Christmas with Peppa

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Dec 152019
 

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Whether you’re planning a quick Christmas getaway, a long Summer road trip or a traditional family visit, Peppa Pig is the perfect Christmas companion for young travellers. My two little ones absolutely adore this little pink piggy which is why Sinterklaas spoilt them with some fabulous Peppa gifts just in time for our holiday adventures:

Now that miss Hattie has had a first taste of kindy life she is super excited about the school year ahead. Learning to write her letters is quite tricky but Peppa knows how to make it fun with the Peppa Pig Scribbles & Sounds Doodle Board (RRP $24.95, ages 2+). Forget scrunched up paper or blunt pencils, don’t worry about leaking markers or messy crayons, this travel size doodle board has everything you need for drawing and writing on the go.

Scribble, write, trace and draw as much as you like and when you’re done you simply pull the lever to erase everything and start all over again. Using the chunky toddler-proof stylus and three sturdy plastic stencils little Peppa fans can create all the letters of the alphabet or even learn how to draw Peppa or George.

The real magic is in the smart interactive technology, allowing the doodle board to recognise which letter or character you are tracing. How clever is that? The board is a perfect combination of doodling and development: Across four different modes kids can learn letters and hear the sounds they make (W makes the sound w), play a scavenger hunt (Can you find the letter U for Umbrella? That’s brilliant), listen to music (Draw to keep the music playing) or use their imagination and make up stories (S is for Suzy Sheep, Suzy likes to be a nurse).

When not in use the three coloured stencils can be stored on the back of the board and the stylus is securely attached to the board, so there won’t be any missing pieces.

Our little two don’t always get along but they definitely bond over their love for Peppa, who would have thought Hattie and Ted could read a book together without fighting? Admittedly there is so much to see and do in the Peppa Pig Learn & Discover Book (RRP $29.95, ages 2+) that there is no time to argue. They are way too busy exploring pages and pictures, letters and lights, stories and sounds and more.

Designed for little hands this colourful book has large buttons and 14 easy-to-turn pages full of Peppa Pig fun. As young readers grow and develop new skills they can make their way from single letters to recognising words and even read them in short sentences eg. L, L is for Lake, Then we flew a kite by the lake and M, M is for Milk, We bought milk and noodles with Mummy at the supermarket.

The many functions of this Learn and Discover book make it an exciting and educational read for different stages. Our 2-year old loves flicking pages, humming along to familiar tunes in Music Time or listening to the sounds of Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig and George. Our 4-year old is more intrigued by learning her letters in ABC mode or hearing the short stories in Story Time. She also enjoys the challenge of Search and Find (Can you find the letter N? Let’s look for the Onions? Well done!), but only if she gets it right!

Now that he is finally finding his voice there is no stopping Ted. He is always pointing at things in books, singing his favourite songs and chatting to Daddy or one of his Peppa friends on this super sized Peppa Pig Let’s Chat Learning Phone (RRP $19.95, ages 2+).

He can hear simple messages from George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, see them on the LCD screen and listen to tunes from the TV show. His favourite entertainment is blowing up George’s balloon by blowing in the microphone. Usually toy phones quickly lose their charm as toddlers get older but not this one! I love that the Let’s Chat Learning Phone also caters for curious preschoolers like our Hattie with simple math games featuring the numbers 0-9.

Three built-in games are guaranteed to get little minds working as Peppa introduces kids to counting, number recognition and basic addition. Make a batch of cupcakes with Daddy Pig and count them, catch the falling leaves and build a leaf collection with Peppa Pig or count your happy jumps in muddy puddles, but don’t forget your boots!

To find out more about VTech, to browse the Peppa Pig toy range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.vtech.com.au.

Ready, Set, Action with Kidizoom

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Jan 142019
 

VTech

Growing up in The Netherlands our Christmas holidays only lasted two weeks, so for me it still feels a little strange to have 6 long weeks of school holidays this time of year. Not that my kids are complaining, they love the summer holidays and having a brand new selection of Christmas presents to play with makes it extra fun! For master 10 this Vtech gift was an absolute winner and he has used it every single day so far:

The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° (RRP $89.95, ages 5+) is a compact, light, kid-friendly camera that is built for adventures. Fitted with a cool 180° rotatable lens that simply flips from front to back you will never miss a perfect picture or special selfie again, just point and click!

With the help of special effects, self-timer, background music, time-lapse and stop/slow/fast motion you can turn your photos and videos into unique pieces of art and fancy action shots. You can then share your files with your family and friends by exporting them to your computer. This is such a great way for my family in The Netherlands to see bits of our life in Australia, as seen through the eyes of the kids (instead of us adults). At 128MB the camera’s internal memory is not huge, however if you want to store more videos and photos you can expand the memory with a microSD card (not supplied).

Whether you are taking snaps at home, videoing a song or dance, recording your latest skateboard trick, cruising the bike track or even splashing at the pool or beach Kidizoom is always ready for action. Of course we wouldn’t want you to your ride your bike handsfree or lose your balance on your scooter so the Kidizoom Action Cam includes a handy bicycle mount that allows you to attach the camera to your bike or scooter. The mount is super easy to install and to use, in fact you don’t even need a screwdriver to set it up!

Because VTech knows active Aussie kids absolutely love the water the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° also comes with a special waterproof case that enables you to take your camera to the pool or beach and make the most amazing underwater photos and videos (up to 6 feet under water). Our kids can’t wait to test this out on our next trip to the beach! Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, or even surfing or paddle boarding (using the included adhesive mount), you’ll be able to record and relive your favourite watersport memories whenever you want.

But there is more, aside from taking photos and videos you can also use the Action Cam 180° to play three fun games: Ocean Dive, Forest Quest and Unicycle Challenge. Forest Quest is miss 5’s top pick, she loves moving the camera around to look through the binoculars and hunt for forest creatures. The built-in games are a fabulous boredom buster for long drives and have saved us from a lot of ‘are we there yet?’ questions these holidays.

Budget-conscious parents will be pleased to know that there is no needed for expensive batteries, that somehow always seem to run out at the most inconvenient of times. The Kidizoom Action Cam 180° has a convenient rechargeable battery, allowing you to charge it over and over again with the included USB cable. If you have a USB car-charger you can even charge it on the way to your next adventure, how easy is that?

The verdict: We have found the Kidizoom Action Cam 180° very child friendly: it’s easy to set up and easy to use, in fact our 5-year old daughter barely needed any help and knew her way with the camera in no time. This offers a great feeling of independence and the kids are always very proud to show off their photo art, videos or animations they have made. The Action Cam has definitely become a must-have for our family adventures!

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.

Best Furry Friends

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Jun 222018
 

Anyone who knows me will know that I hate change. I am such creature of habit and I like it when things stay the same. This week has been a tough one for all of us as our children left their familiar school, their favourite teachers and their class mates and moved to a new school where we have to start all over again. It has been a sad goodbye to all their closest friends, but thankfully these little BFFs are small enough to come along:

An adorable bunch of Best Furry Friends (ages 5+) has just walked into Australian stores and they are quickly stealing hearts all over the country. From Rose the Pug to ‘Purple Jelly’ Zara the Sloth to ‘Metallic Pink’ Pippa the Pegasus, from a pretty pink frilly bag to a blue clamshell bag to a sweet donut bag, my girls just love the excitement of opening a blind bag. There are more than 60 different BFFs and bags to collect and one even more rare than the other.

You can build your BFF collection one creature at a time and store each in their very own BFF house, carrier or a pretty locket. They are a perfect size for small hands, pant pockets or school backpacks, so you will always have a little BFF on standby when you need a friend. BFFs make a great companion for little trips, doctor visits or (as we can testify) your first day at a new school.

Wherever besties Angelina, Cassandra and Zoe go their furry little friends go too, carried around in a stylish  bag or comfortably travelling in a special rolling pet carrier. Are you a sporty Cassandra, a serious Zoe or maybe an artist like Angelina? Each Besties Doll has a unique personality, she comes with a cool accessory, a fashion bag, a pet carrier and two BFFs. If you’re lucky you could even find the highly sought after limited edition Blossom Panda…. We’re still searching for her!

Of course miss Hattie didn’t want to miss out on all the fun, and thankfully there is a Best Furry Friend for the youngest family member too. Stardust the Pegacorn (ages 3+) is super soft, super cuddly and super sized and she loves coming along on all your adventures in a big carry bag. This Pat & Chat pal enjoys a good hug and if you pat her on the head she’ll reward you with 15 different chatty lines. Hattie takes Stardust everywhere and don’t you dare ask her to share her cuddly companion with someone else…

Who said you can only have one BFF? When it comes to Best Furry Friends you can have as many as you like, the more the merrier!

You can find the BBF range at all major toy stores and toy departments across Australia.

To find out more about Best Furry Friends, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.bestfurryfriendshq.com.

LeapPad Ultimate by LeapFrog

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May 282018
 

Woohoo! For a while it seemed like our holiday would never come any closer but with less than 3 months to go we’re finally getting there. I have started packing the first gifts in our suitcases, stocked up on new pyjamas for everyone and set out six backpacks for our six little travellers. When you spend 24 hours travelling (and 5 weeks away from home) you have to bring some great boredom busters (read sanity savers), which is where LeapFrog comes in:

Juliet has owned her LeapPad Ultimate (RRP $199.95, ages 3-9) for about 8 months now so we’ve tested it through and through and I can not speak highly enough of this kid-friendly tablet. Designed by the toy-experts at LeapFrog and backed by a team of dedicated educators this amazing tablet is all about custom learning whilst having fun and staying safe.

Where do I begin? Let’s start with the basics, the LeapPad Ultimate (8GB) has all the popular tablet features like a powerful quad-core processor, dual camera to take photos and videos, WiFi connection (more on that later!), a music player, rechargeable battery and more. It also comes preloaded with a whole heap of cool games and apps that have been thoroughly tested to be appropriate, educational and safe.

From practising your ABC with Letter Factory Flash Cards to fun with animals and learning to care for them in Pet Pad Party, from finding out interesting milky way facts in the Cosmic Cleanup Science Game to solving a mystery in the Dog Show Detectives Interactive Storybook and much more, there is lots to discover when you first tun on your LeapPad Ultimate.

Of course there is plenty more where this came from, so you can expand your content with your choice of 1000+ LeapFrog learning games, videos and eBooks as your child grows and his/her interests change. You can either download them directly to your LeapPad via the LeapFrog App Centre (ideal for last-minute add-ons before a trip) or you can buy selected cartridges at your favourite LeapFrog stockist.

What really makes LeapFrog stand out, and makes its games so much more than just a game, is the special Just For Me learning technology. Without any effort from parents and without any need to change settings this clever technology recognises your child’s progress and automatically adjusts learning levels within the game. This keeps games fun and challenging and helps those little brains develop further.

As a mum of six I know all too well that every child is unique, their interests are different, they develop at different speeds and they struggle with different things too. I love that you can create a personal account for multiple children on one LeapPad device, so they can each access their own content and the games are tailored to their specific knows and needs. When it comes to selecting new apps for your tablet you can search by age and skill which helps you make the right educational choice for your child.

If the thought of allowing your children access to the internet terrifies you I have good news for you. Your child’s safety is LeapFrog’s top priority, which is why they have created a unique Kid-Safe Web Browser. All web content, videos, photos and pages that are accessible via LeapSearch have been triple checked and are deemed safe and appropriate by the LeapFrog learning experts. Here’s to the wonderful world wide web without the worries!

Many parents feel that tablets and small hands are not always a good combination and it’s true, accidents happen to the best of us! Thankfully the LeapPad Ultimate is durable and kid-tough, featuring a shatter-safe screen, super strong frame and wrap around bumper for extra protection. Even better, from the end of June you can get your hands on a new LeapPad Ultimate bundle which comes with a complimentary zip-up Carry Case to keep your LeapPad safe while travelling or in storage.

The LeapPad Ultimate + Carry Case Bundle will be available at BigW, good toy stores and selected online retailers.

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

Holiday at Home with BRIO

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Nov 192017
 

BRIO

Living oceans away from your family is hard, really hard. Some days are better than others but when you’ve just had a baby and the Christmas season is coming up it’s extra tough. Thankfully after 11 years of marriage Hip Daddy knows how much I struggle this time of year, so he gave us an early surprise by booking us an amazing 5-week holiday with my family next year. I know it is still months away but the kids and I are already getting in the mood with BRIO:

Backpacks and suitcases, swimmers and sunnies, toys and books for on the plane and of course loads of presents for all our loved ones, at our house the planning and preparing is always part of the fun. If you’re planning to take your little ones on a plane trip this Summer the cute BRIO Airplane Boarding Set (Ages 3+) would make a perfect Christmas gift.

This 5-piece play set is sure to get little travellers excited about an upcoming holiday, I just love the wooden details. It includes a fabulous looking aeroplane, the pilot, a holiday maker with a suitcase and even a rolling staircase to lead passengers on and off the plane, just like in real life. The roof of the plane opens up to reveal three spots to fit your two figurines and a piece of luggage.

I love that you can use this toy plane to go on a pretend flight in the air, as well as ride it on the ground using the sturdy wheels that roll nice and smooth. The people can be posed to stand up or sit down and you can even move their arms to actually hold the suitcase or grab the railing of the staircase. Designed for small hands the Airplane Boarding Set is easy to hold and play with and its compact size makes it an excellent toy for on-the-go, it will fit perfectly in a kids backpack or suitcase.

Going on a plane trip can be quite scary for young children, which is where a fun, playful toy like this can really make a difference. Kids can use their imagination and act out little stories about going on a holiday, flying on a plane and how to board and onboard, so that when it’s time for take-off they feel more prepared and calm about the trip ahead. For our 2-year old this will be the first time she’ll fully understand and experience a flight (a 24 hour journey in fact) so we’ll definitely be using BRIO in our holiday preparations.

To find out more about Childsmart and to browse the BRIO range visit www.childsmart.com.au or get social with @Childsmart on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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.

May 152017
 

Now that my growing baby hump has revealed our big news I can finally start sharing some of my favourite finds for our much loved bundle of joy. I secretly started my shopping a few months ago with a new ride to seat our two littlest ones and last week I added a gorgeous gr8x nappy bag to match, I am super pleased with this stylish travel combo:

If you are a regular Hip Little One reader you no doubt know that I have a soft spot for all shades of blue and I often dress both my girls and my only boy in blue. So regardless of what our new addition will turn out to be (we love our surprises!) I was immediately drawn to the neutral blue colour of the recently released Zoe, doesn’t it look awesome?

Zoe (RRP $99.95, Snowflake Blue) is the latest addition to the gr8x nappy bag range and it is quickly winning hearts across the country. I am not surprised these bags are flying off the shelves, as the spacious but lightweight satchel style bag is packed with clever features that will make life easier for busy parents on the go. After five babies I consider myself a bit of a nappy bag expert and I know exactly what I want and don’t want, so no more miss-buys for me.

Measuring a generous 39cm x 26cm x 17cm in size the Zoe offers plenty of storage space for all your baby’s gear and even some of your own bits and pieces too. Inside you’ll find neat internal pockets to keep everything tidy and organised, on the outside are two smaller front zip pockets (ideal for your car keys or your favourite lip gloss) and a handy end pocket on each side to keep your baby’s and your own drink bottle within hand’s reach.

Personally I just love the clever zip-around top, allowing the bag to open up nice and wide so you can instantly find what you are looking for. Especially when you have a nappy emergency you’ll be glad not to have to dig around in the dark for ages to find a packet of wipes or a clean nappy!


There is plenty more to love about Zoe like an adjustable shoulder strap with comfortable padding, super practical easy-clean canvas fabric and protective metal feet on the base to ensure the bottom of your bag doesn’t get dirty or damaged when placed on the ground. As an extra bonus your new Zoe bag comes with a complimentary soft, padded, change mat and a zipped insulated bottle traveller in matching blue fabric.

Blue may be my absolute favourite colour, but if is not really your shade you’ll be pleased to know that the Zoe bag is also available in neutral and classy Snowflake Grey to perfectly match your monochrome look.

To find out more about gr8x or to order your favourite styles online visit www.gr8x.com.au, orders over $99 are delivered free Australia wide.

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