Valley of the Dolls

From the soft and cuddly, to things a little more exotic, there are dolls for everyone to love this summer. Check out what’s new and exciting in all things doll related.

bath toys

For a doll that does double duty (you can snuggle it as well as take it into the bathtub or pool) you can check out Mon Premier Bébé Bath(or Bath Baby) from Corolle.  These dolls are specially designed for playing in the tub, and are so light they float. They are filled with polystyrene beads that dry quickly, just hang to air dry or lay on a towel. These soft, posable 12 inch baby dolls have adorable faces, vanilla scented skin (Corolle’s signature), and eyes that open and close. Every doll comes with an outfit and bath toy of it’s own.  Both boy and girl dolls available, as well as several skin tone options, for about $28 each. Get yours at http://us.corolle.com

barbie RC car

Maybe your dolls love it when you’re cruisin’ together. If you do as well, the Barbie Crusin Convertible Corvette Radio Control is right up your alley.Long name, fun toy. This is a fully functioning radio control car- and it’s aimed at the girls for once. Not that you shouldn’t give your brother a turn, hey now, but it’s nice to see the ladies get a radio control vehicle now and then. Huzzah. This Barbie Hot Pink car holds any Barbie doll- or any doll around the same size. The car requires quite a few batteries- two AAA for the remote and five AA for the car itself, so make sure you have some on hand. Prices vary, but most seem to be listing for about $50.  Check around before you buy.
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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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Great Kid Products from Educational Insights

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

I’m sure that you all know and remember by now that my girls absolutely love doing craft projects and playing with things hands on. My girls were definitely big fans of these great products from Educational Insights.

About Educational Insights

Educational Insights are play enthusiasts. They aim to create experiences filled with sheer joy and uncontrollable laughter. They are champions of curiosity and those “eureka” moments of discovery. In addition to inspiring creativity, imagination, good sportsmanship, and out-of-the-box learning, their inventive line of kid-powered toys and engaging games are packed full of fun, designed to delight, and are certain to satisfy kids’ natural curiosity.

Their Playful Promise – We want to exceed your expectations. We work hard to ensure that our products are of the highest quality, and that kids feel happy, confident, and inspired after playing with them. If the product you’ve purchased is not giving your child and exceptional experience, then you can simply return it and you will get your money back. That’s it! No short return windows, no endless rationale needed – just ship the product back within a year of purchase and you’ll get your refund. 

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New Lego Dimension Sets – Perfect For Easter Baskets

Disclosure- I received the below in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and honest. For more, see “I Disclose”.

LEGO Dimensions brings the whole family together to build and play through memorable entertainment franchises, including popular characters and iconic locations from The LEGO Batman Movie, Sonic the Hedgehog, Gremlins, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Adventure Time and many, many more. On May 9, players will also be able to pick up new expansion packs featuring Sloth from The Goonies, Hermione from Harry Potter and Chase McCain from LEGO CITY Undercover.

The LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack is available now for $89.99 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U and $79.99 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Select retailers may discount the packs lower as Easter approaches.

Lego Dimensions is the cool new way to bring your Lego’s to life using a portal and special Lego sets, where each level lets you play with any characters you own.  The newest Story Pack is Lego Batman the movie.  This set includes Bat Girl and Robin as well as the Bat Wing.  This story pack lets you play through the entire Lego Batman movie storyline. You can also play with/ use any characters from Lego Dimensions, like Gandoff from Lord of the Rings or Mr T from The A Team.
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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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2017 Toy Trends #NYTF

Every year at about this time, every toy, game, collectible, indoor or outdoor plaything (and more) is brought to make it’s debut at the New York Toy Fair. We go to see what is new, what’s up and coming, to see what is still holding our attention and what are up and coming toy trends. This year, we’ve noticed a few repeats, as well as some interesting new products we think you will be seeing a lot of.

Toys from last year, updated w new shineys. Some of your favorite toys from last year are back again and remade for 2017 with new bells and whistles, or upgraded and updated. As we all know, sometimes the first iteration doesn’t always turn out exactly right. Try, try again- and some of the differences are fantastic.

What’s old is new again- retro is still in, and back in style. The toys of yesteryear looking just as they did when we were kids (or grandma and grandpa were) made for our kids. Only, you know- safer then they were, in some cases.

Custom built. Kids these days. The “Me” generation, the “selfie” generation- they want to express themselves, and so they will. So many toys, apps, even electronics are customizable or can be personalized. Not just with a name or initials, added, either- kids can really make toys their own right now, to varying degrees.

Food decorating toys, or toys that come in the shape of foods. From dolls to teddy bears to real food decorating kits to jewelry- our eyes are bigger then our stomachs this year, and thank goodness. Between the success of toys like Shopkins and TV shows like MasterChef Jr and Man vs Child, kids are allowed and even encouraged to play with their food. You can make your own foodie toys and designs to wear, or snuggle up with your favorite muffin or cake at night. Some scented, some not so much. With or without glitter- and don’t eat the bears.

Everybody wants to be a Pinterest star- the kids are getting in on it with all the DIY kits that help them lean to make bath bombs, loom kits, sewing, jewelry making, and more. These are NOT the kits that we had when we were kids, that our moms would wear in front of us because they loved us or displayed just because their child made them- they look like things Martha Stewert would have in her magazine, but easy enough for kids to do them. Trust me- I tried a few, and if I could handle it, any 9 year old can. No skills here, sorry folks. My kids outpace me in this aspect easily, so this is honesty talking to you right here.

Everything gets a tail- dolls, foods, your tablet- and if it already had a tail (like, say, a cat) it will get a different one. Usually a mermaid or shark tail replacement. What cat WOULD’T love an ocean swim, amiright? Get yourself and the kiddos one as well with tubes, sleeping bags, and/or sewing kits. People get tails too, equal rights after all.

To continue with the adult coloring- and yes, we are going to- add also to that adult plus kid inter-coloring. I don’t care if that’s not a word, it’s a “thing”. Bigger books or larger sheets that parents and kids can do together, or multiple kids at once. Sharing is caring, after all. This is more involved coloring. Get out the glitter markers.
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Wowwee Robots Chip and Coji

Robots are one of the most toys for kids of all ages- everyone loves them (if they work!)- and the newest generation of robots are smarter, more fun, more realistic, and can even charge themselves in some cases.  In other cases can teach you a thing or two about how they work.

Lets look at two of the latest from Wowwee.

chip dog robot

First up is Chip.  Chip is the newest affectionate intelligent robot dog.  With senors ranging from touch to audio and voice to gyros to know when it is picked up, Chip packs a lot of fun in a little package.  Chip is about the size of a tiny dog and rolls around on his wheel-feet, rugged enough to navigate most flat surfaces.  Chip expresses himself with an LED screen-wrapped-face as well as his body language.  Chip is quite fun to play with.  He comes with a remote control to fully engage with him, a ball to play fetch, and even a charging stand that he will find on his own and charge on when his batteries get low.  This final bit makes him so close to a real pet is is almost scary, where he can in essence feed himself or rest for the night after a day of play.  Chip can understand hand gestures, voice commands, and pats on his head as ways to interact on a personal level with him.  Chip is available now and retails for $163.99
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Dreamworks Trolls Dancing Troll Poppy

trolls movie toys

The new Trolls movie has some cute and silly memorable parts to it, but one of the most memorable  is the song, “Get Back Up Again”, where our heroine Princess Poppy happily sings and dances as she goes through some extraordinary adventures while on her trek to save her friends.  This song can further permeate your brain with the new Dancing Troll Poppy speaker.  With a touch of a button, Poppy shakes and spins to the song and sings loud and clear.
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