Archive For The “Reviews” Category

Toys, Tech & Games for the Best Holiday Gifts

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While this post isn’t sponsored, many of the toys, games and tech included in the attached Holiday Gift Guide were provided to us for review or promotional purposes. As always, the opinions expressed herein are our honest thoughts and strictly our own. Affiliate links are included, as this is one way to support this blog and content.

The magic of the season is upon us again. Bring on everything glitter and sparkle… and wine. This year we are particularly excited to share our best holiday gift finds for children because many of these brands have already passed the test of time. Klutz, for instance, has long been a Spalding Family favorite brand. Their kits and projects keep expanding the boundary of creativity and learning.

In previous years, we’ve featured Magformers… still going strong with their Police Set. Great for younger learners, this playset offers 50 builds in 1 kit. Children can make a variety of vehicles plus a police pistol, walkie-talkie and many other police themed transformations.

2019 is our best year for stocking success

We mixed it up with sock-size science, crafts, music, and games. Twelve amazing stocking ideas including another family favorite company: Worlds Smallest Toys. Check out their most adorable, on-the-go Crayola line with a crayon keychain to clip to a diaper bag, backpack or purse and their adorable color pencil kit, which comes with two mini coloring books… all in pocket-size perfection. And SLIME… hello? We’ve got ya covered with galaxy inspired slime products. And then there’s coding kits to fit in your palm. Code Car and Code Piano pack huge learning fun in the tiniest boxes. BIG creativity in tiny packages, perfect for sock stuffing.

A Guide to Tech Toys

We provide six tips for picking out cool tech toys, beyond “don’t forget the batteries”. Technology is one of the trickiest gifts to consider but it’s among the most requested. Want a stand out gift that gets used and appreciated vs shelved and forgotten… check out page 4 of our Holiday Gift Guide.

No Holiday Gift Guide of ours would be complete without GAMES…

We highlight 16 incredible family learning games for all ages. Familiar themes like Jeopardy, in a card game version and newbies like Otrio and Poop Tracks. We turned a charades-like, activity challenge game into a family learning night with Root Beer Float Challenge, highlighting the science behind all the foam. Dice games, trivia, card games, and coding… we have something for everyone in the family.

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World’s Smallest Toys Make Big Impact With Pocket Size Nostalgia

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Disclosure: We are excited to be partnered with The World’s Smallest and The World’s Coolest brands to bring you this review.  As part of this collaboration, we’ve been provided with samples of the below items in exchange for our honest feedback and review of the items. The opinions and thoughts expressed herein are strictly our own and represent our honest opinion of the products. Affiliate links may be included in this article.

Sometimes you come across the smallest things that offer such a huge impact… and that’s exactly how we felt about The World’s Smallest toy line. While some of the items are just darn right adorable… some bring you back to your childhood and there’s nothing to compare to that feeling. For instance the World’s Smallest Lite Brite reminds me of time spent with cousins getting creative. The World’s Smallest Tinker Toys or Magic 8 Ball, Uno and Lincoln Logs are among some of the other “throw back” pieces. Check out the entire line with Super Impulse. As kids, we’d play Uno for hours… it was easy.

These little reproductions are fully functional, with buttons, game pieces or lights & sounds to make it an authentic experience and reproduction. Imagine playing Space Invaders or Frogger on the tiniest arcade. Super cool but what’s even cooler is describing these things and sharing our childhood stories with our kiddos. It was a different time and much to be learned from sharing these stories.

Speaking of learning… the Crayola sets are fantastic for sparking on-the-go creativity and learning fun. Love the fact that it comes as a key chain, so you can clip it on a backpack or lunch tote. Kids are obsessed with all the backpack clip on accessories… in my opinion the Crayola set beats them all out. The fact that they come in sturdy cases, means they will hold up at the bottom of your purse. These little carry-ever creative kits… as well as mostly the entire The World’s Coolest line… are the perfect “emergency” kit when at the emergency room, or soccer field or DMV.

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Cosplay To Enhance Playtime Experience

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Aeromax Space Shuttle & Astronaut Costume
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post whereby we received product in exchange for an honest review. As always, the opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Aeromax Space Shuttle & Astronaut Costume

During playtime, there’s something really cool about dressing the part. I remember playing teacher when I was little and wanting to wear extra long skirts and pretend glasses to imitate my favorite elementary teacher. I would line my dolls and bears up on the bed and give them instructions. Of course it took me three times as long to complete my homework this way… but I was in my happy place.

When introduced to Aeromax Toys, it immediately brought me back to my childhood. My brother and I would race our bikes around and around the house pretending they were race cars. How cool would it have been to be dressed as an actual race car driver or the mechanic… and yes even the occasional police officer pulling us over? LOL. These are some of my favorite memories with my brother. We would circle the house for hours, tying things to our bikes, making up story lines and the whole bit. It was the perfect scenario for childhood cosplay.

I look at my little scientist, Victoria, and see how dressing in her astronaut suit lifts her imagination. It’s perfect while she’s working on a kit or just playing. There’s something magical that happens to play when you can dress the part.

Aeromax has so many authentic looking costumes and play wear. Kids can be anything from a ladybug to a doctor, flight crew and magician. Costumes are also available for infants and adults… so everyone can join in the fun. Look for their accessories too, or perhaps be inspired to create your own.

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Whiffer Sniffer: Valentine’s Day Alternative to Candy

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Whiffer Sniffer scented plush toys
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, whereby we were offered product in exchange for an honest review. As always, the content and opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. This post contains affiliate links.

Whiffer Sniffer scented plush toys

With “The Holidays” behind us… we quickly can see that another is fast approaching. And although less emphasis is given to Valentine’s Day, it is still highly commercialized and offers us nothing short of an abundance of candies, sweets and chocolates… just after we’ve had our fill of pies, cookies and candy canes and ever tempting us to fall away from our health conscious New Year’s resolutions. But fret none, as we have a terrific alternative for Valentine’s Day: Whiffer Sniffer.

Whiffer Sniffer

Whiffer Sniffers are adorable plush backpack collectibles scented with authentic flavor favorites. Imagine the scratch-n-sniff stickers we grew up with, only in plush… and no scratch needed. These Whiffer Sniffers have the allure of Shopkins with cute facial expressions and perfect attention to detail, but transcend the age band that Shopkins toys reaches because Whiffer Sniffers are fun-loving for any age.

Personality scents like Marty McPie, Rudy B. Float and Berry Toasty are fantastic for Valentine’s Day. And now, introducing two additional scented personalities to sweeten your holiday: Shirley Sweet with a chocolate cupcake scent and Larry Lovett, a Boston cream donut. Oh Yum!

In our family, we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a gesture of affection and appreciation. And while we have participated in some of the traditional means of celebrating (flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, etc) we strive for less commercialized ways to acknowledge the holiday. With fun (and long-standing) scents, Whiffer Sniffers are the perfect nod of affection without going over the top. Of course, if going over the top is your jam… Whiffer Sniffers can easily help balance the traditions of chocolates and sweets with an unexpected, fun-loving token of non-edible deliciousness. Either way… #WinningValentine’s.

Whiffer Sniffers, while falling into the collectibles category, don’t just collect in the junk drawer. Clipped to lunch boxes, sports bags, and backpacks they have a scented purpose. Consider leaving one clipped in the car for a fun treat or the coat closet. Wherever their colorful personalities land them, they are sure to entice smiles and big whiffs.

 

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Make Family Game Night a Holiday Tradition

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Family Game Night Favorites

 

Disclosure: We were provided sample product in exchange for honest reviews. As always, the opinions and content shared within is strictly our own. This article contains affiliate links. #Sponsored

Family Game Night

You know that space between “I can’t eat another cookies” and “my fingers are numb from wrapping”? Indulge in a break from it all and try a Holiday Game Night. Maybe expand it to include some friends, neighbors, coworkers… or maybe just keep simple with your immediate clan. Either way, this season brings some fantastic (and fantastically easy) games for such an occasion. Let’s take a look:

 

Crozzit, for example, is a piece of cake to set up, explain and dive in. No stress. This is a 2 player game that plays pretty fast (15 mins) and perfect for “in-between” moments. Object: Each player races to build a path to the opposite side of the board, which crisscross each other. Simple. Fun. Done.

Family Game Night Favorites

Turnspell is another quick game (20-25 mins) geared for ages 10+ with elements of Scrabble and elements of Boggle. A turnstile board center piece is placed in the middle with four alphabet tiles facing each player (2 to 4 players). Each participant selects a tile from the four directly in front of him/her to place on their individual tile grid platforms. The turnstile spins, participants select another tile in an attempt to spell four four-letter words on their grid.

Family Game Night Favorites

Mousetrap, an oldie but goodie because it is so hands-on. If I’m being honest… I’ve passed on this game because of my PERCEIVED setup requirements, however… you build the trap as part of the game. I dislike games with complicated setups and assumed the mousetrap needed to be assembled in advance of game play. WRONG. So… this game is suddenly more appealing and perhaps other parents had the same misconception that I had. Mousetrap is a Mensa Award winning game… and now I better understand why, as children are assembling the contraption that is supposed to capture opponents mice. Colorful, active, and hands-on… Mousetrap is highly recommended.

Family Game Night Favorites

Exit Game is a “one & done” game, meaning that you play it once, use the pieces, puzzles, materials and then discard. The Exit Game is an escape-the-room type of game with clues and a variety puzzles, a decipher wheel and solution cards. It includes riddle cards for puzzles & activities, help cards, 2nd help cards and solutions for each puzzle or activity in case you get stuck. This is a group game, best with four or more players. It is a cooperative game, whereby everyone is working together to solve the puzzle. There are three distinct variations including The Secret Lab, The Abandoned Cabin, and Pharaoh’s Tomb.

Family Game Night Favorites

Not Parent Approved is a fast pace, kid-friendly card game sure to get the giggles going. This card game was inspired by Cards Against Humanity, which is strictly adult oriented. Not Parent Approved has kid-appropriate content without stripping all the hilarity away. The game consists of blue question cards and red answer cards. Taking turns, a question card is drawn and read allowed. Each participant holds 3 answer cards and must choose one to best answer the question posed each turn. The person reading the question is the judge of the best answer offered and that person gets points. It play fast, it plays fun… and it packs up easy for on-the-go fun.

family game night favorite

Let’s talk about Blurble. First off, it’s a fun title for a game, silly in and of itself. Blurble is another party game, whereby each participant has a small stack of cards and go against each other player individually by flipping the top card and quickly shouting out another word that starts with the same letter. Sounds simple enough… but offers enough tongue twisting challenge to be entertaining. There are additional educational games and activities suggestions provided as well.

family game night

Lastly, we want to bring to you Who’s The Dude. This is a family charades game… with one additional family member: The Dude. We’ve adopted our blow up friend and named him Stan. Stan hangs out more than just playing Who’s The Dude (he’s watched movies with us, crafted with us… we just have fun with him where we can). However, the game is surely entertaining enough because it comes with plenty of objects and activities that players act out with the dude for the other team to guess. Victoria got a huge kick out of using Stan as a fly swatter during one of her rounds. Silliness and laughs… isn’t that what it’s all about in the end. A great family game and perfect for any kid-friendly New Year’s party too.

family game reviews

Be sure to check out our Holiday Gift Guide for more gift suggestions… and subscribe to our mailing list and/or YouTube channel to get updates when new game reviews are posted. Happy Holidays.

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Ignite Imagination with Great Pretenders

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Disclosure: We are pleased to work with Great Pretenders to provide reviews in exchange for product samples. As always, the opinions and content expressed herein are strictly our own. This post contains affiliate links. #sponsored

 

Great Pretenders Colour-An-Apron

Love the customizable Colour-In-Collection by Great Pretenders! Between capes, crown, aprons and more, your child can design the look of their dreams. Each article comes with washable fabric markers. For more fun, consider beads, buttons, glitter and gems… but do keep in mind they may come off in the wash… so I recommend hand washing if you jazz it up.

 

We overlapped colors to make purple and different effects. It is really wonderful to be able to design the pattern.  I remember growing up coloring with my mom, something I now enjoy doing with my daughter. This apron was a special coloring project because it isn’t just a page we signed in a coloring book, but something she can wear, actually use in the kitchen… or pretend with in her own “kitchen”.

Great Pretenders really know how to put the wow factor into pretend play. And while so much of our children’s world is plugged in… it sure is a breathe of fresh air to find them running around with capes and crowns and wands in hand.

 

You will find both the Colour-In-Collection and Reversible Super Hero Cape set in our Holiday Gift Guide. Give the gift of imagination this holiday.

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Beat Bugs Toys & Netflix Show Introduce Youngsters to The Beatles

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Disclosure: We were provided a sample in exchange for an honest review. As always, the opinions and content expressed herein are strictly our own. This post contains affiliate links.

Adorable bug characters, called the Beat Bugs, are introducing a new generation of kids to The Beatles and their iconic music. Beat Bugs is a Netflix original series, starring 5 adventurous bugs friends. As they explore their environment and curiosities, Beatles songs are woven into the storyline, creating a catchy and innovative way to keep The Beatles alive. Just as innovated, are the creative playset for children to make their own adventures with the Beat Bug friends. Playsets play 3 different Beatles songs and have a variety of characters to play with.

Below, check out Victoria’s review of the Yellow Submarine toy, which you will also find in our Holiday Gift Guide for this year. There are several playsets, each playing different songs from the famous band, covered by other famous sings such as Rod Stewart, Pink, Sia and more. The Netflix original series is surely one to check out.

For more holiday gift suggestions, please visit our Holiday Gift Guide by clicking below:

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Costumes Are Not Just For Halloween

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Aeromax Space Shuttle & Astronaut Costume

 

Disclosure: We were provided sample items from Aeromax for review purposes and inclusion in our holiday gift guide. The opinions expressed herein are always strictly our own. This post may contain affiliate links.  We are providing honest feedback in exchange for the product.

Fun Fact: Costumes can be cool all year round! So Halloween has come and gone and now the New Year is quickly approaching. We love a good celebration, especially those with a theme. Costumes can play a huge part in pulling that theme together. Aeromax specializes in children and adult costumes… perfect for such occasions as in ringing in the new year or a birthday bash.

In our video below you will find Victoria romping around in a one-piece astronaut suit from Aeromax. The space patches, real-working zippers and pockets truly make this feel like real NASA uniforms. It comes with a matching cap or you can purchase the helmet separately. Victoria is rocking the orange suit (to match her hair) but there is a white suite and helmet available as well.

Dress up isn’t just for girls. Take playtime to new depths with costumes and cosplay. It ignites imagination and further piques the curiosity they hold for the world that surrounds them.

And let’s not forget that police officers and astronauts aren’t just for boys. My daughter is having a great time pretending to be a scientist and being part of the NASA exploration team, just like the ladies from Hidden Figures. I saw Victoria’s confidence boost just from being in the orange uniform. And she could imagine herself as an astronaut. Added props like the Space Shuttle summer float only expands that playtime (in the pool or not). The Space Shuttle is easy to inflate and feels sturdy. It offers an excellent prop for Space themed parties or playdates. It is terrific to add to any space-station-fort-building afternoon.

Encourage your kids to take a break from tech with Aeromax.

You can find these Aeromax Space items and much more in our holiday gift guide. Click on the link below to be taken to pages of learning fun perfect for holiday gift giving.

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