Toys

Handmade Christmas Crayons from Funny Little Things

Funny-Little-Things-Handmade-Crayons-Kids-Gifts

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year but I think we can all agree it can be pretty stressful with all of the end of year events at preschool, school and sport not to mention carols, family parties, get together’s with friends, work parties and did I mention actually getting in your Christmas shopping somewhere?

This year I have a few giveaways coming up on the blog which will mean for the lucky winners they have some of their kids gifts all sorted.

We already hosted the incredible Kazoops Soft Toy giveaway which was met with HUGE enthusiasm especially from all the non Australian fans. And this week, I have teamed up with a beautiful local Sydney maker and creator, Tess from Funny Little Things. Tess makes the most beautiful handmade crayons which make perfect stocking fillers, party favours and birthday gifts.

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Christmas Gift Guide 2017- Wooden Toys

Best Wooden Toys Christmas 2017

Another incredible year and so many amazing wooden toys that I have blogged, reviewed and discovered over the course of the year.

Wooden toys are utterly classic beauties that stand the test of time and general wear and tear of children. They are full of endless play as there are no batteries, no noises and the child gets to use their imagination to bring the toy alive.

Whether they are playing with a super cool modular dollhouse, having fun with brilliant Geo puzzles,  building castles and forts, balancing on boards, stacking cats, or creating fun play spaces for their cars, trucks and planes.

Each child who plays with these toys will have a different and unique experience from the next kid and even day to day,  as it will all depend on your child’s imagination.

It is these toys that will be passed down to the next generation, loved, played with and cherished. Not the cheap plastic ones with all the bells and whistles that will go to landfill after dying a quick death due to poor workmanship, breakages and dead batteries.

In choosing wooden toys, you are choosing to think about your child’s future and their kids’ future.

Best Wooden Toys Christmas 2017

Gift Guide details from the top of the tree and L to R are:

Egmont Doll House Modern – The Mini Manor & Co  $88.00

Ze Geoanimo by Djeco – Tiny Paper Co $54.95

Milianiwood Animal Factory – Wild and Whimsical Things $28.95

Castle Block Set – Play to Learn  $49.00

Wobbel Board – Sweet Elephants $295.00

Grimms Wooden Blocks Colour Tree Slices  The Creative Toy Shop $73.00

BuildMe Wooden Toys – Tow  $59.00

Pinch Toys – Mini Set Retro 70s Cars – Monkeynmoo Shop $32.00

Wooden Cat Stacking Puzzle – Happy Go Ducky Toys $23.00

Friendly Toys – Wooden Plane – Wiggles Piggles $39.95

This line up are all from Australian online small business retailers who are supporting their families with their business. In supporting them you support their families this Christmas.

Disclosure: this post was written in conjunction with these beautiful shops All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Toy of the month – November 2017

Wow I am not exactly sure how this year has sped by and I am now writing my last toy review for the year? Life with kids certainly means life just seems to go at warped speed. Next year it will be even more zippy as my youngest starts  school. I am quietly crying a little inside but he is beyond excited to go to school with his big brother and all his preschool mates, so it is a bittersweet moment as my baby grows up.

Starting school and this month’s toy review are a perfect combination as this month we have been testing out a seriously awesome ‘Chemistry in Action’ science kit gifted from Sydney based Curious Kids Science.  Curious Kids Science is headed up by the incredibly passionate Mum Rachel Brittliff with head tester being her 6 year old daughter, Lily. Rachel has a background in Law, however it was when her then 3 year old daughter came home from preschool wanting to replicate an “experience” she had seen there, that Rachel embarked on a mission to bring fun and science to young children.

After countless hours of research and hundreds of experiments, testing them out over a year with 20 kids aged 4 to 10 years, they finally settled on the Chemistry kit we are reviewing which was released early this year.

This is our first ever kit based toy review and I have to say it was A LOT of fun. I mean A LOT of fun! The kit provides experiment cards, a chemical reaction kid’s manual, an adults guide and non toxic products for 5 experiments to be carried out by kids 4 + years.

With some changes to the method and a few additional ingredients from the pantry, the kit has the ability to conduct up to 20 different experiments using the kit. There are also suggestions on ways to approach different experiments based on age groups which is awesome as it means you can continue to use the kit for years to come.

Curious Kids Science Kit Chemistry In Action

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Kazoops toys have arrived

This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Cheeky Little Media.

The news all Kazoops fans have been waiting for…Kazoops toys have been released! The full toy range includes plush toys, figurines, play sets and games and we here in the Kids Gifts and Toys household are super pumped to see them available.

The plush toys were released last month by Tomy in Australia and feature Monty, Lily the Alien, Suzy the Dinosaur, Otis the Warthog and our household fave Jimmy Jones. This month they have also launched in the UK via  Toys “R” US  and Amazon.

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Happy Hands Happy Heart Happy Kids

Play dough is one of those absolute classic toys that so many children have grown up with and today 87 years on, it is still a cherished activity that kids love! Play dough even makes it into the National Toy Hall of Fame in the US. What I didn’t know until today was that what we know as Play-Doh®, started life as wallpaper cleaner back in the 1920’s!  Composed of flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil, the product was first created by Noah McVicker for Cincinnati based company, Kutol.

These days though many families enjoy making play dough at home and in the last few years, Australian based brand Happy Hands Happy Heart has been making waves with their natural version of play -dough with the most incredible scents that literally waft out of the glass jar once you open it.

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Toy of the Month – October 2017

This month we are testing out an incredibly beautiful toy, like I am not joking, this is one I have never seen before and when Happy Go Ducky Toys asked me to review it, I jumped at being gifted the opportunity.

This month we review their incredible Extra Large Wooden Triangle Puzzle which is from Czech brand Playful Wood.

Happy Go Ducky are an Australian based company run by wife and husband team, Amy and Votja, who in 2015 started to bring to Australia the most incredible Czech designed and produced toys like the Playful Wood range of toys.

Their ethos is closely aligned to mine in that they only sell toys that are ethically and sustainably produced, they want their toys to last and not to add to the growing plastic junk pile. Along with being completely safe for little ones in terms of non toxic toys, they are also educational and open learning toys that allow for the creativity and fun!

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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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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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Toy of the month – July 2017

This month we are testing out some seriously awesome handmade colouring in mats from Australian maker Noble Cubs and I have to say my kids are absolutely loving them!

All  designed and handmade in Queensland by mother and creator Martina Noble, these eco-friendly toys are completely machine washable, and brilliant for entertaining kids whilst out and about. I would much prefer my kids play with these  fab washable mats than the dreaded tech ( oh tantrum city when you tell them no more playing!)

Martina kindly gifted us two colouring in and doodling mats to test out and review.  My 5 year old was so excited to see the construction mat when he opened it up and he was super intrigued as to how it was going to work. I have to admit I was too. I wasn’t sure how the washable markers were going to colour onto the fabric and I was equally intrigued as to whether they would wash out in full to enable further uses of the mat.

So how do it all go?

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Toy of the month – June 2017

Hello lovely peeps, can we really already be in June, half through 2017?! I know I always say it but gosh time certainly flies with kids and even more so once they go to school. I wrongly assumed school would provide heaps more time for me to blog and work (and maybe do those household things called chores) but I miss the cruisey preschool days where we could just play, play and play!

We are having cooler days here in Sydney, still sunny most days but it is definitely feeling like Winter here. As the boys were both born in England and lived a large amount of their time in the Northern Hemisphere, we are quite used to the colder days  and secretly quite like to hibernate at home as this is when we play with our toys the most.

The winters here are more like a English summer’s day in terms of warmer temperatures but the mornings and evenings are cold. And don’t get me started on the seriously freezing cold houses. I do miss central heating as reverse cycle air conditioning doesn’t quite cut it.

This month’s toy is a super flexible kids toy that works brilliantly both indoors and outdoors, truly perfect then for Australia. We have featured it a lot on our Instagram account and I thought I should introduce it to the blog too! So what is it you ask?

Our beloved waytoplay road track of course!

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Toy of the month – May 2017

We have been testing out the most beautiful toy storage trolley from Lulo Kids this month and I am secretly wishing that we had little ones again to push it around and look oh so adorable!

We used to own a little wooden trolley when our boys were toddlers that they used for toy storage and to push around but I can honestly tell you it was not as exquisite as this one (think red and white and yellow – eek!)

Lulo Kids is a Melbourne based small business designing and hand making beautiful wooden kids products.  Known for their teepees, they have recently added these wooden trolleys to go with their gorgeous bespoke wooden blocks.

Again, I am over the moon that such Australian based toy companies now exist and thrive when a few years ago all you could find were overseas based companies whose production was based in fast paced China.

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Why Kids Gifts and Toys?

I first started my blog over 3 years ago when my eldest was 5 years of age and my youngest just 2. Why did I start? Mainly because I wasn’t what kind of gifts were age suitable for my kids and I wanted to research and find out the best ones.

Not just the best ones though, because what is the”Best”? Best means different things to different people. For me “Best” was all about the longevity of the toy, how long a child would play with it and how long it would last with it being played with constantly? Could the toy stand up to the test of being treated sometimes rough and tumble by a toddler or a child?

Also toys are not cheap, or rather you can buy cheap plastic toys but we all know that they don’t last, they break, or need batteries.  I was finding these toys were not cutting it with my boys. Yes we had plastic toys, we had musical bongo drums, we had musical electric guitars, we had Hot Wheels track( we still do!), we had a few plastic ride on cars and bikes. But personally I found anything with batteries, highly annoying, like highly annoying! LOL. I know the kids enjoyed them, however I noticed it was never for long periods, it never engaged them longer than 5 mins and so this is why I started investigating ethical and eco friendly toys.

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Toy of the month – April 2017

This month it is all about trains!! I have found over the years as a mother that wooden trains are one of the best open ended toys and not just for boys either. They are a great gender neutral toy that can be played with from 1 year right up to adults 😉

My eldest received his first very small train set for his 1st birthday and we have grown the set each year with family and friends adding trains, tunnels, stations and more to make it into a little city. What I have found though is that wooden trains and track are not cheap, not at all which is why my boys have received most of their train track and accessories as birthday presents over the years ( with a few flea market purchases in Germany!)

My boys play with their train set on a weekly basis building, creating and exploring new track set ups and cities. They can honestly play for hours on end, just by using their imagination to create wonderful worlds of train exploration, such is the joy of this open ended toy.

As a brand representative for The Creative Toy shop, this year we were gifted a number of Hape wooden train toys and I wanted to share one of them with you, the Xylophone Melody Track, for this month’s review.

Brianna, the brains behind The Creative Toy Shop has created an wonderful selection of toys for her shop and uses her daily job as a special needs home educator and teacher to help her test out and decide on what toys she will offer. Originally a blogger, she has taken her blog to the next level and established one of the most gorgeous online toy shops in Australia. I am honestly in love with her toy shop and so excited and honoured to be working with her this year.

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Toy of the month – March 2017

This month is an exciting one my friends. This month is a celebration of how far toy making has come in Australia.

When I started Kids Gifts and Toys over 3 years ago and started researching toy brands worldwide, there was very little coming out of Australia that was designed and made in Australia.  In just a short space of time I have watched an incredible transformation and now I can happily say there is actually a handmade toy industry in Australia! I am super excited to be featuring “Monday the Plane” from Have a Nice Day toys for March’s “Toy of the month”; this is one Australian toy company that is making waves for all the right reasons.

Monday the Plane” is just one of 7 wooden toys created by former industrial designer Jake Diaz alongside his wife Dom Diaz who fronts up all the business and social media side of things. This husband and wife team based on the Gold Coast, are reinventing wooden toys and bringing back the simplicity and purity for a new generation of children.

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Toy of the month – February 2017

This month is a little follow on from last month’s awesome Marbotic Smart Numbers range. This month we look at the Smart Letters range from this fabulous French company.

The Smart Letters range is all about alphabet recognition, learning the sounds of the letters, getting familiar with lower, upper case and even cursive letters. It has varying degrees of difficulty but overall is best suited to 3- 10 years old.

I will say that although I have outlined a very extensive review of the Smart Letters range below, my children worked out how to complete each app and its variations intuitively without any of my guidance. However, for us adults, I found it most helpful to look up the parents corner in each app to read about what the app entailed.  I thought it would be useful to provide an overview for you to understand exactly what you get for your money.

The Smart letters range are distributed exclusively in Australia by Keld Industries who kindly sent me the range to test out and review.

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Toy of the month – January 2017

I hope you have started your 2017 with joy, love and happiness and that this year you have set many mindful intentions to perhaps be less busy, be more present and to enjoy each and every day.

I have had the boys the past 6 weeks over the summer school holidays and normally I am a little apprehensive as to how I will keep them entertained but this holidays seemed, well a little easier. As they get older there is more interaction, sustained play and for a longer period of time. There have been tantrums don’t get me wrong, they have been loud and long but perhaps parenting is getting that teeny tiny bit easier…well until next week when things will no doubt change again.

This month sees us review the brilliant French Marbotics range. This is a range that I took notice of last year as I was intrigued by the idea of mixing wooden toys and technology. The Smart numbers and Smart letters range are distributed exclusively in Australia by Keld Industries who kindly sent me the range to test out and review.

After realising this review will become much too long for you my lovely readers, I have decided to split out the review and for January review Smart Numbers and for February, Smart Letters. Each product deserves its own review as there are 18 different applications across the 3 free apps provided. This product is one where you definitely get your money’s worth!

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Candylab Toys Town

The boys were extremely lucky at Christmas to be gifted some incredible Candylab toy cars from Keld Industries, the Australian distributor of these awesome US designed cars.

We are long time fans of Candylab Toys having helped to crowd fund their second campaign by buying up the second edition of cars that they designed in 2015. We have added to our collection over their 3 Kickstarter campaigns and we are hoping for a 4th campaign this year, c’mon Vlad and team!

As it is summer school holidays the boys and I thought we should give our cars a new home, so we started to create a garage town out of cardboard boxes and paint. And yes, they may have racing stripes on the garages as well as the car numbers on the side of the garages, just so we know which garage they live in!

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Toy of the month – November 2016

Wow I can’t believe it is my last toy review for the year *, where has 2016 gone?! It has been such a whirlwind year and I am sure you are all feeling the same way!

With Christmas coming one of our fave toys in the house are board games. We have about 20 of them already from memory to Monopoly to Shopping List to Hungry Hippos and our collection grows each year at Christmas.

This month I wanted to review a true board game classic, Twister! They celebrated 50 years this year in September and we were sent the game to test and out and review.

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Omy Design & Play

I am always on the search for amazing gifts, hey it’s my job right? I found French brand Omy Design & Play a few years ago when I discovered their large scale colouring posters and I mean LARGE scale and fell in love!

They were one of the first, if not THE first company, to produce them back in 2012 and I adored that they created pages of some of our favourite cities like London, New York, Paris and Sydney.  My sister gave one of the London box sets to my eldest son for Christmas in 2014 and we have had so much fun colouring it in since then.

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Cream Empire – a beautiful new direction

Oh I have to say the baby products these days are epic. Seven and a half years on from when I had my first newborn, there are so many beautiful products out there that make you clucky!!

A fave lady and past Pay it forward feature, Carolina from Cream Empire has released some truly stunning baby blankets and knitwear as she takes the next step in her business.

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Dino Raw – divine dinosaurs

I have to admit that prior to being a mum of 2 boys, I was not hugely interested in Dinosaurs. I could honestly name 3 dinosaurs and that was pushing it. Fast forward 7.5 years and well as you can imagine so much of my life has changed and now I know dinosaurs by the dozen! Diplodocus, Cryolophosaurus, Trodon, Utahraptor, Ankylosaurus and the list goes on…

We have Schleich dinosaurs which the kids use as bath toys and to play games with, we have dino books and even a dino game, Bingosaurus! But at times, it can be hard to find really nice Dinosaur themed gifts, a lot of the time the dinosaurs are true to life and quite scary for little kids.

Until we found Dino Raw… this Adelaide based company is injecting the divine into dinosaurs with stunning results.  Sarah has created pastel coloured dinosaurs, gelati coloured dinosaurs for dino loving babies, dinosaurs with smiles and dinosaur cushions too!

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Toy of the month – October 2016

Ohh you know how much I adore wooden toys and this month I have such a fabulous product to show you from the amazing Tinkertime which combines another love of mine, singing!

I will admit,  I am not good at singing, in fact I think I am probably tone deaf but I love to sing to the tunes on the radio and I may have had a karaoke session at my hen’s night…

So naturally the kids also like to sing with me when we are at home or even in the car! And what do you need when you sing but… a microphone!

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Puggle Post

Puggle Post launched last month and finally there is an online shop bringing you the best in stylish, eco friendly presents that have an Australian theme for loved ones and family who are overseas.

Instead of sending them delightfully tacky cuddly koalas that fall apart in 5 minutes, Carmel, an expat who know calls Australia home, has sourced high quality, gorgeous pieces that will delight and captivate children and show them a little of why we call Australia home.

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Little Wuppy – worry puppy

I am not sure about you but these days I read more and more about kids suffering from anxiety and from quite a young age of 5 or 6. My heart breaks hearing that kids so young can be so crippled by this mental health illness.

So I love to hear about ways to help kids with their anxiety and mental health issues and to make it a subject that is talked about rather than a taboo topic.

Little Wuppy® has been created with just this issue in mind, helping young children get through their battles with anxiety as well as loneliness or dealing with the many changes going on around them.

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Toy of the month – September 2016

This month we are reviewing a firm favourite in our household, the legendary, one and only, puzzle!!

We adore puzzles and have done since the boys were babes. We have wooden ones and cardboard ones, puzzles with alphabets, numbers,  animals and so much more! What we haven’t seen though are the seriously stunning Australian designed Millions of Monkey puzzles from brand new Australian shop Puggle Post.

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Meet the Maker – Decor Me

Hello lovely peeps, HUGE apologies as I have been a bit slack in my beloved “Meet the Maker” series of late with all my Bazaar preparations, but I am super excited for this month’s gorgeous maker Angela from Decor Me.

Decor Me is a divine handmade brand created by Angela from Sydney who has become known for her beautiful wooden doll stackers which are made of Tasmanian oak and using non toxic paint and natural sealants. They make the perfect toy for small hands!

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Colour delights – Halcyon Nights

Halycon Nights are a gorgeous Australian kids bedding and now clothing range that has captured my imagination through their brilliant use of colourful prints and artist collaborations.  Recently we were lucky to test out some of their bedding range and I have to say we love it!

With a background in fashion retail and product development, this Melbourne based wife and husband team, Kym and Reuben have collaborated with some amazing Australian artists to bring the fun back into bedding! From dinosaurs, rainbow mountains, space ghosts, colorful kaleidoscope playgrounds to Australian outback animals. Every design is filled with creativity and allows kids to imagine just as they drift off to sleep.

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Lil Baddits – ethically gourmet!

Lil Baddits is a gorgeous new babywear range that is launching this month in Australia and seriously this baby wear is just divine!! I will be honest it may make me secretly want a third baby!

Lil Baddits babywear is designed in Australia with hand drawn watercolour prints and made ethically in India using G.O.T.S certified organic cotton and non toxic dyes. It is made of THE softest organic cotton you have touched, seriously AS soft as the baby’s bottoms they are going in!

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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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Uncle Goose – classic wooden blocks

I was first introduced to Uncle Goose wooden blocks, all designed AND made in the USA, by the lovely Faye from Abacus Kids a few years back. As an American brand of blocks it wasn’t one I was familiar with nor grew up with unlike I am sure many American readers. But this brand of block is a powerhouse and one you need to know about.

Producing blocks for more than 30 years, this family run business has kept their design and manufacturer of wooden toys in the USA since they began in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1983.

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Midcentury Americana – Candylab Toys are back with a bang!

Oh yes Candylab Toys are back with another ahhmazing Kickstarter campaign this year! These guys seriously blow me away! Their company has been completely crowd funded through Kickstarter over the last 3 years and the wooden cars that they have produced are pretty darn phenomenal. Yep that is a big word, but it is rightly deserved, because these guys are kicking it and their wooden toys rock!

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Toy of the month – July 2016

Rainbows for me are one of the most beautiful things you can see in nature, all the colours sparkling bright across the sky. You want to chase it to find where it ends!

They are wonderfully inspiring and bring such positive vibes that I just had to own one for my own home. We all need a rainbow to live in our house, don’t we?

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Toy of the month – June 2016

Oh my gosh,  how have we already reached the middle of the year?!!! I can’t quite fathom how quickly this year has already gone, is anyone else feeling it? Time certainly flies and this year is certainly turning out to be a momentous one.

Luckily though I can distract you from the world changing news stories of late to share with you an utterly brilliant kids product Little Abstract art kit which was sent to me to review.

Created by South African born, Atlanta based artist Jeremy Brown, this art kit provides you with one of the coolest pieces of kids art around. Part art, part writing, part memento, part expression, together all four parts combine to give you a stunning piece of art to hang on your kids bedroom wall.

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Best new board book

I am super excited to let you know about the newest Goose Grease product which they recently launched, the (Not so) Blank Henry! board book and DIY family kit.

Not happy to settle with just producing their gorgeous handcrafted wooden peg dolls which are produced under fair trade conditions in  Bogotá, Colombia, Anna and Juan Donado, the amazing couple behind the brand, have now turned their passion and energy to a new element of their company, book publishing!

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Toy of the month – May 2016

This month, the boys and I have been super excited to review and test out a fab new block on the street, SumBlox! These blocks are seriously clever, beautifully made of heirloom beechwood and are not only fun but they help teach numbers and mathematical concepts too. Winning for the parents!

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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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Reaching the highest of heights in wooden toys!

As a toy blogger I see a lot of kids toys as you can imagine, but the ones I am always drawn to are ones that will last generations, ones that our children can enjoy, but also their children. In this very consumerist society, it can be easy to give your children toys upon toys upon plastic toys. But the ones that they will remember won’t be the plastic ones that break or run out of battery, but those that provide them with hours of imagination and wonder. The ones that are sturdy, robust and built to last, which is why I tend towards wooden toys. Aesthetically from a parent’s perspective they are beautiful to look at which is important as you will be seeing it daily,  but from a consumerist perspective, they are also ones that you know will survive the rough and tumble of children. They won’t be thrown in the bin because they no longer work!

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Wooden Toys – made in the USA

I wrote a blog feature last month all about Australian Wooden toys and I am very exciting to start looking around the world at what other countries makers and creators are designing and producing for our children in terms of sustainable heirloom wooden toys.

This month, we travel to the grand ol USA! And gosh there is so much going on here, it was really hard to make a decision on the curated goodness coming out of the US. I think I will need to do another one very soon.

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Toy of the month – April 2016

Oh my I am so excited for this month’s toy review as it means so many things to me. As you may know from my Instagram account I am rather keen doll enthusiast. They make me go all swoony and weak at the knees (sorry hubby) !

I honestly love handmade dolls and I am not quite sure where my obsession started. As a child more than likely as my Mum, Nana, Grandma and Aunts were and are all makers, knitters, doll makers, quilters, weavers, sewers, artists and spinners, and being around such creativity from a young age, I think it is in my blood. I love to support such handmade beauty and the people who create them. 

And so it is that I was honoured to receive and review this months’ “Toy of the month” from one of my favourite Australian doll makers These Little Treasures. Dainy creates the most magical & divine dolls and this month I have the pleasure to review her doll making kit, Mini Friends – 2 Dolls Kit – Lola and Lenny

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Australian Wooden Toys

I have to say in looking for handmade and wooden toys over the past 2 years for my blog, it has honestly been quite a struggle. There are a lot of wooden toys but all made by the big companies; Plan Toys, Hape, Melissa and Doug, Janod and Kidkraft to name a few.  We love our Hape & Plan Toys but not all the companies produce solid wood toys, many are made of MDF, which isn’t sturdy and if it is painted, then it chips easily.

However, just in the past year, there has been an absolute resurgence in handmade and wooden toys.  And I can proudly say there are so many handmade and heirloom made toys being made right here in Australia, many in lovely mamas and papas homes! Woohoo!

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Toy of the month – March 2016

Oh my how are we already March with April looming! Life with kids especially school kids, makes your weeks zoom at a hundred kilometres an hour, don’t you think?!

For my “Toy of the month” for March, I am reviewing a wonderful new brand Golly Family, created by the loveliest Gaby Suhl, an Argentinian who has been based in New Zealand for the past 8 years.

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Toy of the month – February 2016

This month’s toy review is about a reinvented and remastered take on an old classic, the block. Yes the wooden block has been given a completely new, updated and very much needed revamp. It has moved the block beyond just stacking and building and into a whole new world of engineered construction.

This “Toy of the month” is the utterly brilliant Bokah Blocks and these wooden blocks are so ingenious that we were blown away by them in our Kids Gifts and Toys household.

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Toy of the month – January 2016

Happy 2016 and happy new “toy of the month”! I know happy New Year gets tired after about the 10th day of January, but as it’s my first toy review for the year, I wanted to wish you much love and joy for the year ahead.

So this month’s toy review is rather an interesting one. It intrigued me when I was first told about it and I wanted to learn more and see how it would work. The concept is something a bit different, a bit special, a little unique and something all parents need at one point int their children’s lives….

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Christmas Gift Guides – Threenager

Some fabulous gift ideas for your threenager ahem, three year old! They seem to grow up so quickly these days and here are some fun gifts to educate and entertain.

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Toy of the Month – November 2015

Our little household is so very excited about this month’s toy review as it has meant a whole refurb of our Rock and Pebble Apple House –  yes our Mini Furniture has arrived! We even got out the confetti to celebrate!

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Christmas 2015 – Wooden toys under $100

Halloween is over and let’s roll on the festive season!

With it comes all the flurry of thinking about what presents aka kids toys to buy your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and grandchildren. So I thought I would help out over the next few weeks and give you some ideas  with my gift guides, as we build up to Christmas 2015 ( 7 weeks + and counting, just thought I would add that in for some shock value!).

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Toy of the month – October 2015

In today’s techy world where all kids want to do is watch TV,  the iPad, play Minecraft ( on said iPad) or play on their parent’s phone, it can be hard to get kids out of the house and back in nature. As a child I remember climbing trees, making tea for my dolls in our tree house, riding bikes with our local neighbourhood gang and exploring the local streams, mangroves, beaches and parks. We were constantly outdoors; back in the day, as they say!

But times have changed and on top of that parents are too scared to let their kids run and play outside like we used to do. I remember I would go off for hours, bike riding and exploring and these were the days of no mobile phones, so my mum couldn’t call me. If she was worried, she would get in the car and drive the streets to find me but I think that only happened once. I don’t know why we have lost that carefree attitude to life but it has meant that parents feel safer having their kids indoors than outdoors.

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