All aboard the Playtime Bus

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Jun 282020


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

Bop to the Beat with Mixmaster Scout

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Aug 312019

As you can probably imagine a busy home like ours is never quiet. As if six children don’t make enough sound, chatter and noise just yet we also have a piano (the four older kids get lessons at home) and three of them are learning the violin too! He may be the smallest of the family but Ted sure enjoys adding his fair share of volume so this musical LeapFrog toy comes in real handy:

The Learn & Groove Mixmaster Scout (RRP $34.95, ages 12-36 months) is the cutest toddler turntable you have ever seen. Future DJs can bop to the beat as they join puppy pal Scout to create their own unique tunes using a range of instruments, rhythms, sounds and background tracks. With colourful buttons to press, switches to flick, wheels to spin and lights to flash the Mixmaster instantly takes your little musician from cot to club.

I’ll admit, at this stage it looks like Ted is mainly out to make as much noise as possible but there is more to Mixmaster Scout than meets the eye. Not only is mixing your own music secretly a fabulous fine-motor skills exercise for chubby toddler hands, kids are also getting a fun and funky introduction to numbers, colours and instruments and learn to sing along to the catchy ABC song and other melodies.

As kids get older they come to understand the cause and effect principle and learn what the different buttons, switches and play modes (alphabet, numbers and colours) do and the sounds they make, giving them more control over their personal toddler tracks. You’re never too young to become a musician, so get those hands clapping and toes tapping with Mixmaster Scout.

The LeapFrog Learn & Groove Mixmaster Scout is now available from Big W, good toy stores across Australia and online.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit

Taking Off with VTech

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Jun 132019

At almost two our boy Ted is quite the busy bee, he never sits still (day or night!) and is always exploring and getting up to mischief. He may not be a keen talker but he loves copying sounds and songs so I am not surprised this awesome new VTech Baby toy was an instant hit:

This colourful VTech Push & Spin Helicopter (RRP $19.95, ages 9-36 months) instantly caught Ted’s eye and it’s been a great entertainer for the last few weeks. The big round buttons and chunky shapes are ideal for his chubby little hands and he is forever driving it across the hallway or flying it through the air. It can even roll all by itself if you successfully press the rotor blade on top of the helicopter, a skill Ted is proud to have mastered.

With 3 catchy songs, 10 melodies and a range of sounds and sentences the Push & Spin Helicopter is definitely encouraging Ted to find his voice and chat along. Good to know: Because VTech knows even the most patient mums are sometimes desperate for some peace and quiet there are two different volume levels or you can turn the sound of completely.

By pushing the buttons on the side little explorers can trigger the light-up window and enjoy a first introduction to colours (green and blue), animals (dog and bear), letters (ABC) and numbers (123) so there is both laughing and learning going on at the same time; double win!

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

Apr 052018

When people look at our oldest son the first thing they say is that he looks like his dad. Not only does he have the same dark hair and beautiful brown eyes, they also share some of the same interests. Both my husband and our boy love anything rhythmic, as soon as they hear music I see their fingers moving and their feet start tapping. If you’re a fan of rhytm too you are sure to enjoy STOMP:

For more than 25 years STOMP has been travelling around the globe with an award-winning show that binds people together. No matter how young or old you are or where in the world you live, the wordless combination of rhythm, dance, comedy and theatre gets everyone excited. The eight talented STOMP performers use non-traditional instruments (everything from supermarket trolleys to Zippo lighters, plastic bags to garbage can lids and even the kitchen sink) to create the most amazing rhythms that will have you bouncing on your seat.

After their spectacular performance at the London 2012 Olympics STOMP is now more popular than ever so shake those hands, warm up your feet and get ready because STOMP will soon be back on Australian shores for another mind-blowing tour. It has been almost five years since Hip Daddy first took our son to see STOMP and it has made a really big impression, he can’t wait to see them back on stage again later this year.

Arriving in Australia next month STOMP will travel around the country, treating fans in Melbourne, Adelaide, The Gold Coast and Sydney to a smashing show filled with awesome musical delights, unique choreography and fancy routines. You never know, it may even give you some inspiration for an act of your own when you get home! STOMP is a unique experience that is guaranteed to captivate from start to finish.

To find out more STOMP, to check out the tour schedule and to book your tickets online visit

Want to experience the rhythmic sensation of STOMP yourself? Thanks to Lunchbox Theatrical Productions we are giving you the chance to win 1 of 2 STOMP double passes (RRP $179.80 each), enter below for your chance to win:

1x double pass to see STOMP at Comedy Theatre, Melbourne on May 1 at 7pm
1x double pass to see STOMP at Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide on June 6 at 8pm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Little Live Pets

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Oct 072014

Little Live Pets

Every term the twins’ school teacher comes up with a fun class project and term 3 was all about chickens. The little students impatiently waited for the eggs to hatch, watched the baby chicks grow day after day and managed to pat and cuddle them without squeezing them to death, they loved every bit of it. The twins have been begging me to do the chick-sitting these school holidays (a new take on the class teddy!) but sadly with a cat and an 18-month old in the house I didn’t dare to host the chirping bunch.

Little Live Pets Bird

You can imagine the kids’ excitement when I introduced them to their very own Little Live Pets, I don’t think their holiday could have gotten any better! No need for feeding or cleaning, no expensive vet bills or walking them in the rain, no nasty scratches or yucky fleas and quiet when they need to be, Little Live Pets really are the perfect pet.

Little Live Pets Bird CageBeing the closest to a feathered chicken Miss 6 immediately picked the Little Live Pets Bird Cage (RRP $24.95, ages 5+) with a green toy budgie called Friendly Frankie. It fits in the palm of her hand, feels velvety soft, opens its little beak and, most importantly, tweets and sings like a real bird. Like a proper pet the Little Live Pets Bird loves spending time with its owner and the more you pat it, hold it and play with the happier it becomes, rewarding you with happy sounds and even songs.

On the weekend the girls took their Little Live Pets for a picnic in our garden and clearly the bird loved all the attention as there was plenty of chirping, in fact even our two local ducks and a couple of galahs flew in to have a look (I know, it’s like a zoo here sometimes!). The kids had lots of fun recording their own voices and hearing the birdie repeat what they said, ‘G’day matey’ is the favourite so far. Don’t worry, you can turn the bird off with one simple button for a good night’s rest and batteries (3AA) can be replaced so you can enjoy your new friend for ages.

Little Live Pets

You can also buy a single Little Live Pets Bird (RRP $12.95) which can be played with independently or added to an existing Bird Cage to make a pair, they are perfect for siblings to share and look really cute together. The birds are available in a range of colours to suit boys and girls.

Little Live Pets ButterflyIf you have a girly girl who loves everything pink, purple, glittery and sparkly this pretty Little Live Pets Butterfly House (RRP $24.95, ages 5+) is sure to be a big hit. The beautiful oversized butterfly can flutter its wings and sits on your hand without flying away, our 4-year old fairy was rather intrigued by this magical creature. Although it doesn’t talk or sing like the Little Live Bird the butterfly makes very clear that she enjoys a play too by flapping her colourful wings.

Aside from being an ideal home for your very own butterfly the gorgeous Butterfly House is also its charging station (3AA required), you can provide your pet with all the energy it needs by placing it on the feeding flower inside the Butterfly House. The single Little Live Pets Butterfly (RRP $12.95) comes with its own separate butterfly charger and is available in 6 different designs.

Little Live Pets Butterfly

As we all know the wings of a butterfly are rather delicate so if your child is a bit younger or not very gentle the Little Live Pets Bird would be a safer choice, after all no parent likes to explain the death of a pet. Both Little Live Pets are really lovely and the kids play with both but the pet bird is definitely the favourite of the family. The $12.95 price tag for the single pets is (surprisingly) affordable and kids will get lots of play out of it, with Christmas in mind a Little Live Pet would make a fantastic gift that won’t break the bank.

To find out more about Little Live Pets by Moose Toys, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit

Micki Sound Cubes

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Dec 282013

Whimsy Child

Many of you have come to know Whimsy Child as the go-to store for hip and quirky kids fashion but that’s about to change. A little while ago owner Melissa decided to shake things up a little and shift her focus to unique gifts, educational toys and other cool stuff, which means it’s a double win for you. On the one hand you now have a new address for super hip kids products and fabulous brands that you won’t find at your local shopping centre, at the same time you can score some awesome (and I mean AWESOME) bargains in the fashion clearance.

These clever Sound Cubes are one of the latest arrivals in the toy section, I think they look fabulous:

Micki Sound Cubes

Micki Sound Cubes

Sound CubesIt’s a puzzle, it’s a musical toy, it’s a matching game, these fabulous Sound Cubes by Swedish toy manufacturer Micki are triple the fun. The aim of the game is to put the two cubes together and ‘match’ both halves of the vehicles. When kids put the correct pictures together they will hear the sound of that particular vehicle, how cool is that? Micki Sound Cubes will help young children with motor skills, teach them about different vehicles and sounds and of course show cause and effect.

Micki Sound Cubes ($27.50) are suitable for ages 2+ and operate on 3 AA batteries (demonstration batteries included).

To find out more about Whimsy Child, to take a closer look at the Micki Sound Cubes and to order online visit

Mar 022012

I remember reading about the Rockabye Baby concept quite some time ago and knowing that the Rockabye Baby albums are extremely popular all over the world I was keen to find out more. Many parents have already gathered a collection of Rockabye Baby titles so there must be something really special about them! In Australia the Rockabye Baby range is being distributed by Mother Hen Products, home to lots of exciting products for baby.

Rockabye Baby offers a brilliant balance between some of the world’s most loved rock songs and sweet lullabies, so you can put your baby to bed to the tunes of your favourite band. Big hits of The Beatles, Madonna, Bob Marley, AC/DC, Queen, The Rolling Stones and many other big bands have been transformed into baby friendly songs that are gentle on their ear drums (and as they are instrumental you don’t have to worry about them listening to inappropriate lyrics either).

As a child I always used to go to bed with music playing and all three of my kids have slept with music on from the minute they came home from hospital. A calming melody is the perfect way to drift off to sleep peacefully, it is not for no reason there are so many musical mobiles available for newborns. If the boring, repetitive, old school nursery rhymes are doing your head in Rockabye Baby might just be what you are looking for.

But babies are not the only ones who like the sound of Rockabye Baby. A few times I witnessed my husband put the CD in the CD player even though the kids were not around and he said he would love to fall asleep to it as it is very relaxing. It looks like Rockabye Baby has a calming effect on the whole family! Our top picks would be U2, The Beatles and Coldplay, but plenty of other titles left to add to our collection.

You can find Rockabye Baby albums ($29.95) at Baby Bunting, Toys’R’Us, selected JB Hifi stores, selected music retailers and gift stores across Australia and online.

To find out more about Rockabye Baby and to browse the different albums visit

For your chance to win a Rockabye Baby album of your choice (subject to availability) visit and answer the following question: Which album title would you choose if you were to be our lucky winner?

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:

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Competition ends April 2, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only.