LeapStart 3D: Simba’s Surprise

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapStart 3D: Simba’s Surprise
Dec 242020
 

When you have a big family like ours, storage space is always hard to find especially when it comes to toys. Ahead of the festive season I always give our playroom a thorough clean-out, sorting all the toys in the right boxes, donating older toys they’ve grown out of to our local op-shop or church and throwing away any broken bits and pieces. The kids love rediscovering everything they already own and I like the fresh start before new gifts arrive.

Another space-saving trick is to build on collections/brands you already have, it is often cheaper to buy new additions than to start a whole new collection and it is much easier for kids to put away their toys when there are less boxes/tubs. With this theory in mind we recently expanded our LeapStart 3D library with a fun new title for Ted and Hattie to explore, being compatible with the LeapStart 3D Learning System we already own there is no expensive outlay so it’s a super affordable gift AND takes up next to no space. Everyone’s happy!

If you are a longtime reader you will probably remember all about LeapStart 3D, but just in case you missed it you can check this clever learning system out here. The LeapStart 3D Library consists of many different titles that focus on specific learning skills and interests and new books are always in the making. One of the latest releases is Simba’s Surprise (RRP $19.95, ages 2-5), a cute storybook for preschoolers filled with interactive fun. Let’s go on a journey in the jungle with Simba the Lion King, Timon and of course the oh-so-funny Pumbaa.

To transform your LeapStart 3D book from an ordinary book into an interactive 3D adventure, simply open the LeapStart unit, click your book into place and turn the device on. The device will automatically recognise your book when you touch it with the smart stylus and guide you through downloading the audio for you new book (PC with internet connection required). While the main part of Simba’s Surprise is (of course) the story of Simba who wants to treat his friends to special gift, there is actually a lot more hiding on each page than ‘just’ words…

The stylus can be used to hear the story read out loud (allowing learning readers to read along with the words) but also to activate games, puzzles. challenges, hints and eye-catching animations that show up on the unique LeapStart 3D flip screen. Just touch anywhere on the page and see what happens! What do Ted and Hattie love most about Simba’s Surprise? They enjoyed playing the Animal Matching game (spotting body parts and connecting them them to the right animal owner), they liked watching Timon tickle Pumbaa with a feather and they thought Timon and Pumbaa stuffing their faces with scrumptious bugs and creepy crawlies was very funny. As a bonus the book also includes a page of free The Lion King stickers, nice treat!

Hip Tip: If you happen to own the original LeapStart System instead you can still enjoy all the fun the new titles have to offer (except for the 3D experience). Just another way LeapFrog cares for families and their budgets.

You can find the LeapStart 3D Library at your local Big W and other good toy stores across Australia or online at selected retailers.

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

LeapFrog to the Rescue: Touch & Learn Tablet

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Dec 152020
 

Just when you think life is slowly returning to (a new version of) normal a range of interesting curve balls come rolling your way and we’ve certainly had our share! From an unexpected hospital stay for my little Ted (which had us all scared and running back and forth to hospital), to myself being admitted for major surgery right before a statewide lockdown. Thankfully hubby managed to step up as the most amazing full-time house dad, nurse and all the other jobs that come with running a large family like ours and will be doing so for a while longer. I have been ordered not to lift a finger and to act like a princess for at least six weeks, which is a lot harder than it sounds…

Back to Ted in a hospital bed, an experience we won’t easily forget. After the initial shock had worn off he slowly showed some interest in the toys and games I had packed for him in his backpack, including this fun kiddy device by LeapFrog:

The 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is an attractive combination of a colourful book and and a chunky kid-proof pretend tablet (so no screen time!). There are buttons to push, colours and pictures to see, stories to listen to, interactive pages to explore, tabs to flick, lights to look at and more, so there’s plenty to do for a little boy stuck in bed (or a child on a Christmas road trip!).

So what makes the Touch & Learn Tablet a ‘2-in-1’? The secret is in the magic handle! In horizontal position children can flip over the interactive pages to discover numbers, animals, shapes, flowers, opposites and emotions. By simply touching the pages with their finger (no stylus required) young readers can learn facts and play games, at their own pace and following their interests. Each page has more than 14 different interactive touch points to keep little brains busy for ages.

When you switch the handle you can rotate the device vertically to instantly turn the tablet into a book with six sweet animal stories. Give Buddy a bath, go painting with Jake, visit the farm with Pepper or listen to what your other animal friends get up to. Not only can you hear the story read out loud, you can also test your spotting skills on every page with simple touch games (eg. Find the cow, Find the number 4 or Find Bella).

With its many ways to play and learn and its compact shape the 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet has been a real life saver over the last two months. We now always pack it in our bag to use it on a long drive or in a boring waiting room (which we have seen way too much of lately). Ted is a keen learner and he often surprises me by repeating things he has learnt by playing on ‘his iPad’ as he calls it. If you’re looking for a Christmas screen-free gift that entertains AND trains, this is it!

You can find the LeapFrog 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet at your local Big W and other good toy stores across Australia or online at selected retailers.

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

Around the world with SmartGlobe

 Sales & Savings, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Around the world with SmartGlobe
Oct 152020
 

When we booked our European adventure last year, we could not ever have imagined how the world would be turned upside down just a few months later. No amazing new memories with our Dutch family, no exploring new countries and cities, no tasting new foods or trying new languages… it was a such a disappointment when our tickets were cancelled indefinitely. However through a stroke of luck the kids have still been able to go on a (virtual) trip around the globe, thanks to this amazing invention from Oregon Scientific:

At first sight you may think this is just another ordinary world globe, but I can assure you there is nothing ordinary about the SmartGlobe Explorer AR (RRP $399, Ages 5+). Using clever interactive technology the award-winning design allows children to learn all about the world they live in, the earth they live on and the solar system they are surrounded by. Come and explore with us!

The large SmartGlobe is absolutely packed with features and even after months of investigating there is still so much more left to discover. With a simple touch of the special SmartPen children can explore over 220 countries, learn 20,000+ interesting facts, play 42 educational games and so much more. From countries to capitals, from continents to currencies, from languages to landmarks, from anthems to animals, from the weather to world time, the SmartGlobe is an endless well of information for young and old.

But there is more to the SmartGlobe Explorer AR than meets the eye. As the world’s first and only ‘open’ globe in the market the SmartGlobe opens up to reveal a unique view of the earth’s interior, as well as the solar system. Grab your SmartPen and learn all about the planets, find their place in the milky way and delve deeper into the layers of the earth. The SmartPen is wireless, rechargeable and is stored safely at the back of the unit when not in use.

By downloading the SmartGlobe App onto your smart phone you can actually bring your SmartGlobe to life, simply move your phone around the globe and be treated to a fabulous augmented reality experience. Watch exotic animals walk into your screen, visit famous landmarks and even check out delicacies from around the world. You can also use the app on its own, which is great fun on-the-go when you’re not near your SmartGlobe, and test your world knowledge with a cool quiz or two.

As a mum of six children I particularly love that this design caters for different ages and interests, making it a valuable investment for growing families. By selecting the right age group (Ages 5-8, Ages 9-14 and Ages 15+) you can automatically customise the SmartGlobe content to match your child’s development stage. This keeps things interesting, age appropriate and fun, no matter how old your child is. Siblings and friends can also enjoy learning together because the SmartGlobe allows for up to 4 multi-players, now that’s what I call family friendly!

Of course the world’s facts and figures are forever changing, so to ensure your SmartGlobe teaches your children the latest and most accurate information Oregon Scientific offers unlimited updates to your SmartGlobe for the first 12 months (from date of registration). After this you can access updates for a small fee of $14.99 per year.

Hip Tip: Sign up for the Oregon Scientific newsletter to receive a 10% discount code for you to use on your first purchase, bonus!

To find out more about Oregon Scientific, to take a closer look at the SmartGlobe Explorer AR and to order online visit www.oregonshop.com.au.

‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ giveaway

 Eco, Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ giveaway
Sep 052020
 

Pan Macmillan Australia

Gut health, good bacteria, microbiome, digestive system… every day we hear about these things on TV, in catalogues and on product packaging and we are constantly reminded of how important our gut it is for our general wellbeing. Of course the same goes for our children’s health, but those are pretty big words for kids to understand! Before you throw this one in the ‘too hard basket’, check out this fantastic book by Pan Macmillan Australia:

As an international expert in Nutritional Psychiatry and gut health, professor Felice Jacka is your go-to girl for all your tricky gut questions. Felice has teamed up with clever teacher, musician and illustrator Rob Craw to create There’s a Zoo in my Poo (RRP $24.99): a funny, easy to understand book that teaches children all about gut health.

If you thought gut health was boring, think again! Felice Jacka has managed to make it both educational and very entertaining by inviting kids to become zookeepers of their very own internal zoo. Learn about good bugs and bad bugs, where they live and what they do, follow the poo-train down its track, discover the secret messages hidden in your poo, see why dirt is awesome, find out what to feed your zoo creatures to make them strong (and what to avoid), try out zoo-friendly recipes and become an expert zookeeper!

Of course the word ‘poo’ is bound to make kids smile and there’s plenty of poo-fun in this book! We love the jokes, the rhymes and let’s not forget the gorgeous illustrations by Rob Craw which put a cool face to all these zoo bugs. All jokes aside, There’s a Zoo in my Poo is a wonderful combination of laughing and learning and it is sure to leave them with some valuable knowledge for a healthy future.

To find out more about Pan Macmillan, to take a closer look at ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ by Felice Jacka and to order your favourite titles online visit www.panmacmillan.com.au.

For your chance to win a copy of ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ (RRP $24.99) hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

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.

LeapFrog LeapStart 3D giveaway

 Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapFrog LeapStart 3D giveaway
Jun 242020
 

Learning to read is a huge achievement, some of my children instantly ‘got it’ and others took their time to work it out and that is totally OK. I have definitely learnt that keeping it fun, exciting and entertaining helps take away some of the pressure and allows young readers to playfully make the jump from looking at pictures to proper reading. Proving you’re never too young to become a bookworm, LeapFrog has released this amazing new invention called LeapStart:

The LeapStart 3D Learning System (RRP $89.95, ages 2-7) brings books to life while cleverly combining a whole range of important learning areas like reading, spelling, puzzling, languages, tracing, maths, comprehension and much more. This makes it exciting for curious kids with different interests and levels of development and perfect for our two youngest learners.

It all starts with the LeapStart 3D base station that flips open to hold any LeapStart book of your choosing. Once you click your book into the base and switch the device on you can begin your discovery journey with the chunky toddler-friendly stylus. Each page is filled with interactive fun: Pictures, words, sounds, games, tunes, letters, numbers… just touch anything you see with the Touch & Talk stylus and watch the magic happen!

The education experts at LeapFrog understand exactly how little minds work and have designed the LeapStart technology to help develop a love for reading through play. Letters, letter sounds, words and sentences become a lot more interesting when you can touch them to hear them being read out loud, and you’re in charge. LeapStart allows young readers to feel independent and once they start ‘getting it right’ it offers a wonderful sense of pride and achievement.

The futuristic pop-up holographic screen that is built into the LeapStart 3D base station makes LeapStart 3D an experience like no other. As children explore each page by touching images, playing games or answering questions they will be treated to special holographic animations on the full colour screen, it’s like your favourite characters have jumped from the page to take you on an out-of-this-world adventure!

We have started our collection with the two included Level 1 titles (Shapes & Colours and 22 Words in English & French) as well as the LeapStart 3D Sampler Book but there are plenty of other LeapStart 3D books across three different levels to collect. Featuring popular characters like PAW Patrol, Mickey Mouse and Peppa Pig and covering topics from maths to writing, reading to science and everything in between there really is a LeapStart adventure waiting for every child.

With several birthdays coming up in a September we have already added Pre-School STEM, Disney Princess Shine and of course First Day of School to our wish list. Our four-year old Hattie is gearing up for the start of school so this will be a wonderful help as we prepare for the big day. Bonus: If you already own one or more books from the earlier LeapStart version, you’ll be pleased to know those titles are compatible with LeapStart 3D too (obviously without the 3D effect).

A little heads up for parents: LeapStart 3D takes a bit of preparation to get started, you will need to insert 3 AA batteries and connect the device to your computer to set it up and download the audio content for your books. Once that’s done LeapStart 3D is good to go! A built-in carry handle makes LeapStart easy to transport for small hands.

You can find the LeapFrog LeapStart 3D range at your local Big W or Target store and other good toy stores or online at selected retailers.

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

For your chance to win a LeapStart 3D prize pack (RRP $89.95, LeapStart 3D + 2 bonus books) hop on over to the LeapFrog Australia Facebook page to enter, good luck! Be quick, competition ends June 25, 2020.

‘When the World Went Inside’ giveaway

 Giveaways, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on ‘When the World Went Inside’ giveaway
Jun 222020
 

From home isolation to hoarding, from shopping limits to social distancing, from hand sanitiser to home schooling… it has been a crazy few months! There are days I myself can hardly wrap my head around everything that has happened and the impact it has on all of us, so I am not surprised that children’s heads are full of questions too. If you are looking for a gentle conversation starter to tackle COVID19 with your little ones I’ve got the perfect find for you:

Written by a lovely Australian mama-of-three When the World Went Inside (RRP $15-$20) tells the story of a young boy called Theo and how his life changes when COVID19 enters his little world. People are worried, playgrounds are shut and schools are closed, he can no longer visit Granny or see his friends, yet he still has to brush his teeth and eat his veggies? This gorgeous book translates the impact, worries and changes brought on by the Coronavirus in a language children will recognise and understand.

Author Charlie Golding has managed to create a book that will hit home with children of all ages, discussing the ways the pandemic has affected their everyday life and making it easier to understand. Often children are unable to express their concerns or word their questions, in which case this beautifully illustrated book might just be the reassurance they need to put their mind at ease.

You can buy When the World Went Inside as a printed book ($20, soft-cover) to read at home or share in your classroom, or you can buy the e-book ($15, PDF) so you can enjoy it anytime and anywhere on your iPad on tablet.

To find out more about When the World Went Inside, to download a digital copy or to order the book online visit www.whentheworldwentinsidebook.com.

For your chance to win a copy of When the World Went Inside (RRP $20) by Charlie Golding hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page to enter. Good luck!