Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Heritage brands still mums favourite

We recently asked our mums at MumPanel what brands and toys do they trust the most and it was the heritage brands that won through. Clarks shoes, Fisher Price and Lego were at the top of the list. Many mums had grown up with these brands and continue to trust their 'knowledge' and 'adaptation'.

The best heritage brands are the ones that continue with the classic well loved aspects of their brand but improve it and evolve their product and service to the needs and wants of todays kids and parents. For example, lego's well loved building brick is now part of a Star Wars kit or Duplo farm set. Building bricks with characters and scene settings that add another dimension to the child's imaginary world. Clarks still has the trusted fitted shoe but is now online, in Mothercare and has designs that kids want as well as mums.

Brand heritage is an advantage that should be maximised in the right direction.

Monday, 26 July 2010

iPad for kids

I was an iPad sceptic at first. 'Who wants to read lengthy books on a screen', I thought. I have trouble reading emails on screen without printing them out!
However, the Apple iPad is far more than a reading and reference device, as was always going to be the case. For our household its main purpose is for applications, specifically playing games. Kids application games to be precise!

My 3 year old loves the iPad, she adapted to touch screen technology far quicker than me and plays fun and educational games with such dexterity and ease. Animal matching pairs is one of her favourite games, which incorporates sound as well as picture. She is learning the alphabet, colouring in pictures, creative drawing and playing games where you need to move the iPad to get the jelly to roll. She does everything by touch. When we sit at my laptop together she wants to touch the screen not the keyboard or the mouse. The way forward I presume.

Plus when I talk to other parents and mums with iPads I am hearing the same things, it is the children that use it more than the adults at times! I used to think the iPad was going to be a mid-life male dominated gadget but I now see the massive potential for the younger generation and their parents (and the games,TV and toy brands!).

Childrens games and applications on the iPad are going to be massive, there is an eager young audience out there ready and waiting (and parents ready to please and purchase!). I'll certainly be one.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Houdini Toy Packaging

It was my 3 year olds birthday last weekend, I'm still recovering and finding ingrained jelly on my carpet.
Anyway, as a spoilt little lady, she received toys galore. I was her personal gift opener, when she couldn't be bothered to unwrap. However, the unwrapping was the easy part. Actually getting into some of the boxes and detaching tangled wire took much longer, with spells of swearing heard.

Character (Peppa Pig) toys seem to be the worst, there is more wrapping than toy. I needed pliers to detach a car from it's packaging and didn't have a screw driver small enough to remove odd round plastic bits from the underneath. Why the need for this Houdini packaging?

Some mums I spoke to recently said that opening a toy should be fun, part of the experience instead of having to keep your child away due to the small sharp packaging parts and spiky wire.

My daughter received a Lego set and it was so much easier to open, the box is in itself a carrying case and she was diving into it in seconds with no left over bits to hastily pick up.

I know perhaps practicality of packaging is not on the forefront of toy makers minds but if it is too difficult to open it can put parents in a bad mood!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

School Gate Election?

It has been quoted a number of times that the election will be decided at the school gate?!
Now at my school gate we have recently been talking about Easter eggs, the terrible weather, how our children like growing vegetables but no political utterance in earshot.

Us mums do not talk politics at the school gate. I could hazard a guess at my fellow mummy's political voting but am certainly not going to talk about the new razzle dazzle all-promising policies with my fellow picker-ups in the 5 minutes that I have at the nursery gate!

In fact, when I get a minute to grab a coffee with one of my mum friends, the topic is not touched. Many of my mum friends may be able to convince me to buy the latest pair of Clarks shoes but they will not change my mind on my political stance.

Deciding what Party I vote for will not be based on whether Gordon Brown likes KitKats or whether David Cameron has problems with his WebChat. Please! I am a mum but my political outlook is wider and more grounded in the bigger picture of the future.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Childrens Outlook

Us adults could learn a thing or two from our little ones. I think we sometimes have to just listen and watch a little more, not what they do and say, but observe their reactions and why they say the things they do.

My little girl was having such fun wheeing down our local playgrounds slide, a bursting beam on her face - fully enjoying the moment. It made me realise. I need to stop multi-tasking so much and just envelop myself in the moment more, the enjoyable moments.

Also, after she just finished telling me that, ' I was a good girl for standing away from the slide and explaining to me that the rungs were made out of metal, I asked her if she was going to be a teacher when she grew up. Her reply was priceless. 'mmm, yes....and a fairy!'
All options open, no holds barred!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Baby toys for Preschoolers

It is my wee daughters 3rd birthday in a months time so I am on the hunt for presents. She wants toys, not clothes. A scooter, like her friend Amelia’s and it has to be red.

Searching for toys started me thinking. Many toys that are aimed at 6 months and above look babyish but their functionality is actually aimed at the older toddler or preschooler. Any mother of a toddler knows that counting and learning letters are learnt properly from 2+ and the alphabet is not learnt until around 4 years old.

A friend of a nearly 4 year old absolutely adores her Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Teaset. It’s recommended age is 6 months+, so most mums of children over 2 years would actually by pass it. Yet, it is preschoolers who are all into imaginary play and organising tea parties with their teddy bears. So it is ideal. I am sure the people at Fisher Price are trying to capture their eager market early on but by doing so are actually missing out on their captive market.

Our children grow up soon enough so fun toys are in my little ones birthday basket.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Trolley dash with Pooh!

I do find the time to do a supermarket shop sometimes (thank goodness for the Co-op the rest of the time!). I often forgo the Internet shop, as I like my hot chickens and fresh veg, and venture to Morrisons with daughter in tow.
Now my daughter uses her trolley time to eat and drink as much as she can during the aisle dashing. Fine by me as it keeps her occupied! Her menu is often - pasta from salad bar - bun - Organix crisps and drink. However now she is spotting her favourite characters on goodies her menu is becoming more specific. I am now feeling the effects of pester power from a nearly 3 year old! She wants Winnie the Pooh blackcurrant juice, Peppa Pig Easter Egg and Scooby Doo biscuits. The visual power of these characters persuades many a mum to put, normally by passed products into their trolley. Katie even persuaded me to buy Winne the Pooh kitchen towel, twice the price, but she wanted Pooh to soak up her spilt juice! I wanted an easy life!