February 19, 2010
In the middle of Toy Fair...a gentle bear.
If you’ve ever been at a big trade show, you know that after a day or two–you start craving real air, real food, real anything. Something about concrete floors (badly covered with carpeting), horrible concession food and the din of the crowds that makes you want to find a tree and hug it. So I was happy to have a little nature (albeit plastic) retreat in the miniature at Safari Ltd. - they are the masters of making really small animals.
We visited briefly with Safari’s President, Ramona Pariente- who was very gracious even though we were in the final hours of the show and by our own admission a little slap happy to be approaching the finish line.
You’ve probably seen their line in museum, gift and specialty stores. I’m not sure why but this collection of super small animals makes me so happy. What is it about miniature things that seem so fun?
Of course these small animals are just right as props for dramatic play whether it’s in combination with blocks or just on their own. The line is so extensive, that you’re bound to be able to find the animals, fish, bugs or birds that capture your child’s interest. Designed for kids 3 & up, these are wonderful to collect and play with!
Nature (really tiny) from Safari Ltd.
February 18, 2010
International Plaything's Calico Critters
Hard not to smile, right? Calico Critters from International Playthings, stay tuned.
February 18, 2010
Our toy fair experience is never complete without a visit to Folkmanis, the puppet masters! Here’s a little video.
February 17, 2010
A bear to love from Steiff
Needed to share this face with you right away! So cute and amazingly soft. More to follow on this classic handmade line of huggables from Steiff.
February 16, 2010
Just wanted to share this face (complete with freckles!)….from Corolle! More details to follow.
February 3, 2010
I don’t know why this made me laugh–but some how I thought My Little Pony was silly enough (yes, yes, enjoyed by millions, but still there’s something about the never-ending pink rococo plastic fantasy settings that always gets me thinking about archeological digs centuries from now..and what they’ll think about such design and the civilization that played with them.) Click here to watch our video.
My Little Pony has now become a merpony…no kidding. So now the merponies have there own new underwater castle. From the press release, you’ll see why this was the next obvious evolution for My Little Pony:
Located in the heart of the sea, this magical castle is an underwater dream come true for the MERMAID PONIES. Each pony will love to explore this nautical treasure with lights and sounds . Discover PINKIE PIE’S secret shell bedroom that really opens and closes or take a pony for a ride on the “magical” seashells that allow her to “swim” around the castle. The MERMAID ponies will love to “splish and splash” on the waterslide or hang ten on the “real” waves with the tubular surf boards.
The Castle will retail for $39.99 and be available next Fall.
January 8, 2010
Yesterday I walked past a display of silverware that was in the form of the Empire State Building. It reminded me of a great game to play with your kids that will keep them busy on a cold winter’s day.
Challenge your kids to build the tallest building using their LEGO Bricks! For younger kids this will be about adding more bricks until the structure falls down. But for older kids this can also become a real hands-on experiment–how do you make the structure more stable? What do we need to add to the base to make it less tippy. If you’re really into the building why not make your own city of skyscrapers. What kind of buildings do they think should be in the city? A sports arena, a shopping mall, a grocery store…always fun to hear what they want on their list. Matchbox cars and trucks can also be used to populate the city. Be sure to take pictures–you’ll be happy to chronicle the challenge. You can also have them create a book with the pictures–something that can be sent to Grandparents or shared on-line. Either way, I like encouraging kids to create their own structures from materials they have around the house.
December 14, 2009
If you have kids that are into performing, here’s a big ticket item from Lisa LeLeu that is very special. Click here to read our complete review. My apologies to the company–this award winning toy got lost in the shuffle when we switched over to our new website!
December 6, 2009
Alternatives to Zhu Zhu Hamsters
Zhu Zhu Hamsters are getting all the media coverage (yes, I participated in some of it), but they are certainly not the only really special novelty toys of the season. Here’s a list of other toys that may just do the trick!
Other cute animals that have a little extra something.
Yakety Yaks (Mary Meyer) Each of these animals make a noise. There is a pig, a monkey, an owl, a lamb, a bear and dogs. They don’t run around like Zhu Zhus but they are pretty cute on their own. Read our review.
Kota & Pals Stompers (Hasbro) – These little dinos are seriously fun–they not only roar they walk. Read our Review. Watch our video.
FurReal Friends Newborn Puppy (Hasbro)- This a very sweet little puppy that wags his tail and makes little barking sounds. This is one of many in this line–there are dogs, cats, a panda, a bear. We like the dogs the best. (In interest of full disclosure -we’re not big cat people.) We also have not received safety verification forms on these little guys–so there is no official review on our site.
Two other really cool novelty toys that should not be missed:
Hexbug Nanos (Innovation First) -Each of these small robotic bugs come in a test-tube like container. We see that the price has come down since we first reviewed them–they are now $7.99. Turn them on and they really are like little bugs! They come in lots of colors and are fun to pull out of a pocket or bagpack. Read our full review.
Watch our videos:
Zhu Zhu Hamster play with Hexbug NANOS
Mr. Robot Dances with Hexbug NANOS
Doodle Car (Day Dream Toys)- We love these super cool cars that follow lines you draw with a washable marker. Pretty cool. Company also has seasonal downloads of roadways you can print and use with their cars. Read our full review. Watch our video.