Author Archives: Entropy Toys

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

 

 

The Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles

PuzzleToday we are taking a moment to focus on a classic toy that no toy shop could be without – puzzles. A puzzle is a game, toy or problem that tests a person’s resourcefulness and knowledge. “When completing a puzzle, the puzzler is required to put pieces together, in a logical way, to arrive at a correct solution.” While “jigsaw” is probably the first word that comes to mind when thinking of puzzles it’s important to remember that there are also crossword puzzles, word-search puzzles, number puzzles and logic puzzles! Considering that there are so many different types of puzzles and only a limited number of hours in the day we will shift our focus to jigsaw puzzles!
Jigsaw puzzles have been loved by children and parents all around the globe for centuries. They are not only fun and entertaining for children and adults alike, but they are also loaded with educational benefits.

Firstly, puzzles are a great problem-solving tool. Completing even the simplest of puzzles requires the puzzler to think and develop strategies on how to achieve their goal – finishing the puzzle. The process requires reasoning skills and a cognitive comprehension of the task at hand. Both of these skills can be directly and indirectly transferred into their personal, social and adult life.
Puzzles are also a great way for children to develop and refine their fine motor skills. When putting a jigsaw puzzle together children pick up, pinch, grasp and manipulate pieces until they find their correct position. Young children will start with large puzzle pieces possibly made of wood or with pegs attached (peg puzzles). As the child advances and as puzzles get more complex the size of the puzzle pieces will get smaller.

Unsurprisingly, cooperative and family play is also improved by puzzles. Younger children are put to the test along with their parent’s patience. Whether this is a once a year activity taken away on holidays or an ongoing project, the benefits are reaped by the whole family.

Lastly, how do you choose a puzzle that is right for your child?
If you’re thinking “aren’t all puzzles boldly labelled with a recommended age of play”, you would be correct. However, like puzzle pieces, we are all different and a ‘one-size fits all’ approach isn’t always best. Some children will have an inherent knack at jigsaw puzzles and others won’t. Understanding your child’s abilities and picking a puzzle that will challenge yet not deter them is key. One child aged four may find a 54 piece puzzle hard and need assistance, while another child the same age may complete the challenge with ease. No matter how your child is progressing it is important that children are always being challenged. Once they have completed a puzzle a few times, with ease, it’s time to increase the challenge. So long as you are always encouraging your child to conquer the next challenge it doesn’t matter what the number on the box says.

Colour & Win – A Tiger Tribe Colouring Competition

TigerTribe Colouring Comp

Do you have someone in your household who is a little bit creative? If so, get them involved in our Tiger Tribe Colouring Competition! We have two MASSIVE craft kit bundles to give away to two lucky winners. Please follow the below steps to enter –

Step 1 – Follow Entropy Toys on Instagram or “like” their Facebook page.

Step 2 – Colour in the attached image and upload a photo of your masterpiece to Instagram or Entropy’s Facebook page.

Step 3 – Include #entropytoys and #tigertribecolourcomp in your image description.

>>>> Click to download the colouring template <<<<<

Please note that this competition is only open to Australian residents. Entrants can only enter once on Facebook and Instagram.

For the terms and conditions of this competition please click here.

Elf Sharon loves Schleich

Elf-Sharon-WordPressFavourite products have been a hot topic all week and with some elves still undecided on what they will pick we will move to an Elf whose favourite will never change – Elf Sharon. Elf Sharon is our wonderful “Elf of all trades”. However, she is popularly known for her top-notch craft classes and incredibly fast gift wrapping abilities. Having previously worked as a vet nurse and being a lifetime horse lover it comes to no surprise that the Schleich horse range is her favourite.

While Elf Sharon always remembers having a horse and cow in her backyard, she didn’t have a horse to call her own until she was 12. The beautiful brown gelding was named Danny Boy and has an uncanny similarity to the Schleich Hanoverian Stallion. Elf Sharon now owns six horses, that are as varied as our Schleich range but this isn’t their only winning aspect.

Danny Boy - Sharon Feature

“I love how realistic the horses are and the attention to detail that Schleich puts into each figurine,” said Sharon. “All Schleich products are hand painted so like real animals they are all different in their own special way. When picking out a new horse to join the family, I like to spend some time looking at all the different horses and picking one that resonates with me,” Sharon added.

While Elf Sharon didn’t have any Schleich animals when she was growing up her daughter has a lovely collection. Unsurprisingly, Sharon’s passion for horses has been passed down to her daughter who is an accomplished rider. Elf Sharon’s daughter grew up loving her Schleich animals and used them for many hours of imaginative play in her youth. However, now aged 12 years, the horses are no longer used for play and instead sit in pride of place in her bedroom.

Remi - Sharon Feature

 

Elf Ang thinks Fagus is Fab

WordPress-ImageWhen you work in a toy shop all-day, every-day and so close to so many great products it is very hard not to have a favourite. So we decided to ask the Elves and Chief Poobah what brands they have a particular weak spot for and why. Over the next six weeks, you will not only learn more about the magical staff members that make Entropy what it is, but hopefully, a lot more about some of our awesome products and brands.

Kicking things off for us is our magnificent front counter Elf – Elf Ang! For those who are located in Townsville and visit the shop regularly, you might know that Elf Ang is bonkers about Fagus. Whenever a new Fagus product arrives in stock noise and excitement level reach maximum capacity. This week was more extraordinary than most with THREE new products arriving at Elf HQ (the Container Tipper Truck, the Speedy Race Car and the Hay Wagon).

When first asking Elf Ang what she most likes about Fagus “old-school”, “classic” and “proper toys” was her immediate response accompanied by elaborate hand movements. After explaining that online customers, who can’t come in and feel the products, might need a bit more info she said. “Fagus products are how all toys should be – simple, unadulterated, tactile and with a special story behind them”. For those who don’t know all Fagus vehicles are handcrafted without the use of nails, screws or staples and are instead interlocked, dowelled and glued together. Better yet, they are made by people with special needs who work under the instruction and guidance of specially trained artisans.

The only thing that Elf Ang doesn’t like about Fagus is that she didn’t find them earlier. As a mother of two boys, she wishes that she had known about them when entering motherhood. “Each piece is timeless and has its special feature that sets it apart”, said Elf Ang. Her nine-year-old son was gifted a Fagus Dumper Truck last year and religiously uses it to transport his extensive collection of Papo Dinosaur Figurines around the house and to display them. Ang assures us that this Dumper Truck will become an heirloom piece in her family that will be passed down through generations.