Playbrush Review – Brushing without Tantrums

Playbrush Review | Introduction

Dental health is one of the things that easily gets my attention. I am determined to give my toddler the best I can in this area; unfortunately, mine leaves much to be desired. So, when I was at the Baby and Toddler Show last month, the Playbrush’s poster at the Little Saints UK stand made me pause.

playbrush-at-toddler-show

Playbrush? Brushing, and play? It seemed a bit like an oxymoron, but one I desperately wanted to consistently experience with my toddler. The demonstration was like magic, and it dared me to dream of lovely toddler brushing possibilities.

You see, I didn’t start brushing my toddler when his first tooth came out as recommended; even then, I thought we had it in the bag … that is until he became assertive about his wants and likes.

For reasons I can’t quite figure out, his dad has way more success in getting him brushing than I do. But I need to sort him out sometimes, and I’m fed up with our increasing brushing frustrations, disagreements, and tears.

So, when I stumbled on the opportunity to review the Playbrush, I was definitely game … anything to improve our brushing time is worth the try.

Playbrush review pack

Sent free of charge for my independent and honest review

Playbrush Review | Key features

The Playbrush basically turns brushing into a game, by transforming manual toothbrushes into game controllers via Bluetooth connection to designated smartphones or tablets.

How the Playbrush works

Its brushing games are free for download on iOS and Android devices:

  • Utoothia
  • Utoothia Sky
  • Utoothia Magic
  • Utoothia Paint

Playbrush iOS and Android brushing games

Users control game characters with their brushing movements, to earn rewards and get live brushing feedback and tips, over periods of 2 mins at a time. The device makes this possible by measuring brushing speed, duration, and position.

playbrush-games-reward

This is meant to encourage good oral hygiene to keep parents, children, teeth, and dentists happy; by promoting:

  • Longer (2 mins at a go) brushing
  • Regular (twice-a-day) brushing
  • Better and accurate brushing (all around the mouth)

It aims to transform brushing from being a battleground to an entertaining and effective activity.

It works with existing household items: 95% of manual toothbrushes, micro USB charger plug, Amazon Kindle Fire, iOS, and Android devices.

Also, it can be shared, as each game allows for multiple player profiles, and each device can accommodate up to 6.

playbrush-games-profiles

Lastly, the games comes with cheerful tunes that can be switched off in the settings if desired.

Playbrush Review | Our experience

Design:

The device is convenient and straightforward, and the accompanying games are fun, instructional, varied, and rich.

Its indicator lights turn green when it’s on and red when it needs charging.

The smartphone holder is sturdy and easy to attach.

phone-holder

Size:

It’s the right size for both home use and travel.

Durability:

It has a 30-days money back guarantee, a 2-years warranty, and it allows for multiple users – features of a robust product.

However, it is not waterproof; but I see it lasting for a long period of time, if used as intended.

Usage:

We are using it with our toddler who is just under 3 years of age; though it’s aimed at 3 to 12 year olds. It has however been tested on younger and older children, and I reckon adults will enjoy it too.

It has transformed daddy and son brushing routine, to a family fun time – daddy supporting son to brush, mesmerised son very happy to be helped as he watches his progress on the screen, and mummy eager to read out the positive feedback and tips to commend and improve toddler’s brushing.

paint-feedback

I tell you, I have never seen my toddler so excited about brushing, with or without toothpaste. If he had his way, we would play the games throughout the day.

So far, we’ve tried the Utoothia Sky and Paint games; the Paint one is more age appropriate for us, even though our little one is happy with either.

The Playbrush games are really interactive and engaging; some have a leaderboard for brushing performance comparison. They also give lots of choices, monitoring, and offers oodles of enjoyment, whilst promoting good dental health.

playbrush-games-choices

They really are a treasure trove of brushing fun … a true ‘learning through play’ device; my, I see years of brushing enjoyment ahead.

Playbrush Review | Top 5 likes

  1. Portable for home use and travel
  2. Adds fun and excitement to brushing
  3. Cost effective and good value for money
  4. Instructional and high quality games that embed good brushing habits
  5. Easy setup, use, and maintenance – really clear instruction manual, on-screen guidelines, and online information.

playbrush-games-instructions

Playbrush Review | Overall

The Playbrush is a smart toothbrush add-on to have … a fun way to hopefully prevent future dental problems and costs, whilst helping to develop, maintain, and improve oral hygiene.

It’s use of screen time bothered me a bit; less, not more is what I want for my toddler. But my, the outcomes it offers for 4 mins a day is definitely worth it. And my concern about how to keep my excited toddler calm for bedtime, with his unfulfilled requests for another go after night-time brushing, has not been realised.

The smartphone holder has so far held up my phone, and made it easier to keep it away from splashes and falls.

I also really appreciate the intended and incidental learning opportunities that this device gives.

They come in blue and pink colours (and a green limited Christmas edition with stickers – on sale at the moment). You can buy them from Playbrush, Amazon, and selected retailers. The Playbrush webstore seems to offer the cheapest prices; its currently on sale for £19.99 (usually £26.99). You can also buy their smartphone holder, as well as quarterly or yearly (currently on sale for £8) toothbrush subscriptions.


How do you motivate your children to develop and maintain good oral hygiene?

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My Toddler and My Little Piccolo Review (Stage 1 Pouches)

My Little Piccolo Review | Introduction

I rarely ever bought food pouches when my toddler started weaning over 2 years ago; they just didn’t really ‘do it for me’. They were hit and miss with my little one; some he liked, others he couldn’t stand. So you can imagine my surprise at his many requests for My Little Piccolo pouches since I introduced them to him.

pp

My Little Piccolo Review | First Impressions

It all started when I went to one of My Little Piccolo’s weaning events, with my growing bump in mind. The session was down-to-earth, and they freely shared recipe ideas. I left, very pleased with my renewed confidence about weaning my future newborn to solids; and of course delighted that the samples I took home went down very well with my toddler. I suppose I wasn’t expecting it to be his cup of tea because he’s well past the weaning stage.

So when I was asked to review some of their flavours, it was a definite yes from me.

My Little Piccolo review - stage 1 pouches

Sent free of charge for my independent and honest review

My Little Piccolo Review | Our Experience

Flavours:

We checked out samples of their stage 1 flavours; what a lovely combination of fruits and vegetables, with spices.

  1. Spring Greens with a hint of mint
  2. Peach and Apple with a hint of basil
  3. Raspberry and Apple with soaked oats
  4. Sweet Potato, Beetroot, Apple, and Pear
  5. Cherry and Yogurt with wholegrain oats
  6. Apple and Apricot with a pinch of cinnamon
  7. Mango, Pear and Kale with a dash of yogurt
  8. Banana, Strawberry & Peach with a hint of mint
  9. Banana, Blueberry, and Apple with a hint of vanilla
  10. Squash, Red Pepper & Chickpea with a hint of rosemary

my-little-piccolo-flavours

They have other flavours in their Stage 1 vegetable patch and Stage 2 ranges.

To my delight, the vegetable pouches went down very well with my toddler, including tastes that were new to him.

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Pouch Design:

Of the food pouches’ brands I’ve used, My Little Piccolo’s wins the day: right size for little hands, and attractive illustrations and colours for curious eyes.  The ingredient illustrations served as an empowering learning opportunity for my toddler; making it easier for him to ask for the flavours that particularly caught his fancy at different points. We had such fun moments identifying the fruits and vegetables and helping him to squeeze out every last drop.

pp4

My funniest pouch moment is the day my toddler discovered he could exhale into the pouch to enlarge it. My, the sounds of laughter that rang through our house … he got so excited about it that he ran around the house, blowing into the pouch over and over again … such fun.

Labelling:

The back of the pouch has a lot of information on it, but it’s easy on the eyes and arranged clearly. I also like the fact  that allergens in the ingredients, if any, are written in bold.

Safety:

I don’t allow my toddler access to the caps, a potential choking hazard as stated at the back of the pouch. Even then, I have some toddler craft ideas lined up for them during the holiday … watch this space for picture updates.

My Little Piccolo Review | Top 5 Likes

  1. Filling toddler snack
  2. Organic and nutritious
  3. Yummy flavours and very clear labelling
  4. Supports the NCT and 10% of their profits goes into food education
  5. Promotes current NHS weaning guideline of starting ‘around 6 months’

My Little Piccolo Review | Features

  • 100g pouches
  • 100% Organic
  • No added sugars
  • Eat warm or cold
  • Mostly gluten-free
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Mediterranean inspired

pp3

My Little Piccolo Review | Overall

My toddler enjoyed all our My Little Piccolo stage 1 pouches much more than we thought he would. They are fab for snack times at home, in the car, and whilst out and about. In fact, they replaced a few of his meals during some of his most grumpy moments.

These pouches are ready-made food / snack that I’m happy to buy for my toddler and use when my next weaning journey starts.

I would love to recycle the empty pouches but I’m not sure you can.

Their website has lots of useful information about their products, weaning, recipe ideas, and so much more … including retailers that stock their pouches.

They retail for as cheap as 6 for £5.


How did you / are you finding weaning to solids?

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Tomy’s Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Review and Giveaway

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Introduction

I didn’t grow up with pets and I’m not keen on the responsibilities involved in owning one. However, I cultivate a love of the natural world in my toddler, and I encourage him to engage with animals when we have the opportunity, and within a safe environment.

So, when I was asked to review the Push Me, Pull Me Puppy, I was totally up for it.
Tomy Push Me, Pull Me Puppy inside its packaging

This is the closest thing to a real dog my toddler would ever have in our home. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect too, as he started going to our childminder who has a dog

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | First Impressions

I was very excited to receive this toy puppy, and we weren’t disappointed … my son was ecstatic!

We tore through the thick transparent wrapping around the box, and cut the cords holding its pieces firmly in place.

Everything else was already assembled, except the top half of the lead that we had to key in. The colours are bright, warm, and attractive for toddlers – and the puppy’s eyes are so cute and inviting.

Tomy's Push Me, Pull Me Puppy - doe eyes with bone | @aNoviceMum Reviews

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Key Features

  • Dog bone
  • Water bowl
  • Moving legs
  • Wagging tail
  • Movable ears
  • Doe-eyed puppy
  • Removable lead
  • Music on and off button
  • Moving head with the leash
  • Music plays when walking Puppy
  • Puppy barks and pants when its nose is pressed

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Our Experience

Design:

It is constructed to maximise toddler engagement, and it supports the ongoing development of their cognition and coordination. Its colours are attractive and inviting, it’s smooth to touch and stroke, and just really nice to look at. All these makes it a good stimulus for imaginative conversations and interactions, as well as a fab reference for discussions about caring for animals.

The curved hoop at the top of the leash helps my toddler to securely hold it when he walks the puppy. He continues to improve on how to manoeuvre it to turn the puppy’s head, and master how to control it to push or pull the puppy, depending on whether he is standing in front of the puppy or behind it.

He also sometimes ties his dad’s belt through the hoop to extend the lead – I wouldn’t have thought of that. 🙂

Tomy's Push Me, Pull Me Puppy - lead hoop | @aNoviceMum Reviews

Size:

It’s not too small or too big; its size makes it realistic enough as a puppy that can be walked and indeed engaged with.

Durability:

I also like that the fact that it is not flimsy; I’ve accidentally dropped it on the floor a few times whilst tidying up, without any breakage. Its smooth plastic body makes for easy cleaning if needed; we haven’t had to clean ours yet despite lots of toddler handling.

Usage:

My toddler gave his Push Me, Pull Me Puppy a name on the day he received it – Dog Show. You see, we attended a dog show whilst on holiday in the Summer and we suspect this inspired his chosen name for his toy puppy.

He enjoys walking Dog Show at different points in the day, and he sometimes walks him really fast. This makes for louder noise than we would like, when on our tiled floor. However, I think (unlike his dad) that the noise is bearable, especially as we see his obvious enjoyment of the toy.

The puppy’s walking music – a short upbeat tune mixed with a puppy barking and panting – is repetitive, but not annoying. My toddler switches it on and off at the base of the puppy, as he wishes.

We discovered early on that pressing the puppy’s nose results in hearing the puppy panting or barking – good fun for any toddler.

I use the open box the toy came in as a kind of dog cage, to store it and its accessories when not in use.

I also like the fact that its ears and tail are made of a rubbery material, for a softer feel.

push-me-pull-me-puppy-ears

Engaging with this puppy toy is so easy and comes so naturally. My toddler talks to it, strokes it, and we have conversations about him and his ‘puppy’ with reference to his interaction with our childminder’s dog. We’ve found it to be both a fun and educational tool that promotes learning through play.

It has definitely given us lots of opportunities to encourage positive behaviour towards dogs specifically and animals in general.

This is one toy I wish my son had from when he was one;  and one I see him enjoying for a while to come.

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Top 5 Likes

  1. Portable
  2. Fun and functional
  3. Sturdy and long-lasting
  4. Excellent introduction to pet ownership
  5. Imaginative, interactive and educational

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Product Information

  • 12m+
  • 001 kg
  • 60 x 8.66 x 9.45 inches

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Overall

Reviewing this toy has been enjoyable for us; it’s given us a ‘pet dog’ without the accompanying responsibilities – no dog hairs to deal with, no insurance or vet visits, no outdoor dog walking, no dog sitting plans if we’re away for long etc. Yet, it is a good introduction to pets for our toddler, and it has inspired so many lovely conversations and moments.

push-me-pull-me-puppy-playing

I sighed when I first realised it was another battery operated toy, but I’m pleased that the batteries last long. We’ve been using ours for over a month and the batteries are still going strong.

The Push Me, Pull Me Puppy is a toy that will be enjoyed for a very long time in our home; definitely good value for money.

It’s available on Amazon and other retailers for around £20 to £30; though currently on sale at Amazon for less.

Push Me, Pull Me Puppy | Giveaway

As usual on my blog, you can win this fabulous toy – thanks to Tomy – by accurately completing the options on the widget below.

All the best with your entries, and I hope you found my review helpful.


What do you like most about the Push Me, Pull Me Puppy and who would you like to one for?

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WWW 12 | Looking Beyond the Bars

Wednesday Without Words 12 | Looking Beyond the Bars

Wednesday Without Words 12 | Toddler looking beyond a playground's bards

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My Full-Time Working Mum Holiday Without Tots Groups

Welcome to my post for Day 1 of #12daysofparenting, so lovely to have you from Lady Bug Home & Designs. Complete your giveaway entries through the rafflecopter at the end of this post, for a chance to win some top parenting goodies.

It’s holiday time in a week and I can’t wait. 😁The school holidays are one of the things I really like about my job, but this upcoming one is different from the rest.

  • It’s the cold end of the year
  • The days are much shorter
  • It gets dark quicker
  • There will be more traffic on the roads
  • Shops will be more jam-packed

I’m alright with all these; it’s the end of the longest school term in the academic year and I’m definitely ready for a rest, and some catch-up.

But wait a minute … I have a child … a toddler … a moving and very active little one.

Unlike my pre-motherhood days, this holiday is like no other in the school year. It’s the one where both babes and tots’ groups close for a break, and children’s activities pause.

I was especially gutted to find out that Precious Sparkle’s swimming lessons wouldn’t be taking place during this holiday. I enjoyed taking him swimming during the half term, and I was really looking forward to taking him again, but it’s not to be. 🙁 I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge his swimming instructors their time off. They deserve their holiday, and it is right that they have a break.

It just that this is the only time of the year where there are so many adults and children around with limited daylight and space. Local parks and play areas gets filled up through the day, and the children activity centres that stay open tend to be very busy.

Staying indoors all day, whilst appealing to someone like me with so much catch-up to do, is not an option with a toddler. My house is definitely not big enough for my little person to run around and stretch his body and mind for long periods of time.

So, what I’m I going to do?

My Full Time Mum Holiday Without Tots Groups

Working full-time means that I feel very isolated from the mummy groups world. I used to enjoy hanging out with other mums every week, at my local ‘babes and bumps’ group, then later at my church’s ‘mother’s and toddlers’ group. My monthly breastfeeding group is also really fab.

However, work and life has made these lovely and meaningful pastimes a distant memory. I can’t even remember when last I made it to my monthly group which happens on Saturdays when I don’t have to go to work (though I do sometimes).

So, what do I do?

I can’t go to the mums and tots groups because they’re closed, tots activities are on a break, and I haven’t planned well in advance to meet up with my mummy friends and their children?

Tots groups in all their varieties are fantastic ‘day breakers’. They help to carve out the day into manageable chunks, and support play, eat, sleep routines (however lax) which are essential for parental sanity. I find that my little one and I are more in tune with how our body rhythm works when we have some sort of daily structure to work with.

I mean, I’m happy to work without structure in my day for periods of time during my holidays, but I question whether that’s the best for my little one. It would be so easy to get caught up with all my catch-ups, and I tell you, there are lots of them, spanning my relationships with family and friends, housework, my paid job, and blogging.

It’s crazy really; I seem to have this bottomless list of what needs doing with such a limited time to work my way through them. And whilst ticking them off, more are added. 😓

Another perk of tots groups is that they take me away from what needs doing around me, to especially focusing on my little one, my mothering / our parenting, and building lovely memories outdoors. I’m an indoor kinda girl, but I also love the outdoors. Tots groups definitely help me to engage with it in a ‘belly full of laughter’ kinda way. There is so much pleasure in watching one’s child interact with others and the world around them.

So, it’s back to the drawing table for me, and I hope I draw good. This time last year, my little one was just finding his feet, and I could get away with going with the flow more. He is a year older, and I have to woman up and find ways for us to thrive in this holiday without tots groups.

So, I’m setting myself a challenge …. yeah, I’m giving myself the opportunity, despite the challenges I think this holiday poses for me, to plan for meaningful days during this break for my little one and us. Whatever we do, it wouldn’t involve any reference to the chimney, our #12daysofparenting code word, because we have none at our house for starters. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by; happy holiday and all the best in the new year.

Hop over to Surban Mum for more 12 Days of Parenting first day theme: ‘surviving the holiday without tots groups’, and to gain more entries into the grand prize draw. Be sure to check the giveaway’s full terms and conditions.

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Caption My Capture 1: @ the bottom of the slide

I never knew it was possible to have so many, ‘I wonder what he is thinking’ moments, until I became a mother. I have never felt that much interest and known such extent of intrigue, watching another person running around or being still, until I gave birth. These moments are so special and my days are filled them.

‘Caption My Capture’ is my little attempt to explore what goes on in Precious Sparkle’s head, as he decides what to do and lives his life before my eyes. I know I’ll never know what his unspoken thoughts are, and those thoughts he express in ways I don’t understand. Even then, it’s fun wondering what he is thinking, and I thought it would be interesting to read what you think he might be thinking too. 🙂

So on Saturdays, I’m aiming to share a picture of my little man in action, for you to caption. I can’t wait to read what you think, he is thinking in the captured moments I hope to share.

1. PS bottom slide I took this picture earlier in the month at our local playground. As usual, it was such fun watching him having fun. My focus was largely on his safety as he ran here and there.

However, I occasionally wondered how he decided which equipment caught his fancy, and how long to stay on one before moving on to another. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to stay on the swing longer than he did, though he had shown interest in it.

I was baffled about why he ran moved away from the roundabout many times, only to come back to it again and again.

The slide didn’t get his attention until another toddler showed interest in it, and then it was up and down, and up and down, on and on for ages. I took the picture above during this time.

So, what was he thinking at the bottom of the slide when I took this picture. Here is my caption:

‘O my word, what fun; I’ve got to go slide down again!’

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So, what’s your caption of my capture? What do you think he was thinking in that moment?
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