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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Growing up with SkipHop, More than Just Toys

Before I became a parent, toys were just toys. Something to be enjoyed and discarded after once a child grows up but now after becoming one I realised the importance of selecting the right type of toys for our child because it’s only natural that we want the best for our children.

How do we know exactly which is the “right kind of toys”?

There are many options in the market these days and I can understand that one can get overwhelmed when walking into the toy store, it doesn’t help especially when your kid goes to every single one of them showing “temporary interest” which we often mistaken as “genuine interest” lol. Trust me, I bought a lot of toys that I thought my daughter was “supposedly” interested in at first sight but never again will I let a 1 year old tell me what to buy HAHA.

Before getting a toy or any baby item, we have to ask ourselves how does it benefit our child in the long run?

Does it help with their motoring skills or mental development? We have to bear in mind that yes, toys are meant to be enjoyed but it also plays an important in our children’s overall development and the right one grows with your family.

ParentTips: Also a warning, please don’t get a toy that plays annoying music that make you want to throw it out after your child keeps pressing it for the 10000th time. I have many mom friends who shared with me their regrets of getting a specific musical toy (hint: underwater predator family) that drives everyone in the house insane HAHAH. Remember your family’s sanity is also important.

For those who followed my Instagram would already know that I am a huge fan of Skip Hop toys because it checks out every requirement box on my list. So today I’ll be sharing a list of my new Skip Hop hauls and why it’s a must to have in your child’s life.

1. Exploring Toys

One of the most important essentials to have in every child’s playroom as it helps to build the child’s fine motoring skills, teaches problem solving even though you might think it’s too early (trust me it’s good to expose them while their young, their little minds are smarter than you think), and practice their hand-eye coordination while playing with their toy.

I’m sure you all know the common traditional toy that fit these characteristics are the ones that comes in a box with shapes cut out on them for the child to insert in and repeat, and the advanced version by Skip Hop called the “Sort & Spin Yeti”.

Comes in 3 different stages depending on your child’s development suitable for 9-36 months old! That is what I call a good toy investment because the last thing you need is for a child to be bored from the repetition. This sort & spin yeti challenges your child to think and learn with every stage and I honestly like stage 3 the most because it helps develops your child’s cognitive skills.

Stage 1: Explore
  • Builds sight & sound recognition
  • Shape buttons light up
  • Yeti Identifies shapes & colours
  • Press hair for giggles
Stage 2: Sort
  • Develops fine motoring skills & hand-eye coordination
  • Yeti Spins and shapes pop out to start sorting game
  • Match shapes into correct spots
  • Rewards with lights, music and cheers
Stage 3: Play
  • Teaches problem solving with positive reinforcement
  • Yeti invites little ones to play a shape sorting game together
  • Interact and test the child’s knowledge in shapes and colours
  • Encouraging prompts and phrases
This “smart toy” comes out with reminder phrases like “are you still there?” if it’s left unattended for a couple of minutes, to help prompt the child back so they can continue playing. We all know how children are sometimes, short attention span like goldfish haha.

It has up to 50+ songs, sounds & phrases variations and even comes out with a dance move once your child has completed the task of each stage! Lil penguin loves it a lot and you can see her dancing together with the Yeti sometimes.

I admit I got abit “shock” the first time playing it with lil penguin because we weren’t expecting the shapes to “pop” out so suddenly but lil penguin didn’t flinch one bit, super brave man this girl XD I’m so glad that we got this, every day we can see improvements with her motoring skills and slowly starting to understand the names of colours and shapes.

Another toy we would like to include in under “explore” category is Skip Hop’s Explore & more selfie phone.

She's mimicking her dad who's always making business calls lol

In this era, it’s hard to prevent our child from being exposed to digital devices but there is another way around it lol, at times like these we need to be smart and an alternative toy like this can keep them occupied while we hide away our phones. This selfie phone comes with a mirror like surface screen (babies & toddlers love seeing their own reflection! That’s how they explore their features), light up face filters and fun music. Kids can stare at the mirror for hours because they think it’s someone else lol, even today we still see lil penguin going up to mirrors and trying to “baby talk” to her own reflection.

2. Gross Motor Skills Toys

Since we have covered fine motoring skills earlier, the next step is their gross motor skills. Usually this focuses on a child’s bigger movements and each stage has its own milestones like sitting up without support, crawling, rolling, etc. Walking also falls under this category and every child is different when it comes to achieving their milestones. Lil penguin was an active crawler up till 1 years old, she couldn’t walk more than 5 steps up till last month while we were back in Malaysia and Though there are some toys or gadget that helps with gross motoring skills I personally do not agree with the traditional kind of baby walkers (the one you put the baby in and let them roll around everywhere) because countless of recent research has shown that it’s more hazardous than beneficial especially when the child isn’t ready to be in an upright position (may cause bowed legs). Trust your child to tell you when they are ready to be on their own two feet : )

Ever since we got lil penguin the 3-in-1 ride on Unicorn toy from Skip hop (there’s a fox design too!), we did notice her progress jumped from there literally overnight kind of result lol. This isn’t your ordinary kind of bike too because its convertible design grows with your baby in 3 different stages. And it encourages in the right way like when lil penguin couldn’t walk more than 5 steps, the bike works as a wagon/ trolley for her to push around as support. Could see she was having fun putting stuff in her wagon and pushing it around the house like a shopping cart, her steps grew more steady and confident too; it was only a matter of days she became a pro walker without the bike’s help and then we converted it to a ride on bike (for intermediate walkers) which she now rides around the house in it.

Bringing it out for the first time

The last stage of this bike is a scooter which is suitable for advanced walkers (usually age 3 & above), that reminds me I’ll need to get her a helmet to use as well when the time comes.
I kid you not that this ride comes with functional light up headlight and up to 5 sounds and melodies, really super canggih man!

3. Trainer Toys

Last but not least we’ll be covering the most advance part of a child’s development which prepares them for when they are older. As I mentioned at the start of this blog post on how does a toy benefit the child on a long run, this is one of it;-

Like it or not, we’ll come to a point in time where we HAVE TO train our children and it can be anything from toilet training to sleep training, etc. We as parents have to find ways on how to make this training session less dreadful and traumatizing for both parties. A traumatized child will make the teaching and learning experience even harder, these are the wise words from all my senpai mom friends which I will share with my readers today.

My goal this year is to toilet train lil penguin and also teach her about nap time because lately it’s been a struggle to put her to bed (always end up I’m the one who falls asleep instead of her) and when she misses nap time, lord help us all.

I’ve also tried holding her butt on our normal toilet bowl for her “business” session but she always ended up crying because she didn’t like the feeling of her butt hanging in the air (sorry child, TMI lol) and I assumed she wasn’t “ready” because I’ve seen other friends training their kids the same way without any issues until we caved in and got something her size. All of a sudden she has no issue doing business in her own personal toilet bowl now lol, that every morning she’ll wake me up just to use the toilet. It’s honestly great progress but that’s just 1 session a day for now as we are taking things slow.

Pressing the flush button non stop lol

You have no idea how much she loves clicking the flush button of her Skip Hop Made for Me Potty after she’s done, the flush sound is so realistic! And the back of the potty there is a wet wipe storage space which can be used for books/ magazine holder too.

As for the next training step, we got a Dream & Shine Sleep Trainer Nightlight also from Skip Hop which is meant to teach children to stay in bed longer, establish a good sleeping habit & routine.

It is also another multifunctional tool (yes I love multifunctional stuff haha), it not only sleep trains, it is also a soother, nightlight and an alarm too! It’s meant for children from 2 years old onwards as they’ll need to understand the colour indication on the trainer (green- time to get up, orange- almost time to get up, red- time for bed).
  • Sleep trainer: Lights & music signal bedtime and get up time
  • Soother: 2 calming sounds & lullaby
  • Nightlight: Comforts with 3 brightness levels
  • Alarm: Wake up with a sweet song and light
Even when the time comes when lil penguin outgrows this sleep trainer, I can always use it for her room’s nightlight and morning alarm. See what I meant by making smart purchases.

Phew, I can’t believe I wrote so much about educational toys in one sitting. But it definitely needs to be said and shared because there isn’t any guidebook out there in this universe that teaches you about the minor yet important things about being a parent and the decisions we have to make (like buying toys lol) but sharing from one’s personal experiences always helps!

I honestly do hope this post helps you guys to decide on what USEFUL toys to get for your kids next time.

In Skip Hop brand, they are all more than just average toys; they are lifelong educational companions!

Note: All children toys & educational tools need guidance as we can’t expect the child to figure out everything on their own so it’s crucial to sit down with them and teach them how to use it. Use this time to also bond with your child.

Yours Truly,

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