LeapFrog to the Rescue: Touch & Learn Tablet

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Dec 152020
 

Just when you think life is slowly returning to (a new version of) normal a range of interesting curve balls come rolling your way and we’ve certainly had our share! From an unexpected hospital stay for my little Ted (which had us all scared and running back and forth to hospital), to myself being admitted for major surgery right before a statewide lockdown. Thankfully hubby managed to step up as the most amazing full-time house dad, nurse and all the other jobs that come with running a large family like ours and will be doing so for a while longer. I have been ordered not to lift a finger and to act like a princess for at least six weeks, which is a lot harder than it sounds…

Back to Ted in a hospital bed, an experience we won’t easily forget. After the initial shock had worn off he slowly showed some interest in the toys and games I had packed for him in his backpack, including this fun kiddy device by LeapFrog:

The 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is an attractive combination of a colourful book and and a chunky kid-proof pretend tablet (so no screen time!). There are buttons to push, colours and pictures to see, stories to listen to, interactive pages to explore, tabs to flick, lights to look at and more, so there’s plenty to do for a little boy stuck in bed (or a child on a Christmas road trip!).

So what makes the Touch & Learn Tablet a ‘2-in-1’? The secret is in the magic handle! In horizontal position children can flip over the interactive pages to discover numbers, animals, shapes, flowers, opposites and emotions. By simply touching the pages with their finger (no stylus required) young readers can learn facts and play games, at their own pace and following their interests. Each page has more than 14 different interactive touch points to keep little brains busy for ages.

When you switch the handle you can rotate the device vertically to instantly turn the tablet into a book with six sweet animal stories. Give Buddy a bath, go painting with Jake, visit the farm with Pepper or listen to what your other animal friends get up to. Not only can you hear the story read out loud, you can also test your spotting skills on every page with simple touch games (eg. Find the cow, Find the number 4 or Find Bella).

With its many ways to play and learn and its compact shape the 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet has been a real life saver over the last two months. We now always pack it in our bag to use it on a long drive or in a boring waiting room (which we have seen way too much of lately). Ted is a keen learner and he often surprises me by repeating things he has learnt by playing on ‘his iPad’ as he calls it. If you’re looking for a Christmas screen-free gift that entertains AND trains, this is it!

You can find the LeapFrog 2-in-1 Touch & Learn Tablet at your local Big W and other good toy stores across Australia or 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 Big LeapFrog Bake Off

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Jun 202020
 

During our weeks of home isolation hip daddy finally finished off our outdoor cubby house and it has been a source of joy, giggles and adventures for all the kids (and even the pets). Tea parties, mums and dads, schools, deserted islands, picnics… there is no limit to their imagination and I love hearing their chatter as they play. Unfortunately the weather for outside play has now ended so we’re snuggling up inside instead. Bye bye cubby house snacks and hello toasty winter treats, welcome to the big LeapFrog Bake Off!

The adorable Number Loving Oven (RRP $39.95, ages 2+) is sure to appeal to budding bakers and curious chefs, our two pre-schoolers have been cooking up a storm. Yummy pizza, pretty cupcakes, a fried egg or even a freshly baked loaf of bread, this cute little oven does it all!

The Number Loving Oven is cleverly designed to suit a range of ages, development stages and learning interests, making it a great toy for siblings to share. For early learners the oven brings different types of food and colours, a shape sorting oven tray, the puzzle of building a pizza and a baguette, a sizzling stove top, a door that opens and closes and of course lights, sounds and songs.

As your master chef gets older he/she will start recognising the numbers on the pizza and the oven timer, you can learn about temperature and time, practise sharing and dividing food between guests and serving food on a plate with a spatula.  Seeing how our 2-year old, 4-year old and even 7-year old ‘play kitchen’ together with the Number Loving Oven, yet notice, learn and enjoy different things about it, proves it is a toy that will last the distance in a growing family.

By moving the timer, opening and closing the door and pressing the green chef’s hat button children will hear a wide range of learning questions (Let’s see, how long will that take to bake? Set the oven to four. That’s it! Let’s cook and count), encouraging sentences (That turned out beautifully! Mmmm, delicious. Let’s share), cooking information (1. Pre-heat, this little oven must pre-heat before you start to bake a treat. 4. Hot hot hot, to cook the pizza that’s you’ve got) and catchy songs about hand washing, cooking, waiting and counting. Plenty of kitchen chat to make cooking fun!

Bonus: As a mum I am super chuffed that all the food items fit neatly inside the oven, just close the door and everything is properly tidied away. No missing pieces and easy to store, winning! It is also a perfect compact size to keep in the cupboard at Grandma’s for when the grandies come visit.

You can find the LeapFrog Number Loving Oven at a Big W 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.

Resoftables: Cuddles with a conscience

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Jun 152020
 

While the last few months have definitely not been easy, they have also taught people all over the world some valuable lessons. I have heard so many inspiring stories from people who soaked up this precious time with their loved ones, acquired new skills, reshaped their goals for the future, became more self-sufficient, discovered a love for nature and decided to make better choices for themselves and their families. If you would like to recycle, reuse, repurpose or refurbish more you are guaranteed to adore Resoftables:

Looking at how quickly our household plastic waste adds up each week, I am not surprised to hear that the world produces more than 275 million tonnes of plastic waste every single year. It is impossible to comprehend how much that really is, but it is roughly the body weight of a herd of 55 MILLION elephants!

We can all do our share: By sorting our household waste in the correct bins, donating unwanted goods and upcycling/recycling where possible, avoiding single-use items, bringing our own shopping bags and of course by consciously buying recycled products in store. Thanks to HeadStart now even the youngest family members can do their part, meet the Resoftables.

Not only are Resoftables hailed as the world’s softest plush, they are also made using 100% household plastic waste so they’re a safe and responsible choice for your children and the environment. Each adorable Resoftables toy (14″, ages 0+) is made from approximately 11 recycled plastic bottles, how cool is that? Next time you recycle your empty plastic bottle, your ‘rubbish’ might just turn into someone else’s Resoftable.

There are currently five different Resoftables to choose from: Bobo the Bunny, Sparkles the Unicorn, Snowie the Polar Bear, Kiki the Koala and Ted the Teddy Bear (a perfect match for our 2-year old Ted). You can find your favourite Resoftables toy at your local Kmart or Big W store. Bring on the cuddles!

To find out more about Resoftables by HeadStart and to take a closer look at the range visit www.resoftables.com.

Little Bubba: Makeover Time

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Mar 032020
 

Of course Teddy is not the only sibling who refuses to sit still. My girls are always looking for a willing customer to attempt a pretty braid, do a fancy fishtail plait or try out a new look but it turns out that it’s a lot more fun to be the stylist than the bored customer who is not allowed to move or cries with every stroke of the brush. Keeping all of my budding hairdressers and make-up artists happy has turned out to be a breeze with this cute find from Little Bubba:

Measuring a generous 27cm tall this life-size My Big Sister ‘Styling Head’ (Ages 3+, 10,6″) is the ideal client for any hairdressing or beauty bar, she is always happy to receive a fresh makeover, doesn’t wiggle and never complains when things look a little wonky. With her long blonde hair, big blue eyes and perfect skin this lovely model is a clean canvas waiting for a dedicated artist to give her a brand new look, you can change her style as many times as you like!

To help you set up your own salon the Styling Head comes with a whole heap of beauty and hair accessories: 6 royal crown hair clips, a heart-shaped brush, a pink hair comb, four rollers for gorgeous curls, face stickers and a make-up palette with lip, cheek and eye make-up in different shades.  The set contains everything to get you started, just use your imagination.

Miss 11 is our resident hairdresser and miss 9 is our wannabe make-up artist, so together they have a ball getting this blonde model looking magazine worthy. In our house it is most definitely the older girls who adore this styling kit most, the younger girls like it too but the older two are a bit better at the delicate application of make-up and have patience for the step-by-step process of tricky hair styles. A quick rinse with a baby wipe removes all the makeup, there are no stains and it washes off easily from hands and clothing too.

One small note: While the box does list all the make-up ingredients on the bottom, it does clearly say ‘for external application on dolls only’ so I am not sure how suitable it is for human skin. I have specifically instructed my girls not to apply it to their own skin but I can imagine some children will be keen to give themselves a makeover which may cause an allergic reaction.

To find out more about HeadStart, to take a closer look at the Little Bubba range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.headstartint.com.

Welcome to the family, Little Bubba

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Mar 022020
 

Over the past few months Ted has fast turned into a cheeky, independent toddler, which means his sisters can no longer treat him like their little baby. He won’t sit still, he doesn’t want to be dressed up and most definitely doesn’t want anyone to help him at mealtime. Thankfully the girls are very content with the closest thing to a real baby brother or sister: Meet Little Bubba by HeadStart!

We all know that newborns come in different sizes and so does Little Bubba: Whether you prefer a tiny 38cm baby girl, a cute 40cm doll or a huggable 42cm bundle of joy, there is a wonderful baby waiting for you. Each size has its own unique features, outfit and special skills making every new addition special in its own way. Young parents-to-be are guaranteed to instantly fall in love with Little Bubba’s lifelike appearance, realistic sounds and interactive functions.

Let’s start with the smallest of the girls, a cuddly little lady in a sweet pink jumpsuit. During her awake time My Interactive Baby (Ages, 3+, 15″) likes to suck her dummy or pretend to drink from her bottle (she even moves her mouth and makes drinking sounds) and when you tickle her soft tummy she giggles. Like all babies she does cry sometimes but none of that matters when you hear her say ‘mama’. Come nap time she will close her eyes and peacefully suck her thumb, isn’t she a perfect baby?

Up next is My Real Baby ‘Magic Potty’ (Ages 3+, 16″), a summer baby with a bird print onesie and a matching hat. Unlike her softer, smaller buddy this quiet, content baby has a plastic tummy with arms and legs than can be posed, quite important when it comes to potty time! Once your baby has eaten her meal and finished her bottle of water she can actually use the potty and do a wee, after all you are never too young to start toilet training. With a push of the button the interactive potty will be rinsed and you can put your baby’s nappy back on, time to lay her down so she can close her eyes and have a snooze.

Last but not least, say hello to My Ultimate Interactive Baby (Ages 3+, 16,5″). With 12 impressive functions this delightful baby is sure to delight any new mum or dad. Gurgles and giggles, sad sobs, sweet snores, thirsty drinking or a first ‘mama’, this baby is full of interesting sounds. She can move her mouth to drink from her bottle and wee on the pink potty afterwards. You can also move her arms and legs so can she can sit on your lap, use a high chair or sit in pram just like a real baby (don’t forget to attach her dummy chain so she doesn’t lose her pacifier). We love it when she blinks her beautiful blue eyes, we think she is adorable!

To make the parenting experience extra realistic all Little Bubba dolls come with a range of must-have baby accessories like a dummy, a refillable drink bottle, a baby potty, a nappy, a dummy chain, a beanie, socks and even mealtime utensils (accessories vary per design). Go on, pick your favourite girl, decide on a name and get to know your new family member!

To find out more about HeadStart, to take a closer look at the Little Bubba range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.headstartint.com.

Save the koalas with Ty Beanie Boo

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Jan 172020
 

Talking to children about tragedies is never easy. We try to shield our children from as much pain as we can, but sometimes disaster strikes close to home and it is important to help children understand what is happening. The bushfires that are currently impacting many parts of our beautiful country are destroying lives, homes and nature and there’s simply no hiding from it. My gorgeous kids are trying to wrap their little heads around it all and want to help, here’s a gorgeous way for small people to do their bit:

The fabulous team at Ty Beanie Boos has jumped into action with a fantastic initiative that will warm the hearts of every little animal friend across the globe… Adopt Katy Koala and help saves the koalas!

100% of global profits from the sale of the adorable new Ty Beanie Boo ‘Katy Koala’ will be donated to WIRES (Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation), raising much needed funds for Australian wildlife AND raise awareness around the world for our bushfire crisis. What a fantastic opportunity to talk to your Ty Beanie Boo fan about this important cause! My girls are very keen to ‘donate’ some of their pocket money to WIRES and adopt Katy Koala in return as a reminder of their gift.

You can find Katy Koala Beanie Boo at your favourite Beanie Boo retailer from April 2020 and she will be available worldwide.

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

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!