Toy of the month – September 2017

Wow honestly I don’t know how we only have a few more months left of 2017, how we are almost in Term 4 and that I am already looking at Christmas gift guides! But let’s not get ahead of myself as this month, I am super pumped and oh so excited to be reviewing the incredible open ended toy, the Wobbel Board.  Yes it has finally arrived in Australia via my brand rep fave The Creative Toy Shop!

This fabulous open ended toy brings hours of fun to not only kids but the whole family. It isn’t cheap and certainly set us back this coming Christmas but the versatility and flexibility of this toy is beyond most toys you have come across. You will be surprised at all the different ways this toy can be used, played with, balanced on and slide down.

I do admit the Wobbel board isn’t new, my eldest son used to play with them in Germany at Kindergarten and now in Australia, they also have a similar version at my youngest son’s preschool albeit their model has a padded cushion attached on the bottom rather than what is available on the Wobbel.

The Dutch company, Wobbel have reinvented a classic Waldorf design of the balance board ( also known as Steiner in Australia and the US) and modernised it with the special wool felt and cork underlays as well as various colour ways to customise the Wobbel for your own home and lifestyle.

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Meet the Maker – KnitSquid

This month we have a wonderful creator and shaker for our ‘Meet the Maker’! Ha I love a good rhyme. But seriously, this month we shine a spotlight on to a gorgeous handmade toy industry that I have long admired and even asked my mum to make one for my eldest when he was born. This month it is all about knitted and crochet toys and a Japanese art form called Amigurumi from US based maker Eliza Ryan from KnitSquid. I am super excited to be showcasing it on the blog as these handmade toys are just super creative and utterly gorgeous.

I first discovered crochet toys when I found the brand Anne-Claire Petit and I bought my eldest an awesome rainbow plane in London, we still have it and it is what started my appreciation for crochet and knitted toys. I know making them certainly isn’t easy, I think you need a whole heap of patience, skill and time! I wanted to find out more and when Eliza approached me about her fab brand, I was all ears.

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Kids Activities – DIY Succulent Crystal Garden

Since we moved back to Australia, we have taken a keen interest in gardening and growing our own vegetables, herbs and flowers each Spring. It is just so nice to have our own small piece of green space and to teach the kids a little more where food comes from in the hope they may eventually eat vegetables… ( still waiting for that!)

This has also translated to indoors as well and this year the boys and I have finally worked out how to take care of some succulents which we bought at our local fabulous sustainable nursery, New Leaf.  We have gone from killing our succulents to watching them thrive! The boys (and I !)  now know that their plants need watering once a week or longer and not every day… It has been a learning curve for us all.

We have also been discovering crystals and learning about gems this year after being introduced to them by a close friend. We found out a few months back that one of our fave shops in the area, Little Paper Lane now stocks crystals and gems, so we went to check out what they had and the boys came away with a clear point crystal quartz and circular rose quartz. The boys have been cleansing them at full moon and loving learning about their healing effects.

Lastly on a road trip up north in July, we visited the incredible Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens, which is close to Byron Bay. This place is sheer magic; the whole area is imbued with beauty, peace and the crystals make you feel so energised and renewed( this is coming from a former skeptic!) The boys absolutely loved it there and we added to our crystal collection with an agate, amethyst and labradorite. In chatting with the staff up there, we bought some large rough hewn amethyst and rose quartz as well they were on sale (hehe love a bargain!) and we thought we might use them one day in our garden.

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CBCA Book Week 2017

CBCA Book Week is almost over and it is one week of the year that I love as for me Book Week is the celebration of reading and a love of books! Book Week is I believe unique to Australia, in that around the world, countries celebrate World Book Day on the 23rd April, International Children’s Book Day on the 2nd April and Book Lovers Day on the 9th August. But from what I can find in my research, it is one day and not a whole week of celebrations!

Each year has a theme and this year it is ‘Escape to Everywhere’ which is an awesome theme and covers so many children’s books! I think immediately of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers, The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and gosh so many more!

My boys decided on their costumes only late last week so we busily prepared them over the weekend and this week ( whilst Mum battled a cold/flu!) to get ready for Book Week.

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Toy of the month – August 2017

A little story to tell you my lovely readers about this month’s Build Me wooden toys; my youngest was so enamored with these incredible wooden cars that he sneakily took one to preschool to show his mates! There was only one slight issue in that we hadn’t finished testing them out at home. Eep! Suffice to say it did arrive back in one piece ( phew!) with a few minor scratches.

I would say that actually he did me a favour as they survived a bit of rough and tumble at preschool and still came back  in 100% working order and looking fab. That has to be the best way to test out a toy in my mind!

Darryl Thompson is the creator and maker behind Build Me wooden toys which are designed and made in Melbourne, Australia. We first reviewed his brilliant “BuildMe” wooden toy kits back in September 2015 for our Toy of the Month. The boys and their Dad built a “Monster” truck and the “Short” dump truck and they seriously make THE best Father’s day presents!  They had a brilliant time together building their car kits  and it was such a great bonding experience for them all.

It was with great excitement that I recently heard from Darryl about his new toy collection,   ‘PlayMe‘. These cars are already built for you in brilliant colours, gorgeous woods and ready to go straight out of the box. Let me tell you, they are stunning!!

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Kickstarter – Bokah Blocks for next level construction

We were super excited to feature the incredible Bokah Blocks as our February ‘Toy of the Month‘ last year. These blocks are sheer genius as the makers at Bokah Blocks have reworked a timeless classic, the wooden block and given it a joint! When you connect 2 Bokah blocks with a bendy ( a neat little unit that can stretch, twist, bend and pull), a joint is constructed and this allows not only movement between the blocks but also flexibility in the design.

We created some pretty amazing designs that I honestly never thought was possible from a wooden block. Bokah Blocks are a young US toy start up and you know how much I love supporting small!  It was with excitement that I heard from Bokah Blocks this month as they wanted to let me know about the awesome Kickstarter campaign they have just launched for their Explorer set of blocks. A new set of blocks that are affordable and with 55 pieces still allows for a huge selection of construction designs to be enjoyed by your kids.

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