Folkmanis Puppets are Elf Meg’s Favourite

Elf-Meg-WordPressLast but certainly not least on our mission to uncover the elves favourite products and brands we have the magical Elf Meg. Elf Meg is our wonderful weekend retail assistant who you will find in store every single Saturday. She does a brilliant job at looking after our weekend shoppers while the other elves put their party pants on! Excitingly Elf Meg just became a Grandmother to twin siblings, so were very excited to uncover what her favourite brand is.

Having problems picking just one brand Elf Meg finally settled on Fagus and Folkmanis. As Elf Ang has already picked Fagus as her favourite brand, we will focus on Folkmanis.

Folkmanis is a brand that has been at Entropy since day dot. Widely regarded as the most innovative puppet-maker in the world, Folkmanis consistently designs beautifully crafted toys. The puppets inspire creativity, promote hands-on discovery, encourage interaction, teach fine and gross motor skills, and help develop early language. The company’s line includes a virtual menagerie of plush pets and friendly wildlife friends with new designs constantly on the drawing board.

So with so many domestic, wild and fantasy creatures to choose from which puppet does Elf Meg rank number one? “It’s a hard decision to make; however, I do love the Chameleon and the Great Horned Owl. I particularly like the way that these puppets animate and the number of moving aspects that they both have. I’ve not yet decided which one I am going to buy from my new grandchildren,” said Elf Meg.

“Puppets will always have a special place in my heart as my son always wanted to be a puppet maker when he was little. It was a dream that he aspired towards for a very long time and something I encouraged. Unfortunately, he found a new dream and passion, but it is something that I always think about when I play with a puppet,” said Elf Meg.

We hope that you enjoyed reading about the Entropy elves and Chief Poobah’s favourite brands and products. Stay tuned for more news from Elf HQ.

The Cherry Tree Hall loved by Elf Gaby

Gaby-WordPressMoving on from Elf Bec and Hape Rail this week we are focusing our lovely Elf Gaby. Elf Gaby is our beautiful and bubbly eStore Manager. Gaby has the mammoth task of making sure that our eStore customers are happy and that all parcels arrive ASAP (easier said than done)! So what is Elf Gaby’s favourite item? Well for those who know her it will be no surprise that it is the Le Toy Van Cherry Tree Hall.

Elf Gaby is the proud godmother of three beautiful children who she likes to spoil rotten. Being very generous in nature, Elf Gaby seems to enjoy giving more than receiving. From observation she appears to have bought almost every item we stock – I over exaggerate, however, only slightly. One of her favourite toy that she has ever gifted is the Le Toy Van Cherry Tree Hall to her goddaughter.

“The WOW factor of this doll house put it at the top of my ‘must buy’ list. The size of the house along with the fine detailing that all Le Toy Van houses have is what makes this such a fantastic item. The educational benefits of doll houses also impacted my decision to pick this product for my goddaughter, and I am very happy to say it’s her prized possession,” said Elf Gaby.

Doll houses do a brilliant job at engaging children’s imaginations and encouraging them to investigate the world around them. In the safety of their imagination, children explore dialogue and language that helps them develop emotional, social and intellectual skills. Not to mention all the benefits of collaborative play.

“A benefit that is not reaped from the child but friends and family is the add-ons that go with the Le Toy Van dollhouses. Buying for children can be tough; doll houses with furniture sets make an awesome collaborative gift that can be a whole family affair. I did this when gifting the Cherry Tree Hall, I bought the house, and my mum bought a few furniture sets”, said Elf Gaby. Accessories also increase the play value of doll houses. By adding a new doll or furniture children start to interact with the doll house in new ways, extending the interest and life of the toy.

Stay tuned for more news from Elf HQ!

2017 Melbourne: Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair – Day Four

Today marks the last day of the 2017 Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair and if there is anything but coffee pumping through my veins I will be surprised. The last day of Toy Fair is traditionally always shorter; finishing up at 3pm. Originally I thought this sounded like a nice treat for our weary bodies; however, I was wrong. Most of the day was spent running around like a chicken with no head on double-checking that we had seen absolutely everything.

We started the day off with a little bit of magic at the Heebie Jeebies stand where we were shown how the Contact Juggling Ball works. This item will arrive in store shortly.

Not long after that, we became the magicians putting Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty to the test. The range has loads of different types of putty that are all unique. Elf Bec and I especially loved the UV phantom putty that glows and changes colour under a black light – exciting!


Here are a few more snaps from today. The first is me trying out the Slackers Ninja Line – it’s an awesome product, that I hope it makes its way to Entropy. On the right-hand side, we have Elf Bec and Teresa holding their favourite Kaloo items, an Oogi Pilla and a lovely display of Playforever items.
17176203_10155924529774447_383235693_oWhile the Toy Fair has come to a close, we will continue to share more videos and images from the event on our social media channels. Lastly, thanks for following our adventure we hope you enjoyed hearing about our 2017 Toy Fair experience.

2017 Melbourne: Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair – Day Three

Just when I thought that we had almost conquered the toy fair challenge I realised that we weren’t even close. Today was day three of the Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair and it was another whirlwind day. After a breakfast that more resembled a dessert, and with artificial energy pumping through our veins (coffee) we hit the stalls with a keen eye for something new.

Elf Bec and I made our journey through the maze of stalls while Chief Poobah headed off on her own mission. Luckily, I managed to capture a few of the best moments of today on video and have them here for you.

Modern Brands once again had an amazing Sylvanian Families display. I know that many of you have a deep seeded love for this brand. Therefore, I knew that photos wouldn’t be enough – I hope you enjoy this video.

Excitingly I got try out the Wobbel Board. This is one seriously cool product that astoundingly manages to handle my body weight with ease. While I only tried two different ways of playing with the Wobbel Board, you can imagine that the opportunities are endless. We cannot wait to have this product instore, and from the responses received on Facebook and Instagram neither can you!

Tomorrow is the last day of the fair and our last opportunity to sniff out some great products. Remember, if you want to see something in particular on our shelves let us know. You can contact me via Facebook, Instagram or email (johanna@entropy.com.au). I don’t bite, well not normally, and would love to hear from you!

2017 Melbourne: Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair – Day Two

Day two of the Toy, Hobby Licensing Fair is done and dusted. Elf Bec and I are feeling rather tired while Chief Poobah continues at a phenomenal pace. After a delicious and breakfast, we hit the ground running with meeting-after-meeting with different suppliers. As a picture is worth a thousand words and my tired brain is not willing to work I will let my astounding photography skills do the talking.

Day 2 - Toy Fair 2017First and foremost we have an elfie selfie. On the bottom left-hand side is Mike Reeves and Elf Bec. Mike is the Creative Director of Indigo Jamm – we have an exclusive interview coming later in the year. Next is Chief Poobah with a Gotz doll and last but not least we have Bec with two natural rubber squeakers by Tikiri.

We also took a few videos – because who could resist.

Here is Elf Bec testing out a new Magformer item called The Walking Robot Car Set. It features a power block, walking block and a watch style controller.

Here we see Bec and I playing a game called By The Book. The set includes 40 challenge cards, 12 different shaped books, 2 shelves, 1 cat and 1 level. The game is played by flipping a challenge card, selecting the books required and making the two shelves balance.

That’s all I have to report on today, stay tuned for more tomorrow!

2017 Melbourne: Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair – Day One

Elf Bec and I (Elf Johanna) have been sent to Melbourne to attend the Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair. Chief Poobah will be joining us tomorrow to help sniff out the newest and greatest wooden and educational toys on the market. The Toy, Hobby and Licensing Fair is Australia’s biggest and most important toy trade event occurring annually.

Each year we make an appearance at this event to ensure that we are up-to-date with the latest and greatest, talk one-on-one with our wonderful suppliers and rub shoulders with other like-minded retailers. Today marks the start of our four-day adventure, and we couldn’t be more excited. Admittedly, I am slightly more excited than Elf Bec as this is her 10th Toy Fair and this is my first.

If you’re a visual person, like me, you’re probably wondering what a toy fair looks like. Well wonder no more, located in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre imagine stall after stall of pure magic. Except for the carpeted walkways, there are toys absolutely everywhere – of every colour and every description. For a first time visitor, it is all a bit overwhelming and the day has been a whirlwind of colour, laughs and lovely people.

While there were many great moments squeezed into the eight short hours of today I won’t bore you and will stick strictly to the highlights.

First cab off the ranks was Jeremy from La Belle toys. Jeremy is an extremely nice man who kindly let me hammer him with a million questions first thing Sunday morning (poor soul).
La Belle - JeremyHeebie Jeebies was AMAZING luckily we had almost the entire stall to ourselves. We tried out heaps of new goodies and were even luckily enough to get a demonstration of the Liquifly Fizz Rocket. Click here to see it launch off.

We played a quick game of Slapzi with Sam from Divisible by Zero and looked at new Moluk toys.

We took an Ezyroller for a spin with Luc from Eureka Concepts – it turns out Elf Bec is WAY more coordinated than me :P
EzyrollerLastly, we met with Alice, Tom, Carmenand Jeff from Merrigold and had many laughs. Alice and Tom have sold the business to Jeff and Carmen after 18 years of operations, and the friendship that they have developed is wonderful to witness.
MerrigoldWhile we are feeling tired, we look forward to another exciting day tomorrow. If you want more details on our Melbourne adventures follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

All board as Elf Bec talks Trains

Elf-Bec-WordPressLast week we interviewed the newest member of the elf family and this week we move to the oldest – Elf Bec! Elf Bec has been at Entropy since its inception almost ten years ago, since then she has worked in a variety of roles and is now Entropy’s buying elf. She is responsible for making sure that products don’t go out of stock and identifying new and exciting items to add to our range. As Elf Bec holds this power, it is no surprise that her favourite range is one that she picked and introduced to Entropy herself – Hape Wooden Railway and Train Sets.

“When I first saw Hape Rail I knew straight away that our toy lovers would adore this range. Firstly, the price point is fantastic. Secondly, Hape Rail is extremely innovative. The ingenious way they incorporate moving parts, musical instruments and more into each item is brilliant. Lastly, this is one of the first train sets that I’ve seen that features bright and bold colours that attracts both boys and girls. Also, the inclusion of sweet little animals does a great job at getting children who aren’t normally interested in trains playing.

Hape Rail Image

Before starting at Entropy, Elf Bec was a nanny for a family that had two young boys. The boys loved trains, and through watching them play, she realised that they were picking up heaps of new skills. “Problem-solving, imagination and creativity and fine motor skills and dexterity are just a few of the skills that children gain and refine through train play,” said Elf Bec. Bec is now a mother of a very handsome two-year-old boy who unsurprisingly LOVES trains.

“I have train tracks coming out of my ears at home. During my many years working at Entropy, I have collected a range of Brio wooden train tracks. The fact that my new Hape sets interconnect with my Brio tracks along with Thomas Wooden Railway, Chuggington Wooden Railway, Melissa & Doug Wooden Railway and BigJigs Wooden Railway is fantastic” said Elf Bec.

If you have a train addict at home or someone who might like Hape Rail makes sure you check out our range.

Tic-Tock Let’s talk about the Analogue Clock

Analogue ClocksEverything seems to be moving to a digital platform. The most innocent and unassuming items have electronic counterparts that, well quite frankly kick butt. Heck, just look at what the good old toothbrush has to compete with these days. While digital items seem to reign supreme are they always better, or more to the point what good is an analogue clock in today’s society?

Analogue watches have been replaced with digital watches, and digital watches are currently being replaced with ‘smart’ watches. With the decreasing instances where one will be required to read an analogue clock is it essential that children learn to read analogue time? The answer is yes – very important. While it may longer be necessary to read an analogue clock; it is definitely important for cognitive development and understanding the complex topic of time.

While time is expressed in numbers, the passage of time cannot be learnt the same way that one learns their 1, 2, 3’s. Time telling involves a lot of skills that are put into practice once the child starts learning about hours, minutes and seconds.Most children don’t have trouble reading the hour as it is an ordinal number from one to twelve. However, when the concept of minutes is involved, children automatically have to switch to counting in multiples of five to get to the right time. Therefore, learning to tell time, exercises a child’s ability to skip count by fives; which requires a good understanding of basic math. As analogue clock faces have distinguished numbers around the face with markings in-between this is a great visual aid – these features are not transparent in digital clocks. However, Even with the visual aid of an analogue clock face time telling can still be difficult to pick up.

Most children don’t have trouble reading the hour as it is an ordinal number from one to twelve. However, when the concept of minutes is involved, children automatically have to switch to counting in multiples of five to get to the right time. Therefore, learning to tell time, exercises a child’s ability to skip count by fives; which requires a good understanding of basic math. As analogue clock faces have distinguished numbers around their faces with markings in-between this is a great visual aid. These features are not transparent in digital clocks. However, Even with the visual aid of an analogue clock face time telling can still be difficult to pick up.

Luckily, there are many tools on the market that can help. Cactus Watches is an Australian range of children’s and teens watches that are a great value, durable, and have easy-to-read dials. The contemporary designs of these watches make it even easier for little ones to learn how to read the time. Stand out products are the Time Teachers that have the hour and minute hands labelled and the Time Tellers that have an outer ring marked with five past, ten past, quarter past and so on (for those who are having trouble picking up the time telling lingo).

TimeTeachers

Alongside these fantastic children’s watches, there are other time telling tools and toys aplenty. If you would like to discover our huge range of watches and time teaching toys head over to our website.

Get Creative with Elf Johanna

Elf Johanna loves DjecoThis week we move the spotlight onto the newest member of the Entropy family – ME! Yes, it is Elf Johanna here… and I must admit it’s very strange to be writing in the first person. For those who I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting (digitally or face-to-face), I am the new(ish) Multi Media Writer and Content Creator.  I have the magical job of looking after our social media platforms, writing and designing the weekly emails, adding new products online and so, SO much more. Each day I am given many tasks, however, being asked to pick my favourite range has got to be the hardest task yet. It was with much consideration and toing and froing I finally settled on… *drum roll* DJECO!!!

Now while I am self-admittedly a very creative elf, my attention tends to waver at even the thought of glitter, sparkles or, embarrassingly, just a pretty array of colours. Therefore, when I first came into contact with the Djeco’s glitter boards and pictures, I knew I had found my victor. In my youth colouring and craft were my favourite pastimes, while my twin sister would lose interest, I was content sitting for hours with my Mum creating. If my craft activities were only half as wonderful as Djeco’s maybe some of my creations would have lasted the test of time. On second thought, probably not I don’t think my skills match my enthusiasm.

Maybe it’s because I am now an art teacher, but when I see a Djeco craft kit, I don’t imagine the final product. Instead, I see children and parents pulled together, crowded over a newspaper covered dinner table intensely discussing colours. I see young children barely able to enjoy their parties because all they can think about is that super cool craft activity they just got gifted. Or, I see the first Lilly pad leap into a lifetime love of art.

The feature I most love about Djeco’s craft kits is their variety. From painting silk scarfs to classic ink pad stamps, they have it all. How anyone leaves Entropy without a Djeco product is beyond me. Furthermore, how I have managed to resist the temptation to not buy the entire range baffles me further. If you haven’t perused the range for yourself, I highly recommend it – WARNING this could be potentially lethal for the weekly budget. I hope that you are in agreeance that Djeco is the most superior range that we stock; if not jump on social media and tell me why not! :P

Grimm’s is Chief Poobah’s Gold

Deb-WP

This week we shift our attention to Chief Poobah and her favourite range – Grimm’s! Chief Poobah, or Dr Deborah Latouf as she is known by non-elf individuals, is the Founder, Owner and Director of Entropy. Establishing the business almost 10 years ago Deb is the entropy in Entropy. Between raising two beautiful boys is very hands on in every aspect of the business. So with over 200 brands what sets Grimm’s above the rest?

“For a long time, I ummed and ahhed about adding the Grimm’s range to Entropy’s shelves as the price point seemed too high. I started with one or two products, but the value of Grimm’s toys soon became apparent, and not a single customer has been disappointed yet,” said Deb. Our Grimm’s range now grows with each shipment, with two new products arriving just this week.

“Visually all Grimm’s products are amazing. The classic chronological colours, the water-based paint ingrained in the wooden fibres and the tactile feel are my favourite aspects” said Deb. When looking at the product on the shelf or as a stock image, it is hard to comprehend the play potential of these seemingly simple toys. The abstract nature of the toys is almost like an expressionless doll, where it can take on whatever the builder desires – the gnomes house is a great example of this. The Large Rainbow Elements Stacker is my favourite as the opened-ended play opportunities that this toy presents is unlimited” said Deb.

The Grimm’s Instagram page is a treasure trove of creative constructions from children all over the world. A week rarely goes by where we aren’t amazed or astounded by a new construction created with a toy we thought we knew inside-out and back-to-front. Below are just a few examples of how Chief Poobah’s favourite rainbow can be manipulated for open-ended play.
Grimm's Blog Image