Toys Your Kids Will Love

As we begin the countdown to summer recess, you might begin to wonder what the kids will do to while away the hours at home. When you aren’t exploring the great outdoors, here are some fun ideas for you.

Long road trip or flight ahead? If you are traveling with young kids, you might want to consider bringing along a tablet. We just tested out the HOT WHEELS™ 7” TABLET POWERED BY NABI. This tablet comes with several Hot Wheels screens, including one titled “Hot Wheels Labs” that lets children watch videos about the science of and forces propelling the resistance, friction, and gravity of the toys- in short, how they really work. Consider it branded science, LOL. So many kids are addicted to these little cars, I think it’s a fun way of learning something. In this theme, there is also a “Trackwars & Hacks” area with over 25 apps and games. The custom orange bumper keeps the tablet kid resistant to the bumps and falls it will likely take, and racing sound effects will thrill little gear-heads. Not interested in Hot Wheels? Barbie and American Girl versions are also available. You can get these for about $79 at Best Buy, Toys R Us, Kmart, Costco, or the nabi Shop.

Are the kids excited for the upcoming sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy? I know we are, and some of these toys are really fun. One of our current favorites is the new Dancing Groot Figure. If you recall, toward the end of the first volume, Groot sacrificed himself to save his friends, and Rocket replanted a small piece of Groot in the hopes that he would grow anew. And grow he did! Into a fun little dancing Baby Groot that made us all giggle through the credits. In this vein comes the new Dancing Groot toy. This 11.5″ electronic figure lights up and dances to clips of music from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. You can also play your own music for Groot to dance to, as it can detect external sounds. Requires 3 AA batteries, included. Available for $34.99 at most major retailers and at HasbroToyShop.com.
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What To Put In An Easter Basket

With Easter just around the corner, you are likely thinking of what you might put into your children’s Easter baskets this year. Here are a few fun suggestions that we think you and yours might enjoy.

Surprizamals are the perfect toy to put in your basket- they are cute for any time of the year, but love them for Easter baskets because they come in their own balls that are roughly the size of your basic plastic egg. The “surprise” is that you don’t know what animal comes inside each ball- there are even some very rare ones your child will enjoy looking for. These toys are small, cute, and inexpensive, and the “surprise” aspect of them really makes kids like them that much more. Not to mention, that they are easy to collect. An easy win.  Available at https://www.surprizamals.com/

We’ve mentioned Whiffer Sniffers before, but there is a new series out as well as new Spring/Easter exclusives that little fans or collectors will really enjoy. These scented plush characters really smell like they are supposed to.  They are fun toys that come with clips so that they can hand off your child’s backpack (or whatever they prefer). These small toys pack a large fragrance as well- several months later, I still smell the ones he’s had on his backpack from August. Not overwhelming. Also, the sweet smell of confections is one I will take over the gross “little boy playing” smell any day of the week, I will tell you that. There are several sizes and styles available for each character-  snuggley super size, a backpack clip, and scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers. You can also find exclusive characters only found inside specially marked mystery packs. Ah, the fun is in the hunt, right? Grab yours at a toy store near you or at http://whiffersniffers.com/ .
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Candy Free Easter Baskets

With Easter around the corner, you are likely starting to gather items for your children’s baskets. You probably don’t want to fill them with candy, and might be looking for other small items to put inside. Here are a few toys we think are a great fit.

Are your children fans of Super Wings? The new Super Wings Vroom ‘n Zoom are great for pre-k and toddler aged kids, they push to rev up, then release them to speed away.  Jett and friends available, $5.99.  Also available are the Super Wings Transform-a-Bots four Pack. These planes can transform from planes to robots in just three easy steps, each slightly differently, since they are shaped uniquely. Transform-a-bots let your kids recreate favorite scenes from the Super Wings TV show or imagine whole new helpful deliveries. $11.99

super wings toys
PJ Masks, another show for young kids, makes similar cars. PJ Masks Mini Vehicles feature your favorite heroes from the hit show.  You can get Catboy in his Cat-Car, Gekko in his Gekko-Mobile, and Owlette in her Owl Glider. Each car is $6.99 at stores like Walmart and Toys R Us. The cars are a good size for small hands, and are easy to push and roll around.

Madballs are great for slightly older kids, and even tweens. They are fun, gross, and collectable. Millennials and kids born around that time might remember them- they were first out in 1985 (so dad will likely get a huge kick out of them as well).  Icky faces made of foam that are also great to throw, hit, bounce, etc- everything you’d do with any other ball, but these are “way more better” since they have gruesome features.  They come in the classic 3 inch (typical ball-ish size) and mini blind bags. Six Madballs characters are currently available: Dustbrain, Horn Head, Oculus Orbus, Screamin’ Meemie, Skull Face, and Slobulus. $7.99 each, $2.99 for the mini blind bags.
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New Year, New Tech

VR Real Feel Racing lets you race cars from the comfort of your living room. Not only is there the headset, but it comes with a steering wheel as well. The headset is pretty cool and actually comfortable (my son and husband both have larger then average heads, and neither one has an issue wearing it) to wear. Other virtual reality headsets have you tilt your head to steer and you have no control over gassing or breaking the car. With the VR Real Feel Racing, you can control these with the steering wheel, and you also feel the vibrations when you crash, bump other cars, and more with the Max Force Feedback.  The app itself is also a lot of fun for both kids and adults who like to play racing games.

You can also use the headset to play other VR apps. You can order on Amazon for about $30. Requires 3AAA batteries, not included.

The GAMESIR: G3s Gamepad is a multi-platform, portable game controller that is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and Playstation 3.  It has 18 hours of game time per charge, and has rechargeable batteries.  It has automatic sleep mode and a power saver, so it will conserve it’s battery life.  It’s great for travel, and lets you play wirelessly on your smartphone or tablet using bluetooth. The G3S Gamepad has double shock vibration so you can really get into your games, feeling each hit and explosion. If you want to use it with your PS3, just use the wire and connect it (this one needs to be connected).  It’s a great gift for gamers of any age, and brings more fun to playing on your tablet or phone.

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The Ultimate Winter Gear for Your Kids

As you head out into the blustery, winter-y weather that has descended on many by this point, you will want to make sure the kids are well equipped to handle all that mother nature dishes out. Here are some of our favorites for your snow days.

One of the most important winter wear items is a durable, water resistant coat. The Dare 2b Boy’s Dedicate Jacket is a coat for both daily wear and for serious outdoor play.  Girls Entrust Jacket also available- same jacket, different name. It not only wears well, but has all sorts of features that your kids will love. It has a waterproof outer layer, and is made with a breathable 4-way stretch fabric. The hood is detachable (but doesn’t fall off) and has an elastic trim, making adjusting it easy. The coat also has internal mesh pockets, and all the pockets zip (so not as many lost gloves and whatnot). It has bight reflective details, making spotting your child on the trails or during snowball fights even easier.  Available at http://www.dare2b.com/ for about $140. Infant snuggler suits (one piece coats for babies) available for about $50 each.

snow gloves

You will want sturdy gloves- it’s hard to play outside very long with cold, wet hands. The Jr Rascal Glove by Seirus comes in fun options like skeleton, zombie, and Digi (think video game/Minecraft looking), and feel as good as they look. Kids will like them because they are fun, you will like them because they are functional and do their job well. They are windproof and water resistant, and have Heatlock insulation to keep little hands warm. They feature a gauntlet cuff that cinches easily to help keep ice and snow from getting inside, and have SureGrip on the palms and fingers to help them hold onto whatever they are trying to keep in their hands. Most gloves are really slippery, this is a cool and useful feature. For about $30 at https://www.seirus.com

snow boots

For snow trekking, you will love the Icebug Myoko BUGweb GTX.  These boots are fantastic- and yes, they have adult shoes and boots. You will love them that much. I have had Icebugs myself for several years, and my son and I agree they are both comfortable to wear and great at keeping your feet warm- we both really like them.  These boots are cut slightly higher then the ankle, and keep you warm with fleece insulation. They have a GORE-TEX® outer shell that will keep your child’s feet dry. They are easy to put on and take off- any parent that has had wars with snow boots will appreciate the double Velcro that kids can adjust themselves. No one will complain about sore feet in these boots- at least no one I’ve met. Available for $169.95 at http://icebug.com/us
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Sharks and Ninjas to Help You Clean Up Your 2017

Now that the holidays are done and gone, what do you do with all the leftovers? Cleaning up after the festivities can be quite a project. Here are some of our favorite finds to clean up our acts in 2017.

Everyone has been in and out of your home for months now. The floors are a mess, and you could really use a deep cleaning.  From winter mud and snow and salt to all the random foods prep and holiday wrapping and decorations, there is just more mess then usual. The Shark Rocket Complete  is beast of a vacuum, with two powered brush rolls to make sure all the debris is picked up.  It’s good for hard floors or carpets, as well. The soft roll and gets into things by grabbing large, small, or stuck on items off hard flooring while grabbing large particles and piles on carpets.  The second brush roll has a bristle head, which on hard flooring accelerates large, small, and stuck on particles into the vacuum while on carpet deep cleans and pulls stuck on and small particles into the vacuum.  These two brush rolls working together make short work of just about any dry mess you can think of as well as regular vacuuming around the house.  It really gets in there, and you can tell the difference. About $200 on http://direct.sharkclean.com

For those sealed hard floor messes which a vacuum isn’t built for, check out the Shark Genius Steam Pocket Mop System.  This mop system is built to deep clean your floors using steam as the main agitator. The steam releases most messes and spills with minimal effort through the pad, lifting away the mess without you every having to touch it.  The stem can also be delivered directly to the floor with the Steam Blaster, which was created for stuck on or greasy messes, where steam is applied directly to the mess and can be wiped away with the pad secondarily.  The pad itself grabs 99.9% of common household bacteria (according to the manufacturer).  The best part is the amazing clean you get- the second best is the hands off approach to cleaning it gives you.  The pad detaches right into the laundry without ever having to get your hands dirty with a simple button push. That’s the third best part- no more pads to buy. About $120 on http://direct.sharkclean.com
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Robotic Pets and No Tech Huggables #HolidayGiftGuide

Is your child begging for a new pet this year, but you don’t want something else to clean up after? Look no further- we’ve found an array of low-maintenance pets for your holiday gift giving.

robot chimp

Zoomer Chimp is one of the latest in the line of Zoomer robotic pet toys. He has a lot of ?moves” to him, and can move on all fours as well as standing up on two legs. He can be taught to follow you, to “Chimp Talk” (repeat what you say), can be taught new words as you play with and train him, knows 10 commands (watch what happens when you tell him to “go bananas!) and will let you know how he is feeling by the color of his eyes and facial features.  Zoomer Chimp makes a lot of sounds as well, and has “progressive play” built in so he doesn’t always move the same way. His wiggles and dances are adorable and funny, which will make him a hit with kids (and dad, too). He needs 3 AAA batteries and 1 LiPo battery, and requires wall adapter to charge (not included). Prices vary – I’ve seen everything from $69-$110, so look around before you make a purchase.

zoomer hedgehog

Zoomer also put out the adorable and fluffy Hedgiez this year. They come in several colors, including blue (so boys won’t feel left out- my son adores his).  He (or she) does tricks, rolls around, and likes to play with you, as well as cuddles up and giggles. It’s a quieter toy then some robot pets, since hedgehogs are not known for wild parties, I assume. Mom and dad will love that. The fur is soft, not plastic, and can be brushed or styled with the included comb.  It will curl up when tickled (very cute) and blow you kisses. It comes with stickers as well, which is always a bonus. Hedgiez requires four AAA batteries (not included).  Prices seem to vary pretty wildly here as well- from $18-$40, depending on retailer and what sale is going on- do your homework when you buy (’tis the season!).

robot dogs

Chubby Puppies and Friends are very cute and affordable. They have been around for a little while, but they just keep getting better. They have added all sorts of animals to the original dogs (and there are a lot of dogs to pick from as well), such as bunnies, horses, pandas, all kinds of cats, and more. Some even have their own babies in the same pack (Mommy or Daddy and baby animal of choice sets) which delights my son and all children who like cute things or to play “baby” or house or….play. So, you know. All kids. Some sets come with “fashion sets” like a carrying bag for the pup and accessories like sunglasses, bows, etc, and there are playsets available as well (dog park, fashion runway, etc). The pets walk, hop, waddle by battery operated power. Each pet needs it’s (included) 1 AAA battery. Prices start at around $7.99 per pet, more for fashion sets and play sets.
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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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