All aboard the Playtime Bus

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Jun 282020
 

VTech

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 www.vtech.com.au.

To the rescue with LeapFrog

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Nov 292019
 

Dump trucks, cherry pickers, buses, motorbikes, ambulances, diggers… Ted loves them all! Unlike many other young children Ted thoroughly enjoys car trips and is easily entertained by spotting all kinds of transportation. At home he has his own collection of cool vehicles to play with too, with this funky firetruck being his new favourite:

Emergency, emergency! The bright red Tumbling Blocks Fire Engine (RRP $49.95, ages 1.5-4 years) is always on standby to help a desperate toddler in need of distraction. Siren? Check! Flashing lights? Check! Ladder? Check! Water hose? Check! Get your fire fighting gear on and get ready for a rescue mission that is both exciting and educational at the same time.

Created by the learning experts at LeapFrog this emergency vehicle is packed with educational features, helping playful toddlers develop important skills whilst having fun. Sounds and songs, letters and lights, buttons and blocks, wheels and words, if you’re looking for a quality, versatile Christmas gift that will be enjoyed long after Boxing Day this is it.

There’s a fire at the Bakery, send help! There’s a cat stuck in a tree, to the rescue! Firefighters Scout and Violet are on their way to yet another incident and could do with a helping hand, let’s give the engine a push and get started. Kids can turn on the siren and flashing lights, turn the hose reel and check the water gage to hear the corresponding number.

Knowing your ABCs is a must for any good firefighter. The five coloured blocks represent all 26 letters of the alphabet, 26 different animals as well as 4 types of emergency vehicles. Simply pop the interactive block in the driver’s window to learn more about the letter, the sound and the picture of your choice. Using the music button kids can also hear and sing along to several alphabet themed songs and other catchy tunes.

Ted’s favourite part of the Tumbling Blocks Fire Engine is by far the tumbling ladder mechanism: When you push the ladder down it automatically ‘picks up’ the next animal block and when you lift the ladder up the block tumbles down back into the truck and repeat. It’s like magic! Super easy to do for little hands and virtually fail-proof, this is a brilliant design feature that brings endless joy to curious toddlers.

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

Hit the road with Mickey

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Nov 112018
 

Toot-Toot Drivers

When you have a large family like ours you quickly end up with lots of toys and a lack of space. Birthdays, Sinterklaas, Christmas… every year our toy collection grows so I am trying to choose wisely when it comes to new additions. One of my top tips is to expand what you have instead of starting with a new range, not only does it keep your play area easier to organise but just one or two small add-ons open up lots of new possibilities.

Our basket of Toot-Toot Drivers is always super popular, so for Ted and Hattie’s birthday we added some fabulous new pieces that can be used on their own but also in combination with the styles we already had; a perfect way to keep the kids busy and creative. They love anything with wheels and of course they adore Mickey Mouse!

With three possible track configurations the Toot-Toot Drivers Mickey’s Happy House (RRP $34.95, ages 1-3) playset guarantees lots of race track fun for little builders. They can send Mickey Mouse down the slide in his convertible, build a double ramp and even set up a competition with one of Mickey’s friends, who will be the first to cross the finish line? The brightly coloured plastic pieces are the perfect size for small hands and easy to click in place, helping toddlers to develop important fine motor skills.

Like all the other Toot-Toot Drivers toys we already have these new Disney designs are fitted with special SmartPoints. When Toot-Toot Drivers vehicles drive past these clever spots children are rewarded with a phrases, songs, sound effects and melodies to encourage pretend play and introduce music and language to curious tots.

The entire Toot-Toot Drivers range is designed to work together, so you can combine different play sets and vehicles for even more fun! Fire stations, garages, airports, space station and much more, Toot-Toot Drivers has all your construction dreams covered. We still have the gorgeous Minnie’s Ice Cream Parlour (the pink ice-cream truck is just the best and the parlour even has a shape sorter) and Mickey’s Magical Wonderland (complete with Ferris Wheel) on our Christmas wishlist so if you happen to spot them on sale somewhere please do let me know!

Priced at just $13.95 the new Toot-Toot Drivers Disney vehicles (ages 1-3) are a fantastic stocking filler for young Toot-Toot Drivers collectors. Mickey and his friends talk (with real character voices), sing songs and teach sounds and their vehicles have headlights that really work! Would you like to hop into Goofy’s Tow Truck, hit the road in Donald’s Off-Roader or join the lovely Daisy and Minnie for a ride in their cute convertibles? There are currently six Disney vehicles to choose from and each triggers different responses when passing SmartPoint locations.

Hip Tip: The Toot-Toot Drivers cars are fun off the track too. They are an ideal size for handbags and nappy bags and offer entertainment for long holiday trips, visits to grandma or a doctor’s waiting room.

VTech toys are available at major department stores and independent toy retailers across Australia.

To find out more about VTech, to browse the Toot-Toot Drivers range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.vtech.com.au.

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 www.whimsychild.com.au.