Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disney Descendants Gift Ideas Reviewed

Gifts For The Under Twelve Kids

maleficent descendants
Disney's Maleficent Sculpture courtesy of Pixabay.com
Children under twelve, especially the girls, are most probably huge fans of the Disney Descendants movies. I know one of my granddaughters absolutely loves the characters and stories. She has asked for some items for both her birthday and Christmas. 

If you are not familiar with this very popular Disney story line, let me give you a brief little synopsis. When the Beast and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) marry they unite all of the kingdoms into the United States of Auradon. It is an idyllic place hidden away where the "good" characters of Disney tales reside. The villains of those same stories are imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost with their sidekicks and various accomplices in evil. Some time has passed and those characters that we all grew up with have children of their own, the Descendants. 

Prince Ben who is the son of Beast and Belle is about to become King of Auradon. He feels that it would be beneficial to invite four of the troubled teens from the Isle of the Lost to come be educated at Auradon Prep and to live among the residents of the peaceful kingdom of his father and mother. He chooses Carlos (son of Cruella de Ville),  Jay (son of Jafar), Evie (daughter of The Evil Queen) and Mal (daughter of Maleficent). So the first movie is about the transition of those teens into the Auradon realm. 

A sequel was released in 2017 called Descendants 2. It continues with the plot of the Villain Kids trying to fit in. Mal becomes frustrated with the expectation that she be Royally Perfect and returns to the Isle of The Lost. New characters are introduced with Uma (daughter of Ursula), Harry (son of Captain Hook) and Gil (son of Gaston). Uma is resentful of not being chosen by Prince Ben and is the self proclaimed leader of the Villain Kids on the island. She isn't real happy about Mal returning, as you might imagine. 

So, if you have a child on your gift list who loves Disney; I would imagine that they are quite familiar with these two movies. There are all sorts of gift ideas for these little fans. Of course, there are action dolls that they can collect and play with. If they do not already have one, a DVD of each of the movies is a great idea. There are all sorts of activity books to color and create with and there are even costumes for the various characters of the movies. They can carry their items to and from school in a Descendants backpack and they can wear socks and other clothing with this theme. As with all Disney brands, there are many items that will make a child happy to have.

This brand is not going to go away anytime soon as a Descendants 3 is scheduled to be released in 2019. You might ask your little one which of the characters they love the best and start to stock up for gifts. My little one loves Uma. I wonder which one your little one loves. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set #10216

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set 10216
Purchase your franchise here!
I was going to review the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery Set for you today, but I decided to let an alter-ego of mine tell you all about this gorgeous Lego set.

I hope you enjoy his story  review ...

Reviewing the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery


"Have you heard of the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery? Apparently there are lots of different ones around, but the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery that I know is located just outside of Lego City and is very popular at the holidays because a lot of Lego City residents buy their Christmas trees just outside and pop into the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery to purchase some of their delicious cupcakes.

My name is Leo G Brick and I'm actually what is known as a Lego Minifigure, I don't think I'm that different to you, the reader though in that I absolutely love bakeries. I love the smell of fresh bread and the taste of cakes, biscuits, muffins, croissants - just about anything you can find in a bakery! I was so excited when I heard that the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery was coming to the outskirts of Lego City, I must admit I ate far too many baked goods on the opening day!

The Lego Creator Holiday Bakery is actually available as a franchise that is quite affordable for anyone to purchase, click the link to find out more -

Get the Lego Creator Holiday Bakery to Your Lego City!

Now it’s called the Holiday Bakery because the original one opened before Christmas and it had Christmas decorations up ... the baker (pictured below) ‘forgot’ to take the decorations down and so the name stuck! In our Lego City we all go there when we’re getting our Christmas trees which further perpetuates the name, but the cupcakes, croissants and baguettes taste good all the time.

I love to visit on birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and any other special occasion when I can ‘pretend’ I need to eat some delicious food. After all we don’t want the Baker to have to close because his trade only visits once a year!

Winter is great there though because there is a pond that ices over so you can ice skate which means you burn off calories that can ‘allow’ you to eat more cake – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!"

Lego Creator Holiday Bakery - a collectors set
PIN ME!


LEGO Creator Holiday Bakery 10216 

Set Details

The Lego Creator Holiday Bakery set comes with 7 1/2 minifigures – which sounds strange!

Basically the minifigures are as follows -
  • Baker 
  • Horse Carriage Driver 
  • Christmas Tree Seller 
  • 2 females 
  • 2 children 
  • 1 lower half of a body stuck in snow!
As well as these minifigures this Lego set also contains a horse and a snow owl.

According to the official product description the set -
  • Features LEGO Power Functions lightup brick which lights the interior of the bakery when you push it! 
  • Includes lots of fun winter accessories like a dark blue minifigure hood with new fur print! 
  • Prepare holiday treats and ring up sales at the cash register! 
  • Skate on the frozen pond made of 8×8 transparent blue plates! 
  • Interesting elements include a camera, tan baguettes, croissants, green apple, 8×8 transparent blue plates, medium blue tiles and even a new caramel color for several brick and arch elements outside the bakery! 
  • Features an evergreen tree for decorating, tree sellers stand and even a horsedrawn cart! 
  • Bakery measures 7 (18 cm) wide! 
  • Completed model (depending on space allocated between the individual parts) measures 16 (40 cm) wide, 12 (30 cm) deep and 7 (18 cm) high!

What Do You Think of This Lego Creator Set?

I hope you enjoyed Leo's review of this fun Lego set, if you already have the Creator Holiday Bakery set then you might be happy to know that there are a range of Lego Creator houses available too.

Not sure if this set is the one for you?  Well then why not check out some of the other Lego reviews here on Review This (they aren't reviewed by Leo, but by human reviewers including a couple by me!) -

Reviewing 2004 Lego X PodsReviewing 2004 Lego X Pods
A fun Lego on the go toy - the 2004 Lego X Pod range - perfect for any Lego loving child ... and for any parent who has to wait with them anywhere!

Reviewing Lego Off Road Power Set - Lego #5893Reviewing Lego Off Road Power Set - Lego #5893
I love Lego's Creator range of sets and this Off Road Power set is no exception.   3 Fun vehicles to make and play with, what more can you ask for.

Reviewing a Set of Basic Classic LegosReviewing a Set of Basic Classic Legos
A Review of the Lego Classic Creative Supplement Set.   This set is called classic for a reason, they will always be welcomed in anyone's Lego collection.

Lego Big Bang Theory ReviewedLego Big Bang Theory Reviewed
A set for grown ups and kids to enjoy, the Lego Big Bang Theory set is a fun piece to build and display





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Reviewing Lego Off Road Power Set - Lego #5893

Lego Off Roader Set Reviewed
Buy the Lego Off Roader Set here!
The Lego 5893 set is part of the Creator 3 in 1 series and is known as the Off Road Power set. Not only can you build an awesome Off Roader with this Lego Creator set, but when you're bored with it you can transform it into something else!

The Lego 5893 set comes with instructions for three different Lego builds which is why the Creator 3 in 1 series is so popular. As a mom I feel like I'm getting value for money because once they've exhausted all of the play with one model they can rebuild it into another - how good is that?

Let's take a look at the three different things that this Lego Creator 5893 set can be transformed into (and let's not forget they can always create their own models without instructions).

Lego Off Roader

The First Build from Lego #5893

Lego Off Roader #5893

As you can see from the picture this completed model is of an off road vehicle with a trailer and quad bike. This offers a lot of imaginative play once the build is completed.

The build itself is not going to be over too quickly either as this set does have over 1,000 pieces that need to be put together.

So this particular first model has three components to it – the off roader, the trailer and the quad bike so let’s have a look at them all.

When the off roader is completed it measures 10 inches or 25 cm long and looks pretty cool as you can see in the image above. You can open the doors of the truck, put down the tailgate as well as opening up the hood. When you do open the hood you may feel a little disappointed to see you only have a V6 engine (a V8 would've been much better in my opinion), however when you look at what great features the 4×4 has you can forgive the engine size. The vehicle has working steering, suspension and (the creme de la creme) a self-winding winch!

Basically this 4×4 off roader is a really cool vehicle to build as well as being a lot of fun to play with just by itself, but you don’t have it just by itself instead it comes with both a trailer and a quad bike.  A little note if you are buying it for a younger Lego builder than recommended there are components with the engine that will probably require adult help with, even if they're experienced.

Trailer has a ramp at the back to enable your to drive the quad bike on and off – this can be put up when not in use. It also has a cool kick stand so that when it’s not attached to the off roader it can stay still. It’s the attention to detail on this model that really shines through and makes it a great set.

The quad bike is also pretty cool, although I am quite partial to playing with quad bikes! When it’s build the bike measures 4 inches or 10 cm long and one of it’s features that I think really makes it is the tilt steering.



Lego Truck with Digger


Second Build from Lego #5893

Lego Truck with Digger #5893

Diggers are always cool and so are trucks so when Lego offers a model of a truck that has a digger on it you just know this model is going to be a hit!



Lego Dune Buggy


Third Build from Lego #5893

Lego Dune Buggy #5893

This racing car/dune buggy model is the easiest of the three models to build so if you’re buying the set for a child that doesn’t have a lot of experience with Lego (yet), it’s a good idea to encourage them to make this one first before tackling the other two (the ‘main’ model of the 4×4, trailer and quad bike is definitely the hardest of the three).

A little boy that I know well finds this buggy great fun to play with (although he’s a little younger than the recommended age and his father built it!), it seems really tough and certainly stood up to racing on the concrete area in the back yard with no problems whatsoever.


What Do You Think of the Lego Creator Off Road Power Set?

Personally I think it’s really cool, I particularly like the Quad bike that’s included as part of the first build – what do you like about the set?


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Velveteen Rabbit Reviewed

Every Child's Library Should Have This Book


Could This Be The Velveteen Rabbit?
I do not remember how old I was when I first heard the story of The Velveteen Rabbit but I do know that after having it read to me; it became my favorite story of all time. I do not know for sure which I relate to more the child in the story or the toy rabbit. Truth be told, probably a little of both. 

I will fast forward in time to the day that I found out that I was expecting my first child. Do you know what I did just after hearing the news? I went straight to the local book store and purchased a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. Once purchased I went straight to the car, took the book out of the bag and proceeded to read the story to my growing baby. I had no idea whether I was reading to a boy or a girl at that moment but what I did know was that I was going to love that child with as much love as the boy did his toy rabbit. 

As time passed, I read that book to both of my children over and over again. We will fast forward again to the day that I found out that I was to be a Grandmother. The very first thing I bought for that baby and all of the grandchildren since is the book, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

What is it about The Velveteen Rabbit story with me?

I guess in a nutshell it is that powerful message of love. I am not sure why as a child it resonated so strongly with me but it did. It still does. The magic of love is about the most powerful thing we experience as humans. The giving of love and the receiving of love. I believe it is what makes us "real". 

Imagine being a new toy in the room and wondering what all of this is about. Imagine hoping that the child will pick you up and play with you. Imagine that at night when the child is sleeping all of the toys come alive. Some of them are rude to you and some even make fun of you. Imagine there is one toy that seems wiser than the others. It shows you kindness and shares wisdom with you. It is the Skin Horse. The tattered old horse tells you that the goal of all toys is to become "real" from the love of a human. This confuses you so the Skin Horse explains....

"Real isn't how you are made. It is a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with  but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 
I encourage you to share this book with a child in your life. Perhaps you will remember it from your own childhood. It has been a classic since 1922 when it was first written by Margery Williams. The story transcends time with the message of love. As the Skin Horse says, "It does not matter what we look like or where we are from; what matters is to be loved." Well, that is paraphrasing a bit but it really is the message. We become our real selves when we receive love and I believe give love to each other and the world we live in. Isn't that an important message that every child should learn at a very early age? Perhaps, I identify more with that old tattered horse who knows what it feels like to become "real"from the love of a child.... 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reviewing A Sand And Water Table For Kids

Outdoor Fun With Sand And Water Tables


Providing water tables for kids to play with is not only fun but great for them developmentally, too. As parents and grandparents we can offer outdoor fun for the children in our lives while they learn to play with water and sand. These activity tables are not as messy as a sandbox or a wading pool and they give the kids hours of fun while they play. They do not take up as much room, either. It is a toy that can be at their own home or one that can be stored at Grandma and Grandpa's house. No matter where it is, it will provide a great deal of fun for the children for many years.

Fun for indoor and outdoor playtime,  a water and sand table has no lights or sounds and uses the imagination skills of your child to have hours of fun with option for scooping, straining, sailing, and squirting activities. There is no doubt the children will find all sorts of ways to play with a table with sand and water.


The water table above features two sides of play - one for water and one for sand. The plastic is molded with a wood crafted styling that blends well with natural landscapes and includes an 8 piece accessory kit: umbrella, 2 bridges, 2 boats, 2 pots and 1 shovel. The umbrella is designed to provide your children protection from the sun as they play outside on a sunny day. Elastic tie-downs keep the lid secure and the legs are detachable for easy storage.

Playing at a water activity table is more than just fun. As children experiment with water they improve their cognitive and social skills. When kids learn about things that can sink or float in water, they also improve their vocabulary skills.

Using toys like these lessens the mess of small wading pools and sandboxes in our backyards. These small tables also use less water for play conserving one of our most precious natural resources.

Standing at a sand and water table encourages the use of little fingers, hands, and arms while maintaining overall balance and coordination of their young bodies. In other words, providing this type of play for our children and grandchildren helps their bodies and minds develop in a healthy way while they are having some fun.

There are several different models of sand and water tables available for you to choose from, I just showcased one of my favorite options. As a parent and now a grandparent, I have always been adamant about offering ways for children to play outdoors and I think having a sand and water table is a perfect gift idea that provides a great playtime activity along with encouraging creativity and developmental growth all wrapped into one toy. Besides, this Grandma loves to play with the children at the table, too.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, April 29, 2016

FurReal Electronic Pets for Kids Review

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/
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




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

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.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

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.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

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?



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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. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review of The Vegimals, Members of the Fisher-Price Octonauts

Fisher-Price Octonauts Figure Set - The Vegimals


My grandson, David, was approaching his sixth birthday.  While checking with his parents as to what toys might be on his birthday wish list, I was told about a recent favorite of the kindergarten set – the Octonauts!

The Octonauts


Being a grandmother with my children all grown and my five grandsons living far away, I'm out of the habit of knowing what toys are popular with today's children. Therefore, I needed to do some research into this latest craze... and thus this review for other grandparents and parents who might not be aware of these adorable toys.


It seems the Octonauts are an underwater exploring crew of eight little anthropomorphic animals who live under the sea in their Octopod and have undersea adventures using a fleet of aquatic vehicles.



Animated Series


Octonauts Wall Decal
Octonauts Wall Hanging available on Amazon

The Octonauts began in 2010 as a British TV series on BBC based on American-Canadian children's books written by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy.  It's an animated series which appeals to children ages 4-12. 


The Octonauts encounter real marine animals in their natural habitats while having adventures. It's rather a bit like a combination of 'Star Trek and the Thunderbirds meet Jacques Cousteau!'






Octonauts Characters


Octo-Crew of 8 Octonauts

The eight main Octonaut characters include the Captain, Barnacles the Polar Bear, along with Kwazii the Cat, Peso the Penguin, Inkling the Octopus, Shellington the Sea Otter, Tweak the Rabbit, Dashi the Dog, and Tunip the Vegimal.


The Vegimals

 

The Vegimals Set I Got David for his Birthday


Which brings us to the set I purchased and mailed to David for his birthday – The Vegimals!  David has already begun collecting all the main Octonauts characters, so I have added to his collection with this set of five characters which are really cute.  They are soft and squishy and measure about 1.5 inches tall.

Vegimals are part animal and part vegetable and are a special breed of underwater critters who love making tasty kelp cakes and helping out around the Octopod! They include Barrot the carrot, Grouber the ginger, Tominnow the tomato, Codish the radish, and Tunip the Turnip. Tunip is also the Ship's Cook and Gardener and a regular member of the regular 8-character team.



Toys by Fisher-Price 


The Octonauts and Vegimals figures, along with their Octopod and vehicle playsets, are products of Fisher-Price, which is a name I've trusted in toys for children for nearly 50 years.





Gup Speeder Gup-O with Kwazii the Cat

By the way, along with the Vegimals set, my birthday package included a Mini Gup (vehicle) with Kwazii the Cat, which I learned is David's favorite Octonaut. There are a whole line of these vehicles and playsets, which make nice additions to your child's collection as time goes on.


This birthday request became my first-ever introduction to the Octonauts and their friendly Vegimals and I find them adorable.  I have to say I am delighted to make their acquaintance and I see a whole bunch of birthday and Christmas Octonauts in my grandsons' future! 




David, Age 6


Happy Octonauts Birthday, David!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.