Toys

Toys we play with including reviews

 

Nintendo blogger

It is with enormous pleasure that I can tell you we have been selected to be part of the Nintendo UK Family Blogger network, you can imagine the twins are beside themselves with joy as am I to be working with such a fantastic brand!

Nintendo has been a family name for me since 1999 when my older children, Thomas and Megan were huge fans of the Game Boy and had consoles very similar to the one below. These consoles went everywhere with us and I remember the Millennium New Year’s Eve – an historical moment in time spent with family and friends, all of the kids were sat around with consoles in their hands trying to beat the scores of the others. Some things never change do they?

Game Boy

Nintendo has come on leaps and bounds since then proving time and time again to be a fabulous toy for children to play with and the twins have had them for a number of years now. It’s a toy that grows with your child as you change the games and move on to more difficult ones.

I had a Nintendo DS before the girls, they were infants and not interested at the time. I played Brain Games on it when I could snatch a moment out of my busy twin mummy days but I had to pass it over once they realised what it was and what they could do with it. I invested in a Tinkerbell game and a Disney Princess game and that was the last I saw of my console, in fact it wasn’t long before we bought a second one so the girls could have one each.

Girls playing Nintendo

As part of our Starter pack Nintendo have kindly sent us the New Nintendo DS model along with some Super Mario cover plates as seen above where the girls have a quick go before going to school. The plates are very simple to put on and you need a tiny screwdriver to fit them in place. There are plenty of plates to choose from for all tastes.

Meet the Amiibo gang

amiibo

They also sent a couple of Amiibos from the Animal Crossing game. I must admit I was pretty confused as to how to use them but I watched a video on YouTube, which seems to be my major way of learning anything these days and I discovered how cool they are.

Amiibos are a brand new way to interact with your Nintendo characters and games. If you touch your Wii U GamePad’s NFC touch point with the figure while playing certain games, data on the chip will be transferred into the game and used in a range of ways. As you play, your figure’s data will also be updated, so keep playing to make your amiibo unique!

Why choose a Nintendo?

  • They are small and easy to carry in a backpack.
  • They are great for little hands to start getting their first introduction to consoles.
  • A Nintendo will grow with your child, there are games for all ages and each game has many different levels to unlock
  • They are perfect for journeys, no more ‘Are we there yet?’ as children are kept amused on their gadgets. Just make sure you have the chargers with you!

We shall be bringing you lots of news throughout the year of what is happening and why it may be of interest to you.

Bess Nintendo car

micro scooter Sprite

The girl’s very first Micro scooters were Mini Micro Original Microscooters, the three wheeled ones and they very quickly got the hang of them as you can see in the sweet video below that we made when they were 3 and a half years old, my goodness, where does the time go?

They used their Mini Micro scooters every single day. They would scoot to and from preschool, they would come with us on holidays and were perfect for trips to the beach when we wanted to go for a walk, as small children often have ‘My legs are aching‘ moments but a scooter takes all that away as they scoot ahead and call out to you to hurry up.

We reached a point when they grew out of their scooters, they got too tall for them and Santa brought two new scooters one year with Tinkerbell on them and only two wheels.

The Mini Micro Original Scooters

Then back in January Micro Scooters got in touch asking if we’d like to review their fabulous Micro Sprite Scooters. What perfect timing, just as the spring is about to arrive and the days get longer. Plus we had been talking about getting new scooters as they really are excellent to have, smaller than bikes to pack for weekends away and when we go camping they are perfect for roaming around the campsites and getting us from A to B.

The Micro Sprite Scooter

micro scooter

The Micro Sprite Scooter comes compact in a box and the box has a cut out on the side making it easy to carry around which I thought was an excellent idea.

It is constructed quickly and effortlessly in a few moves and is ready to go in less than five minute. In fact once they were ready of course the twins wanted to try them out.

Luckily they are used to skating now, not like the early days in the video at the top, they were off in seconds and racing around with huge smiles on their faces. We took them over the old runway close to our home and they skated up and down enjoying the sunshine on their faces.

Dad had a go at trying to recreate some of the stunts he used to do as a kid, the bunny hop was one he tried to teach the girls and by the end of our trip they were starting to get the hang of it. I can see lots of You Tube videos coming our way as they start to learn more stunts.

We took them home later that day with lovely pink flushed cheeks from being in the fresh air and exercising and the knowledge that they had both really enjoyed themselves.

I’ve seen the adult scooters and have considered investing for me and dad as the girls tend to go really fast now. As you can see in the video above they race off ahead and dad and I have to up our pace to keep up with them! It does mean however that we can get a good walk without the twins complaining their legs hurt.

I am very impressed with the Micro Sprite Scooter. It is carefully made with a lot of attention to detail, you can tell it is very good quality and that it will last the test of time hands down. There are lots of patterned decks to choose from with many colours and designs.

We like the stand which stops it sliding all over the place and the girls quickly learnt how to flick it up and down with their foot before setting off.

micro scooter westgate on sea

Micro Scooter helmets

If you visit the website Micro Scooters have plenty of accessories to choose from. They sent us through the two helmets you see here which the girls adore, they are their favourite colours and sparkle too! What more can a girl wish for? They are adjustable and should fit securely. We have forgotten to use them on occasions but on the whole I tend to ask them to put them on

Disclosure: We were sent two scooters and two helmets for the purpose of this post.

Lego Friends photo booth

I am really enjoying the girls at the moment as we move into the Year 3 life and they grow a little further away from being ‘my babies’. One of the new things in their life is music, pop music and learning the words to go with the songs, singing along in the car, watching X Factor on a Saturday night and generally discovering a whole new world.

This new found form of expression has lent to many a rendition of Let It Go! in the garden with lots of acting too, much to the delight of our neighbours. We’ll often be driving along and a song will come on the radio as the girls start to guess who it’s by

1 twin: ‘Taylor Perry!’

Another twin: ‘NO!! Katy Perry.’

Me: ‘Actually girls it’s Taylor Swift.’

They have taken up Performing Arts too which means they get to sing in a group and learn more about using their voices. In fact there is a lot of practising of singing and dancing in the house right now, we have a Tapathon coming up in November, a ballet exam in December and Presentation Night for the singing in December too. I’ve noted they also incorporate all this new found love into role play via their LEGO Friends set.

Heartlake Grand Hotel

A while back we were sent the LEGO Friends limousine and  singer sets. The girls really enjoyed making them together and when they are up in their bedroom I hear them making stories up with their LEGO friends girls and spending hours up there, playing quite happily together.

At the weekend we visited Legoland in Windsor again, it was a glorious day and the rest of the UK turned up too, it was packed. The girls spent ages in Castaway Camp which is the amazing adventure playground, they had a go at Driving School (currently their favourite ride) We went on a Laser raid ride and Mia’s riding school in Heartlake City before heading off to a very special LEGO Friends party in the Legoland hotel.

private jet lego

There was lots of singing and dancing with prizes to be won (fabulous LEGO Friends Popstar sets.) There were glitter tattoos, nail varnish and colourful hair pieces to be fitted in your hair. BUT the best bit was the karaoke booth where the girls went in and performed Let It Go (of course). We had a DVD handed over to us and they love watching themselves, you should hear the giggles!

My favourite booth of the day was the photo booth where the three of us went in and had a photo taken with silly wigs and sunglasses on. A lovely memory of a fantastic day, thank you LEGO Friends Popstars.

Disclosure: We were invited to the Lego Friends party and given tickets to Legoland so we could tell you all about the Lego Friends Popstar sets.

When the twilight moon is in the sky, the Zelfs appear in a secret garden called Zardenia where they share their special powers.

zelf toys

There are 19 to collect and we’ve been sent two for this review, aren’t they cute? The girls were delighted to open the boxes and find the Zelf’s. It’s the perfect kind of small toy for 7 year olds who like collecting small things and like brushing hair and making hairstyles.

The beauty is that each one is different and has it’s own character and story.

I’ve seen the girls play make up stories with them and play for hours as the Zelfs go about their tale.

I have a feeling that this is the kind of collection that can make it through all of childhood, you know the one you look fondly back on and can’t bear to throw out or give away as it’s just too cute? I bet you’ve got something stashed in the loft from back in the day too right?

And so it looks like we shall be starting a collection of Zelfs, do you think you will be?

Take a look at the character profiles below and see if you don’t smile.

Koolah – Koala Zelf

Zelf bio: This Zelf’s a real bed head! Leaf it up to her and she’ll choose to snooze every time. Goodbye stress, it’s time to rest! She’s the Zelf from Down Under who loves a sleep over.

Fabitat: Gum Leaf Garden sling

Zelf power: Nap time. A little rest can be a big releaf!

Birthday: Hug an Australian Day – April 26th

Sneak-A-Boo – Monster Zelf

Zelf bio: This Lil’ Zelf used to scare herself! But now She’s daring to do some real scaring! She makes her friends shake like a quake. And when she teams up with Elfa, watch out! It’s Double Trouble!

Fabitat: The Scary Hairy Boo-tique

Zelf Power: Daring. Go on, get scary! Dare’z ya!

Birthday: Fright Day the 13th

Disclosure: We were sent the two Zelfs you see for the purpose of this review

Dino Tales app review

Dino Tales app has completely taken me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting my twin girls to like it but since we downloaded it they haven’t stopped playing this game.

“Mum! she won’t let me have a go.”

I have had to intervene on plenty of occasions to call time out on one twin’s turn as we only have the 1 iPad and we’re constantly improving our sharing skills. The twins have been engrossed in this app for long periods of time, until I called them off in fact. I should set a playing time but as we share the game I’m not sure how to work out times for both of them.

My little princesses have never shown any interest in dinosaurs, they know about them and have read a couple of books when they came home from school for reading practise but their interest starts to wane pretty immediately with most Dinosaur related games.

Dino Tales is downloadable from the Apple App store for £2.99 and it is a learning game where kids explore a dinosaur island. As they explore they learn amazing facts and turn their own adventures into a storybook. It works on iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

Who is Dino Tales for?

Dino Tales is for children aged 4 – 10. It has a Parent’s Corner which is a pin secure area where adults can set the reading age, length of play sessions and receive emails of their child’s latest tale.

What’s it about?

dino tales app review

The game has been created with education specialists and has been tested with pupils and teachers across 25 primary schools in the UK. Children can customise and control a baby dinosaur and they go on to explore a 3D island full of dinosaurs, plants and fossils. There are 6 characters to try out and lots of games including lava slides, rock bowling and a scary cave.

The twins love the lava slides! I think this has been their favourite part of the island, that and the river.

How to play

First of all you must name your baby Cerasinops and give it a gender then you enter into the land of Dino Tales by turning the pages of a picture book. The island has rivers, lakes, mountains and caves to explore and more imaginative areas like Musical Boneyard and Boulder Alley. You are free to go wherever you like you can take a ride on the River Rapids or visit Scary Cave.

I struggled to move the dinosaur but the twins cottoned on immediately and have swept the island over and over in search of fossils and other treasures.

On your explorations you will discover and hatch 5 other dinosaurs and you can choose which one to play with from the main menu.

Every time you play a new story begins, on entering you find a story title and an activity prompt, Darwin also joins in the start by suggesting a game to start the story.

The Story Book

dino tales app review

This is an excellent way to encourage a child’s reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

What I particularly liked about the Story book is it encourages children to be creative with language by providing various alternatives for the verbs, adjectives and adverbs as you go along. They are highlighted in orange and easily scrolled through to choose your own word by tapping on it. It’s a fabulous way of increasing a child’s vocabulary for example, ‘Timmy T-Rex was feeling tired and tried to eat the wrong kind of food!” Tapping tired shows alternatives to choose from: confused, drowsy, sluggish or greedy.

Darwin

Darwin is a wise and very knowledgeable dinosaur who guides the game , stimulates curiosity and answers all of their questions about dinosaurs, fossils and other prehistoric topics.

There’s a fun counter kind of game where you choose a word at a time to make up your question to ask Darwin.

We asked Darwin, ‘How fast can you run?’ and he replied that running wasn’t one of his best skills.’

Verdict: I am pleasantly surprised Dino Tales has been an enormous hit with the girls and after a couple of weeks it is still going strong.

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

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