But there are lots of smaller things we've been sent that I thought I'd mention.
Back in September, we reviewed the Hello Kitty Plaster Rotator Creator which was a qualified success. Since then, we've been sent two more plaster based craft kits to try out. The first one is the Ben 10 Shaker Maker (£9.99) which, of course, appealed to Monkey. There are two moulds - one of Ben10 himself and one of him in Heatblast form. You pour the plaster straight into the moulds and you shake, oddly enough, to create the models. This was far more successful than the Rotator Creator at creating a good mould first time round. Obviously, Monkey was not impressed about the overnight wait to let it dry fully, but what can you do? He liked painting the mould. This required less adult supervision but still, even though it is suitable for 5 year olds and upwards, it still needed adults around to keep an eye and do some of the steps.
And then there was the Galt Cute Cupcakes Kit (£5.99). The moulds on this are tiny as they make 4 mini cupcakes (in two halves) and a cake stand to put them on. The moulds are in a tray like a silicon baking tray. What we found this with this is that the instructions left you with a lot of plaster mix even after all the moulds had been filled. Luckily, we had some spare moulds from something else and still filled all of those too! Missy Woo was delighted with these - and she enjoyed painting them in the pretty pastel colours supplied. They also come with glitter glue which is sparkly girly heaven for a 4 year old. Again, she needed some adult help but still, it was more successful than the Hello Kitty stuff as the models are more robust, but maybe the instructions need looking at to make sure they are correct.
Moving on from plaster moulds to construction, we also got sent a K'Nex Construction Case (£9.99), which contained all the parts and connectors - and instructions - to build 10 different vehicles. This is great for a child who is showing an interest in building things as the construction ideas go from simple ones to more difficult ones, which means it will remain useful as your child develops the skills to build more complicated models without it being too advanced to start with. We love it for this, as it makes it very good value for money.
And finally, we were sent the Littlest Pet Shop Blythe Sitters - Perfectly Plaid (£12.99). Now, Blythe dolls have largely passed me by but I can't help to notice the increasing proliferation of them around so I assume they're popular. I'm also guessing, judging by the price, that these aren't the real deal. No matter. The set comes with the doll, fetchingly dressed in a riding hat, woolly jumper, and plaid mini skirt plus her pet horse, a doll stand and a comb as well as a few small accessories that are very sweetly done. These are good for children who love dolls, but as I have pointed out before, Missy Woo, although she oohs and ahhs when she sees stuff like this, she's really not that into dolls and not that bothered about playing with it often. A little girl into dolls would love this more than her. Or you could keep it in a box, and boast you have a Blythe doll. Just don't try selling it on ebay as "authentic". I don't think you'd get away with it - the dolls are really very small!
Hope your kids' stockings are now suitably filled! Come back soon for some more Toyologist reviews.
(I was provided with the above toys to review and have received no other compensation. The opinions stated here are my own, and have not been influenced by the aforementioned compensation.)