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.

Sep 152016
 

VTech

Just ten more days until baby Hattie turns one, hasn’t that year just flown by? She is such a delightful girl to have around and she has the cheekiest grin. Most of the time she is a real ‘velcro baby’ who loves to be carried around and snuggle with mummy, but lately she has been getting better at playing independently too. These VTech toys are making floor-play much more fun:

VTech Top

The colourful Push & Play Spinning Top (RRP $29.95, 6-30 months) is an ideal toy for her chubby little hands to practise her fine motor skills whilst having fun. A good push on one of the buttons or animals is instantly rewarded with flashing lights, songs, sounds and phrases. Designed with babies in mind the buttons are large and the characters chunky, making it easy for them to control and play independently.

Push & Play Spinning TopWhilst Harriet’s hands are getting some good exercise her growing brain is being challenged too: the VTech Push & Play Spinning Top teaches a range of great basics eg. the numbers 1 to 4, shapes, colours, the names of animals and their characteristics. With so many ways of play this brilliant baby and toddler toy definitely won’t get boring quickly and will be enjoyed for a long time.

Spin & Learn Colours TorchTo be honest the Spin & Learn Colours Torch (RRP $19.95, 18-36 months) was meant to be hiding in the gift cupboard until Christmas time, but thanks to an unexpected power cut we unwrapped it a little earlier. In the pitch dark we turned the ring to create different coloured lights, sang along with the ABC and made shadow-puppets on the wall. Who would have thought being without power would be this much fun?

This is the perfect first torch for adventurous toddlers, combining playful learning with a practical and sturdy flashlight for bedtime, building a cubby house or going camping. The handy Automatic Shut Off function will ensure we don’t run out of batteries quickly, always ready for our next power cut.

VTech Tree

Officially it’s called the Stack, Sort & Store Tree (RRP $24.95, 9-24 months) but in our house they could well go by the ‘Tantrum Triangles’: all our kids (even the almost 8-year olds) are always arguing about this new addition to Hattie’s toy box, I guess that shows it is loved by 11 up to 95 month olds! At just 11 months old Hattie is only just discovering this awesome toy so it is really interesting to see how kids at different ages and developmental stages use it.

Stack, Sort & Store TreeHarriet is currently trying to master the stacking part by piling up the coloured triangles, however her favourite part is knocking the tower over (usually before the cat makes it to the top). The older kids like nesting the triangles by number and colour, I really love this feature as it means all the pieces stay together neatly and it takes up little storage space. The friendly cat plays happy tunes, sings songs and when placed on one of the triangles it teaches children the correct number and colour.

VTech Tower

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 you visit www.vtech.com.au.

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Aug 162015
 

Lamaze

We may still have to wait a few more weeks until we get to hold our own little bundle but at least I will be getting a lovely dose of baby goodness this afternoon when we meet the darling girl of friends of ours. No matter how many new babies I meet, it never gets boring! While we already spoilt the little lady with some gorgeous gifts a few weeks ago we don’t want to show up empty handed so we got her a copy of one of my children’s favourite baby toys:

OctotunesWe’ve had our friendly Lamaze Octotunes (0-24 months, RRP $29.95) since the twins were born almost 7 years ago, after the twins the other kids enjoyed him and so have lots of little visitors to our home. Over the years the award winning Octotunes design has been released in a few different colours but the concept is still as much fun as it was back then. Children can squeeze the eight musical tentacles to play different tunes and even put together a real nursery rhyme or their own song.

Lamaze Frankie the Hanky WhaleIf you are looking for another guaranteed hit look no further than Frankie the Hanky Whale (9 months+, RRP $29.95), we only discovered him with baby Sybbie but he was a real winner and I know our new baby will enjoy him too when the time comes. Soft and cuddly Frankie comes with four coloured hankies that you can stuff into his mouth and pull out again from his spout, such a fun way to teach little ones about cause and effect. Who needs nasty plastics, expensive batteries, bright lights or loud noises when you can have Frankie?

Lamaze Torin T-rexTwo weeks ago we picked up our baby capsule at our local Toys’R’Us and all of a sudden it is starting to feel very exciting, not long until a teeny tiny baby will be coming home in that seat! I can’t wait to share a snap of our new addition with you all. The gorgeous Lamaze Play & Grow toys are designed to easily clip onto your pram, capsule, car seat or baby bag and provide your little one with lots of entertainment on-the-go.

Lamaze Squeezy DonkeyEach Play & Grow toy (RRP $19.95 each) is unique and has different features to keep your baby happy when out and about. Bright colours to look at, interesting textures to touch, quirky sounds to listen to, mirrors to peek in, fun shapes to explore and even funky teethers to bite on, send your child on a journey of discovery with one of the many friendly Play & Grow characters. I am already picturing this gorgeous Squeezy Donkey dangling on our new capsule.

Lamaze Developmental Toys are available at Target, Big W, Toys’R’Us, Baby Bunting and all good independent baby retailers across Australia.

To find out more about Lamaze and to browse the range visit www.lamazetoys.com.

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May 222015
 

Lamaze

Big Baby Shower – Day 22

One of the first toys we purchased for our twins was a Lamaze pram toy, a colourful little dangly friend that kept them entertained when out and about. We have added quite a few Lamaze toys to our collection since then and with every child we gained a few more. I am already thinking about which character to get our new baby when he/she arrives later this year!

Play & Gro

Lamaze Play & Grow toys (RRP $19.95 each) are fun, friendly soft toys that are made for little hands and inquisitive minds. They are suitable from birth onwards so they make a great baby shower gift.

Toots the ToucanPlay & Grow toys are full of bright colours, quirky sounds, interesting textures and shapes so young children can discover while they play. Rusty the Robot, Jacque the Peacock, Bella the Bunny, Mortimer the Moose… with almost 20 different designs to choose from there is a perfect Play & Grow buddy for everyone. I especially love the handy pram clip, no more dropped/lost toys and baby will always have his/her favourite friend within reach.

OctotunesThe award winning Lamaze Octotunes (0-24 months, RRP $29.95) has been around for a few years, the colours may have changed a little over time but the concept is still the same and it is still a big hit with little ones at different stages. Babies will love looking at the bright colours and patterns, exploring the different textures and feeling the knots, while older babies and toddlers can use Octotunes to practise their colours.

Of course the most popular feature of Octotunes are its eight musical tentacles. By squeezing the legs each tentacle produces a different note, encouraging children to use their hands, train their muscles and listen to the sounds. Believe it or not but you can actually ‘play’ popular nursery rhymes like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Mary had a little Lamb (find the right notes/colours in the manual) using Octotunes, how cool is that?

Lamaze Developmental Toys are available at Target, Big W, Toys R’Us, Baby Bunting and all good independent baby retailers across Australia.

To find out more about Lamaze and to browse the range visit www.lamazetoys.com.

For your chance to win a Lamaze Prize Pack (RRP $49.90, Octotunes and Play & Grow) enter our giveaway below:

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Dec 222014
 

Lamaze

Christmas Countdown – Day 22

As a mum of four children I know very well how tricky it can be to find time to get anything done when you have a curious baby to entertain. Today’s awesome Christmas Countdown prize from Lamaze will keep little minds engaged and small hands busy so you can pop to the toilet, hang up the washing or make yourself a well deserved cup of coffee:

Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym

The Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym (RRP $99.95) is the perfect mix between a play rug, motion gym and tummy time mat, it’s a fantastic multifunctional design that provides hours and hours of fun for little ones from birth onwards.

Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym PondThe soft, padded mat is round in shape and decorated with attractive colourful patterns and pictures that are appealing to young eyes. Many babies are not very keen on tummy time so the key is to present them with lots of interesting things to look at and play with, that way they won’t even have time to get bored or upset. Tummy time is very important for baby’s development and can help avoid and relieve ‘flat head’ symptoms.

Lamaze Space ToysWhen your baby is on his back there is plenty to see too, pop up the quick snap arches and watch your baby as he follows and grabs the fun hanging toys and mirror. The toys and arches of the lightweight Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym are detachable (handy for easy storage or transport) and the soft play mat is machine washable so you can remove little dribbles, food spills and other messy accidents. Nice bonus: The toys are great entertainment in the pram or car too.

With the added entertainment of sound and motion (3 AA batteries, not included) the Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym is sure to put smiles on little faces whilst stimulating baby’s brains and encouraging hand/eye coordination. The Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym is currently available in two stylish designs: Pond and Space.

Lamaze Developmental Toys are available at Target, Big W, Toys R’Us, Baby Bunting and all good independent baby retailers across Australia.

To find out more about Lamaze and to browse the range visit www.lamazetoys.com.

For your chance to win a Lamaze Symphony Motion Gym (RRP $99.95, choose from Pond or Space) enter our giveaway below:

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Jul 072014
 

Lamaze

When our twins were born 6 years ago we carefully chose a gorgeous Lamaze toy for each of them, we loved the cheerful designs and could see straight away these toys would be enjoyed for ages. They did play with them for a long time, exploring all the different learning areas as they got older and even after two more children the toys still look amazing. For us Lamaze translates in fun, age appropriate, playful learning, quality and durability, keep an eye out for these fabulous Lamaze toys in store:

Lamaze Frankie the Hanky WhaleThe very huggable Frankie the Hanky Whale (9 months+, RRP $29.95) proves that young children don’t need lights, sounds, buttons and plastic to be entertained. This soft cuddle whale toy features bright colours to catch the attention of little eyes and lots of interesting textures, patterns, ribbon loops and crinkly fabric to attract little hands. Frankie comes with 4 coloured hankies that you can stuff into his mouth and pull out again from his spout, endless fun!

Lamaze Whale

At first miss Sybbie looked very confused, how can the hankies go in on side and reappear somewhere else? It didn’t take her long to work out and she now performs her own magic tricks with dummies, blocks and balls, a little magician in the making.

OctotunesThe award winning Lamaze Octotunes (0-24 months, RRP $29.95) has been around for a few years, the colours may have changed a little over time but the concept is still the same and it is still a big hit with little ones at different stages. Babies will love looking at the bright colours and patterns, exploring the different textures and feeling the knots, while older babies and toddlers can use Octotunes to practise their colours.

Of course the most popular feature of Octotunes are its eight musical tentacles. By squeezing the legs each tentacle produces a different note, encouraging children listen to use their hands, train their muscles and listen to the sounds. There are enough notes to ‘play’ selected nursery rhymes like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Mary had a little Lamb (find the right notes/colours in the manual) and if you can’t get enough of singing with Octotunes you can download additional tunes online.

Lamaze Developmental Toys are available at Target, Big W, Toys R’Us, Baby Bunting and all good independent baby retailers across Australia.

To find out more about Lamaze and to browse the range visit www.lamazetoys.com.

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Sunday Coffee with Finlee and Me

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Sunday Coffee with Finlee and Me
Apr 082012
 

This week we are sharing a quick Sunday coffee with the lovely Angela from Finlee and Me. As you already know from my Finlee and Me giveaway (go enter if you haven’t yet) I absolutely love this store as there is always something new, original and fun to be found no matter how many times I visit the website. Aside from constantly adding fabulous new products to her store Angela also does an amazing job on the Finlee and Me Facebook page where she shares the coolest things to do with kids (and much more), make sure to give her page the thumbs up!

What does your ideal Sunday look like?
I love, love, love Sundays.
Sundays are brilliant when my 2 year old boy Finlee comes in for a morning snuggle. Once we have our family snuggle time there is nothing better then making some pancakes topped with fruit. Most Sundays will include a stop at a cupcake parlour or an ice cream shop and a walk at the duck pond or a play in the park.

Why did you start Finlee and Me?
Once Finlee was born, I quickly learned that quality baby products was something from the past. So I was on a mission to find affordable products that would meet the demands of parents who choose to surround their babies and young children with items that are not only safe and beautiful but encourage development and learning through play and curiosity.

What can we expect of Finlee and Me in the near future?
There are many things in store with Finlee and Me. New products are arriving weekly from designers in Australia, but also from around the world. We also have a very high engagement on our Facebook page where we have an array of competitions, daily highlights etc.

What is your favourite item in store?
My favorite item in our store would have to be our Balloon Balls. It’s a wonderful twist from your every day balloon with modern day covers. More importantly the cover protects babies and children from choking on balloon pieces that pop.

What is (one of) the funniest things your child has ever said?
It’s something simple but makes me laugh every time… Finlee has just learned the context of saying “no thank you.” So we play this tickle game that he loves and I asked him if he wanted to play and he looked at me and said “No thanks mummy; later” and then just walked away like nothing.

To find out more about Finlee and Me, to browse the range and to order your favourites online visit www.finleeandme.com.au.