Sometimes you just need to spread the love a little and get other children to test stuff for you.
So here are a selection of Sticky Fingers approved Guest Toyologists . . .
Tomy Aquadoodle Animal Magic Sounds and desk, £21.99 and £24.99
Mum: Bumbling Along
Moo, recently celebrated her second birthday. 2, I tell you! How did that happen…
Anyway, Tara asked us to try out this Aquadoodle set for her birthday and Moo loves drawing, so I knew it would go down well. (And I was particularly happy with the no mess aspect!)
This was the first present she opened on her birthday. And the last one she opened for a while! As soon as she saw the box, she insisted I opened it. And filled the pen with water. No hanging around.
The set has a special attachment for the pen, which can be pushed into special docks around the edge of the mat next to animal pictures. Once done, the pen will make that animal’s noise every time it is pressed down. Yes. I know.
Hmmm. I didn’t think the noises add anything to the experience, so I’m not sure it’s necessarily worth the extra money, hence the 4 stars. But as a newly-2-year-old, Moo thinks different.
The Aquadoodle Desk is an opportunity for Moo to do her favourite drawing without mum stressing over the mess, and sit at a big girl desk at the same time! Perfect to keep at Nanny and Papa’s, after the recent incident of multicoloured paint splatter absorbed into the stone mantelpiece…
Twist and Spin Jewellery Maker, £17.97
Mum: How I Like My Coffee
Forgive me if I sound technical, but you have to attach three strings to these hooky things and to the winder at the other end. Eh voila!
It is a bit fiddly and an extra pair of hands was required – the extra hands were also needed to get the beads on. It took about 10 minutes to get it all set up and then you get to wind . . . which Heather says is the best bit.
And with some clipping you end up with your piece of jewellery.
I asked Heather if she enjoyed making it, and she said yes and when could she make some more?
I asked her if she hadn’t been given this to play with, would she have liked to buy it anyway. She said, yes she would have spent her Christmas money on it.
So a big thumbs up here!
LeapFrog Tag Junior and Winnie the Pooh software, £29.99 and £9.99
Mum: Mocha Beanie Mummy
Noah is 3 in 3 weeks. I can’t get my head around that; in fact the only clue that he’s growing so fast is his sudden development in speech and understanding since starting school. He comes out with stuff we had no idea he knew, and his understanding of books and stories often blows us away. He has his favourites. And we’re fast approaching the stage where we can’t, um, “gloss over” parts of the story.
So this system has been good fun. It’s hard to get going with him, since he has his obvious favourites and isn’t quite ready to embrace new stories yet. But he’s thoroughly enjoying the concept of creating his own. Using “Tag Junior”, he was keen to press everything on the page repeatedly, quickly realising that pressing the same thing over and over didn’t always produce the same sounds.
After he got over the initial distraction of the buttons (volume, on/off) on Junior Tag, he quickly paid attention to what it was saying, and what was happening in the story. “My lion is yellow. What else can you find that is yellow?” (here he puts Junior Tag on the Sun in the corner.) Add to this the various songs and tunes played by the characters on the pages, kept him entertained a good while as he discovered something new each time. Creating “versions” of the same story? Awesome.
As a parent, I’m impressed by how it seems to work; it’s a board book, offering a lengthened life span in the hands of little people, as well as being able to connect Junior Tag to the internet to download more content for the various books available. Perfect for his age, now all I need to do is find stories that appeal to his nature and this system is a winner!
You can also catch the reviews from the bloggers who won the chance to be guest toy reviewers:
The VTech MobiGo at All Baby Advice.
The General Grievous Spinning Lightsaber at Jane Howarth’s blog.
Tomica’s Big City Set at Susan K Mann’s blog.