Parent Direct. For educational toys and gifts direct to parents.

Oct 27, 2014

Finding good quality, affordable educational toys and materials is not always easy from home. That's why when I'm introduced to places that have these things available, I love to share them with you. This post is sponsored by Parent Direct and Nuffnang.

As a school teacher, one of the many jobs I loved doing was the ordering for the classroom. We usually did the bulk of our ordering at the end of the year so that the supplies would arrive before the new school year started. I would love pouring over the catalogues from educational suppliers and checking out all the fabulous educational resources available.

When I had my own children and was on family leave from teaching, like many parents, I was excited about buying toys and materials for my children. That's the really fun stuff! (Especially if you love to play too.) I was already aware of the awesome resources available for children to play and learn, and these were the sort of toys I wanted for my children. I discovered though, that finding these toys and resources was actually more difficult than I'd thought. I knew the names of a number of educational distributors and attempted to find places to buy or order their goods. I often found the sites and the ordering to be overwhelming though. Many are not really set up for individual purchasers (more for schools or bulk orders) and require you to print out large forms and fax them off. Often with freight costs, the items would end up too expensive.

It wasn't until my daughter was attending 3 year-old kinder that we started getting the fundraising catalogues sent home. I couldn't wait for the book club ones (yay, love book club!) but I was even more delighted when we were sent the ones for educational toys! Finally I had a way to not only easily purchase the educational toys I wanted, but to also help our school or centre. What a great idea!

We loved ordering through the Parent Direct catalogue that was sent home from our kinder but it wasn't until recently that I was made aware that I didn't need to be given a fundraising catalogue to order. They have a website that you can order from any time you want AND you still get to nominate a school or centre to receive fundraising points. YAY!

Why I enjoyed ordering from the Parent Direct website:

  • They stock a large range of good quality education toys/materials that are often unavailable in mainstream shops
  • The prices are very reasonable
  • 20c from every dollar I spend on the site (not including shipping) goes to my nominated school or centre. As a teacher, I love this! Schools have to manage their budgets very tightly so every little bit extra that can be spent on getting new resources for the children outside of the budget is so appreciated! I nominated my daughter's school with my order.
  • The site is user friendly, easy to use and well set-out
  • I like the big pictures and descriptions of each items. You can click into them for even more pictures
  • I like that I can add to my cart without leaving the window. A pop up box opens so it's easy to continue shopping
  • You can see the catalogue in full in an online flip-through version or just browse by the category or brand
  • If like me you often get distracted half-way through making an order online, I found that you could leave it for a little while without the cart emptying and needing to start again 
  • You don't have to go anywhere. Shop from the convenience of home
  • A set postage rate for all your items. $7.90 Aus wide.

You can pay easily via your credit card and I was happy to learn that Paypal will be available soon. My order took 7 days to arrive and was securely packaged.

When browsing the website, the first item that I really wanted for my house was the above SES - Carpentry Building Playset. My children love building in all sorts of different ways, and this was a great set to introduce them to simple carpentry and a different way of building and connecting items together.

Both of my children (aged 2 and 5) love working with this set. I love that there are so many possibilities for creating with this set and that my children experience working on their fine-motor skills, problem solving, creative thinking, imagination, designing etc.

These are the other items I ordered off the site. There were many more items I could have ordered, in fact, there were a number of items on there that I already owned or had very similar items to. As you can see, we are really into building and dinosaurs here! As it's my son's birthday soon, I have popped these other items (minus the book) aside for him.

The seek and find book was for my daughter. She is quite a good reader these days but I wanted to get her a book that she could use for some quiet time after school that didn't just focus on reading words. This book focuses more on some key words and numbers as children seek to find varying amount of objects hidden in the pages.

Overall, I found browsing and ordering on the Parent Direct website an easy and enjoyable experience. I have no doubt I'll be ordering from them again, as there always seems to be another present giving occasion just around the corner.

Giveaway *closed

Thanks to Parent Direct, we have 5 x $50 vouchers to giveaway.

To enter pop over to the Parent Direct website and then leave a comment here telling us what you'd buy with your $50 voucher and why.

This giveaway is open to Australian residents. It is open until 5pm AEST Friday 31st Oct and you can see full terms and conditions here. If commenting under an anonymous profile, please leave a name and email so we can contact you if you win.

**This giveaway is now over. Congratulations to the winners, Meagan, Katey, Kylie, Emily and Jen.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

{Disclosure: this is a paid post for Parent Direct sponsored by Nuffnang.  We were given a voucher to experience the online shop. As always, opinions expressed in this post are my own and my children's.}

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  1. I'm a teacher too but on leave without pay so I miss having a budget for purchasing toys as I once had at my school! If I was lucky enough to win a voucher, I'd put it towards a Magneatos set or the carpentry set you featured or the felt world map or the Orbit tennis original swing ball. Ah I think I'd probably go over my $50 voucher! Handy for Christmas and selecting quality and educational toys from Parent Direct is a lot more preferable than plastic, gimmicky toys that don't last long. Earning money for our local preschool is also such a great idea. My fingers and toes are crossed!

    1. Thanks Lucy. Yes, I hear you! To be considered for the comp, please leave an email addy that we could contact you on if you win :)

  2. So many amazing toys and materials to choose from! I'd have to say that top of my list would be Dinosaur Mass Extinction! Who doesn't love making a volcano erupt? I know my 3 kids would all love it! It reminds me of science experiments at school MANY years ago (not that I'm a dinosaur!) The other item I'd buy would be the Insect Catcher, it sure puts the one I had in the '70's to shame! The best part about it is it's something else to encourage outdoor learning through play!

    Kylie Embury

  3. Water Wiggles would be top of my list as I think it will be a hot one this summer in Melbourne (when the weather gets itself sorted!)
    Jodie Cole
    P.S. Deborah it is so great to see your blog - you might remember me from a very long time ago as Jodie Barber!

  4. Oh wonderful website!! I am a teacher too, recently moved to Aus from NZ and I'm at a loss as to what websites to buy my kiddies presents for birthdays & gifts for friends etc (I looooove educational toys) Thanks so much for the tip! My pick if I was lucky enough to win would be the awesome Hammer it Life set (great for fine motor skills whoop!) and an awesome Orchard Toys game, probably Pop to the Shops! Thanks! Emily Burn,

  5. I would love to buy Play & Build Set - 490 piece for my six year old who loves making cars, robots , bikes and whatever he can think of . It would be a great set for him as it will challenge him to create sometime new every time he plays with it.

  6. My boys would LOVE the Discovery Kids Astronomical Telescope! They are both really into space play and planets, so I know they would get a kick out of actually being able to see some things in the night sky. Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. Pop to the shops in the hope my 2 kids would believe me when I say coming with mum to the supermarket to do our weekly food shopping is really fun... And the water wiggles for some good old fashioned outside fun!

  8. My son would love Connect a Straws or maybe a building set
    So many things I'd love to buy, hard decisions on what to get.
    He loves to build things with his hands and create something new
    Then he runs to show me, "Mum, look what I can do!"
    Candice Milner

  9. My boys would love the Giant Town Jigsaw.
    It's a puzzle they could use their combined logic to solve - and then get even more fun time out of, by creating different scenes with their own toy cars, toy people and toy animals.
    They love playing make believe, and this puzzle would allow them to do that, while also helping their concentration skills.

  10. I would have to choose the Mobilo Basics because I used to love playing with it when I was a child.

  11. The Robo mermaid play set my little ocean princess would adore it, we love exploring the beach looking for mermaids and collecting things while learning about sea creatures.she has asked Santa this year if she could become a (

  12. Would love to get the My Special Book about me for my daughter. This is on my list for my next order so winning the voucher would be great. Live in victoria. Postted as anon as i dont have the other accounts. Email is :

  13. My little boy would love so many of your items there is such a great range especially anything from the cars, trains and cranes section. He has been looking intensely at train sets in the catalogues so I wouod get him one of those :)

  14. Thanks for introducing is to parent direct. So many terrific toys that my little ones would love. Our favourites that we would love to have in our home are build a road, dino links and the Magical ROBO Mermaid Playset for my mermaid crazy daughter!

    1. Email:

  15. Building Playlist would be number one on my list!!!

  16. Wow! What an awesome idea, I am going to introduce this to my daughters school!! So many wonderful toys and resources to choose from and what a simple way to do all the Christmas shopping. If I were to win the $50 I would likely put it toward the mobilo blocks as I can see all three of my children could get very creative and be kept busy with these. I like all the crafty things also and can spot some great stocking fillers. I'm off to have another look and quite possibly a shop now!!!

  17. This prize is awesome !! Perfect timing.
    I have a 2.5 yo boy is starting to love his blocks and always asking daddy to build him a castle for him. If we were to win i will definitely pick up the Carpentry Building Playset =)

  18. Hmmm... we already bought the microscope and bug box.... Perhaps the water viewer boat, or the constrcution set.... perhaps some outside stuff like put it towards a water table.... gee, I don't know!

  19. Yes, yes, yes! (from another teacher turned stay at home mum) I recently discovered Parent Direct and would have ordered half the catalogue if funds permitted. I did pick up the awesome World Felt Map and the Hammer It Life. Next on my wish list would probably be the mobilo. If I could only get the extended family as excited about educational toys as I am...

  20. Such a great array of amazing first grandson 8mth old would just love the animal blocks....I also have my eye on the dinosaur jigsaw. Anything to stimulate his growing lityle brain. Thank you.

  21. I'm ver excited, my first time, so bare with me. Such an amazing array of toys to stimulate young minds. I have my eye on the Dinosaur jigsaw and animal blocks, my 8mth old grandson will just have a ball with these.

  22. I love all these fun active ways to not only do crafts but educate them along the way Thanks for putting these together for us

  23. We buy through Parent Direct too - they have a great range at reasonable prices, and I love that it helps my daughter's preschool. I really like the Scratch Magic Doodle Book, the Instant Blackboard, and the Discovery Kids LED Pocket Scope. Oh the fun we could have with those!

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