Must Have Toy – Lunar Rover from GeoSmart

Disclosure- We received the below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.

My daughters absolutely love hands on playing. They love to build and create things, so I knew that the Lunar Rover from Geosmart would be a great hit for my girls.

Magnetism is a force that pulls or pushes. Youngsters are naturally attracted to magnetic construction sets for the simple pleasure of problem solving. The benefits of this delightful play are unlimited: creative thinking, pattern recognition, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, decision making and even social abilities. Playing with these great blocks uses all the elements of STEM basics – science, technology, engineering and math principles.

About Smart Toys and Games, Inc.

Smart Toys and Games products develop logical thinking and problem solving skills in all ages through fun, challenging play. Each multi-level game from the SmartGames line is designed to move players through carefully sequenced levels of game play. Fun, durable, and compact, SmartGames are perfect for travel. Their construction sets allow children to explore the world of magnetism in a safe and creative way through making strong building structures and vehicles. Check out more about GeoSmart here.

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American Girl Doll of The Year 2016 – Lea Clark

Disclosure- We received the below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own and honest.

American Girl Dolls are a staple in many houses. Girls of many ages absolutely love each of the American Girl Dolls that have become a part of their families.

About American Girl:

At American Girl, they celebrate girls and all that they can be. That’s why they develop products and experiences that help girls grow up in a wholesome way, while encouraging them to enjoy girlhood through fun and enchanting play.

They have a wide variety of products that they offer which include:

  • American Girl Characters
  • My American Girl dolls
  • Bitty Baby
  • American Girl magazine
  • American Girl Retail Stores
  • Books
  • e-books

They hope that their stories, characters, and more speak to girls everywhere, helping them become all that they can be.
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And Advent Begins #HolidayGiftGuide

This past Sunday, Advent began.  Have you gotten you child their Advent Calendar yet? Most don’t follow Advent exactly, instead counting down the 23 days leading to Christmas Eve.  These two adorable options from Playmobil are no exceptions.

advent calender

For those children who love animals, the set #6624 could be perfect (I know, they call their sets by numbers rather then by names, which can be rather interesting when you are trying to find one).  This one is farm themed, and is very cute. Once a day, your child can punch out the numbered door and find a fun surprise inside, such as a kitty, cow, goat, or even a tractor. Weather you are country born, or just got a country soul, this is sure to please. About $25 at stores like Toys R Us and Amazon.

hockey set

For the sporty kids, the Playmobil NHL Hockey set #9017 will score big. This set comes with everything your hockey fan would like, such as Once all the pieces are revealed,hockey figures, two child figures, flags, goal, Stanley Cup, puck bag, and who better then to break up disagreements then a Santa referee? There are other accessories included as well (including reindeer), one for each day until Christmas eve.  Around $27.

hockey toy

If you are looking for more hockey fun, check out the PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena. This one is full of interactive fun and has a movable goalie. Just as in real games, use the player’s sticks to block or to hit the puck into the goal. Use the joystick to slide the goalie back and forth to protect the goal. You can customize your team and rink with any NHL team stickers (included). The PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena retails for about $59.99.

star wars lego

For more character sets, check out the Star Wars Carbon Freezing Chamber Set. This one is not only one of our favorites, but it also made the KMart Fab15 Toy List. This set is great not only for kids, but for Star Wars fans of all ages.  Go on a quest to rescue Han Solo from Boba Fett. This LEGO scene comes with minifigs of Boba Fett, Han Solo and an Ugnaught native. Not only does it come with the Carbon Freezing center, but also a moving elevator, detailed central control and of course, all freezing functions. Warning- only freezes LEGOs, your little brother is safe. Available at KMart for $25, prices vary elsewhere.
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Starry Station for Internet Control

The internet is a huge big open place with lots of distractions, and some not so nice things for kids’ eyes and ears.  The best way to keep them from seeing these things is with a fine tooth comb where you can sift through their activity and deliver only what you deem fit.  School and information related web sites, appropriate entertainment, and also limiting their time online.  In an ideal world, this would be as easy as a few button swipes or pushes, but we live in a  less then ideal world where we use flashing blinking lights on a router to show the health of our internet connection, and then complicated connection settings dialed in via specific addresses to maybe get the control you are looking for.  There is another way.

ui

The Starry Station is a wireless router which has a built in touch screen to let you not only see the health of your network, but also what devices are connected to it. You can give these devices certain access, including time limits, content limitations, and cutting content completely. This could be for things like going outside time or bed time, meal time (am I right? Get your phone off the table!) whatever works for you.  No more hiding a phone under the sheets and playing games until the wee hours of the morning.  What is most interesting about the Starry Station is how well it fits into the decor of any room, be it a living room, computer room or a dining room.  It looks like a mini work of art with lots of color and activity, but not so much that it is a distraction.
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North Pole Kids Club

Disclosure- We received the below in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are our own. For more information, see “I Disclose”.
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The magic of Christmas time is very fun for the majority of people. It gets even more exciting when you have children. The North Pole Kids’ Club does nothing but get your family even more excited for the magic of the Christmas Season.

About North Pole Kids Club:

Since Santa is especially busy during the holiday season, the North Pole Kids’ Club is brought to you by Cooper’s Corner, a magic workshop just outside of Denver, Colorado. They create fun and festive products that promote family togetherness and the spirit of Christmas.

Colleen Nutter, Chief Operating Elf, of the North Pole Kids’ Club has direct orders from Santa Claus to certify as many Junior Elves as possible. For kids that want to stay off the naughty list, enlisting in the North Pole Kids’ Club secures a spot on Santa’s nice list. That’s because youngesters 4-years-old and up become Junior Elves by being polite, helpful and merry. It all starts with the Official Elf Kit.

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Starting Your Holiday Shopping? Check Out These Fun Items

If you, like me, like to get a head start on the holiday shopping, you will love these cute and fun toys. Your children (grandchildren, nieces or nephews, etc) will have a ball with these long after the festivities are done.

kids charm bracelet

Do you know a little girl who loves crafts? How about jewelry? She would enjoy Charm U®. Designed for kids aged five and up, they can create and then wear these cute toys that double as jewelry. There are more then 70 charms currently available, including fun foods, pets, princess, travel, sports, and more. These are very cute, and very trendy at the moment as well.  There are starer sets that come with the Charm U Bracelet and Eight Charms– everything a girl could need to begin her designing and creativity. This comes with a charm bracelet and eight different charms,as the name suggests- but you also get a “surprise charm” in a fun mini backpack, stickers, and more.  (about $12.99) If you ant to add some charm, there are additional charm packs with four charms or blind bags that each have two collectible charms. Looking for a little more? Try the Charm U Display & Playsets for about $19.99.

fighting robotsMy 9 year old son loves Big Robots, these were one of his “must have” toys this year, and it’s easy to see why. The 8” fighting robots are responsive and easy to set up. You use handheld controllers to “fight” (think motion controlled nun-chucks), moving your hands to move the robots.  They are easy to control, and fun- even for dad. They work best on a flat, smooth surface- floors are best, you don’t want them to fall off a table.  Also cool are the“damage tracking” LEDs that let you see the devastation you inflict. About $59.99 each, or $119.99 for a 2 Pack- and you are going to want the 2 pack, they are nowhere near as much fun alone.

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Treasure Necklaces From Chamilia Review

Chamilia

The new Treasure necklaces from Chamilia will be a timeless and priceless necklace every woman will want to adorn her neck. From a Swarovski company, the Treasure sterling silver necklaces are the perfect gift for this holiday season.

With this new Treasure necklace collection, which features six dainty classic sterling silver disc pendants each featuring an engraved sentiment on the front; with the words Love, Friend, Sister,Family, Mom, and Daughter to choose from with the Chamilia hummingbird logo on the back of each pedant.
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Toys That Let Kids Explore Their Creative Side

There are all sorts of options that allow kids to be creative- they can high tech, low tech, or no tech. No one way is best, we like to mix it up and bring in some of all kinds of play and playthings. Here are some of our current favorites.

new skylanders

Are your children Skylanders fans? The popular franchise has expanded again, this time with Skylanders Imaginators. The newest in the series really lets kids unleash their imaginations, as the title suggests. To me, this is the most fun of the games yet. Sticking to the theme of it’s other games, Kaos is once again causing problems in the Skyland, and Eon needs your help to defeat him. However, this Skylanders differs from previous iterations in the way that you can now create your own Skylanders with nothing holding you back but your imagination.  With the help of Senseis in game (these specialize in one of ten different techniques) you can also train your Skylander to defeat Kaos and his minions.  All previous Skylanders can be used with Imaginators, including Super Charger vehicles and traps both of which are functional in race mode.  In total there are 31 new senseis to collect, as well as Creation Crystals which save your own creation in the game.

skylanders

The main concept behind Imaginators is the ability to build your own Skylander Imaginator.  This Imaginator can be customized in appearance, ability, sounds, and even appendages.  Each edit is done on the fly in game through a series of easy to navigate menus.  Scattered throughout each level in the game itself are items which can be used to build and rebuild your character. The gameplay is easy to pick up and play- hack and slash gaming where exploration is encouraged and villains are colorful and different.  Each level has a theme and each level has an end boss who must be defeated to progress.

The starter set includes a portal, the game itself and a minimum of 2 senseis and an Imaginator crystal to make your own Skylander.  The start set retails for $74.99 and is available nationwide now.

Adventure Time

To continue gaming, but build your own game pieces, try Lego Dimensions.  The Lego brick themed multiverse game is constantly expanding, and with the most recent additions you can now explore the worlds of the children’s favorite Adventure Time, the generational favorite Dr Who, and the TV classic The Simpsons and Springfield to name a few.

LEGO video games

Sets are broken down into a few different categories- the predominant one being levels. The download of an update to your game and the usage of figures from that particular universe (package you purchased)  the level is unlocked. The Simpsons brings your characters into Springfield to solve various quests and requests by locals as well as collect various items to complete the level to 100%.  There are playable levels as well as free play modes, where you can just go exploring to find all the nooks and crannies put in the game. Adventure Time has tons of characters and interactions with authentic voices- this has been a huge hit with both dad and son.  When combining the level pack with the character pack, you can play as the duo Finn and Jake, both causing mischief and saving princesses with the help of BMO and Lumpy Space Princess.  To be honest. my son was least interested in Lumpy Space Princess to start off with, but her animations and interactions with characters are so spot on and genuinely funny, she is now one of his favorites in the entire game across every universe.  In addition to the sets mentioned, there are also fun packs like the Ninjago Cragger pack, which includes the evil Croc-tribe warrior Gragger and his Swamp Skimmer (which can be rebuilt into Cragger’s Fireship and Croc Command Sub).  This is one of the interesting parts of Lego Dimensions- vehicles aren’t only one vehicle but can be upgraded and rebuilt into other forms making them stronger or adding a new mode of transportation to the game, such as a submarine going underwater or a jet which can fly around.  Each pack is jammed full of fun with levels, characters and of course the Legos themselves which come with digital instructions on how to build some characters in game.  Once put together the characters can also be played with just as other Lego sets are and fit in with the rest you have at home. Prices vary per pack and set size.
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