We never knew we needed a Remote Control Inflatable R2-D2 until we got one. Bladez Toyz make a whole range of different inflatable characters, but we chose the classic R2-D2. Who doesn’t need a Remote Control Inflatable R2-D2 in their lives?
Our inflatable R2-D2 stands at 42cm (16.5 inches) tall and comes with an easy to use handset and real droid sound effects. He does need inflating which you can do by blowing him up with your mouth or a balloon pump. It only take a few minutes to blow him up. He also needs 6 AA batteries.
When you open the box you’ll find an inflatable R2-D2 with a drive unit, a radio remote control unit, a PVC repair patch and some instructions. You’ll need 4 AA batteries in R2-D2 and the other 2 AA batteries go into the remote control unit. You can use his inside or outside, but you probably should keep him indoors.
R2-D2 is really easy to put together and set up. If you’ve got batteries to hand you can probably be up and running in under 10 minutes from opening the box. The 2.4GHz Radio Control allows you to drive forwards and spin and has a range of 30 metres.
When R2-D2 moves he plays various sound effects, chattering, beeping and occasionally screaming as he wheels around. The sound effects are what really made this Remote Control Inflatable R2-D2 for me. He’s hilarious and has to be seen to really get how funny he is.
The Remote Control Inflatable R2-D2 from Bladez Toyz is suitable for children aged 3+ (and adults, who if they are like me will find this hilarious). This Remote Control Inflatable R2-D2 costs £24.99
The Bladez Toyz range of Star Wars inflatables is available from a number of retailers including Maplin.
We were sent this Inflatable R2-D2 for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
My son is six now and does seem to enjoy doing maths at school and at home. I’m keen to encourage this, especially as I was always terrible at maths myself. I’m a great believer in making learning fun, so when we were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game I thought he would like it, and I was right!
The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is for ages 5-7 and helps to teach and reinforce addition, subtraction and multiplication. Designed for 2-4 players this is a game my son really, really loves and makes us play every night after dinner.
The game play is really easy to get your head around. Each player chooses one of the four wizard boards, you spread the magic sum cards face down and star up on the table. You also have a selection of spell ingredient cards, deal each player six of these cards, these have a number on one side and a gruesome spell ingredient on the other.
To play you turn over a magic sum card and do the sum on the card eg 5+2= if you have the number 7 on any of your spell ingredient cards, shout abracadabra and put your gruesome spell ingredient onto your wizard board. If you need to check your answer is correct, rub the star on the back of the magic sum card and this will magically reveal the answer.
If there’s no match or you answer the sum incorrectly then the other players have a chance to win that card if they get the sum right and have a spell ingredient card to match. The winner is the first layer to fill their wizard board with all six spell ingredients. It’s actually much easier than it sounds.
The horrible spell ingredients include worm-infested cupcakes, brains and bogies. For my son the eye of newt and wing of bat element is something he particularly enjoys.
The game has been designed specifically for KS1 maths in collaboration with teachers and educational professionals. It incorporates a broad range of sums including addition, subtraction and multiplication to offer a challenging game.
The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game helps to develop the following areas of learning –
Develops Number and Counting Skills
Supports first multiplication, addition and subtraction
Encourages Observational Skills
Develops Personal and Social Skills
I know from playing the game with my son that he is very engaged with it, he enjoys creating the spells and the challenge of doing the maths to get enough of the cards to win the game. For my money, this is probably one of the best Orchard Toys games we’ve had and is perfectly pitched for my 6 year old.
If you do get this game, can I offer a small tip. The magic sum cards are in sets for addition, subtraction and multiplication. I know my son is pretty confident with addition and subtraction; so for a while we just played with these cards to bolster his confidence. Over time we have introduced the harder sums, the multiplication cards etc and he has found those easier to do and has approached them with greater confidence.
I didn’t think it was possible, but this game really makes maths fun for us all!
The Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game is available from a wide range of retailers and costs around £12. For more information, visit the Orchard Toys website.
Note: We were sent the Orchard Toys Magic Maths Game for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
One of the most fun things about Mummy’s iPad is the Facetime app. The boy loves to Facetime his dad, or his cousin, or anyone really. I remember walking to the phone box at the end of our road to make a phone call, so all of the communication technology available today is almost a thing of wonder to me. Even now there’s something a bit extra special about being able to video chat with someone. The video chat loving boy and I put a set of Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies to test. What did we think of this latest accessory for junior spies?
The Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies from Spinmaster are compact and easy to use. The set comes with two walkie talkies which just need batteries adding before use.
They have a long range (up to 160 feet) and allow you to communicate with video and audio without using Wi-Fi or data. The walkie talkies are simple to use and quick to set up. Each handset uses 3 AAA batteries and they’re suitable for children aged 6+.
The Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies are really easy to set up, just get them out of their packaging, put the batteries in and switch on. To sync the two walkie talkies, when you switch them on press the bottom of the three buttons on each walkie talkie at the same time. The video should show a full screen of the person you are talking to, and in the top left should be your picture – just like on Facetime!
They come with detailed instructions, but they’re really straight forward to set up and use. Just don’t forget to sync them when you switch them on and make sure to turn them off when you’re done.
Once they are synced you can start your spy adventure – we tested them all over the house and down the street. The picture was crisp and the sound was pretty good too. The small boy really loved the Spy Video Walkie Talkies, he’s had normal walkie talkies before and has liked them, but these are next level spy fun.
These Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies are around £59.99 and are available from a wide range of retailers including Amazon. They are well made and good quality, small enough for my six year old to comfortably use and without too many confusing buttons.
I can see my boy having a lot of fun with these and his friends. These walkie talkies would be great for siblings to play with and should keep them occupied with serious spy business for quite some time.
Disclosure: We received the Spy Gear Spy Video Walkie Talkies for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.
The first time I saw a Silly Sausage was when one of my friends spotted one in a toy shop and Instragrammed it in a tongue in cheek style. It is a bit of an eyebrow raiser and I did scoff a little at first glance. Then I got to try one and that bright orange plastic sausage quickly became a bit of an obsession.
Silly Sausage is the new super speedy reaction game from John Adams. The sausage is really easy to use, switch him on and wait for his instructions, but you will need to be fast. The aim of the game is to twist, shake, dip, stretch and poke him and to keep up with the sausage as he shouts out his commands.
Featuring ten fast paced reaction games, and three play modes – single, party and turbo; Silly Sausage is suitable for solo or competitive play. Silly Sausage made its debut at a family dinner for the small boy’s birthday over the weekend and everyone wanted a go.
As you can see from our video, Silly Sausage is fun to play with solo…
The higher the level, the faster the sausage goes, so your reactions have to be super-fast in order for you to keep up with him.
There are three different games to play –
Chipolata – a speed and reaction game
Banger – a pass and play reactions game
Jumbo – Memory and reaction game
And there are three modes – single, multi play (party) and super fast play (turbo). I liked the “Chipolata” game, which suited me, a solo speed and reaction game.
I’d be naive if I didn’t acknowledge that a lot of people are a bit nudge-nudge-wink-wink about it, but it is completely innocent. Any Carry On style connotations go completely over the kid’s heads and it’s just the adults who sit quietly smirking.
There will be the minority of people who find the sausage too noisy for them. As the music speeds up it could get on your nerves a bit, but bah-humbug to them. You can’t adjust the volume, which may be a problem for hearing impaired people. You do have to be careful not to cover the speaker with your hand or you would miss the instruction.
Silly Sausage will power down if he’s not been played with for a while. If you need to wake him up you just poke the button on his belly. He needs 2 AA batteries and they seem to last a good amount of time (we’ve played with him for days and he’s still going strong).
Silly Sausage costs around £19.99 and is available from all good toy shops and in online stores such as Amazon. The game is suitable for ages 7+ but my boy who has just turned six had no trouble at all with it. Smaller children with smaller hands might struggle a little.
I am not underplaying it when I say I really love Silly Sausage. I think it’s hilarious and I’ve always enjoyed playing fast reaction games. For my money, Silly Sausage is the best and funniest game this Christmas!
Disclosure. We received the Silly Sausage Game for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.
A brand new range of toys from the makers of the popular kids app – Animal Jam has recently been launched, you might have seen the adverts for Animal Jam on TV already. If you’ve not heard of Animal Jam yet, then be prepared to know everything about it by Christmas!
Animal Jam is the number one online social game for kids and it was created in association with National Geographic. The app is free to play and has over 45 million registered users around the world – three million of them in the UK.
Created in partnership with National Geographic, Animal Jam combines role playing and anthropology to make an exciting educational game for kids. Players can collect fun facts in their journey books, learn about animal conservation and talk to real scientists.
These toys will be instantly recognisable for fans of the app. Animal Jam has been brought to life with this brand new collection of toys. They are collectable and all come with exclusive codes to unlock content and other special features inside the online game.
We were sent a selection of the collectable toys to try out, here’s a little run down of what we tried and what we liked…
The Animal Jam Adopt a Pet (Series 1)
These are little pets which come with their own kennel (or dens as they are known in Animal Jam). Each kennel is home to a collectable pet and two accessories. You can customize your pet with accessories and stack the kennels to display your pets. There are 96 of these to collect and they cost just £2.49 which makes it a great pocket money treat. The boy really loved his kennel and out of everything he enjoyed playing with this tiny toy the most. A hit!
ANIMAL JAM – Friends with Pet
The Friends with Pet costs £4.99, you get a 3 inch figure, a 1 inch friend and three interchangeable accessories. I think this is a great value set, it looks like it should cost more than it does and it would make a great party present for a little Animal Jam fan. We got the Posh Raccoon and Pet Kitty and they are very sweet.
ANIMAL JAM – Light Up Friends with Ring
Another great party present is the Light Up Friends with Ring. These are collectable 3” animal figures and have secret patterns, two interchangeable accessories and a light-up ring. These sets cost £7.99, we were sent the Lucky Lynx and the real hit for the small boy was the light up ring.
ANIMAL JAM Plush characters
These cute plushes cost £7.99 and are 7 inches tall. There are several plush characters to choose from – Panda, Koala, Bunny & Monkey. We were sent the purple Koala and he is super-soft and very huggable.
Since we received these toys the small boy has suddenly seen Animal jam everywhere, we’ve downloaded the app and used the codes which came with the toys to unlock parts of the app. It’s fair to say that this had opened up a new line of interest for him, which is great.
The app is free and the accompanying toys are nicely priced, not too expensive and great for either pocket money (or stocking filler) treats, as well as being good options for birthday party presents for classmates etc. They are suitable for ages 5+ and would be a great little gift for any Animal Jam fan this Christmas.
We were sent these toys for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
I was a bit old for a Furby the first time around, I was too cool for school and didn’t really get the attraction. But now I have a small boy of my own I see things through his eyes and the new, all singing, all dancing, all action Furby Connect is possibly the most exciting thing he’s clapped eyes on for a while.
He’s never seen anything quite like it, and neither have we. It’s like one of the Gremlins has come to life! We will try our best not to get him wet – who knows what would happen if we did!
The Furby was launched this autumn in time for Christmas and although he costs around £80 (though as ever there are deals and discounts widely available online), he would make a good “big present” for someone.
The Furby Connect is Bluetooth enabled, and apparently this means it knows what day it is. I imagine it will have a thing or two to say on Christmas Day morning.
He is easy to unbox, though you will need to unscrew his base from the cardboard and insert 4 AA batteries. Once he wakes up his eyes open and the talking, singing and giggling begin. We’d never quite seen anything like it and we were all in stitches within minutes.
Each Furby has 150 expressive animations which he conveys using his big LCD eyes, wiggling ears and light-up antenna. He is also the softest, fluffiest toy I’ve ever cuddled.
Apparently each Furby is different and acts and reacts differently to how you treat them. Our Furby liked to sit on my knee while I gently massaged him, I knew he liked it because he kept crooning “Oooo deep tissue” and making a happy face.
We downloaded the app onto my son’s iPad and between the Furby and the app he’s already had hours and hours of fun with it all. With the app you can feed him, play games or take him to the toilet. The Furby Connect World app keeps your Furby updated and apparently brings in new Furby phrases, music, and videos every week that your Furby can interact with.
When the antenna glows on your Furby Connect, it means it is getting an update from the Furby Connect World app and there is something new to discover next time you open the app.
One of the things my son had enjoyed most with the app is hatching and raising Furblings from egg. Another big hit was feeding his Furby who would then let out a large burp – this is not the toy you use to teach table manners, but it is a lot of fun.
I did wonder how I’d ever be able to get our Furby to shut up so we could all get to sleep. Thankfully he comes with his own sleep mask which you attach to his face. After 30 seconds or so of snoring and sleepy noises, he does settle down for the night, only waking when you take his mask off. I really like this feature, I’ve spent the last six years jumping out of my skin when a noisy toy sets itself off in an otherwise silent house at night, so being able to guarantee silence is a big plus for us.
Watch our “Meet our Furby Connect” video here…
I am surprisingly un-irritated by our Furby Connect. I’ve come to look at him as a pet I don’t have to clean up after, and one I can switch off if I need to.
The small boy absolutely adores him. It’s early days but he is enjoying looking after him and making sure he is happy.
I like that the app keeps him updated and that there are lots of additional play options in the app with the Furby. We also like that he’s really snuggly and adorable. He looks at you with these big eyes, coos gobbledygook at you and you can’t help but be a little bit smitten by him.
The Furby Connect is available for around £80 and you can find them in Purple, Teal, Pink and Blue (ours is the blue one). They are suitable for ages 6+, though younger ones may need some help navigating the app at first. They are widely available in toy shops and through online retailers such as Amazon.
Disclosure: We received our Furby Connect for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.
This month we received a Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime and Aerobolt to put to the test. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and as a result, on every Transformers fan’s wish list. The small boy was no exception, and has long wanted an Optimus Prime of his own.
The Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime and Aerobolt is no ordinary, bog standard Optimus Prime. Yes he transforms like other Optimus Primes (and he does it in 5 pretty quick to learn steps), but this Transformer has a “power surge mode”. More of which later.
Optimus is well packaged in a sturdy box and is held in position with strong string. It didn’t take us long to release him so we could start playing with him. He is made from strong plastic, as someone who remembers playing with metal Transformers in the 1980’s, I did inwardly wince slightly when I transformed him, thinking I could easily snap him, but I didn’t and after a couple of weeks of robust play he’s still absolutely fine.
Included with the Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime figure are –
• Mini-Con Weaponizers Aerobot figure
• Sword accessory
• Demo battery
It’s great that there is a battery included already (1 AA if you need to replace it), so he’s ready to go as soon as you get him out of the box. Optimus Prime is big, he’s the biggest Transformer toy I’ve ever seen, he’s a statuesque 11 inches tall! The instructions are pretty easy to follow and you can transform him from figure to truck in 5 steps. The truck cab isn’t attached and you have to clip it onto the truck. I do worry that the cab could end up getting lost somewhere in the house.
Optimus Prime comes with an Aerobolt, this is a Mini-Con and you attach him to Optimus and activates the Power Surge mode, helping to convert your Transformer into a weapon. Because the Aerobolt has wings he can help your Transformer battle in the air.
Optimus Prime has pop-out cannons and wings, lights and a selection of sounds. He has four different modes of play: robot mode, vehicle mode, flight mode, and Power Surge mode. Power surge mode is what made my son shout “that’s so cool!” So it must be. In power surge mode his wings open up, the cannons rise up and he makes a whole load of different battle sounds.
There are a few things you need to know when you get your Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime. Firstly, his feet fold out underneath, have a look and just unfold them otherwise he will never stand up by himself. Secondly there is a button behind his head which you can press to make the sounds.
The Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime is for children aged 5+ and my nearly 6 year old LOVED it. He did struggle a bit to transform him, so smaller ones may need a bit of help with that. However once he was shown a couple of times he more or less got the hang of it.
Optimus is robust and has stood up to some very rough play. He’s been brilliant for his imagination, I’ve often found my son immersed in an imaginary battle between the Autobots and Deceptacons in his bedroom.
He’s not cheap, his rrp is £50 but I actually think he’s worth the money, and as always there are deals and discounts to be had if you shop around. I found him for a little over £37 on Amazon.
The Power Surge Optimus Prime and Aerobolt is a huge hit. He’d make a fantastic Christmas present and I don’t think you’d be disappointed if you loved Transformers and you were given this for Christmas. I know I have one very happy boy on my hands.
Disclosure: We received the Transformers: Robots in Disguise Power Surge Optimus Prime and Aerobolt for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.
This month the small boy started Year 1 and his learning has definitely stepped up a level. One thing his class are starting to look at is learning to tell the time. We’ve been talking about the time all year and trying to figure out what the time is on our kitchen clock, but Orchard Toys have just brought out a new game – What’s the Time Mr Wolf? to help 5-9 year olds learn to tell the time. We were sent one to put to the test, so what did the small boy think?
What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is based on the popular playground game and is for 2 – 6 players, aged 5 to 9. It contains a jigsaw game board, character pieces and stands, time cards (with analogue and digital times on them), a slot together wolf and a large clock face with movable hands.
The game has been designed to help children to learn to tell the time and it is also fun and easy to play. Like many of the Orchard Toys games, it can be played at different levels. First play and learn to tell the time on a clock, once that skill has been mastered you can move onto learning to tell the time on a digital clock.
When you open the box and get the game out, there are a lot of different elements, so it might look more complex than it is. The first version of the game (which is what we are playing, as the small boy is only 5) is pretty simple.
Choose a character counter (I was badger, he was hedgehog), go to the start and roll the dice. Move however many squares and if you land on a question mark you pick up a card from the stack of time cards. Then you read out the time, for example “ten minutes past ten” and without looking at the clock face on the back you move the hands on the big clock to that time. If they match then you can add your card to your collection board (with the matching character on it). The first one to fill their board wins.
If you don’t get the time right, then you have to return the card to the pile and the next player has a go. If you land on the wolf you shout “dinner time” and you must take a card from your collection board and feed it to the wolf. The small boy especially liked the shouting part, but I guess shouting is optional.
We played after school and the small boy couldn’t wait for his dad to come home from work to play it with him too. It’s great that the What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game is so enjoyable for him, it really helps with his learning. He’s got the game out most days after school which is really encouraging for me. I do have to watch him, I’m not saying he cheats, but I am saying that cheats never prosper!
I can’t really comment on the other version of the game for older players, as we’re not there yet and we’ve not played it, but it does help to teach older kids how to tell the time on a digital clock.
The What’s the Time Mr Wolf? game from Orchard Toys is made with sturdy recycled board and has a wipe-clean finish. All Orchard Toys games and puzzles are really robust and we’ve still got some which are four years old and have been played to death.
What’s the Time Mr Wolf? is another cracking educational game from Orchard Toys. If you can make learning fun, then it doesn’t feel like learning at all.
With gorgeous new additions for Spring 2016, my first Baby Annabell – part of the Baby Annabell family, the UK’s most popular large doll brand – allows little ones to learn all about nurturing role-play from birth. With dolls and accessories suitable for children aged 0, 1 and 2 years +, your baby can enjoy cuddling, feeding and playing with their very own my first Baby Annabell dolls.
My first Baby Annabell Newborn doll is the perfect first doll for newborns and very young children. Her super soft body is made from cuddly material, featuring a cute facial expression. Suitable for children from birth, she even comes with a rattle inside her tummy to soothe your little one. Age 0 months+
Win a Baby Annabell Newborn doll
I have one lovely Baby Annabell Newborn doll to giveaway. To be in with a chance to win one, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
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5.The winner will receive a Baby Annabell Newborn doll.
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My five year old is a lovely kind boy (he has his moments of being a horror, I’ll not gloss over that). One of the nicest things about him is that he’s brilliant with younger children. He is very caring and likes to “look after” them. He helps them up when they fall over, he will cuddle them if they’re upset and as a result he’s very popular with his friends little brothers and sisters. Alas he is destined to be an only child, but we were sent the Baby Annabell Brother doll to play with and he’s been in his element ever since.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a doll like this before. The Baby Annabell Brother from Zapf Creation is incredibly lifelike. The doll, which he named “Samuel” gurgles, coos and cries, sucks when he’s drinking or sucking his dummy, he cries real tears, drinks real water and can be soothed by rocking him and patting his back or stroking his face. Not only does he blink but he closes his eyes and snores when he’s asleep. It’s incredibly lifelike.
My son loves it, he coos over it and tries to soothe it when he cries, feeds it and tucks it up to sleep in his bed. He’s very proud of baby Samuel. The Baby Annabell Brother doll actually responds to whatever is happening around him, rather than just making noises at random. Whatever technology is inside it to make it be like a real baby is very clever.
The Baby Annabell Brother doll comes with a baby-grow, a hat, a bottle, a dummy, a bib and a heart shaped pendant. You can play with the doll without the batteries in, but without them it won’t interact with you. It takes 4AA batteries and there is an on/off button just below the back of his neck, which is useful for when you need it to stop.
The Baby Annabell Brother doll is suitable for children aged two+ and you can buy extra accessories for the baby if you need to. The doll is widely available for around £50 and given how much it gurgles and interacts with you, this is a very special doll indeed.
You can find out more about the Baby Annabell Brother doll on the Zapf Creation website.
Note: We were sent the Baby Annabell Brother doll for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.