Why don’t we have both? {review and giveaway}

by Shae on November 20, 2012

Electronic toys or open ended toys? Hi-tech or lo-tech? Which toys should you buy for your kids?



My kids are lucky to live in a time where they have access to both amazing creative wooden toys as well as awesome electronics. I think variety is a good thing and we have all manner of things in our house for the girls to play with,

We have an iPad and home made wooden tree blocks, a Nintendo DSi and click clack cars, a playstation 3 and a play mat.

And all of these things get played with.


So when I was lucky enough to be offered two products on either end of the scale to be reviewed-I said yes to both.


Eco Toys gave me a set of the Green Hat Workshop Planks to try after me “suggesting” (read pleading) that they let my kids have a go because they looked so ace,


The toy is simply a box of 100 planks of identical wood made from sustainably farmed pine. Now I’m going to make a pretty big statement. This is one of the best toys we have ever played with. Really.

My big girls have spent HOURS making different structures and seeing who can build the tallest. They have been learning a lot of patience and tenacity as their structure falls down and they have to rebuild over and over. They have also been making roads, stables, weapons and pony food out of the planks. Harper has enjoyed making lines as well as smashing her sister’s structures down-not really my favorite.

It’s not really a take-anywhere toy and you do need a stable surface to build on. I also recommend getting the biggest box available as we’ve run out of planks a few times mid construction (guess what Tannah is getting for christmas?).

Open-ended-we love it.


Check out the Eco Toys facebook page for news and specials



We were also given an VTech InnoTab2 for the girls to have a go of. I said yes to this one as I knew my kids would love it. And they do.

It comes with a touch screen that my kids are familiar with from using an iPad and they quickly figured out, with no outside help, how to navigate the built in games and make profiles for each of them. Even Harper, at three, had no trouble.

I’ll tell you what has been used the most. The camera. It has a twist camera that also takes movies with sound. I’m sure that most of the onboard memory has been used up with movies Tannah has made of herself rocking out.

It does run on batteries which is a massive drawback and you could spend lots of additional money on games. Though I must say my kids are not yet bored with the ones that it comes with.

Hi-tech-we love it.


And I’m going to give away an InnoTab 2 to one of my readers! It’s worth $179.95 and would be a great christmas present.


All you need to do is tell me you favorite childhood toy and why. I’ll choose the best answer this Friday 23/11/12 and notify the winner by email so make sure I can contact you.


Disclosure- I was given a set of green Hat Workshop planks and an InnoTab2 for my kids. No payment was received and all opinions are my own

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Karisma November 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

Oh wow, what an awesome giveaway. A great xmas present indeed. I know several little ones who would just love this.

I would have to say my favourite thing as a child was books, however that not really being a toy I will say next was my baby dolls. I was one of those kids who could never have enough of them and loved each and everyone of them so much that when I grew up they were in such perfect condition that they were passed on to many other little girls to enjoy. We only kept my first one for our own children and she is still going strong after being loved by many little girls. She has inspired nurturing, sewing, knitting, crochet, hairdressing and much more in my own children and my friends, nieces and nephews. She has been the victim of a little tattoo artist and scrubbed clean again. At over 40 years old she still brings joy to many children my life. :-)



Kel November 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

What a great giveaway!!

My favourite toy was a Dutch cabbage patch doll. She had red hair in piggy tails and for some weird reason some sort of nurses outfit?? Her name was Judith and we used to go everywhere together. We moved around a lot when I was a child so she was my go to friend. I’d put her in my flowered basket on my bike and we’d pedal the neighbourhood.



Stacey November 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

My girls love the camera on the DS too.

My face toy was weirdly a shitty little keyboard (like it was 30cm long) that had a microphone and taught me how to play “When the saints” and such classics. I played it for hours on end. I’m sure my mother hated it.


Stacey November 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

And of course I mean my FAVE toy. Gah.


sally November 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Those blocks look awesome, but the vtech sounds great too. Anything to keep my kids away from my ipad I say. My favourite toy as a kid I think must have been my “Sale of the Century” game, it is certainly the thing I remember getting as a present.


Alisa November 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Those plants are a great idea.
Those flash kids tablets are so cool.

My favourite childhood toy was a sylvanian family log cabin. It was my pride and joy.


Charissa November 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

Both those toys look awesome, Im thinking that I need a set of those planks so i can build some interesting sculptures for myself :0)

As a kid, my brothers and I loved Lego. It was the one toy that we always played with. We even spent our school holidays building Lego versions of our hometowns. Now as an adult, both my husband and I collect Lego, and our boys have a ridiculously large amount of sets. I get such happiness out of them showing me their new creations and still love to just sit down and build :0)

Thanks for another great review Shae


Jackie November 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

PLANKS! Love ’em! I would say from personal experience that the box of PLANKS pictured is enough for one child as a starter. They make a great family activity for holiday gatherings, too. The Green Hat guy is a really nice guy! Look for his free family workshops around Melbourne and beyond. I’m not sponsored, I just love un-structured toys for children of all ages.

My favorite plaything as a child was probably my bicycle.


Susan November 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm

My favourite toy was little smurf figurines. I had endless hours of imaginative play in the 80s with those little figures. They played in the mud, bath, bush, carpet and I could take them anywhere. The kids favourites would be Lego. Hours are spent creating new structures and worlds with little coloured blocks.


Sarah November 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

My favourite was a scooter than had rubber tyres so you could ride it on just about any surface. Oh, and my Speak ‘n Spell was pretty cool too.


Beck November 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I like the way you encourage your kids to play with a variety of things. It’s so hard to choose a favourite childhood toy or game. I loved my Fuzzy Felts, & my doll house, my knitted horse & my skipping rope. But I guess my all time favourite was Helen Holiday. She was a doll with lovely hair and my Nan made her a whole wardrobe of sweet clothes. They all fitted in a red cardboard suitcase. Thanks for the ace giveaway, I’m a new reader & I love reading about your world x


Nic November 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Ohhh I would love to win this for my daughter, she would adore it. And it would give me a much needed break from her shouting and tantruming….oh boy….

My fav toy as a child was definately my care bears LOL I remember having to kiss them all goodnight everynight, or I couldn’t go to sleep. My mother in particular remembers being dragged to an animated care bears movie haha poor mum.


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