Wave goodbye to bedtime worries with LeapStory

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May 202020
 

I won’t lie: These past months have been hard. I have always been someone who worries easily and this COVID19 outbreak has definitely been a challenge for me mentally. Late last year I lost my wonderful Opa and had to fly to Europe unexpectedly, forcing me to leave my husband and babies behind for the first time. Not long after that my dad received the exciting but scary news that after months on the waiting list a donor liver had been found for him and that he would be undergoing an organ transplant that same day.

We had been waiting impatiently to go and spend seven long weeks with Dad and the rest of family but thanks to COVID19 our flights to The Netherlands were cancelled again and again and after rebooking three times (and travel restrictions coming in) there were eventually no travel options left. With infections sky rocketing in Europe and my recovering Dad in a high risk category we have been terribly worried and still are. The disappointment we (and especially the kids) feel about not seeing our (grand)parents for yet another year is just heartbreaking, not even talking about the money lost through it all. Add to that eight weeks of total home isolation with six kids, home schooling and work worries and 2020 has definitely been a mental challenge I will not easily forget!

For me the only way to keep my head above water has been to grab tight our beautiful kids, take every day as it comes and snuggle up in our safe bubble until this is all behind us. We have baked, coloured, painted, crafted, cooked, puzzled and read. We have spent many days in our pyjamas and enjoyed drives through the country side. We stayed up late, slept in and learnt about all kinds of interesting things. We have built a custom garden bed and set up a chicken coop, we have hatched our very own chicks in an incubator and are watching our chicks and vegetables grow.

As Australia slowly eases back into the ‘new normal’ I look back at a special time with my family and am proud of how we spent it. This week the kids will go back to school and I will go back to my readers, time to tell you about some hip and handy finds that we used a lot during our home isolation time…

While I was away for Opa’s funeral hip Daddy did an amazing job at home. Quite the change for our little troublemaker Ted who was still sleeping with us (and breastfeeding) every single night which was getting pretty exhausting! All attempts at weaning and moving him into his own bed had been unsuccessful until then but with Mummy away he had no choice and it has been the start of a better routine for Ted. He now happily goes to sleep in his own bed with a bit of help from this fabulous LeapFrog bedtime buddy.

Packed full of story classics, myths, nursery rhymes, songs and much more this clever story-telling cube is a wonderful companion for any children’s bedroom or playroom. LeapStory (RRP $69.95, ages 3-8) gives children access to a delightful collection of stories, songs and tunes, they can choose their favourites, listen to them being read out loud and enjoy a mesmerising display of images and animations projected onto the ceiling or wall. Parents can even record themselves reading a special story to their child, which allowed Ted to listen to his mama’s voice even when I was on the other side of the world.

We love the fact that LeapStory presents a great mix of well known classics and lesser known content. With more than 80 preloaded tracks spread out over four different categories (classicsmyths, legends and fables, sleepy time and learning songs children are guaranteed to discover delightful stories and songs they have never heard before. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, from the Tortoise and the Hare to Three Little Pigs, from Little Red Riding Hood to Robin Hood, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Fox and the Crow and so many others, LeapStory offers loads to listen, learn and love. Ted’s favourite is by far the Gingerbread Man!

We have put the LeapStory on Ted’s bedside table so it is always within hand’s reach, he can see the light-up base and projector and he often turns it on himself to listen to a story or two. After six solid months of use we can safely say it has been thoroughly tested by our big family and the kids still turn it on every night at bedtime, if that’s not a tick of approval I don’t know what is!

Whether they want to select a favourite adventure or hear multiple tales, set a timer to listen to stories as they drift off to sleep, flick through the different options or turn on the light projector, we have found the LeapStory cube easy to control. Featuring six simple buttons and an adjustable projector LeapStory allows young children to feel independent and in charge and they don’t need to ask mum or dad for help with every little change (particularly handy at bedtime!).

Getting tired of the same stories? Need a fresh fable or new nursery rhyme? No problem! Simply connect your LeapStory to your computer and download an additional content pack completely free using the LeapFrog Connect application. The LeapStory device will work on 4 AA batteries (great for holidays, camping adventures or road trips) or mains power using the included adapter.

You can find LeapStory at a Big W, Myer or other good toy store near you and 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.

The Very Hungry Number Crunching Squirrel

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Nov 132018
 

Where miss Sybbie was a very quiet 3-year old who would only say a handful of words, our little Hattie is the total opposite and a real chatterbox. What a great result from having her tongue tie snipped at 6 months old, I truly believe it made a big difference. She talks all the time and I love hearing her chat to her siblings, have conversations with her toys while playing or respond to her favourite TV shows. This cheeky critter from LeapFrog is her new chat-pal:

The hungry Number Crunching Squirrel (RRP $24.95, ages 2-4) enjoys nothing more than a varied diet of apples, strawberries, bananas and grapes, in fact he can eat up to 10 pieces of fruit in just one sitting! Toddlers will love filling him up with his favourite foods and learning fruit names and facts and the importance of a healthy diet at the same time.

When you press the squirrel’s nose he will ask a question eg. ‘Can you feed me 5 pieces of fruit?’ ‘Can you feed me something green?’ ‘Can you feed me a red strawberry?’. This encourages interactive play and introduces kids to the cause and effect principle, who doesn’t love praise when you get things right?! The squirrel counts out loud with each coin he eats and even tells you about the colour and fruit as he swallows, now that is clever.

Putting the coins in the squirrel’s mouth, pressing his red nose and the acorn music button, opening and closing the door and pushing his tail are all excellent fine motor skill exercises for curious toddlers. As they play toddlers also learn to count the treats, sing cute fruit-themed songs, recognise different colours and sort by colour/image.

Once the friendly squirrel’s hunger has finally been stilled you can empty his tummy with a simple push of his big tail. All the treats will pop out one by one (Ted loves this part!) and the feeding fun starts all over again, he has quite some appetite. The little door keeps his tummy contents safely stored, that way you never have to hunt for any missing treats.

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

Jun 102018
 

the-wiggles-logo

If, like me, you have a big The Wiggles fan (or a few) in the family there may have been some frowns when yellow wiggle Emma announced she would be taking a break from performing for medical reasons. Thankfully she is on the mend after her hospital stay and this week Emma, together with her Wiggly husband Lachy, treated her little fans to a fabulous new DVD + CD release:

The Emma! & Lachy! Show proves that yellow and purple are a winning combination, both in marriage and in music. Singing and swinging, ballet and bouncing, dancing and dressing up… Emma and Lachy are ready to entertain the whole family with 24 catchy new recordings.

Young dancers will be able to enjoy a range of different dance genres from all over the world while budding musicians will enjoy seeing Lachy play the piano, supported by plenty of other musical instruments. Emma and Lachy are joined by Ponso the Pony, Phil the Fluter, ballerinas and fairies and if you look closely you may even spot another familiar Wiggles face too. If you can’t get the new tunes out of your head you can take them along in the car too with the The Emma! & Lachy! Show CD featuring 29 wiggly sing-along songs.

‘The Emma! & Lachy! Show’ is now available on DVD (RRP $19.95) and CD (RRP $12.95) at major retailers across Australia.

To find out more about ABC for Kids get social with ABC for Kids for Parents on Facebook and to order your copy of ‘The Wiggles: Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas!’ visit the ABC Shop online.

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Jun 162017
 

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What’s better than a musical performance from The Wiggles? A magical duet between The Wiggles and all your favourite artists of course! Over the last three decades The Wiggles have teamed up with many amazing performers from Australia and across the globe, and for the first time ever they’ve bundled their most loved duets for you to enjoy. Get ready for double the fun:

From Jimmy Barnes to Slim Dusty, from Kylie Minogue to Steve Irwin and family, from Guy Sebastian to Lou Diamond Phillips and many others, The Wiggles: Duets promises to introduce young The Wiggles fans to a stellar cast. I just love how the ‘new’ generation of Wiggles was able to bring some of the older songs back to life while adding a fresh new wiggly touch, well done! Filled with 17 wonderful duets and with a runtime of 70 minutes there is plenty of sing-along fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Our five little ones adore The Wiggles (and I am sure baby no.6 will do too) so they really loved singing along with this new DVD/CD release. Bonus: It has also brought us some much-needed sanity in the early hours of the morning when miss 1 insists on keeping the night watch, as soon as she sees The Wiggles she is happy as Larry and hums along to the familiar songs, ‘The Wiggles: Duets’ is definitely a winner!

‘The Wiggles: Duets’ is now available on DVD (RRP $19.95) and CD (RRP $12.95) at major retailers across Australia.

To find out more about ABC for Kids get social with ABC for Kids for Parents on Facebook and to order your copy of ‘The Wiggles: Duets’ visit the ABC Shop online.

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Dec 112016
 

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Christmas Countdown – Day 11

If you are still looking for that perfect stocking filler for your loyal little Wiggles fan look no more, Australia’s four favourite performers are ready to add a whole lot of fun to the summer holidays with this brand new The Wiggles DVD:

The Wiggles: Dance Dance! offers almost an hour of musical entertainment and packaged in a festive red case it’s a perfect little add-on to your child’s Santa stocking this Christmas.

After sitting still at a desk for an entire year the big school holidays are almost here, bring on six long weeks of fun! Aussie kids will be jumping at the chance to dance, groove, shake, hop and jiggle to their heart’s content to 23 fun songs like ‘Hula Hula Baby’, ‘The Shimmie Shake!’, ‘Wiggly Party’ and plenty of other catchy tunes. There is certainly no sitting still when Emma, Lachy, Simon and Anthony get their wiggle on!

‘The Wiggles: Dance Dance!’ is now available on DVD (RRP $19.95) at major retailers across Australia.

To find out more about ABCKids, to locate an ABC store near you or to order your favourite ABC Kids products online visit www.abc.net.au.

For your chance to win 1 of 5 ‘The Wiggles: Dance, Dance!’ DVDs (RRP $19.95) enter our Christmas Countdown giveaway below:

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Dec 202015
 

PenguinChristmas Countdown – Day 20

What better way to celebrate the happy season than with this bright and cheery paper rendition of Pharrell Williams‘ top hit Happy:

Happy

We all know Pharrell as the wearer of many hats so this Christmas he has put on his writer’s hat and turned his famous Descipable Me track into a fun children’s picture book.

Read along (and sing if you want to) to Happy, a delightful hardcover book filled with colourful images of children smiling and having fun. Dress-ups and confetti, smiley faces and glitter, bright colours and cool photo props, happiness is jumping off the pages.

What I love most about this gorgeous read is that it includes children of all ages, stages, looks and backgrounds, after all, you’ll have the most fun when EVERYONE joins in!

To find out more about Happy (RRP $24.99) by Pharrell Williams, published by Penguin Books Australia, and to order online visit www.penguin.com.au.

For your chance to win 1 of 3 copies of Happy enter our giveaway below:

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Sybbie and her pal Violet

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Dec 282014
 

Our beautiful Sybbie is a very enthusiastic animal friend, but unfortunately not every pet is able to appreciate the tight hugs of a 1-year old. Luckily this adorable puppy loves her generous cuddles and the two of them make a very cute couple, meet Sybil’s new pal Violet:

Sybbie and her pal Violet

Sybbie and her pal Violet

Soft and cuddly My Pal Violet (RRP $39.99, ages 6-36 months) is without the doubt the smartest puppy on the block. Not only can she be personalised to know your child’s name and favourite things, she also talks, sings, counts, knows her colours and much more.

My Pal VioletIn a matter of minutes parents can teach this loveable pet all the must-know details about their child by simply connecting it to a computer or smart device, you don’t even have to take her out of the box which is particularly handy if you want to give My Pal Violet as a gift to a special little person. Depending on your child’s name Violet can say the name out loud or spell it, sadly our little Sybil did not make it to the list of prerecorded names but Violet is very good at spelling so it’s still lovely.

Our fussy eater only has two favourite foods (apples and cucumber) so judging by her happy clapping I think she is very pleased that Violet loves apples too. This customised experience is very sweet and it really grabs a child’s attention when they recognise their name or when they are asked a question.

'Like a diamond in the sky'

‘Like a diamond in the sky’

With only 4 chunky buttons/paws (songs, lullabies, play and on/off) to choose from My Pal Violet is easy to manage for young children and small hands. My Pal Violet comes preloaded with five catchy songs and to keep things fresh and interesting there are an additional 30 downloadable songs available. Sybil’s favourites are Incy Wincy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, she looks like a little DJ pressing the paws until her fave tunes come on. The lullaby mode plays 5 minutes of sweet lullabies making Violet the perfect bedtime buddy.

My Pal ScoutMy Pal Violet is available in a gender neutral version too, gentle green giant My Pal Scout is just as soft and huggable and would make a fantastic gift idea for baby showers, new arrivals and birthdays. You can find both My Personalised Puppy Pal Scout and My Personalised Puppy Pal Violet in store right now at Kmart, Target, Big W, Toys’r’Us and independent toy stores across Australia.

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