hiplittleone

Jul 092021
 

Stories, art, music, expositions, poetry, sports, TV, fashion… What a joy it was to see the wide variety of NAIDOC celebrations all across the country, honouring the first people of Australia and taking an important step in healing. National NAIDOC Week (Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July) may be almost over but we are continuing our journey of learning and understanding with the help of Magabala Books:

Our ‘Native Australia’ book shelf is definitely one of the most colourful places in our children’s library. The kids love looking at the bright illustrations, listening to magical stories of many moons ago and learning about traditions and ways of different tribes across Australia. These are some of the wonderful Magabala Books titles we are reading this NAIDOC Week:

If you are looking for a gentle conversation starter to explain the ‘Stolen Generation’ to your children Kunyi (RRP $27.99) is all you need and more. The cruelty of being removed from your family and culture and the impact this has had (and still has) on the indigenous people of Australia is something we will never truly understand, but by sharing her story author Kunyi June Anne McInerney is allowing us to learn.

At just four years old Kunyi and her siblings were placed into the Oodnadatta Children’s Home in South Australia in the 1950s, away from her family and forced to follow the ways taught by the missionaries. This intriguing 60-page book shares all the ins and outs of this strange new missionary life and it really paints a detailed picture of what life was like for children like Kunyi. Kunyi is a fantastic informative  title for older children and for teachers to share with their class as they tackle the tricky topic of the Stolen Generation.

If you enjoyed the gorgeous book Respect as much as we did, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the next addition to the Our Place series: Family (RRP $24.99) by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson. Using short, easy-to-understand sentences this beautiful picture book invites young readers into the heart of family, teaching children what family means to the first people and about the strong bond they share with ancestors and nature.

Illustrated by the talented Charmaine Ledden-Lewis (well deserved winner of the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award) Found (RRP $24.99) is an absolute joy for the eye. It follows the journey of a lonely, lost calf, the heartbreak of being separated from its mother and finally the sweet, warm reunion with mama. The wet, shiny noses, the soft fur and the reflection in the big doe eyes with their long eye lashes, my girls just love looking at this delightful book.

Indigenous artist Shirley Purdie has been painting for more than twenty years, preserving the cultural knowledge of her people and the importance of dreaming in her art to ensure future generations are able to stay connected to what was and the stories of their ancestors. In Shirley Purdie: My Story (RRP $24.99) we take a little peak at Shirley’s childhood, share in her special moments with her mother and grandmother and even learn some Gija language too while admiring Shirley’s wonderful painting skills on every page.

To find out more about Magabala Books, to browse the range and to order your favourite Magabala titles online visit www.magabala.com.

Too cool for school with Smiggle

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Apr 122021
 

Smiggle

Term 1, done and dusted! Four of my students have settled in beautifully this year but the last little one is not so keen on this whole school business. We are trying our very best to change her mind and have been showering her with special treats and fun rewards, after all who doesn’t love a trip to Smiggle with her sister-squad?

Smiggle is home to a kaleidoscope of colours, pretty prints and funky finds, basically everything my girls could wish for. As a busy mum of six I love being able to find all I need in one place and Smiggle is cool, quick and the ultimate one-stop-shop for school gear, it’s a win for everyone! Here are some of the treasures my girls have collected:

Writing out your spelling words is suddenly a lot more interesting when you have a pretty notebook to write them in and Miss 8 has discovered her wild side with the Galaxy Notebook and Markers (RRP $24.95). This animal print spiral A5 notebook comes with a handy attached pencil case and 6 coloured fine-tip markers, the all-in-one homework solution. Now here’s to seeing more green ticks and less red crosses!

Miss 10 joined the jungle gang with the matching Galaxy Twin Zip Pencil Case (RRP $22.95), a spacious zip-up pencil case with loads of room for all her writing must-haves. With all her markers, pencils, pens and erasers within reach she is ready for lots more story writing, she is definitely the one with the wildest imagination! The black is a bit more grown-up and was popular with miss 12 too who scored the Galaxy Drink Bottle for this season.

With all the stress that comes with going to school, night time has become a challenge for our little Hattie. Audio books (and LeapStory) have been a real sanity saver for us and she loves snuggling up in a cosy corner to listen to her favourite stories with her own Smiggle Foldable Headphones (RRP $29.95) on. Her lovely mint green headphones have soft ear pads and an adjustable headband, so they can be made to fit her small head perfectly (just!). Peace of mind for parents: These headphones have a limited volume to protect young ears.

As always, just when you’re on your way to the shop counter you spot all those gorgeous pens, pencils and novelty erasers… we can never resist adding a few more stationery must-haves to our shopping basket! We have a soft spot for things with lovely scents and Smiggle has never let us down with all their fragrant options. This Unicorn Universe Scented Eraser (RRP $3.95) is rather sweet and at less than a fiver they’re the cutest little add-on for a birthday gift.

If your fussy tween is feeling too old for busy prints and patterns do not fear, Smiggle Sorbets is here to save the day (I told you you can find everything you need in one place!). These classy backpacks are plain in colour but full of personality, offering all the handy features of the famous Smiggle backpacks in timeless pastel colours for the girls and neat navy and grey options for the boys. The Sorbets backpack is available in three different sizes/styles (RRP $42.95 – $64.95) to suit every occasion. We’ve put them to the test and we’re giving them the thumbs up!

To find out more about Smiggle, to locate a Smiggle store near you or to order online visit www.smiggle.com.au.

‘Sesame Street Circus Spectacular’ giveaway

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Apr 112021
 

They say good things are worth waiting for and the extra long wait is finally over! Now that COVID is ‘under control’ the red velvet curtains of Silvers Circus can reopen at last to reveal a fabulous circus treat that is sure to capture the hearts of young and old:

Showtime Attractions and Silvers Circus have joined forces to bring to Australia an exciting show filled with entertainment for the whole family, meet Sesame Street Circus Spectacular! Get ready to see Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all your favourite Sesame Street characters like you have never seen them before.

Together with a range of talented circus performers from around the world they will treat the audience to a unique, authentic Sesame Street experience in a heartwarming 90-minute big top spectacular. Little fans will love watching their Sesame Street heroes, recognising their voices and seeing their personalities shine through in the different elements of this brilliant production.

To start the school holidays in style we took our tribe of kids to see the Sesame Street Circus Spectacular last night and it was a huge hit with the whole family! The little ones absolutely loved seeing Elmo and Abby Cadabby while the Wonder Dogs were a big favourite with all. The cheeky puppy who didn’t follow the rules had everyone giggling and when I asked the kids afterwards they said he was the star of the show.

The older kids were super impressed by Gypsy’s Hula Hoops (Did you know she can hula hoop with 80 hoops at once?) and sat on the edge of their seat watching the Globe Riders roar around the The Globe of Death on their motorbikes. One of our girls was so worried about their safety she burst out in tears, she was very relieved to see them drive away in one piece at the end of this heart-racing performance.

From the moment you arrive at the circus location you are truly stepping into the colourful world of Sesame Street. Before you even enter the big top you’ll spot Sesame Street themed cars and food vans, kids can enjoy a jump on a Sesame Street bouncy castle and you can even pose for a photo with hungry Cookie Monster or loveable Big Bird before/after the show!

The combination of Sesame Street’s friendly and familiar characters and Silvers’ talented performers is a winning mix, resulting in an engaging family experience that is inviting, interactive and captivating for everyone. From our cheeky 3-year old to our cool 12-year tweens, they all had a fantastic evening out. To treasure this great memory we brought home the Souvenir Programme and I know they can’t wait to take it to school and tell their class mates all about it.

As this amazing production travels around Australia the Sesame Street Circus Spectacular has put up its stripey tent in Adelaide’s Bonython Park until May 2, 2021 after which they will continue down south to Noarlunga. Perfect timing for the school holidays if you ask me! If you want to be guaranteed a slice of the Sesame Street fun be quick and secure your favourite seats through Ticketmaster, tickets for other locations will be added as they become available.

To find out more about Sesame Street Circus Spectacular, to take a closer look at the tour schedule and to book your tickets online visit www.sesamestreetcircus.com.au.

Thanks to our generous friends at Sesame Street Circus Spectacular one lucky family will win 4 Sesame Street Circus Spectacular tickets to enjoy the show at Bonython Park, Adelaide on Friday April 16, 2021 at 6.30pm. For your chance to win hop on over to the Hip Little One Facebook page, good luck!

Join the Choose Kindness crew

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Feb 012021
 

Bye bye lazy wake-ups and late breakfast, hello school rush and mad mornings! My little tribe has eagerly returned to class and I now have five cute students in the same primary school. For most children, including my own, a new school year comes with some nerves and reservations about classes, friendships and fitting in and school can be a real challenge! To make sure no child is forgotten and to encourage children to look after themselves and each other Smiggle and Dolly’s Dream want to invite all children to Choose Kindness in 2021.

What is Dolly’s Dream? In 2018 14-year old Dolly Everett, a beautiful young Australian teenager with her whole life ahead of her, took her own life after an extended period of bullying and cyber bullying. Dolly’s passing left her parents Kate and Tick completely heartbroken and Australia in shock. Dolly’s family is determined for their great loss to be a lesson to others and has embarked on the important mission to educate Australia about the serious impact of (cyber)bullying and to empower children and their families to speak up.

With a new school year ahead of us, now is the time to talk to your children or your students about kindness, (cyber)bullying, being safe, making the right decisions and most importantly standing up for what is right! Sometimes bullying can be hard to spot, and sometimes bullied children hide it well, but by talking about this tricky topic openly and honestly we can all become more aware of what goes on around us and we CAN make a difference.

Not sure where to start? Dolly’s Dream and Smiggle have bundled their powers to spread Dolly’s legacy and are encouraging Australian families to take the DigiPledge. This fun and educational online quiz will provide children and their parents with valuable skills and knowledge to stay safe and be kind and it is a wonderful conversation starter for families to open up about any experiences your child may have.

Are you ready to join the Smiggle and Dolly’s Dream ‘Choose Kindness’ crew? Take the Kindness Pledge and help share the important message of Dolly’s Dream, pop into your local Smiggle store from February 1, 2021, to pick up a FREE Choose Kindness keyring. Be quick, there are only 100,000 Dolly’s Dream limited edition keyrings available and they won’t last long!

To find out more about Dolly’s Dream and the #SmiggleDoItForDolly movement visit www.smiggle.com.au/dollysdream.

LeapStart 3D: Simba’s Surprise

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Dec 242020
 

When you have a big family like ours, storage space is always hard to find especially when it comes to toys. Ahead of the festive season I always give our playroom a thorough clean-out, sorting all the toys in the right boxes, donating older toys they’ve grown out of to our local op-shop or church and throwing away any broken bits and pieces. The kids love rediscovering everything they already own and I like the fresh start before new gifts arrive.

Another space-saving trick is to build on collections/brands you already have, it is often cheaper to buy new additions than to start a whole new collection and it is much easier for kids to put away their toys when there are less boxes/tubs. With this theory in mind we recently expanded our LeapStart 3D library with a fun new title for Ted and Hattie to explore, being compatible with the LeapStart 3D Learning System we already own there is no expensive outlay so it’s a super affordable gift AND takes up next to no space. Everyone’s happy!

If you are a longtime reader you will probably remember all about LeapStart 3D, but just in case you missed it you can check this clever learning system out here. The LeapStart 3D Library consists of many different titles that focus on specific learning skills and interests and new books are always in the making. One of the latest releases is Simba’s Surprise (RRP $19.95, ages 2-5), a cute storybook for preschoolers filled with interactive fun. Let’s go on a journey in the jungle with Simba the Lion King, Timon and of course the oh-so-funny Pumbaa.

To transform your LeapStart 3D book from an ordinary book into an interactive 3D adventure, simply open the LeapStart unit, click your book into place and turn the device on. The device will automatically recognise your book when you touch it with the smart stylus and guide you through downloading the audio for you new book (PC with internet connection required). While the main part of Simba’s Surprise is (of course) the story of Simba who wants to treat his friends to special gift, there is actually a lot more hiding on each page than ‘just’ words…

The stylus can be used to hear the story read out loud (allowing learning readers to read along with the words) but also to activate games, puzzles. challenges, hints and eye-catching animations that show up on the unique LeapStart 3D flip screen. Just touch anywhere on the page and see what happens! What do Ted and Hattie love most about Simba’s Surprise? They enjoyed playing the Animal Matching game (spotting body parts and connecting them them to the right animal owner), they liked watching Timon tickle Pumbaa with a feather and they thought Timon and Pumbaa stuffing their faces with scrumptious bugs and creepy crawlies was very funny. As a bonus the book also includes a page of free The Lion King stickers, nice treat!

Hip Tip: If you happen to own the original LeapStart System instead you can still enjoy all the fun the new titles have to offer (except for the 3D experience). Just another way LeapFrog cares for families and their budgets.

You can find the LeapStart 3D Library 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.

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.

Secret Safe Treasure Chest

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Nov 152020
 

VTech

While having sisters is lots of fun, every now and then a girl needs a bit of quiet time away from her nosy siblings. Secret notes, locked diaries, little treasures… our four girls are generally great at sharing but some things are simply private property. So where do you tuck away your special belongings so your curious sisters can’t find them? VTech has your back:

From secret storage to special songs, from games to glowing lights, from tiny treasures to telling the time and more, the Secret Safe Treasure Chest (RRP $49.95, ages 6-11) is the ultimate all-in-one girls gift this Christmas.

Shaped like a sweet purple and pink jewellery box, this interactive Secret Safe is way too pretty to hide away in your wardrobe and deserves to take top spot on your bedside table. It even doubles as a talking alarm clock and you can change the clock front to suit your style, what a cool way to learn to read the time! When the alarm goes off you’ll hear your choice of sound or tune and the top of the chest lights up in beautiful rainbow colours.

On the inside the Treasure Chest offers a heart shaped mirror, a removable top tray to fit your smallest jewellery and a generous main compartment for more storage. Don’t worry, your valuables are well protected by your own unique password. Only the person who enters all four numbers or symbols correctly will be able to open this chest and unveil its bounty! Once the chest has been unlocked the light-up ring will show a colour display chosen by the owner. (Parents can rest assured: The secret code can be reset in case of emergency)

Aside from keeping your precious belongings safe from nosy sisters, there are plenty of other awesome features hidden in this treasure chest. The saying ‘It’s not all fun and games’ definitely doesn’t apply here but because this pink box is loads of fun AND it comes with 9 great games that teach important skills like spelling, logic and maths. Because the games use only the four gem buttons to control they are easy to learn even for young players yet they still get their brains working and different levels keeps things exciting.

Miss 7 especially loves testing and expanding her word knowledge by making as many four letter words as possible in Speedy Speller, and solving the mystery of the hidden butterfly in Hide and Seek. Miss 5 may not have excess to her sister’s precious goodies, but she is pretty chuffed that she can still play games without knowing the password. She enjoys practising her numbers in Order Challenge and she is a big fan of Magically Disappearing Cat.

Last but not least, the Secret Safe Treasure Chest comes preloaded with 20 different tunes in the Music Box and the ability to compose your own simple tracks in Music Creation with the use of the gem buttons. Stop, play, repeat and shuffle to enjoy a personalised musical experience. You can even use the Treasure Chest as a speaker by connecting an external music player like a phone or MP3 player, time to put all your favourite Christmas carols on repeat!

You can find the Secret Safe Treasure Chest right now at your local Big W store and 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.