Showing posts with label toy review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toy review. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Surprise", the Latest New Trend for Little Girls!

I love Surprises, don't you?  Well let me tell you L.O.L. Surprise will be the next BIG thing for little hands to play with!

Okay, I have to admit something right here.  I'm just a big kid, that wants to get in on all the newest things for little kids, both girls and boys.  I am also a grandmother!

It's so much fun for me when I hit upon the next "big" thing that my grandkids are interested in.  Guess What?  I think I have found it!

I can remember when my granddaughters were into the latest fad of Shopkins.  They just could not get enough of these little pieces and share or trade their "doubles" with friends.  We spent hours with the girls trying to come up with the names of these characters and the girls would laugh and laugh as we (Poppa and Grammie) inevitably got the names all wrong.


childrens toys, little girls toys, christmas toys, fun toys
Because we had so much fun with those little figures,  I know in my heart, that this next generation of toys for little girls will be just as big as the Shopkins were.

Let me introduce you to L.O.L. Surprise!

Now you might be asking yourself, what the dickens is she going on about now.  Well let me tell you, there is a reason that these toys are on the "Amazon's Choice" list!

First and foremost, there are several different choices when buying these little toys.  You don't have to spend a fortune to put a smile on your grandchild's face.  These "Surprises" are a little more interactive than the Shopkins were in my humble opinion.  These toys are little people, with faces, and characteristics that make each one different.
They have a style and a little pizzazz for little hands and accessories that they can put on or take off.  Each one is different and each Surprise comes in a neat package with some figures, accessories and outfits.  And they are affordable (which once you are retired becomes of utmost importance!).



Sets of L.O.L. Surprise start at less than $10.00 and you just know that there will be some delight when they see what's inside. That for me is one of the highlights of this little gift. You just don't know what's in it until you open it up!  So it's a gift and a surprise all at the same time.  

For all you grandparents who will be seeing family over the Thanksgiving weekend, this is a great time to have all your presents ready for those family members that you won't be able to see over the Christmas holiday.  Your grandchildren will delight Christmas morning when Grandma and Grandpa have their gifts under the tree already. 
lol surprise, grandma, granddaughters, toys for girls


Childhood is about all those "little" things that make the memories that will last a lifetime. 



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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Video Walkie Talkies For Kids Reviewed

Fun For All Ages

walkie talkie
Walkie Talkie set image courtesy of Pixabay.com
If you are looking for a fun toy to give as a gift to a child, think about a set of video walkie talkies! I can review one choice option for you today because one of my grandchildren has a set from Spy Gear. 

We have a similar set of walkie talkies to the one pictured at the left at our house. They have been a source of entertainment in our home for many years. The grandkids love to play with them, especially with Grandpa who is a kid at heart. After seeing the models that now have video capabilities, the kids may not find ours so much fun anymore. 

Recently, my granddaughter who loves everything pertaining to being a spy received a set of Spy Gear Video Walkie Talkies for her birthday. Oh my goodness we all had so much fun playing with them! Yes, the little kids and the big kids had a ball! The adults were pretty impressed with this set working as well as they did. They are toys, after all and the quality is very much toy-like but they were pretty danged awesome. The video shows well on the screen and is actually very clear. There was a bit of lagging as it focused but then the video was good. The sound quality was excellent! The size is small enough that a child's hand can accommodate holding one in their hand and being able to operate the button to talk. 

One thing to remember if you purchase a set as a gift is to also include some AAA batteries. Each walkie talkie needs three to work and since there are two in a set you need six right out of the box. Both little radios need to be turned on in order for them to work. You will also need a screwdriver to open the back up to insert the batteries. I just thought that I would mention this so that a child won't be disappointed when they can not immediately play with this fun toy. 

The great thing about a toy like a video walkie talkie set is that both boys and girls can have hours of fun with them. They are not going to take up much room in a toy box; if they ever make it into one that is. Honestly, I think any child on your gift list that is at least six years old or older would really enjoy a gift like this. 


For more toy ideas from Review This, click here.



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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Locker For American Girl Dolls Reviewed

A Fun Accessory For Her Doll

american girl doll
Our American Girl Doll Needs A Locker
One of our little granddaughters is about to turn six, so I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Her response was some "stuff" for her American Girl Doll. "Grandma, I would like stuff for her to use, not clothes but, you know, stuff to use and play with." she says.

So, off I went looking for some accessories (stuff) that she would enjoy. Let me tell you, there is no short supply of "stuff" for the dolls! I knew that but was amazed with all of the options available. Too much fun, I'm telling you, just too much fun for a shopping Grandma who wants to thrill a little girl.

Now, I should tell you that my husband and I have a couple of vintage school lockers in our home. We have one for me to use out in the sun room. I keep gardening supplies in it because it is close to the back door. We also have one that we let our grandchildren use to stash their prized possessions in when they are here or to keep safe until the next visit. The kids love that locker! 

So, when I found a locker made for the American Girl Dolls or any 18 inch doll; I knew my quest was over for a little while, anyway. There is Christmas coming after all! The birthday gift is taken care of with the cutest locker you can imagine!


I am really impressed with how well made this little doll locker is! It is metal, just like a real school locker. I chose the hot pink one for my granddaughter because pink is her most favorite color. There are other colors to choose from, if you don't care for the hot pink. It also comes with a little label that can be personalized for the Doll and a sticker that looks like a combination lock. Oh, it also comes with four little hangers to hang the doll clothes in the locker. Adorable! Just absolutely adorable! Additional hangers can be ordered separately.

Besides being a fun accessory, it will make for some great storage, too. She can put doll clothes in it but also the little shoes and small things that we wouldn't want her puppy dog to find and swallow. My granddaughter loves to have cubbies, boxes and such to store her things in. Sometimes, you will go in to see what she is playing and she is organizing her "stuff" into compartments. She is going to love this locker!

If you have a child's birthday coming up or are shopping early for the holidays; this little locker is a wonderful option for you to consider. The great thing is that it doesn't have to be for a little girl, I think boys would love having one to put toys in, also. This grandma loves it so much that she might have to get another one to have here; you know, for when the girls visit.




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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lego Big Bang Theory Reviewed

Fun Legos Set For Grown-ups and Kids


lego big bang theory
Close-up of Lego Big Bang Theory Box
I just treated myself to the Lego Big Bang Theory set. No, I didn't buy it for the grandkids, I bought it for myself! I am a huge fan of the TV series The Big Bang Theory and I have loved Legos since my kids were little and we played with the plastic bricks together. When my girls were small there were no sets of Legos like there are now. We had to use our own creativity to make things. Once the grandchildren came along, Legos got even more interesting with the wonderful sets to complete. Trust me, this Grandma has purchased loads of those sets for the granddaughters! Suffice it to say, Grandma had just as much fun with the building as the girls did!

As I mentioned before, I am an avid fan of The Big Bang Theory on television. Just about every night in the hour before prime time viewing begins; my husband and I watch the syndicated reruns of the show. I started noticing that they were doing promos using Lego characters to promote the Lego Batman movie and one evening I said to my hubby, "I wish they had a real set for the Big Bang Theory." My husband replied in his logical way with, "Well, they must have one because they are showing them like they do." After rolling my eyes just a tad, I picked up my cell phone and looked it up on Amazon. Much to my delight, there is one! Ask me how long it took to hit the "buy" button! If you said, "No longer than it takes to log in." ... you would be correct!

open box lego big bang theory
Just opened Lego Big Bang Theory box
So, it came yesterday and of course I had to build it! The picture on the right is right after I opened the box and was ready to start building. If you haven't purchased a Legos set before, you might not know that the pieces are in numbered bags and you get an instruction book to follow. The instructions are simple for a child to follow. Basically pictures with no text are provided on each page. The page shows you a picture of the pieces that you will need for that step and then how to place them together. 

The fun thing about the instruction book for the Lego Big Bang Theory set is that there is a page that tells about the television series and a page that identifies each of the main characters of the sitcom with a picture and a short little bio. As I began building and went from page to page; I was tickled to see that every once in a while there was a small image of one of the characters with a quote from one of the episodes of the series. That was a fun little surprise!

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to completely build the set. There are a lot of little pieces to sort through but it was easy to follow the directions on each page. My only disappointment in the set is that it isn't very big and there are so many little things to build and place that it looks cramped. Because it is so small, it is really kind of hard to see everything. Then again, that is kind of fun because you have to take your time to find all of the hidden little treasures.

I think it is fun that they included all of the main characters in the set. There is Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Penny, Bernadette and Amy along with Raj's little dog. All in all it was a fun set to build and it is fun to have it setting out as a conversation piece in our home.

This would make a wonderful gift for the Lego fan on your gift list, especially if they also happen to be a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory. In fact, I plan to order another one to give to my son-in-law for his birthday this year. I know he will get a real kick out of it!

View of my completed set
I thought you might enjoy seeing a view of my set on display in our living room. As you can see there is a lot of detail in this little set.




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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Reviewing Jellycat Stuffed Cats

Toy Cats That You Just Can't Help Cuddling


For the last couple of years I have become quite fond of the stuffed animals made by Jellycat. I especially like the different cats that they have started producing because in real life I love cats and have shared my life with several throughout the decades. As with all of the stuffed animal toys that this UK based company makes they have a nice variety of kitty cats for our children and grandchildren to cuddle with. I purchased one of them a few years ago for my youngest granddaughter and it has become one of her constant companions.

There are other styles of cats that the company offers to suit just about any taste in an individual’s love for felines. One of the things that I love about Jellycat, the company, is that they keep their inventory fresh. They may introduce a new line and have it available for a while and then they will stop manufacturing it. That may seem a little aggravating at first thought but I rather like the idea. To me, it makes the choice that you made for your special child a little more unique. With the limited production of different lines and animals the one your child loves becomes more precious because not every kid on the planet has one just like it.

When it comes to quality, I don't think that I have ever in my 60 decades seen a better quality of stuffed animal. They are so well made! The company states that they pay extra attention to meeting all of the standards of the UK and the US for making safe toys, too. Every single one of their toys is soft both in body and in the "fur" or material used for the animal. Heck, even I like to snuggle with them!

Most of the kitty cats have a soft fur like material but you can also find them in materials like corduroy. It just depends on what is in production at the time you start looking. I have found that when I see one that I particularly like, I best get on the ball and go ahead and get it. Those sweet things sell out quickly! I don't mean just the cats but most of the stuffed animals. I think part of that can be attributed to the "cuteness" factor but mostly I think it is because of how well they are made and how well they stand up to all those hugs a child will give them.

For the current selection of Jellycat cats check out this page on Amazon.



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Friday, April 29, 2016

FurReal Electronic Pets for Kids Review

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Electronic pets for kids are the next best thing to having a real pet.  They are great fun and they can even encourage a sense of responsibility in your children.

Do you live in an apartment or somewhere pets are unwelcome?  If you lack the facilities for a real pet, or if you are wondering if your child is ready for a real pet, getting him an electronic pet that he can love and care for might be excellent preparation for the bigger responsibilities up ahead.

One of these electronic toys or virtual pets might be just the right thing for your little one.  Let them have fun while they find out what it takes to look after a live pet.

 
Don't be misled though, the FurReal pets are first and foremost fun toys that any kid will love.


FurReal Pets - A Puppy Dog


 FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin' Pup PetOne of the first lessons we must teach new puppy owners is to never let their dogs out for neighborhood walks without a leash.  This cute little electronic dog is one your child can literally take for walks.  The FurReal puppy is controlled by her leash, so she will never go out without it.  As adults, we all know leashes can save a dogs life, but children need to be taught and this gives us a risk free way to teach them.

This adorable little puppy is soft and cuddly as well as clever!  She responds to a child's touch, just like a real dog.  The puppy also sits, barks and wags it's tail.

If the idea behind getting your child an electronic pet is in part to teach her how to care for a dog, this is as real as it gets without being live.  The FurReal puppy is a delightful little companion for children over four years old


FurReal Bunny 


 FurReal Friends Hop `N Cuddle Tan BunnyChildren enjoy visiting pet stores.  Well, in truth, we all enjoy visiting and admiring the precious little creatures.  The animals often tug at our hearts to take them home, but it is nearly impossible to ignore a child and the pretty pet when they are begging to go home together.  But, in the real world pets require more than simple adoration.

Bunnies are so soft and they look so very cuddly.  Rabbits are also very quiet pets.  Children aren't frightened by bunnies the way they are by some loud or rambunctious dogs.  But we should all keep in mind, live bunnies require a lot of care.  In some ways, they can be more work than a dog.  After all, you can't just let the bunny out into the back yard to take care of his business.  We had a few bunnies when I was a child and I can assure you, they require large cages that need to be cleaned frequently.  
It really is easier to give a child an electronic bunny to play with.  To be honest, real bunnies don't "play" well.  They are adorable to look at, but they are not playtime pets.



FurReal Kitties


 FurReal Friends Daisy Plays-With-Me Kitty ToyKitties are another pet that looks perfect for children, but in reality might not be the best companion.   Many cats are loners and they choose when they will grace you with their presence.  I can't even begin to guess the number of times I have seen a child chase a cat around a room, or house, just to touch them.  And, Lord have mercy!  They better not try to pick that kitty up!  Cats have claws, unless the claws have been surgically removed, and trust me when I say, cats know how to use their claws.  It is often the first very real lesson a child learns about live cats.

FurReal kitties are the type of cats suitable for children.  They won't claw them, they won't run and hide from them, they won't bring the child dead animals, and the best part, they won't stink up the house.   Don't get me wrong, I love cats!  I have 3 grandkitties myself and I wouldn't trade them for anything, but my daughter didn't have cats until she was an adult and started adopting cats all on her own.   

A FurReal kitty will play with your child.  They will let them pet them and they will purr in delight over your child's presence.  Yes, this truly is the best cat pet for a child.



FurReal Electronic Pets for Kids Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Reviewing A Parking Garage Set For Kids

Toy Parking Garage Can Be Oodles of Fun


toy parking garage
Parking Garage Image from Amazon.com
This Grandma finally has a little boy to buy for and I think that  the Melissa and Doug Parking Garage is something that I will get for him in the future. I love that it is made from durable wood to provide hours of fun for any little boy and not metal or plastic like so many toys of today.

The toy parking garage is suggested for children three years old or older so, I need to wait for a little while before I purchase it. There are two wooden cars that come with the set that can be lifted by an elevator to any of the four levels of parking.  Those four levels of parking provide plenty of room for all your little son's or grandson's small toy cars. The set also includes a parking booth with an attendant, a gas pump, and a car wash.

You will have to get Grandpa, Daddy, Mommy or Grandma to assemble this toy set but it comes with really easy and detailed instructions to follow. Once it is assembled the toy parking garage by Melissa and Doug measures about 17 1/4 inches tall by 15 3/4 inches wide and 15 1/4 inches deep.

I Have Seen This Toy In Action

I recently watched with delight as a little boy played with this parking garage set while I got the oil in my car changed. I was impressed with the high quality of the product and when I saw that it was a Melissa and Doug toy, I knew it was a great choice for this company to provide for little children to play with because it was built to last many years.  I noticed that someone had left little matchbox cars to be parked on the parking levels and they fit really nicely with the set.

Obviously as a Grandma, I would want to buy this for my grandson but it would also be a perfect gift for a pre-school, church nursery, or even a children's hospital play area.  Little boys and even little girls will have hours of fun playing with the Melissa and Doug Parking Garage. I can hardly wait until my little guy gets big enough to play with it.


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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reviewing the Popular Fisher-Price Corn Popper Toy

Corn Popper Classic Toy


Fisher-Price Corn Popper Toy



As the grandmother of a toddler, naturally I'm interested in appropriate and appealing toys for tots.  Knowing what draws the attention of a little one in the 18-month to 3-year-old range assures me that the toy(s) I choose for my grandson in the next couple of birthdays and Christmases will be something he enjoys.

With all the toys constantly being introduced to the market in a wide-variety of selections, it is often difficult to choose the best age-appropriate ones.  Therefore, I did a search online for trending toys for toddlers.  In the list my search returned I found Amazon Best Sellers: Best Baby & Toddler Toys.  


A Classic Toy

 

Available on Amazon
To my surprise and delight, I discovered in that list a toy popular when my children were toddlers and is STILL today among the top toys for tots – the Corn Popper by Fisher-Price. With all the 'techie' toys out there today, it's nice to know the basic toys of today's parents' childhood are still favorites.
 

The corn popper was invented by Arthur Holt in 1957 and sold to Fisher-Price for $50.  It was designed to help young children learn to walk.  As the child pushes the toy, it sends tiny, colorful gumball-size balls flying and hitting the plastic dome, creating loud popping noises like a popcorn machine.  The corn popper has become one of the most popular toys in history!

In 2011, Time reporter Allie Townsend compiled a list of the 100 most influential toys from 1923 to the present.  Number 33 on the list was this 1950s Corn Popper!


This 'noisemaker' on a stick can sometimes be an irritating sound to parents, but it definitely will keep your baby and toddler entertained and 'moving'.   Parents tend to agree that a little noise is fine (mostly) when it keeps your toddler happy.


A Popular Classic Toy

New look for this classic, baby-favorite push toy!


On Amazon, the Fisher-Price 'Brilliant Basics' Corn Popper is listed in toys and games as #2 in pre-school and toddler toys and #3 in baby and toddler toys, with over 1,400 reviews, 74% of them 5-star reviews!


What fun to find that the basic toys enjoyed by our children are now just as popular with their children. The Corn Popper by Fisher-Price has definitely become a Classic toy.



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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reviewing Marbles A Traditional Game of Lent

March And Marbles

It doesn't matter whether Easter falls in March or April, typically at least most of the month of March falls in to the time of Lent. Did you know that a traditional game played during the Lenten Season is marbles? I honestly did not know this myself but I think it is really kind of cool. 

I know I have fond memories of shooting marbles when I was a young girl! I don't know that children play marbles much anymore but what a fun tradition to start in young families. Of course they don't have to just play marbles during Lent but it is a nice time to start teaching them how to play. 

First, a little history of the game. Marbles has been played for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. It is believed that in the beginning eggs, round stones and even cherry pits were used before the marbles of glass came along. During Lent, children and grown-ups alike played this fun game up until the clock stroked 12 noon on Good Friday. Did you know that another name for Good Friday is Marble Day? I didn't know that, either. 

Marbles is not a complicated game and most kids pick up the rules with one explanation. The fun thing is that it can be played inside or outside and all year long. We usually played outside and we made our ring in the dirt. How about you? Did you play marbles as a child?

In case you have forgotten the rules, here is a fun video to remind you of how easy it is to play.


Did that bring it all back to you? It did me! Oh the hours we spent trying to get each other's marbles. We kind of rotated in our rules. Sometimes, we played "keepsies" and sometimes we gave back the marbles when the game was over. The disagreements usually started if we were doing give-backs because someone invariably tried to claim a marble as having been his or hers. We came up with a clever way to decide...we had a "shoot-off" for the marble or marbles in question.

You know not all marbles look alike and many times we had marbles that were different from the others. Maybe it was a special color of "cat's eye" or an unusual color of swirl. I remember one boy in the neighborhood had a couple of neat corkscrews and one kid was lucky enough to have some "aggies" which were made from agate. Those marbles never came into dispute as to who the original owner was but the more common ones sometimes did. When we played "keepsies", sometimes I would win an exceptionally pretty marble and I would keep those aside and not enter them into the next game because I didn't want to lose them. Maybe that was the beginning of me collecting things! I know I had quite a stash of marbles by the time I stopped playing. Funny, I don't remember what happened to those marbles. I probably gave them to some little kid at some point.

Perhaps this month, during Lent, you could introduce the game of marbles to your children or grandchildren! A fun, inexpensive game that can offer hours of fun and enjoyment.


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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review of the VTech Turn and Learn Driver Toy

Little Boys and Car-Related Toys

Grandson Tyler with Driver Toy

I have five grandsons who all live over 1,000 miles from me.  Therefore, it is often difficult to know just what toys the boys already have and what they are wishing for.  At birthday and Christmas times I have to rely on the parents (my 'kids') for gift suggestions.

This past Christmas, I asked my youngest son for gift ideas for 6-year-old David and 20 month old Tyler.  David was easy – a Star Wars Lego set.  For toddler boy Tyler, the suggestion was any toy with buttons to push, knobs to turn and NOISES. 

While doing an online search with this criteria in mind, I came across what I thought might be the 'perfect' toy for Tyler.  It's similar to one I bought for my oldest grandson (now 19) when HE was Tyler's age and remembered what a big hit it was, since little boys appear to be 'car crazy' from birth.  I think it's part of their DNA!  

The toy I bought for Tyler was the VTech Turn and Learn Driver Toy


Available on Amazon
The VTech Turn and Learn Driver Toy is a steering wheel toy with a cute little dog character that moves back and forth as the wheel is turned.  Across the top of the 'dashboard' are five colorful buttons which introduce different animals and vehicles when pushed.

This toy car has three play modes, so your little driver can learn in animal, driving or music mode. 

There is also a traffic light, a signal lever that makes fun sounds and music, and a gear shifter that pushes and pulls.  Oh, and of course a horn!  Lots of interactive play, making this a wonderful teaching toy.  This Turn and Learn Driver Toy, which also comes in several models and colors, has a fun car design that encourages imaginative play as part of early childhood education.

This toy is from Vtech Kids, a division of Vtech® considered a world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children.  The company has been making quality educational toys for children for over 35 years.

Baby Tyler's opinion?  He thought having his own steering wheel was the greatest thing he'd seen.  I watched him open the box Christmas morning over Skype and he virtually ignored the rest of the gifts offered him to open.  All he wanted to do was turn the steering wheel back and forth and honk the horn and push all the buttons! He loved it.  And it was such fun for this grandma to watch his reaction to this toy and know I'd made the best gift choice possible.

The VTech Turn and Learn Driver Toy operates on 2 AA batteries and is recommended for babies and toddlers in the 6 months to 3 year old range.  Tyler, at 20 months, is the perfect age for this cute and colorful interactive toy. It also comes in a variety of colors. I chose the bright Yellow one with the red steering wheel.




Tyler, Age 20 months

 Hey Tyler!  Happy to see you like your new toy!

~Love, Grandma


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Reviewing the Shopkins Mini Toys

Move over Barbie there some stiff competition

When asking one of my grandchildren what she would like for Christmas last season, I figured she would have a specific doll that she wanted to add to her ever growing pile of dolls but she surprised me. She said, "I would really like some Shopkins, Grandma." I will admit that I was at a loss because I had no idea what she was referring to.

"Are they like a Barbie or a Monster High doll?" I asked.

"Oh no, they aren't anything like that," she answered. "They are just cute little toys that my friends and I like to play with."

After doing some research so that I would know what I was looking for, turns out these miniature toys are more popular right now than the fashion dolls that have been on top of every little girl's wishlist for decades.


Above is an example of just one of the choices for little girls to add to their collection of Shopkins. I have to admit that they are really pretty cute and so little that they don't take up much space. Well, not much space until the collection grows, anyway.



An Australian based company came up with the idea of these mini toys back in 2014 and they have a real hit on their hands. They specifically marketed young girls for a collectible toy because they could see that there was hardly anything to compete with. Most of the toys are very inexpensive and come in small sets. As I did my shopping I noticed that I could purchase 3 or 4 sets for less than the price of a Barbie doll.

I looked over all of the sets available at the time and finally decided to get one that had the little toys encased in a vending machine that acts as a storage container, too. I also purchased a few small little sets. I just wasn't sure which ones she already had. When we were opening gifts on Christmas morning she opened one that was identical to the vending machine one that I got for her. I was so disappointed. So, when she opened the one that I gave her I told her that I would take her with me and we could return it. "Oh, no! We don't have to return it, Grandma! I can use these to trade for things that I don't have!"

Here is what I love about these little toys: they are encouraging almost an "old school style" of play. Girls are using their imaginations to play with items that resemble products in a grocery store. They are talking about which ones they have and actually trading each other for items that they don't have. There are even harder to find toys that the girls understand are worth more in a trade. They are learning about value (I know in an odd way but still) and having fun while they do it. Remember the Pokemon cards? Kind of the same thing except these are geared to girls and they can actually set them up and play with them.

Collectible toys are nothing new. I remember when my girls were little back in the 1980's it seemed like every week there was some new toy that came out with characters to collect. Remember, Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony? Goodness, our house was full of them! Here is the thing about Shopkins, though. The toys are much smaller and actually less expensive when you consider that you are getting more than one toy in every package and most packages are less than the price of one doll.

If you are looking for something to give a young girl from the age of 5 to 12, I don't think you could go wrong with a set of Shopkins.


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Monday, January 18, 2016

Perplexus the Epic Gift

Perplexus Epic
Do you need to purchase a gift for someone and haven't a clue what to get? Maybe you are hosting a social gathering and would like to provide a fun activity.  Perhaps you are like me, someone who likes solving puzzles.  If you are perplexed about what to get, let the Perplexus Epic solve your dilemma.  This is a toy review but I have a hard time referring to the Perplexus as a toy since it is a great gift for almost all age ranges,

The Gift of the Day


Have you ever experienced people gathering around one activity because it is so much fun. Everyone taking turns with the fun, new gadget.  I recently had that experience.

We were at a small Christmas gathering. One of the gifts that day turned out to be a huge hit. The group of us were occupied with it for the remainder of the day. Even as we sat at the table eating our dessert, we passed this toy around the table.

"We" consisted of five adults - aged youngish adult to senior adult. We passed this ball around, taking turns for hours. And had a great time doing it. We helped each other, competed against each other, and some of us pulled out flashlights in order to try to get a leg up. I found myself wishing that my adult children had been there to play along.  This toy could easily have gotten 3 to 4 generations playing together.

Serious Epic Competition

The Perplexus Epic Review  


The Perplexus is a clear plastic ball containing a small metal ball and a maze of ramps, steps, teeter-totters, bridges, and other obstacles.  There are a variety of Perplexus puzzles, including; Original, Twist, Epic, and most recently the Perplexus Star Wars.

We fell in love with the Perplexus Epic that day. It is advertised as "Easy to Play...Hard to Master".  They weren't exaggerating.  It was not easy to master.  In fact, none of us have completed it successfully yet.  But that did not stop us from having a blast.


  • The Perplexus Epic is a slightly larger ball  (9" diameter at the largest section) - approximately the size of a volleyball. 
  •  It is made of visually pleasing colors; grey, white, and blues.  
  • The inside ramps and obstacles are stamped with numbers - so everyone can brag about how far they've gotten
  • 125 Barriers
  • Epic - the most challenging Perplexus maze
  • It is "unplugged" gaming fun. No batteries or electricity needed
  • Self-Contained - no pieces to lose


Everyone Wanted One


By the days' end, we had already announced that we were all buying one for ourselves. Had the stores not been closed for the holiday, we would have stopped on the way home.  By the end of the week, we each owned one.  And now, almost a month later, we still play with ours in our home. When we tire of the Epic version, we will most likely buy the Star Wars version.  If I still had school-aged children in my home, I would choose the Perplexus Original.  I'm fairly certain that before too long, I will own one of each. Yes, I like Perplexus just that much. And I think you will too.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories

My Cousin Edna Surprised Me With a Dollhouse for Christmas

My Cousin Edna could think up the best surprises for me. One of them was my dollhouse. I only had vague ideas about what I might want but she always knew what would make my eyes sparkle more than I did myself. 



Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories
My Family and My Dollhouse
Photo Is from Family Collection

Both my grandmothers died when I was a child. One I'd never known except for a total of about ten days. She lived in Oklahoma, and my parents had only taken me to visit my father's parents once. My mother's mother was closer and I have some early memories of doing things at her house, but she died when I was seven. It was Cousin Edna, my father's mother's first cousin, who filled in for my grandparents. The magic she worked in my life made her seem more like my fairy godmother.

My dad had promised his mother that he would act as a son to Edna, who had never married. She lived about thirty miles from us, and we visited her every Sunday afternoon unless we had invited her to our house. We also visited her on Christmas and Easter. After Santa (or the Easter Bunny) had visited me at home, we would then go to dinner at Cousin Edna's to see what he had left at her house. He really outdid himself there.

It was on my fourth Christmas that I discovered Santa had left me a dollhouse under her tree. Cousin Edna must have realized I would need something quiet to do since I was still convalescing from scarlet fever. There were no antibiotics back then and I had to limit my activity to get completely back to good health. That dollhouse was just the right medicine. I loved dolls and I had a vivid imagination. You  can see me with my dollhouse that morning with my parents in the top photo. 

Back then, we did not have television. That meant the media didn't tell us what we needed to make us happy. To make a Christmas list, one actually had to look through a paper catalog, magazine, or news ad or visit an actual store. I never would have thought to ask for a dollhouse. I'm not sure I even knew they existed before I found mine under the tree. But it was love at first site.

So often today, children only know to ask for what their friends are talking about as the “coolest” toy or what they see advertised on television or the internet. Sometimes they will even tell you they want something because the other children they know are talking about it – not because they really want it. Some children, like me, can be even happier with something that a loving parent or grandparent who knows them well, picks out to match their interests. Perhaps there's a special little girl in your life who wants a dollhouse or princess castle and just won't know it until you give her one. Or maybe there's even a boy who would like to be lord of his own castle or the father of the house. 

Everyone in my family knew how much I liked to play with my dolls. Cousin Edna usually gave me a new one every Christmas. It's no wonder Cousin Edna thought I might be delighted with a dollhouse, and she was right. I was.


Like Any Other House, a Dollhouse Needs Furniture


Review of Dollhouses and Dollhouse Accessories
Interior of My Dollhouse, from Family Photo Collection
Cousin Edna saw that my dollhouse was fully equipped so that I could start playing with it immediately. It came with its own baby doll and a furnished nursery. It also had a finished kitchen, dining room, and living room, complete with a grand piano downstairs. The bedroom, bathroom, and nursery were upstairs. I'm guessing Cousin Edna had a lot of fun setting this up. You can imagine all the fun I had playing with it.

Today one can buy even prettier dollhouses. You can buy almost any style at Amazon. After reading through endless reviews,  I have recommend the dollhouses below for young children. The Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse comes with its own family -- male, female, school-age girl, and baby. It seems to be the easiest dollhouse to assemble and requires a Philips screwdriver and three AA batteries. Reviews by users state it took them ten - fifteen minutes to get the job done.

This dollhouse has a flushing toilet, doorbell, and other sound effects, and has lights that light. Very little furniture comes with the house, just enough to start playing. You may want to purchase more. There is no kitchen, but there is a room for which you can purchase kitchen appliances. Although this model has a Caucasian family, you can also get it with an African-American family. Read the complete reviews on Amazon and watch the videos, including that by a purchaser, for a wealth of information and answers to commonly asked questions.

The KidKraft dollhouses accommodate dolls up to the size of Barbies, but do not come with their own dolls. They do, however, come with more furniture than the Fisher-Price Loving Family Dreamhouse. It is a large dollhouse and some models have rooms completely open to the outside to make the pieces easier to play with from outside. The larger size makes this ideal for more than one child to play with at a time. Read the complete descriptions and watch the video and other reviews when you click through to discover the unique features of each dollhouse. The Kidcraft dollhouses do take more assembly time -- hours, not minutes, and some suggest a helper would be useful. If I were assembling this, I would not wait until Christmas Eve or whatever day you want to give this to a child before beginning to assemble. I always expect things to take longer than stated. Murphy's Law always seems to apply when I do something with my hands. According to the reviews, the work is worth it because the children love these dollhouses.



Many dollhouse styles are available -- even a castle  or two. There are also more Victorian, dolls of different ethnic origins, royal families, medieval figures, and princess dolls -- any kind of doll your child needs for imaginative play. If a dollhouse has a garage, you can be sure there will be a car you can add on to go inside of it, and maybe even a roadtrip set to add on.

I have included some fold and go wooden dollhouses below. These are more portable when entertainment is needed away from home, or even in a different room. These dollhouses also may be more appealing to boys, especially the castle with its medieval figures and horses. Children can be kings, queens, knights, squires, etc. The regular Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Wooden Castle comes with six play  figures. The Medieval Castle doesn't have dolls included. Reviewers were very happy with the Schleich Knights, Dragons and other action figures they purchased separately. Other reviewers thought the cheaper set of ten Safari Ltd knights and dragons that have a carrying tube were just right. I have also suggested the Melissa and Doug Princess Castle Accessory Set for the castles.

When you click through to a product page, you will see several suggested accessories such as additional furniture, dolls, cars, pets with their own housing, etc. Use your own creativity to put just the right package together to give your child years of imaginative play. The possibilities are endless. Be sure to check age recommendations if you are buying for a young child. Some items in the suggested related products may be for older hobbyists.



I was still an only child back in the 1940's, and I depended upon my imagination and books for amusement. I could play out endless scenarios with my new doll in its dollhouse. Television was not even being talked about yet, and it would be years before the first one appeared in our neighborhood. Children read or played with toys. My favorite toys were dolls, and that included the one that came with my dollhouse. It was many years before I stopped playing with dolls and my dollhouse, but I kept it to pass to my own daughter when she came along.

Today, with all the available electronics, many children haven't experienced enough of the imaginative play they need. Most children will be able to enact many scenarios from their life experience in a regular dollhouse. This kind of play helps them try on different roles and outcomes. If you get your child a castle, it's a great way to familiarize him with a different period of history. Maybe you could stick a book like The Knight at Dawn (Magic Treehouse #2) or one of your favorite age-appropriate medieval stories, inside the castle, to get his imagination going. Read it aloud to young children. Those ages 6-9 may be able to read it themselves.

 If your child is very visual, try A Year in a Castle from The Time Goes By series. It's appropriate for any child of kindergarten age and up. Even older children will get lost in the intricate illustrations of castle life, and all readers will learn what activities were a normal part of castle life and the names of what you might find as part of or inside a castle. Either of these books will provide enough for a child's imagination to make good use of the new castle dollhouse in his play.

Whether your child wants to be a princess, a parent, a knight, a king or queen, or even a dragon, playing with a dollhouse will provide hours of happy and imaginative play. Why not put one under the Christmas tree for a child you love?



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, November 23, 2015

Wham-O Frisbee Review: If It's Not A Wham-O It's Not A Frisbee!

Wham-O Frisbee Review:  If It's Not A Wham-O It's Not A Frisbee!

Genuine Official Wham-O Frisbees 


If you're looking to buy a  Frisbee, you've come to the right place! This page features the genuine, official Wham-o Frisbee. You will discover what to look for when you are choosing a Frisbee and, as a bonus, learn a bit of trivia about Frisbees.

Wham-o Frisbees are available in various sizes and styles from mini ones to professional tournament ones. They are available for use recreationally and for use competitively in sports like Ultimate, Disc golf, Freestyle and Dog competitions.

Did You Know...

  • That the word Frisbee came from the Frisbee Pie Company in Connecticut?
  • That the game of Frisbee began with a pie plate?
  • That in 1957, Walter Frederick sold his idea for a toy flying saucer to the Wham-O Company in California? That they created a plastic disc that was almost impossible to break and they called it the Frisbee?

What To Look For When Buying A Frisbee


A good Frisbee should be comfortable. It should have a feeling of thickness and strength. You probably know that cheap Frisbees are readily available and can be purchased for as little as a dollar at the dollar store but they do not last and they do not fly very well. We personally have a bin in the garage full of cheap Frisbees but once you have used a real one you discover that the cheap ones really are bad.

If you are asking yourself what kind of Frisbee is the best for me and you are a recreational player, choose a basic Wham-O Frisbee.

If you are looking for a Frisbee for your child, it should be small enough for your child to grasp and hold comfortably.

If you haven't already read it, you might enjoy my page, A Beginner's Guide to How To Throw A Frisbee.


Wham-O's 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Series Frisbee Disc SetWham-O's 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Series Frisbee Disc 


2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the original Frisbee disc. Wham-O produced this collector's item in celebration. This set includes a 175 gram UPA approved competitive frisbee with graphics celebrating the 50 years. These discs are definitely softer. They fly better and are easier to catch than cheap Frisbees. No longer readily available at retail outlets, you can still find this set on eBay:


Frisbees Are Affordable Fun 


I am amazed at the low cost of Frisbees. Well, not I suppose if you consider that they are just pieces of plastic. Still, for less than $10 you can buy an activity for that is easy and fun and encourages physical activity. It is easy to grab a Frisbee and take it along wherever you are going and playing with a Frisbee does not require any other equipment. What better choice could we make for our families and our friends in this day and age? Frisbees are fun for everyone. You don't have to be tall, strong, young or old! Just grab a Frisbee and go!  You can find Amazon's complete collection of Wham-O Frisbees here.

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Frisbee Reading:

Meet Walter Frederick Morrison: The Inventor Of The Frisbee
A Beginner's Guide to How To Throw A Frisbee

Author's Note: This post was originally written elsewhere in 2009.






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Thursday, November 5, 2015

InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car Review

Every child, sometime in his or her young life, becomes obsessed with fire trucks. In fact, when does that attraction ever end? Grownups are drawn to fire engines, too, which may be why this authentic-looking fire truck pedal car is a bestseller and such a popular gift. The awesome InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car is durable, comes equipped with ladders and a bell, and your future firefighter will be thrilled to own it.
This awesome InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car is durable, comes equipped with ladders and a bell, and your future firefighter will be thrilled to own it. Here's my review.

Boys and girls will love this pedal car because of the bright fire engine red color, the shiny chrome hubcaps and ladder holders with removable ladders, the bell, and the storage compartment in the back to hold their fire fighter uniform or extra fire-fighting supplies. Once they get in and get moving, they'll love that their new fire truck is so easy to pedal and steer as they drive.

Parents will love this toy truck because of the sturdy steel construction, rubber tires, and adjustable pedal car drive to accommodate growing children's leg lengths. Note that the recommended age range for the truck begins at 3 years, though some children may need to be older before they're able to coordinate the pedals. Maximum weight limit is 70 pounds.

Grandparents will enjoy the old-fashioned, 1950s nostalgic look of the pedal car, likely to bring back fond memories of the old fire truck they had when they were kids. The price isn't bad, either, always a plus for grandparents who love to give nice gifts.

Santa's elves will like this gift idea, too, because assembly directions are easy to follow, though let your friendly elves know to set aside a couple of hours to have plenty of time to get it put together.

Doting parents and grandparents who want the best for their kiddos know they can't go wrong when they choose the gift of a toy fire truck for their little one. This durable InStep pedal car fire truck is an excellent choice, one that will last for years, through uncountable hours of creative play. To make your gift complete, consider including a firefighter accessories set or even a toy Dalmatian dog to hang out with them at the station between calls. You'll have as much fun watching as they have playing!

Maybe your little fireman (or firelady) will grow up to be a real-life firefighter, or maybe not, but in the meantime we think he (or she) will love this gift. Visit the links below to shop for yours and to check the excellent customer reviews.

Quick Links:
Find the InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car at:

~ Susan Deppner




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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Reviewing Play-Doh Disney Royal Palace

Make A Palace For The Disney Princesses With Play-Doh

I have been looking for some items to get for my youngest grand-daughter for Christmas and since she loves to play with play-doh I thought the Royal Palace set would be just the right choice for this year. She loves the royal girls from Disney, so this seems to be a perfect choice, but is it?

The Play-Doh Royal Palace looks like so much fun with the different molds that can be used. There are two dolls included in the set, Princess Ariel and Cinderella. Their dresses can be decorated with the neat colors of play-doh included in the set or you can pull out other colors from your toy chest. I love the sparkle dough of green and turquoise that are included!

Rapunzel's tower can create long strands of hair that can be used for other decorations if you choose or just leave it hanging from the tower for a neat look.

At first glance of the box and seeing everything that comes with it, I am inclined to think that my little munchkin will love this set. She has been playing with play-doh for a couple of years now and still refers to it as "my may-doh" which I think is adorable. Even though it is suggested for 3 years old and up and she is now 4, I have to wonder if it might be frustrating for her to play with. She has reached an age where it matters to her if the creations she works on are not just like the picture shows. I watched a video showcasing this set and I am waffling on my choice of this particular set.



After having watched the adult struggle with getting the dress molds to stick and making some of the accessories, this may be too difficult for a 4 year old little girl to play with. Now, the good thing about the video is that the adult does show how to correct some of the easily made mistakes in order to get the molds to work so it was beneficial to watch. It would help me or my daughter to help our little one to learn how to create the different pieces from the molds. 

The set is just so cute and I know she will love the idea of making dresses for the two Disney Princesses, I just don't want her to be disappointed or frustrated when she begins to work with the molds and play-doh. What I am thinking is that it might not be a bad idea to get this as a gift, knowing that this is one that will require some adult attention for a while. It would be a good challenge for her and will help strengthen her dexterity and work with her fine motor skills. 

So, my conclusion is that I will probably purchase the Play-Doh Royal Palace for her and make sure that either myself or my daughter sit down to play with her when she opens the box the first time. When it comes to toys like this, it is a good idea to really look it over and make sure that it is going to be something that a child will have fun with. I think we have to be realistic in our expectations and understand that the examples on the box are always going to look much better than anything our children will be able to accomplish or even ourselves for that matter. Will they be disappointed? Will they get frustrated to the point that they will not play with it? It might not be a good choice if you feel that they will experience either one or both of these emotions. Then again, if you look at it as a challenging way to play, a learning experience and a way to encourage the child to try new things and practice so that they get better; it could be a wise choice after all. 




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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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