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.

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

Oct 082012
 

This week is a very exciting (and also a little scary) week as the twins are due to start full time kindy tomorrow. It always seemed like such a long time away, I can hardly believe that day has now come. They have had a few trial 3-hour trial runs and loved it, so really I shouldn’t be worried. Maybe I am more worried about myself missing them too much? It will be interesting to see how they (and I) will go, being away from home for 2,5 days a week.

Most kids love school holidays but for the twins they couldn’t end soon enough, they are just so excited about finally going to ‘school’. They talk endlessly about the kindy rules as explained by the teacher, one of them is to write your own name on the attendee list upon arrival. So the twins have been busy practicing their writing skills, in their mind even perfect is not good enough. Crayons and pencils are for babies, pens are for ‘big kids’ and holding them correctly is the key. Yes, I have heard it all this week!

Our Paper Mate InkJoy pens have had a great workout this week, pink for miss 4 and bright blue for master 4. Unlike with other pens there was not much scratching as the ink comes out easily and they write smoothly, the kids thought they were awesome. So awesome that they have already packed their pens in their backpacks for tomorrow.

Tommie’s first letter to Opa (Grandad)

No writing today, we are just enjoying their last day at home with games, yummy snacks and lots of laughter. I am signing off for today! (If your kids would like some InkJoy pens in their backpack too make sure you enter our little Paper Mate giveaway below).

To find out more about Paper Mate visit and learn all about the Paper Mate InkJoy visit www.inkjoy.papermate.com.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 Paper Mate gift packs (RRP $20) visit www.inkjoy.papermate.com and answer the following question: What is your top tip for the first day of kindy?

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 November 8, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only. By entering you agree to our Terms & Conditions.

LeapPad, a learning tablet just for kids

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Aug 182012
 

As you may have read last month the LeapFrog LeapPad was a massive help during our long flights to and from Europe. In fact it was not only a big hit on the plane, it also got a great workout on rainy days inside and during car trips. The twins were always asking for (and sometimes fighting about) the ‘green computer’. Just in case you have been living under a rock and have never heard of the LeapPad: a LeapPad is a special learning tablet developed for children aged 4-9. It has been insanely popular since it was first released so of course my own hip little ones had to put it to the test.

Up until the holidays we had only used the LeapPad a handful of times as I thought the twins (3) were just a little bit too young for it. As you probably know it can be frustrating for young children to try something that they don’t understand, and in doing so it can be very frustrating for parents too so I wanted to make sure I had some age appropriate games on hand to make the LeapPad a big success.

Now that they are nearly four years old the twins are the perfect age to start exploring the LeapPad and I can already tell you they went crazy for it from the word go. First of all the LeapPad is easy to hold for small hands, it has a big (touch) colour screen with only a few control buttons on the side and comes with a handy stylus (small ‘pen’ to use on the touch screen). My kids have no iPad, iPhone, iPod or any other mobile phone experience yet they got the hang of it quickly.

When you start using the LeapPad you first need to make a profile for your child, which involves selecting your child’s name, age and a photo (the LeapPad has a built-in camera and video recorder). You can enter multiple profiles into the LeapPad so it is ideal for siblings to share as it will give everyone a chance to have their own unique, tailor made LeapPad experience (and parents can check each child’s progress through the LeapFrog Learning Path).

Just like with most adult tablets the LeapPad comes preloaded with a few applications and the possibility to download more than 100 fantastic apps from the LeapFrog App Centre. Games, eBooks, videos, music, creativity apps, flashcards and more, there is always more LeapPad fun to be had with the ever growing App Centre. I will follow up on the App Centre in another, soon the be released, post sharing some of our top picks and there may even a little something for you…

I soon realised that my worry about games or tasks being too difficult was unfounded as by creating a profile your child’s LeapPad activity will automatically be tailored to suit his/her age, without having to change settings or select levels. Simple challenges and games for my nearly 4-year old and trickier ones for older children, this keeps it interesting and fun for all ages and a brilliant investment.

Obviously sometimes the twins need a little help with the reading but by now they are very confident and familiar with it all and know exactly what to do. Speaking of reading, a lot of the games and other applications train their reading and writing skills. From recognising and tracing letters in a game environment to ‘reading’ an eBook featuring popular movie characters and listening to the words being read out loud. The LeapPad allows kids to learn without noticing in a fun and playful matter.

One of their favourite (yet the most simple) LeapPad applications is the Art Studio App (included) which lets little artists create colourful artworks on their screen. Using the stylus they can draw, paint, stamp and colour as much as they like, start all over again or save in and create a little gallery. So easy, great for their fine motor skills, learning about colours and shapes and of course it is mess free.

Another app they play regularly is Pet Pad (included), a very cute pet raising game in which kids can create their own pet and learn to feed, clean and look after it. The twins especially love the part where they need to blow on the LeapPad to dry their little cat/dog after its bath! It is a great way to learn all about chores, following instructions and even trace the letters of the alphabet. I think we can safely say that, although we have already had lots of fun with the LeapPad, there is still lots more to learn and explore so I will keep you updated as we try out new games and download new apps.

The RRP of the LeapPad is $229, I admit it’s a decent price tag but if you keep an eye on the catalogues of the major retailers you will find there are often huge savings to be had. Also keep in mind that it is an investment, the LeapPad can be used by siblings and will last you multiple years. The learning experience is automatically adjusted as your child develops new skills so it will stay interesting and educational, again and again.

LeapFrog toys are available at leading retailers all over Australia, click here to find out where to buy your favourite LeapFrog products.

To find out more about the LeapPad, to watch a LeapPad demo and to browse the range of games and accessories visit www.leapfrog.com.au.