Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Some last minute present ideas for kids - a bit of a mega post

As we've been so overwhelmed with toys from Toys R Us, it's been hard to know what to review. Some of the toys I'm going to mention haven't actually been played with yet - there has been so much, I have held some of them back until the day itself.

The first of those is the Sticky Mosaics Unicorns set (£14.99). Earlier in the year, we were sent Sticky Mosaics Dinosaurs and we absolutely loved it. I don't think I've heard a bad word said about them by other Toyologists too. So, we're giving the Unicorns to Missy Woo for Christmas as the designs are full of her favourite colour, pink. However, I have no doubt that Monkey will be helping her make the pictures.

Then there is the Jolly Octopus game (£14.99) In this game, you have to remove crabs with tongs whilst the octopus spins. If you get hit, he spins further and giggles. We actually gave this game away to another family and they loved it as it was pretty simple to understand. However, the parents also reported back to me that they had spent many a happy hour playing the game once their children had gone to bed! The octopus has two speeds so you can start it slow for little children and then increase the speed as they get better at it. Sounds a hoot!

Next, something we have played with is the Tomica Big City set which is £39.99. This is a figure of 8 track set with a train, a platform, some roads, garage, pick up truck and figure - plus various other bits and bats. We took this down to Devon for Monkey to play with. It is just the sort of thing he likes as he is big on cars and trains. He loved playing with it and we ended up with the set out throughout our stay. He sulked when we took it down and put it away again. There was plenty to keep him occupied so it was good to return to again and again. You can add other Tomica toys and sets to it which means it would be a good starting point for a Tomica collection. And even though Monkey really loved playing with the different parts of the city, Missy Woo also enjoyed playing with the set, but she is used to her brother playing with cars and often joins in. They gave it a big thumbs up.

A board game we have played with is Pirate Snakes and Ladders and Ludo (£8.99). This is basically two games in one as the board is reversible and are what you would expect from the name - classic old board games done with a pirate makeover. Monkey and Missy Woo seem to know how to play these - they must have learned at school because we don't have the basic versions here - and sit down to play nicely with this. Well, apart from Monkey making up his own rules and deciding that 2 is not a good number so that means he's allowed to throw again. It's really lovely watching them play old classics such as this and they did play so nicely. Good value for money and a nice stocking filler.

Nerf N Strike Recon CS-6
And then there are the Nerf guns. We've been sent two recently. The first is the Nerf N Strike Recon CS-6 (£19.99) which comes in 5 parts so that it can be customised. It has a sight and a red light beam for night times. And then we were also sent the Nerf N Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Blaster (£24.99). This is like a machine Nerf gun - it has a huge drum magazine which can hold 35 foam darts and a pump action. Now, Monkey thought this was great and had lots of fun with it for a few days. I STILL have a huge problem with guns of any sort as toys for children, even though the darts are pretty harmless. Oh, and I keep finding them in the strangest of places. The darts, not the children. Thumbs up from the children, and a not sure from me. If you feel differently about toy guns, you will probably love this as Nerfs are great for kids of all ages.

A useful stocking filler is the Snazaroo Boys Face Paints set (£9.99). We were sent the girl set earlier in the year and this is definitely more boyish in terms of colours, plus it has black paint which you need to make many of the designs. There is a guide in the box showing you how to do some designs which can be very helpful. The paints are non-toxic and hypo-allergenic. However, I'd love to see them doing a Unisex set of face paints because if you do have both genders, it seems a waste to need two sets, particularly if you have a girly girl and a boyish boy like I do.

And finally, here is something we're holding back for Christmas. It's the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (£99.99). It's actually listed as suitable for 8+ but I have been convinced by the older child of the house (ahem) that it will be fine to give to Monkey and that he'll help him build it. It looks amazing and incredibly detailed - replicating features from the books / film and has 10 minifigures, including Harry and Hermione. It even has secret sliding stairs! My only concern - as with all Lego sets - is where we're going to store it, be that built or broken down. The potential for my kids to lose important parts is huge - and me to tread on them at an inopportune moment. Still, Monkey does like Harry Potter and I'm sure he will be wide eyed when he opens this on Saturday morning as he is really getting into Lego now, and getting good at it too.

Phew, think that is it for my mega post. Hope these reviews have been helpful for choosing toys for your children this Christmas!
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