, easy and tasty ‘brain healthy’ meals and snacks Delia has put together a fantastic new cookbook filled with recipes the whole family will love:

Delia McCabe’s Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook (RRP $34.99) offers a refreshing combination of teaching and tasting. Before you get started in the kitchen Delia teaches you how your brain works and how certain food(group)s affect your brain, as well some handy preparation and storage tips. Once you’ve literally fed your brain with knowledge it’s time to feed your brain with more than 100 nutritious (and of course delicious) recipes.

From Quick Fresh Thai Stew to Sweet Potato and Tomato Gratin, from Spicy Mexican Bean Salad to Mushroom and Lemon Risotto and many more mouthwatering delights, this cookbook is sure to please everyone with healthy dishes that will impress your family and guests but don’t require hours in the kitchen. If you are anything like me a meal is not complete without a scrumptious dessert, so Delia has your sweet tooth covered too with tasty treats like Chocolate Mint Slice, Raw Pecan Pie, Spiced Christmas Ice-Cream and even Apricot and Almond White Chocolate Bark (a perfect homemade Christmas gift). What are you waiting for, do your brain fever and tuck in.

Whether you want to improve focus and memory, reduce stress and anxiety or think more clearly, ‘Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook’ will help you find the dish that does the trick!

Right now Exisle Publishing is giving you 20% off, free shipping AND the chance to win 1 of 3 Brain Food Hampers (valued up to $300), simply purchase a copy of Feed Your Brain and enter the code ‘FYBCB17’ at checkout. Be quick, entry is limited to the first 100 orders.

To find out more about Exisle Publishing, to take a closer look at ‘Feed Your Brain’ and to order a copy online visit www.exislepublishing.com.au.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Floor Fun with VTech

 Baby, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Floor Fun with VTech
Nov 242017
 

VTech

Can you believe that little Ted is two months old already? On the one hand it feels like those two months have flown by, on the other hand I have felt every exhausting minute of it with our sad little boy crying for hours on end. He spends the majority of the day in the baby carrier because keeping him upright and close to mummy seems to bring some relief, but every now and then my back gets a few minutes rest when he is happy to kick away on the floor with VTech:

Make floor time fun with the Little Friendlies Glow & Giggle Playmat (RRP $89.95, ages Birth+), a gorgeous, brightly coloured play mat designed to grow with your baby, offering different ways to play as your little one develops new skills and reaches new milestones.

Right now Ted prefers to be on his back, while kicking his legs and watching the dangling toys. He is yet to reach for them but I don’t think it will be much longer! His little feet however are already super strong so when he kicks up a storm they hit the colourful ‘piano keys’ which magically turns on flashing lights and music. Depending on which of three modes you select it plays a range of tunes, animal sounds and sing-along songs and even teaches colours and shapes. It shows that you’re never too young to learn about cause and effect!

Unfortunately tummy time is not Ted’s favourite pastime so we’re keeping it short for now, but at least the padded Glow & Giggle Playmat is easy to wipe clean from all the sticky baby drool. Once he gets older and learns to sit up the mini piano can be turned and locked horizontally, that way he can sit and play the keyboard like a proper little musician. Miss 2 has been busy practising her musical skills so that she can teach her baby brother when he’s ready.

The Little Friendlies play mat may be a bit too big to take along (it doesn’t fold up, my only negative about the design), however you can easily unhook the four toys for some quick entertainment on-the-go. Using the connector rings you can attach the brightly coloured rattle, mirror, teether and crinkly toy to your pram or baby carrier to keep your baby happy and distracted when you’re away from home. With so many different ways to play and enjoy, this play mat is a fantastic investment (and great first Christmas gift idea) for young families.

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.