As the Toys R Us Toyologist programme kicks off again, my kids have been charged with the nightmarish task of reviewing toys for them again.
Tough gig, I know.
The thing we’ve found is you need to get organised. Have a plan. And when I say ‘we’ve’ found I, of course, mean ‘I’ have found as all the kids want to do is RIP OPEN THE BOXES AND PLAYYYYYY.
So, our/my plan.
1. Get your friends involved
Moon Sand Candy Factory, £14.99
This is the sort of activity that you need LOTS of children taking part in, so my 5 year old became the most popular girl at after school club when she took her Moon Sand in for all to enjoy. And the minute they saw the brightly-coloured box they were all buzzing around it like bees round a honey pot eager to have a go – including the supervisor!
Moon Sand is strange stuff. It looks like sand and has the texture of soft brown sugar I guess but moulds really easily and doesn’t leave a gross smell on your fingers like say PlayDoh.
So what did the children make of it? Well they made a right royal mess and within about 20 minutes they had managed to break part of it.
But it definitely got a thumbs up and a scream when I asked if they like it!
2. Use them for ‘grown up’ days
Ironing board/Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner, around £20 each.
Finally Mia can help mummy with the housework *ahem* using her own Dyson instead of desperately trying to manoeuvre mine around the house and knocking everything over in her path!
And the ironing, oh the ironing. If only she could actually help out with that . . .
I don’t know if Mia is too old for these now, but she got bored of the ironing after 10 minutes (to be fair the iron doesn’t actually do anything – no lights or noises) so I can’t really blame her.
The vacuum lasted for a few hours as she cleaned the house from top to bottom. It was FILTHY apparently . . .
But the darn thing won’t stand up on it’s own. Stop rolling your eyes, it drove me MAD. I developed a tick having to listen to the damn thing clatter to the floor every time it was propped up something for support.
3. Show mum how clever you are
If you put any kind of board game in front of my two children their eyes light up. They are inquisitive, love solving things and keen to play anything which means their super competitive mum doesn’t have to join in. Ahem.
This simple one player game is right up their street.
It requires you to use logic to get the monsters to ‘eat’ each other until there is one giant monster left on the board.
A great way to get your kids using strategic thinking. We loved it. My youngest is nearly 6 and she picked it up really quickly, but then she is super competitive like her mum!
5. Donate them to friends
Power Rangers Samurai Switch Morphin Ranger/Disc Cycles, approx £10/£15
These are a bit too ‘babyish’ for Dan who gave a “don’t even THINK about asking me to play with those” look when we pulled them out of the Toys R Us review box.
So we asked a younger friend and Power Rangers fan to test them out for us instead.
They were not that impressed and if we’d payed for either of these I think we’d have been very disappointed.
6. Keep the good stuff for yourself
Galt Nail Art Craft Kit, £5.99
Mia nearly fell over when she opened the box to find the nail art maker.
She looked at me with a “I’m allowed to paint my nails rainbow colours? And add glitter and tattoees and pictures?”
I do the inward groan of a mother who’s been through the ‘daughter finding her expensive make up’ and let her get on with it.
A great set to keep girls occupied and at just under £6 a perfect present idea.
7. Bond with your brother/sister
Badge It, £20
This is one of those sets that’s perfect for pulling out during the summer holidays, when the kids are getting a bit bored and you can’t bear the thought of going to the park/pool/cinema again.
It’s simple and easy to use and you get to make your very own metal badges – how cool is that?!
You can use the images provided or cut out from magazines, print off photographs or draw your own designs.
The main draw for my two was the fact that you get to operate the ‘machinery’ yourself – a decent sized ‘see through’ contraption that is ready to use straight from the box. Pop the picture, badge and plastic cover in one section, crank the wheel, add the badge back, turn the wheel again, and voila, your own custom-made badge.