Think outside the square with RockIt Twist

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Dec 212019
 

Turn or twist it, press or pull it, flip or flick it… Whether it’s at home on a hot summer day or on the way to your holiday destination, this funky new gadget is guaranteed to keep the kids’ brains and hands busy. Knowing how much our tribe enjoys using their other LeapFrog devices I immediately knew the RockIt Twist would be a winning Sinterklaas gift and it was an instant success:

Heralded as this year’s hottest Christmas gift the RockIt Twist (RRP $89.95, ages 4-10) has already made an appearance on many a wish list (including that of my own children). Is it a miniature game console? Could it be an oversized Tamagotchi-style virtual pet or possibly a fancy fidget toy? We’ve put it to the test and can confirm it’s all of the above and it is FUN!

Featuring a range of coloured buttons, arrows, wheels and switches the RockIt Twist instantly captured the attention of my curious kids. It is definitely no ordinary handheld console, with so many quirky angles it takes quite a bit of brain action to master this cool game system. Different games, different sides, different controls, the RockIt Twist keeps you on your toes and secretly you’ll be learning as you rotate and play…

Your RockIt Twist comes preloaded with 12 games that, just like we have come to expect and love from LeapFrog, cover a range of learning areas including literacy, maths, problem solving, science and creativity. Thanks to the three different difficulty levels our 4-year old, 6-year old and 9-year old are all able to play and enjoy the RockIt Twist at their own level. Especially the younger kids like that the games are bite-size, long enough to learn how things work and succeed at it yet short enough to hold their attention, try several games in a row or have a quick play before bed.

The device is also home to three cute virtual pets that are impatiently waiting to be hatched. Once brought to life you can play, feed and care for your new pet and watch it grow with to your expert TLC. Find your pet’s favourite food or give it a good scrub and a rinse in the tub, brush its teeth with a fruity tooth paste or play together to earn hearts. If you look after your pet properly you can raise it all the way from baby to child to teenager to adult as you fill the ‘birthday’ meter. Our kids thought it was hilarious that their teenager got braces!

The RockIt Twist does not require an internet connection and is rechargeable, so you can play it anywhere and anytime. You can even upload some cool MP3 tunes to the device and listen to your own tracks on the go (with or without headphones), what’s your favourite summer hit? Your RockIt Twist allows for three different player profiles, so siblings can share the same device and still care for their own virtual pet and work on their own game progress.

For even more RockIt Twist fun you can add additional games using the RockIt Twist Game Packs (sold separately). Each Game Pack comes with a download card (to install the game and a new pet to your device) as well as a toy egg so you can ‘hatch’ your own keyring pet. There are currently three different Game Packs to choose from: Party Time with Poppy (Trolls), Penelope Penguin: Pet Detective and Dinosaur Discoveries.

Handy hints and useful tips: To ensure your RockIt Twist game system runs on the latest software simply connect it to your computer and follow the prompts to create/log in to you LeapFrog Connect account. The included USB cable is also your charging cable, so no messing around with expensive batteries. You can connect up to five RockIt Twists to the same parent account and they can all share the same Game Pack, now that’s budget friendly!

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 LeapFrog RockIt Twist prize pack (RockIt Twist Game System and 3 RockIt Twist Game Packs, RRP $135) hop on over to the LeapFrog Australia Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Pawesome PAW Patrol picks

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Jun 242019
 

paw-patrol

I regularly receive emails from both new and longtime readers asking me for advice on hip finds I shared in the past and one of the most popular questions is always: Does your family still love LeapFrog and which LeapPad should we get? I am working on a longer post about this (stay tuned) but our short and adamant answer is YES! Even after many years we still adore our LeapPads and I highly recommend them to everyone. We recently purchased a new LeapPad game for our littlest PAW Patrol fan and it is so much fun, I just had to give it a quick shout-out:

The LeapFrog PAW Patrol Collection learning game (RRP $34.99, ages 4-7) contains both a learning game and an eBook featuring your favourite PAW Patrol pups, offering kids two different ways to play and learn in one game cartridge. Although Miss Hattie is not four just yet and therefore a bit on the young side, she is very keen and the PAW Patrol: Ready for Action! learning game is definitely getting the wheels turning inside her little head.

The aim of the game is to solve practical problems, PAW Patrol style. On their way to find a bunch of missing kittens the brave rescue pups encounter a range of obstacles, time to put those brains to work and find the right pup and the right tool for each ‘problem’. From helicopters to fire trucks, from ladders to nets, from diggers to submarines, from hooks to hoses, this fun puzzle game helps develop reasoning skills, teaches cause and effect, practises problem solving and more and you even earn cool badges along the way.

Young readers can work on their literacy skills too with the PAW Patrol: The Great Robot Rescue eBook. Ryder has created a super clever Robo Dog, but when his antenna gets damaged by a fall Robo Dog is uncontrollable and turns the whole town upside down. Ryder and the pups work together to catch Robo Dog and put everything back in order. Kids can listen to the story while flicking the pages and reading along. This is an excellent way to help kids practise common sight words, they can point at individual words to hear them and trigger cool sounds/reactions by touching the pictures on each page.

Hip Tip: If you like quick and easy you can also download these cool apps directly from the LeapFrog App Centre, meaning you don’t even have to leave the house. As with all LeapFrog apps when you purchase the PAW Patrol: Ready for Action! learning game and/or the PAW Patrol: The Great Robot Rescue eBook online you can install them on multiple LeapPad devices yet you only pay once, perfect for large families like ours.

Another pawesome find is this flip-lid PAW Patrol Learning Watch (RRP $24.95, ages 3-6) which you can strap to your wrist and is filled with loads of interactive PAW Patrol fun. It is no surprise that Hattie had her heart set on Skye and proudly shows off her pink gadget to everyone she meets. I admit it is quite large in size so it can be a little tricky to combine with bulky winter coats but nothing will stop her wearing it anywhere and anytime.

Just like any good watch it tells the time, it has a timer/stopwatch and a working alarm. A little advice: Make sure you know how to turn the settings off or you’ll be woken by the cuckoo clock every hour, it took us a while to determine the source of the hourly cluck cluck and locate the noisy chicken! You can customise the look of your watch with 12 interchangeable digital clock faces and it even has a glowing light for midnight time checks.

Designed by the toy specialists at VTech the PAW Patrol Learning Watch is made with real children in mind so the design is not just practical but playful too. The watch plays sounds and phrases from the show and comes with four built-in PAW Patrol mini games that focus on different learning skills like making matches, basic addition and subtraction and problem solving. With only four different buttons the watch is surprisingly easy to master, which gives kids a great feeling of independence.

The PAW Patrol Learning Watch is available in Skye pink, Chase blue and Marshall red from your local Big W store and other good toy stores across Australia.

Sale Alert: A little birdie told me that the watch is currently on sale at BIG W for just $19, go and snap up a bargain!

No job is too big, no pup is too small. Whether you love Marshall, Chase or Skye, or adore Zuma, Rocky, Rubble or Everest, there is a perfect PAW Patrol pal for everyone.

Nov 302017
 

November has been a funny month when it comes to the weather. From cold, rainy and miserable to hot, humid and sweaty, we’ve seen it all! No matter which one of those two, we’ve been inside quite a bit so our games cupboard has been very popular with the kids. Action games are always a hit and this cool Talkin’ Toys game definitely ticks the box for excitement:

Designed for 2 to 4 players Shark Bite (RRP $39.95, ages 4+) brings the ocean to your family table, as little fishermen and women try to catch a delicious seafood meal. But be careful, a hungry shark is circling below and before you know it you’ll be his dinner instead of the winner.

To start the game you need open up the shark’s mouth and fill it with a range of sea creatures in different shapes and colours. Guided by a dice players first find out how many creatures they need to catch, then it’s time to get out the miniature fishing rods and get fishing… Because you never know when the shark will attack the excitement builds with every turn, and yes even an adult’s heart will skip a beat when those sharp teeth snap together…

Shark Bite is easy to set up and quick to play, once we talked through the rules the four big kids (ages 4, 7 and 9) immediately got the hang of it. With a new baby and a busy toddler around as well I love the fact that I don’t have to supervise the game constantly, our 9-year old twins did an excellent job managing the fishing expedition. Added bonus: No need for batteries!

To find out more about Talkin’ Toys and to discover a whole heap of other cool toys and games for Christmas visit www.talkintoys.com.au.

Do you have some empty spots left under the Christmas tree? Don’t forget to enter our giveaway below for your chance to win an awesome Talkin’ Toys Christmas Toy Pack (RRP $149.80):

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Nov 022017
 

Now that November has arrived and term 4 is in full swing it’s time for Santa’s helpers to get started on the Christmas shopping. As a mum of six I have to shop smart, so I make sure to pick gifts that will last longer than one week and often presents they can enjoy together. Books and games are hot favourites in our house; from the youngest to the oldest,  everyone loves a good family game! If your games cupboard could use a boost before the holiday season you will love this awesome Christmas Prize Pack, kindly donated by our wonderful friends at Talkin’ Toys:

It’s all about saving the flock and stopping the sneaky fox in this fun game for young players. Bring out the giggles: there’s underwear involved! That greedy fox could lose his trousers at any moment and when he loses his pants, it’s time to rescue as many chickens as you can! Collect them quickly and fill up your chicken coop, the first player to collect five chickens is the rightful winner of Catch the Fox (RRP $39.95, ages 4+) .

Game of Things (RRP $39.95, ages 14+) is the ultimate “Who-said-what” game with attitude that presents players with questions such as “THINGS… you wouldn’t do for a million dollars”, “THINGS…you wish grew on trees” or “THINGS… your parents forgot to tell you”. Simply pick a topic, have all players write a response, then read them out loud and guess who said what. There are no right answers and no wrong answers, just a whole lot of laughs!

It’s the toy challenge you either love or hate: the famous cube by Rubik’s (RRP $29.95) has been entertaining and frustrating players since 1980, have you managed to solve this classic 3-dimensional puzzle yet? If you play it right each twist and turn will help you group the coloured squares together, but be warned, it’s harder than you think. This compact puzzle is a great boredom buster for holiday trips!

Regular Hip Little One readers will remember that I raved about Pop the Pig (RRP $$39.95, ages 4-7) a little while ago, our kids absolutely love this game! Each turn a roll of the dice determines which colour hamburger the hungry chef should eat, the players pop a coloured hamburger into the pig’s mouth then pump his head. The more they pump, the more his belly grows until . . . pop! Kids love the suspense as they watch his belly grow; the player who makes his belly burst loses the game.

To find out more about Talkin’ Toys and to discover a whole heap of other cool toys and games for Christmas visit www.talkintoys.com.au.

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Level up with Monopoly Gamer

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Sep 042017
 

Who says twins are missing out by having to share their birthday with their sibling? At our house it definitely doesn’t mean half the fun, we just double the celebrations and spread them out over a whole birthday weekend. Special outings, yummy birthday treats and personal dinner requests, games, movies and staying up late, the twins just turned nine and we sure marked it in style.

As you know I love wrapping up a board game as it really is a gift that keeps on giving and the whole family gets to enjoy it. After spotting this cool new Hasbro release in a catalogue master 9 kept dropping hints for it, so he was over the moon to find it in his present pile.

Combining the timeless entertainment of Monopoly with the excitement of your favourite Nintendo game Super Mario Monopoly Gamer (RRP $44.99, ages 8+) is bound to be a hit with game fanatics of all ages. Thought you’d worked out your go-to Monopoly strategy? Think again! This funky twist on a much loved classic is shaking up the rules and will have everyone sitting on the edge of their seat.

After reading up on the game basics we bit the bullet and got the two dice rolling, exploring the new board, travelling through warp pipes, earning coins, discovering each character’s unique abilities, scoring special power-ups and of course collecting property along the way.

At the end of each trip around the board you get a shot at a Boss Fight, will you manage to beat the bully and score big? We found it is definitely helpful to have an adult on hand to explain the game, give instructions, supervise and play bank. Our tip: There are quite a lot of rules to learn so keep the manual within reach.

Up your game and expand your Monopoly Gamer family with other Nintendo friends and foes like Luigi, Boo, Rosalina, Wario or Diddy Kong. Each ‘Monopoly Gamer’ Power Pack (RRP $5.99) contains a new character figurine, a character card granting unique powers for even more Monopoly Gamer fun and a sticker. There are eight different Power Packs to collect, which Super Mario legend would you like to be in your next game?

If you are a real die-hard Nintendo fan and can’t wait to face off against the biggest opponent of all, Bowser, you must get your hands on the special ‘Monopoly Gamer’ Collector’s Edition (RRP $64.99, available only at EB Games). Featuring premium packaging, an exclusive Bowser token, an exclusive Bowser Jr. Boss card and more this is the ultimate Father’s Day gift idea for a Nintendo-mad dad.

To find out more about Hasbro, to take a closer look at the Monopoly Gamer board game and to locate a stockist near you visit www.hasbro.com.

Aug 112017
 

On the one hand it makes me sad how quick our babies are growing up, on the other hand it is also heartwarming to see them turning into awesome kids who you can really talk to about a range of topics and feelings. Now that the twins are almost 9 we’re having the best chats and they really enjoy having some special time before bed when the little ones are already tucked in. These last few weeks we’ve shared many laughs playing this hilarious drawing game:

Also known as ‘the world’s fastest drawing game’ Pass the Pen (RRP $39.95, ages 8+) is not a game for slowcoaches, you definitely need to be on the ball to get the top score!

Pass the Pen is easy to play and only has a few components, so it requires pretty much no set-up time which I think is great. Each turn one of the players needs to draw a card from the pile and, using a coloured dice, select which of the 5 challenges on the card they will have to draw. The real fun is in the special ‘Pass the Pen’ ballpoint, a unique pen fitted with a 10-15 second timer. Older players can set the timer dial to 10 seconds, while younger players are allowed 15 seconds for each turn.

In a race against the clock the artist needs to draw and the others need to guess, before time runs out and the pen tip disappears. If guessed correctly within the 10 second time frame both artist and guesser earn maximum points. If no one guesses the right word you pass the pen to the next player who continues on the same challenge and so on, with points decreasing the longer it takes for the right guess.

At only eight years old I was expecting the twins to struggle with some of the challenges, but I was pleased to see they knew the majority of words and they love giving the drawing a go so we all liked playing. Pass the Pen is obviously a fast-paced game so everyone needs to be switched on and there is no time for thinking (or perfectionism in drawing, which miss 8 initially found a bit hard to accept), just draw and guess as quick as you can!

Designed for 3 or more players this is a fantastic game for families or a group of friends to play together. As a parent I know all too well that time management can be a tricky when it comes to games so I love how you can make your game of Pass the Pen last as long or short as you like by adjusting the number of game cards. There are 104 cards with a total of 520 challenges, so there’s plenty of drawing fun to be had!

To find out more about Talkin’ Toys, to take a closer look at Pass the Pen and to discover a whole heap of other cool toys visit www.talkintoys.com.au.

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‘Pop the Pig’ giveaway

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Jul 282017
 

While being sick was not exactly part of our school holiday plans, it did force us to slow down and take things easy for a few days. Three little patients really kept me on my toes but thankfully the other kids took it in their stride and made up their own indoor entertainment. My box of school holiday boredom busters was raided and this hilarious Crown & Andrews game was a huge hit:

Knowing how much our kids enjoy Pop the Pirate I am not surprised they were immediately taken by his funny and famished sibling Pop the Pig (RRP $39.95, ages 4 – 7). Doesn’t this chef pig look awesome?

Designed for young players Pop the Pig is easy to understand and quick to play, it’s perfect for some family time before bed and you can easily fit in a few rounds to give all the kids a chance at winning. The aim of the game is to pop the pig’s tummy by filling it up with delicious hamburgers, but who will be the one to feed him the ‘winning’ burger?

Players take turns by throwing a dice to determine the colour hamburger they can serve up. Each hamburger features a number (between 1-4) which allows the player to press the pig’s head the selected number of times. As the game progresses and more hamburgers enter his mouth the pig’s belly gets bigger and bigger and the excitement is building, after all everyone wants to pop the pig!

Aside from being very funny Pop the Pig also teaches children valuable skills like taking turns, recognising colours and numbers, being patient and of course the concept of ‘chance’. As no one can predict when the pig will pop the game stays exciting until the end, which really helps keep little players involved and motivated. Once popped the pig can be deflated with a simple push on his hat, his chef’s jacket can then be refastened and he’s ready for another round of tasty treats.

To find out more about Talkin’ Toys, to take a closer look at Pop the Pig and to discover a whole heap of other cool toys visit www.talkintoys.com.au.

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