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Christmas Cooking With Kids

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 8:58:17 AM Australia/Sydney

Christmas Cooking With Kids

 

Christmas really is my favourite time of the year. I have my secret stash of Christmas CDs that sit at the back of my wardrobe hidden from site, only to be brought out and played non-stop from the beginning of November through to Christmas Day. There is something so special about this time of the year, and one of the things I love most about it, is the delicious food that is enjoyed all season long.

 

I’m a big baker. I love the sweet stuff and I love to get creative in the kitchen. Even more fun is being able to get my nieces and nephews in on the fun (and my daughter Cassie when she is old enough). We have some special Christmas traditions when it comes to food, and like most families, they are passed down through the generations.

 

My mum doesn’t do desserts. She doesn’t bake them and she doesn’t eat them – she is what you would call a dessert Grinch. Yet, without fail, every year she has made rocky road at Christmas time for as long as I remember, and to this day, it is the best rocky road I have ever tasted. When I was old enough, I used to love helping out – chopping up the marshmallows and the glaze cherries (while sneaking a few into my mouth as we went) and melting the chocolate as we oozed it over the top. It was a bowlful of deliciousness.

 

Now I have a daughter of my own, I want to take this tradition further. Last year, I made rice bubble snowmen while she peacefully slept. Melted marshmallows and rice bubbles made for a messy affair, but one kids would have so much fun creating. They were cute and turned out so well that I know I can get Cassie’s help with it soon enough.

 

This year, I am all about the chocolate bark. I love the idea of creating a melted snowman (cute and funny!) Plus, it’s so simple and easy to get creative with this one, so I will be getting my nephews’ help on it too. Who knows what they will come up with? If Cassie is lucky, I might bring her in to lick the bowl at the end.

 

The love, the laughter, the memories. Christmas is about so much more than the day itself and this is a message I hope to teach Cassie from a young age. Delicious food is created to be shared, and Christmas is all about celebrating with our loved ones and coming together over food and fun. It’s something everyone can enjoy, young or old, and be a special part of.

 

By Felicity Frankish of babyvine.com.au

The Top 101 LEGO Creations of All Time

Thursday, 21 April 2016 5:53:45 PM Australia/Sydney

lego1

LEGO is no longer a toy just for kids. It’s been around for many years, and hasn’t changed much since their creation. In fact, a brick bought today will still connect with one of the first LEGO bricks ever made!

As the years have passed and more people have enjoyed dabbling with LEGO builds, many have discovered that they can be true LEGO architects. They’ve even created the most amazing, largest, stunning and immaculate creations of art simply by using LEGO bricks.

With so many creations made over the years, we decided to finally list the top 101 greatest LEGO builds of all time.

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Easy Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Live Healthy Lifestyles

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 1:50:51 AM Australia/Sydney

No matter what age you are, being fit, looking after yourself and leading a healthy lifestyle is always of importance. As an adult, you will already be aware of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Extended lifespan, less health problems, and generally having a better, more well rounded life are just a few of the benefits from living health consciously. Not only is our physical state an integral part of being healthy, but so is our mental wellbeing.

When we have children, we want the best for them, but asking them to eat fruit and vegetables instead of pizza every night can be a nightmare.

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How to Create the Best Pirate Themed Kids Party

Wednesday, 23 March 2016 1:50:49 AM Australia/Sydney

Young children certainly enjoy a themed birthday party. Whether you’re little boy wants to be like Captain Hook or your daughter wants to yell “walk the plank!”, a pirate-themed birthday party is a great option for all ages. There are so many ways you can make your home or party location feel like the midst of a pirate invasion, and a lot of them are very simple to pull off. So why not make your next kids party pirate themed?

Pirate themed invitations

Before you start madly decorating, start off the theme by sending pirate themed party invitations.

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Donate Your Old Toys And Declutter Your Home

Friday, 18 March 2016 3:07:21 AM Australia/Sydney

Children will often go through a number of toys during their childhood and, depending on the types of toys they’re interested in, they can take up quite a bit of space and clutter. Some toys will be able to be enjoyed at various ages, while others are quickly ignored and forgotten about, never to be used again.

Instead of throwing these perfectly good toys away, you can make good use of them once again by donating them to children in need.

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The Benefits of Colouring-In for Both Adults and Kids

Monday, 29 February 2016 8:15:09 PM Australia/Sydney

When was the last time you coloured something in? In case you’ve forgotten what it’s like, it’s a lot of fun. You bring a black and white outline to life with brightness, you leave behind soft curls of pencil shavings, and there’s that soothing scurry of the pencil sliding across paper. There’s lots to love about colouring in, so perhaps it’s no surprise that colouring in books are topping the bestseller charts in Australia, for both kids and adults!

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How to Get Your Child Interested in Books and Reading

Monday, 22 February 2016 8:15:11 PM Australia/Sydney

You may have fond memories of storytime at your local library, or being allowed to choose a story from the local bookstore to take home. Are children today as enthusiastic about books as your generation was? After all, books nowadays have to compete with the bright colours and flashing lights of tablets, computer games, and TV shows. But with the right strategy, you can foster a love of reading and learning in your children that will hopefully last a lifetime.

The following techniques come from talking to teachers and parents of kids who are avid readers.

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Star Wars Birthday Party Ideas

Monday, 15 February 2016 8:03:43 PM Australia/Sydney

Little Luke Skywalkers and mini Reys will have the best time ever at a Star Wars party! Child fans of Star Wars may be converts due to the recent Force Awakens film, or perhaps you’ve been feeding your kids on a steady diet of the classic films since birth. One thing is for sure, a child’s Star Wars birthday party is a good time for the whole family!

There are so many ways to add all the magic of the galaxy to your Star Wars themed party. 

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Choosing toys that can be used across all age groups

Monday, 4 January 2016 11:54:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Children can shoot up like new plants in spring. It seems you can look away for a minute and that’s all it takes for them to become even taller and more discerning in the process! But, as they grow and develop at such an astonishing rate, it can make gift giving difficult – how to choose something that will grow with them and retain its attraction longer than a couple of months? Of course, choosing the right toy involves taking the child's interests into account, but the best toys are the ones that keep kids interested over time.

You might be looking for a toy that will stick with your child, and pique interest for years to come, as opposed to being played with once or twice and then thrown away. 

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Best budget destinations in Australia when travelling with kids

Monday, 28 December 2015 11:43:46 PM Australia/Sydney

There are countless travel destinations suitable for families and kids in Australia, but finding a destination that doesn’t break the bank can sometimes prove difficult. We’ve put together a list of the most cost-effective options for travelling with kids in 2016.

Remember, even the most memorable summer holidays don't have to come with a credit card debt or an expensive bill attached.

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Summer holiday activities for kids in Brisbane

Monday, 21 December 2015 11:51:00 PM Australia/Sydney

School holidays are an opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids, be it at the beach, on a holiday or exploring the city. There are loads of activity ideas for kids available in Brisbane this year, check out our comprehensive list for some fun ideas.

Queensland Museum
Cost: Free


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A cubby house could be the perfect Christmas gift

Thursday, 17 December 2015 2:30:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Cubby houses provide your kids a safe, imaginative space that is just their own. Children of all ages love having a kids' headquarters, as it acts as an area where their imaginations are free to roam. In an otherwise very adult world, cubby houses are an exclusively kid-friendly space where everything can be built and created to size. If you’re lucky, kids might let you join in too (but only if you know the password!).

If you’re thinking a cubby house might be the perfect Christmas present for your little ones this year, consider the following tips to find the safest, most duable and child-friendly option.

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Preparing for Christmas – Best Toys for Kids Aged 5 to 10 Years

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 2:24:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Christmas shopping for children seems to get tricker every year. Perhaps it becomes more difficult as kids get older, or maybe it’s due to the exorbitant number of options on the market.

Either way, gone are the days when any old soft toy will do the trick. Finding the best gift for a school age child may seem daunting, but we’ve put together a handy gift guide to ensure your presents are a hit come Christmas morning. 

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Preparing for Christmas - Best Toys for Under 5’s

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 2:16:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Want to choose the best toy for Christmas this year, but not sure of the best one for your little one's age group? Toys for tots under school age can play a crucial role in their development, adding a little extra pressure in trying to buy something worthwhile.

To make things easier this Christmas, we’ve compiled some great toy ideas for kids of different ages. You can take these ideas literally, or use them for inspiration – either way, good luck on your Christmas gift hunt this year!

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10 Gifts for Your Next Baby Shower

Friday, 27 November 2015 7:56:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Let’s face it, buying a gift for a baby shower can be hard work. You never quite know what gear the mother-to-be has already, you don’t know anything about the personality of the person you’re buying for, and you want to buy something practical and not just cute. So what can you shop for?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a baby gift. These include:

Practicality: Will the parents be better off because of your gift? How will they benefit from it, or why does the baby need it?

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90s Toy Flashback: 12 Toys That Will Make You Feel Nostalgic

Monday, 23 November 2015 7:43:59 PM Australia/Sydney

In an age of iPads, Leapfrogs and other game consoles, it’s hard to imagine a life of ‘just toys’. A time when yoyo’s were the toy of choice, when Tamagotchi’s seemed uber advanced, and when Sea Monkey’s kept kids entertained for hours. These toys mean even more to us today than they did back then, as they hold a sense of nostalgia. While some made it to the bin or op shop, others stand proudly on the shelf as a reminder of a happy time.

Here we take a look at some of our favourite toys of the 90’s…

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Top Tips for Bath-Time with Kids

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 8:09:25 PM Australia/Sydney

Some children love it, others loathe it - but parents often see bath time as an integral part of helping their kids to wind down and relax before bed. As a result, the end-of-the-day bath is frequently incorporated in a child’s daily schedule; a ritual as rigidly adhered to as breakfast or the afternoon nap. But should we be bathing our children every single day? Some experts think not.

Many hospitals in Australia now don’t bathe newborns for the first few days after birth. 

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How to Help Your Child Start Walking

Monday, 16 November 2015 10:52:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Parenting can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. You may feel like you’re not doing the right things for your kids or that you’re helping them in the wrong way. However this is often very far from the truth. When it comes to helping and encouraging your children to learn how to walk, it’s important to note that many children will start to walk in their own time. There are also some factors, such as genetics, that will mean they’ll start walking earlier or later. Although some factors cannot be changed, you can still greatly encourage them to start getting up on their feet.

Use baby stroller toys

Some toys are now on the market that encourage children to stand up and take small steps. They can also be used to encourage them to continue walking as they get older, with the toys able to be adjusted to taller heights for their growing bodies. Their study designs can help kids to stand up, and most are on wheels, which can help to take small steps. With many different toys on the market, there will be a design that will excite and encourage your child easily.

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How to Improve Your Child’s Language Development

Thursday, 12 November 2015 10:52:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Children learn language in lots of different ways and from a wide variety of sources, including in the home, at school, through the community and the media. It is generally agreed, however, that children who are both read and spoken to as much as possible during their formative years tend to have a better grasp of both vocabulary and grammar than those who are not.

If you’re a caregiver to a child, there are many ways in which you can help nurture and extend your child’s language development in a fun and engaging way. Why not try some of these:

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Improving Your Child’s Hand-Eye Coordination

Monday, 1 June 2015 7:09:48 PM Australia/Sydney

Hand-eye coordination is a motor skill that your child will develop throughout their formative years, often between birth and the age of 7. It is during this time that they may also determine whether their left or right hand is their dominant one, and they will also develop the ability to climb, jump and balance themselves.

Hand-eye coordination is something that is spoken about regarding athletes, and a lot of work is done to improve their performance in this domain. However it is equally as important for all people to develop this from a young age, so that you learn to master your own physical and spatial awareness.

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Unleashing Your Child’s Inner Creativity

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 7:07:42 PM Australia/Sydney

All children are born with a boundless imagination, and it is important that parents encourage their child’s creative side. Allowing them to explore their artistic side will also help them develop their senses. There are some valuable things that all parents can do to encourage and nurture their child’s inner creativity, and some key tips to remember when watching your child at play.

Ask questions that stimulate curiosity

Asking questions such as “what if” will encourage your child to think for themselves and use their imagination. This simple question will encourage them to draw on their inner creativity and exercise their mind. Helping them along with possibilities can also expand their imagination and thought processes.

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12 Websites for Kids that Combine Education and Fun

Thursday, 23 April 2015 5:03:54 PM Australia/Sydney

There are a number of great websites that are designed to combine education and fun for kids, and they can be a great way for your child’s computer time to be productive. We’ve compiled some of our favourites here, as part of our commitment to only provide products and information for a Brighter Child.

Learning4Kids

Learning4Kids aims to create a resource for parents and educators to promote learning and development in fun ways by offering many ideas for activities and children’s play. The blog outlines different ideas for educational games that children can play, and also features an online store where parents can purchase games and toys for their kids.

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Fun Science & Toys for School Projects

Sunday, 19 April 2015 5:08:08 PM Australia/Sydney

At Kidstuff, we know that science is a fun activity for all children. At school and among their friends, they can find the environment and company they need to explore the fun and fascinating wonders of the scientific world.

School science projects are helpful when it comes to combining science with fun, as they challenge both a child’s creativity and their natural scientific curiosity. 

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How Star Wars Sets Took Lego Fans by Force

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 5:05:02 PM Australia/Sydney

Lego Star Wars minifigures

Lego has been around for more than 60 years, and has been a children’s favourite since early on. The concept was simple: produce interlocking plastic toys and offer them individually or in sets. Children were able to build models with the help of instruction booklets that were delivered with the sets, or they could simply let their creativity run free and build whatever they imagined.

The popularity of Lego now spans generations. The love for the simple interlocking bricks has been passed from one generation to another. It's not uncommon that grandparents and parents have their passion for Lego reignited when helping children build the newest sets. Some vintage Lego sets have been passed down through families for decades.

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Favourite Pool Accessories for Water Babies

Monday, 16 March 2015 2:57:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Living in Australia, it’s no surprise that most parents end up raising water babies. There’s a whole new world of water for every child to explore, and there’s no shortage of toys to keep them entertained and safe.

Here’s a list of some of our favourite toys and accessories for your own water baby.

Goggles

An essential for any swimmer, whether they be an Olympic athlete or your new young child. Goggles will help protect your child’s eyes, particularly in chlorinated pools and have the added benefit of allowing them to see clearly underwater, which can be very exciting.

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Toys to Improve Your Child’s Motor Skills

Saturday, 14 March 2015 2:44:39 AM Australia/Sydney

Toys are an excellent way to keep your children entertained, but they are also a valuable tool in childhood development. Motor skills is one area that is important to start developing in your child from an early age. A motor skill is defined as a movement that involves the muscles, and it has to be learned and then used voluntarily. As such an important human function, you’ll be pleased to know that there are certain toys designed to encourage the development of your child’s motor skills.

Melissa & Doug Decorate Your Own Rubber Duck

This fun activity allows your child to decorate their own rubber duck. Suitable for ages four and above, it requires your child to paint designs on a blank duck, requiring focus and muscular control. Once done, it will be a great addition to bath time!

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Does Your Child Have a Night Light? Here’s Why They Should

Thursday, 12 March 2015 2:44:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Night lights are a small but useful device in any household with young children. Being of such a compact size, they can be plugged directly into almost any wall socket and provide a muted light without too much illumination. This means they can be used to light up a room without preventing sleep. While night lights are usually associated with children, an added benefit is that they can be used to light hallways and corridors, allowing easy access during the night and preventing falls or slips on the way to the bathroom, for example.

When it comes to children, the humble night light has a number of benefits and considerations. If you have a baby, having a night light in their room will help you with your regular checks throughout the night. You won’t need to turn on any lights which could wake them up and, as a bonus, you won’t be stumbling around in the dark or stepping on toys on your way to check on them. A night light can also provide sufficient light for that middle of the night nappy change as well.

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10 Recommended Family-Friendly Movies Being Released in 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 2:16:00 AM Australia/Sydney

The quality of animated kids movies is getting better and better every year. In fact, animated films are becoming quite popular among adults as well. It’s no surprise that more of these films are being released, and there are certainly enough coming up in 2015 to keep the kids (and parents) entertained for the entire year.

Here are 10 of the most anticipated film releases that your kids will be busting to see.

Strange Magic

January

This clever film is inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, meaning even the most literary adult will enjoy taking the kids to watch it. Popular songs throughout the film provide an entertaining way to live through the adventures (and misadventures) of elves, goblins, faeries, and imps. The storyline revolves around the battle for a powerful potion.

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Kids and Curiosity: How to Answer Some Commonly Asked Questions

Tuesday, 3 February 2015 7:38:51 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids are naturally curious. As they have new experiences, they develop a wide range of questions for parents to answer. But parents are sometimes caught off guard or unsure of what answers to give.

Questions such as “Where do babies come from?” are just the tip of the iceberg, as one question leads to others and before you know it you are struggling to find answers.

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Party Ideas for a Frozen Birthday

Friday, 30 January 2015 7:34:37 PM Australia/Sydney

Is your child one of the millions who has been swept along with the Disney hit ‘Frozen’? Give them the ultimate birthday treat of a Frozen themed birthday party this summer with these easy ideas and tips.

  • Blue jelly ‘ice cubes’: Make a bowl of ‘ice cubes’ from jelly. Simply dissolve a teaspoon of gelatine in some water, and add to blue jelly before tipping into a rectangular shaped dish (line with glad wrap for easy removal). Remove and cut into cubes when set, and serve in a large bowl with a spoon.
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The Back-to-School Essential Checklist

Monday, 26 January 2015 7:29:58 PM Australia/Sydney

Preparing your kids for school means providing them with all the things they may need for their first day in the classroom. School supplies are important, but are only the beginning. Clothing for school and a plan for being in touch with your child and teachers are also important to have in place before the first day back.

The following are some of the essentials to help you prepare.

Staying in touch

Make sure that you stay in communication with your child as well as their teachers, and it’s good to get in this habit from the start of the school year.

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Water Safety Rules for Kids this Summer

Sunday, 25 January 2015 12:10:06 AM Australia/Sydney

Australian summers are usually associated with long, lazy days spent laying in the sun, and playing in waves at the beach or lazing about a pool. But for many, this idyllic day has the potential to end up in tragedy because of simple mistakes that could be avoided. This summer, keep your children safe around water of all kids with these easy to implement tips on water safety in the home and outdoor locations.

At home:

  • Learn how to do CPR - Doing a short course (usually 3 days) in first aid could save the life of someone you love. You will learn everything you need to know, from what to do with basic first aid and injuries to how to perform resuscitation on babies, children and adults.
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Keeping Kids Entertained Over the Last Week of Holidays

Thursday, 22 January 2015 7:29:52 PM Australia/Sydney

If you’re wondering how to keep the kids entertained over the last week of summer holidays, do we have some ideas for you! From indoor home activities to outdoor fun, these tips will keep you so busy that you’ll wonder where the 6 week break has gone. No matter whether you’re staying at home or going away on holidays, we have an activity for you.

 

If you plan on visiting either Sydney or Melbourne for the family holiday, or even if you live there and just haven’t made the time to go places recently, there are some must-see city attractions that are the perfect destination in the holidays.

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You’ll Never Look at a Parenting Ad the Same Way Again

Monday, 19 January 2015 1:47:21 AM Australia/Sydney

Do you look at all of those unrealistic images of parenting and think to yourself ‘As if’? We do too, so we decided to have a bit of fun with them and put a bit more of a realistic slant on these images with some funny captions.

1. Add a little seasoning and she’s sure to eat her vegetables without a fuss.

2. Our colour coordination was completely accidental, I swear! 

3. The best part of growing up is that you don’t have to eat your veggies, just feed them to your kids.

4. Instead of telling my child not to feed the dog chocolate, I will take a picture of him instead.

5. She’s better at typing than I am, so I just let her at it.

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Make a New Years Resolution with Your Kids

Thursday, 15 January 2015 11:51:50 PM Australia/Sydney

The new year is a time for new beginnings. It is the time of year where people make a resolution to change something about themselves or their lives to create a better life. For some it may involve diet changes, like cutting out junk food, quitting smoking or giving up drinking, while for others it may involve lifestyle changes such as being more active or making more family time.

Whatever your New Years Resolution is, don’t forget to involve the kids. Experts say that children aged between 7-12 years are at the perfect age to understand the concept of a resolution, and to come up with their own goals. At this age, they can be guided a lot easier than a teenager as any habits they have can still be changed.

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Take the Kids on an Adventure in Sydney these School Holidays

Monday, 22 December 2014 1:27:19 PM Australia/Sydney

Taronga-Zoo_1.png

There’s nothing more fun than taking your kids on adventures around Sydney Harbour these school holidays. There is so much to do to keep the kids amused, happy, and let you relax a little. You’ll also be able to keep your cool knowing they are well catered and cared for.

Here’s a few ideas to help lighten your load a little these school holidays and have fun together. With some forward planning, you can ensure you are at venues to take advantage of feeding and talk times too.

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How to Make Your Own Gingerbread House

Friday, 19 December 2014 12:07:21 AM Australia/Sydney

Nothing says Christmas more than a homemade Gingerbread House. If this is something you would like to attempt but have never been brave enough to try, this method simplifies things to take the confusion out of the process.

Some people prefer to buy a Gingerbread House kit. These come with the pieces already cut to size, so that they can simply be put together. But if you prefer to make everything from scratch, begin by making the gingerbread.

The ingredients you will need are:

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Where to Find the Best Christmas Lights in Sydney

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 11:44:46 PM Australia/Sydney

By day, suburban houses may appear to be normal. But when dusk hits, whole neighbourhoods across Sydney slowly turn into bright and twinkling Christmas wonderlands.

That’s right. It’s that time of year again where friendly neighbours become fierce competitors as they battle for the title of ‘Best Christmas Lights in Sydney for 2014.’ Many owners these days go all-out with decorating the home and yard - no longer is a single string of lights on the front veranda enough. Instead, displays now include entire houses covered in lights to gardens full of moving Santa’s and blow-up reindeers. No expense is spared in these neighbourhoods when it comes to decorating the house for Christmas.

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Baby Essentials: Checklist of What You Need for a New Baby

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:16:45 AM Australia/Sydney

So you’ve found out you’re pregnant and want to start shopping, but you don’t know where to begin? Fear not - parents often feel daunted by the amount of baby equipment required, whether it’s the first baby or the fourth. Everyone remembers the major, more obvious items, but there are a few little things that often get overlooked yet are essentials for every newborn (and to make life easier for mum).

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Handmade Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 1:11:27 AM Australia/Sydney

There’s nothing like receiving a handmade gift – especially when it was made by a child you love. Share in the joy of helping your child create something special for family and loved ones for Christmas with these easy-to-make kids crafts.

All of the following crafts can be completed mostly by children (depending on age and skill level), but adult supervision is advised in all activities.

  • Christmas pictures

Using handprints and footprints in art is a great way to make it more personalised. To make a unique gift, put brown paint on the bottom of your child’s foot and use the footprint to create a reindeer’s head. Handprints in white paint make perfect antlers, so all that’s left is to add a mouth, nose, and eyes. You can even add a sprinkle of glitter over the wet paint for that extra sparkle kids love.

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Essentials for Every Cubby House Design

Saturday, 29 November 2014 2:27:44 AM Australia/Sydney

Sparking imaginative play in children is an easy thing to do. A cubby house is a great way to inspire this creative streak, but parents also have the added benefit of being able to easily entice kids outside to play. With the vast range of cubby houses available, you are guaranteed to find something to suit even the smallest outdoor space.

A good cubby house isn’t about how big it is, but how it has been designed and presented. Kids, like adults, need tools to inspire the imagination. By finding a cubby that incorporates a few extra features, your kids can have hours of healthy, interactive play in their amazing play space.

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Best toys for your kid’s imagination

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 2:19:14 AM Australia/Sydney

Every parent wants to encourage the inquisitive nature of their child. Statistics have shown that children with a strong creative streak and vivid imagination do better in school, and interact well with other kids. But how do we encourage the creativity in children from the comfort of home? Why, through toys of course!

When we say toys, we don’t mean the cheap, disposable, discount-store variety. We’re talking about toys that have been hand-crafted or manufactured to specifically inspire the use of a particular skill. Whether this is a physical skill such as fine motor skills or a mental thought process, such as logic or the imagination, quality toys aim to educate your child through creative play.

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24 Great Blogs for Kids and Parents

Sunday, 23 November 2014 7:34:33 PM Australia/Sydney

When it comes to kids, there are two types of blogs to look out for. The first is parenting blogs, which can make life as a parent a whole lot easier. The second is kids blogs, which teach children to share their emotions, introduces them to the Internet, and helps them connect with others through mutual interest.

The choice of parenting blogs is endless, as are the topics written about. Parenting blogs range from kids craft to cooking, travel blogs to lifestyle, parenting styles to personal rants, and more. So how do you know which ones are worth a read?

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Toys to Suit Every Age Group this Christmas

Thursday, 20 November 2014 7:00:27 PM Australia/Sydney

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start shopping for those all important toys. Not sure where to start? Why not get some inspiration from the hottest 2014 toys.

0-6 Months

A baby’s learning comes through play, and the right toys can help them make sense of the world, build confidence, feel loved and develop communication, social and physical skills. Toys to look for include:

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Why Tintin Will Always Be a Classic

Monday, 17 November 2014 11:21:20 PM Australia/Sydney

Everybody loves a classic, and as far as kids books go, you can’t get much more classic than Tintin. Tintin books are full of intrigue and mystery, epic travel adventures, retro artwork, sophisticated satire, and both political and cultural commentary. For children who prefer to play video games or watch TV, Tintin books are a fantastic introduction to literature, getting to the action early and cleanly.

The Tintin stories offer many qualities that kids find appealing. Essentially, Tintin is a clever Belgian schoolboy who outsmarts the big bullies and (with a seemingly limitless bank account) travels the world freely.

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Why Star Wars Remains Popular

Friday, 14 November 2014 2:59:53 AM Australia/Sydney

When Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977, it became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. 

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Fun Outdoor Games for Bored Kids

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 1:21:27 AM Australia/Sydney

Spring has sprung, so it’s time to get the kids outside and having fun. If you’re finding it difficult to get your kids to enjoy spending time outdoors, try these fun and original activities specifically for outdoor playtime.

Art outdoors

Does your child love to paint and draw? Take art outside by using an old sheet and some paint. Lay the sheet out on the grass, and let your kids enjoy the sunshine while they whip up their next masterpiece. Best of all, this way you don’t have to worry about paint getting on the furniture or the floor inside - but we can’t promise that none will get on the kids.

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Mario: How a Legend was Born

Thursday, 9 October 2014 1:25:31 AM Australia/Sydney

Mario the plumber has come a long way since his humble beginnings. Here we’ll walk you through Mario’s journey, from his creation to where he is today - revered as one of the most well-known and loved video game characters of all time.

Mario the plumber was born in 1980 after Nintendo had released an arcade game which failed miserably. The CEO of the company, Hiroshi Yamauchi, needed a game that was fresh and that would sell well, and he needed it fast. Yamauchi asked staff artist Shigeru Miyamoto to come up with a new game, and Donkey Kong was born. 

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How playing with a doll's house helped my son's speech development

Friday, 3 October 2014 2:45:09 PM Australia/Sydney

Little boy playing with Lundby Dolls House

Jess had her son evaluated by a speech pathologist as he was turning 3 and wasn’t chatting away as much as other children his age. The speech pathologist asked if he had any soft toys or dolls at home that could be used to encourage his talking. She admitted that he did not. He had trains, planes and automobiles of course, but a dolly or a dolls house? Not something that is traditionally on the gift list for boys.

How could a dolls house help with speech? Here are six ways to play with a dolls house you will find useful. 

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The 30 Greatest Mummy Blogs

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:39:23 PM Australia/Sydney

Mummy blogs are a great way to seek inspiration, ideas, tricks and encouragement, be it for around the home, getting crafty with art, or just general parenting. Mummy bloggers share witty stories, DIY secrets, reassurance and wonderful advice, and for a mum at home with a little one, a good mummy blog can become a great friend. Here is our pick of the top mummy bloggers:

1. Mypigeonpair.com

With tips from a mother of a pigeon pair, wife and teacher, The Organised Nest is a great place for gathering inspiring ideas and clever product information in all things organised, delicious and beautiful.

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Everything You Need to Know about Flying Kites with Kids

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 6:24:35 PM Australia/Sydney

One of the wonderful things about being a parent is that you are confronted with moments where you are forced to be a kid again. Children are so free in their play and not afraid to run really fast or jump as high as they can, and when parents let go and join them in this play truly special memories are captured.

One of the fastest ways to be a kid again with your children is to fly a kite. Kite flying is good, clean fun that doesn’t cost a fortune. 

A kite is one one of the greatest gifts you can buy for a family.

Choosing your kite

Your very first kite should be kept simple, which will ensure a greater success at flying. Early successes build enthusiasm and make kite flying an enjoyable experience. More detailed and advanced kites can lead to frustration if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

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12 Life Lessons Kids Learn from Watching Toy Story

Monday, 15 September 2014 6:22:13 PM Australia/Sydney

Andy’s toys sure have had a lot of adventure. After three captivating and memorable films, plus a couple of hilarious shorts, Toy Story and its toys have shared more with us then just entertainment. They’ve shared wisdom, inspiration, teamwork, practicality, playfulness, dedication, loyalty, friendship, and more.

The development of Toy Story

If you came away from watching a Toy Story movie feeling it shared a positive message, you would be putting a smile on child psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen’s face. 

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How the My Little Pony Franchise Has Stood the Test of Time

Saturday, 13 September 2014 6:19:22 PM Australia/Sydney

For any little girl, My Little Pony is a cherished toy; it’s been that way since 1982 when the little ponies  were first manufactured by Hasbro. With a brushable tail and mane made of doll hair, My Little Pony’s have seen four generations of ponies go through the toy store, some loved more than others.

Here’s a look at the history of these colourful little ponies:

Generation 1

My Little Pony started in 1981 with My Pretty Pony toys, but their birth year is officially 1983 when the copyright on My Little Pony was finalised.

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Best toys for 0-6 month olds

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 11:33:40 PM Australia/Sydney

In the first six months of a baby’s life, development can be staggering.

Here are some suggestions for great toys that encourage movement and supply temptations that may motivate baby to reach out, grasp, and practice complex movements.

Grasping toys help strengthen hand control to help them on the road to eating, writing, drawing and self-care. 

Movement toys help build growing muscles, and teething toys help sooth a babies mouth while teething







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7 Amazing Ways Mr Potato Head Can Help a Child’s Development

Wednesday, 10 September 2014 6:13:00 PM Australia/Sydney

When it comes to childhood toys, one of the most iconic would have to be Mr Potato Head. The original Mr Potato Head was created by American George Lerner in 1949, and was first manufactured by Hasbro in 1952. He was the first toy to be advertised on television, and captured the audience straight away.

Mr Potato Head was originally produced as separate plastic parts that could be pushed into a real potato or vegetable. After years of complaints about rotting food, however, in 1964 a plastic body was introduced.

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10 tips for choosing an age appropriate soft toy

Monday, 8 September 2014 6:17:03 PM Australia/Sydney

Little girl with teddy bear

While soft toys are one of the most common gifts purchased for a child, there are different types of soft toys to cater for different age groups. Safety is one consideration, as is colour, texture, sounds, size, weight, and detachable parts. A child could fall in love with a character, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s right for them.

Here are 10 great tips to help you choose the perfect soft toy for your child. 

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Peter Rabbit Through the Ages

Saturday, 6 September 2014 6:13:37 PM Australia/Sydney

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 112 years since publishers took a chance on Beatrix Potter and her Peter Rabbit. In that time, Peter has been turned from storybook character to stuffed toy, stuffed toy to app, and app to stage production. But one thing has remained the same - he continues to make children everywhere feel happy.

The history of Peter Rabbit

Many people may be fooled into thinking that self publishing is a relatively new game, but Peter Rabbit was originally a self published project. 

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Use Bath Time to Help Your Child’s Growth and Development

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 11:34:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Bath Time

Bathing your baby is about a whole lot more than just getting them clean. Bath time can create bonding experiences, helps your baby relax, is fun, and can introduce your little one to a whole new world of sensory experiences. In terms of growth and development, bath time can be hugely beneficial.

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8 Disney Princesses That Make Great Role Models

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 6:06:49 PM Australia/Sydney

Over the years, there has been much scrutiny into whether or not Disney Princesses make for good role models. While little girls adore them, parents often see these princess as passive, co-dependent, or as a damsel in distress. Not exactly what you want your little girl to grow into.

No matter what parents think, however, children flock to these princesses and while it may just be clever marketing, there must be something that little girls find so appealing?

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How to Improve Your Child’s Development Using Magic

Monday, 1 September 2014 6:12:18 PM Australia/Sydney

Kid with magic wand

You may think that magic tricks are reserved for the stage, but adopting magic as a way of play is becoming mainstream in some specialised classrooms.

Even doctors are getting in on the act, using magic as a way to quicken recovery time following surgery, stroke or arthritis. Why? Because magic is much more than just entertainment.

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Are Superheroes Good For Kids?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:20:54 PM Australia/Sydney

Superhero Kids

Watching a child be excited by a superhero can bring a lot of joy, but it can also bring forth a lot of questions. For decades, the love children feel for superheroes has been shrouded with the notion that superhero play is unhealthy.

Many parents fear that superheroes promote violence and risk-taking behaviour, but is that the case?

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How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike

Friday, 22 August 2014 11:23:29 PM Australia/Sydney

Learning to ride a bike is a classic rite of passage that every child must go through. Once taught, your child’s world will be full of two-wheeled adventures, but it’s important to remember that every child must learn at their own pace. Take your time and don’t rush. Keep teaching fun and enjoyable and, eventually, your child will get the hang of it.

As a general rule, most children learn to ride a bike between the age of three and six. Some children are full of confidence and will start pedalling straight away, while others may need a bit of coaxing. Read your child’s comfort level and don’t force it.

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Teachers Say - Best Ways to Redirect Kid’s Focus

Thursday, 21 August 2014 11:24:32 PM Australia/Sydney

Boy with hands on head

For every parent, at some point there will be a time when getting your child to stay focused is hard. It may be that your child is going off task, having trouble concentrating, or simply won’t sit still for a moment to listen.

Having a child who has trouble concentrating and staying focused can be frustrating for parents, but it can also cause a great deal of frustration and self-esteem issues for your child.

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How to Introduce Your Child to Science

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:18:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids blowing huge bubbles

Young children are inquisitive souls, and on a daily basis parents are exposed to questions such as “Why is the sky blue?”, “How do seeds grow?” and “Where do mountains come from?”. To answer these questions, parents must introduce their children to science.

Science is taught in schools because it helps your child understand the way in which the world works. 

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The Role of Sports in a Child’s Growth and Development

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:14:44 PM Australia/Sydney

Physical development provides children with the abilities they need to explore and interact with the world around them. When they are very small, these abilities are referred to as developmental ‘milestones’ and, as they grow, these milestones turn into skills.

All babies grow and develop, but the rate at which they do so can vary widely.

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GoldieBlox Rides Again

Friday, 15 August 2014 3:04:55 PM Australia/Sydney

Debbie Sterling - creator of GoldieBlox

GoldieBlox burst on the scene in 2013 as a revolutionary new way to introduce young girls to engineering concepts.

Stanford engineering graduate Debbie Sterling was bothered by how few women are pursuing S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) careers.

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Simple Toys Make Kids More Active

Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:56:30 PM Australia/Sydney

A new study has found that cheap toys - like boxes, hay-bales and buckets - can get children more active than standard playground equipment.

Researchers from Melbourne's RMIT placed simple toys like pipes, swimming pool noodles, cardboard boxes, straw bales and exercise mats in the playground at the Emmaus Catholic Primary School in Ballarat. They then observed 120 of the school's students, aged five to 12, at recess and lunchtime.

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Good Alphabet Toys for Pre-schoolers

Monday, 14 July 2014 11:53:19 PM Australia/Sydney

Girl with alphabet blocks

Alphabet toys are a fun and highly effective way for your kids to enter the world of words. Here are some that have been recommended by parents or educators:

  • The B. AB3 Alphabet Abacus spins square blocks on rails that show pictures of items that start with the letter on the block. It also introduces alphabetical order.
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What is the Best Toy for a Pre-schooler?

Thursday, 10 July 2014 11:47:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Every parent wants to know the answer to the question 'What is a good toy for a young child?'

Professor of Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University in the U.S., Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, said 90% of children's play involves a toy.

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6 Fun Things to do with Chalk

Wednesday, 9 July 2014 6:30:32 PM Australia/Sydney

Chalk! It’s such a humble substance, yet it contains the seeds of so much fun. Painting or drawing with Kidstuff’s sidewalk chalk is a time-honoured artistic pursuit that allows for untold creativity! Best of all, it engages kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens.

Here is our chalk-centric activity guide for the weekend or school holidays:

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Ideas to Keep the Kids Entertained these Winter Holidays

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 6:27:30 PM Australia/Sydney

With the number of 14-year-olds left home alone in school holidays jumping from 37% to 53% in the decade to 2012, it is clear that managing work and school holidays is a huge challenge for many families.

Even younger children are left alone: almost one in 10 children aged six to nine are left alone in the school holidays, although some of these may be in the care of an older sibling. 

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Why Drawing Is Good for Writing

Monday, 7 July 2014 11:45:15 PM Australia/Sydney

Kid wondering what to draw

Instead of telling children they can draw after they finish their writing project, teachers should get them to draw before they put words on the page, said Senior Lecturer in Language, Literacy and TESL at the University of Canberra, Misty Adoniou.

That is because drawing improves writing.

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Study Shows Digital Activities Aren’t the Most Popular

Monday, 7 July 2014 6:27:30 PM Australia/Sydney

A study published in June 2014 has found that digital entertainment does not take up children’s play time as much as you might think.

A study by the UK-based Futuresource asked over 100 questions of children aged three to 12 in the UK, US, China and Germany to ascertain how they spent their play-time.

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Current Toy Craze - Loom Bands

Sunday, 6 July 2014 6:18:52 PM Australia/Sydney

Look closely at the family at the next café table – chances are they are sporting colourful woven rubber Rainbow Loom bracelets fashioned by their erstwhile children.

If you have a daughter or a craft-happy son, you are probably already festooned in their vibrant rings and bracelets at every possible occasion!

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Save Your Kid’s Hearing - Teaching Your Child Earphone Safety

Saturday, 5 July 2014 6:15:56 PM Australia/Sydney

Hearing loss in children is a growing threat with the rise of earphones to listen to portable music devices and play computer games – and it is irreversible.

Exposure to noise at high volume for extended periods is the cause of permanent hearing loss, explained Dr James E. Foy, an osteopathic paediatrician in California.

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What Kids Learn from Interacting with Soft Toys

Friday, 4 July 2014 5:58:17 PM Australia/Sydney

There’s more to your child’s fluffy teddy bear than meets the eye! Soft toys impart social skills, provide conduits for understanding emotions, and can be a child’s greatest friend - especially in their infant years.

Baby: Your baby may gaze adoringly at her soft bunny from as early as six months. Soft toys provide a friendly face (always smiling, always the same!) that your baby can babble to. 

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Choosing the Right Toy

Thursday, 3 July 2014 11:43:35 PM Australia/Sydney

Strength, safety and durability are key things to look for in toys for young children, according to Dr Shyam Makhija, director of Indian toy exporter, Pegasus ToyKraft.

He had these tips for parents:

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How to Introduce Your Child to Music

Thursday, 3 July 2014 5:58:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Children are wired to gain musical aptitude from birth until about age nine, according to musical educator, Robert Cutietta.

A large body of evidence points to a child’s ability to acquire an appreciation for music from birth (or even before) until about age nine, or perhaps 10 or 11. 

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How to Use Flash Cards

Wednesday, 2 July 2014 5:48:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Ever since the theory of multiple intelligences was developed by Harvard professor, Howard Gardner, in the 1980s, it has been recognised that kids learn in many different ways. A very high percentage of children learn visually. So bright and colourful flash-cards are a great visual tool to help introduce early vocabulary and maths concepts to children.

Avoid just flipping the cards and reeling off the words. Instead, inject some suspense with games! Some kids learn kinaesthetically (that is, by movement) alongside or instead of visual learning.

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Touchscreen Devices for Toddlers: A Good Idea?

Saturday, 28 June 2014 11:39:10 PM Australia/Sydney

A study has shown that touchscreen devices give children aged 0-3 no educational benefit over traditional toys, and can actually reduce verbal skills, depending on the game played.

Researchers from the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York tested children under three years old with educational and non-educational games on touch-screen devices.

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Tips for Taming Toy Overload!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:25:48 PM Australia/Sydney

Toy overload - almost all family households suffer from it! Parent Katy Koontz had these tips for taming it:

  • One, two or just a few toys at a time is a good policy. Keep the odd toy aside to colour a sick-day.
  • Try test-renting an expensive item like a computer first.
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5 Fabulous and Very Australian Children’s Books

Saturday, 21 June 2014 11:35:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Australian authors and illustrators produce some brilliant books that children and their parents adore! Here are some that can teach your children about animals, songs and rhymes in a uniquely Australian way.

1. Waltzing Matilda

‘Banjo’ Paterson's iconic lyrics are paired with stunning paintings by Freya Blackwood. 

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Tips for Developing Social, Emotional and Physical Skills Through Play

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:06:11 PM Australia/Sydney

Playing is a main preoccupation of kids. If they had a full time job, playing would be it! Yet play is essential for children’s growth and development. It provides them with emotional happiness as they find enjoyment and entertainment, as well as physical growth as they move, develop coordination and build muscles.

Cognitive development also relies on play as children discover the world and learn how to problem solve. Finally, playing is often done in a social environment where children learn to interact with both children and adults.

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Is it Time to Teach Your Child About Time?

Saturday, 14 June 2014 11:06:11 PM Australia/Sydney

Teaching kids about time is a notoriously difficult challenge at school, but it’s an essential skill that children will need throughout their entire life. Just think about how many times a day you look at a clock or calculate how long you have to complete a task, go to lunch or get home!

You can give your child a helping hand by supplementing their learning at home.

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7 Toys to Bring Back Your Child's Focus

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:46:42 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys can be used mindfully to re-jig our children's mind-body flow and boost productivity, said Forbes.com columnist, Jenn Choi. Here are 10 recommendations:

  1. Putty. Its shapeability is just what kids need when they're looking to regain control.
  2. Math toys help restore focus.
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Keep Your Kids Active in Winter with these Toy Tips

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 9:37:42 PM Australia/Sydney

Even though the weather is getting chilly as we head into winter, it’s no excuse for kids to stop getting active. They still need their recommended 60 minutes of activity a day! Here are some ways to get your kids moving this winter.

Toys

Instead of offering sedentary activities like playing computer games or watching movies, encourage your children to play with active toys.

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New Study Shows Fussy Toddlers Get More Screen Time

Friday, 30 May 2014 6:57:19 PM Australia/Sydney

A new study in the May issue of Pediatrics has raised concern for children receiving regular intervals of screen time. According to the report, fussier children receive more media time and while it is unclear whether or not they are naturally fussy or fussy as a result of screen time, the researchers are concerned that using TV as a calming tool can be detrimental to children.

Jenny Radesky, MD, who led the study, suggested that when TV and media devices are used to calm children down or make them stay at the table and eat, children miss out on developing ways to regulate their emotions or behaviour. 

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Encourage Fit and Healthy Kids with Active Toys

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 11:34:10 PM Australia/Sydney

We know that Australians are becoming increasingly overweight, but did you know that we have even exceeded our own predictions? In 2010 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted the overweight and obesity rate in Australia would reach 60% in 2014 - but we’ve actually just hit 63%.

And it’s not just adults that are carrying excess bodyweight. Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare state that one in four Australian children are overweight or obese. 

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Mums Share their Top 5 Baby Shower Gifts

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 6:55:22 PM Australia/Sydney

Have a baby shower coming up and not sure what to buy? 

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How To Make Rainbow Glitter Salt Dough that Lasts

Monday, 26 May 2014 6:54:02 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids love salt dough and it's not hard to see why. 

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A Guide to Buying a Safe Soft Toy

Saturday, 24 May 2014 6:51:56 PM Australia/Sydney

When it comes time to buy a soft toy or teddy bear for your little loved one, there are certain things you need to consider.

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Advice for Limiting Kid's Computer Time

Thursday, 22 May 2014 6:50:11 PM Australia/Sydney

In today's technological world, computer and video games are hard to avoid. 

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Toys that Help Children Learn and Develop as They Grow

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 11:30:54 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys are much more than simple fun for our children. They teach them about the world, encourage problem solving, stimulate creativity and introduce life skills. The best toys for children are ones that develop many different areas, such as cognitive, social, physical and language skills. Here are some you should consider for your child’s growth and development:

Birth to one year - Babies are learning about the world around them and love bright colours, interesting textures, simple shapes and noises. 

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Top 3 Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills in Young Children

Monday, 19 May 2014 6:48:36 PM Australia/Sydney

Activities such as art, sensory play and simple manipulative games are important for developing fine motor skills in young children.

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For children with sensitive skin, the salt content in play dough can be too harsh for their little hands.

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Educational Toys a Big Hit at New York Toy Fair 2014

Thursday, 15 May 2014 6:42:42 PM Australia/Sydney

Between February 16 and 19, New York was transformed into a magical playground when hundreds of thousands of toys and gadgets were unveiled at the 111th American International Toy Fair.

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Preschoolers are Quicker to Figure Out Gadgets than College Students

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 11:27:10 PM Australia/Sydney

A new study pitted the minds of 106 four and five year olds against 170 college students - and the preschoolers came out on top! The study, which will be published in the May edition of the journal Cognition, had participants try to figure out how an odd gadget worked. The gadget required them to place different shapes on a special box to see which would cause the box to light up and play music.

The preschool children figured out faster than the college students that unusual combinations of shapes made the box work.

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Best Toys from 70s, 80s and 90s

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 11:26:17 PM Australia/Sydney

Do you know what era your kid’s toys come from? It might surprise you that some of the most common toys have been around for years and have been enjoyed by multiple generations of children. Here are some of the best toys from the 70s, 80s and 90s:

1970s

The 70s were a time of freedom for both children and adults, when kids were allowed to play in the street unsupervised.

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How to Introduce Bike Safety to Kids

Monday, 28 April 2014 6:37:25 PM Australia/Sydney

According to the Western Australian government’s Office of Road Safety, most cycling accidents occur on public roads and involve children falling off their bikes. Sadly, about 40% of all cycling deaths in WA are from those under the age of 20, so it’s important that you thoroughly instill good riding safety practices from a young age.

Helmet requirements

Head injuries are the main cause of death and disability in cyclists, yet research shows that helmets can reduce head and brain injuries by up to 60%. 

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Scooter Safety 101 for Your Child

Sunday, 27 April 2014 10:41:58 PM Australia/Sydney

Scooters are a lot of fun and can give your child extra exercise. Riding a scooter does involve an element of danger, however, so must be taken seriously by both you and your child.

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The Furby V the Ubooly - Interactive Toys Face Off Against Each Other

Friday, 25 April 2014 10:40:17 PM Australia/Sydney

There is finally a pretender to the Furby's throne, but which of these interactive toys is best for your child?

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Physical and Virtual Play Combine in Latest Toys

Monday, 21 April 2014 10:36:18 PM Australia/Sydney

Toy makers are capitalising on the trend for young technology fans by combining physical and virtual play in the latest round of new toys.

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Why Kids Think the Wrapping is Better than the Present

Monday, 21 April 2014 10:24:43 PM Australia/Sydney

It's a scene familiar to many parents: you buy one or more beautiful toys for your baby's birthday, wait in anticipation for them to rip off the paper, then spend the next hour trying in vain to encourage your child to drop the wrapping paper and play with the beautiful toy instead.

One-year-old babies tend to prefer the box the toy came in due to their stage of development,explained naeyc.org. The sensorimotor stage of play is the result of twelve months of exploring objects in increasingly sophisticated ways.

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Are Barbies Limiting Girl’s Career Choices? The Research Says Yes

Monday, 21 April 2014 6:30:43 PM Australia/Sydney

For decades nearly all girls had a Barbie doll to play with, and the tradition continue today.

Yet critics have said that the Barbie doll enforces potentially damaging concepts of the ideal body type, and more recently, a study suggested that girls who play with Barbie dolls see their career opportunities as more limited than those who play with other toys.

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How to Encourage Children into Non-Traditional Play Areas

Friday, 18 April 2014 10:11:26 PM Australia/Sydney

Children may favour certain areas of a play centre over others

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How to Teach Children About Money

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 10:05:27 PM Australia/Sydney

Toddlers don't need to learn to budget just yet, but giving them an idea of just what money is and how it is used is important. 

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4 Developmental Pro’s of Playdough

Monday, 14 April 2014 6:24:27 PM Australia/Sydney

Playdough is a staple for a child’s playtime - it’s easy to make, non-toxic and opens up a world of play possibilities. But did you know that it is also helping along your child’s development?

Many researchers have recognised how children learn best when they play, especially when they can manipulate materials and see their effects on the world around them.

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How to Make Science Interesting and Fun

Friday, 11 April 2014 9:58:42 PM Australia/Sydney

To encourage an interest in science, whattoexpect.com suggests giving the following ideas a go with your child

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How to Teach Your Child Letters and Numbers in Everyday Life

Tuesday, 8 April 2014 9:46:16 PM Australia/Sydney

Learning should, first and foremost, feel fun rather than forced. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate learning letters and numbers into everyday life.

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Does Your Child Really Need an iPad?

Monday, 7 April 2014 6:21:28 PM Australia/Sydney

Many parents are finding that their toddlers love playing with their tablets and that they can become proficient with them faster than adults!

Tablets may have only been introduced in 2010, but already a majority of toddlers have gotten their hands on one. A 2011 study from Common Sense Media found that over half of all children have access to a touch device like a tablet or smartphone. 

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7 Tips to Safe Play For Young Children

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 1:34:05 AM Australia/Sydney

One way to help your children stay safe when they play is to ensure that the toys you give them are ideal for their age and current ability.

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How to Keep Baby Toys Clean and Safe

Thursday, 13 March 2014 1:31:35 AM Australia/Sydney

Keeping your baby's toys clean is important.

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What Do Kids Learn from The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

Thursday, 6 March 2014 9:01:40 PM Australia/Sydney

The well known picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle has been entertaining children since it was first published in 1969. Since that time, the book has won a variety of children’s literature and graphic design awards such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts Award in 1970, the Nakamori Reader's Prize in Japan in 1975 and the Selection du Grand Prix des Treize in France in 1972. It is considered a classic in the picture book world and has sold over 30 million copies around the globe.

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Know Your Child's Drawing Stages as they Grow

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 2:52:58 AM Australia/Sydney

Children at different ages will have different abilities with their drawing.

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Four Tips to Tidier Toys

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 1:26:19 AM Australia/Sydney

Ever feel like your home looks like a toy bomb hit it? Don't worry, there are plenty of mums and dads out there that feel the same way! 

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How Puzzles Help Child Development

Tuesday, 4 March 2014 8:47:10 PM Australia/Sydney

The importance of playing with puzzles has been recognised in hospitals and other medical settings, where it can be used as a form of both physical and mental therapy for children.  Puzzles that involve stacking, organising, patterns and matching are wonderful ways to aid your child’s development in many ways.

Goal setting and patience

Solving a puzzle requires goal setting and forethought as children must imagine the goal they want to achieve and some of the steps to get there. 

 

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Is There Such a Thing as Reading Too Much?

Monday, 3 March 2014 2:50:24 AM Australia/Sydney

Reading is great for kids, right? It develops imagination, reading and writing skills and most parents encourage their children to read as much as possible.

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How Gendered Toys Affect Girls and Boys

Sunday, 2 March 2014 8:40:33 PM Australia/Sydney

The way that toy companies gender their products has received particular attention in the media recently. The parent group Play Unlimited has been campaigning for Toys R Us to change the way they categorise toys.

Play Unlimited want the toy retailer to stop having separate girl and boy toy categories and to sort them by theme instead, as the group believes gendered toys only serve to reinforce gender stereotypes from a young age.

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Why Musical Play Is Great For Babies

Saturday, 1 March 2014 2:49:56 AM Australia/Sydney

Any child that can hit a pot with a spoon is a musician! 

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Kid’s Bedroom Ideas for Small Rooms

Friday, 28 February 2014 8:39:47 PM Australia/Sydney

Ask an interior designer to solve any small-space problem and they’ll invariably tell you to “go up!”. The same goes for kids bedrooms. If you’re lacking the room to really explore your decorating desires, start thinking about using all your vertical space.

Many kids’ rooms serve dual purposes these days: a place to play and to slumber. So with some design tricks and storage ideas, you can create a space for both:

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Kate Constable's 3 Favourite Australian Children's Books

Friday, 28 February 2014 1:49:28 AM Australia/Sydney

Kate Constable is the award-winning author of Crow Country.

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The Best Toys of the 2014 London Toy Fair

Friday, 28 February 2014 1:23:42 AM Australia/Sydney

The Toy Fair, now in its sixth year, recently took place at Olympia in London. It showcased a variety of new and exciting toys and, according to Pocket Lint, some toys really stood out from the rest

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Which Technology is Right For My Child?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 7:38:41 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids today are becoming 'digitised' from a very early age.

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The Best Educational Websites for Kids

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 7:12:15 PM Australia/Sydney

When your child wants to start surfing the Internet, apart from keeping them safe on it, it’s important to encourage them to have fun while using it as a tool for developing and learning. There are plenty of fun, educational and local Australian websites out there for kids. Here we’ve created a list of some of our favourite websites  that you and your child might want to check out.

Your Child’s Favourite Characters

Almost every character that children love to follow on TV has a website with games, additional videos and activities. Here are some of our favourites:

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Which Toys in the Toy Hall of Fame Have You Played With?

Monday, 24 February 2014 7:38:00 PM Australia/Sydney

As a child, most of us had a favourite toy that we played with more than any other.

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Educational Toys to Start School With

Saturday, 8 February 2014 11:00:44 PM Australia/Sydney

As your child starts their journey through school, it's important that you continue to encourage their creativity and interest in a variety of activities.

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Peppa Pig Is Bigger Than Madonna!

Friday, 7 February 2014 10:58:49 PM Australia/Sydney

Peppa Pig has a following in 180 countries and has been described by BBC News as being bigger than Madonna.

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Play-Doh Animals: A Great Game For Play-Doh Lovers

Thursday, 6 February 2014 10:57:24 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids love Play-Doh! Not only is it great to help develop their fine motor skills, but it's also wonderful for their imagination as anything is possible when you've got a lump of this squishy stuff in your hands!

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The Greatest Lego Creations Ever Built

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 10:56:14 PM Australia/Sydney

We are all familiar with LEGO as a staple toy every child grows up with.

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Storage Ideas that Will Keep Your Toddler's Room Tidy

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 10:55:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Is your toddler's room starting to get out of control due to a lack of storage available? 

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Empowering Your Children to Donate Their Unused Toys

Sunday, 2 February 2014 10:47:50 PM Australia/Sydney

Do your children get upset when you bring up the idea of them donating some of their toys and clothing that they no longer use?

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Overcoming the Many Obstacles to Healthy Play

Friday, 31 January 2014 10:52:58 PM Australia/Sydney

Children today have a number of barriers to their play that didn't previous exist. Technology is one of the biggest obstacles present.

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The Best Toys for Physical Development

Friday, 31 January 2014 10:47:26 PM Australia/Sydney

As every parent knows, children are interested in dramatically different toys depending on their age.

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A Variety of Toys is Best For Kids

Friday, 31 January 2014 10:42:09 PM Australia/Sydney

A good variety of toys is best for kids according to an article from parenting.com.

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Toys that Teach Your Child to Play on Their Own

Friday, 31 January 2014 8:32:52 PM Australia/Sydney

Teaching your child to play on their own is not only necessary to preserve your sanity, it’s also vital for developing their creativity and independence. And studies have revealed that, rather than the electronic whiz-bang toys, it is the simple open-ended ones that encourage the most self-expression in children.

Open-ended toys

Open-ended toys are those that have the potential to produce different play scenarios every time they are used. 

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Doctors Highlight the Importance of Toys

Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:15:18 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys are really important for babies and children of all ages.

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Top 5 Developmental Benefits of Potato Head Toys

Thursday, 30 January 2014 8:32:29 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys can support young children in their physical and mental development, and one great example is the Potato Head toy. 

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How to Teach Young Children to Draw and Paint

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 8:25:21 PM Australia/Sydney

Artistic expression is a skill every parent would like to instil in their child, but introducing them to drawing and painting requires a delicate balance between gentle encouragement and knowing when to leave well alone.

What to do

There are several ways you can encourage your child’s interest in drawing and painting while making it a more enjoyable experience for them. 

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Educational Benefits of Dolls, Puppets and Stuffed Animals for Toddlers

Monday, 27 January 2014 8:30:38 PM Australia/Sydney

According to researchers, classic and basic toys such as dolls, puppets, and stuffed animals could be the best educational toys for toddlers. 

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Why Outdoor Play is Essential

Saturday, 25 January 2014 8:06:54 PM Australia/Sydney

Outdoor play is extremely important for children of all ages – and a real priority for most parents. But it’s often very difficult to both convince children to play outside and find safe environments for them to do so. In fact, recent research shows that as many as half of all children do not play outside every day.

Yet for children to develop properly both physically and emotionally, they need the exercise and exposure that comes with outdoor play. And even though they may say they want to spend time in front of the TV or computer, the reality is that children are naturally drawn to playing outside.

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Study Proves Reading to Children is Beneficial

Thursday, 23 January 2014 8:28:03 PM Australia/Sydney

Researchers have demonstrated what many parents might have already guessed: the more often parents read to children from an early age, the greater the benefits for the development of their reading and reasoning abilities.

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The Many Benefits of Playing with Play-Doh

Thursday, 23 January 2014 7:37:58 PM Australia/Sydney

In the 1930s, a US company called Kutol Products produced a wallpaper cleaning product made primarily of flour, salt and water. Two decades later, as the company was struggling to stay afloat, they found out that children in Cincinnati, Ohio schools were using the compound to make Christmas ornaments – and Play-Doh was born. In its first 50 years, more than two billion cans of Play-Doh were sold in 75 countries throughout the world, and it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

The reason Play-Doh has experienced such dramatic success is that it hits that important sweet spot of simultaneously having a variety of educational benefits and being fun for children as young as two-years-old.

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Why the Recorder is the Perfect Instrument for Younger Children

Monday, 20 January 2014 8:26:35 PM Australia/Sydney

Learning a musical instrument teaches children discipline, creativity and rhythm.

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4 Reasons Why Kids Love Toy Trains

Friday, 17 January 2014 8:24:45 PM Australia/Sydney

Toy trains are a perennial favourite toy for children around the world. The toy train can open the way to a magical world for young children, while teaching them important skills such as creativity, collaboration, and co-ordination.

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Suitable Toys for Toddlers Aged 30 to 36 Months Old

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 8:23:28 PM Australia/Sydney

Kids are usually ready to switch to more sophisticated toys by the time they reach 30 months, explained BabyCenter. At this stage they will be walking, running, and jumping and they will be interested in playing with other children and engaging in imaginative and problem-solving games.

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A Parent's Guide to the World of Peppa Pig

Sunday, 12 January 2014 8:21:55 PM Australia/Sydney

Peppa Pig is a popular TV series featuring a little piggy girl and her family and friends. 

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Why Lego Star Wars is an Enduring Holiday Favourite

Friday, 10 January 2014 8:19:33 PM Australia/Sydney

Danish toy company Lego, the second-biggest toy company in the world, continues to reinvent itself over the years. 

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3 Stages of Block Play in Young Children

Wednesday, 8 January 2014 8:18:01 PM Australia/Sydney

Early childhood is a critical stage for physical as well as neurological development. Parents can encourage healthy brain development by engaging their children in certain activities. One of the ways to do this is to provide children with toys – such as toy blocks – that encourage mental development.

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Avoid Disaster on Your Family Holiday With the Right Toys

Monday, 6 January 2014 8:56:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Travelling with young children can be stressful. When they’re in a strange environment and their normal routine is disrupted, it’s natural for kids to get tired, grumpy and bored.

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The Secrets of Teaching Music to Young Children

Monday, 6 January 2014 8:49:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Learning music at a young age is important if someone is to develop an appreciation for it and possibly even a desire to pursue it as a hobby or career in later life.

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The Importance of Crafts for Your Child's Development

Monday, 6 January 2014 8:11:06 PM Australia/Sydney

Children have had a long and enduring love for arts and crafts! Parents should allow their children to benefit from artistic play, not just because it's fun but it is also helpful in encouraging the development of important skills in your child.

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5 Tips to Help Organise Your Child’s Toys

Monday, 30 December 2013 1:54:35 AM Australia/Sydney

Tired of stubbing your toe on toys left around the home? While it’s ideal that kids pick up all of their toys after playing with them, it’s not always the most practical solution.

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What are the Most Educational Toys for Babies?

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 1:49:59 AM Australia/Sydney

Buying toys for babies isn’t as easy as it used to be. There’s so much competition in the market that new toys are being released all the time, each one promising to boost your child’s brain power and coordination more than the next!

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The Gruffalo Receives A Mighty Welcome At Book Week

Friday, 20 December 2013 7:45:13 PM Australia/Sydney

The Gruffalo received a warm welcome during this year's Book Week event at the Bathurst City Library. The popular children's book character made an appearance that delighted children from near and far.

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The Many Benefits of Toy Blocks

Friday, 20 December 2013 7:42:49 PM Australia/Sydney

Toy blocks may not seem to have the dazzle and sparkle of battery operated toys.

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Toy Tips From a PHD Who Studies Children

Friday, 20 December 2013 7:40:11 PM Australia/Sydney

Stevanne Auerbach calls herself 'Dr Toy'. And with over 30 years experience studying and advising parents on the role of toys in their child's development, she's certainly entitled.

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Fun and Educational Games that Kids Love

Friday, 20 December 2013 1:49:00 AM Australia/Sydney

No matter what age your child is, they are constantly learning through play. Being able to explore, touch, feel and imagine are all important so choosing the right toys means they can develop their social, emotional and physical skills at the same time.

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Encouraging Your Child's Passion Through Play

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 7:39:04 PM Australia/Sydney

When playing with your children, you should whenever possible encourage them to complete their goals and keep trying no matter what. 

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How Pretend Play Helps in Child Development

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 7:37:19 PM Australia/Sydney

Seeing your child become increasingly interested in pretend play is an important sign of healthy development. Pretend play not only helps their creativity, but it also helps them to grow socially and emotionally.

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Encouraging the Burst of Creativity in 6-7 Year Olds

Monday, 16 December 2013 7:32:33 PM Australia/Sydney

Children enter the ages of six to seven with a growing creative curiosity. 

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The Kindness of Strangers

Monday, 16 December 2013 12:10:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Thanks to Kidstuff’s customers, the 2013 Toy Drive is gearing up to be the best ever!

You’ve heard the startling fact that 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. Well, we’re taking action.

At Kidstuff, we’re all about a brighter child. Children can miss out when mum or dad experience major depression, anxiety or otherwise become mentally unwell. Life can often be more serious and worrying that exciting and fun. So, we decided to do what we do best and bring great toys to inspire joy in the lives of affected children this Christmas.

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The Enduring Benefits of Reading to Toddlers

Sunday, 15 December 2013 7:31:27 PM Australia/Sydney

Toddlers get so much from their reading time! In an article from Best Books For Kids, the author outlines the important reasons why reading aloud to your little one is so important.

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Are board games learning opportunities?

Saturday, 14 December 2013 7:29:22 PM Australia/Sydney

Your child loves spending quality time with you, and he/she wants you to enjoy playing with them and listening to them.

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Are You A LEGO Expert?

Friday, 13 December 2013 7:28:21 PM Australia/Sydney

Do you consider yourself a bit of a LEGO expert? With LEGO's 80th birthday just past, the Brick Blogger decided to lay down a few LEGO facts even the most die-hard LEGO fan might not be aware of:

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Is A Wonderful Book For Babies and Children

Thursday, 12 December 2013 7:27:03 PM Australia/Sydney

There are some books that remain popular for decades.

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Memorable Summer Fun For Your Train-Loving Child

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 7:22:45 PM Australia/Sydney

The weather is heating up and soon it will be school holidays. So what can you do to amuse your fun train-loving little one for hours on end? Jessica Petersen has some wonderful tips you and your child will enjoy:

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A Good Deed At Christmas

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 4:10:40 PM Australia/Sydney

It’s Christmas again and we’ve started our annual Toy Drive. This year we’re proud to partner with Richmond PRA. Kidstuff’s Toy Drive asks you to join with us to donate toys to children in need who use RichmondPRA’s Women and Children's program.

Last week, Daily Life columnist Clementine Ford described her ongoing struggle with her mental illness, sharing some of the challenges of her journey. It’s not too often that a high profile public figure makes such personal revelations.

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The Amazing Amount That Can Be Learned From Playing With Dolls

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 7:21:29 PM Australia/Sydney

There's no doubt that babies, toddlers and children learn different things from playing with dolls.

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Jumpstart Your Child's Imagination With These Toys

Monday, 9 December 2013 6:19:08 PM Australia/Sydney

In an article for Hanen, Lauren Lowry talks about the best toys for encouraging your child's creativity and imagination.

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How to Choose the Perfect Gift for a 1-Year-Old

Sunday, 8 December 2013 7:17:26 PM Australia/Sydney

A baby's first birthday is an important one.

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4 Toys Your Baby Is Sure to Love

Saturday, 7 December 2013 7:11:22 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys are important for your baby, and you want to make sure you choose the right ones that will help with their development.

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Do you know the benefits of arts and crafts for your children?

Friday, 6 December 2013 7:04:00 PM Australia/Sydney

When your child participates in arts and crafts, it's wonderful for the imagination and their creativity. In an article from the Livestrong site, the benefits of arts and crafts for your child are outlined

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Storage Solutions For LEGO Lovers

Thursday, 5 December 2013 7:02:55 PM Australia/Sydney

If your family are LEGO lovers, then you're likely to be constantly running out of storage for the new LEGO pieces you seem to constantly be procuring. In an article by the Brick Blogger, a number of Lego storage solution tips are explored:

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How important is play to childhood development?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013 7:00:14 PM Australia/Sydney

Do you remember when you were a kid and the possibilities for what you could do were endless? You could use a cardboard box to create a secret fort, or go to the Moon and talk to aliens all before lunchtime.

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The Importance of Arts And Crafts in a Child's Development

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 6:56:47 PM Australia/Sydney

Often times at a certain age arts and crafts are put to the side in favour of more academic pursuits. But according to an article from Kidspot, arts and crafts can actually nurture everything from language skills to building an interest in social studies, art, music, maths and science.

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LEGO and the Legacy of Founder Ole Kirk Christiansen

Monday, 2 December 2013 8:21:30 PM Australia/Sydney

 

LEGO is a name that virtually every child and parent knows well. 

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Understanding and Encouraging the Four Essential Types of Play

Monday, 2 December 2013 6:49:43 PM Australia/Sydney

There are four different types of play that are important to your young child's development. Here we'll run through each of them and how your child can enjoy them.

According to Pampers, there is symbolic, parallel, imaginary and collaborative play.

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Better than a chip off the old block

Saturday, 30 November 2013 6:21:00 PM Australia/Sydney

... she's an improved model.

Small hands, light work

There's been a lot of chatter on the interwebs recently about the GoldieBlox toy.

Well, more the YouTube GoldieBlox ad, which combined a Beastie Boys song (well, until the copyright lawyers got involved), one of Rube Goldberg's magical contraptions and three girls for one of the most viral videos of the year.

The question is: While everyone likes the idea of girls breaking out of the toy manufacturer's definitions of what a girl's toy should be (and I discussed this last fortnight too, from my son's perspective), will girls actually like the GoldieBlox? After all, a great ad does not always make a suitable product...

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Child’s Play: Choosing the Best Educational Toy for Each Age

Thursday, 21 November 2013 1:57:00 PM Australia/Sydney

A great toy is an investment in your child’s education – not to mention loads of fun and a lifetime of happy memories! 

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Balance Bikes Helping Kids Learn How To Ride

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 8:07:03 PM Australia/Sydney

If your child is dependent on training wheels, or even struggling to ride a bike, you're not alone.

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Bike Options For Your Child This Summer

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 8:04:26 PM Australia/Sydney

Teaching your child to ride a bike can be a fun, but sometimes trying experience. If your child is having difficulties, or is reluctant to use training wheels, you may want to consider the alternatives available.

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How Playing With blocks Benefits Your Child

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 8:03:19 PM Australia/Sydney

Unit blocks are fun to play with. They're also extremely useful for teaching children early concepts in mathematics, science and social interaction. 

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Even Kids Toys Need A Spring Clean

Monday, 18 November 2013 8:02:22 PM Australia/Sydney

Spring is a wonderful time of year, as well as a time for dusting off the cobwebs and getting ready for the summer ahead. 

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Fun With Chalk

Monday, 18 November 2013 8:01:18 PM Australia/Sydney

Chalk has always been a wonderful play tool for children. Even with all of the gadgets and toys available today, there is certainly still a place for play using chalk.

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A toy is a toy to a little boy

Monday, 18 November 2013 6:21:00 PM Australia/Sydney

... and who cares if it's supposed to be for girls?

Look at my blue nails

“Da, please, please, Da”

George is tugging my shirt and pointing up and the window sill of the kitchen, where the light is streaming through several small coloured bottles. I move my hand from bottle to bottle “Na”. Move to the next one “Na”, then on to his favourite “Yes, please Da”.

 

I hand the little blue-green bottle down to him and with a “anks oo da” he’s off around the bench, clutching his prize to his chest, to patiently line up behind his three sisters to have his finger and toenails painted by Mum.

 

He’s proud as punch a few minutes later when he comes back to show me his fingers, and stands on one foot, the other out for inspection, to make sure I check out his blue toenails.

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Play-Doh Pizza Shop!

Sunday, 17 November 2013 7:59:29 PM Australia/Sydney

Play-Doh is a wonderful material for kids to play with. And when it comes to developing early kitchen skills, using Play-Doh is the perfect place to start.

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Why Reading to Kids is Essential

Saturday, 16 November 2013 7:57:14 PM Australia/Sydney

Having a love of reading is something that you can instill in your child from an early age.

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Arts And Crafts Are Great For Your Child's Development

Saturday, 16 November 2013 7:56:10 PM Australia/Sydney

Arts and crafts are great for your child's long term development in countless ways.

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Lego Is Great For Your Child's Cognitive Skills

Friday, 15 November 2013 7:55:23 PM Australia/Sydney

Many people have long maintained that LEGOs are great for the physical development of a toddler, but not as much for the cognitive side of things. 

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A Special Place for Special Toys

Thursday, 14 November 2013 7:54:11 PM Australia/Sydney

We all need a space to keep our favourite things and babies are no different. 

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How to Decide if Your Kids' Toys Are Educational

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 7:50:28 PM Australia/Sydney

What actually defines a toy as educational? There are plenty of toys on the market that are labelled educational, but are they perhaps just toys offering no added value? 

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What Children Say They Want in Toys That Might Surprise You

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 7:48:12 PM Australia/Sydney

In an article for Toys Advice, Sarah Clark talks about the different responses collected from children of all ages on their favourite toys, and what they like best about them.

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Which Toys Are Right For Small Children?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 7:46:00 PM Australia/Sydney

It can be difficult to know what toy is most suitable for a small child. Depending on their age, you should be looking for different types of toys.

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De-Cluttering Games With Your Kids

Monday, 11 November 2013 7:44:24 PM Australia/Sydney

Whether you need to pack up some of your child's stuff for a move or simply want to de-clutter their area, playing games allows you to get this house work done while your kids have fun

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Little Ones And Literacy

Sunday, 10 November 2013 10:39:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Being able to read and write are important skills that your child will certainly develop. Both abilities are vital to their education and even employment opportunities later down the track.

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Educational Toys Boost IQ

Sunday, 10 November 2013 7:34:16 PM Australia/Sydney

According to a study of a group of babies between the ages of seven and 30 months - that was undertaken decades ago - the use of child educational toys does statistically increase a child's IQ.

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How to Keep Toys Clean

Saturday, 9 November 2013 7:27:04 PM Australia/Sydney

Toys can be real germ carriers. And while washing soft toys is great and certainly gets rid of dust and other allergens, what about the other bits and bobs your little one likes to play with and chew on? A recent article from Toys Advice has a few tips:

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The Importance Of Independent Baby Play

Friday, 8 November 2013 6:21:19 PM Australia/Sydney

While it can be difficult to put your little bundle of joy down for even a minute, it's important that you allow your bub to develop his or her own use of skills and muscles so that they eventually start sitting and crawling on their own.

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Two Great Dress up Game Ideas

Thursday, 7 November 2013 10:17:43 PM Australia/Sydney

Everyone Loves to play dress ups. In an article on Kidspot by 'Frog Goose and Bear', a few exciting games involving dress ups is explained:

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Great Games For Rainy Days

Thursday, 7 November 2013 7:15:06 PM Australia/Sydney

It's school holidays and it's pouring with rain outside. The kids have cabin fever and you aren't sure what to do to keep them entertained. Right? 

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How a Preschooler Plays

Wednesday, 6 November 2013 7:03:21 PM Australia/Sydney

Play is so important for the development of your child. According to an article on Kidspot, there are 5 main types of play your preschooler should be engaging in:

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Scientific parenting for the unscientific parent…

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 12:05:00 AM Australia/Sydney

How a creative parent managed a scientific daughter

Something fishy going on

Science and I don’t have a great history. I love a bit of star-gazing on a warm summer night as much as the next person, but my recollection of science in my Catholic girls’ high school was making soap, photosynthesis and some fairly dubious lessons in human physiology.

So I was completely unprepared for a child with an interest in science. When I was told by educational advisors that my youngest daughter, a precociously smart little girl with a wicked sense of humour, had strong propensities to science and maths, my creative brain went “wah?”

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Assembly required

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:05:00 AM Australia/Sydney

... children optional.

Assembly required

When I look at the happy photos of my eldest two over the toy they helped assemble, the first word that comes to my mind is 'murder'. That either surprises you, or you nod in understanding.

 

It's not that the fire station isn't a great wood toy that the kids love, or that I am not proud that I have interested kids who are willing to help. It's not that in the end it all worked out great, and everyone is smiling and, in these particular pictures, not stabbing each other.

 

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Life's a Beach

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:00:00 PM Australia/Sydney

A visit to Water (& Sand) World

 

QUUT Beach Toys

I’m a big fan of the giant sandpit and paddle pool that is the beach.

 

Very early in the peace, and initially armed with the extra hands required to wrangle energetic toddler twinnies, I realised it was the place where… I got some peace!

 

Ruling out the obvious dangers – sunburn, bluebottles, child being carried away by a rip - I always found the beach to have a calming affect on my children.

 

Why? The beach is a natural amusement park, and depending on where you access Sand And Water World, the entry fee usually won’t extend beyond a credit card swipe of an annoying parking meter. It’s the Anti-Organised Activity. It’s freeform fun. It’s improvised. It’s sensory.

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Kids and holiday camping

Wednesday, 9 October 2013 12:05:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Or, how to survive school holidays when you're outnumbered...

Four kids during the holidays can be… interesting. Now, I don't recommend having four kids to begin with, certainly not twins as your "third" (if you have twins at the start and keep going, well, that's your fault).

 

Kangaroo pet

Four kids at home all day every day should give any sane person pause.

 

For starters: it's loud. There's not much sleep. And four kids are almost impossible to keep track of.

 

You often play a game called "What Will Your Children Look Like When You See Them Next" - will they still be clothed? Have all their hair? Covered in mud? Something else?

 

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Festival of the Twins

Friday, 27 September 2013 12:00:00 PM Australia/Sydney

His & hers birthday parties...

 

Welcome to the jungle party

My twins recently had a birthday. And apart from this being one of my favourite days of the year, this time it was a little different. It was the first year the kids wanted a separate birthday party.

 

Or to be more specific, my daughter wanted to invite a lot of girls for a birthday sleepover.

 

I was surprised how much angst this caused me. Not so much the thought of all those teenagers being squished into our little house, but I guess I was a little sad the twins weren’t celebrating together, for I had managed to have 13 non-gender specific birthday parties up until this point.

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I'm a little teapot...

Friday, 20 September 2013 12:05:00 AM Australia/Sydney

We have a saying in our house: Everything stops for tea. Of course, it's a complete lie - with four kids, including two two-year-old twins, nothing ever stops. But I say it a lot. Like a desperate mantra. Of a madman.

 

Beach soccer

Everything stops for tea.

 

Of course, when I say it's a lie, the sentence is only not true for me. My middle daughter - Miss 4 - loves a cuppa and when she's in a mood for tea and cupcakes, you better believe everything stops.

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Spring Cleaning Tips For The Sentimental Parent

Thursday, 12 September 2013 12:00:00 PM Australia/Sydney

... (or: how I learned to throw some stuff out)

 

Never too grown up for your toys

When winter is drawing to a close, I get terribly excited in a really clichéd kind of way.

 

At the first sniff of warm weather, not only do I get the urge to spring clean the house but I also want to fix anything broken, replace anything in desperate need of renewal and frolic in the sunshine all at the same time.

 

We live in a smallish home with borderline adequate storage and generally adhering to the “less is more” philosophy, I derive deep satisfaction from taking boxes of the unused and unloved to my local Vinnies.

 

So yes, I can be all Zen-like and minimalist with the best of them except when it comes to anything belonging to my kids.

 

This is where I come completely unstuck.

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My Father's Day...

Thursday, 5 September 2013 12:00:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Sometimes the best days just happen...

Father’s Day began in a slightly non-traditional manner this year.

 

Beach soccer

Instead of being woken up late in the morning by happy children who have cooked a delicious breakfast for me (wait, that never actually happens either) I woke up in a strange bed in Sydney very, very hung over and luckily, next to a beautiful woman.

 

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Give me a child for the first seven years...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

... (and I’ll make them watch my favourite movies)

 

Wayne's World

Everybody knows that Mummy and Daddy are powerful role models. We do stuff and our kids copy us. And sometimes that is scary.

 

But we can have fun with this influence!

 

When the twins were little, I couldn’t wait until they were old enough to watch my favourite movies. Not only the ones I loved as a child, but others I had mentally catalogued under, “Can’t wait to watch this with the kids!”

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Meet my super family

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Getting AstroBoy, Wonder Woman, the Pirate Jedi and Supergirl to do their chores...

 

AstroBoy!

There was a time when I thought a parent was coddling a child if they let them wear superhero costumes down at the shops. That, of course, was my pre-parent opinion. My wife has a different word for my pre-parent opinions that focuses on a body part, but we'll keep it clean here.

 

Now I think a journey to the mall is a bit disappointing if I don't see caped crusader or princess. And more times than I can now count, I've dragged Supergirl or Wonder Woman, and not to mention Astro Boy, through the aisles of a supermarket. 

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Enjoy the mess, never mind the stains!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Let's get down & dirty...

 

Mud is fun

I’m a proud third-generation stain remover. I love a good stain challenge. The resulting thrill of plucking an immaculate garment from the washing machine is positively delicious.

 

I’m also completely neurotic about preventing stains in the first place. And I have kids.

 

My private joke (Ed: not private now!) is that my epitaph will read: “Careful, don’t get a stain on your top!” I’m embarrassed to think how many times my friends and family have heard me say this.

 

The flipside is that I feel really strongly about kids getting outside and connecting with nature. And that involves dirt and stuff. (Suck it up, Mama.)

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The birthday party idea that saved my weekends

Wednesday, 7 August 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

 

I love birthday parties!

With my eldest daughter’s eighth birthday coming up, my wife and I already knew what we were going to do. No discussion was required, the way was clear.

 

It had been laid out before us two years earlier when Jas started year one at the local primary school. There is no looking back.

 

That year was full of surprises – new schedules, new friends, lunches, homework and report cards. But in all honesty, the one thing that rocked our world to the core was this: after school birthday parties.

 

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Build it and they will come

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

I have a thing for construction sets.

Lego Dudes never die

As a kid, a favourite thing to play with was my uncle’s old Meccano set – all shiny red metal and little nuts and bolts.

When I wasn’t engaged in Junior Engineering, I was quite happy with my colourful plastic building set that was very much LEGO’s poor cousin. But despite the lack of sophistication, I designed houses to my heart’s content.

What did I love about construction sets? The play possibilities were endless. The creative juices flowed free! (And if they didn’t, there was always an instruction booklet to fall back on.)

Fast forward a couple of decades and I had two children at once – a boy and a girl. The Money Tree had yet to bear fruit and we were one income down.

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Being a parent involves eating lots of humble pie

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Beth makes her escape with Brio

Such it was for me and wooden toys. I hung my "all my kid's toys will be wooden toys" badge right up next to "cloth nappies" and "no TV" badges. When I say hung, I mean squeezed into an available space because my wardrobe of discarded ethical pre-child parenting ideals is bloody full.

But I clung to the wood toy ideal for a long time, even after my second daughter was born and I'd swim through the plastic toys to get to her cot. I even went as far as to inform my extended family of a ban on "pink, plastic and princess" for Jas' fourth birthday.

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Travelling - without children

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a (parent) can lose themselves.
(William Least Heat Moon)

 

Leisa with some of her haul

I recently abandoned my children to go to Bali for a week with my little sister. It’s the second time I’ve jumped ship in an international fashion.

 

The first time, my twins were 11. I had just lost my beloved grandmother to cancer, and a dear friend decided to be my personal Oprah and shout me a trip to Vegas. (‘Oprah’, you know who you are. I’m forever in your debt.)


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Are you smarter than the parenting game?

Monday, 8 July 2013 12:00:00 AM Australia/Sydney

Ever think you're smarter than the game? Smarter than the parenting game? Think you've finally got it sorted, then embark on a journey that proves you wrong?

 

Monopoly

I used to be hip (or whatever young people say). I used to ignore toy age recommendations. Oh, I'd pay attention to choking hazards - too many years working at a toy store to do otherwise - but besides that, I'd buy 'age inappropriate' stuff as often as not for my eldest.

 

So what if it was too early? So what if it was slightly too sharp? If the kid eats the play dough or nicks themselves with something pointy, just a lesson in growing up. And nevermind the fact that you can't stop a young child playing with their older sibling's toys, or make your eldest play only with 'baby' toys.

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We are thrilled to announce......

Thursday, 14 March 2013 11:24:01 PM Australia/Sydney

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