Just wanted to share this face (complete with freckles!)….from Corolle! More details to follow.
If you have a school aged girl on your list this holiday season, take a look at Creativity for Kids’ Felt Fashions Messenger Bag. Here’s an easy to do craft project that girls will enjoy both doing and using! The felt pieces are fun to design with – and easy enough for 7 and up- for a full review and shopping info visit toyportfolio.com.
A truly special gift for school age girls who will love both the wood chest and the painted wooden beads that come with it. Read our review. This company makes lovely sets that always appeal to our tween, teen and adult testers.
Hasbro is re-introducing the “iconic” (their word) My Little Pony Collection…there’s Pinkie Pie (The Leader and Everyone’s Best Friend), Rainbow Dash (Glamour Girl), Cheerilee (Storyteller and Hairstylist), Scootaloo (The Playful Little Sister), Sweetie Belle (The Fun Loving Unicorn), Toola-Roola (Artist) and Starsong (Multi-talented Singer and Dancer). And all along I thought they were plastic little pony figures with outrageously colorful mane and tails!
I’m not sure why this product captured my interest so much, but as soon as I saw it at toy fair, I really wanted to try it. While I was particularly tom-boyish during my middle school years, I did have one set of nail decals–they were of an apple that progressively gets closer to the core as you go from your thumb to your pinky. Very old school. So maybe that’s where my interest comes from. I’m also oddly fascinated by the elaborate nail designs that many women sport in new york–they really are like moving pieces of art.
Usually when we get a toy, we have lots of time to try it with various kids and families and we don’t have to return it. For this machine, we agreed to try it quickly and return it since there are limited samples. Sadly when the toy arrived, I discovered that the toy is only PC compatible. I’m a MAC person living in a predominately MAC world — so I needed to enlist my son Matthew (and his PC) to help me install the software and test the nail design studio. His friend Daniel–who usually builds all of the advanced LEGO and K’NEX sets for us–was also part of our team. We also decided to tape our trial runs–with the agreement that none of us would be shown on the video tape…it seemed like a fair deal. Who could blame two teenage boys for not wanting to be taped with a Barbie nail salon…and I wasn’t have a great hair day…so we were all happy.
I can’t tell you how much fun we had. We had several failed attempts…you really do need to read the directions to make sure that you have all the steps in order. There was so much laughing – interrupting our video attempts several times. Our failures really inspired them to help me get it right…and then we all got excited about the possibilities…there are over 1,000 plus possibilities with this machine. Like Jorge Posada* of the New York Yankees, I kept adding more and more white nail polish so that we could try it again!
Ultimately-do I think anyone needs an expensive digital nail printer? Not really. But if you’re techy and looking for something different and fun, this machine is fun and it does work.
If you’re planning on using this for a group, I suggest you really know how it works ahead of time so that you’re up and running and in the groove…it’s fun as long as it works!
Here’s how it works (or watch the video). Follow the instructions for setting up the printer ( just like an ordinary printer, you must install the software on your computer, load the ink, etc.). You can either use your own nail polish as a base or use their white polish. Let that dry and then add a layer of Pre-print polish–it’s clear. You then put your finger in the machine and take a picture of your nail. This is where the alignment issues arose. (I was sticking my finger too far into the machine, so it was printing on my finger, not my nail.) Once you get that step down, you remove your finger from the machine and then you can play around with the software to design your own nail design. This part is lots of fun — there are seasonal designs, classic Barbie motifs, fruits, sweets, cupcakes and you can even import your own designs. You then re-insert your finger and then push print…the design is printed on your finger! They provide top coat to seal the design.
Given the current climate, it feels off suggesting that anyone spend this much on this type of product. In the past, this machine would have definitely made our Big Ticket Item List for those over-the-top kind of gifts. The machine is marked 8 & up…and while most girls are aging out of Barbie earlier, I’m sure this will be a hit with tween, teens and their moms. In fact, I suspect that many 20 somethings would LOVE being invited to try this machine out.
To see the finished product…one nail with Barbie’s Head, one with an “S” and one with a pineapple….
*Major league catchers often put white nail polish on so that their pitchers can see their signals better.
Oh by the way, the band-aid on my finger is not from this toy. In fact one of the reasons I insisted on trying this myself is that you do have to stick your finger in a machine…so I wanted to do it before I suggested that any child do the same. It doesn’t hurt at all and, in fact it’s very cool.
There was a snafu with delivery on this product for the Today Show today–so they didn’t make it on the set, but this is a lovely set of fabric balls (that have different textures and sounds) from KidsII. We usually don’t go for such gender specific toys–but this is right on target for older babies and toddlers. Read our full review.
When we started the toyportfolio I was pretty annoyed with all the pink building sets. They were all about building a mall or a pony stable– no skyscrapers, no superhero vehicles…just a very limited range of fantasy. We started the Gender Free Toy List in part to bring attention to this color coded approach to children’s play and toys. For the most part, I still stand by those early articles. There is no reason to limit girls or boys to the type of toys they play with. The Corolle Green Umbrella Stroller is on our list this year for a reason. And we have applauded Little Tikes and Step 2 for making gender free kitchens that are acceptable for both boys and girls. (When we started almost all toy kitchens were screaming pink.)
Today we just received the new Wedgits Pink & Purple Tote. Just like their primary sets, this is an open-ended construction toy that’s just fun.
It comes with a set of 48 design cards…that are abstract designs (no malls or ponies in sight). Each card tells the builder how many pieces they’ll need for the creation and then has a picture.
It’s just this type of experience with spatial relations that we want all of our kids to enjoy. The cards will give kids a jumping off point for exploring the set– but the truth is, just put this one out on the family coffee table and see what everyone builds. For a full review of the new Wedgits line, visit www.toyportfolio.com.
American Girl Gwen– a homeless girl is getting lots of press. Bringing attention to homelessness is admirable — but have a doll that costs nearly $100 (with no reported portion of profits going to any support organization) seems off. Doll play is about spinning stories…fantasy. Having such a literal prop for homelessness just feels like one big guilt trip. Here’s your dream doll, and by the way…she has no home and certainly no dolls. Now enjoy!
I’m a big proponent of dolls reflecting “real” girls…but no one would suggest giving this expensive doll to homeless girls. That would be ridiculous.
Instead…how about a doll that’s part of a family that donates time to local charities? That at least gives girls a jumping off point for their own lives.
For a little more heat on the subject, read Andrea Peyser’s article.
One of my assistant toy testers this summer commented that the box he was opening really smelled…there was pink tissue paper…I didn’t even need to cross the room to know what the box contained. For a generation of moms that grew up with Strawberry Shortcake, they can now share the smelly play experience with their kids. The new line from Hasbro offers a wide variety of large play settings like the Berry Cafe…to miniature dolls (move over Polly Pockets)…all with that strawberriest of smells.
I missed the Strawberry Shortcake scene–and truth be told even if I had been of that generation, I wasn’t big on doll play.
Let me know your thoughts–and memories….