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stove set.jpgDeluxe Stove Set

When I was a kid I drove my mom crazy.


I loved food.  I especially loved making up my own concoctions.


Just a few of my creations were a sandwich made with every conceivable type of ingredients: meat, peanut butter, jelly, vegetables—whatever was available at the time-all of which was stacked between almost a full loaf of bread slices. 


It was messy, but delicious.


I loved to make pan fries, mashed potatoes, fried eggs, cherry dumplings, fried chicken-you name it-I cooked it.


Mom didn’t mind the food so much as she did the mess I made making my creations:  dirty dishes, spilled food and especially a dirty stove and oven.


If you’ve raised kids then you know that every household has a pint size chef in the brood.


Wouldn’t it be nice if kids could learn to cook by pretending without the mess and cleanup?


Kangaroo has the perfect solution with its Pop-Oh-Ver Deluxe Stove Set that transforms a simple kitchen or dining room chair into a realistic looking stove and it’s so simple to do.


Simply remove the plastic inserts, seat base and folded Pop-Oh-Ver from their container and in less time than it takes to make a scrambled egg you’ll put together a realistic Stove Set.


Place, fold, slide, tie and instant play stove!  Easy as pie without the mess!


Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions guide you along and 14 steps later kids have a make believe oven that’s durable, easy to clean and best of all a snap to put away.




No muss, no fuss, no dirty pots and pans and best of all-no clean up for mom or dad.


Made of durable canvas and heavy-gauge plastic, the Deluxe Stove Set comes in a protective sleeve inside a large decorative box with handle for easy storage.


What better way to encourage future chefs than to let their imaginations run wild?


An oven, four burners and even a microwave oven with an opening door make up the Stove Set.


Let’s get cooking!


amadeus-packaging.jpgVirtuoso Bears: Amadeus

Everyone needs a little class in their life.  If this case it’s not just class—it’s classical.


Research proves that during pregnancy and afterward as a young child develops that listening to classical music aids in their development.


Classical music fosters calm and relieves stress.


Just ask any new parents and they’ll tell you that having a calm child takes much of the stress off parents, let alone the child.


Combine classical music with a cute, cuddly teddy bear and you have a winning combination.




Vosego presents its Virtuoso Bears that are not only adorable but come with pre-loaded classical music guaranteed to calm the most fidgety child.


The Amadeus Bear includes 40 of Mozart’s greatest hits-all you need is batteries (which are included.)


Imagine your child holding this lovable bear dressed in its red satin jacket with gold embroidery and white collar and cuffs.


His light brown head is adorned with Mozart’s characteristic coiffure.


How could you not love Amadeus Bear’s black nose, wide black eyes, cute ears, soft fuzzy body and adorable smile?


Just think of the benefits to a child listening to classical music: sooths and relaxes, improves concentration and pattern recognition, sparks creativity, helps memory, enhances listening and develops a lifetime of loving music.


So much to love.  It’s classical music made fun.


The bear is washable and easy to clean and comes with a short bio of Mozart in its music pocket. 


Both Virtuoso Bears (Amadeus or Ludwig) are also for sale on Amazon and available with free 2-day Prime shipping for Prime members.


trap and gap.jpgTrap And Gap Baseplates

In a previous review you’ve read where I wrote about Strictly Briks, the fun and colorful, snap-together, play Briks that let kids build all sorts of cool buildings, vehicles and just about anything else their fertile, little imaginations can come up with.


Along with the Briks there are Baseplates that the Briks can attach to for extra stability, especially when creating buildings and other stationary projects.


Recently Strictly Briks added a brand new Baseplates set to their already impressive selection.


The Trap And Gap Baseplates notch up the fun with some surprises.


Kids can take it to the next level with two Trap And Gap Baseplates measuring 10 inches by 10 inches, two Stackable Baseplates with the same measurements and 15 Stackers—that’s 19 pieces in all!


What makes the Trap And Gap Baseplates kit so much fun is that kids now have gaps, ramps and trap doors for dreaming up new adventures.


Just think of the possibilities: multi-level garages, trap doors to catch bad guys, secret exits and entrances and much more.


Combine with other Strictly Briks Baseplates and Briks and the sky’s the limit!


Trap And Gap Baseplates and Strictly Briks are designed for kids five years old and older.  Dream-create-grow!


STEM-MINI-packaging-front-564x705.jpgSTEM Starter Kit

I can remember it like it was yesterday. 


It was Christmas 1963.  I was 10 years old. 


Dallas, my second oldest half-brother and his wife Marge invited me over to their in-laws for Christmas.


To my surprise they had 10, count them 10, shopping bags full of presents for me!


There was an assortment of cloths and toys but…the best gift of all was a real, working microscope.  I was thrilled.


That afternoon I took it home and began examining all sorts of things through its triple-strength lens: grass, hair, and insects-it was great.


I still love microscopes but I got rid of my childhood gift long ago.


My First Lab has come to my rescue!


Its STEM Starter Kit for any Smartphone or tablet is amazing!


Simply clip on the Starter Kit to a Smartphone or tablet camera lens and the special adaptive electronic device instantly turns them into a 60X microscope!


You can even take pictures or videos!


Really, no kidding!  It’s amazing!


Here’s what you get: a microscope lens with clip, 15 specimens, a forensic light, a LED light and a slide carrying case.


You have to see it to believe it!  Isn’t technology grand?


Now you can take your microscope anywhere and viola!—you’re an instant biologist, forensic scientist or microscopic examiner. 



cbcover.jpgCircuit Builder 59

Are you tired of the building block kits for kids (and enthusiasts) that just sit there and do nothing?


Oh sure, you can build vehicles, buildings and other interesting objects-but do they do anything?


They may roll around, flicker a few lights, but mainly they just sit there-stagnant-immobile-boring!!!


cbback.jpgNot anymore!


E-Blox’s Circuit Builder 59 does so much more. 


Simply set up the main building board and with the help of a few batteries build switches, install lights, make motors run, create a working fan, produce noises, light up some fiber optics and so much more!



Combine Circuit Builder 59 with other E-Box cb2.jpgkits and the sky’s the limit.


Kids and adults alike can let their imaginations go wild while at the same time learning all about electricity and how to control it and use it.


Even better, combine E-Blox kits with other building block kits to make even more cool stuff.


Everything you need is included along with an instruction book that also contains interesting facts about electricity, circuitry and electronics.


So put a little ‘spark’ into you playtime.  You’re sure to get a ‘charge’ out of E-Bloxs.


Farm Animals and Burger + Chips

With so many toys being made from plastics, woods and metals parents need to be especially careful that no toxic or harmful chemicals, paints or dyes are present to harm their kids.


While U.S. manufacturing prohibits the use of harmful components and carefully monitors such items used in U.S. manufactured toys, such safeguards are not always present in some imported toys.


Papoose Toys, from Nepal, are made with natural fibers and dyes, making them safe for children.  There are small items so the toys are best for children over the age of three.  Parents need not worry about harmful chemicals or materials.


Magicforest is the importer of Papoose Toys to the United States. You can purchase Papoose Toys through the online retail site of Rose & Rex.


Papoose Toys offers a wide range of adorable hand-stitched and assembled toys made from soft fabrics colored with natural dyes.


burgerfries.jpgThe Burger + Chips (French Fries) are life-size duplicates of everyone’s favorite American food. 


The Burger features a sesame seed bun, a slice of cheese, lettuce, a burger, onions, pickles, ketchup, an egg and tomatoes. 


Six removable golden brown Chips come in a red container.  The Burger + Chips look almost real enough to eat.


farmanimals.jpgThe Farm Animals fabric pouch contains a cow, a spotted goat, a brown with black spots dog, a brown cat, a rooster, chicken and chick, a fuzzy sheep and donkey.


Each one is an adorable soft cloth replica of its namesake.  They’re fun to hold, cuddle and make believe they are on a farm.


They’re perfectly kid-size, soft and rugged enough so they last.





What stands approximately 13 inches tall, is beautifully sculpted and detailed, features striking color and pigment application and is made of solid polyresin?


Here’s a hint.  He was originally part of the New Teen Titans introduced in 1980, is part machine, was once a top-rated high school athlete and is currently a member of the Justice League.


If you guessed Victor Stone (aka Cyborg) you guessed right!


DC Collectibles presents its brand new Justice League Movie Cyborg Statue and boy-he’s awesome!


Limited to 5,000 pieces (I received AP08) the statue comes carefully packaged in a large flip-top box decorated with color photos of the Cyborg Statue on three sides, a large JL logo on its top and on the back are color photos front views of the other JL movie members (The Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Aquaman and of course-Cyborg).


cyborg-front.jpgInside the box the statue is wrapped in clear plastic and nestled in a two-part Styrofoam encasement protecting it from damage.


The Cyborg Statue stands on a special sculpted JL logo shield-shaped stand. The JL letters are raised above the stand as is the shield’s edges and cut out between the JL letters is the JL’s star symbol.  It’s quite impressive.


The large base with a small hole cut in the J (where the small rod on Cyborg’s right foot slips into) allows the Cyborg Statue to stand securely in place.


Cyborg’s head perfectly captures the likeness of actor Ray Fisher’s face.  Covering the left side of his face and most of the back of his skull is a cybernetic skull cap/mask fitting complete with a centered forehead blue light, a red left eye and a cylindrical left ear. 


cyborg-chest.jpgA chin strap covers his lower jaw that leads into a segmented neck and shoulder assembly complete with cable tendons, reinforced neck bones and vertebrae and open chest area between his metallic chest muscles where his alien energy rests. 


The metallic chest muscles and collar bones extend to twin cybernetic shoulders and arms consisting of alien technology, hinges, cables, reinforced elbows and large, black metallic hands, both of which are clenched.


Cyborg’s lower abdomen looks like a series of black ribs over layers of thin flexible metal cradling a red power source and the torso ends right at the hips complete with silver buttocks and crotch areas.


The silver, metallic upper legs sheaths fit around smaller black inner cables, wires and mechanics that make up the inner skeleton.


cyborg-right-side.jpgcyborg-left-side.jpgThe silver and black knee joints are open and the legs are sheathed over the lower leg muscles.


Both ankles are exposed black machinery and Cyborg’s feet are pivoted and segmented for mobility and feature a single large toe on each and larger silver segments next to them compensating for the other four toes on each foot.


Each area of the statue is intricately detailed from Cyborg’s segmented and reinforced back ribs, large silver shoulder blades and back muscles, reinforced lower legs and the many wires, cables and electronic alien gear stud the entire statue.


The large metallic segments of his body are angular and look as they are trying to emulate the overlay of human muscles.  Deep grooves, lines and niches make up their surfaces.


It’s a phenomenal piece of sculpting that perfectly duplicates the Cyborg movie figure down to the finest and last detail.


cyborg-back.jpgCyborg has always been one of my favorite DC characters ever since I first saw him in DC Comics DC Presents #26 insert and latter in the original George Perez and Marv Wolfman New Teen Titans series.


Although a tragic character stripped of his physical human shell he still managed to keep his sense of humor and good attitude.


The movie version is a logical update to the original comic book design and while his origin was slightly modified for the move it mostly stays true to his comic book origin.


The Cyborg Statue is the first DC Collectibles statue I have ever owned and after marveling at its quality I’m sure it will not be my last.










Children are problem solvers.  As kids grow they learn to develop their learning and problem solving skills.  Working puzzles and building things help develop their dexterity and problem-solving skills.


One of the cleverest ways to encourage a child’s ability to solve problems, seek solutions and fertilize their growing cognitive skills is mazes.


We all remember tackling corn mazes, hedge mazes and those funny drawn mazes prevalent in children’s magazines and books when were kids.  It was fun getting lost and trying to find our way out of actual, physical mazes or solving the right directions to take in a picture maze.


What kid doesn’t like to figure things out, use their creativity and have fun in the process?




The 52-piece Maze-O STEM the Mighty Maze Maker! is the perfect toy for kids ages three years old and up. 


Snapping together colorful mazes pieces together encourage skids to create their own unique mazes or follow the enclosed instructions cards for making thirty-plus mazes.


Red, yellow, purple and red mazes pieces easily connect (even for little hands) and before a child knows it-they’ve created a maze!


The possibilities are endless.  Maze-O develops dexterity, problem-solving and encourages creativity and critical thinking skills.


As a former teacher I highly recommend Maze-O: The Mighty Maze Maker!  It’s fun, challenging and a great way to develop spatial reasoning, strategy, eye-hand coordination and problem solving.


The Starter Set comes with everything kids will need to create their own mazes.


Contents includes: 16 Turn, 8 Branch, 8 Dead-end, 16 Straight and 4 Entrance/Exit maze pieces.


From making pirate ships to fishes Maze-O is a’maze’ing!





Race & Play Adventure Park and Stack & Tumble Elephant


What’s over three feet wide, features catapults, a Ferris wheel, ramps, tracks, carnival games, a lift ride and a loop and has a car that talks, sings songs and teaches?


race and play.jpgIf you guessed V-tech’s Race & Play Adventure Park, part of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels series of toys, you’re right!


Just look at the colorful activities such as a catapult to launch a vehicle, a spinning Ferris wheel with and airplane, helicopter and blimp, a cranking ramp, and a Smartpoint Go-Kart.



Children are problem solvers.  As kids grow they learn to develop their learning and problem solving skills.  Working puzzles and building things help develop their dexterity and problem-solving skills.


Hook up the Adventure Park to other heavy duty and durable play sets and before you know you have a veritable city of fun.


I really like the way the adventure Park is constructed with twisting and turning ramps, a solid industrial looking base, various accessories, levers, spinners, and enough activities to keep kids happy and active for hours.


The Adventure Park encourages kids to develop their motor skills, encourages imagination and helps children to expand their vocabulary.


The Adventure Park is built kid solid, features primary and secondary colors, easy to handle cranks and moving parts, lets kids play fun and exciting activities no matter what side of the Adventure Park they choose.


It also encourages kids to play together.  It’s large size makes it big enough for several kids to play with at once thus developing their social skills.


Just watch kids, age one to five years of age, eyes light up when they get the Adventure Park for Christmas, a birthday or other special occasions.


With over 40 songs, melodies, sounds and phrase the Adventure Park entertains both visually but also through audio.





No matter how you look at it, the Adventure Park is a great toy.


For six months old and up the Leap Frog Stack & Tumble Elephant is a clever and fun little companion for kids.


The long-snout blue elephant comes with five rings (red, green, yellow, purple and orange).


Slip the rings on the elephant’s uplifted nose and press the elephant’s tail and ‘ahchoo!’ the rings fly off!


The little elephant with his huge orange flapping ears recognized the colors of the rings along with the symbols printed on them.


He loves to tell kids what they are from numbers to colors to shapes.


He sings learning songs, moves his head with flip of his tail and he even asks questions t prompt kids to finds different shapes, numbers and colors.


Press the music buttons to hear delightful songs that teach and instruct.


What a wonderful, colorful toy that helps kids develop their motor skills, identify colors, shapes and numbers and talks and sing.


Leap Frog is a division of V-tech.  Batteries are included.



Sweet Surprises Treat Shoppe and

Shimmering Seashell Castle


What little girl 1 ½ to 5 years of age doesn’t like Treats and Castles?  None of course! 


And because they do love them V-tech has just the play sets for them!


treat-shoppe-back.jpgThe Sweet Surprises Treat Shoppe has everything a little girl needs to pretend and play that they are out shopping and  come across three fabulous and treat-filled Shoppes.


Not only can they visit the stores through the storefronts they can also flip the play set around and enter the Shoppes to satisfy their sweet tooth!


As part of V-tech’s Go! Go! Smart Freinds line of toys you know you can expect the best of the best when it comes to electronic toys. 


Rugged, colorful and filled with hands-on activities the Treat Shoppe teaches youngsters to fine tune their motor skills, helps them identify colors, gives their little minds lots of activities to stimulate them to  learn and even provides music, lights, songs and throws in a few phrases and questions.


Just look at what they get.


Sliding cherries turn the ice-cream Shoppe top, spin gears, a button that changes flavors, an opening door that reveals the dog Pop, a talking Lollie figure, four fun-filled accessories and best of all, it’s portable for on the go!


Decorated in treat logos and graphics and colored as brilliant as treats themselves the Treat Shoppe is a fun-filled, educational toy that provides hours of activities, laughs and giggles and encourages kids to explore and learn.


When my daughter was young she was fearless, curious and ready for adventure.  Her imagination ran wild and she loved to explore and learn new things.


seashell-castle.jpgV-tech’s Shimmering Seashell Castle is the perfect electronic toy that has so many things to do and learn that young girls will spend hours playing and exploring.


The Shimmering Seashell Castle is a HUGE toy that features an under-the-sea theme with a water slide, two layers supported by coral columns, a sea creature merry-go-round, several friendly sea creatures, a seashell seat, a swing, an opening seashell and there’s even a ballroom!.


Pearl The Mermaid sings, talks and helps kids learn when placed on MagicPoints.  There’s so much to move, listen to, play along and explore!


The castle can be viewed from the front and back allowing kids to share with other kids.


It’s a big, beautiful and bountiful castle of creativity that also comes with four accessories and is over two feet wide!  Wow!


My daughter has grown up and has a child of her own now.  I wish that the Shimmering Seashell Castle had been around when she was young.  She would have loved it!




Flexible Track, Brix, Mustang, Counter,
Skeleton, Dinosaur and Space


MaxFlex_Track__23127.1501280346.1280.1280.pngSkullduggery, the makers of Max Traxxx, has taken wireless RC racing to a whole new level with its Max Flex RC Flexible Track System.


It’s cool enough that the tracks glow in the dark, the remote control has variable speeds and it comes with a blazing red remote control car!


But, here’s the cool part. The glowing track also is flexible!  You read right!


The light trace technology tracks are flexible and there’s 200 pieces.


Why settle for a stagnant, race car track when you can create your own twisting and turning track in a snap? 


Even better, you can adjust the track as you race!  How cool is that!?


Glow in the dark, wireless, a rechargeable car, snap together and flexible track!?  How could you possibly go wrong?


For Max Traxxx fans out there Skullduggery offers a few extras that will let you constantly expand and improve on your RC racing experience.


Police_chase_main__04890.1474479333.1280.1280.jpgThe X-Blox Construction Brix Skill Jump extreme racing takes your racing to the next level.


Containing 56 Brix, the set allows RC racers to add to their existing Max Traxxx track. 


The Brix glow in the dark, interlock and stack to make the perfect bridges, ramps and underpasses for a more exciting racing experience.  Brix snap together with Max Traxxx track pieces and ‘ramp up’ the excitement.


While all Max Traxxx racing racks sets come with vehicles what racer is satisfied with a few cars?  Any real racer wants more cars. The more, the better.


BluWht_Mustang__58919.1474395095.1280.1280.pngAdd the Mustang Tracer Racer to your garage of RC cars. Just watch the blue and white streak of lightning race around the glowing track, swerve around the curves, climb hills and ramps and speed to the finish line!


All Tracer Racers cars feature light trace technology, are rechargeable and come with their own wireless remote control.  Zip around the track at 500 MPH based on the scale of the racer.  Zooom!


Speed is one thing, but what about endurance and superior driving?  Professional race car drivers are driven by the number of laps they complete in order to win the race.


Max_Digital_Counter__92106.1474478821.1280.1280.pngThe Max Traxxx Digital Lap Counter is perfect for the dual lane racing, glow in the dark action.  Simply set up the counter and it automatically counts the number of laps of both racers.  Set the number of winning laps and bingo!  Make the mark and you win!


Both the Max Flex and Max Traxxx of race kits and accessories are made of the highest quality material, are rugged, durable and easy to assemble and play.



For a different type of race; the human race (notice that smooth transition) check out Skullduggery’s Smithsonian Museum Craft Kits Human Skeleton.


As an artist, graphic designer and art teacher I can state that learning how to draw the human body starts with understanding how it is put together.


The human skeleton is the framework for the rest of the body and makes for a fascinating study.


skeleton.jpgWhat better way to learn about the human skeleton than by recreating one yourself?


The Human Skeleton kit includes PerfectCast Mix, mold trays, 10 crayons, paints, brush, display poster, glue, display easel and activity book.


Follow the easy-to-understand instructions and make your very own human skeleton.


Study and color the chart, read the activity guide, construct and paint the skeleton and before you know it you have a scaled down version of a human skeleton proudly on display!


Long before humans populated the earth dinosaurs roamed the swamps, mountains and terrain in search of plants and meat to eat.


The Tyrannosaurus Rex was the king of the predator dinosaurs and is probably the favorite dinosaurs of most kids.


Wouldn’t it be great if you could own your very own T-Rex?  You can!


Ok, maybe not a real T-Rex, but the next best thing: a 19 inch skeleton replica.


trex.jpgThe Dinoworks 19” Tyrannosaurus is a paleontologist’s dream come true.


Here’s what you get: reusable mold trays, PerfectCast casting material, paints, paint brush, magnets, glue, an illustrated educational booklet and instructions.


‘Dig in’ to this kit and in less time it takes to dig up a dinosaur bone you’ll have a perfect, to-scale, authentic looking T-Rex on display.


While dinosaurs only roamed our earth a whole new universe filled with planets and stars awaits.


space.jpgThe Eyewitness Space Exploration Space Casting Kit brings the stars a little closer with its PerfectCast Space Shuttle, Command Module and Saturn V rocket.


Everything you need to explore space in your imagination is included just like with the T-Rex kit.


Mold them, paint them and put them on display.


Who says outer space has to be ‘out there’?


Bring space home with the fun to construct and display famous space vehicles.





max traxxx.pngMax Traxxx


Are you ready for some serious RC (remote control) fun? 


How about miniature race cars that travel 500 miles per hour if you take their scale into account?


How about an Infinity Loop Set of 46 feet dual tracks that glow in the dark and can be configured anyway you like with curves, straight-aways, elevated areas and loops?


If you are then Skullduggery’s new ‘Max Traxxx Tracer Racers’ is the RC set for you!


max traxx kids.jpgImagine yourself.  You’ve lined up your RC racer at the starting line.  Your finger twitches on your remote IR controls.  Your opponent sits next to you, finger poised on their controls and --- you’re off!


You pull ahead in your red racer as it heads into the first curve, you straighten the wheels and prepare for the next elevated curve, you barely make it and for an instant you fear you’ve lost the game.


Miraculously you pull out of the curve, your opponent hot on your heels in their blue racer.


Up ahead you see the treacherous loop.  Picking up speed you suddenly find yourself upside down and your racer successfully completes the loop, but so does your opponent’s car. 


You both rev up the speed and hit another straight stretch.  An unexpected raised curve and section of road catch you both unawares.  You make it.  Your opponent also just manages to hang on.


max traxxx contents.jpgNow’s your chance!  You pull the remote control trigger all the way in and whoosh!—your car crosses the finish line with a light trace swishing behind it!  You’ve won!


Max Traxxx Infinity Loop Set has everything you need for indoor or outdoor racing fun.


Both cars’ batteries are rechargeable and there's plenty of track, connections, a loop and corners along with 20 X-BLOX pieces, two risers, four hinges and a full set of instructions.


Max Traxxx is great for RC racers six years old and up.  The set comes packaged in a heavy duty box perfect for storing your Max Traxx.  Play it during the day or at night or in a dark room-no problem-it glows!  RC--Really Cool!


Pass Back


BouncesBack_small__09788.1500577079.1280.1280.jpgThat’s why the Passback Sports’ ‘Passback’ football is so vital.


Different sizes for different age groups are available but they all have one thing in common.  Throw them at a wall and they rebound back to you!


Practice throws, repetitions, catches and even mix it up with friends.


Made of high-quality and durable materials the Fastpass football is the perfect way to practice and improve your football skills even when you’re by yourself.


Unwrap it, pump in some air and you’re ready to go!


This is one football you don’t want to ‘pass’ up.



Letter Block and Alphabet Acorns Activity Set


One of the most important things a young child needs to learn is the alphabet.


But, let’s face it, repetition and memorizing can be boring and challenging for children.


letter blocks.jpgWhen I was small I found the whole letter thing tedious and boring.  I wanted some action!  Some excitement!  I needed to mix things up a bit.


Learning needs to be fun and challenging.


Learning Resources knows that kids crave excitement and most of all fun. 


That’s why Learning Resources created two new ways to learn the alphabet that are fun, develop color identification, fine motor skills and letter recognition of letters, both upper and lower case.


letter blocks 2.jpgFor ages two and up there’s ‘Letter Blocks’.  Thirty six colorful letter blocks (some duplicates for spelling) come in the set, along with a storage bag.


Kids can stack them; use their hollow backs to stamp them in clay, cut out shapes and even spell.  Kids learn as they play!


For children three years old and older Learning Resources adds even more excitement learning about the alphabet.




acorns 2.jpgThe ‘Alphabet Acorns Activity Set’ not only teaches kids about the alphabet but also how to tell the difference between upper and lower cases.


Each acorn represents a separate letter in different colors.  On the outside of the brown acorns, with color tops, are printed upper case letters, pop the acorns' tops open and lower case letters appear on the underside of the acorns' tops.



To reinforce the letter designated a small object is inside each acorn coinciding with the acorn letters.


For example: A=apple, E=elephant, T=train and so forth.


Twenty six two-piece acorns, 26 color-coded figures and an activity guide are included.


Stack them, play hide and seek, build words (literally) and explore.


Both letter sets come packaged in heavy-duty and colorful cardboard boxes with flip-open secure lids and clear plastic viewing panels.


medical school.jpgMy Little Veterinarian Kit


When I received the promo for Little Medical School’s ‘My Little Veterinarian Kit’ I was immediately intrigued.


My daughter works at a Veterinarian office.  Part of her duties is to prepare pets for examination, book work, surgery assistance, grooming and general pet care.  She is very good at her job and loves what she does.


Recently she gave birth to a little boy and if I know my daughter as well as I think I do then she plans on passing on her love of animals to her son-perhaps encouraging him to enter the veterinarian profession when he gets older.


What better way to stoke a child’s interest in the Veterinarian field than by introducing them to My Little Veterinarian Kit?


Shaped like a doctor’s medical bag the kit contains everything that a child needs to examine a pet or animal--from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail.


Just look at what you get:


Little Medical School White Coat

Student Doctor ID Badge

Adoption Certificate


Tape Measure

Pet Assessment Form

Modeling Dough

Dog Bone Cookie Cutter

Recipe Card


Tick Removal Stickers

Plastic Bag





There’s even a Plush Dog with Bandana to practice on!


Every item and form is just like the kinds you see in a Veterinarian’s office.  No skimping on quality.  The Medical Coat is an exact miniature version of the real thing. 


Forms are perfect duplicates of those used by Veterinarians and each and every object is an exact match for its grown-up counterpart.


The heavy-gauge cardboard box the contents come in has an easy to uses flip-cover with Velcro strips to keep it securely shut.


The kit is top-notch and allows a child to pretend to be a Veterinarian.



scribe-cover.jpgCircuit Scribe Basic Kit


Several years ago while I was a teacher at a local high school a portion of my classes were vocational classes.


For those of you unfamiliar with the term, vocational classes teach students a skill or skills: carpentry, welding, auto mechanics, computer tech and electrical work.


There is a huge need for young people to take up trade skills and none more so than electrical work.


Electricians are sorely needed in construction, electrical component assembly and plant work.  That’s why I was so excited when I received a copy of Electroninks’s ‘Circuit Scribe’ Basic Kit with 11 pieces.


scribe.jpgThe kit is a godsend for up and coming electricians and those students interested in electricity and its function and uses.


The kit comes in a flip-open lid, hard cardboard box which includes simple instructions, a separate work book/sketchbook, a conductive silver ink pen, a steel sheet, a sticker sheet, a circuit stencil, a battery, six electronic modules and resistors.


Circuit Scribe makes electronics easy to understand and implement.


All you do is follow the directions, select a piece of paper and place the metal sheet behind it.


Using your conductive ink pen you draw your circuit.


You can then place the various modules (output, input, 2-pin adapter and NPN adapter) in place on the silver ink line.  Connect the battery and adapter and you can use electrical conductivity using the various resisters.


Create a touch sensor, light up an LED and make a switch-the possibilities are endless.


Even an old codger like me can do it!  Now that’s making electricity easy to understand!


Modules are colored coded for easy identification.  A 9-volt battery powers the entire assembly making it safe to work with.


Ages eight years old and up can spend hours tinkering around with lights, switches and other electronics we use every day.


The kit is a great way to encourage kids and students to take up a well-paying and exciting trade and have fun in the process.


elephant.jpgPull & Discover Activity Elephant


Kids 12 to 36 months of age will go wild about V-tech’s ‘Pull & Discover Activity Elephant’.


The large blue elephant that when pulled flaps his purple ears.


Push or pull the elephant and it makes music and sounds.


The toy features shapes when pushed make music, sound or other noise when the talk or music slide is moved.


Kids answer questions, solve problems and sort numbers, shapes and images.


elephant-front.jpgMounted on top of the elephant is an adorable yellow bird with a spring that moves when the elephant moves.


There are objects to spin, move, slide, and select.


The special spinning, light-up selector on the side of the elephant asks questions, makes music and animal noises depending on the slide bar selection.


Everything moves, makes noise, flashes lights and is guaranteed to keep young children busy for hours. 


The interactive toy has volume control; an automatic shut-off, is made of hard durable soft edge plastic and includes batteries.


Kids will love to sing-along with three songs and 15 melodies.


elephantback.jpgThere’s so much to do, listen to, watch and learn!  Dexterity, sight and sound identification, singing, talking, cognitive and chital thinking skills and much more help children to develop and grow.


A personal note: I am so grateful to God that I have the opportunity to review so many products: especially toys. 


It is with heartfelt gratitude that I thank such wonderful companies as V-tech and its employees for being so generous and kind.


train-front.jpgRoll & Roar Animal Train


You’ve heard the phrase, “Get it in gear!”


V-tech has taken that phrase’s meaning-literally!


V-tech’s ‘Roll & Roar Animal Train’ has so many gears and handles that children ages 1 ½ to 4 years old will spend hours turning gears, watching animals spin about and making fun noises and phrases.


Gears, animals, a train, fun noises and a great way to learn-what more could a kid ask for?


train.jpgThe Roll & Roar Animal Train features a lovable bear, a purple ear elephant and a spinning, zebra, bear and hippo along with an extra set of colorful gears.


The train engine has a spinning smokestack with smoke, a spinning animal that can be changed out for other animals and a front engine cap that spins at the turn of a handle.


Its four wheels also turn as kids roll it across the floor as do the engine car and caboose. 


The passenger car holds the blue and purple elephant holding red and purple gears.


The caboose carries the circus bear in his bright blue collar and by turning the gear attached to his arm the entire caboose gear assembly turns and raises and lowers the caboose top.


There are 15 mix & match gears and the entire train is loaded with sound!


Move the Smart Gear animals to the engine for some silly songs with animal sounds. 


train-back.jpgSlide the bar on the side of the engine to switch from Exploration Fun to Quiz Mode and Mix & match.


Push the blue, red or yellow button above the slide bar in each selection and kids will hear music, speech and more.


Bu sliding the small blue switch below the slide bar and pushing select buttons kids get all kinds of sound, quiz, lessons and more.


What a great way for kids to learn, develop their coordination, sing and have fun at the same time!


The engine, passenger car and caboose detach from each other for individual play or easily reattach for locomotive mayhem.


Created in bright primary and secondary colors the Animal Train is built rugged, safe for kids with its smooth edges and large parts and offers hours of entertainment and learning.


Parents will love the volume control and automatic turn-off features.


watch.jpgStar Wars First Order
Stormtrooper Smartwatch


How does V-tech do it?  I am constantly and pleasantly surprised about how V-tech can produce such high-tech and sophisticated toys and electronics.


The ‘Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Smartwatch’ is one such example.


Smartwatches are all the rage nowadays. It seems like everyone has one or wants one.

It’s no secret-they are expensive.  That’s why I’m so surprised about V-tech’s Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Smartwatch’.


watch-box.jpgGranted it is made for kids but its electronic and computer technology is nothing to sneeze at.  And…the price is a fraction what you would pay for an ‘adult’ smartwatch.

That’s not to say that he watch skimps on apps and goodies.  Far from it!


It rocks!


First up is the watch face itself.  You can choose a huge selection of Star Wars themed backgrounds (30 in fact) and you can display it as digital or traditional face.  Even better the backgrounds are animated!  Is that cool or what!?


There are full volume controls (yes, it makes cool sounds), a math function, calendar and setting controls.


There is a camera with still and movie capabilities, you can dress up your photos with cool pictures and effects, sound effects, a voice recorder, games and mini-activities and you can download your photos and movies with the handy mini-USB cable straight to your computer!


watch-functions-1.jpgDid I mention it has a stopwatch, timer, alarm, calculator you can even change your voice using the voice-changing effects.


The Smartwatch comes in a special Star Wars display box that can used to store your watch while not in use.  Complete instructions make setting up the watch easy and fast. 


watch-functions-2.jpgThe Smartwatch is splash proof, boasts a durable design, has a rechargeable battery, uses touch screen and is tough enough for everyday play.


Who says this watch is just for kids?  I plan on wearing mine proudly wherever I go.


trike-front.jpg4-in-1 Stroll & Grow TEKtrike


I’m about to become a very popular grandpa.  Better yet, I’m about to become very popular for a long time-try for at least six years!


“How so?” you may ask.


I owe my newfound popularity to V-tech--specifically to V-tech’s ‘4-in-1 Stroll & Grow TEKtrike’.


Finally a toy that grows as your child does.  Starting out a nine months of age the TEKtrike, grows and changes as your child does-all the way to six years old-or maybe older!


Here’s what you get.


At Stage 1 Stroll most little tikes have yet to walk and depend on mom and dad to push them around in a stroller.  How boring!


Liven things up a bit by using the TEKtrike’s Stage I Stroll configuration.  Kids 9 to 18 months sit in a high-back seat that also includes a 3-point safety harness.  It’s even adjustable to four positions and comes with removable wraparound safety bar with cup holder.


trike-back.jpgMom or dad provides the horsepower using the height-adjustable push-handle. 

Youngster hold tight to the handlebars, prop their feet on the removable footrest and enjoy the ride of their life!


An adjustable canopy protects children from the sun and rain.


A small console situated on the handlebars features an interactive panel with an LED screen and sounds and voices appropriate for each stage of a child’s development. Batteries are included.


Children can push the horn, turn the ignition switch, shift the gear knob and hear funny sound effects.  It’s a great interactive center that develops children’s motor skills and eye/hand coordination.




Remove the extended seat back, safety bar and footrest and the TEKtrike transforms into the Train Stage 2 configuration for ages 18 to 24 months.


Youngsters learn how to use the TEKtrike’s pedals, move the handlebars on their own, while still being guided when necessary by mom or dad.  Both the canopy and push-handle are still attached.


In the Ride Stage 3 level for ages 2 to 4 years, children go into full tricycle mode with no canopy, safety bar or seatbelts.  At this stage children should wear helmets (not included).


trike-specs.jpgChildren are in full control and quickly learn how to steer, pedal (and listen to the pedal music) and direction sensors tell them when they turn right or left.


As with all levels the TEKtrike is easy to maneuver with its swiveling rear wheels, includes a storage area and is easy to keep stationary using its pedal lock so children can get on and off the TEKtrike without falling.


Stage 4 for to six years of age is called the Drift stage and with it children can do all sorts of wild and crazy maneuvers including gliding, spinning and turning a full 360 degrees!


The TEKtrike is made of heavy duty plastic and metal and is a snap to assemble using the easy-to-follow instructions-even and adult can do it!


It’s a great toy that will last kids for years, even through their rough and tumble stage. 


Like all of V-tech’s toys the TEKtrike is safe, made with the highest quality materials, tested for toughness and is guaranteed to bring a smile to any kid's face.


I can’t wait for my grandson to try it out!


Strictly-Briks-Premium-Basic-Colors-Blue-Green-Red-and-Yellow-Stackable-Base-Plates-12-Pack-6-x-6-Baseplate-Bundle-with-100-Stackers-Compatible-with-All-Major-Brands-4-hires.jpgStrictly Briks

It’s no secret that kids love to build things.  It doesn’t matter how they build it or with what.  Stones, sticks, twigs, dirt, mud-you name it, kids will use it to make wherever their imaginations lead them.


briks-photo.jpgThere’s a better way to let kids build and create and it’s not nearly as messy.  In fact, it’s downright easy to organize, set up, break down and store.


It’s Strictly Briks, the product and company by the same name.


The ‘10” X 10” Stackable Base Plates Rainbow Assorted Colors 12-Pack’ features hard plastic Bases in a spectrum of color that have hundreds of circular knobs on their surfaces. 


Twelve bags of assorted color Briks come with the Bases,


Kids choose what colors to use, snap the Briks together and on the Bases and before they know it they’ve created Briks' masterpieces!


Along with Bases and Briks the ‘Strictly Briks Building Briks & Straps’  come in various, sizes, colors and shapes add to the fun!


Other sets are available for building all sorts of things.  They can even be used with ‘other’ building brick toys.


Strictly-Briks.jpgJust imagine being able to make impressive buildings, vehicles, stairs, ramps, entire city and town landscapes and so much more!


The only limit is a child’s imagination!


Mom, dad—here’s the best part; Strictly Briks are safe, non-toxic, snap together and apart easily and clean up is a snap!  However there are small pieces, so it’s best only children five years old and up play with them.


I wish I had a collection of Strictly Briks when I was young.  There’s no telling what I could have created.


Hold on a minute!  Who says Strictly Briks are just for kids!?  I’ll wager adults can have just as much fun creating things with Strictly Briks on their own and with their kids or friends.


I can hardly wait to get started!


blendy pens.jpgBlendy Pens

Did you ever catch yourself wanting to ‘blend in’?


I’m not talking about blending in with the crowd.  I’m referring to the ability to blend colors together in a drawing or painting.


It’s not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it is one of the most difficult things any young artist wannabe needs to learn.  I know, I taught high school drawing.


If only there was an easier way.


There is!


Chameleon Kidz has the perfect coloring pens for doing just that.


‘The Original Blendy Pens’ pen sets are the answer…and they do all the work for you!


The 24 pen set, including 12 Fusion Chambers, allows young artists to select two colors, join them together in the chambers and viola!  Perfect blending!


expert-gradations-05.jpgIt’s easy: just twist, fuse and blend!


The pens’ vibrant colors blend in over 276 combinations making blending, shadowing and 3D rendering look like a professional artist did them!


Here’s what you get in the colorful box of Blendy Pens:


24 Blendy Pens

12 Fusion Chambers

10 Magic revel Posters

2 Stencil Sheets

A Bonus Airbrush and Art Portfolio


Everything listed comes at a great price so you can make hundreds of color combinations, blend to your heart’s delight and impress both friends and family with your artistic talent.


Shhhh! Your secret is safe with me!  It’s the perfect way to ‘blend in’.


starpathdolls.jpgShining Star and Tiger Magic

Do you know of any children who want to star in their own magical adventure?


I know I do and I’ve got the perfect way for them to do so.


Starpath Dolls’ ‘Shining Star’ is one of four spectacular new lifelike dolls that not only look real and wear real cloths but can star in their very own chapter book!


Shining Star is a beautiful almond skin, brown eyed, auburn hair, girl doll that looks so real you expect her eyes to move and her mouth to speak. 


She’s absolutely beautiful dressed in her frilly white collar, short-sleeve sweater shirt with wide black belt, black and white plaid skirt, black knee socks and shoes and adorable pink floppy cap.


Shiningstarblog.jpgShe poses just like a real child and her skin looks real as do her fingers, hands, feet, face and entire body, She can even stand on her own with no help!


Little girls will especially like her soft features, delicate nose, slightly pouty lips, big eyes, delicate ears and cute round face.


Children learn how to dress and undress her (and themselves) and along with Shining Star they can go on an incredible adventure by going online and personalizing an E-book.  In just a few days a paperback book starring Shining Star will arrive in the mail.  Just follow the directions on Shining Star’s big box. 


She’s an incredible doll, priced at a very affordable cost and makes the perfect gift for any occasion.


tiger cat.jpg‘Tiger Magic’, the fluffy, soft,  cuddly  Tiger-Cat  stuffed animal can star in his own adventure also.


Tiger Magic features soft, tiger-stripped fur, a fluffy tail, big white and black ears, oversize white eyebrows, a pink nose, big brown and black eyes, four stubby feet and an adorable kitty smile. 


But them both today, kids will love them!  Both toys are of the highest quality, kid safe, are carefully and lovingly made and packaged and are guaranteed to win any kid’s heart.


Gnomes, Vegetables and Arctic

Plastic, artificial dyes, man-made materials.  What if I told you that there are toys out here for children that use none of the previously mentioned items?


Would you be interested?  How does environmentally friendly sound to you?  Does preserving our natural resources sound interesting to you?  How about renewable resources?


Papoose Toys has just the toys for you!


Made with Fair Trade in Nepal villages by local residence to support their families, Papoose Toys are handmade from natural fibers such as wool, use natural dyes and safe for children.


Soft, cute and perfect for little hands Papoose Toys, and the packages they come in, are eco-friendly and fun.


The ‘Fat Gnomes’ come three to a package, are made from wool and wood and feature soft, slightly bendable bodies.


Topped with red-pointed hats, the figures also feature white wool beards, flesh colored hands and face, a blue tunic, green pants and brown wooden shows.  Garden Gnomes beware! You’ve just be out-cuted!


The ‘Veggie Pack’ box contains a cornucopia of veggies that include a carrot, corn on the cob, a pumpkin, onion, peas and red pepper all made from wool.


The pumpkin is my favorite with its long vine with leaves and flower bud.


The ‘Arctic Animal Set’ has an adorable collection of cold weather critters that include a polar bear with her two cubs, a seal, a walrus and a killer whale.  


Soft wool and felt make up the animals that are stitched and glued together and perfectly safe for young children three years and up (as are all Papoose Toys).


Anyway you look at it Papoose Toys are the perfect environmentally friendly toys that kids will love and parents will feel safe letting their children play with.


Baby Stella and Groovy Girls!

Soft, pliable and cuddly dolls are all the rage.


The reasons are many: they’re safe for small children, easy to clean, small children love the soft feel of the dolls and kids can toss and drop them without them breaking.


Manhattan Toy has two series of soft dolls that kids (both boys and girls) are sure to love.


They are ‘Groovy Girls!’ and ‘Baby Stella’.  Both are perfect for little hands, soft, cuddly and come dressed in adorable outfits.


groovy girls.jpgGroovy Girl! Lily stands about one foot tall and has long brown hair made of yarn.  Her body is made of stitched together, fuzzy fabric that feels warm and soft to small hands.


Her head, legs and arms are securely sewn to her torso.


Her outfit consists of a bold pattern and colorful sundress, with twin, small shoulder straps, a white t-shirt undergarment, yellow shoes and a bright pink ribbon on her left wrist.


Her slightly tan complexion complements her outfit.


She has large blue eyes, a big toothy smile and red earrings decorate her ears. 


Velcro strips allow small children to take her dress off and her t-shirt slips easily off her torso.


Lily makes for a perfect, perky companion that kids are sure to love, cherish and play with for years to come.


baby stella.jpgBaby Stella is a soft, hand-crafted doll with lifelike toes, belly button and cute plump tummy. 


The Baby Stella Beige Doll comes with a two-tone, pink magnetic pacifier, a floral design outer garment and pink with white polka dots panties that cover her white diaper. 


Her arms and legs move freely, the magnetic pacifier stays in place over her mouth via the hidden magnet in her torso and pacifier and her sparse, brown hair mop top sets off her brown eyes, cute smile and button nose.


Baby Stella comes packaged in an open-face, heavy card stock box and is secured in place by small plastic ties that detach easily without any damage to the doll. 


Baby Stella encourages youngsters to nurture and care and how to dress and undress.


She’s soft, sweet and so cute!


Both the Groovy Girls! and Baby Stella series of dolls aid small children with dexterity, encourages imaginations and assist them in learning how to dress and undress.


Both sets of dolls come in a variety of complexions and attire, include boy dolls and have special furniture and accessories available.


Anyway you look at them they are the perfect soft dolls for little hands.



Sack Pals Snuggle Sack

‘It’s sack time!!’  To most of us that phrase means, ‘It’s time to go to bed.”


Not so when you’re referring to the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack.


The ‘Sack Pals Snuggle Sack’ is a soft and plush, slightly larger than a pillowcase, sack that kids can climb into, snuggle and keep their most prized possessions and toys in.


Speaking of toys, Sack Pals Snuggle Sack comes with four adorable stuffed animals that stick to the special Velcro material anywhere you place them on the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack!


young-girl-playing-with-collectible-plush-toy-set.pngAll feature big, happy eyes, smiles and are so soft and cuddly kids will treasure and play with them for hours.


They include a blue Elephant (Elliot), a pink Kitten (Emilee), a green and blue Turtle (Theodore) and a tan and orange Puppy (Henry).


Also included are four, flat and colorful Sack Bling: the Sun, a Star, A Lady Bug and a Butterfly.


Like the stuffed animals they stick anywhere kids place them on the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack.


The shapes and stuffed animals can adorn the outside of the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack while kids can get in the sack or use it to put things in.  Or by reversing the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack  the plush, stuffed toys and Sack Bling are kept safe and sound.


girls-with-sacks.jpgReverse the bag and a special pocket appears on the soft lavender interior for storage.


Either way you look at it the Sack Pals Snuggle Sack is great fun, perfect for small hands to place their toys or other objects in, a warm and snuggly mini-sleeping bag to hide or sleep in and something every kid will cherish.


The Sack Pals Snuggle Sack comes in a clear plastic, soft cube with a zipper so the Sack Pals and Sack Bling can be stored away while not in use and stay clean and soft.


‘The best friends in life are the ones who stick around!’


2017 Whiffer Sniffers

Something smells.  In fact, something smells really good.


Kids are drawn to aromas.  The smells make your mouth water. 


Is that Strawberry, Pumpkin Spice Donut, Birthday Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pear, Cherry, Root Beer and Eggnog I smell?  I especially like the Birthday Cake and Pumpkin Spice Donut.


There are more, so much more.  There’s even some that are a mystery, appropriately labeled as ‘Mystery Packs’.


You’ll never know what’s inside the special Mystery Packs until you open one and take a big whiff.


There’s so many that there’s even a Whiffer Sniffers Collector’s Book Fall 2017 that lists and shows each Whiffer Sniffer since they were first introduced.


Now my mouth is watering.  What could it be?




Whiffer Sniffers presents its 2017 collectible ‘Whiffer Sniffers’: small, plush, backpack hangers that smell as good as they look.


Talk about adorable!  The Whiffer Sniffers are small, plush, stuffed creatures that represent the best of the best of pleasant smells. 


Each comes in its own special, clear, plastic package.  They dangle from their clips so that kids (and adults) can attach them to their backpacks, purses, belts,--anywhere you like!


All feature lovable faces with big expressive eyes, arms and leg and soft, cuddly bodies that fit right in your hand.  Collect them, trade them, love them and let them ‘hang out’ with you.


‘Everything Else Just Stinks!’  Smell ya later!



elmo-hide-and-seek_featured-image.jpgSesame Street Elmo’s World Hide & Seek

Kids are naturally curious.  They constantly poke and prod things, scramble up and behind furniture, climb stairs, look behind couches and furniture, open doors, explore and constantly discover new and exciting things.


It’s part of being human.  We’re a curious and inquisitive species.  It’s how we learn, interact with and navigate the world around us.


Identity Games recognizes how important it is for kids ages one to four to develop their curiosity and ability to locate and identify objects and people.


‘Elmo’s World Hide & Seek’ is the perfect vehicle by which kids can explore and develop their skills at locating things.


Here’s how it works.


Take the small, talking Elmo figure and place him in a specific location.


Depending on the age of the child or children you can simply hide Elmo under a blanket or soft object close to the child until they locate him by his voice.


As the child grows you hide Elmo further away until they find him or multiple players can simultaneously look for Elmo.


elmo-hide-and-seek-kids.jpgOlder children are given cards with specific pictures of objects on them.  When they locate the object on the card they find Elmo.  This also gives parents the opportunity to talk about the object with the child or children.


No matter how you play it (you can even make up your own rules) Elmo’s World Hide & Seek is great tool for educating children on how to find objects that are out of sight simply by sound.


Groups of kids can even make a game of it by using the cards as clues until one of them finds Elmo by his voice (that sounds every 10 seconds) guiding them to him.


Whoever finds him first wins!


Elmo’s World Hide & Seek comes in a sturdy steel box with a clear plastic panel showcasing Elmo.  Inside there is a small stack of picture cards along with instructions.


AAA batteries are required.



HearMuffs Sounds

Sound, it’s everywhere.  Unfortunately in our rush and push society sounds pound our ears constantly.  Loud music, city traffic, airports—sounds permeate every facet of our lives.  There is no escaping sound.


Loud sounds can be especially damaging to young children or infants’ ears.  It’s hard to avoid loud sounds, but it’s essential for young ears to develop.


So what’s a parent to do?  Lucid Audio has the solution.


Why not downplay sounds?  Not only lower sounds, but keep the clarity.


hearrmuffs mom.jpgLucid Audio presents ‘HearMuffs Sounds’ a revolutionary new set of headphones for young children and infants that protects young ears by providing passive noise reduction and keeping loud sounds out of the environment.


Simply place the HearMuffs Sounds headphones onto a child’s head, securing them in place by the soft, adjustable headband that offers both comfort and protection. This means one pair will last from babyhood up to 4 years old..


The padded head piece is perfect for a young head and the adjustable side, sliding headphone straps make it easy to fit any infant’s or preschooler’s head.


Soft, pliable liners cushion the headphones to a child’s ears and keep out harmful, loud noises.


The headphones allow comfortable sound levels in, so voices sound soothing and non-abrasive.


To sooth a child even more while traveling, sleeping or downtime, the headphones can play soothing melodies such as a lullaby, white noise, creek and heartbeat.


The HearMuffs Sounds come packaged in an attractive, secure box with two AAA batteries included.


Instructions are included for mode and sound adjustment.


I can’t wait to try them out on my grandson!  His mother will love them!


Giant Art Jar, Drawing Kit and Jewelry Making Kit

One of my all-time favorite things to do as a kid was to gather as much bric-a-brac and objects together so I could create all sorts of things-mostly spaceships, toy guns, etc.


I would plunder my Mom’s junk drawer and pick out buttons, spools, paper clips, wire—anything that I could cobble together so I could feed my imagination.


art-jar-contents-floor.jpgIf the Alex Brands’ ‘Giant Art Jar’ existed when I was a kid it would have been one of my favorite treasure troves.


It has everything: ABC shapes, wooden sticks, google eyes, buttons, colored paper, glitter glue, a glue stick, feathers, scissors, sequence, stickers and more-oh so much more!

It’s a veritable cornucopia of creative art and craft items that will keep kids gluing, cutting, folding, pasting, assembling, taping and enjoying themselves for hours.


art-jar-critters.jpgWhat a great way to encourage creativity and allowing a child’s mind and imagination to run wild.


Kids can make their own special jewelry, art, funny objects and things and share them with their friends and family as gifts.


A large plastic jar with a twist on lid, with handle, holds everything a child needs to unlock their imagination.


For the child, student or adult the ‘Essential Drawing Set’ is a great way to inexpensively enter the world of art.


drawing-set-contents.jpgAs a graphic designer, illustrator and former high school art teacher I can attest that buying art supplies can get expensive.


Once established as an artist’s supply costs can be curtailed a bit because you tend to buy just the supplies you need at the time.


If you are someone who wants to learn many different types of art using various art medium the ‘Essential Drawing Set’ from Alex Brands is the perfect way to do so.


The ‘Drawing Set’ contains everything you need to get started in your drawing adventure.


www.jpgErasers, a sandpaper block, charcoal pencils, pastel pencils, sketching sticks, charcoal sticks, a ruler, graphite pencils, of various types, blending sticks, color sticks, a sharpener, a sketch pad and even a drawing mannequin all come securely packaged in foam in a wooden box with hinges and a heavy duty handle.


It makes for an organized art package so young artists minimize the mess and can find what they need easily and quickly.


Using art supplies items seen in the set I was able to make the following drawing with no muss or fuss.



With a little practice and patience you can make your own masterpieces to share and display.


sweet-treats-box.jpgThe ‘Shrinky Dinks Sweet Treats Jewelry Making Kit’ brings out the decorator and craftsman in kids and teenagers.


Just color, bake and shrink and future jewelers can make all the bling and glittering necklaces, bracelets and decorations they want.


There’s so much to see and do!  All sorts of sweet goodie shapes can be colored and baked.  Once they finish baking they shrink.  Just look at all the beads and baubles!



sweet-treats-arm.jpgEverything you need is included: color pencils, shapes, beads and more.  So what are you waiting for?  It’s time to shine and do your bling thing!






sleuth.jpgSpy-Montage.jpg spy.jpg
Spy Case and Super Sleuth Kit


spycase-in-box.jpgWe’re all familiar with the super spy James Bond and dozens of other spy characters in books, films and on TV:  James Bond, Jason Bourne, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible-the list goes on and on.


The world of spies has always intrigued people of all ages –especially kids.


Adventure, danger, good versus evil-they are all familiar themes and they play out well in the spy genre.


Alex Brands’ ‘Spy Case Under Cover’ if filled with spy gadgets sure to satisfy the super spy hiding in every kid.


spycase-in-box-back.jpgJust look at what you get: folding binoculars, a flashlight, a magnifying glass, fingerprint powder, a dusting brush, a secret marker pen set, secret code files, an ultimate code book, an ink pad and a spy case to carry them all in.


Imagine that you’re a young child and you suddenly find yourself in the middle of international intrigue.


You study your spy files, decode your secret spy assignment and set off on your mission.




spycase.jpgOnce there you gather important information using your top secret spy skills.

First you spy out the location using your binoculars and later at night you use your magnifying glass and flashlight to gather clues and meet up with your undercover contact.


Together your study your code files, using your code booklet to decipher important clues.  Careful to document your discoveries using your special marker pen set you dust for prints, gather your equipment and report back to headquarters, careful to secure all of your equipment in your special spy case.



sleuth-kit-in-box.jpgHaving polished your spying skills you decide to expand your sleuthing capabilities and bring in your 80 piece ‘Super Sleuth Kit.


It also contains a magnifying glass, fingerprint powder, a fingerprint ink pad, dusting brush and flashlight.


Additional equipment rounds out your sleuthing paraphernalia which includes 10 finger print specimen cards, lifting tape, secret marker, developer marker, rear view spy glasses, code booklet, two decoder packets, two code wheels, two code tubes and easy to follow instructions.


sleuth-kit.jpgWhether pretending to be a super spy or a super sleuth kids are sure to love both the Spy Case and Super Sleuth Kit.

Both offer a great way for kids to develop their critical thinking skills, logic and perception and problem solving talent.


monkey-pirate-montage.jpgMonkey, Octopus and Pirates

OK, I admit it.  I’m guilty!

I fess up!  I requested a few review items from Alex Brands, three of which are for small children.

OK, what’s so unusual about that?

Did I mention I have a new grandson and I thought these three items would make perfect toys for him to play and learn with?  See, I told you I had an ulterior motive.

Seriously these are some pretty cool toys!

Any parent knows that teaching your child to tie shoelaces, button buttons, snap snaps, zip zippers, buckle belts, hook and loop and put on shoes, socks and cloths can sometimes be a real challenge.

Each child learns at a different rate and masters different skills at different times.

monkey-reclining.jpgAlex Brands’ ‘Learn To Dress Monkey’ makes learning all these essential skills fun, colorful and captivating for young children 18 months and up.

The soft, plush monkey with its multi-color face and body instantly draws a young child’s attention.

monkey-nap.jpgThe monkey comes dressed in a shirt, short overalls, socks and shoes.  Look for oversize buttons and zipper, large orange snaps, green shoes with orange shoe laces, shoulder straps and a belt, with buckle, located on the back of the overalls.

The lovable simian even comes with a banana that Velcros to his hands.  In total there are eleven dressing activities that will help a child develop their dexterity, patience, perseverance and confidence.  Face it—he’s just plain cute!

sq-842S_Blink-Float-Octopus-21.jpgThe ‘RubaDub Blink & Float Octopus makes the perfect toy for a young child as they take their bath.

Mom or dad can scrub away on a youngster as they sit captivated by the adorable orange translucent octopus with the starfish hat that bobs up and down in the water and lights up!

Dunk it, swirl it, splash with it or just watch it as it floats and lights up the bathtub.  For 12 months and up.

Speaking of having fun in the tub!  What kid doesn’t like pirates and pirate ships?

Bath_813_Pirates-of-the-Tub_model.jpgThe ‘Pirates Of The Tube” fulfills every kids swashbuckling dreams with 37 buccaneer foam pieces to entertain and delight kids three years old and up.

Two short and stubby pirates and their blue, brown and black cannon are just a few of the cool pirate treasures in the set.

Look for pirate, island, palm tree, raft, ship, ship stores and other foam pirate goodies that kids can float in the water or stick to the side of the tile wall next to the tube.

There’s even a bag to carry the objects not in use so they won’t get lost.   

pirates-tub.jpgSqueeze the two tubby pirates (a first mate and captain) and water spurts out of their mouths.  Even the cannon shoots water! Watch out mom and dad! 

Yo, ho, ho!  It’s the pirates’ life for me!  Avast me hardies, there’s clear sailin’ ahead and the bathtub calls!


kidz gear wired headphones for kids.jpgKidzControl™ Volume
Limit Wired Headphones

Kids love listening to music, plugging into the audio of a video game or watching a movie on a laptop, computer or TV.  

The only problem is that most kids are pretty rough when it comes to using headphones and with the cost of high-end headphones it can get pretty expensive to replace them.

Problem solved!  Kidz Gear introduces the KidzControl Volume Limit Wired Headphones that are durable, kid-friendly and best of all--inexpensive.

Just because they cost less than ‘adult’ headphones the Kidz Zone headphones use high quality components that deliver great sound at a fraction of the cost.

The headphones deliver rich, full sound that can be controlled by KidzControl Volume Limit Technology.

 The headphones can used on a variety of electronic devices.

Avoid hearing damage using the volume control headphones while still delivering full rich sound kids will love.

kidz gear wired headphones for kids bag.jpgIncluded with the earphones are padded ear protectors, an adjustable head strap, a long plug-n cord and full instructions.

Packaged in a small box, with see-thru side panels, the headphones come in seven colors kids like.

Keep the headphones safe and secure and free from dust and damage with the special protective carrying bag that is also available.

In your car, in a plane or at home the Kidz Gear KidzControl™ Volume Limit Wired Headphones is kid-friendly, parent approved and a real deal for the money.



my work bench.jpg
My Art Desk and My Work Bench


Speaking as a father and grandfather I can testify to the fact that as kids grow up they want to be busy.


Their little minds seek to explore, learn and take in what they’ve discovered and make and do things.


Toy play sets that encourage kids to create are vitally important to a young child’s development.


It doesn’t matter what a child creates looks like anything.  The effort and challenge to their dexterity and imagination are enough.  As they grow older then they start to recognize, emulate and perfect their ability to create copies of actual objects.


Alex Brands understands this.


Kids love things that are bright and inviting.  Ask any balloon vendor or toy manufacturer.  The brighter the better.




Alex Brands ‘My Art Desk’ fits the bill with its vibrant, primary color scheme, star cutouts and inviting, no hard edge design.


Perfectly kid size the Art Desk makes the ideal way for young children to show off their blossoming creativity.  All you need is crayons, paint, pencils, markers and whatever other art supplies a kid is sure to love.


What you don’t need is a roll of paper, as it comes with the Art Desk.


Attached underneath to a wooden rod with large removable ball ends the paper slides easily on the Desk top and inserts into the small wooden ‘cutter’ (no blades) at the bottom of the Desk top (which also serves as a small ledge so pencils and crayons don’t slide off.  Simply pull the paper and once an art project is done, slide the top edge to the cutter and tear off.


The entire Art Desk comes in a large flat box with its contents carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and foam sheets.


Using the enclosed instructions I was able to assemble the Art Desk in a snap using the screws and wrench along with my own screwdriver.


All of the pieces for both the Desk and Chair went together with little effort.  Parts matched up perfectly and once the screws were tightened the Desk and Chair were secure and extremely stable.


The Desk features a large surface in black with primary and secondary color spots decorating it.


Fours large yellow ringed holes hold the four supply cups where kids can store their paint brushes, pencils, etc.


Two green dowel assemblies slide through the Desk top holding it securely in place. 


Simply undo the dowels, reposition them in various slots on the Desk top undercarriage and the Desk surface can be raised or lowered at different angles best suited for a child.


A large dowel hangs underneath the top of the Desk top where a large roll of paper can be stored and then dispensed.


The base of the Art Desk also includes a horizontal slate for stability and makes for a handy foot rest.


The small chair slides underneath the Desk for easy storage and is the perfect size for small children.


As I mentioned before there are no sharp edges and the entire Art Desk assemble is made of durable solid wood painted in virtually chip free paint making it safe for kids.


I can imagine my grandson spending many hours enjoying his Art Desk, especially considering his grandpa will be right there with him showing him how to draw and paint.




Alex Brands’ ‘My Work Bench’ is the perfect solid wood, child safe toy that encourages kids to build.


Like ‘My Art Desk’, ‘My Work Bench’ is easy to assemble following the enclosed instructions.  Screws are included.  All you need is a screwdriver.


Painted in bright primary colors (red, blue and yellow), the Work Bench is perfect scaled down version of a real woodshop Work Bench.


A small wooden hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver and scale hang on pegs for the blue stripped backboard.


The Work Bench top is perforated with holes so kids can pound in the wooden ‘nails’, set in ‘bolts and nuts’ and have a surface to work on.


Smooth surfaced nails and nuts and bolts allow kids to use the tools and make their own creations.


A wooden robot and truck are included, which (along with other items) can store on the lower shelf.


The front edge of the top surface is marked off as a ruler.


The Work Bench is made of solid wood with smooth corners and edges and painted in chip resistant paint.


Little builders and carpenters are sure to love this colorful and fun Work Bench and enjoy hours of hammering, bolting and unbolting, screwing in pieces and pretending to make wooden masterpieces.


Both the Art Desk and Work Bench are made of the highest quality wood, smoothed and finished for little hands and painted with safe, non-toxic paint.


Both pieces are guaranteed to last for years and make for fine gifts for young kids to ignite their imaginations and creativity.   

Andrea’s Rifle, Utility Belt and Jungle Friends

When I taught I used to tease my high school students about The Walking Dead.

I would tell them the definition of The Walking Dead: they are always hungry, make guttural noises and wander around aimlessly.

Once I described The Walking Dead I would then tell them why they like the show so much.

It’s easy really-the Walking Dead are teenagers!  The description fits!

OK, on to more serious matters-or at least onto the reviews.

Alex Brands’/Buzz Bee Toys’ bolt action, dart-blasting Andrea’s Rifle from The Walking Dead is a perfect, functional replica of the deadly weapon from the TV series.

rifle.jpgOf course the bullets are soft tip darts, but they can fire up to 100 feet!

The rifle features real bolt lever action, a removable scope, a working trigger, a heavy stock, an Ultra-Tex Clip for holding the eight darts and a short barrel for maximum carnage.

It’s a real beauty of a brute made of heavy and durable plastic, featuring recreated details from an actual rifle and offers more fun than you can shake a dismembered zombie leg at.

Proudly displayed on its ‘The Walking Dead’ display box, that is decorated with art from the comic book series, Andrea’s Rifle is a proud member of the ‘Air Warriors’ series of action toys.

BYS_830130_UtilityBelt_OOB.jpgWhen I was a young boy my friends and I used to trek out to the wilds, pitch a tent and tackle the rugged terrain and harsh conditions of living in the wild.

Actually we would put up a pup tent in the backyard, string out an extension cord for our radio, cook up some hotdogs inside my house, grab a few snacks, lay out our padded sleeping bags and spend most of the night talking, telling jokes and making strange noises that young boys do.

One of us might have brought along a compass or a pack of matches but that was about the extent of our camping equipment.

Backyard Safari Adventures bumps up things a few notches with its awesome Utility Belt set.

Here’s what kids get: a utility belt, a protective case, a field microscope, a pencil and notepad, patch and field guide.

The utility belt includes a belt buckle, D rings, elastic loops and the elastic holster attaches to it.

The portable field microscope also has adjustable lens, a view finder and the entire assemble folds down for easy storage and transport.

Everything fits snuggly into the clip case sans the belt and buckle.

It’s an awesome kit that I wish I had when I was a kid.

Bath_200040_JungleFriendsBlockSquirters_OOB.jpgI’m excited.  My grandson just turned three months old and he’s starting to really get active.

One of his favorite things to do is to take a bath.

Now he has something to make bath time even more fun: the Alex Brands’ Jungle Friends Block Squirters.

These cute, little, cubed animals stack on top of each other, can fill with water and with a simple squeeze out shoots a stream of water!

They are colorful, cute and feature a tiger, hippo, elephant and zebra.

It’s a wild and wacky water world of fun that little kids are sure to love and which make bath time a real treat.

Four Arms and Heatblast

It is remarkable to me and a real testament to a toy line that certain action figures tend to stay around for years. 

Ben 10 is one such action figure line of toys.

When Ben finds an alien watch; the Omnitrix, he discovers, to his delight,  that he can change into 10 different aliens.

Once he changes he takes on the characteristics and powers of the alien he chooses.

Ben chooses to be the hero and he’s saved the planet a number of times.  Over the years the selection of aliens has changed but the adventures of Ben is as fun as it gets when you consider he’s a kid and he’s just been handed awesome powers.

Playmates Toys has produced a lot of Ben 10 figures over the years and its newest selection ups the ante with some incredible sound chips producing voices, alien power surges and more.

The new figures not only talk and make noises but they also light up.

Get ready to ‘Power up!’ with latest and greatest Ben 10 action figures yet. 

Heatblast stands about six inches tall and looks translucent.

His fire/flame head is accented with a red skull front that lights up whenever he talks.

With four finger hands and two-toe feet the translucent figure is every bit the hero with alternating fire red patches over his nearly transparent body.

Fully-articulated, Heatblast is a real ‘hot’ toy that is sure to ‘turn up the heat’ against any bad guy.

Watch his head and torso light up with the push of the button on his upper back.

He’s hot stuff!

What’s better than two arms?  Why Four Arms of course!

Four Arms is a muscular red, black and white clad alien with massive arms and hands and two-toe feet. 

His four eyes and large teeth filled mouth make him look intimidating-which he is!

Fully–articulated, Four Arms can move his legs, arms, torso, head, hands and he lights up as he shouts out some warnings and threats against any adversary.

Both figures are expertly crafted with great sculpts, no slop over or rough edge paint application, are rugged, articulated and look great in their full-figure display bubble packs.

Push their buttons and they talk, hold the buttons down and get ready for some alien energy blasts!  Exclusive at Toys R Us.

Brainy Bucks

“Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go 'round.
A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound
A buck or a pound
A buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go around,
That clinking clanking sound
Can make the world go 'round.”

brainy-bucks 2.jpgIn the Bible it is stated that ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.”

You’ll notice that it is the ‘love’ of money, not money itself that is evil.

Money is neither good nor bad.  It can be used for good or evil purposes, but money itself is neither.

There is nothing wrong with money in of itself.  In fact, without money it is very difficult to survive in today’s modern world.

It’s important that children are taught how to save and spend money.  They need to learn what it means to earn money.  It requires work and discipline.

Unfortunately too many kids are taught that they are entitled to things and money.  Very little emphasis is placed on working and earning a paycheck or allowance.

Good financial planning and understanding is a must if a child (when they get older) expects to survive and use their finances properly.

That’s why I got so excited when I saw Alex Brands/Brainy Bucks newest educational toys-all about money and banking.

Granted it may not seem like a big deal.  Trust me-it is a very big deal.

Let’s start with the basics.

Brainy Bucks’ ‘Cash Stash Tray’ contains over $3,000 in realistic play money-both in coins and paper money.

One hundred and twenty bills and 100 coins make up the set, all divided by denomination and accurate to size.

With the play money children can be taught to recognize real money and how to make change.  The Brainy Bucks money can also be used in Brainy Bucks toys-or kids can actually use real money if they want.

Either way allows kids to comprehend and use proper currency.

An excellent way to get kids to save money is with a traditional piggy bank.  Kids put in their money and after awhile they open the piggy bank and either spend their saving or put it away in a saving account.

But, what if you had a bank that not only stores your money but keeps track of the amount, shows a digital display of your total savings, counts your change, keeps track of paper money and features an undo button should you mess up?

The Brainy Bucks’ ‘Bill & Coin Money Jar’ does all that and much more!

Kids can watch their loose change add up, personalize it with their picture and it even brainy-bucks 4.jpgremembers their balance even if the batteries have to be replaced.

That’s some piggy bank!

A free educational book on how to be money smart is also included.

What if a child’s saving mount up and overflow the Money Jar?

Easy problem to solve.

Kids can keep their money (and other valuables) safe in the ‘Voice Activated Safe’!

The bank is voice activated and will only open when the password the child creates is spoken by the child.

If someone tries to activate who is not the child an alarm goes off-even when it is tampered with.

The interior of the safe has shelves and a drawer for valuables and a special manual override that allows kids to change their password. 

Simple press the password button, state a password and immediately begin storing your valuables.

brainy-bucks 3.jpgATM’s are everywhere and it is imperative that kids know how to use one.

Brainy Bucks’ ‘Real Money ATM’ operates just like a real ATM and accepts real money.

It tracks accounts, is activated by an ATM Card, counts coins, has an automatic bill feed and it even makes sounds just like a real ATM!

It’s digital, it’s realistic and it works!

The ‘Time To Save ATM’ is the big daddy of the Brainy Bucks money toys.

It looks (in a smaller scale) just like a wall-mounted ATM machine that does everything the ‘Real Money ATM’ does but also includes a secure vault and a real working alarm!

Kids will get a kick out of its functional buttons, ATM Card Slot, Speaker, Screen, Keypad, Vault and Money Slots.

It’s big, it’s rugged and it makes for a perfect gift to teach kids how to save and keep track of their money.

I highly recommend the ‘Brainy Bucks’ line of money toys.  You can ‘count’ on them!

Go! Go! Smart Wheels, Baby Beats Monkey Drums
and Light & Lullabies Travel Mobile

Nowadays babies have it made!

It used to be babies (or young children) had a very limited selection of toys to play with, let alone educational toys.

A ball, rattle, plastic keys on a plastic key chain, building blocks and other assorted simple toys fit the bill.

Not anymore!

Today babies and kids have a vast plethora of educational and fun toys to play with.  They make sounds, move, talk, flash lights, ring bells and are animated.

Perhaps no other toy company has more of a selection of electronic toys than V-Tech.

If it moves, talks, flashes lights, sings, makes noises and keeps kid occupied for hours then more likely than not VTech has created and manufactured it.

Just this week I greeted my first grandchild into the family.  Vance is a healthy little boy who, if he is anything like his mother and father, will be a very inquisitive and active child-curious about everything.

What better way to introduce him to the world than to provide him with some exciting and educational toys?

Imagine-playing and learning at the same time!

trucksVTech’s ‘Go! Go! Smart Wheels’ toy vehicles, made for 1 to 5 year olds, are cleaver little ‘Press & Race’ vehicles that scoot along the floor or flat surface with the simple push of their rear body that sends their rear wheels spinning, propelling the vehicles forward.

The ‘Race Car’ will say his name, make sounds, play music and teaches the letter ‘R’ all by the simple flip of a switch.

The ‘Fire Truck’ teaches the letter ‘F’ for Felix, talks, makes fire engine sounds, plays music and it even has a small extension ladder that works!

The ‘Dump Truck’ flashes its lights, teaches about the letter ‘D’ for Dump Truck, sings, plays music, talks and makes Dump Truck sounds.

All of the Go! Go! Vehicles are made of tough and durable plastic, for rough play, are brightly colored and sure to be a big hit with small children.

Felix the Fire Truck has all sorts of exterior details such as fire fighter supplies and there’s even a fire fighter in the front window.

Dale the Dump Truck also has a driver, a large exhaust pipe on its side, a small rear dumping area and more.   

Ray the Race Car has a rear spoiler and a fancy roof scoop.

monkey drumKids love to drum on things and make noises.  What better way to satisfy a young child’s energetic outbursts that to let them play with the ‘Baby Beats Monkey Drum’?

Made for 3+ months the Monkey Drum features an adorable brown monkey that beats the drum when the large drum top is pressed.

The colorful drum lights up and makes drum noises along with music, talks, sings and laughs.

Press the purple, green or blue light-up buttons and the Monkey Drum asks kids to play the drum, sing, dance and other activities that are sure to wear out any active kid.

The buttons also asks questions, challenging kids to follow their instructions.

What a fun and educational toy that provides sound, movement and physical activities.

crib toyThe ‘Lights & Lullabies Travel Mobile’ is a handy little toy that can be used at home, in a car and on the go!

Easy to set up the Travel Mobile spins and plays up to 30 minutes of music.

It provides soothing music and sounds for babies, plays nursery rhymes and spins showing off its three soft stars decorated with animal motifs.

It’s a ‘4-in-!’ bundle of fun for carriers, cribs, strollers and more.

Soft lights flash and music or sounds play.  There is a night-light, volume buttons, a timer switch for 10, 20 or 30 minutes and it even responds to a baby’s cries by playing soothing music and sounds.

c-3po 3d deco light

C-3PO 3D Deco Light

Everyone’s favorite, prime and proper; Protocol Droid from the Star Wars Saga is now a 3D Deco Light courtesy of 3DLIGHT FX.

That’s right! The to-scale C-3PO head, in all its glorious golden sheen, is perfectly duplicated as 3D Deco Light and it is awesome!

Simply stick the cracked wall (or surface) decal on a flat surface, attach the C-3PO head to the wall with a couple of screws, put batteries (not included) in the head, flip the switch and C-3PO’s eyes light up, just like in the Star Wars movies!

Wow!  Is that cool or what?

3Dlight FX has done an excellent job of translating the golden Droid to perfect 3D, right down to his slit mouth, two, round, eye ports with vertical slats, two-piece Droid head, neck swivel and more.

With its LED lights the head never gets hot, is child safe and makes a perfect night light or nifty room decoration and a killer addition to any Star Wars collection.

Displayed in a clear-front box, with color photos on the back and a list of features, along with photos of other Star Wars 3D Deco Lights, it makes for an eye-catching combo that jumps out from store shelves.


Deluxe Glow Creatures and S.T.E.M Challenge

I’ve said it before, “I was born in the wrong decade!”

I feel cheated!  When I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s all we had to build with was what we could find around the house or yard.  Sure, it was fun.  What I would have given for a box of ZOOB BuilderZ!

Zoob_110020-3_DeluxeGlowCreaturesSetMonsters and creatures!  As much as we want to avoid nasty critters they fascinate us.

Why just be fascinated by them when you can build them?

ZOOB BuilderZ’ Deluxe Glow Creatures includes 300 pieces.

Snap the pieces together, activate the blinking lights and watch them glow.

Build creatures right out of nightmares or make some cute, lovable critters that move and pose, stick to walls and even hang from the ceiling.

You get everything you need with five different types of ZOOB snap together parts, each Zoob_110030-3_DeluxeScolor coded for easy identification.

Here’s what you get: 279 ZOOB pieces, 4 Suction Cups, 14 Glow Pieces, 1 String, 2 Flashing Blinking Light-Up Eyes (Batteries included) and Easy Building Guides.

All the parts come in a heavy-duty plastic tub with snap on lid for easy storage.

The ZOOB BuilderZ S.T.E.M. Challenge ups the ante when it comes to construction.

Pop and snap ZOOB pieces together to make all sorts of vehicles that move and roll.

Encourage children’s creativity.  The sky’s the limit!  The S.T.E.M. Challenge includes 35 challenging opportunities to create some of the most outrageous and clever contraptions imaginable.

ZOOB-STEM-Challenge-0-1Kids get all this in the set: 175 ZOOB Pieces, 2 Foam Building Pads, 4 Wheels With Axles and Rubber Tires, 1 High-Bounce Rubber Ball, 23 Rubber Bands, A 20 Foot Nylon String, 14 Cards With 35 Challenges and Easy Building Guides for 40 Challenges.

Are you up to the Challenge? 

My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage

Fairies: small, humanoid and magical creatures, with wings, that  live primarily in woods and forests.

Hidden away in trees, behind mushrooms and other forest plants and fauna they live secretive lives and are very seldom seen by humans.

As protectors of nature they tend to stay around flowers and other blooming plants.

What kind of dwellings do they occupy?  It is said that their dwellings are fashioned very much like human dwellings but are incorporated into the plants and forest landscapes.

Quiet, shy and peaceful, Fairies tend to plants, befriend forest fowl, animals and insects and are spirits of nature, preserving and protecting wildlife and plants.

magical cottage‘My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage’ from Play Monster/Interplay have created a facsimile of a Fairy home complete with plants and landscaping.  In fact, it’s so authentic looking that, who knows, a fairy just might take up residence in it. 

Imagine setting up your own Magical Cottage with flowers and plants blooming all around it and even in it!

This adorable Magical Cottage comes in two levels. 

The top level features a large mushroom surrounded by flora that you plant yourself that are included with the magical Cottage.

Sprinkle water onto the mushroom and watch the water trickle down to water the plants.

The entire Cottage sits in a large circular base where kids can plant small flowers and plants.  The pop-top cottage allows kids to see the interior of the Fairy Cottage that includes furniture and a fully decorated interior.

A small, blond hair, female Fairy comes with the set, all dressed in purple with blue wings. 

She can be displayed standing or floating by the use of an enclosed cord.  Her pet chipmunk likes to stay by her side.

Also the Magical Cottage comes with a shovel, rake, hoe, watering bucket, decorative porch posts, a large plastic tree, seeds, soil and instructions.

All of the Magical Cottage accessories are made of durable, colorful plastic, as is the Cottage itself. 

The Fairy is partially articulated, easy to pose and a little over two inches tall.

Check out the two chairs, table and umbrella that can be used as an interior furniture set or as outside décor.

Dress up your Magical Cottage set with stones for a path going to the twin swinging front doors and landscape with various plants and flowers and whatever else fits your fancy.

Kids will love it, Fairies will love it and parents are sure to love its durability, fun features and its clever way to teach kids about gardening and plants.


Water Warriors Air Pressure Outlaw and Colossus 2

Usually when someone tells you. “You’re all wet!” it’s a put down.


With Buzz Bee Toys’ The Original Water Warriors Air Pressure Outlaw and Colossus water guns, it’s a compliment.


Half the fun is getting wet.  The other half is getting others wet.


Buzz_14900_Colossus2withcamo_BackAngleThe Original Water Warrior Air Pressure Water Blaster Colossus 2 holds up to a whopping 74 ounces of water.  Talk about ammo overload!


It’s high pressure, two tank blasting power shoots water up to 40 feet!  Take that you other wimpy water guns!


There’s even a gauge that lets you know the distance you can expect to make when you use its three adjustment nozzles.


Other water guns tend to shoot in pone direction.  Imagine how surprised your opponents will be when you shoot them at an angle!  Who says water on shoots out straight?


The easy to handle and cradle Colossus 2 is just the right size for young warriors.  A few pumps with its hand front mounted Pump Handle, a simple pull of its Trigger and SPLASH!, you’ve soaked another foe!


Buzz_15500_Water-Warriors-Outlaw_Model_HRJust as impressive is the Outlaw Air Pressure Water Blaster.  Easy to hold in one hand the Outlaw shoots a water stream up to 42 feet and holds plenty of water in its single Tank.


Adjust the Nozzle, fill it up through its handy top mounted Fill Cap, pump up the pressure, pull the trigger and it’s soaking time!


Are you ready for a little wet water fun, then check out the Colossus 2 and Outlaw from Buzz Bee Toys/Alex Brands!

peppy pups

Peppy Pups and Splashlings

Kids love puppies.  They’re cute, cuddly and adorable.  They are also a chore to take care of, potty train, feed, groom and meet their medical needs.

What if I would tell that kids can now have a puppy of their own that requires no food, no baths, no doctor visits and best of all-no potty training and no fleas!

TPF Toys’ new adorable Peppy Pups are as cute as real puppies and they walk and run!

peppyMade of soft cloth for cuddling, Peppy Pups are the pet kids are sure to love!

The lovable brown puppy has long, dark brown ears, a head that wobbles and moves as it walks, a short tail with a white tuff at its end, four large white paws, big green eyes, a short snout with black button nose, a long red tongue, and comes with a blue collar with bell and leash.

Kids lead their Peppy Pup by its leash and its special flexible legs cause it to walk or run, depending on how fast it is pulled.  Special grippers on the bottom on its paws allow it to walk or run on any surface.

It goes where you go, is kid powered and has bouncy walking action.

splashlings wave2The world of the Splashlings has grown.  With Wave 2 the Splashlings have even more adorable and cute undersea creatures.

With over 100 creatures to discover the Splashlings come in a variety of packages.

The 12 Pack Splashlings bubble pack includes a partially articulate mermaid, seven sea creatures and four additional Splashlings hidden in sea themed pop open containers.  You never know what you will get!

splashlings wave2The 6 Pack contains a hidden Color Change Mermaid, two hidden Splashlings and three Splashlings.

Get ready for an ocean full of friends with these adorable bubble pack Splashlings that are cute, extremely detailed and fun to collect.

Are you ready for a little undersea mystery?  Are you ready to take a chance?

If so, then the starfish hidden surprise Splashlings are just what you need.

splahlings wave2Buy them, unwrap them, pop open the starfish and get ready for a big surprise.

Splashlings are small and best kept away from children three years old and younger.  You’ll be impressed by the variety, the colors, textures and sculpt of each Splashling.

Lil Lockitz Best Friend Party Pack
and Shrinky Dinks Mini Artist

What young girl doesn’t love making her own bracelets, lockets and trinkets?  Let’s be honest, it can be a lot of fun for boys too!

DIY_562070-1_Lil-Lockitz-BF-Party-Pack_BackAngleWith Alex Brands’ Lil Lockitz Best Friend Party Pack there’s ‘A Story In Every Locket!”

You’ve seen jewelry boxes adults use to keep their rings and things.  Those jewelry boxes have nothing on the jewelry/trinket box that comes with this massive set!

Girls can store enough bling and zing to make up 18 Lockets. Glitter, Backgrounds, Stickers-you name it, it’s got it!

Here’s exactly what you get: 18 Locket Tops, 18 Locket Backs, 6 Necklaces, 6 Bracelets, 6 Keychain Clasps, 72 Charms, 54 gems, 32 Backgrounds, 1 Pack of Sequins, Tweezers, A Photo Stencil (You heard right, you can include your own photos!), Locket Crimper, Photo Puncher, A Huge Storage Tray and Easy-to-Follow Instructions!

What a great way to spend hours making your own jewelry, having your friends over and blinging out!  You make it, you wear it!

It’s a wonderful way to introduce young girls (and boys) to crafts and creativity.  It promotes patience, practice and dexterity. 

mini artistAs a former art teacher I recommend to parents to encourage their children to make things.  It develops their confidence, cognitive skills and dexterity.

Art-it makes the world go round!  Everyone has the talent for art.  Most just don’t know it.

Everywhere you look there is art: painting, drawings, posters, store front displays, billboards, advertising, TV commercials-the list is endless.

What better way to spark a child’s imagine and drawing skills than to provide them with the tools they need?

Gone are the days when you stick a piece of paper and pencil in front of a child and instruct them to,  “Draw!”

With Shrinky Dinks’ Mini Artist Set kids not only get to draw, color and create, they also get to frame their own work!  How cool is that!?

It’s so easy!

Simply use the 6 Colored Pencils, color the 3 Precut Shrinky Dinks Plastic Artwork Sheets, bake the art in the over, put backing on the art with Glue Dots, and Frame them!

Hang your creations on the wall or stand them up on a table or dresser.

After kids are down with the three drawings they still have the six colored pencils left to use on other products. It’s easy using the instructions or watching the online tutorials.

What a great way to entourage kids to create works of art using the contained illustrations or to create art on their own!


ericWonder Crew

Times have changed.  The American family has transformed.  No longer is the traditional mother and father and kids, nuclear family the norm.

Kids have to deal with living in single parents homes, stepparent environments and other non-traditional homes.

It’s tough on kids-especially boys.  Too often they develop their image of manhood from what they see in the movies or on TV.  Either they are super-macho or overly emotionally sensitive.  Finding a good balance in today’s topsy-turvy world can be a challenge.

Speaking as a man who was raised by a single mom I can state with great confidence that the presence of a strong man role model is key to a young boy’s maturing into a man.

eric 2I was one of the fortunate ones.  I had good friends whose father’s treated me as one of their own and taught me what it meant to be a man.

Believe it or not.  Boys and girls are different.  Not just physically, but emotionally.

Neither sex is better than the other-quite the opposite-they are equals.

Growing up to be a man does not mean you are domineering or gruff.  Neither does it mean that you are all teary-eye and weak.  It is a balance of the physical and emotional.

If there was one thing I learned: respect everyone.  Treat others, as you want to be treated.

It’s so important for a young boy to have someone to place his confidence in-to talk to-to buddy around with-even when it comes to the things he does or plays with.

explorerThat’s why I am so impressed by Play Monster’s new Wonder Crew collection of 12-inch soft and huggable boy dolls.

Yeah, you heard right-dolls.  Who says little boys can’t have dolls-especially when they are boy dolls dressed as any rough and tumble boy would dress or would dress depending on what they like?

It can be a superhero, chef, explorer or construction worker-whatever he fancies.

The Wonder Crew collection of four figures includes boys from all ethnic groups.  They come dressed in different outfits.  My example happens to be Marco decked out in his bright red superhero outfit with belt, mask and cape. 

Marco also comes with a red cape and mask that fits a young boy so they can play superheroes together.

As a team they can right wrongs, save innocents and rescue the world from disaster.

Other figures are also available that include appropriate outfits for their boy owners.

Additional Wonder Crew outfits include doll and matching boy attire.

In this case it’s the Explorer set with a t-shirt, pants and hat along with a matching hat for the boy explorer.

Wonder Crew’s creator, Laurel Wider, was inspired by the way play impacts child development.  Wonder Crew encourages kids, especially boys, to be their full selves—kind, emotionally connected and creative.

I believe she has accomplished her goal.  I can’t wait to share Marco with my soon to be born grandson for him to play with when he gets older.

Go anywhere.  Be anything.



Michonne’s Katana and 9-In-1 Utility Tool

The TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ is one of the most popular TV shows on the air.  Its fan base starts from the very young up to the very old.

Noted for its stellar scripts, outstanding character development and intensity of its content, the show does not appear to be slowing down despite being on TV for a number of years.

One of the show’s most popular characters is Michonne, the Katana brandishing ‘bad mama’ is no one you would want to mess with.

Buzz Bee Toys/Alex Brands has faithfully recreated her weapon of choice: a Katana-a ritualistic sword used by Japanese Samurai.

Michonne is a master at the Katana and it, like its master, are extremely popular with ‘The Walking Dead’ fans.

Recreated in scale, the Michonne’s Katana is a soft, pliable recreation of the deadly weapon that fans and kids of the TV show can play without the worry of decapitating or injuring anyone. 

From its characteristic black and gray diamond grip to its single-side blade, the Katana toy looks exactly like the real deadly weapon right down to its size and color. 

Here’s an interesting little tidbit.  While the upper section of the Katana is sealed in a colorful, illustrated ‘The Walking Dead’ themed, clear-plastic hanger, the Katana itself (if you pull it gently, slides out of the bubble pack without destroying the display pack.  Pretty nifty!

That way you can pretend to ‘kill’ those nasty, flesh-eating, zombies and afterward gently put the Katana back into its display bubble pack.

My daughter, who is a big fan of ‘The Walking Dead’ has already laid claim to the Katana.

I never knew she was a zombie killer!

I’m a big believer of being prepared for anything.

That’s why I have a special pack in the trunk of my car where I keep survival supplies like food packs, a small stove, a shovel, tools, matches, a first aid kit and so forth.

You never know when you might find yourself out in the middle of nowhere, with a broken down vehicle , with no cell phone reception and without food or shelter.

It’s important to be prepared-not afraid-just prepared.

With Backyard Safari Adventures’ 9-In-1 Utility Tool kids get a real sense of what it is like to thrive and survive in even the harshest conditions.

While the plastic toy has no sharp or dangerous parts it is a great way for kids to understand and use survival tools even though they are plastic recreations.

The Utility Tool looks like an oversize pocketknife with nine fold out accessories, just like a real survival tool.

Accessries include a Brush, Knife, Screwdriver, Magnifying Glass, Safety Whistle, Spoon, Fork, Tweezers and Signaling Mirror.

A handy Hanging Loop with Carabiner is also included.

Other than the knife, all of the accessories work.  Junior campers and explorers are sure to love this Utility Tool.


spiderman head and cap shield 011
Captain America Shield and Spidey Mask

“Avengers Assemble!”  Marvel Comic Book fans recognize that battle cry from Marvel’s Avengers Comic Book.  The shout was more often than not bellowed out by the Stars and Stripes Avenger and Ol’ Shield-Slinger himself: Captain America!

"When Captain America throws his mighty shield, 
All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield. 
If he’s lead to a fight and a duel is due, 
Then the red and the white and the blue’ll come through. 
When Captain America throws his mighty shield."

Imagine owning Cap’s famous Shield.  Well, now you can—sorta.

3DLIGHT FX presents the famous red, white and blue, star emblazoned Shield in all its patriotic glory with their new Caps’ Shield LED 3D Deco Light.

caps shieldAll you need is a couple of batteries and a hammer.

First, place the 3D Crack Sticker on the wall you choose.  The sticky 3D Crack Sticker makes a wall, or other flat surface, appear as if the Shield has shattered it through.

Place the Shield over the 3D Crack Sticker, securing with a small nail and viola!  You have Cap’s Shield appearing to crash through the wall!

Flip on the light switch and the Shield’s large centered white star lights up!  A simple click and it goes off.

Since the light is an LED there is no heat, which makes it safe for small children.

“Spiderman, Spiderman, 
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies
Look Out!
Here comes the Spiderman.”

spidey lightMarvel Comics premiere hero: Spider-Man, is the web-slinging wonder that protects new York City from terrestrial and extraterrestrial bad guys.

Ol’ Web Head is a big hit with fans and his facemask is easily identifiable with its bright red hue, large black a white-eye holes and its characteristic webbing.

Invite Spidey over to your house with the new Spidey Mask that recreates Spidey’s famous mug-full size!

Like Cap’s Shield the Spidey Mask comes with a 3D Crack Sticker to make it appear as if Spidey’s head has smashed through a wall.

Place Spidey’s Mask in place; flip a switch and his eyes light up!  Another flip of the switch and his eyes go dark.

Both Cap’s Shield and Spidey’s Mask come in full-color, clear front panel boxes so you can easily see the contents of each box.  Shoot, they look good even left in their boxes!  But why do that when you can some serious Marvel action all of your own?  Light ‘em up!


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