Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Toy Review: Anything Broken Already?

My Boys Tallen (5) and Nate (2) were very lucky boys this year. They deserved to be spoilt a bit it has to be said, they haven't always been. But Hubby and I's Playground Business grew from strength to strength last year and thankfully looks like it will continue to do so.

It was great on Christmas Eve, wrapping done, to look at the pile of pressies under the tree and little bits still to be stuffed in stockings and imagine the whoops and smiles and cries of "Look what I Got!!" after years of struggling to get them anything much at all some years.

And I was so amazed that as of today, some two whole days later, most of their new toys are intact. Well, we are missing a few accessory type teeny things, but all in all the new batch of toys are doing well against the onslaught of two small but surprisingly destructive little fellas.

I thought I'd give you my review of their (er, and my) top favourites. You know, in case you have a Birthday coming up or something. And you have any money left after Christmas!

Nemo Bubble Blower

Made by iPlay, which is a branch of Verimark. I don't know if you have Verimark where you are but think companies that sell you home gym equipment, heated slippers and 'innovative' toys in TV ads that ask you to get your credit card out NOW!!! So, we weren't too hopeful this one would last the distance but with Nate's love of Nemo and bubbles, it was hard to resist.

It is his favourite Christmas present, by a long shot. And it has been played with, and played with, and played with, and played with. Guess what? we didn't realise it played a loud and really friggin' somewhat annoying rendition of birds tweeting "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music while it flashed lights and blew bubbles! How cool is THAT?? (can you sense the sarcasm?). I can't help but wonder why they chose that tune and birds to tweet it for a Nemo themed product? Do wish my mind wouldn't wonder stuff like that, I'll never know.

nemo bubble blower
Within ten minutes of opening it (and after not one second of release of his little finger from the trigger) the bubble mixture had run out, leading to a family and friend asking session and finally a Google search (of course) to find the correct recipe for bubble mixture. Which, incidentally, is coming up in my next post. Because I was surprised to find out the ingredients.

Bubbly Nemo has just one flaw that I can see that will limit it's life, sadly, in our household. I say sadly because Nate does love it so. It's battery powered and it's massively difficult to make a toddler understand that he needs to hold it up at a right angle only to ensure that the bubble mixture and the batteries don't mix. HE loves to point it up in the air so the bubbles go "high 'n the sky Mummy". Only a matter of time.

Swing Ball

Awesome Aunty (Hubbys sister, she of the fifty cup cakes fame) bought this one. A ha!!! The memories! The fun of the never-to-be-lost, tied to a pole with elastic tennis ball. And the freedom of not worrying about breaking a window or hitting a wild and crazy, out of the garden type shot. Being hit in the face when you weren't looking. Getting your 70's flares caught up in the bungee and finding yourself wrapped tightly around the pole. Your brothers laughing, and leaving you there for an hour. No, they didn't do that. My imagination made that up!

Not unlike one of my brothers.
Okay, I'll be honest - Nate's too small just now but Tallen will love it and my happy childhood memories aside, I see Mummy using it to get fit while having fun with him. My FAVOURITE kind of Get Fit, the fun kind. And sheesh, I need it. Few too many chocs this Christmas. And puddings. And MASSIVE dinners.

WOW Toys Bathtime Buddies Set

I may get over excited at this point, I LOVE Wow Toys. I'll try and keep it brief, I could wax lyrical about this company and their toys for pages and pages. Their 'sensible' use of good quality and hardwearing plastic (and I don't normally like plastic), their focus on fun and their company motto, which they can confidentally stand by "Toys that don't break their promises".  They should really employ me in Sales. I want to post pictures of their entire (and extensive) range and go "Look! Look at that, see how fun that is? See what happens when you lift the little flap/press the button/turn the wheel?"

But instead, I'll direct you to their site where I'm happy to report, they make deliveries WORLDWIDE. Pleased to report because I'd hate to recommend something so strongly that you couldn't get in your local toy shop. If you can't find them near you, take a look at the site.

We bought the boys a bath set, which was great value at R230 (approx $27/16 British Pounds/20 Euro), it included three separate play sets.

Danny's Diving Adventure
First, Danny's Diving Adventure. Each toy character has a profile, Danny's is "Known as: Danny, In a nutshell: Talented and fun loving, Likes: Diving adventures and swimming with dolphins, Dislikes: Shark attacks and the Jaws theme tune, Likes to hang with: Fireboat Felix."

He comes with a girlfriend in a bikini, a diving board with a button that'll send either of them spashing into the bath or paddling pool, a friendly dolphin and a pretty awesome boat that has a 'secret' cabin where Danny and girlf can sit and eat chocolate cake (loving Wows details).

Fireboat Felix
As he mentions Fireboat Felix, we had him in the set too. His profile "Known as: Felix, In a nutshell: Charming and fearless, Likes: Guarding the seven seas, Dislikes: Tanker ships and customs officers, Likes to hang with: Danny and Rory" (Not sure who Rory is) and HIS boat squirts water, as any self respecting Fireboat should.

Sally Sub
Lastly, Sally Submarine who sadly doesn't have her own profile as she only appears on the site as part of the Bathtime Buddies set but HER sub moves by itself and it's .. what's the word, what's the word ... AMPHIBIOUS!! Meaning the boys can run it around the lounge floor as well.

Whilst the cheaper toys have scattered, these top three purchases remain fully intact and thoroughly enjoyed. I'll let you know how long it lasts. Or how long it takes me to get tangled up in the Swing Ball.

P.S. If I had a girl, I'd buy her the Dynamite Daisy set. Profile "Known as: Daze, In a nutshell: Feisty yet soft-hearted, Likes: Girl racers and the colour pink, Dislikes: Losing to boys, Likes to hang with: Penny and Frankie."

Dynamite Daisy
And Cupcake Chloe, with her own flourishing Cupcake Business. Profile "Known as: Kookie Chloe, In a nutshell: A tough cookie with a melt-in-the-middle heart, Likes: Buttercream icing and glacé cherries, Dislikes: Washing up and diets, Likes to hang with: Mario and Amy."

Cupcake Chloe

Okay, stopping now. Do check out their site though! (If you haven't felt compelled to already).

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