Imaginary play

Toy of the month – August 2016

August in Sydney can be quite a dreary month, it can be wet, super cold with windy days and only sometimes a glimpse of Spring in the air! But what I like about the last winter month is that you can still hibernate and enjoy all those indoor activities.

We go through our board games, we set up our wooden train set, do painting and I even taught the kids how to play marbles this month. We had the added joy of reviewing a beautiful wooden play theatre from the brilliant new toy store Happy Go Ducky. Such a perfect toy for those cold, rainy days indoors or just days when you want to stay inside and chill.

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Dollhouse makeovers

This week we decided to embark up on a little renovation mission with our Lille Huset dollhouse from Wild and Whimsical Things. We met Adrian who runs this brilliant online store via the utterly brilliant small biz course we are doing with Business School for Mums.

What I love about Adrian is the way she has selected toys in her store which are based around a child’s development. For each toy on her website she then has a list of skills the child will grow and develop from, when the child plays with the toy. Similar to how I write my “Toy of the month” where I look at the skills and development in terms of gross and fine motor skills etc for a toy, Adrian does the same and I love it! As a parent it is so helpful to be armed with this knowledge when choosing a toy or gift for a child, friend or niece/nephew.  She has definitely set herself apart from other online toy stores with this fab information and not to mention her toy selection is the bomb! Rock and Pebble, Maileg, Milton Ashby, Omy Design and Play, Lille Huset, Numero 74, ahh need i say more…

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Modern Day Princess Gift Guide

With the royal baby Princess now born and as we eagerly await her name, I thought I would do a little gift guide for the very modern Princess!

Modern day princess gift guide 4

1. Tough Cookie Store – Pink Crown AUS $30.00

2. Zilvi wooden wall word art AUSD $25.00

3. Hubble and Duke romper AUSD $65.00

4. Babee and Me Alphabet handmade cloth book AUS $300.00

5. LexyPexy Wooden teether “The Harlan” USD $25.00

6. Hubble and Duke Ballet Moccasins in Gold Rush – AUSD $45.00

7. Nor-Folk white tee, seeing as though the Princess will grow up in Norfolk £20.00

8. Yarning Made baby blanket AUSD $215.00

9.Luna and the Boy Royal Roundie AUS $39.00

My Little Artist – Christmas gift guide

Inspired by own son who is the happiest when he is drawing or colouring on notepads, scrap paper, paper towel holders, boxes and more. This one is for you, my beautiful Jasper.

My little artist xmas gift guide 2014 KGT final

1. For colouring fun on a giant scale, try the  Omy Design and Play Giant Colouring poster

2. For finger painting fun and travel friendly, the Finger painting set by NPW

3.  To inspire and captivate your little artist to learn about the history of art this book is amazing,  If I were an Artist by Minus Editions

4.  Your little artist will love designing their own monster tee, Creatures and Features by Neve and Hawk

5. For every budding artist,  The Artist long sleeved tee by Organic Zoo

6. Stunning rudolph crayons bv Crayonbox2013

7. All artist’s need something to draw with and what better pencils than these,  Slogan pencil from Bonne Nuit

8. Ebery artist needs somewhere to sketch their creations and this one is a great gift idea, “Oh what fun” by ordinaryartists

9. For one of the best artists and illustrators in the business, Herve Tullet – Mix it up

10. A great little notebook to bring out the fun in drawing and help them create, How to dress a fox by Wee Gallery 

Toy of the month – July 2014

Dinosaur Snappets

I am so upset to have lost this particular toy review for Snappets! My original piece on Snappets was all about “ Realising your dreams” and that if you believe in your dreams that they can come true; with a bit of passion, dedication, motivation and desire.

I was so thrilled to be sent a Snappet prototype back in July and to be given the opportunity to review this fabulous new toy that was not yet even on the market!

Snappets are paper hand puppets that you guessed it make a “Snap!” when you open and close the dinosaur’s mouth. They are made from a single piece of cardboard. They now come in over 8 different dinosaurs and are available in 2 different types – full colour or black and white, so your child can colour and create their own dinosaur.

Zachary Opaskar designed his paper hand puppets back at University 15 years ago but it was not until recently he revisited this original design and with the support of his fiancé he decided to turn his design in to reality.

With his own money, he was able to make the first design and die to create his first prototype. He was starting to turn “Snappets” into reality. However, he didn’t have the financial backing he needed to complete his dream of 7 more dies to create the 8 Dinosaur puppets he had originally designed.  With the help of crowd funding program, Kickstarter, he was able to raise the USD $10,000 and more that he needed for the dies to make his paper puppets a reality as a fab new toy.

Kickstarter is a brilliant website that allows designers, singers, creatives and more to start up a campaign to raise money toward the design they want to become reality or an album they want to produce.

Through building up social media interest and local support in his hometown, I can happily say that Zachary received all the funding for his Kickstarter campaign that he required to start his Dinosaur pupper business.

Snappets are now in production and all paper puppets have been sent out as of the 18th October to the supporters who funded his Kickstarter campaign. HUGE Congrats Zachary!

And to the toy review you ask?

Snappets are pretty easy to build following the online vimeo tutorial as well as the instructions provided with each puppet. I had to help both my children to build their puppet but I think from ages 7+ they could do it themselves. My eldest was able to part of the construction himself and need my help for the smaller, trickier bit.

On each Snappet page there are some facts about each Dinosaur that you are building.

My kids had a ball running around imagining they were dinosaurs, chasing each other, giving the dinosaur food and generally causing dino chaos!!

One thing I would say about the prototype which may have been fixed with the new Snappets, is that the paper inserts where you put the puppet together can come out during rigorous “dino play”. To rectify this, I used some sellotape/sticky tape over these inserts to ensure they did not come out anymore.

I think Zachary has done an utterly awesome job with these fabulous dinosaur paper puppets! He has realised his dream; raising the funding for his designs through a crowd funding program and ultimately created a completely unique and creative toy for kids.

It just goes to show that if you believe in your dreams, one day they can and they will come true!

Designed and made in the USA.

Ages: 4+ 

RRP: USD $3.99 each or a pack of 4 for $14.99

Great for: construction, creative/role play, and they would make great party favours! 

Disclosure: in order to complete this review, we were given our Snappets as a gift. 

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Cardboard creations!

For something a little different this Christmas, how about some cool creative fun with cardboard?! Check out these awesome creations which your kids will adore playing in and with. Plus they are all recyclable – FAB!

Studio Roof ( formerly Kidsonroof) : a Dutch brand which started the cardboard revolution in my mind back in 2005. This is one of the best rocket ships i have seen and I love their little playhouse!

Kidsonroof rocketship

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Flatout Frankie – NZ designed cardboard fun which was established in 2011 and who create those FAB dinosaur, unicorn and oven creations

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horse_girl__unicorn flatoutfrankie

 

flatoufrankie aeroplane

Paplegehuset – newcomer to the field from Denmark, they are creating anything from castles, tipis, cars, igloos, kiosk, dolhouses and more!

Paplegehuset castle

Paplegehuset kiosk  flyvemaskine

iglo

 

Build a  Dream playhouses – one of my favourites on the market today for their social responsibility motto and stunning creations.  You and your children will be decorating up a storm with these playhouses this Christmas! NB: – they arrive in white and you decorate to your heart’s content.

 

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Imaginabox by On the Gro : for those who want to create their own cardboard fun with their boxes, check out the below kits to help! They are reusable, so if the box gets a little tired, grab a new box and re-use the stickers!

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onthegro oven

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Toy of the month – January 2014

Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker:

Oh how I have admired and adored this little rainbow stacker from Grimm’s Spiel  & Holz Design. I love colour and I love rainbows and this is the perfect match in my eyes!

If you have ever had the pleasure to touch a Grimm’s product you will know that they use matte paints to ensure that the child still feels the organic nature of the wood/grain. They want to ensure that the child understands the connection between nature and environment, unlike plastic where it is hard for a child to visualise where the product originates.

The Rainbow stacker is iconic, so much so that it has become the symbol or logo behind the Grimm’s company. It has been copied more than I can think of but it can never be truly replicated, as their manufacturing and painting process is unique and means that no one stacker is exactly the same.

Both my son’s absolutely adore this toy. Although it was brought for my youngest son’s 2nd Birthday, my eldest son has had a lot of fun with it as well. He loves making it into tunnels and race tracks for his cars. My youngest son likes to stack them up or make little houses for his pebble people or Sonny Angel’s.

It comes in 3 different sizes with minimal packaging and  small instruction sheet. We have the medium size. I wish we also had the large as there are so many possibilities of play with the larger model but it came down to cost. The larger one was about €50.00 and this one was about €24.00. Unfortunately my husband was with us at the toy store when we bought it and he freaked out at the cost of the large rainbow stacker! Such a shame as it would have been a fab addition to our playtime. I can tell you as a result, I now do a lot more online shopping!

Grimm’s is a family owned business based in the Swabian hills of southern Germany.  The company has been producing toys since 1978 and they are made from sustainably sourced FSE wood from various European mills. All their products are designed at their factory in Hochdorf, and they manufacture their toys in Germany and Bosnia. However, all products go through the German factory for final quality control to ensure the highest specification for each product is adhered to.

I have had the absolute pleasure to meet some of the Grimm’s family at the Spielwarenmesse (world’s biggest toy trade fair) in January this year and the love and passion they have for their work is clear.  Each toy that you are buying from Grimm’s is one made with love, passion and dedication. This is how all toys should be created, not for profit but for the love of the design and the happiness it brings every child.

Ages: 12 months + 

RRP €24.95 

Great for: construction skills, gross motor skills, imaginary play, and hand and eye co-ordination.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

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