Introducing Kruselings – Guardians of the dreams, new fantasy dolls from Kathe Kruse

Axis Toys is delighted to bring the Kruseling fantasy adventure range of dolls from Kathe Kruse to Australia. The multi-cultural range of dolls developed in conjunction with doll artist Sonja Hartmann includes five deluxe boxed sets and six single doll boxed sets as well as magic outfits and tools.

Kruseling Fairies GroupKathe Kruse has sculpted a line of affordably priced dolls designed for hands-on play, as well as collectability. The dolls are part of a brand-new epic storyline that the German company has invented. It revolves around a group of children, hailing from different nations and ethnic backgrounds, who are able to crossover from the world of reality to the world of fantasy. They can transform from their ordinary human forms into a band of fairylike super heroic characters called the Kruselings. The dolls are available in both their forms. They have created a range of dolls that help children between four and seven years old relate to positive body images whilst encouraging them to go on great adventures through inspirational backstories.

Kruseling Fairies CasualThe Kruseling backstory

When Luna, Vera, Sofia, Joy and Chloe are summoned by the “Fire Opal”, a mysterious power that is known as the “shines bright heart”, they turn into the Kruselings, the guardians of the Dreamland! Their job is to fight nightmares and to spread sweet dreams for all. The Kruselings go on adventures through the Dreamland with magic tools and spirit animals by their side.

Though the story of the Kruselings is one of friendship, togetherness and teamwork, each member has her own story to tell. Luna, Vera, Sofia, Joy and Chloe know that with their unique and combined talents they can face every challenge.

Let’s meet the adventurers

Untitled design (29)Luna – Girl of Justice
I’m Luna, a puzzle solver from Hong Kong.  I am always up for a challenge! Puzzles teach me to always think a few steps ahead. Due to my analytical mind, my fellow Kruselings think it best to make me the leader of the group. My magic telescope allows me to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes I can use it to see things hiding in plain view, invisible to the unaided eyes. Bao, my cuddly toy Panda, joins me on all my adventures.

Untitled design (27)Chloe – Girl of Creativity
Hi, I’m Chloe! I try to see the best in everybody and everything. The art in my hometown of London, England teaches me to never stop creating and pushing boundaries. I rarely find myself in a corner I can’t paint my way out of! With a wave of my magic paintbrush I can turn nightmares into the sweetest dreams. When Luna and I combine my creativity with her puzzle-solving skills we make a very powerful pair! My squirrel friend, Brandon, is never afraid to withhold his criticism or his praise of my creations. He is a great friend and a greater teacher.

Untitled design (38)Vera – Child of Grace
Hi, I’m Vera. My dream is to be a great dancer in my home city of Paris, France. The other Kruselings think my love of dance is the reason I stay calm and easy-going in all situations. With a twirl of my magic ribbon I can draw elegant shapes into existence from thin air! I love to have last-minute dance parties with friends. My feline friend, Koschka, never leaves my side. However, Koschka doesn’t come close to the grace I demonstrate while dancing!

Untitled design (31)Sofia – Girl of Communication
I’m Sofía. I love nothing more than spending time exploring the sunny outdoors, especially around my home city of Lima, Perú. Nature holds many mysteries, and thanks to my magic flower I can communicate with all living things to learn their secrets! I may seem shy, but in truth I like to think carefully about my words before I speak. Exploring nature teaches me the importance of listening and observing problems carefully. If I can’t solve a problem on my own, I can almost always solve it by cooperating with friends! My stuffed animal rabbit, named Turu, enjoys taking a nibble of various plants in nature when I’m not looking, but I’ve got my eyes on him.

Untitled design (28)Joy – Girl of Trust
Hi, I’m Joy! When not singing along to tunes on the streets of my hometown of New York City, I like to see if I can dance longer than Vera during her emergency dance parties! My friends say I have a bottomless supply of good humour and energy. I like to keep the positive attitude of the Kruselings team going strong! If someone is having a bad day, I help them work through it so we can get back to our responsibilities in the Dreamland. Though I prefer to respect people’s privacy, I can use my magic headphones to listen in on a person’s deepest secrets. But I never tell secrets to my parrot friend, Pippo. He talks too much!

Untitled design (32)Michael – Boy of Adventure
Hello, I’m Michael from Berlin, Germany! When not playing soccer with my friends, I’m always on the lookout for adventure. I believe that I can learn from everything I go through in life. I may lack the magical abilities of the Kruselings, but I always find ways to help out. Maybe someday I will have superpowers as well. The only thing I care about more than sports and adventure is being a good friend and team-mate. However, sometimes I just like to play a simple game of catch with my Golden Retriever, Peppi.

The Kruselings are brave adventurers, but more importantly,  role models devoted to making Dreamland and the world a better place.

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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Kruselings, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Goldfish Gifts – handmade and Fairtrade gifts with a difference

Goldfish Gifts is known for its beautiful wooden mobiles, award winning Balloon Balls, colourful Rainbow Ribbons and whimsical fairy doors, that are produced by a close-knit community in Bali. With no two pieces ever the same, owner Elisa Doro explains what goes into producing these mini works of art and how she came about creating this happy cottage industry in Bali.

roel--elisa---about-us-4The Goldfish toy story began in 1989 when Elisa Doro and Roel Visser were traveling through Indonesia on their way to work in a far northern part of Italy. In Bali, they designed a collection of colourful and original children’s mobiles that they had produced by a small community. They bundled them up and so it was in Italy that they sold their first mobile. Together they spent six months traveling through Europe selling their wonderful children’s toys.

Upon returning to Australia, their van become a regular visitor to markets and fairs across the country where Elisa and Roel would often find themselves sleeping in the back on top of the toys at the end of a busy day. Finally in October 2000 they were able to realise a life-long dream of opening their very own bricks and mortar toy store in the quaint town of Berry, NSW. As they say the rest is history.

How do you sum-up Goldfish Gifts in a nutshell? We’re all about originality, colour and happiness. We don’t conform to fashion or trends and our products are designed to last. What makes us really happy is that our footprint on the earth is small but our footprint on the hearts we meet is giant.

9088de0e-79bb-42ca-8203-647b59355325What can you tell us about sustainability of the manufacturing process in Bali? All wood used is plantation or MDF. It’s a true cottage industry where people work from home with family, animals and Gods all around them. There are between 20 and 30 people working for us in Bali. I have been working closely with my producers for over 20 years and together we have learnt, laughed and even cried, but always been positive about the Goldfish products and the impact they have. From a quality control perspective each mobile goes through at least 15 sets of hands in the production process. Now that’s handmade!

Handmade and chemical-free toys are in high demand these days, what’s your view? Parents love the fact that Goldfish Gifts designs toys that are handmade, non-toxic, Fairtrade and ethically made in Indonesia, from a range of different materials for safe play and development purposes. And the fact that each piece is unique makes it even more special! They are made with a smile with the intention of making you and your children smile too.

IMG_1151What do you think is the appeal of the mobiles? Happy wooden mobiles are handmade totally, they are colourful, stimulating, fun and funny, perfect for babies.  All the paints used are non-toxic and the wood used is either MDF or pine from controlled plantation forests. The bags they come in are made in another small village on the other side of Bali where previously unemployed stay at home mothers gather to gossip and work together..and there’s lots of smiling too! My favourite is probably the Ozi Mobile because it was purchased by the last Governor General to gift to Princess Mary of Denmark’s first baby. Suppliers to royalty! My Balinese suppliers were so impressed and proud.

BBALLSBrightBalloonBalls6What do you think is the appeal of Balloon Balls? They are small safe toys that mums love because they are lightweight and the balloons never pop so they don’t scare the little ones. The balloon ball moves more slowly through the air so it is great for hand-eye coordination leading to catching, throwing and bouncing. They are handmade, even the fabrics are personally chosen and hand batiked, which gives them those nice bright colours and appeal to children. It can be used again and again and is machine washable. To re-use simply insert a new balloon for safe and fun indoor play! Best of all it packs flat for easy travel.

IMG_1135

What can you tell us about the Rainbow Ribbons and the Fairy Doors? Both handmade, these toys ignite the imagination. The beautiful one metre long rainbow ribbon set features every colour of the rainbow, it is the perfect imaginative play toy. The Rainbow Ribbons are attached to a sturdy wooden ring handle that includes a small bell to create music. The Fairy Doors are very organic and natural looking, blending in with nature but also whimsical. You could expect to trip over something like it in the forest.

Why has it been important to you to keep the production process in Bali? The workers really are like our family now. Over the years we have helped to send a few of the workers’ children to high school and always give them a bonus payment at the end of an order. We feel very happy, and proud of these wonderful people and their handwork. We have recently been able to employ another 10 women. Previously these women had no opportunity for work because the village was so far removed from tourists and business people, but now they are all happily sewing. It’s so great to visit and hear them all call out, “Hello Elisa! You have more jobs??” We hope to keep saying “YES!” for many more years to come.

Beautiful, safe, ethical, handmade products made in a happy cottage environment. What more could you ask for?

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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Kathe Kruse, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Family Favourites – Miniland Dolls that Develop Social Skills in Children

Learning social skills is one of the most important aspects of early childhood development. It helps children to not just take care about themselves but also gets them ready to start school,  make friends with other children, and know how they are expected to behave in public.

It’s imperative that they get a good grasp on social skills for good classroom etiquette, and more importantly, it will help further their schooling, university and professional careers in life.

Miniland Educational doll collections are an important educational resource which helps comprehend the concepts of family, population groups, the basic rules of relationships and coexistence, respect for racial and sexual diversity.

Advantages of Miniland Dolls

Here are just some of the benefits and values that your child can gain from having one of our dolls (or more):

Caring and Nurturing

IMG_3855 (1)Children who have dolls often treat them like babies. This allows them to develop a caring and nurturing side that is very good for the development of empathy in children. Empathy is a skill that is in short supply in today’s world, and by encouraging it in your children, you are increasing their chances of being well-rounded adults.

Racial Diversity

31154-31156-31158.jpgFor many years, dolls were primarily European, and this meant children of different races were forced to play with them. We are proud to have a racially diverse range of dolls for children of all races and cultures to choose from. This can foster a sense of acceptance, belonging and awareness about racial inclusion and diversity.

Dressing and Other Skills

31061-31067 NIÑaHaving a doll means that children are dressing and undressing them all the time and this helps them learn about their own self-help skills. Their motor skills and hand-eye coordination is also developed through playing with their dolls and getting them ready.

Getting Ready for a New Sibling

2The dolls can also be used to teach children about how they should act around a new sibling that may be arriving soon. If you are expecting a new baby in the future, then you can use our dolls to teach your child how to hold, rock and care for the new addition before they arrive.

Made in Spain, these anatomically correct dolls are vanilla scented to smell like a newly born baby.  The dolls can be articulated.  Made in Phthalates-free vinyl, they are soft and flexible to the touch.

Dolls are an important part of developing many different skills, and every child could benefit from having one in their early childhood. Have a look at our dolls, which are part of our age specific, skill development Miniland Educational toys range.

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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Kathe Kruse, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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New soft and cuddly plush range for Steiff

When Margarete Steiff created the world’s first soft toy in 1880, little did she realise the enormity of the gift that she was giving to children everywhere. In 1902, her nephew Richard designed the Steiff company’s signature invention – the Teddy bear! Now, in the summer of 2017, a new exciting development arrives from the very same buildings in Giengen, Germany, that the world first Teddy bear was born.

The company’s new “Soft Cuddly Friends” embrace all the characteristics that made Steiff famous – ultra-high quality materials, intricate hand craftsmanship, and the famous “Button in Ear” – in a fresh new collection of contemporary styles designed to appeal to today’s children.

080524_080531_060236_060243_022692_022708_EMO (1)Steiff has always devoted itself to making the very best soft toys for children and embracing innovation imagination and perfection. As Margarete Steiff herself said: “For children, only the best is good enough.”

By this they mean they have developed the strictest criteria where quality, safety, workmanship and materials are concerned. They also set these standards above all prescribed international controls and tests summarized and anchored in Steiff’s Purity Law.

What the Purity Law means for your child
At a time when synthetic additives abound unseen, they want you to be able to be rest assured that the soft, silky fur of your child’s playmat is free of any harmful substances. This means that children can play and sleep safely with their furry friends for life.

  1. FREE OF POLLUTANTS
  2. HARMLESS DYES
  3. TOP QUALITY MATERIALS
  4. FINEST PLUSH QUALITY
  5. HARMLESS STUFFING
  6. BEST SEAM WORKMANSHIP
  7. HYGIENIC PRODUCTION
  8. INDEPENDENTLY CHECKED
  9. UNRIVALLED environmentally friendly QUALITY SINCE 1880

111389_111778_012914_012808_EMOStill renowned for creating unrivaled “life like” animals, Steiff are thrilled to add this extra dimension of playful characters that are sure to become friends for life. Soft as soft can be, always ready for the biggest cuddle possible, the new kids in town are guaranteed to be a big hit with children of all ages. They’re destined to become a child’s most cherished companions, day in and day out.

This new range is of course machine washable and manufactured to the highest standard. But what will surprise you is the pricing that accompanies this fabulous new collection. Soft and Cuddly Friends are available in many designs and in three sizes. A full range of gift boxing is available plus floor and shelf displays to support as POS.

The story of Steiff is full of adventure, ambition and innovation lavish with romance, nostalgia and childhood dreams. It is the story of a company responsible for the unequalled popularity of the Teddy bear, the world’s most favourite soft toy. Over 100 years later and the popularity of Steiff has spread the entire globe and grabbed International headlines as antique bears made of traditional mohair and firmly filled with wood-wool, set world record prices at auction.

Proud of our heritage yet forward-looking and venturesome, Steiff never stops chasing dreams.  After all, just what would bedtime be like if there were no cuddly friends to snuggle up to? Unimaginable!

steiff_logo_SW+E1880_R_rgbFounded in 1880, Steiff is the world’s premier manufacturer of high-end toys and collectibles. Indeed, Steiff is the only “luxury” toy brand in the marketplace today. Internationally renowned for its exceptional quality, Steiff still utilizes traditional materials and proven manufacturing techniques to create its unique and highly prized products. Steiff toys last so long because they are extremely well-made and vigorously tested – surpassing all U.S. and international toy safety standards. Vintage Steiff toys from the company’s earlier years have sold at auction for more than $100,000.  Collectors treasure Steiff products for their artistry, beauty, and lasting value. Children love their friendly faces, cuddly fur, and realistic designs. When “only the best” is good enough, Steiff is the only choice.

Join the conversation at:
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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Skrallan: A classic Swedish doll full of childhood memories

Skrållan is Sweden’s first talking doll loved by generations of Swedes since 1966. Her playfulness and her speech ability have made her a popular playmate with generations of children. With the launch of this iconic Swedish brand into Australia, Paula Opfer, spoke with Kristina Aronsson of Micki Leksaker, to find out why and how this brand has stood the test of time.

13101000_4What is her story?
In 1966 the Skrållan doll was born and her name originates from a character in a Swedish TV series written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, of Pippi Longstocking fame. Today the Skrållan brand is a strong doll brand in Sweden even though the connection to the TV series is not that visible. The brand is today instead built around the dolls and her delightful accessories.

 

Why she is so popular in Sweden/Scandinavia?
Ever since 1966 Skrållan has given love and play to children of all different ages as Sweden’s first talking doll, but starting from 2017 she is travelling further afield and her first stop is Australia.

16110100_1What makes her different/why would people purchase her?
Skrållan is a Swedish designed classic toy with top quality hair and a range of high quality clothes and other unique designed accessories such as bags, boots, cot carriers and even a bike helmet. Her 45 cm size makes her perfect to play with and she’s a soft huggable best friend. She has a speech-function with 25 playful16110200_1 and adventurous sentences promoting friendship and fun active play including laughter. She has long, blond hair that’s soft and smooth and is perfect to comb and brush. She is just perfect for children to get lost in a world of imaginative pretend play.

13100400_3The thinking behind the accessories and clothing range?
The high quality materials, unique designs, soft colours and cute details make her look friendly and fun. The price point also makes her extremely attractive! She has accessories that you just won’t see in other ranges, the bike helmet with a crown and matching bike seat have that perfect touch of whimsy.

What makes her perfect for export etc?
Swedish design. With a classic design and playful approach Skrållan will become a modern classic – also outside Sweden. Starting from AW 2017 Skrållan speaks five languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and English). Her packaging line has a new visual identity which is unique to the market and the soft colours, the playful approach, and quality presentation will make her stand out.

With special features such as her speech, high quality hair, sweet appearance and beautiful accessories she really hit the hearts of the Swedish children and there is no doubt it will be the same in Australia.

Skrallan is manufactured by Micki Leksaker in Sweden and distributed in Australia by Axis Toys.

Join the conversation at:
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Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/axistoys

About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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The science behind Little and Sleepy board books and new born kits

At birth a baby’s eyesight is very limited; it is hard for them to focus, and they cannot see very far from their own face (about 30cm). Black and white images with sharp outlines are therefore much easier for baby to see in these first few months of life.

‘Black and white contrasting pictures maximise visual stimulation and appear to encourage infant development in the early months’. – Jennifer Gregor, Paediatric doctor, Melbourne, Australia.

Research has proven that black and white contrasts register powerfully on baby’s retina and send the strongest visual signals to baby’s brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development. Surround a baby with soft pastel colours, and you might as well be blindfolding him. Surround your baby with black and white or light and dark pictures, and watch your baby’s eyes light up.

With this in mind, two friends with a great set of skills between them and a passion for bringing new ideas to life, got together to launch the Little + Sleepy  newborn kit.

HERO_SHOTKat Merewether is a New Zealand illustrator and author, currently achieving massive success with her own range of books about a little kiwi called Kuwi. Anneliese works with NZ artists developing ranges of products for the NZ gift market through her company Tikitibu

The gift set is a combination of products created to assist newborns with sleep and settling routines, the board book, soft pillow, and parents sleep journal come in a lovely canvas bag. The Little + Sleepy Board Books are designed to engage babies right from birth, with bold black and white graphics that babies can actually see.  Designed to help mum and dad establish really healthy sleep time routines by reading to them from day one, and because the babies can actually see the books they respond to it, so its great feedback for new parents.

IMG_2737 compressedFurther down the track, the book is a great first reader particularly for children suffering from dyslexia. The rationale for this is that the author is dyslexic herself, so she has designed the book in a dyslexic-friendly format, from the fonts to the non-use of any glyphs or serifs that can present reading obstacles. The sentence structure is also designed to be easy to read, using repetition and onomatopoeia rather than forced rhyme, so it is more natural to read aloud and encourage a relaxed transition to sleep.

As babies grow and the story is understood the soft Pillow Toy becomes a tool for getting little ones to sleep, “Now you have to go to sleep so Sleepy Koala can wake up and look over you,” when the book and toy are combined they can be used as a special bedtime trick.

Picture6The Sleepy Journal is an amazing tool for mums and dads.  Right from birth mums and dads are encouraged to record all the up and down times of babies so they can track where they are at with sleep times and feed times. This journal helps parents continue this on until they have found their feet.  And once baby has grown it makes a lovely keepsake journal to look back on.

 

Tips on Reading to Your Baby

Prenatal – From 24 weeks
Studies show that unborn babies respond to the rhythm of being read to. They will move about and kick. Studies by DeCasper and Fifer (1980) and Kolata (1984) found that infants who were read ‘A Cat in a Hat’ twice a day 6.5 weeks before birth would suck more if they heard ‘A Cat in a Hat’ read by their mother rather than an unfamiliar children’s poem ‘The King, the Mice, and the Cheese’, also read by the infants’ mothers. The parents of the unborn child can stimulate their infant and develop early communication skills by introducing their child to music and reading right from the start. The development of listening before birth is vital to the progression of listening and attention skills after birth.

0 to six months
Since a babies eyesight is still developing, choose books with little or no text and big, high-contrast pictures. Monochrome works best. Comprehending the words isn’t really the point with babies this young. For infants, reading is about the tone of your voice and cuddling up to you.

7 to 12 months
Halfway through their first year, babies may begin to grasp some of the words read to them. The most meaningful words are the names and things from their everyday life — words like “dog,” “mummy,” “daddy,” “ball”. Books with just one object or person per age are best.  Point to the pictures they show interest in. And act out what you read with your face, hands, and voice. Let the baby babble back to you in return. This “conversation” helps them learn to take turns and teaches them about focusing on the same thing as someone else.

13 to 18 months
Begin to introduce books with a sentence or two per page. Act the stories out and bring them to life for children, here they will start to mimic you. For instance, if you’re reading about animals, make animal noises. Sooner or later, they will “moo” or “baa” back to you and you’ll be ready to fall off the couch laughing.

19 to 24 months
Many toddlers find the familiar routine of reading reassuring and calming. The same goes for familiar books. This helps explain why, starting at about 18 months, children may ask for the same book over and over and over — and why they won’t let you change your reading performance by a single “meow” or “vroom.”  This continued repetition is how they learn new words.

When you think about it, books really do make the perfect newborn and baby gifts. Happy reading!

Join the conversation at:
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Twitter https://twitter.com/axis_toys
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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Engaging children in STEM education early

Many parents and teachers wonder, at what age is it appropriate to start teaching STEM? And how can we implement these concepts into early childhood education? The answer is: It is never too early to start STEM education.

As the world quickly evolves into a much more digitally-driven landscape, the jobs that we do are changing. There is less need for occupations such as travel agents whose work can be done with a computer, some WiFi and even chatbots these days. There is, however, a growing need for other jobs, and STEM jobs are in particularly high demand.

According to  the  US  Department of Commerce, STEM jobs have more than tripled in number over the last ten years. And while most careers are set to grow by 9.8% – STEM based jobs are    set to expand by a whopping 17% into the future.

So it is important that our kids get the fundamental grasp of STEM skill development from as early on in their lives as possible. It can be difficult to know exactly how to teach your child STEM skills, so here is a brief overview.

What is STEM?

According to LiveScience, STEM “…is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in  four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.”

Untitled design (17)So in early childhood development teaching  your  child  STEM  skills  is  all about getting to grips with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to give them a solid handle on the subjects before they reach school.

Why do we need to teach STEM to young children?

There has been a fundamental shift in education facilities to provide STEM learning from an early age to ensure that children will be able to develop to their full potential in these subjects. By making it more available all over the nation, educators are also helping to eliminate the gender and ethnic gaps that are generally found in these industries.

In December 2015, the Australian Federal Government announced a National Innovation and Science Agenda. The mantra was to “inspire all Australians – from pre-schoolers to the broader community – to engage with STEM”.

The program was given almost $65 million for the professional development of teachers, and to pay for specialised STEM programs in classrooms. There was $5 million in the 2014-15 Budget for similar programs, called “Primary Connections” and “Science by Doing”. State governments have also committed significant money to the STEM program.

By teaching children STEM, we are equipping them with the necessary skills to join in making the world a better and more exciting place. Science is all around us and in everything that we do. Engineering is becoming more prominent in global warming issues as we look for green energy solutions and buildings, technology is simply growing bigger in our everyday lives and mathematics is used numerous times a day.

How to teach STEM to children

31797 NI├æOTeaching STEM to young kids doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think it is.  Simply teaching children about the world around them and getting them actively involved is teaching them essential science skills.

Using educational toys that encourage engineering, maths or technology can also be used to encourage children to take an interest in these subjects. Miniland Educational has a number of products that they developed specifically for STEM development in young children.

Have a look at a few of these suggestions:

These are just some of the Miniland Educational toys, and there is an endless number of activities that you can do to teach your child STEM skills in preparation for a bright future in the industry. For more  of our specially developed educational toys or expert advice on skill development in children, please contact us and we will be happy to help in any way that we can.

Miniland Educational believes that your child’s playtime is as important as their educational hours, and their toys strive to serve both of these important aspects of their lives. They understand that your children are growing up in a digital age and that learning through technology is an essential part of a successful education.

Play Miniland is an integrated approach that combines educational toys with digital resources that provides a well-rounded overall education in a fun and practical way.

Contact us for more information and advice and to see some of their amazing toys, which are all developmentally appropriate for every age. You can learn more here http://www.axistoys.com/Brands/Miniland

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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Lundby – the world’s top selling dollhouse just got renovated

Lundby is the world’s oldest manufactured doll’s houses dating back to 1945 and the most contemporary when it comes to look.  More than 70 years on and the dollhouse brand is still breaking new ground. New ranges of furniture and accessories are constantly being developed to keep the Sweet Lundby Home fresh and contemporary and the new Lundby Creative Doll House is no exception.  70 years after the first dollhouse was sold under the Lundby trademark the latest modernisation hits the market in September.

new creativeThe new Creative Doll’s House targets the three-year old plus market who are ready to enjoy their own play space. The new Lundby Creative doll’s house is a fun house where they can let their imagination run wild! They can be as creative as they like with this doll’s house easily, thanks to the sliding wall panels and complementing simple and colourful furniture pieces. The new basic furniture range makes for a free play experience with the versatility to change the look quickly and simply, there are no rules.

60500600_12There’s plenty of scope for their own ideas, they can remove the back walls of the Lundby Creative doll’s house and play from both sides. They can turn round the back walls in the two ground floor rooms and swap the wallpaper round. This doll’s house also comes with two extra sticker packs and two wall set stickers to create different themes to decorate their house. They can stick them on and remove them easily if they would like to move them around in the house. The original wallpapers are designed by Creative Karin, a professional craftsperson and DIY stylist. Light pastel colours and playful patterns are the name of the game. Furniture and dolls are sold separately.

60101898_12The Lundby Creative Doll’s House has been nominated for Toy of the Year in Sweden and with all these wonderful new features it is sure to inspire both young and older creative designers.

Since 1945 Lundby has followed trends, fashions, inventions and new lifestyles. Featuring beautiful Swedish design with wonderfully modern details, Lundby doll houses and accessories are stylish living at 1:18 scale. Made with quality and durability in mind, Lundby toys are designed in collaboration with architects and designers. The Lundby collection has innovative functions like real, working lights (pioneered by Lundby) and creative details like miniature versions of artwork to decorate the walls.

lundbystockhom1The existing range includes the Smaland Doll’s House whose origin began as the Gothenburg House and bears the same shape but now more contemporary look. There is plenty of room for play, both indoors and outdoors, and a growing family, it is easy to expand with floor extension and a lovely play-friendly garden. Then there’s the architect-designed Stockholm Doll’s House offering exciting architecture, design, and large areas with room for a lot of play. In the state of the art villa you will find features such as a pull-out drawer with mosaic pattern pool and paved terrace. Both houses come prepared for electricity to power the famous Lundby lighting!

The result of all these innovations makes Lundby one of the strongest doll’s house brands on the market worldwide

About Lundby
Lundby is the world’s oldest manufactured doll’s houses dating back to 1945 and the most contemporary when it comes to look. To find out more about Lundby browse our website http://www.lundby.com.au or contact us on +61 2 9986 3456 or email info@lundby.com.au for a catalogue.

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The impact of technology in education: A quick guide for parents and educators

Untitled design (17)Our friends at Miniland Educational have put together this guide to help you navigate the offline and online world of today’s new toys.

As parents it can be difficult to get to grips with how tech-savvy kids are becoming. Mobile phones are no longer the size of bricks and computers no longer weigh as much as a large dog.

It can be terribly disconcerting to see teenagers, kids and even toddlers waltzing around with svelte smartphones, tiny tablets and booming beatboxes that seem to get smaller and more high tech every time you turn around.

In this day and age where the internet is available at our kids’ fingertips and the whole world can be accessed through the click of a button – it is easy to understand the concerns that many parents have about technology. It has the propensity to suck children in (even toddlers) and could lead them to places where they really shouldn’t go.

However, technology has been adding an incredible amount to education of children everywhere and it is improving learning and performance in schools and homes throughout the world. The impact of technology in education and on children is a double-sided coin and that’s why it should be embraced, but also properly managed, by parents and educators to harness the best aspects of it for their children.

What is the impact of technology in education?
It has made learning more interesting and engaging. 
Technology has allowed teachers to create content that is more engaging and fun for learners of all ages. For toddlers and early learners in particular, it has resulted in teaching that is often more visual, more effective and less time consuming – meaning that the little ones don’t lose interest as quickly.

Promotes connections with other students, teachers and communities
The internet has truly opened up the global village to all of us, and this is beneficial to our children in particular. They can use the internet not just to do basic research on projects at school, but it also allows them to connect with people who live at the other ends of the earth that may be able to give them some firsthand information.

Teachers and early educators are able to connect with each other and share resources, teaching ideas and management techniques – this creating of a virtual “community” is a great way for your children to get cultural experiences without having to actually go anywhere.

Allows for remote work and access
Another impact of technology in education is that it allows for access pretty much anywhere in the world. This means that learning doesn’t have to be confined to a classroom setting and can be undertaken remotely.

This also has an effect on homework and instead of kids having to lug around books, they are simply able to access their work online and complete it anywhere, anytime. It also makes holiday projects or days when kids can’t make it to school more easily manageable, as teachers are simply able to email their work straight through.

How to get involved and safely manage technology for your children?
It is completely natural to worry about the effects that technology might be having on your children, but it is equally as important to embrace it – as kids that grow up without the right kind of exposure to technology stand the chance of falling far behind their peers in the future or using technology inappropriately. So how exactly can you get involved but also safely manage your child’s technological interaction?

Learn about it
There’s nothing worse than watching your child seamlessly navigate an app, website or any other technology that you have don’t even know the name of, never mind know how to use it.

If your child is a little older perhaps have a little show and tell with them and get them to teach you about what they are using, and you can therefore see the impact technology is having in education first-hand. Otherwise, a simple Google search of it should be enough to teach you everything that you need to know.

Keep it public
This point may be more applicable to older children and adults, but should also apply to kids. Make sure that their computers are in a public place in the house – not in their bedroom – this allows you not just to keep an eye on what they are doing, but also forces them to socialise a bit more rather than retreating to their room every time they want to go on their computer.

Embrace it
The best thing you can do for your child’s education is to embrace the fact that technology is here to stay. Get involved with their learning and homework, let them teach you what they know and also ask their teacher how you should use technology at home. We are living in a digital age and technology is not just essential for your child’s everyday education, but also for their future prospects.

Ensure balance
The impact of technology in education on your child will only be beneficial if you balance it with other non-technological based education. From taking your kids playing outdoors and travelling, to buying toys that are still educational but not digital – there are tons of things you can do to balance their time in front of a screen with things that are more practical. Toddlers especially thrive when learning from toys that require not just their minds but also their hands.

Miniland Educational believes that your child’s playtime is as important as their educational hours, and their toys strive to serve both of these important aspects of their lives. They understand that your children are growing up in a digital age and that learning through technology is an essential part of a successful education.

Play Miniland is an integrated approach that combines educational toys with digital resources that provides a well-rounded overall education in a fun and practical way.

Contact us for more information and advice and to see some of their amazing toys, which are all developmentally appropriate for every age. You can learn more here http://www.axistoys.com/Brands/Miniland

Join the conversation at:
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Instagram https://www.instagram.com/axis_toys/
Twitter https://twitter.com/axis_toys
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About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000, Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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Why cognitive toys are essential for your child’s development

There’s a good reason why toddlers utter the question “Why?” in response to almost everything they’re exposed to: they’re busy soaking up the world around them, learning to process thousands of visual and aural stimuli every single day.

The mental growth that takes place during the first few years will go on to fundamentally influence the rest of a child’s life. As your child’s body grows, so does her mental ability.

And just as important as a nutritious diet is for a strong, able-bodied toddler, so are the right tools to help your little one develop the cognitive skills that will serve her for the rest of her life.

Your child’s cognitive ability develops at a rapid pace, thanks in large part, to play. As a child grows, so do their observation skills and ability to interact. In addition, they’re busy becoming more efficient at processing, storing and implementing the information they’ve gathered from the world around.

The speed of cognitive development is astonishing: in the first few years of life, they’ll develop trillions of neural synapses (brain-cell connections). How are they able to do this? By playing.

This article from SharpBrains quotes Dr David Elkind, author of The Power of Play: Learning That Comes Naturally: “In infancy and early childhood, play is the activity through which children learn to recognize colours and shapes, tastes and sounds‚ the very building blocks of reality. Play also provides pathways to love and social connection”.

As your child gets older, they benefit in a myriad of ways from different types of playing – each just as important as the next. These include social and memory skills, self-awareness and self-regulating behaviour, internal language, and the ability to strategise, organise, focus and plan.

Because playing is such a pivotal part of cognitive development, it’s vital that you provide your child with the cognitive toys that will give them the best opportunity to strengthen and expand their mental prowess.

Cognitive toys that engage and challenge children in a way that’s enjoyable are powerful facilitators of learning.

There are thousands of cognitive toys on the market that stimulate young minds in a variety of ways. The good news is, educational toys that don’t rely on batteries or a connection to the internet are just as powerful as their high-tech counterparts.

(A word of warning: before handing over your hard-earned dollars, make sure the toy in question is age-appropriate to avoid choking hazards and bodily harm. To keep your child safe, ensure play-time is always supervised.) If you’re having trouble deciding on the toys that will best stimulate cognitive development, consider some of the following options:

Mosaics boards
A classic toy that develops eye-hand coordination, creativity, spatial orientation and colour recognition. The most basic concepts of interlocking can also be practised and with concentration exercises and attention, allows for the development of the visual-motor co-ordination, creativity, spatial orientation and the discrimination of colours.

Miniland EducationalAbacolor Maxi
This abacus incorporates colors and geometric shaped solid blocks (cylinder, ball, ovoid cylinder, square and triangle) – 15 pieces. This toy supports both physical and intellectual development; such as improved attention and logical reasoning. The solid blocks help to improve dexterity. Also included are 24 pattern activity cards.

Activity ABC 123
Capital letters templates and 10 numbers templates from 0 to 9 made of solid and soft plastic. Each template demonstrates the correct direction of the stroke. Essential for children to develop writing skills.

45300Miniland Maxichain
This set of interlocking pieces is especially designed for small hands, in assorted colours and textures. They are helpful for carrying out serialisation exercises of colour, counting, comparison, classifying and comprehension of initial arithmetic operations. Includes information cards as a guide to assist with these learning achievements.

Miniland Educational places an emphasis on the teaching aspects of toys.  Miniland Educational toys are invaluable as educational tools due to the additional benefit of teaching guides and activity cards placed with many of the products. They are suitable for parents and educators alike. Learn more about the Miniland range available in Australia and New Zealand here http://www.axistoys.com/Brands/Miniland

Join the conversation at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/axistoys
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/axis_toys/
Twitter https://twitter.com/axis_toys
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/axistoys

About Axis Toys
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented – each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.

Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby Dollhouses, Micki, Miniland Educational, PlayBox, Plasto, Sassi Junior, Chic Bayer 2000,  Skrallen, Leolandia, Kiddus, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.

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