Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Wooden Story

The only thing Elves love more than Christmas is a good story. Especially when the story involves toys. Even more so if the story results in us welcoming some wonderful new goodies to our extensive Entropy range. We caught up with Paula from Axis Toys, supplier of Wooden Story, to find out how she came across this beauty of a brand.

Paula was walking around the massive Nuremberg Toy Fair early this year, until something truly special caught her eye. She instantly knew she had to make Wooden Story available in Australia. Little did we know we would be lucky enough to get our hands on it!

wooden-story-logoWhat caught your eye about this line?

The range just screamed organic and classic, not only in terms of the actual product, but the vintage style packaging. It showed that it was created with love and passion. In buying one of these products I feel that will be conveyed to the lucky recipient.

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What do you think sets these wooden wonders apart?

The way they appeal to the senses: each piece is finished off so finely that they are so smooth to the touch that they feel soft. And to smell each product is relaxing, as it is finished off with beeswax and botanical oils.

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Any personal favourites?

I love the Peace & Love blocks. I think it’s one of those wonderful presents that can be given to a child or an adult for any occasion. Whether it’s the small bags or the boxed sets it provides a personal message.

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Check out these wooden treasures HERE.

ASTRA 2014 Best Toys for Kids Awards

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) revealed the winners of the 2014 Best Toys for Kids awards. Every year, ASTRA retail members draw upon their expertise, experience and commitment to fulfilling play to pick the most engaging, unique, open-ended, fun and safe toys for children. The Elves are pleased to say some of our beauties were recognised in a range of categories!

Active PlayTeeter Popper, $59.95

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Early PlayRoller Derby, $59.95

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Early PlaySquigz, $49.95

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Choose Your Own CategorySands Alive!, $19.95

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Classic Play 0-7 Years Mini Micro Classic Scooter, $139

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Fussy Eating: Can toys help?

A toddler who refuses to try a new food half the time is a fussy eater. Fussy eating is a normal but difficult phase in a child’s development. However, there are certainly many ways of coping with meal-time stress. According to nutritionist Hannah Gentile from EatWell Australia, toys can be invaluable learning tools when it comes to familiarising children to certain foods and textures, and can aid children in being more accepting of these at the dinner table.

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Role playing

Children do the majority of their learning through play-time. From the age of one, kids love modelling grown up life. It is a great opportunity to role play going to the supermarket and bringing home a meal to cook. You can then move this to real life by taking them to the store to purchase one meal that you can all go home and cook together. Research shows that a child’s involvement in preparing a meal will increase their likelihood to eat it.

fruit_cutting_setWooden Play Food Fruit Cutting Set, $24.95

prod_5086Wooden Play Food Pizza with Knife, $24.95

Tactile play

Tactile play is a great way of desensitising a child to certain textures. Playing with dough or clay can help a child to develop normal tactile processing. It is a ‘safe’ and non-confrontational way for them to explore different textures that are related to those found in foods, without actually having to put it in their mouth.

prod_14151Early Start First-Dough, $9.95

m035357Dough Modelling Pack, $14.95

Textured play

Sand and water are also great for textured play. It also changes consistency as your child plays – add more water makes it sloppier, add more sand makes it denser. Having some sort of outdoor play table or craft table is great for allowing a child to stand up and play with sand and water at their waist height.

sands_alive_box_of_sand4Sands Alive Box of Sand, $19.95

water_marblesWater Marbles, $4.95

Keeping them at the table

For kids who have issues sitting and concentrating on eating for a period of time it is helpful to engage them in a heavy workload activity prior to eating. This could be riding, playing with a ball, skipping, setting up an obstacle course, etc. It helps stimulate their brain in an active way prior to then having to sit and focus on the quiet activity of eating. This doesn’t necessarily have to be high energy activities. Things that use a lot of hand movement such as squishing dough, getting messy with paint or using sidewalk chalk can also help with an overactive mind prior to eating.

prod_9436Haba Vegetables in Shopping Net, $39.95

prod_9431Haba Fruit in Shopping Net, $39.95

For more information, head over to www.eatwellaustralia.com.

World Space Week: A science celebration

World Space Week runs from the 4-10 October and it’s a celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of human life. This made the Elves really ponder on the formation of planetary nebulae; but most importantly it made us wonder – how can parents help children get more interested and involved with science? Science fanatic Jim McDonald from Heebie Jeebies shed some light on his own experiences and helped answer a few questions!

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What do you love about science, Jim?

The trouble with the mention of the word “science” is that we probably think of the enormity of it all, because everything around us and what we do is science. This could leave us feeling as if it’s all too much, and we’ll never know it all. It’s true that we will never know everything, but when we appreciate that the things we personally enjoy in life are all science related, it can make parts of the topic real to us.

The things I especially enjoy are being outdoors with the wind, the sky, the temperature, the light, the smells and the sounds, the huge and the tiny detail of it all. Just spending a little extended time in the garden or at the beach can bring new discoveries no matter how clever we think we are or how old we (really!) are.

dinosaur_grasping_2__webMy First Dinosaur, $24.95

At what age did it become an interest of yours and how?

The first interest for me was being outdoors and finding insects in the garden, probably from the age of four or so. We wouldn’t have thought of this as science, but strictly speaking the outdoor life such as riding scooters and billie carts up and down hills, climbing trees, mixing up mud in a bucket, watching water flowing downhill, looking at the day and night sky, are of course all science related.

d09_bLand & Sky Telescope, $49.95

What do you think children can gain from getting into science from a young age? And how can parents get their children interested?

Success starts with observation and doing, trying out new things for better or for worse, being unafraid of showing how little you might know. Parents can help by sharing the experience of re-discovery and new discoveries with their children – by exhibiting delight and enjoyment with them when discoveries are made. We must let them know that it’s OK and desirable for them (and us!) to exhibit wonderment and lack of knowledge thus far. Let’s as parents help to break down the mammoth topic of science into much smaller parts that are relevant to us personally, tackling them individually when the opportunity arises. Living things, health, the connection of all living things, cooking, our behaviour, food, growing things, the earth, weather, time and space.

prod_17457Liquifly Water-Powered Rocket Kit, $49.95

It would be great if we could communicate to them that, as they grow and become adults, they could really help themselves and others if they have an interest in any of the many parts of science.