DUPLO Flo's Cafe Cars 3 Blog

How to Cope With Endless Sick Days

Disclosure: Some of the DUPLO products mentioned in this post were sent to Hannah, free of charge.  

How Quickly Things Change

Just a few weeks ago it seemed like summer would never end. The warm weather and blue skies meant hours upon hour of outdoor fun. Then the cold came, and with it the sickness.

Seemingly overnight the whole of Sydney caught a cold. Trains, workplaces and preschools simultaneously filled with a cacophony of coughs and sneezes.

We were not immune. The sickness found its way into our home and it must have decided it liked it, because it hung around. In particular, it decided that Hannah’s face was a particularly pleasant place to settle in. For close enough to a week she was housebound and miserable.


Entertaining a Sick Toddler

Hannah is most definitely an outdoors kid. She loves the playground, her scooter, the beach… she even loves the wind! So to be cooped up indoors for an extended period is a difficult thing. Still, it had to be done. The conditions outside were less than ideal for recovery.

Keeping a child like Hannah entertained indoors is a challenge. When she was feeling under the weather it wasn’t so difficult, we just snuggled up under a doona and worked our way through her extensive collection of picture books. But when she had enough energy to play… we had to get creative!

Tea parties in the tent were a blast, and playdough played its part. Musical instruments helped to pass a few minutes, but the real life saver was DULPO. Of all her toys, DULPO is the one that Hannah plays with the most.

I get it, because I was much the same as a child. DUPLO (and its older, even more awesome brother LEGO) is the perfect toy. Even in this day and age of battery-operated everything, good old-fashioned building blocks just can’t be beat. They offer so much possibility, they spark creativity and imagination in ways that other toys just cannot match. Even now as a grown man, I still feel a sense of wonderment when I sit down in front of a big box of DUPLO and begin to build.




Build All the Things!

Hannah’s big box of DUPLO provided hours of glorious entertainment. It took our minds away from the sickness and the fact that we were stuck indoors. Together Hannah and I sat and built. We played games and imagined scenarios (Hannah’s favourite was to make everyone eat pizza… mine was to make cows ride the giant slide and land in the back of a dump truck…).

We started to build a house and over the days it became more and more elaborate. Hannah demanded that it be mobile, so delicately we lifted it up and placed wheels underneath. Hannah took great delight in watching me tow the huge contraption behind a DUPLO tractor!

Eventually, we achieved the impossible. We used every single block from Hannah’s DUPLO block on our contraption. It was majestic! A testament to the combined imaginations of father and daughter (not to mention the awesomeness of those wonderful plastic blocks!).

But Hannah was still sick. She was still banned from the great outdoors (and baffling her doctors and parents with the cold that wouldn’t quit).



Flo’s Café – The Cars 3 DUPLO Set

Fortunately, I had an ace up my sleeve. Our Good friends at DUPLO had sent Hannah the Flo’s Café Set from the Cars 3 movie. I had put it aside, as I wanted to save it for the right moment. With Hannah in danger of reaching Jack Torrance levels of stir crazy, I figured it was the perfect time to crack it out.


I wasn’t wrong.


This new DUPLO set was unlike anything that Hannah had played with. Her eyes immediately lit up at the sight of the box and her excitement was palpable as we opened the packaging.

To be honest, I was thrilled too. Opening LEGO packets sparks an unrivalled sense of nostalgia for a childhood that I remember so fondly. The thought that I am, right there in that moment, creating those kinds of memories and feelings with my own daughter is something I deeply cherish.

We built the Flo’s Café DUPLO set in no time at all. For the first time since we began playing DUPLO, Hannah was able to follow the instructions (with my help) and locate the correct pieces. Together we built the cars, then the truck, then the café. Then it was play time!

The new set provided hours of entertainment. Hannah’s imagination exploded as we pretended to use the petrol pump to fill up the cars. Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez zoomed around the upstairs landing, accompanied by the joy-filled giggles of a toddler who had forgotten all about her high temperature and runny nose.

The cars took turns to drive through Flo’s Café and fill up at the bowser. They zoomed up the ramp and into the back of Mack’s trailer. It was pure joy for daughter and dad, a shared moment of bonding over play that is so precious.


DUPLO Flo's Cafe Cars 3


Hannah is the kind of child who sometimes likes to mix her imaginative play with a good dose of realism, so she grew particularly fond of using the bowser to refill the cars. She even made a “blub blub blub” sound that increased in pitch as the refuelling progressed.

Then it was time to refuel the truck. I had parked Lightning McQueen in the trailer of Mack, and I was ready to go on a long drive around the room. Hannah, however, insisted that we needed fuel. I don’t know how, but she seemed to know that trucks require large amounts of fuel. While I waited (impatiently), Hannah diligently sat and pumped petrol into the truck… for a solid five minutes.

Finally we were refuelled and ready to go. Or so I thought…

It turned out the truck needed a thorough oil change before it was ready for its journey. Once again I waited (and waited and waited) while Hannah diligently poured a substantial amount of imaginary oil into the vehicle.

Once Hannah was satisfied that Mack was roadworthy, we were off! Our adventures wore long and full of fun. The new set of DUPLO was just what Hannah needed to take her mind off feeling sick and being housebound. We had a ball together, it was brilliant!


DUPLO Flo's Cafe Cars 3


Thankfully, Hannah is now back to her usual cheery self. We have been able to leave the house and find some fun in the great outdoors. Hannah’s new favourite DUPLO pieces have integrated with her other DUPLO and it is still played with daily.

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Play with DUPLO Blog

The Importance of Play

2 year-olds are fascinating. It seems like every week since Hannah has turned two, she has made some kind of drastic leap forward. Her vocabulary has exploded, her comprehension is unbelievable, her motor skills are refined and most recently, her imagination has gone into overdrive.

It really is amazing. As I reflect on the baby she was, not so long ago, I marvel at how rapidly she changes. Back then it seemed to take an age for anything to happen. It took 7 months for her to roll over, 7 MONTHS! Yet here we are – every morning when Hannah wakes up, I have no idea what new development I’m about to witness.

Read more “The Importance of Play”

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Hannah on Globber Scooter in the park Blog

My Sunday Photo – Scooter in the Park

My Sunday Photo for this week is of Hannah’s first ride of her scooter in the park

On Friday, Hannah’s new Globber scooter arrived (you can read my first impressions post here). naturally, that meant that we were destined to spend a large portion of our weekend on the local bike tracks.

It was a slow start to Hannah’s scooting career, mainly due to a reluctance to don a helmet, but once we got going, there was no stopping her (at least until she’d had enough of the helmet again)!


Hannah with Globber scooter ride in park helmet


Hannah covered a solid distance for her first ever go! I would estimate it at about a kilometre in total of riding. She also then walked a further half a kilometre when she decided that she wanted to be like mum and push the scooter by the handlebars. No wonder she was tired by the time we left the park.


Globber scooter in the park pushed by toddler


Hannah was happy to push herself along for a little while, but the squeals of joy really came out when I started pushing with a bit of speed! She loved experimenting with her feet by dragging them along the ground, or placing her foot on the wheel to feel the movement (see the picture below). I don’t think that pair of socks will ever be the same. As for the shoes, they may not be long for this world…


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Globber Evo 5-in-1 Blog

Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 Scooter – First Impressions

A few weeks ago I wrote about Hannah’s frustrations at the playground with other children’s scooters. Every time she saw an unattended one, she was drawn to it like a magnet. It was obvious to Emma and I that it was time for Hannah to learn to ride. Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones who felt that way. The awesome crew at Globber read that post and they felt that they had the perfect scooter for Hannah – the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter.

Today, that scooter arrived. Conveniently, the delivery came while Hannah was having her usual nap. That gave me a few moments to put the new ride together and to have a close look.


Quality – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

Regular readers of Blog of Dad know that quality is very important to me. Years of wasted money spent on cheap products that just don’t last have taught me that quality is half of the value equation (along with price). My first impression of the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter is that it is a well-constructed, quality piece of gear.

The first thing that I noticed when it was delivered was that the box had some weight to it. Not so much that it would be unwieldly for a small child to use, but enough to fill me with confidence that it wasn’t some kind of cheaply made plastic-fantastic.

Upon opening the box, I could see where that weight came from. The scooter came in five separate parts, each one made out of metal or sturdy-feeling moulded plastic.


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter in box


I quickly built the scooter. The instructions in the provided booklet were fairly basic, but they weren’t really even needed. The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 was intuitive and easy to put together.

I stood back and admired my handy work. The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter is a pretty spectacular piece of equipment, especially in the hot pink. Hannah will certainly be seen coming as she flies down the bike track at the park!


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter side view


I gave the scooter a little push around the living room. All three of the wheels glided smoothly over the tiled floor. It took a little while to get used to the steering. The two front wheels are attached to ball bearing-mounted directional pivots, but they don’t “turn” as such. In the configuration where the scooter is controlled by a parent pushing, I often found myself having to lift the handle up, which brought the rear wheel off the ground. Once I had figured that out, I was able to get the scooter to pivot on the spot. I imagine that this will be less noticeable out on the wide-open bike tracks of the local park.


Versatility – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

The Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter has three main configurations – parent-propelled sitting, self-propelled sitting, and standing. The name 5-in-1 appears to come from further variations to these configurations (handlebar hight adjustment). As this is all very new to Hannah, I set her new ride up in the parent-propelled, sitting position.


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter handlebars


I really like the versatility of this design. It means that we should be able to get many years of use out of it. According to the advertised specifications, the scooter can hold 50kg in the standing position. Again, it comes back to the idea that this scooter is built to last. It will grow with Hannah and help transition her from passive rider to actively in control. Not that she plans to be passive for long…


Toddler Magnet – Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter

As I said at the start, Hannah was fast asleep when the package arrived. Imagine her surprise when she came downstairs after her nap and saw this glorious pink, grey and black contraption sitting right there on her play mat! The same type of contraption that she had been so highly coveting EVERY SINGLE TIME we went to the playground in the past few months.

She sat in her high chair and drank her milk (nothing gets in the way of her after-nap milk), but she was pretty quick to discard the accompanying biscuit. Hannah demanded to be released from her high chair, and it was no surprise where she went immediately following her release. The shiny new scooter had all of her attention and, unlike at the park, she was free to touch it.


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter rear wheel


Hannah hesitated for a second. She had been told all too often over the past month that she was not allowed to touch these things. But the reality of the situation quickly dawned on her. This was one of her very own. She was allowed to touch it! Even better, she was allowed to sit on it!

Hannah began to clamber aboard. The set-up was pretty easy for an 18 month old to understand (although she did initially try to mount it backwards). She needed a little help to begin with – I had to hold the handlebars to stop the scooter from moving as she climbed on.

Within seconds she was on, and all-too-late I realised my mistake. Once Hannah was aboard, there was no getting her off. Not only that, but to compound my mistake I began pushing her around the living room. I figured that was the end of any independent play for the afternoon – so long pile of washing that I was supposed to fold, good luck dishwasher that needed emptying. None of that was getting done now. For the rest of the afternoon, my life had a single purpose, to push an ecstatic toddler around the living room on her new favourite object.


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 seat


Every time that I stopped pushing, a loud protest was issued. How dare I ruin the fun?

That was until Hannah realised she had the power of self-propulsion. Never one to stay too passive, Hannah soon figured out that she could run her feet along the ground and in doing so, gain control of the beast. Just like that I was released from my pushing duties. I was free to return to folding washing while at the same time keeping an eagle eye on Hannah as she explored her new device. She wasn’t too hard to observe – she hadn’t yet figured out how to turn the thing, so she had a pretty limited range.


Safety First

If the wild Sydney winds don’t stop us, it’s pretty certain that we will spend a decent chuck of this weekend at parks with great bike tracks. My first task for tomorrow morning will be to head down to the shops and buy a helmet. It is important to remember that even on a well-designed unit like the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter, there is an inherent degree of risk. After all, that’s actually part of the fun.

Even with the stability of three wheels, the scooter has the potential to tip, or Hannah may simply just fall off. A helmet is an absolute must, as will be very close supervision. I think the ability for a parent to control the movement of the scooter via the attached handlebars goes a long way to mitigating some of that danger in the learning phase.


Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter


Stay tuned…

As soon as we manage to get the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 into the wild (the bike track), I’ll report back. I’m itching to get outside and give it a propper go, and judging by the amount of attention Hannah is giving the scooter, so is she! Hopefully the Sydney August winds ease up just a little bit so that we can get out and about.


Disclosure – Globber provided Blog Of Dad with this scooter free of charge, for the purpose of review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views. They are based on my experiences with the Globber MyFREE 5-in-1 scooter. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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The Train Lives Blog

The Train Lives!

Regular readers may remember the devastating events of a few days ago, where a large amount of water was accidentally used to drown one of Hannah’s favourite toys – her battery-powered train. At the time, it appeared as if the train was well-and-truly ruined. The circuits shorted, controls rendered useless by the unfortunate spillage.


At the time, I proclaimed that:


I’m no electrical engineer, but I’m pretty sure that water-induced short-circuits are irreversible – Dad, 2017


It turns out I was absolutely correct… about not being an electrical engineer.


The Moment of Truth

Last night, in an act that some may describe as desperately optimistic, I retrieved the crippled train from its resting place on a high shelf in the laundry. I had placed it there on the night of “the incident”, in the vain hope that a good drying would magically fix the problem of the haywire circuit. I know, it sounded stupid to me at the time as well.

Except that it wasn’t. Through some kind of electronic wizardry, the favourite toy fired into life as if it had never received its impromptu shower.

I held my breath. Could it be possible? Could the simple process of fully drying the train have been enough to save it from becoming yet another burden on the local landfill?

I pressed a button. It did exactly as it was supposed to. There was no random noise, no sudden start-stop of the wheels. I pressed another button. Another prefect performance of its allocated task.

The final test remained – the smoke-stack. In the moments after the drenching, the smoke-stack refused to register at all. It appeared to be the key source of all the issues.

I took a few deep breaths. A bead of sweat formed on my brow. This was it. This was the moment. Would the train miraculously work as it was supposed to, or would my dreams come tumbling down in a landslide of malfunction?

The previous eight months flashed before my eyes – the excitement of Christmas Day, the joy on the grandparents’ faces, the first time Hannah explored the functions of her new toy, and every press of every button between then and now.

I closed my eyes and pushed down on the green stack.

“1,2,3, chug along with me!” exclaimed a familiar female voice. On it went as the wheels began spinning.

I opened my eyes and looked on in amazement. The train performed its act, as if nothing had ever happened. I pressed the stack again. As it had always done, the song and wheels abruptly stopped with the accompanying hissing sound of a steam locomotive stopping at a station.

I pressed the stack again and once more, off it went, this time on an ABC song.

The train lives! It is as good as it has ever been!

DIY Daddy
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