Kids love Kiko+

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Dec 292014
 

Kiko+

After the busy Christmas period with late nights, noisy toys and too much food I love relaxing with my family, just calmly reading a book and playing a quiet game. If you are looking for a fabulous game that is fun, educational, unique and very stylish you are sure to love today’s hip find from Kiko+:

Kiko+ Tanabata

This super cool Tanabata Star Dominos Set ($65) by Japanse designer label Kiko+ consists of 100 smooth wooden stars: 70 coloured stars in 7 different colours and 30 natural beech stars marked with the number 0-9, packed together in a lovely golden bag. Stack them, sort them or count them, line them up and watch them fall or play a game of dominos by matching up the numbers, the options are endless!

It’s a great educational game too as you can use the stars to create your own simple maths exercises for young children. You can stack a pile of stars with the same colour, count them and find the natural beech star with the same number. You can also practise addition and subtraction in a creative and playful way, after all kids learn best when they are having fun!

Tanabata Star Dominos

You can find this pretty Tanabata Star Dominos Set in store at Fabrik, Australia wide shipping is $7.95 and orders over $100 ship free.

To find out more about Fabrik, to take a closer look at Kiko+ Tanabata Star Dominos and to order online visit www.fabrikstore.com.

LeapFrog in our Luggage

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Sep 082014
 

When people hear we just travelled to Europe with 4 kids under 6 they usually say we’re crazy (which we probably are!). I admit that it is not an easy, and definitely not a relaxing, journey, but after having made the same trip several times I have become quite the expert at packing backpacks full of entertainment to help get us through the  long flights and stopover.

LeapPads

I always start a few months in advance by getting each child a new backpack and adding books, activity pads, games, play sets and markers as I pick them up on sale. I never show the kids what’s in their backpacks until we’re on the plane, they love unpacking their new goodies and they’re happy to share with each other. This time I also surprised them with some new LeapFrog games for their LeapPads which were a huge hit:

LeapFrog Learning Ganme Sesame StreetFor miss 3 I picked Sesame Street – Solve it with Elmo, Abby and Super Grover 2.0! ($44.99, ages 3-5) who absolutely loves Abby Cadabby. With the start of kindy coming up this is a great game to practice basic pre-school skills like problem solving, logic and reasoning, balancing and cause and effect using friendly, familiar characters and through simple games that appeal to young children.

The game also touches on other interesting concepts like magnetism, machines, technology and engineering which were very popular with master 5. Miss 3 particularly liked adding little pigs to Abby’s boat to make it balance and navigating it across the river, they all thought catching chickens in Super Grover 2.0’s go-kart was hilarious.

LeapFrog Jake and the Neverland PiratesDisney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates ($44.99, ages 3-5) is another fantastic game for this younger age group. The aim of the game is to outsmart captain Hook with a series of mini games that will earn you coins for your treasure chest. The simple exercises are a great way to teach children to listen to and follow instructions, a skill that is very important at pre-school and of course at home too.

Practise your numbers by counting coins, learn about shapes and matching by fixing up a boat, find your way to the treasure chest by hopping over the lava river and much more, it’s a perfect learning game for little adventurers.

LeapFrog SpongeBobAnyone who knows our master 5 will know that he loves being challenged, he always wants to test his abilities by reading a tricky book or doing homework that’s above his level. When I spotted SpongeBob Squarepants – Fists of Foam ($44.99, ages 6-9) on sale I figured it would definitely keep him busy on our trip. Mathematics, geometry and fractions, it’s enough to make me shiver but he was super excited to try it out (not a child of his mother obviously!).

Clearly aimed at older children this particular SpongeBob Squarepants game (there are other SpongeBob Squarepants titles too) does involve a bit of ninja karate, that sounds nicer than fighting and in this case it is quite harmless in my opinion. Players will have to have some reading skills to be able to understand the story line. I hope master 5 is still this excited about fractions when he has to do it at school.

LeapFrog CrayolaOf course the LeapPad already comes with a selection of apps including the Art Studio App but miss 5 is such a crafty person I knew she would really enjoy the Crayola Art Adventure ($44.99, ages 3-7) Learning Game as well. Using signature ‘Crayola’ tools like PipSqueak Markers players can work their way through different rooms, games and challenges and solve the mystery of the missing colours.

I think this is a really lovely game because it combines art, colour and design and even music (something our miss 5 can never get enough of) whilst covering basic skills like tracing lines, discovering patterns, solving puzzles, matching shapes and learning the names of shapes in the process. There is no time pressure, it is just good, calm, crafty fun.

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

Mar 022014
 

Now that the twins have started school we’ve entered a new stage of after school play dates, I never know who they will want to bring home next. One thing I do know and it’s that all little visitors seem to have a sixth sense for where our LeapFrog toys are stored. Within 5 minutes of arriving home I usually spot the young guest on the ground holding our LeapPad, carefully picking a game from our collection that they’d like to play.

If you already own a LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra, LeapPad 1 or 2, Leapster GS or Explorer you’ll love todays giveaway as there are two great LeapFrog Learning Games up for grabs:

Minnie Mouse Bow-tiqueWe purchased Minnie Mouse Bow-tique: Super Surprise Party! ($44.95, ages 3-5) a few months ago for our little miss 3, she loves Minnie and it was an absolute hit straight away. While she plays around in Minnie’s little shop with bows, ribbons, sparkles and glitter she is secretly practising her memory and logic skills, trying her hand at letter and colour recognition and even word sounds, pretty clever if you ask me.

Sorting fun with Minnie

Sorting fun with Minnie

The game is set in the Minnie Mouse Bow-tique with lots of different things to touch and short games to play. As this learning game is suitable for players as young as three years old it contains simple games like sorting colours, decorating bows and picking outfits but it also provides a first introduction to letter and word sounds, eg. they hear the sounds S-U-N and need to click the picture of the sun. By playing the individual games, taking phone orders and creating custom bows and helping running the store players can earn more bows and unlock new colours keeping the game fun and interesting. Remember, don’t tell anyone about the secret Super Surprise Party for Minnie!

Learning letters on the go

Learning letters on the go

Minnie Mouse Bow-tique figurineOften computer games seem to be considered more a boys toy so it is really nice to see a few more girl orientated games in the LeapFrog Library. Minnie Mouse Bow-tique lets girls play with the things they love while learning valuable skills at the same time. At the moment there is a special edition of this lovely game available (at selected stockists only) which includes a free Minnie Mouse figurine, as you can imagine our little lady was a bit disappointed that we bought our game before this one came out.

My Little PonyWhile young kids turn to Minnie for a first and very fashionable play with letters older children who have mastered their numbers can move on to more tricky math problems with My Little Pony. The game My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ($44.95, ages 5-8) takes the magic out of maths and turns it into logic, building important math skills and number confidence through games and play.

Concepts like probability, fractions and percentage can be a little confusing at first but don’t worry, the very pretty Princess Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are here to help. We purchased this game with our upcoming overseas holiday in mind, I bet it will keep our 5-year old twins really busy on our long flight and I think it will also teach us parents a thing or two about how to explain math problems in a child appropriate way.

If you want to stay up-to-date with all the latest LeapFrog news, specials and competitions make sure you keep an eye on the LeapFrog Australia Facebook page, that way you’re always the first to know.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to take a closer look at the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 102012
 

Yesterday the kids and I walked to the twins’ future kindy to drop off their registration forms, I can’t believe it is only 5 months until they start! They have been asking for school for such a long time and when they finally got to look around at ‘school’ they were a bit quiet. They were very impressed by it all and were keen to join in so they got to stay for a while. At home they wanted to play ‘school’ straight away so we grabbed our Game Cards from ChildUp.

The ChildUp range is developed by a team of specialists and is all about early childhood learning, helping children develop new skills in a fun and positive way. Research has shown that children can understand the basics of maths from an early age and by using fun, interactive and age appropriate exercises you can help your young child discover and train these important skills even before he/she will go to school.

Each pack of ChildUp Game Cards ($9.99 per set) includes 48 cards to learn to count from 1 to 10 (Math & Logic 1) or from 10 to 20 (Math & Logic 2). Also included are 16 special parent cards explaining the ChildUp Early Learning Method and provide helpful tips and tricks on how to use the cards. By using the cards kids will learn to recognise numbers as quantities and symbols, counting and even some simple additions!

But the ChildUp cards are not just useful for learning numbers, they can also teach your child a lot about different animals, colours and much more. The parent cards will offer many other uses that you wouldn’t have even thought of! The twins always enjoy playing with the Game Cards, now that they can count to 20 they are looking at the pictures to learn how to add up. I found it very helpful to have the cards show the number itself and the animals, that way even if they don’t recognise the number they can work it out by counting the animals, a real boost for their self confidence.

Aside from the Early Learning Game Cards there are also two Early Learning Game iPod/iPad Apps available for download. Both the EarlyMath and EarlyZoo App are developed for children aged 1 to 5 to teach them how to count to 10 as well as learn about many different animals. You can download them for FREE and you’ll always have a fun and educational game on hand wherever you go, the kids will love it!

To find out more about ChildUp, to browse the range of products and to order online visit www.childup.com.

For your chance to win one of two ChildUp prize packs (containing Teach Your Child to Count to 10 – Math & Logic #1 and Teach Your Child to Count to 20 – Math & Logic #2) visit www.childup.com and answer the following question: Name two skills your child could develop by using ChildUp Cards.

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends March 10, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only.