Playing card games is a timeless pastime enjoyed by all ages. From improving cognitive and motor skills in children to providing therapeutic benefits for adults, the benefits of card games are numerous. Card games have been around for centuries, with the earliest reference dating back to 10th century China. Though once regarded as luxury items only available to the rich, card production costs have significantly reduced, making them a popular choice for traditional games.

In addition to being entertaining and relaxing, card games offer hidden learning opportunities. Playing with cards can help children develop their motor skills, including dexterity and eye-hand coordination. Cognitive skills are also enhanced by playing card games, from memorization to matching numbers, pattern recognition, and the promotion of complex mathematical concepts. Card games can even foster emotional intelligence, allowing children to take part in friendly competition, while practicing patience, fair play, and communication skills.

The colours and numbers on cards also offer educational benefits, such as improving a child’s numerical identification and comparison skills. Therapists working with children during play therapy often use card games to build a therapeutic relationship, facilitate emotional growth, and even teach new skills. Card games can also be used during online therapy sessions, making them an excellent alternative to electronic games and a healthy way to limit screen time. So why not grab a deck of cards and enjoy the social, emotional, and cognitive benefits they offer?

Fisher-Price Eco Rock-A-Stack turns Learning & Development into an Eco-Friendly Play Time.

Every year, approximately 26.8 million toys are discarded, causing a growing negative impact on the environment. Since many of these toys are constructed from plastic, which is generally believed to be durable, robust, and washable, Mattel is endeavoring to change this trend by creating eco-friendly products, such as the Eco Rock-A-Stack.

Locating goods that are designed with sustainability in mind can be challenging. However, selecting environmentally friendly options can now commence before a child is born, benefiting both eco-conscious consumers and parents seeking safe toys that encourage learning and development.

The classic Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack is recognized for its bat-at-rocker foundation and five vibrant rings that can be grasped and piled. This adorable present package is brimming with hands-on play that fosters dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving abilities for infants aged six months and up.
Now, made from sugar cane, with at least 90% of the ethanol extracted, this popular toy is reducing your carbon footprint and plastic waste impact on the environment. Additionally, as a grasping, stacking, and sorting toy, it helps to cultivate fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities for infants aged six months and above.

Johannesburg, 18 May 2018: There’s something special about a young boy playing with a toy car that his father played with, especially when it’s a toy car that his father’s own father played with. This is just one of several reasons Hot Wheels® is so special: the popular die-cast vehicles and track systems have been exhilarating and challenging kids worldwide for over three generations.

Hot Wheels Car

Today Hot Wheels® is the number one selling toy and vehicle property in the world and this year, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the brand is going into overdrive – with a campaign designed to celebrate five decades of pushing the limits of performance and design.

At the starting line are specific 50th anniversary products including: a Black & Gold Themed Assortment, Zamac Themed Assortment, a Premium Collector Favorites Assortment and a special 5 Pack – as well as distinctive 50th anniversary branding on all 2018 products in the track set range.

This year, Hot Wheels® is also introducing Hot Wheels® City – a system of play, compatible with the others, that allows kids aged 3 to 6 to build a Hot Wheels® world. Parents can expect the infusion of stunting, jumping and looping with imagination and storytelling.

As Hot Wheels® enthusiasts already know, the ‘try, repeat’ play pattern that’s intrinsic to these die-cast toy vehicles awakens the challenger spirit in every individual – helping to boost confidence, inspire creativity, and entrench a sense of good sportsmanship in younger children, older children and lifelong Hot Wheels® collectors.

Hot Wheels Gold Car

It’s also part of the reason that over 6 billion Hot Wheels® have been produced since 1968, with more than 130 new car designs released each year in 150-plus countries. That’s 16.5 Hot Wheels® produced per second, across 20,000 variations.

Known to have partnered with almost every auto manufacturer in the world, Hot Wheels® is licensed to create scale models of many full-size cars, including the use of original design blueprints and detailing. It also has segments in digital, automobile parts, licensed apparel, merchandise, live events, the Guinness World Records and video gaming, where Hot Wheels® cars are featured in some of the biggest games in the industry, including Forza, Need for Speed and Rocket League.

But where did Hot Wheels® come from? It emerged, as many legends do, from a challenge

In 1968 Elliot Handler, US inventor, businessman, and co-founder of Mattel, dared his design team – a rocket scientist and a car engineer – to create a toy car that was cooler and performed better than anything else on the market, so that young boys could experience the thrill of hot rod culture. When Handler saw the first trackable toy car, with its custom design and eye-catching paint job zipping across the floor, he said: “Those are some hot wheels!”

Hot Wheels® have become popular with adult collectors, for whom limited-edition models are now made available, over the last 15 years. The average collector owns over 1,550 cars.

Not the sort of 50-year-old to fall behind on the latest trends, #HotWheels is shared every 30 seconds on social media. No reason you shouldn’t add to that tally right now. #HotWheelsSA #ChallengeAccepted

It’s a magical moment that inspires all kinds of storytelling when kids play with the Barbie Dreamtopia Flying Wings fairy doll. Simply attach one of the two sets of included flying wings to the butterfly wings on Barbie® fairy doll’s back. They snap right in to create a gorgeous double set of wings. Then pull the purple bow at Barbie® doll’s waist four times. When you’re ready to see the wings fly, press the butterfly button hidden on her bodice — the flying wings launch and soar into the air! Their beautiful fluttering motion and colourful designs make the soaring wings look like magical butterflies! It’s so much fun to repeat over and over, especially with two sets of wings.

Kids will love sending their stories into the sky. Barbie® fairy doll is ready to help their dreams take flight wearing an outfit inspired by Dreamtopia Rainbow Cove™. The pink bodice has rainbow stripes and stars, and the fairy skirt has a shimmery print of clouds and rainbows. A pink tiara adds a royal touch for fancy fairy occasions.

Fans of the animated series can recreate scenes, fairytale lovers can play out favourite moments and creative minds can tell fantastical stories because when you enter Dreamtopia with sisters Barbie™ and Chelsea™, you wake up to a world where dreams become reality!

Includes Barbie® Flying Wings fairy doll wearing a tiara with two pairs of flying wings. Doll cannot stand alone. Colours and decorations may vary.

Dreamtopia Barbie

Key features: The Barbie™ Dreamtopia Flying Wings fairy doll lets playtime take off with wings that really fly! Barbie® fairy doll comes with two sets of flying wings that can be attached to the butterfly wings on her back — snap the wings on, pull the purple bow at her waist four times and press the butterfly button hidden on her bodice to see the wings fly off into the air! The two sets of flying wings have colourful rainbow decorations, solid bodies and a fluttering motion that mimics butterflies! Barbie® fairy doll inspires colourful stories with looks from Rainbow Cove™: a pink one-shoulder bodice is decorated with colourful stripes and stars, a fairy rainbow skirt shimmers with a rainbow and cloud print and a pink tiara adds a final fairytale touch. Collect all the Barbie™ Dreamtopia dolls and accessories and let your stories take flight (each sold separately, subject to availability).

Little girls are little for such a short time in their lives. Let them play. Let them dream. Set their imaginations free with Barbie Dreamtopia #YouCanBeAnything.

Dreamtopia Barbie

I like to think that I’m doing my bit to support the local economy. I consciously look at where clothes are made before buying – but then there is the exceptions that I buy because I really like the print… especially for Lexa.

By now you should know that I love Barbie and by extension it means Lexa will never in her life own any other range of dolls that are similar. It will just not happen. She is very fortunate that I am a keen Barbie T-shirt buyer and that she probably has enough for 1.5 weeks without doing laundry.

Not all of them have been bought at retail prices as I am a frequent visitor to Durban’s factory shops… so don’t raise your eyebrows just yet.

You will be surprised to know that the Barbie clothing for your little princess found on the shelves of South African retailers isn’t imported and made in some country in the east – aikona, it is made right on the sunny shores of Durban! Plus if you have time to read about the manufacturing process (below) there are some other interesting facts.

It’s not the same picture for all

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes once a retailer decides they want a Barbie line on their rails/shelves.

Blue Horizon Licencing, the agent for Mattel in South Africa, looks at what worked at the retailer in the past – colours, themes and styles – and work with the retailer’s trend department to work on a new line that could be brand new or incorporate an updated version of a past line.

…but it’s not all up to Blue Horizon and retailers as they receive a collection of artwork and style guides from the US/UK.

Blue Horizon has an in-house designer called Leanne and she will work on a concept and this gets send to the retailer and if they buy into the concept, the design is finalised.

Then it goes to the manufacturer

Leanne then hands over the artwork to Ayanda at TCI in Durban. The TCI team consisting of Ayanda the designer, Lisa the design manager and Lee who is a merchandiser to design a range incorporating  Leanne’s design.

They take into account the pricing range of the retailer, silhouette and styling and then it gets send off to the retailer and Blue Horizon to do final approvals.

Off to the printers

The approved artwork and cut fabric panels are then send to Ocean Blue, the printers, in Durban. They then print the beautiful Barbie artwork onto the garment panels in a variety of techniques on a huge industrial printer with many functions.

Sewing it together

After printing the panels are sent to TCI to be sewn together by seamstresses. Each garment then gets quality checked before being pressed and tagged with the retailer’s swing tags. Then it is send off to the retailer’s distribution centre.

PS… almost everyone working on the Barbie lines are women!

It’s not over yet!

Blue Horizon still has to create marketing material. They arrange for a photoshoot which includes sourcing models, getting samples of the range from TCI and planning the shoot. They have a stylist, usually Erin Smylie from, on set who ensures the models are on point and ready with hair and outfits all day long.

A talented photographer called Kat Grudko ( does the shoot and directs the little models – with Leanne on set to help with funny faces, tickles and jumps to get the girls smiling.


The product can take up to 8 months from initial concept to on the shelves – with multiple lines being developed simultaneously!

And there you have it… the whole product cycle with a Fashionista holding it.

Barbie made in South Africa process

…but this is not all you need to know

Now that we know that the design, print, cut, make and trim are done by South Africans – what about the material?

They do source single knit jersey fabric locally and TCI is now also starting to buy cotton yarn locally – and this is great news for local cotton growers! Unfortunately some specialised fabrics still have to be sourced from international suppliers – like denim and mesh.

So next time you are shopping for Barbie clothing, look at the tags and see that it was made in South Africa!

Small Doll Line and Content Series ignites imaginative play!

South Africa, 18 April, 2018 – Mattel South Africa has introduced a new brand franchise, Enchantimals™, to the South African market. The new range of whimsical characters and animal besties depicts a fantastical world celebrating the special bond between children and animals, as a pet is often a child’s very first bestie. Enchantimals joins Mattel South Africa’s girl’s portfolio of well-known brands offering products and engaging storylines that ignite imaginative play.

Launching with small dolls and playsets, the Enchantimals product inspires stories of friendship, empathy and compassion towards all living things. The characters and stories come to life through a variety of short-form YouTube content and a 60-minute movie on Nick Toon.


“At Mattel we are passionate about introducing properties that are both on-trend and purposeful,” says Andrea Ziella, Head of Marketing and Trade Marketing, Mattel SA. “We’re essentially bringing a popular animal aesthetic inspired by social media filters and marrying it with product and stories encouraging empathy and friendship.”

Who are the Enchantimals?

The Enchantimals™ dolls are a group of lovable characters (who are half animal) who have a special bond with their animal best friends. Each character is complete with her animal sidekick with whom she shares an unbreakable bond of friendship. These pairs of animal besties use their abilities and compassion to maintain balance, peace and harmony amongst all living things. Fans will have fun discovering new characters and collecting them all.

Some of the Enchantimals characters include:

  • Felicity Fox™ & Flick™: Felicity is quick, clever and completely curious about anything and everything. Felicity and Flick love to go exploring together, especially to places they have never been to before.
  • Danessa Deer™ & Sprint™: Danessa is the shy and quiet type whose actions speak louder than her words. Danessa and Sprint’s favorite game is to race each other through the forest to see who is the fastest.
  • Sage Skunk™ & Caper™: Sage has a mind as quick as her feet and she’s a great problem solver. When Sage and Caper aren’t working on a new song together, they’re usually planning some elaborately clever prank.
  • Bree Bunny™ & Twist™: Bree is always up to her ears in creative do-it-yourself projects. Bree and Twist are like twin fountains of bubbling creativity. No one has more fun making something together than they do.
  • Patter Peacock™ & Flap™: Patter is proud of her fashionable feathers, and she loves to encourage her friends to be proud too. Patter may not have the best singing voice, but when she teams up with Flap their songs are always belted out in perfect harmony.

In addition to the above core characters, there are many more to collect to play out your Enchantimal stories.

Enchantimals product ranges from RRP R129.99 – RRP R719.99 and is rolling out to South African retailers nationwide from March onwards. Follow along on the Enchantimals journey on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

When an invite popped into my inbox to celebrate 59 years of Barbie – I couldn’t RSVP fast enough! On the day I arrived late (which is really unlike me) and grabbed a seat right at the front during the presentation. Highlights for me included learning that Barbie clothing is actually made in South Africa (all about that in a next post), meeting up with my Blogger Bestie Miss Chanene from Tonics & Tiaras, eating Barbie birthday cake (woohoo!) and going home with a brand spanking new Barbie and Barbie cup.


What I love most about Barbie is that she isn’t just a pretty doll, she is actually a role model. She shows girls that they can be anything and that it is OK to be different.

I know that you are probably going “show me the pictures”, so here goes, a post full of pictures.

You Can Be Anything with Barbie

Recognise Sureshnie Rider from 5FM? She told us all about how she saved up as a kid to buy her own Barbie and how she used to play with a friend’s Barbie because she didn’t have one.

…but wait, there is more!

Barbie Clothing made in South Africa

Barbie Clothing made in South Africa

The Easter Holidays have arrived. Children across the country are celebrating, no more school for two whole weeks. Meanwhile, moms across the country are waking up in a cold sweat. No more school for two whole weeks.

Whether you work full time, work from home, or stay at home; if you’re a mom, the common childhood complaint of boredom will haunt you these holidays unless you plan ahead.

Blue Horizon Licensing, exclusive representatives of Mattel Consumer Products in South Africa for over 15 years, has pooled its brainpower to bring you five easy Easter holiday hacks to help keep the kids busy.

1) Host a Barbie picnic

Summer is drawing to a close, so take full advantage of a sunny day by hosting a Barbie-themed Easter picnic. Let your little girls invite a couple of friends over, tell them to dress in Barbie pink, and bring their favourite Barbie dolls to join in the fun. Spread a blanket on the lawn, bring out the Barbie tea set, and roll in the Barbie Food Truck. Complete the picture with a couple of jugs of water (or pink milk, if you’re feeling brave!) and a selection of real biscuits.

This picnic combines imaginative play, allowing the kids to order their ‘food’ from the truck – select from hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza slices and a variety of ice creams – with water play, as they pour and drink their ‘tea’. Water play is especially good for toddlers, helping to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. It is also regarded as one of the best starting blocks for building Maths and Science skills, introducing them to concepts such as empty, full, half full, and – most likely – spillage (As a bonus, give them some cloths, maybe they will learn to clean up after themselves too!)

When the picnic draws to a close, surprise them with an impromtu Easter Egg hunt in the garden. You’ll be the most popular mom on the block!

2) Build a Hot Wheels rally track

Nothing entertains children quite like toy cars, so why not host an outdoor Hot Wheels rally championship? This season’s hottest Hot Wheels includes a selection of bikes, monster trucks, drift cars and mini quads – perfect for outdoor terrain.

Build a traditional track using the Hot Wheels track builder, but encourage the kids to expand their play into the garden, using sand and mud to create their own rally courses. Up the ante by introducing Hot Wheels Light and Sound Master Blaster or Hyper Racer, or blast into turbo speed with the remote control Nitro Charger.

Sand and mud play is widely recognised as one of the joys of childhood, not only because the kids are actually encouraged to get dirty, but also for its open-endedness – there really is no limit to what kids can build, no right and wrong, and no end to the entertainment. While some kids simply enjoy the sensation of playing with mud, others will relish the opportunity to build intricate tracks, with obstacles constructed of sticks, leaves and stones. Just remember to dress the kids in old clothing – this game is bound to get dirty!

3) Throw a Slumber party

Chickens aren’t the only animals that lay eggs this Easter – Dinosaurs do too! So why not throw a Barney-themed slumber party? If the kids are too young to sleep over, suggest a ‘sleep under’ – where they come for early evening dinner and fun, but go home to sleep in their own beds. Tell the kids to bring their own Barney, you supply some Barney colouring books and colouring crayons, plus a couple of Barney floor puzzles that they can all do together. End off the evening with a selection of Barney DVDs, filled with music and fun that kids simply can’t resist. Love him or hate him, Barney holds a special place in the hearts of all children, teaching them kindness, manners and the value of good old fashioned fun.

4) Ten Pin Bowling: Barbie vs Barney

Ten pin bowling is all the rage these holidays, perfect for either indoor or outdoor play. And with the Barney Bowling set and Barbie’s Pinktastic Bowling set, you’re all set for a nail-biting Ten Pin tournament. Purple vs Pink. Barney vs Barbie.

Ball skills are another vital building block in childhood development, teaching hand eye co-ordination, motor skills and timing. Hosting a friendly tournament is also a great way to introduce young children to competitive play, teaching them the joy of winning, but also the inevitability of losing, and the importance of being a good sport, win or lose.

5) Take the kids shopping

When all else fails, it’s time to get out the house! Shopping with toddlers always sounds like a bad idea, but this Easter Toy Kingdom stores across the country are hosting a series of Easter Egg hunts. Kicking off on March 31, stores at the East Rand Mall, Gateway, Sandton, Menlyn, V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk, will host a series of eggciting Easter Egg hunts, allowing kids the freedom to run through their favourite Toy Kingdom stores and join in the search for hundreds of chocolate eggs, plus the chance to find one of 2 golden eggs per store – and win an eggstra eggciting prize! The hunt promises to keep kids busy for at least 30 minutes, just enough time for mom to grab a cup of coffee, which is sometimes all you need to restore your sanity. Follow the Toy Kingdom South Africa Facebook Page for more details.