Wobbel Board or Kinderboard?

Quite a common question and one I am asked if a customer is wanting to purchase a balance board. They look similiar, they do the same thing and they’re made out of..well, wood! However, there are minor differences, one being the price tag!

A Wobbel Board will retail for over $300 whereas a Kinderboard retails around the $170 mark. The absolute main point of difference is the Wobbel Board has a felt backing option. Not only does the felt protect the board AND your floor, it also deadens the noise. There is a beautiful array of wool felt colours to choose from from bright pink to the more natural grey hues.

Kinderfeets do not offer the option of a wool backing as they believe this limits its use for outside and also the ability to slide over (whether this be toys or the child themselves).

The Wobbel Board has a very smooth feel with a lustrous finish while the Kinderboard, whilst not rough, you can see and feel the natural grain of the wood.

Both Boards are made from FSC-certified European Beechwood finished with water-based lacquer. Both Dutch designed. The Wobble Board is made in Europe and the Kinderboard is manufacturd in Asia.

Wobbel Boards come in 2 sizes, with an XL option great for adults. Both are 30cm across. The Wobbel Board is 90cm and the Kinderboard is 81cm in length. Both are designed to withstand 200kgs weight on them with the Kinderboard a little more weight bearing at 220kgs.

The age reccommendation for a Wobbel Board is from birth and the Kinderboard is rated at 18 months but is tested for safety from birth onwards. Kinderfeets believes that children under the age of 18 months are unlikely to gain the full benefit of this product and so they recommend the Kinderboard for ages 18 months and up.

The Wobbel Board has been CE safety certified to European standards. The Kinderboard has been safety certified against Australian, European, and North American standards, including AS/NZ 8124, CE, ASTM, and EN71.

Neither Board really does outdo one another. I believe it is a personal choice. Personally, I love the wool backing. It gives a room a splash of colour and seems softer on the eyes. However, if you are budget limited then the Kinderboard is an excellent choice.

The Phenomenum of Colouring Books for Grown Ups.

If you’re like me, there is a strong attraction to stationery. Notebooks in pretty pastel colours, glittering mindfulness quotes emblazoned across the cover. Pens in every colour and point….and glorious gel pens. How many gel pens should a person have before one should say enough!

I must admit when the detailed adult colouring books hit the shelves I pounced. Another reason to purchase yet more colouring in pencils. Even Crayola got in on the act and came up with the adult version of colouring pencils….and yes I fell for the marketing and purchased a pack..the large pack. Before long I had a substantial collection of detailed colouring books.

The idea behind these colouring books was to provide us adults with a session of mindfulness. It’s no secret that mindfulness is the key in reducing stress levels. You also dont have to be a skilled ‘colourer-inn-a’. Theres nothing to lose. Study the image and the lines, select the colour and stay within the lines! The beauty of this activity is that it doesnt cost an arm and a leg. It can be taken anywhere. It can be done solo.

Like meditation, colouring allows us to switch off our minds and focus on the moment., experiencing a sense of relief and given a break from life’s issues. We are in the moment. The art of colouring requires repetition and attention to detail so we have to focus on the activity, rather than our worries.

We can also see the act of colouring brings out our inner child. A reminder of days when life was simple, carefree and our biggest problem was choosing the selection of mixed lollies. In addition to this, completing a page of colouring provides a sense of accomplishment and I think this applies at whatever age you are…..5 or 99! Our gratification continues our wave of happiness.

So, this adult colouring craze sweeping Australia and overseas…..it seems there are many good reasons to jump on board. Our lives are busier, it can be stressful and we could all do with a good does of a ‘feel good’ activity that takes us back to our childhood where there was no digital entertainment. Just a colouring book and another excuse to buy a pack of gel pens!

Check out my range of Colouring Books here https://wildwoodlandtoys.com.au/product/beatrix-potter-colouring-in-book-for-grown-ups/




Beat the Worry Bug

Isn’t it incredible, that in a world where we have more money, more cures, more surveillance and more safety nets… We also have more anxiety than ever before? And our kids are feeling it! – Dr John Irvine.

Do you feel your child might be suffering from anxiety related issues? Use the “Anxiety Symptom Checklist” to identify symptoms of unhealthy anxiety.

Anxiety Symptom Checklist

  • Dry mouth and swallowing difficulties or hoarseness
  • Rapid  breathing and heartbeat
  • Twitching or trembling
  • Muscle tension and headache
  • Appetite changes
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, diarrhoea and weight loss
  • Sleeplessness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Frequent urination
  • Memory problems
  • Constant seeking of attention and reassurance

If you recognise your child’s behaviour in the Anxiety Symptom Checklist, read the checklist below to help you find out what’s troubling your child.

What’s bugging my child?

  • First and foremost, take your child for a medical check-up. There are many medical disorders that have similar symptoms to anxiety, so talk to your doctor to rule out any medical causes. If you get the “all clear,” move to the other checks.
  • Do a parent self-check. If you’re an anxious person, then your little worrier may be copying your coping style.
  • Do a management check. Many panicky kids come from homes where parents reward their child’s anxiety by fixing it for them. The result is that kids don’t learn how to manage their problems, but rely more and more on a parent sorting it out for them.
  • Do a context check. Try to note where and when these anxieties are at their worst. Could it be in the morning before school or upon arriving home in the afternoon? Maybe it’s related to an unfamiliar location or activity?
  • Do a home environment check. Is the pace too fast? Is the family too busy? Is the morning routine chaotic? Is there too much going on after school? And don’t forget to take a look at what the kids are watching on TV and DVDs – some are quite scary.
  • Check for any attachment issues. Does the child feel safe and secure with you? Are you super critical of them or yourself? Can your family fix the problem when things inevitable go wrong?

These checklists have been adapted from renowned child psychologist Dr John Irvine’s new book Helping Young Worriers Beat the WorryBug. The book is an easy-to-read, practical and fun-filled guide of therapeutic ideas and activities aimed at parents and educators to help children develop strategies to effectively manage their emotions. It is available exclusively from Educational Experience at https://www.edex.com.au/worrywoo-helping-young-worriers-beat-the-worriers-beat-the

How do you know what toys to choose for birthdays, special occasions or for the everyday at home?

How do you know what toys to choose for birthdays, special occasions or for the everyday at home?

As a parent, finding the balance between a toy that is educational and one for leisure can be a tough task. Bricks and mortar stores have shelves lined with plastic laden, heavily branded, television character promoted toys, perfectly arranged at eye level to maximise exposure to the eager little purchaser. Although the durability, longevity and educational value of such toys may be questionable, their appeal to impressionable young minds most certainly isn’t. We would love to have a dollar for every time the phrase “Mum can I have this one” or “Dad what about this” is echoed throughout a toy isle on any given day throughout Australia. This begs the question, when and how do you know what toys to choose for birthdays, special occasions or for the everyday at home? And how do you know your child will enjoy your choices?

Educational Experience believe in dynamic, multipurpose resources that are design to stimulate the brain whilst being used in many and varied ways. Not only does this foster creativity in the child but it helps you get the most out of your money.

Here are our three tips for choosing the right toys for your child:

  1. Safety! It seems like a no brainer but every year hundreds of Australia children suffer injuries from unsafe toys. Choose products that display or have readily available information on safety are the best option. How does this help your child stay interested? Firstly, it means your child will have the toy longer, it isn’t going to be thrown away after breaking early in its journey in your home. It also means your child can relax and so can you whilst they engage with the toy.
  2. Consider your child’s current interests – What have they been non-stop talking about? What are they learning in their preschool or school setting? Extending a child’s interest and bridging the gap between the centre or school and the home can be a great way continue momentum in their learning journey. Purchasing toys that extend your child’s interest will ensure they remain engaged and excited.
  3. Durability, longevity and suitability – seems to be another simple concept but how many times do we get sucked into buying the flashy on trend toys that seem to be gone in the blink of an eye! We can think of at least a handful of flash in the pan toys that appeared around Christmas and are no longer on the radar for children. Aim for age appropriate toys that have the ability to transcend set learning outcomes and allow the child to use their own creativity, imagination and skills. Blocks, loose parts, balls and art and craft resources are all great choices.

(author: educational experience blog March 19 2019)

10 Things You May Not Know About Me….

Do you ever wander what type of person is behind a business? What do they look like? Are they married? Where do they live? Do they like a wine….or two!

This is me..the unedited version…

country girl with a wine

Just a country girl with a wine and the latest Lee Kernaghan CD!

  1. I don’t have a middle name. Something that used to irk me a lot when I was a child. Everyone had a middle name! Now, it’s pretty cool as it shortens the paperwork.
  2.  I love cats and I have 5 moggy’s. Each with their own ‘cat’titude and personality.
  3. I started running my own business with a children’s book Party Plan business called The Learning Ladder as therapy for Post Natal Depression.
  4. I married a farmer and live on a farm in regional SA. We have 2 daughters, Georgia 9 and Hayley 7.
  5. I am 44 years old. Born in 1974. The year the Credit Card was invented which says a lot…
  6. I really love reading! I have been reading novels since I was 8 years old, starting with The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. These days I favour James Patterson, Jodi Picoult and a bit of Stephen King.
  7. My stress relief is gardening. I have a massive garden and I love nothing more than heading out to get my hands dirty.
  8. I struggle with forgiveness as I tend to be a once bitten, twice shy. I find it hard to trust once that trust has been broken. I love deeply and I hurt deeply.
  9. I do not like board games or card games but I don’t mind the odd game of solitaire or sudoko on the ipad.
  10. I am doing what I love. Some days are just pure and utter crap. Some days I question my sanity. Most days I enjoy what  do.  7 years ago I registered my business and here I am with 700 products to my biz.
  11. ….and yes, I do like wine. Any wine but preferably a chilled Sauvignon Blanc……with cheese and crackers….

Raising a Highly Sensitive Child

My Sensitive Georgia…

From birth (which so didn’t go to plan by the way and was pretty much a nightmare from beginning to end)  Georgia has been demanding, highly emotional and very aware of her surroundings and the emotions of people around her.  She was what is commonly called a ‘hard baby’ and as I struggled so much with meeting her emotional demands (she constantly cried and was very unsettled) I felt like a very unfit mother and such a failure….hello PND.

Fixing her World…

Georgia is 9 now.  She is highly reactive to her surrounds, highly emotional and asks lots of questions to reassure herself. My heart breaks as I watch her struggle with anxiety and activities that other children her age do without even thinking, such as joining in on team sports.  I constantly try and ‘fix’ her world without becoming a helicopter mum. I did come to the point where I couldn’t do anymore  and was worrying I maybe doing more harm than good. I needed some direction and new strategies so I sought out professional help which was such an eye opener and helped tremendously.  I think at every session I cried. So yes, my HSC already has had a bout of therapy (aimed at kids) to help her work through some troubling thoughts.

One of the 15%…

Georgia is one of the fifteen percent born as a highly sensitive child. She thrives on routine and does not like changes. Her bedroom is her haven, neat as a pin and full of what is special to her. Easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation and the emotional distress of others, she is generally more mentally exhausted by the end of the day than her younger sister.

Georgia struggles with joining in a large group of people, she prefers her circle of close friends and family. Which is one of the reasons why I signed her up to calisthenics. A safe place where not only can she learn new skills, keep fit but also surround her with other girls her age who have similiar interests but without the pressure to form friendships as they’re all focusing on cartwheels, marching and spinning rods!

Time Out…

School days used to end in tears and anger as all of her pent up feelings, stress and anxiety as well as acting the dutiful calm student for 6 hours of the day were released. After her outburst we generally drove home in stony silence. She needs time every day after school to be on her own and recharge her batteries as being around people exhausts her. This is usually done with her head buried in her ipad, squelching her homemade slime or rolling around on the trampoline with her many cats!

It still makes my blood boil when people say to a quiet/shy/sensitive child ‘oh you’re not one of those shy kids are you?’ as if being shy is seen as a weakness and not socially accepted! Being sensitive is a wonderful trait, it is not an illness or a syndrome. Unfortunately, many sensitive children labelled as too shy, too quiet and too sensitive grow into adults (such as myself)  who believed they were not as socially normal as they’re confident, loud as life counterparts. Parents, teachers and such thought they were doing the right thing by trying to change them into someone they were not (hand held high here).

Handle with Care…

A highly sensitive child needs to have special care so their intense feelings and emotions are understood. Treat them carefully so they don’t feel anxious or a failure if something doesn’t work out. Highly sensitive children are highly creative, intuitive, possess surprising  wisdom and have buckets of empathy for others. All of which I see in Georgia every single day.

I am the first to admit I spend a little bit more time emotionally connecting with Georgia than I do with my other daughter, Hayley, who is more than happy to chatter away to her unicorns or to be quite frank, she prefers to spend time outside with her daddy ‘working’ the farm!

Georgia, like me, will be highly sensitive all her life. There is no ‘cure’ for this and why should there be? Like most labels given out, hsc  just want to be accepted for who they are.

The book The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron is the follow up to the author’s internationally best-selling personal development guide The Highly Sensitive Person

It is the first and only book for parents of highly sensitive children.

It provides parents with insights and information so they can understand High Sensitivity, and help their highly sensitive child thrive in the world.

It is important for these children to be understood so they can be helped to avoid the common traps of shyness and withdrawal that many highly sensitive fall into as they develop.

Contains questionnaire for parents to find out if their child has the traits common in highly sensitive children.

Discusses HSC’s at different ages – infant, toddler, school-age and adolescent.…

Cheap Wooden Toys…..would you buy them?

If you’re like me and you have young kids, well you probably have become quite familiar with toy shops. Whether they be the mainstream ones in shopping centres or the little boutique ones tucked away in country towns. You may also have noticed the extraordinary price difference between the larger stores bringing out their own brands of wooden toys and actual wooden toy brands such as Grimm’s or I’m Toy.

 Image result for le toy van

If you are concerned about the manufacturing, ethics, sustainability and above all, safety behind the toys you buy, well,  the cheaper wooden toys would certainly be waving a red flag! As this is a topic I constantly hear whispered about I decided to dig deeper and do a little research into why they are cheaper….and boy oh boy you may just very well never buy that cheap wooden rainbow again!

Inexpensive wooden toys are manufactured from cheap, mass produced MDF and plywood. Both common woods and both bonded together with toxic glues and other adhesive materials, including the toxic chemical Formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic. Top it off with a shiny coating of some toxic paint and voila! You have a toy that is anything but natural and safe! Many of these cheaper toys are made in mass production in poor quality control Chinese factories where quantities reign supreme, regardless of the toxins belching into the air.

Image result for stacking rainbow

Unfortunately, these manufacturers are very clever at making people believe they are purchasing a natural wooden toy. The packaging looks natural with eco friendly cardboard and pictures of trees giving us the impression we are buying a natural toy. They are stacked up on the shelves of trusted mainstream department stores here in Australia so they have to be safe…right?

The ‘real’ wooden toy companies are deeply committed to producing quality safe wooden toys. They choose sustainable wood sources as well as safer water, soy and vegetable based paints, adhesives and coatings. These companies have nothing to hide. Their websites and packaging proudly display the many awards and certificates they have obtained over the years. They do cost more to manufacture and thus the higher shelf price. They are constantly testing for safety and quality and seeking ways to lessen the stress on the environment and our planet.

Image result for stacking rainbow

Some points to remember the next time you are reaching for those attractively packaged cheap wooden toys:

Cheap wooden toys are made from plywood, MDF or chipboard – these woods contain Formaldehyde (poison that your children will be playing with and most probably sucking on).  They do declare that the amount of toxin is well within the safe zone but still, would you want your child sucking on any amount of formaldehyde? Some good brands do use plywood but they have passed numerous and rigorous safety standard tests.

The cheaper wooden toys will have no website with safety and environmental standards, no tests to show they have passed safety tests and no certificates or awards.

Study the packaging and read the small print carefully – manufacturers are very good at pointing out what they think you need to know and very deceptive at covering up what they need to hide.

Remember this the next time you stand within earshot of me and whisper to your shopping partner, I know where we can get wooden toys so much cheaper………



Wooden Toy Safety

For Peace of Mind….

Toy Safety is the practice of ensuring that toys, especially those made for children ages 0 – 3, are safe, usually through the application of set Safety Standards. There are several regulations and regulators governing the safety of toys in Australia but the Australian Consumer Law managed by the ACCC is the most important of these.

ALL of the toys sold by Wild Woodland Toys have been purchased through reputable Australian Wholesale suppliers who import and distribute high-quality wooden toys to Australian retailers. These suppliers source the products from overseas (mainly China) from ethical wooden toy manufacturers who only use wood from sustainable sources, as well as using safe water, soy and vegetable based paints, adhesives and coatings.  The paints are non- toxic as are the natural oils and beeswax used to bring out the natural wood grain. All of these materials are certified and non- toxic. They undergo constant rigorous testing for safety in accordance with the strict guidelines for Toy Safety within Australia.

Ethical Wooden Toy Companies tend to have nothing to hide and their websites and packaging usually proudly feature various certificates and awards by safety and environmental organisations.

Traditional wooden toys are made of natural materials by skilled craftsmen, they are not mass produced in toxic plastic factories. As wooden toys substantially cost more to manufacture, their retail prices do tend to be higher. Plastic toys contain high levels of chemicals and toxins. Wooden toys are a much safer alternative as they do not contain these. This is particularly important with babies who tend to put everything in their mouths.

Whilst easy and convenient to purchase in mainstream shopping centres, mass produced plastic toys are designed to over stimulate with their noise and visual distractions. Wooden Toys inspire creativity and imagination in children. They create an environment of peacefulness and beauty as children engage in meaningful play. Wood is a natural texture, inviting children to touch, feel and explore. Plastic is not.

Wooden Toys are kinder to our planet as they don’t require batteries, electricity or even the software that the high tech devices require these days.

There are so many benefits of choosing wooden toys over plastic ones and fortunately, these days, we are finding an increasing rend towards this choice!


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Recent reports regarding mould inside Sophie the Giraffe

As some of you will be aware there are currently reports circulating on various media platforms regarding moulds inside Sophie la girafe.

In a statement received from Vulli (makers of Sophie in France)

Sophie la girafe is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected. As indicated on the packaging and inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside. 

To date Vulli has not been contacted by (the bloggers) and were not aware of the situation before reading the article. It is thus difficult for us to comment, as we haven’t had the chance to examine the products.  

Based on the assessment the Sophie la girafe quality department can make from the pictures shown in the article, “it is not possible that saliva could cause the type of mould formation shown in the pictures… which leads us to believe that the presence of water inside the giraffe caused the mould. This situation is often seen with bath toys. 

The safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is our main priority. For the past 55 years, we have always strived to exceed security standards and all of our products comply with the most stringent global standards. 

It’s important to note that, as far as we are aware, these moulds do not pose a hazard, although consumers’ concerns at the presence of the mould are understandable.

The bottom line for consumers is that if they respect the cleaning instructions and make sure that no water gets inside the giraffe’s body, there shouldn’t be any issue.

Worryingly the blog article recommends washing and sterilising routines that would strip Sophie’s paint, silence her squeaker, damage the natural rubber (the blog advice is for plastic toys whereas Sophie is made from latex rubber) and leave potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals stuck inside – along with water that would stimulate mould growth!

Beautiful, unique wooden toys.