Music + Kids + Outdoors = MAGIC!

It’s a simple equation really, and one that each piece is as integral as its counterpart. Magic is something we all search for, most often as children and more necessary as adults – What is MAGIC? it’s happiness, adventure, excitement, friendship, the smell of freshly baked cookies.

But it’s also something crucial and important for children’s development, giving them healthy, creative surroundings to grow and be nourished in. (It’s also a huge piece of the PlayZone puzzle, and why we work so hard to create something that encourages and grows along with that magic)

Time for a maths lesson…. Let’s break down this equation:


This is a big one, and something that begins with human nature. We thrive on it, but not only that, it sparks development from day one. Studies upon studies have been done on music inside the womb, as children grow and the benefits for those with disabilities. And though with anything neurological we have a long way to go, we can all pretty much agree that music makes us feel beyond what we experience. Music encourages us to dance, to smile, to cry, to get angry – and it encourages us to teach our children that.


Another part of life that began with the beginning of us – we’ve always been outside. Just because we’ve dictated the shift indoors as we’ve gone through the generations, doesn’t mean we should forget where our roots came from. In the mud and forests and fields of exploration, this is where we still have a chance to get back to. And if we need to entice the next generation somewhat? Let’s have some fun doing it!


They’re why we’re do everything we do. The laughing and crying included. Let’s do a little more for them, let’s create an equation to nourish their adventurous nature. Let’s get them outside to feel the sun on their face, let them play music, dance and sing. Let them create MAGIC.


Make A Wish – Hope, Strength & Joy for Kiwi Kids

Make A Wish Foundation are one of those causes that you can truly get behind – one that you know that the little you do for them goes such a long way.

Make A Wish Foundation grant wishes of children age 3-17 with life threatening medical conditions to bring hope, strength and joy at a very challenging time in their lives.

Here at PlayZone we’re extremely proud to be a part of those children’s journey. As parents and members of an amazing culture of support and community, we understand what a difference a child’s smile can make.

Over the years we have provided Playgrounds and adventures for Make A Wish kids and we can’t wait for the years ahead. As much as we’d love to hope for the health of our children, we understand that when that doesn’t happen, Make A Wish with a little support from PlayZone can make a difficult road a little more magical.

Head on over to Make A Wish Foundation to see what you can do.

Here’s the latest addition to the PlayZone Make A Wish story – Jamie’s fantastic new HILLARY Veranda Playhouse with all the trimmings!


Dream Big, Feel Inspired – How do we emulate innovation?

I know that sounds like a ridiculously jargon filled sentence but it is at the base of everyone’s desire to improve and create. To put it simply:

How do we match or surpass the things that inspire us?

Here at PlayZone we take inspiration from so many places:

  • The Living World
  • Children Led Play – What do kids actually enjoy doing?
  • The New Zealand Attitude – A little corny I know but we’re pretty special in this corner of the world
  • Architecture – Both man made and natural
  • Science, Pioneering and Technology Advancement
  • History, Exploration, Adventure

In all honesty the list could take up a fair amount of room. So much can motivate and encourage our ideas, so much more can plant new ones. And I understand that the Great Kiwi Playground isn’t the outcome for everyone’s inspiration – But it’s ours. We take great pride in it in fact. That and it’s pretty gosh darn fun too.

Inspire: Treehouse Edition

2015 Toy Awards – Innovation, Originality, Fun

My husband and I had the immense pleasure of heading to Germany recently to visit the annual Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair (Try saying that 10 times). This place is huge, it’s German, it’s exhausting, but it’s also tremendously exciting. And there is a community of like minded toy enthusiasts who come from all walks of life – but in all honesty, no matter the creed or line of their suit, every person there was living their childhood dreams.

The best part? Innovation. It’s a catch phrase term but it’s incredibly important. And when it addresses the development of future generations it’s mind blowing. Part of the dedication is awarding new and developing toys with the Toy Award. The criteria? Play fun. Originality. Safety. Workmanship & quality. Comprehensibility of product concept. Prospects of success in the shop.

Check out the winners to the 2015 Toy Awards

Baby & Infant (0-2 years)

Pre School (3-5 years)

School Kids (6-10 years)

Teenager & Family (11+ years)

Thursday Inspiration – Lighting an Industrial Obsession

These. These are beautiful. Thursday Inspiration is all about this – Beauty in the structural, industrial and re-loved/re-designed.

Thank you to the lovely team at Recyclart who got me onto these, and thank you +Brauer  for the creative energy and the passion to create these.

French designer +Brauer lives and works in Paris. For 20 years, +Brauer has created many album covers for French and international artists and works in parallel as a visual painter, photographer and sculpter.

+Brauer carefully selects vintage pieces from the industrial past, marked by time and whose patina has been molded by years of manual use. He admires the beauty, sometimes hidden, of these abandoned parts, he changes their appearance, sculpts them, and incorporates light sources into their structure before assembling them to create a unique and poetic work. More than their technological features, he tries to reveal the original, almost primitive, form of the robots he creates.

Sensory Play is MESSY PLAY (And we need more of it)

This is sensory overload at it’s greatest – The ability to experience something with everything a child has. Touch, smell, sight and of course (and best of all) taste. Sensory play, or for what it needs to be called, MESSY PLAY! This is what childhood is made of but it’s also where development blossoms in children.

With tactile and sensory play kids have the chance to control their level of experimentation. I’m highlighting this for a reason – a very important one. Not only are these snazzy catch phrases for the modern parent, these are the building blocks for amazing learners, pioneers, adventurers, explorers. 

Please, just this once, let them throw glitter bombs, let them pour gloop into their hair, let them paint using their entire body.

Throw away your own inhibitions with this one and get messy too! There is nothing quite like the unimpeded joy that comes from mixing slime between your toes, and to be honest you feel like you’re doing right by your kids. That you’re doing a good job.

Also, go and read up on this, there is an entire world out there dedicated to messy play, and a movement of parents who hold no inhibitions that for today, a riot of colour and mess has taken over.

Take a look at these great Blogs who’s time is spent up to their necks in sensory fun:

Upcycling – What to, how to, why to

The term Upcycling sounded like a fad to me, an era of  DIY hipsters that took someones off casts and painted it another colour, or the team on the Recycling Board decided they needed a new direction. But like any good Marketer and Blogger I researched, in fact the now ever-growing Pinterest board can attest to my researching, and I’m excited to say I’m a groupie! A fan, a beholder, a witness to a movement that I can agree with.

UPCYCLING – What is it?

Well Google defines it as “reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.” And in a nut shell Google hit the nail on the head (DIY reference). But it’s more than that now – it’s a community and a collective desire to create something magical from something not much loved, to perhaps provide minute amounts of relief to the environment, but most of all to out pour your creativity into something tangible. (Plus you feel pretty coll when you show all your friends).

UPCYCLING – How to do it?

I’m going to drop it in again –

  • Research! Trove the treasure cave  that is Pinterest and don’t feel too bad when yours doesn’t quite match the glossy perfection of an image that you tried to copy. Find something that you love the look of or have ties to already – Wooden pallets and spools, Utensils, Bath tubs, Your parents old chest of drawers – and think about where you want it to end up. For your children? Your grand children? All for yourself? Just go for it.
  • Plan – Take your time and have an outcome. Source your materials, find inspiration, find advice (remember you don’t need to take it!). It may take you a year but it’s worth it.
  • Share – Involve your children, even if it’s just to get their ideas, but get them inspired by the idea that not everything has a one day shelf life. Teach them what you learn, pass on a sustainable mind set, give them their own Upcycling project.
  • Start Small – The only reason I mention this is to point out the go big or go home idea doesn’t always work. Especially if you’re Upcycling for the first time. Try teapots, spoons or planter boxes – once you’ve mastered that move up to pub shed/studio/brewery/bath house that you have in mind.

UPCYCLING – Why do it?

Because it feels great that’s why! Because you get that almost mythical sense of self gratification that you’ve achieved something creative. And because most of all it teaches this amazing new generation we’re raising that everything they’ve taken for granted needs taking care of. This Earth, big and blue, is the only one we have, and we need to take care of our inheritance while we’re still around.

How to take your children’s play outside

It’s an age old question – and one I’ve asked myself many times. How on Earth do I get them outside?

Beyond a vague “just please go outside” or “run around the lawn 4 times” there are days when I’m truly stumped, and the option to just lock the doors doesn’t quite feel right. So how can I do it, how can I get my kids to play outside?

Well, it actually isn’t too much of a hurdle, in fact, (inhale in shock) it’s quite simple! Let’s take what our little monsters love to do inside, OUTSIDE. Shocking, isn’t it???

It takes some DIY, some scouring second hand stores and some involvement and fun from your children – But let’s build an outdoor kitchen, or better yet a MUD KITCHEN!

What to do:

  • Find a space, take the kids on an adventure, get them to plan it, to draw it up, think about supplies (water, sand, dirt)
  • Look for the right materials – Crates, Pallets, Old Cups, Plates, Saucers, Pots, Sinks from demo sites
  • Build to your skill set – I personally have very little so it’s a simple design from me, but I can hammer a straight nail so that’s a plus!
  • Paint your space – Bright, Bold, Try Chalkboard Paint, glitter (remember it’s outside)
  • Make it an adventure for your children! It’s for them, let them take part in the process

Most of all, have fun with those wonderful children. Goodness knows if your DIY achievements will stand the test of time but the process is what counts. And here’s a little inspiration for you!

Welcome To PlayZone!

It’s a new year so PlayZone needs a new look.

Fresh, exciting and adventurous – perfectly matched to the Kiwi spirit our children have. PlayZone is a New Zealand family too, so we’re building the greatest back yard playgrounds and bringing educational and creative international products to match the New Zealand environment.

To follow children’s growing needs for play this blog will be about:

  • Play ideas for the modern kiwi family
  • Inspiring New Zealand parents to enhance their children’s fun
  • Recipes for play, for adventure and for mischief
  • Advice on setting up the greatest at home playgrounds and structures
  • Keeping up with new trends and exciting industry developments

So come with us as PlayZone explores right alongside those kids –

Creating Childhood Memories….. Everyday!