Last 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.
Last 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.
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.
This 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!
Today 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.
Favourite 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.
“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.
When 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.
Playmobil is brand new to Entropy, and it would be an understatement to say that we are excited. Since 1974, Playmobil toys have been a favourite in children’s playrooms, with its many different play worlds – from Space to Wildlife adventures. The iconic friendly faces of the Playmobil figurines and their creative environments are best known for stimulating imagination and creativity – which is why it gets five gold stars from the elves here at Entropy.
So why do we love imaginative play? The process of imagination builds skills in many essential developmental areas. When children engage in creative or pretend play, they are actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. When another child joins, they both learn through cooperative play. They will learn to take turns, share responsibilities, communicate and come up with creative solutions together. Playmobil has been assisting children all over the world slip into many different imaginative roles with their huge range of products and unassuming characters.
Playmobil is not only known for sparking creative role play but also for having extremely high quality and safety standards. Made in Europe, Playmobil never compromises on quality. Fulfilling both national and international safety requirements, Playmobil often go above and beyond what is required. As a result, Playmobil always produces brilliant products. Time after time, they fail to disappoint, from unique characters to beautifully orchestrated petting zoo’s and castles, we are always blown away by the detail. To get an idea of the work behind each Playmobil creation watch the video below.
Go ahead and immerse yourself in the world of Playmobil, you will not be disappointed! Discover our entire Playmobil range here.