Disclosure: We were sent these products for Dark Arts Month and for the purposes of this post. All images and opinions are our own.
With a lockdown Halloween just around the corner, our usual Halloween plans have been somewhat muted. Thankfully we received a bundle of Harry Potter products from Wizarding World, and that put a spooky spring back in our step.
Over the last 8 months or so of lockdown, we’ve had a lot of time to fill. One thing we have been doing is we’ve been indulging in weekly film nights; the Harry Potter films have been a big part of that.
Wizarding World sent us a brilliant Dark Arts bundle, it contained all kinds of great things; from the elder wand, some Harry Potter themed jewellery, a Paladone Deathly Hallows light, a death eater notebook, a t-shirt and a new set of robes. Best of all, we got a much longed for Invisibility Cloak to play about with.
We oohed and ahhed over everything in the box, but as soon as we’d managed to download the app, the magic happened…
Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak
We played about with it for ages. It is the most brilliant thing to keep creative kids (and adults) happy for an afternoon or several.
The Invisibility Cloak is amazing and the app is really clever and so much fun. It comes with a phone stand; which you really do need as your phone needs to be really steady to capture the magic. It uses green screen technology, so you can make pretty much anything disappear, including the cat! The cloak itself is designed for aged 6+, but it’s generously proportioned and I could use it too.
The other big hits (i.e. the bits I didn’t steal away and keep for myself) were the t-shirt and the elder wand. The t-shirt is a huge hit; it’s pretty cool looking which he really likes and it’s made from nice soft cotton. I think there are a few different designs available too.
You can find all of these products on Amazon and right now the Deathly Hallows Collection which includes the Invisibility Cloak, Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone ring is just £29.99.
AD/Gifted. We were sent the So Sand Satisfying Sand Case for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
It’s been a long old year, what with lockdown and home schooling. The last few weeks I’ve felt like I’m all out of ideas. My boy is about as against doing anything educational as it’s possible to be right now, so all our activities have to be overtly fun and any learning or educational benefit has to be hidden. Thankfully the So Sand Satisfying Sand Case comfortably ticks all of those boxes; being FUN as well as bringing some creativity and sensory play to the table.
The So Sand Satisfying Sand Case is a handy carry case with a selection of cutting tools, bags of sand and decorations. The instructions are easy to follow, you make up your own brightly coloured kinetic sand.
If the kinetic sand craze has passed you by, Kinetic Sand is made from 98% sand and 2% silica oil. It behaves a bit like playdough but without the sticky horror if it gets walked into your carpet. You can clump the sand up together like a ball, then watch as it melts through your hands almost like a liquid. It’s strange, but in a good way and making your own is super fun.
There are three colours to make up; yellow, pink and blue, and there are a selection of glitter packets which you can add to your kinetic sand creations. My son, with his love of being extra extra, added glitter to all of the sand. He quickly shot down my suggestion if having half plain, half glittery sand.
If you making the sand isn’t enough for you, the So Sand DIY Satisfying Sand Case contains a selection of tools for you to roll, shape and cut your sand into all different shapes. The instruction leaflet has a number of kinetic sand serving suggestions, but why follow convention? My son started to follow a couple of the suggestions, then the urge to freestyle took over and he made all kids of fun shapes.
The storage case makes great storage for the tools and the sand too. It even includes a play tray to keep everything tidy. Playing with kinetic sand and this So Sand DIY Case is really relaxing and a great sensory activity. It’s suitable for ages 6+ and costs around £20.
My son really enjoyed playing with this sand kit; and after months of stressful home schooling, he relished the chance to play with something pretty darn restful and creative.
The So Sand DIY Satisfying Sand Case is available from a wide range of retailers, including Amazon.
AD/Gifted. We were sent two plush toys from the Disney Plush Classic Range in exchange for a review. All images and opinions are our own.
My son loves a cuddly toy and he likes to fall asleep cuddling his current favourite plush. His favourites are usually characters from whatever TV programme or film he’s been watching lately, and thanks to months of lockdown, we’ve been watching plenty of films together.
This beautiful range of Classic Disney soft toys features collections from seriously classic Disney films including Bambi, 101 Dalmatians, The Aristocats, Lady and The Tramp and so many more and has all of your favourite, recognisable Disney characters, in a range of sizes which make the perfect gift for any Disney lover.
We were sent a lovely soft and squishy 35cm Dumbo the elephant (rrp £19.99) and a 17cm Baloo (£9.99) to cuddle and get to know a bit better. 25cm plush toys will be available in this range later on in the year. The plush toys are both so soft and huggable, they’re suitable for ages 3+ and I can see them being incredibly popular with all ages, everyone loves Disney don’t they?
As well as the Classic collection, there is a whole host of Disney plush to collect in a variety of ranges and sizes such as Princess, Mickey and Minnie, Frozen 2 and Toy Story.
The boy loved his Baloo plush; he’s a big fan of The Jungle Book so he recognised him instantly. I also have a very soft spot for this lovable bear. The Jungle Book was one of my favourite films as a kid and I still love it now. He loved Dumbo, because how could you not? The plush is so soft and squishy and huggable enough to cuddle as you’re drifting off to sleep at night.
These plush toys are really well made and feel like they will be pretty robust and able to withstand years of cuddling.
The Disney Plush Classic Range includes pretty much every classic Disney character you could hope for. If you’re looking for a gift for a Disney fan, then this range of plush toys is what you need. Priced from £9.99 and suitable for ages 3+ this range of plush toys is bound to be popular this summer.
The Disney Plush Classic Range is available from a wide range of retailers including Tesco.
We were sent a selection of Funko Pop! products for review. All images and opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links.
Over the years the boy has been given a small selection of Funko Pop collectible figures. Being collectibles, we’ve put them somewhere safe and kept them in their box. My son isn’t much of one for just looking at things, he’s very hands on and wants all his toys to join him in epic battles with wizards and dragons, or whatever his imagination is enjoying this week. Funko figures really tick a lot of those boxes and their distinctive style is appealing to young and old alike.
This week we received a big box of Funko goodies, and honestly, it’s been so nice to step away from the schoolwork and just mess about and play with them for an afternoon or two. There were a good selection of Funko products, from a cuddly toy, some blind bag style collectibles, a game and of course the famous Funko Pop! vinyl collectables.
Funko Pop! Vinyl Collectibles
Funko Pop! vinyl collectibles are famous and sought after all over the world. The figures are licenced and there are so many different ranges of them to choose from. My son started out collecting some of the Power Rangers ones, but he’s moved on a bit now and likes the Marvel figures.
From Star Wars, to Disney, Jurassic Park to Basketball, there are Funko Pop! vinyl collectible figures for the things you’re into. They’re as excitingly collectible for adults as they are for children. The figures are a simple design, with a big head and each one is instantly recognisable as the character they’re supposed to be. Personally I’ve got my eye on the Magnum PI figure.
We were sent a Hello Kitty, Harley Quinn and a Batman figure. They cost around £9.99 each and make great gifts and collectibles.
Aside from the vinyl figures, we were sent aFunkoverse Jurassic Park board game. I had no idea they did games too and this excited us all. It’s an exciting strategy game based on the Jurassic Park films. It is ideal for ages 10+ and each game lasts around 20 minutes, so it is ideal for people like me who prefer quick fire games which don’t last for hours.
The boy is a huge Harry Potter fan, so we were extra pleased that we were sent a Harry Potter plush, he’s wearing the Sorting Hat and looking a bit worried about which House he might be sorted into. There are a number of plushes in the range and they also cost around £9.99.
Funko Bling Bag Collectibles
Alongside the plush, there’s a Mystery Mini: Harry Potter blind box to open. There are 14 mini vinyl figures to collect and they’re great fun. They are cartoony and really detailed and would be a lovely thing for a Harry Potter fan to collect. My son really enjoyed the blind bag aspect of it. They cost around £7.75 per box but the figures are a good size and I think are well worth the money.
Continuing the blind bag theme, the boy was keen to crack open this Soda Can Batman figure. The can contains a “POG“-shaped collector’s card and a 10 5 cm limited edition Batman vinyl figure. The cans are available for around £13.99 but this one is a little more expensive and is currently available on Amazon for £24.95.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with Funko Pop! collectibles. If, like my son you love to collect things, then Funko will tick a lot of boxes for you. They have a distinctive and appealing style and if you choose well, your collection might be worth a lot of money in years to come.
AD/Sent for review. It can be hard to fill these long lockdown days. We’ve been trying to keep up with schoolwork and fill his days with a balance of educational stuff and fun things. This week we’ve been ticking both of those boxes with the new I love Britain game from Tactic Games.
It’s a geography based trivia board game which is suitable for ages 8+ and for 2-4 players. To play you have to race around the United Kingdom, visit different regions and answer questions about British culture, traditions and nature. Roll the dice to see whether you’re moving around by bicycle, by car or through the air on a plane. Each correct answer earns you a card, and the first player to collect five different category symbols wins.
The I love Britain game box contains a board of a map of the UK, four playing pieces, a dice and a stack of 100 trivia question cards, plus a set of rules. You begin by shuffling the cards and then you lay 3 cards next to the board. Roll the dice and move towards the location you want to reach.
The aim of the game is to collect five different category cards from across the UK; you do this by rolling the dice, moving the right number of steps and correctly answering the trivia questions. The first player to do this wins.
It’s a fun game and one which we all enjoyed. My 9 year old loves maps, so he spent a good amount of time studying the board before we even began playing the game. I think the questions might be a bit beyond the average 8 year old, but you could take a look at some questions and if they’re a bit hard, maybe they could team up with an older player?
The I love Britain game comes in a box about the size of an iPad. It’s a good size for taking on holiday, should you be lucky enough to get away. I like that it’s nice and compact. I also really like that the rules are pretty simple and straightforward to follow.
The trivia question cards are really good with varied questions; all of them multiple choice. They each come with an interesting fact about the question and it’s a fun way to learn more about the UK and the sometimes funny and unusual traditions we have.
It’s a fun game. I felt we all learned a little something about the country where we live and we had a good laugh too. It ticks both of the fun and educational boxes we are aiming for these days.
The I love Britain game is available from a range of online stores and costs around £13.99.
We were sent the I love Britain game in exchange for this honest review. All images and opinions are our own.
AD/Gifted. After a drab and dreary start to the year, this week, our first week in coronavirus isolation was full of blue skies and sunshine. It seemed a bit of a shame to spend all day indoors, slaving over worksheets from school, but as a reward for hard work, we spent our afternoon in the garden enjoying the good weather and playing with some Gazillion Bubbles we’d been kindly sent by Tesco.
If you’ve not heard of Gazillion Bubbles before, they’re a range of bubble making toys. We were sent the following products from the range; Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine; Gazillion Incredibubble Wand; the Gazillion Megabubble Blaster and the Gazillion Giant Bubble Solution 2L.
All of the Gazillion Bubbles products were heaps of fun. We started off by setting up the Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine (usually £12, currently half price), which needed 4AA batteries (not supplied). It comes with a small bottle of bubble solution and once it’s switched on, it blows out about a gazillion bubbles. This was so much fun and would be really great for parties and get togethers. We cheerfully aimed the bubbles over the fence towards our young neighbours and they enjoyed them too.
The boy was super keen to get his hands on the Gazillion Megabubble Blaster (usually £10, currently half price); a bubble blowing gun. This needs 3AA batteries (not supplied) and is lovely fun and great for angling over fences to delight other young children. He loved chasing us around and firing bubbles at us and the dog!
My personal favourite was the Gazillion Incredibubble Wand (usually £8, but currently £6). If you’ve ever watched people blow those huge bubbles and wanted to try this for yourself; this is the kit you need. It’s really simple. It’s just a circular reservoir for the bubble solution and a large hoop which you dip in, then waft through the air. It produces the biggest and most beautiful bubbles and we were all fighting to get our hands on it to try it out for ourselves.
Each of the sets comes with a bottle of bubble solution to get you started. If you’re serious about bubbles; then I suggest you also get the 2 litre bottle of Gazillion Giant Bubble Solution (currently 2 for £10 at Tesco). The Giant Bubble Solution is a giant version of the little bubble pots. It comes with a big wand for you to blow bigger bubbles with. It’s also ideal for topping up the little bottles in your other Gazillion Bubbles sets.
We had so much lovely fun with Gazillion Bubbles. It was lovely to get outside in the sunshine; run about a bit, laugh a lot, be silly and forget our worries. We really like the Gazillion Bubbles sets, and we’re looking forward to more bubble filled sunny days this summer!
AD/Gifted. My 9 year old boy really loves science and nature. We try to encourage his interests at home, so over the last few years many of the presents under the tree have been things Father Christmas thought he might like. He’s had a brilliant globe, some great things to help him hunt for minibeasts outside, he has a whole constellation of glowing stars on his ceiling and he’s got his very own miniature orrery. This week we’ve picked our top ten STEM toys for this Christmas.
2 in 1 Earth and Constellations Globe
The Earth and Constellation Globe has a day-time and night-time view and is in fact two globes in one. In the daylight the 22.8cm diameter globe shows political boundaries, oceans, equator, longitude and latitude lines, country names, capital cities and other major cities for each country in the world. By night the illuminated star map shows constellations with their common names.
Addict A Ball
Addict A Ball is a seriously addictive 3D maze puzzle which contains 138 numbered stages of spirals, drops, swinging arms, flips and slides. You guide the ball through each stage, all the time Addict A Ball is challenging your dexterity, hand-eye coordination and patience. It’s great fun, and even us grown ups like playing with it!
These multi award winning figures have been around for a little while now. They’re pretty keenly priced, so make great stocking fillers, or pocket money treats. They have suction cup hands and feet which allow them to be posed in lots of different ways. They’re designed so you can use the free StikBot stop frame animation app to make your own short animations. They’re great fun.
Glow Starry Night Glow-in-the-Dark Stars
These stars are a great little stocking filler. The stars can be stuck on walls and ceilings, then at night, turn off the lights and they glow in the dark. Arrange them however you like, they’re a lovely addition to the bedroom of a junior astronomer!
See the World Through Others’ Eyes
See the World Through Others’ Eyes is a really interesting science set. It includes a set of glasses with interchangeable lenses which allow you to see the world in 20 different ways. These include; cat; dog; rat; horse; cow; elephant; fish; shark; cuttlefish; bird; eagle; T-rex; unicorn; astronaut; colour blindness; new born baby; near vision; fly; bee and dragonfly. The box also contains detailed instructions and explanations about how the lenses work and how various animals, including humans see. You can read our full review here.
Animal Projector & Nightlight
The Animal Projector & Nightlight projects 24 beautiful colour animal images onto your walls and ceilings. The animal images are clear and sharp, up to one metre wide. You just turn the lens head to focus. This STEM set includes three discs and 24 fantastic animal images and doubles up as a cool night light.
EUGY Build Your Own 3D Model
Build your own 3D models with these beautifully detailed but simple miniature animal figures. They’re made from environmentally friendly, biodegradable card with natural eco-friendly ink and non-toxic glue. There is a whole range of different animals to choose from and build at home, they’re suitable for ages 6+ and cost around £7.99.
Outdoor Adventure Magnifier
The Outdoor Adventure Magnifier is a handheld 2x-3x-4x magnifier which is ideal for on-the-go explorations, field trips and outdoor adventures. We put it to the test in our garden, taking a closer look at some plants and flowers and having a good look at some tiny aphids we found feasting on my rose bush. The magnifying glass is a pretty essential bit of kit and has so many uses. It costs around £12.99 and although that may seem a little pricey, it’s much better quality than cheaper kids magnifying glasses.
Outdoor Adventure Binoculars
The Outdoor Adventure Binoculars were a real hit. They are pocket-sized and light weight and have 4x magnification; 30mm glass lenses and they have a break-away lanyard for safety. We especially liked the built-in compass on the top, which helped us to talk in greater depth about navigation skills and North – South – East – West (or Never Eat Shredded Wheat as we’ve been teaching him).
My Desktop Solar System
An orrery is a mechanical model of the Solar System that illustrates the relative positions and size of the planets, although totally accurate scaling cannot be achieved given the very large distances and differences. Future astronomers will love having this Solar System in miniature on their desktop. Instructions include a secret code to unlock fascinating online facts about each planet in our Solar System.
So that’s it, our top ten STEM toys for junior scientists this Christmas. What STEM toys can your kids not live without?
AD/Gifted. In our house, science toys and sets are always popular. This week we’ve been putting the See the World Through Others’ Eyes set from Brainstorm Toys to the test.
See the World Through Others’ Eyes is a really interesting science set. It includes a set of glasses with interchangeable lenses which allow you to see the world in 20 different ways. These include; cat; dog; rat; horse; cow; elephant; fish; shark; cuttlefish; bird; eagle; T-rex; unicorn; astronaut; colour blindness; new born baby; near vision; fly; bee and dragonfly. The box also contains detailed instructions and explanations about how the lenses work and how various animals, including humans see.
The set is aimed at children aged 6+ and I tried it out on two nine year old boys. We went through the instruction booklet and learned about how we see, then we went through the lenses and learned about how each animal sees. It was really, really interesting and we had some great conversations about how eyes work and what it must feel like to see like a dog etc.
I think although children aged 6+ can get a lot out of it, really understanding the biology and the science behind how animals and humans see, means that it was pitched pretty perfectly at the two nine year olds who were playing with the set.
We made a short video to demonstrate the set, see what the boy thinks below…
This science set from Brainstorm Toys is really good value at £14.99. It is fairly robust, easy to use and the information booklet is really interesting and informative. The boys loved it and once we had worked through all the combinations, they set to work inventing their own – great fun!
See the World Through Others’ Eyes from Brainstorm Toys is available from Smyths Toys and costs around £14.99.
We were sent the See the World Through Others’ Eyes set for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
AD/Gifted. Angry Birds seem to have been around forever, going from video game, to movie and now you can get Angry Birds toys. This week sees the launch of the Angry Birds Island Challenge Racing Car Set just in time for the release of the latest Angry Birds movie!
The Angry Birds Island Challenge Slot Car Set from Maisto is based around the popular Angry Birds game. The set contains everything you need to build a figure of 8 track, plus two Angry Birds figures and cars and radio control handsets.
The Angry Birds Island Challenge Slot Car Set is suitable for ages 6+. My nearly 9 year old had no problems setting it up. The track was really easy to slot together and the risers were easy to put together and attach too; though there was a bit of trial and error in getting the height of them all just right.
The battery pack was slightly more problematic and needed the help of an adult with a screwdriver. It also took 8 AA batteries, so make sure you’ve got a pack in before you decide to set it up and play.
The box comes with a cut out and use Eagle Mountain printed on the back; which I thought was a great idea, but then realised once I’d cut it out that I wouldn’t be able to use the original box to put all the pieces in again afterwards for storage.
Once the track is set up it’s just a case of choosing your Angry Birds character car, either Red or Leonard and then popping the cars on the track and having a race. The hand controller takes a little bit of getting used to. The cars can race around a bit too quickly and fly off the track, keeping them on the track takes a bit of getting used to.
The cars themselves are a little bit tricky. The metal pieces which touch the track and help to power the car are a little bit temperamental so you have to be quite gentle with them.
The Angry Birds Island Challenge Racing Car Set would make a great Christmas present for an Angry Birds fan. It retails for around £34.99 and is available from a wide range of retailers including Amazon (affiliate link).
WIN An Angry Birds Island Challenge Racing Car Set
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We were sent the Angry Birds Island Challenge Racing Car Set for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
AD/Gifted. 2019 is the year that NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon mission. To tie in with this, Geomag have launched their Special Edition NASA range. We were sent their NASA Rover and NASA Rocket to play with. Plus I’m giving away a NASA Rover and NASA Rocket set to one lucky winner!
Geomag is a magnetic construction toy which is made in Switzerland. The sets are boxes of metal bars with a magnet on each end and metal spheres which act as corner pieces. Magnetic forces hold the bars and spheres together, creating the possibility for millions of different construction designs. There are basic sets of bars and balls and specially designed sets where you can build specific designs, like these Geomag NASA Rover and NASA Rocket sets.
The Geomag NASA Rover and NASA Rocket is aimed at children over five. The instructions for building the Rover and Rocket are printed on the back of the box. The instructions are really easy to follow and all the pieces you need are included. In the box, as well as the standard balls and bars, there are plastic panels and card pieces to slot in and make your Rover and Rocket look more realistic.
My 8 year old really loves construction toys and these Geomag sets were no different. He really enjoyed playing about with the pieces to see what shapes and structures he could make; as well as following the instructions to make both the Rocket and the Rover. They seem like great toys for working on fine motor skills, something my boy needs a little help with.
The sets are aimed at children aged 5+; I think younger children may need a little help with some aspects of the build, but it’s pretty straightforward. Plus the NASA themed sets are a great springboard for discussing space as a topic, something we do quite a lot at home.
These special edition Geomag sets are available from all good toy shops including The Entertainer. The Geomag NASA Rover (rrp £25) and NASA Rocket (rrp £39.99) both currently have 25% off in their half term sale.
Disclosure: These products were sent to us for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.