kids

'She's brave, he's reserved': 8 dad-approved learning activities if you've got very different twins.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Officeworks

Before my twins were born, I was under the naive impression that having two children at once would save us money.

There was a big, silly part of me that thought they were likely to enjoy playing and wearing similar items, and that they would be amazing at sharing (another naive pre-parenting dream).

As soon as my boy-girl twins were born, they sprinted down two very different paths. My daughter was instantly a bold presence in our lives. After only 24 hours on earth, it was clear she was brave and opinionated. She exhibited learning styles I recognised as verbal and social.

My son was her polar opposite. He was much more reserved and very, very creative. His introverted nature translated into a solitary learning style, with a focus on all things tactical. Oh, and anything animal-related. If he had an animal, he was happy.

While there was definitely an overlap in their interests and needs, they excelled overtime at mastering similar concepts through very different methods of learning. That’s meant having to find more diverse educational products that matched their unique personalities – without completely depleting my bank account.

Since becoming a father, I’ve developed an Officeworks obsession. Without a hint of exaggeration, I visit my local shop every single month without fail to buy new bits and pieces for our crafting. And it’s not expensive.

More recently, I’ve been looking at their educational options. If I made you guess a number of educational products they sell, you’d probably be a few thousand off!

Yep, they actually have more than 3500 educational items – I know from hands-on, in-store, child-tested, daddy-approved product testing.

And that’s what I’m here to brag about today. As my twins are so very different, I’ve tested products from different categories to see how it works for each of their unique styles. Keep these in mind for Christmas, folks.

Two different kids. Eight different products. Let’s go.

Up first is the newest addition to our home: The Kadink Wooden Abacus!

Kadink wooden abacus
The Kadink Wooden Abacus ($11.97). Image: Sean Szeps
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For a child like my son who prefers solitary activities, this is perfect for developing his counting and fine motor skills. We’ve seen him using it to count from one to 10, practise his colours, and we even caught him telling a story of a lion attacking another lion as he smashed the colourful beads together.

This colourful item is from their new Kadink Wooden Range. We’ve become more environmentally conscious over the past year, so the fact that the Kadink Wooden products are made with FSC timber was a big selling point. That, and the fact that the products are durable. Because let’s be honest, toddlers are anything but gentle with items they adore.

My daughter wasn’t too keen on playing along, but I really wanted her to get excited about an abacus like I was when I was a kid. We tried the Kadink Wooden Alphabet Abacus because it pairs the letters of the alphabet with animals and objects toddlers are familiar with. She'd often grab it and walk her brother through each and every block - which perfectly aligns with her linguistic learning style.

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Kadink Wooden Alphabet Abacus ($11.97). Image: Sean Szeps.
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The Kadink Wooden Blocks 100 Pack is more my son's style. He's become addicted to building “big BIG towers” with these blocks, which are good for developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and creativity. He's clearly a kinaesthetic learner and enjoys taking control of his own development.

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Kadink Wooden Blocks 100 Pack ($19.98). Image: Sean Szeps.

The Kadink Wooden Peg Puzzle Alphabet is much more my daughter’s pace. She’s a bit young at the moment to be mastering her ABCs, but she adores dumping the letters out of their holes and putting the puzzle back together again. We also sing the ABCs whenever we’re playing with it, so alphabet recognition is building without her even knowing it!

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Kadink Wooden Peg Puzzle Alphabet ($8.17). Image: Sean Szeps.
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The biggest hit in our home at the moment is the Kadink Clock Puzzle. At first, I was concerned about buying a clock product so early on. Will they even understand the concept of time? But that doesn’t matter at all. Cooper dumps the blocks out and enjoys finding their home. And Stella will jump in and do some counting every now and then. This is great for their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and mastery of numbers.

kadink clock puzzle
Kadink Clock Puzzle ($8.17). Image: Sean Szeps.

The Szeps family wouldn’t survive without Kadink A3 Drawing Pads. No, seriously. I have it on hand at all times.

It’s actually one of the few products we own that will entertain both children consistently for longer than 10 minutes, so it’s my go-to item when I need to get a bit of housework done. Just toss in a Crayola Jumbo Crayons 28 Pack and you have enough time to go to the bathroom by yourself!

officeworks education
Crayola Jumbo Crayons 28 Pack ($4) and Kadink A3 Drawing Pad 30 Sheet ($7.50). Image: Sean Szeps.
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The other Officeworks find that I’ve been using a lot lately to keep the twins distracted is the Kadink Dough Bucket 900g Primary. Both twins love dough, but there’s something about the large bucket and variety of colours that has them completely hooked. I like to give them a theme, like Lions or Fish, and see what they come up with.

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Kadink Dough Bucket 900g Primary ($7.48). Image: Sean Szeps.

If you’re considering getting a little Christmas shopping done, this range is top of my list for my two different learners. It’s boy-girl twins tested and crafty, eco-conscious father approved.

You can shop the full education range (all 3500+ products) online at officeworks.com.au.

What do you find works for your kids' different learning styles? All the tips, please!

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This article brought to you by Officeworks. Discover over 3,500+ quality education products, with everything your child needs to develop, learn and grow. Shop the full Education range here.

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