Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review + Giveaway: FlyGrip: Don't Just Do More, Do Better

Something so little can help you do soooooooooooooo much.  That's the FlyGrip.

WHAT: FlyGrip
DOES: allows you to use your phone and sometime iPad Mini with just one hand- comfortably, safely, and confidently.
INVEST:  $29.95
AGES: (FlyGrip has children's sizes but I've only tested the one for grown-ups) but they do come in three sizes
TOOLS: Family Fix-its, I Can Take Care of Myself
GIVEAWAY:  Win a FlyGrip for YOU!  (U.S. addresses only please)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review+Giveaway: doodle duvet: Good Design Breeds Creativity

Today, it's butterflies. Tomorrow, it could be "I love Justin Bieber."  What can I say? This is a duvet cover that allows all of us to change our minds.

WHAT: doodle duvet cover by doodle by Stitch
DOES: Draw with markers onto your gorgeous duvet cover made of 100% cotton. THEN... wash it out to doodle again! It comes out in the wash so that your child may be inspired to CREATE AGAIN and again and again and again...
INVEST:  $62.61 (comes with a pack of double-tipped, wash-out markers)
AGES: whatever age kids are allowed to have twin-size blankets for sleep. 2+ maybe?
TOOLS: Express Yourself, Family Fix-its, Fertilize Responsibility and Courtesy, Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner, Foment Love of Language
GIVEAWAY:  Win your own set of twin size duvet cover + markers (U.S. Only)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Pressman Toy

The winners of the Braintwister Challenge showed me how to play.  It looks challenging and yet fun!

WHAT: Pressman Toy
Curious About: Mastermind, The Trash Pack Flip and Filth Game, Rummikub, Ruzzle, Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Don't Scramble the Egg

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Yo-Mega

This YO-YO comes back to you.  I had no idea auto-return yo-yos even existed. Did you? 

WHAT: Yo-Mega
Curious About: Power Brain XP is for the newbies but they have more yo-yos for you as you get better and better. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Zeenie Dollz

This is Zennia, also known as Mother Earth

WHAT: Zeenie Dollz
Curious About:  Very pretty dolls that are not supposed to be walking dead persons.  Instead, they cherish the earth as eco-warriors, each of them work on a specific cause (rainforests, climate control, clean air, animal rescue, marine conservation) 

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Learning Resources

I love electronic games like this.  It uses music and movement to refine math skills.  It's also a single purpose electronic game.  That means you don't have to worry that they will switch to another app when you are not looking.
WHAT: Learning Resources
Curious About: Multiplication Slam, iTrax, Nancy B's Science Club and so much more...

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About SMARTLAB


Curious About: All of their kits are designed for learning and fun.  The two concepts are complimentary.  It doesn't seem one is more important that the other.  The Demolition Lab is new and looks really fun!  Recon Rover looks awesome.  Moreover, Build-your-own-Speakers and Build-your-own-Headphones kits look awesome in teaching kids how science is part of our everyday lives. 

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: HQ Kites and Designs USA

Wow, do you remember the Cardboard Chair review and the RISD students who made the most amazing kids chairs? This is magnificent.
WHAT: HQ Kites and Designs USA

Curious About: They have always had THE MOST AMAZING KITES EVER!  But I had a chance to see they have so much more like the new cardboard art structures (build, color and decorate yourself!).  I love the Spin Ballz and they have juggling balls and I have a feeling that juggling is the new cool thing to do. I have tried out the Soft Flyer and I was amazed that I wasn't horrible with it.   They really have very well-designed product that elate kids, not frustrate them.

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Manhattan Toy

Number 2 loved the Motorworks pictures that he saw. 

WHAT: Manhattan Toy
Curious About:  EDTOY, and Motorworks: EDTOY is a new magnetic wooden toy from Korea (I was born there so I am IMPARTIAL... sorry)  But there is a very interesting click technology that makes an awesome sound that is irresistable.  The parts are interchangeable.  I really want to try this one.  Motorworks is really new.  You can interchange car parts.  The parts are sturdy and scream quality quality quality.  I always feel like reverence to the material could inspire more thoughtful creations.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Zing Toys

The new design looks even more fun and accessible.

WHAT: Zing Toys
Curious About: How do you improve the perfect toy?  Zing has found a way.  The Z-Curve Bow was a huge fave of Toys are Tools readers in 2012 but there are new bows and arrows in new colors and designs that I love. 

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: USAopoly

What's the best way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz film?  Simple.  Meld a classic movie with a classic game and while you're at it, make it a pop-up game board complete with yellow brick road. 

WHAT: USAopoly
Curious About:  What happens when you redefine a classic game with a completely brand-new theme?  I have never really purchased such games so I am not sure. On one hand, it could be just a passing fancy but then core fans might love it more than the original, right?  Anyway, take a look at all these Monopoly games below.  You can't help but want to open the box and see how they are all different.

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: First Bike

Most balance bikes are made of wood.  This company puts a serious question to that by making bikes out of a material that is more weather resistant. SMART!
WHAT: First Bike
Curious About:This bike is not only a balance bike but it also becomes a bike-ski for young kids. 

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Curious Chef

Curious Chef, where have you been all my life (as a mother)????

WHAT: Curious Chef
Curious About: knives, pizza cutters, baking sets, the Williams-Sonoma for kids only?, this is FANTASTIC

I am absolutely ELATED to discover Curious Chef.  I want to first say THANK YOU to the founder of this company.  I can't tell you how necessary this is in my life.  I grew up in a family of restaurateurs and either we are expert cooks and/or eaters.  (I am the latter).  We all have discerning palates but my kids......... ARGH.... they are soooooooooooooooooooo picky.  It is heartbreaking.  I need them to personally invest in what goes on their plate and thankfully, they love to cook!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Robots Rock!

 I remember the first time I saw Cubelets.  David Wells who is frequently quoted here, had sent me a link.  Cubelets uses principles of biomimicry to program the robots actions. (sound sensitive, light sensitive, heat sensitive, etc..)

WHAT: Robots Are Better Than Ever in 2013
Curious About:  Cubelets, Sphero, Romo

Toy Fair 2013 Little Things Equal Big Fun

This is not a little thing but look at what it can do with lots of them. Lay-n-Go is awesome.  It allows for them to play their way but for the parents to be able to see a clean floor once they're finished.

WHAT: Things You Can Do with Little Toys
Curious About: Plus Plus, littleBits, Lay-N-Go, Radz

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About ThinkFun

Word A Round is VERY COOL.  Who thinks up such amazing games.  Seriously.  This is a big winner.  I love word games that uses cognitive flexibility and encourages lots of mental movement.  To me, this means that kids who don't like to read may very well like this game.... 
  WHAT: ThinkFun
Curious About: Word A Round, Hello Sunshine, Math Dice Powers Practice, Laser Maze, Swish Jr. and so much more...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Toy Fair 2013 Curious About Fat Brain Toys

Paradox Box was invented by Ivan Moscovich, who has created many games for Fat Brain Toys. You drop the marble in and you must use clues and your prioprioceptive senses and some mental mapping to get your marble out.  I was introduced to one person at Fat Brain who could solve the maze in under a minute.  That is just crazy!

Fat Brain Toys
Curious About:
Paradox Box, Squigz, Pixel Flip, Yotsugo, Cheese Louise and much more

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Mindware

Q BA MAZE does stunts now!!!  WOW!

WHAT: Mindware
Curious About: Q BA Maze Stunts, Pic Wits, Tribbit, Q bitz Extreme and so much more....

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Be Amazing

Insta-Snow is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Cool!  I love it.  The texture is awesome!

WHAT: Be Amazing
Curious About: Epic Bubbles, Big Bag of Science, Insta-Snow and some much more stuff that will make a mess (but I'd happily clean up)

Toy Fair 2013: The Place to Meet Amazing Inventors and Designers

How cute is Megs?  On the left is Brickbot.  My two favorite characters in Megan Rothrock's Lego Adventure Book

Friday, February 15, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Hape

Curious About: Quadrilla and Twiddler and so much much more....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Toy Fair 2012: Curious About Tangle Creations

This is a model of a real protein! Wow!

WHAT: Tangle Creations
Curious About: Proteins Building Set, Therapeutic Tangles, Tangles Speakers, Stop Smoking Kit and more...

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About NeuroSky

Curious About: Do you remember MindFlex? Ever wonder how they could make the ball move with just brainwaves?  Is it a hoax or is it cutting-edge technology? Apparently, one of the uses of this NeuroSky's products is that folks (including kids) can use their device and program to train themselves to focus better and also to calm themselves more effectively.  The technology will help you.  What can I say?

Toy Fair 2013 Curious About Zometool

Zometool is not about flash or pizzazz but it definitely has star power!

Curious About: Got a chance to take a look at the different kits- there are many! Zometool are also changing their packaging to earth friendly cardboard boxes. Better yet, there are black and white sets that will present new challenges as the rods will no longer be color-coded. However, you will be rewarded as fixtures made of just one or two color will really highlight the structure.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About Laser Pegs

Connect the blocks and watch them light up. I wonder how many pegs are in here.

Laser Pegs
Curious About: Pegs shaped like Lego bricks but all of them light up.  Light source is easy to connect.  Attachments to cars include batteries to make the cars GO!  Another update (coming soon) to their already existing app will allow kids to create their own models on a computer/tablet and then print out the directions to build it.  Very exciting.

Toy Fair 2013: Geomag, Marvin's Magic, Breyer and Red Toolbox

My son saw this photo and went nuts.  Geomag has done something totally unexpected and magical.

Reeves International
Curious About: Breyer, Geomag, Marvin's Magic, Red Toolbox

Toy Fair 2012: Curious About: Crazy Aaron's Putty World

See the yellow? That was just played with so it's been warmed and thus yellow.  COOL!

WHAT: Crazy Aaron's Putty World
Curious About: Heat Sensitive Hypercolors, Super Illusions, and Super Magnetics
AND..... Science Project Idea!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Schylling

New, not yet available..... sigh....

WHAT: Schylling
Curious About: Erector, Brio (they have a lot of toys but I was focusing on these two in particular.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Lego Mindstorms EV3

WHAT: Lego
Curious About: Mindstorms EV3

News.. I thought these would be out by summer... Well, it's not.  It will be out at the end of the year.  Start saving everyone.  I think this cost upwards of $300.  But watch the video.  This is one cool set.

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Ohio Art

Yes, it is so very cool.

WHAT: Ohio Art
Curious About: Sandzini, Nanoblock

Makers of the Great Etch-a-Sketch bid a sad farewell to the inventor Andre Cassagnes recently.  However, happy faces can still be found in their booth as visitors check out the new smaller and cuter pocket Etch a Sketch.  There is also a wet to dry sand sculpting material called Sandzini!  It's so sparkly!  Love all their educational toys. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Creative Whack Co.

WHAT: Creative Whack Company
Curious About: Eureka Ball, X Ball, Ball of Whacks.
These pieces could last a for a long time.  I think these can also work in school too.  I would have to like to have owned this when I was a child.

Toy Fair 2013: Curious About: Patch Products and Lauri

The Perplexus Twist will be sold to specialty retailers via Patch Products.

WHAT: Lauri, Smethport, Patch Products
Curious About: Perplexus Twist, Perplexus Epic, Kung Fu Flying Frogs, Farkle Around, Mirari, there is so much!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Zometool: Math Toys You Can Count On

Just as you would expect a good math toy to be.. it's magically precise.  photo: Zometool

WHAT: Zometool Creator I and Ice Crystals Sets
DOES: learn just how precise and reliable the subject of math really is by playing with precisely constructed unambiguous building toy
INVEST:  $59.00 and $25.00 respectively MSRP
AGES: Zometool Creator I: 6+, Ice Crystals 3+  I think you should save the ice crystal kits for the older kids
TOOLS: Holiday/Birthday Build-Uponner, My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer
GIVEAWAY:  Win Zometool Creator I for your family!!!!