Wednesday, September 22, 2004

crafts and fun activities

ALEX TOYS

Alex is one of the premier arts and craft companies. Also know for their kids products for all ages. Here are a few products we reviewed for this months issue:First we have the Sand Art Kit of Shapers. It's easy to create beautiful sand works of art! Simply peel the picture a section at a time, apply sand and shake off excess. Each kit contains 3 (5" x 7") pattern cards, 10 vials of sand and easy instructions. SUITABLE FOR AGES: 5+ and SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $7.99 and we gave this product three stars for its creativity value. Next we have the FACE PAINT STUDIO If you can imagine the face, you can create it with the ALEX® Face Paint Studio. This convenient carry-along set has a great selection of make-up in 7 colors along with 2 face paint sticks, 2 tubes of glitter gel, 2 sponge applicators and a sponge wedge for large areas. Removes easily. SUITABLE FOR AGES: 7+ SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $11.99. We give this product two and a half stars for its fun value.

We also tested toys for the tub, here is what we thought. First we have SHAPES FOR THE TUB - TOWN IN THE TUB Soft foam shapes stick to the tub or tile when wet! Includes multicolored Tub Town shapes including houses, people, pets, automobiles and more. 42 pieces in all! SUITABLE FOR AGES: 2+ SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $9.99. My nephew loves these products and my sister-in-law loves it since it keeps him occupied during his bath. We give this product three and a half stars. Next we have the TALKING BATH BUDDIES - DOG Super soft pets for the tub are great for getting little ones clean! This little doggie will "bow-wow" with a squeeze of his tummy! Your little one will love bath time with his new talkative friend! This product is SUITABLE FOR AGES: 0+ and its SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $5.99. We give this product three stars for its fun value.

Other products that they have are as follows MARKERS TO GO (50) An assortment of 50 colorful markers for the young artist on the go. and is SUITABLE FOR AGES: 3+. Also its SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $13.99 and we give it two stars. Finally we have MY FAMILY SCRAPBOOK. Keep your family memories close to you in this (6" x 7") themed scrapbook. This product is SUITABLE FOR AGES: 5+ and its SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $9.99. We gave this product two and half stars for its creativity value. For more information on these or other products from Alex Toys, log onto their website at http://www.alextoys.com/.

CREATIVITY FOR KIDS

Creativity For Kids is one of the better arts and craft companies out their, they make anything from room decor to girl fashions to room products. Here are a few reviews on products we checked out: First you have the Flower Shower Soap. Ah, tis lovely to shower in the early morning. Create 4 lovely soaps from a 1 pound block of clear glycerin base. Four fabric flowers in pink, blue, yellow, and white add to the charm - simply mold them into your soap. And if you like, there's jasmine fragrance to enhance your flower soaps with a subtle scent. This product is good for Ages 9 to 99 Years, it won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award and its Suggested Retail Price: $16.00, We gave this product three stars.

Next we have the Denim Duo, remember Denim is always in style. The 2 denim bags come pre-sewn for you to decorate. The smaller bag has a velcro closure and is the perfect size for carrying house keys, coins, lip gloss or balm, and secret notes. The larger bag has a zipper closure and is great for a dash to the mall or a night at the movies. There's a great assortment of items to use for decoration from beaded and pom pom fringe and beaded flower trim to flower and butterfly appliques. Embroidered mirrors add some sparkle, and you can combine an assortment of rhinestones to make butterflies, dragonflies, and flowers. Attach all your decorations with fabric glue. This product is good for Ages 7 to 97 Years old and Won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolioaward. Its Suggested Retail Price: $15.00 and we gave it three stars for its fun value. The kids loved these products during craft night that they want to do it again at the youth center.

Next we have the Hair Kerchiefs. You've seen these scarves here, there, and everywhere. Now you can make 2 of your own designs and join the trend. Embellish the scarves with fun fabric trims, ric rac, and rhinestones in a variety of shapes. For more decoration you can sew on tiny beads using the needle and thread included. Then tie your scarf and show off your style. These products are made for Ages 7 to 97 Years and its Suggested Retail Price: $12.00. We give this two and a half stars for its creativity value. Finally we have the Suede Sliders Design suede and silver jewelry for a look that's totally hot. Make bracelets, anklets or chokers using 3 colors of suede cord - red, blue & black. Add assorted silver slider charms - flowers, hearts, buckles and more. You can even braid and knot the cord. Crimp beads for end findings and lobster claw clasps - crimping tool included. This product is made for Ages 9 to 99 Years and its Suggested Retail Price: $15.00. We gave this three stars for its cute value. For these or other products from Creativity For Kids log onto their website at www.creativityforkids.com


MAGNETIC POETRY

We wanted to test out this company because we saw there product at the toy fair and just loved it. Its called Magnetic Poetry. The basic idea of this product is to take the different magnetic words you get in your starter kit and connect them to the refrigerator to make cool words, messages, poems, etc.. So with the set we have you get the basic words. They also have plenty of themed sets like romance, educational (like math reading etc), games to go, that are magnetic and you can make your own version of scrabble on any magnetic surface. We give this product three stars for its fun value. If you have any questions log onto their website at http://www.magneticpoetry.com/.

OVERBREAK

Here is a new product which makes the common tracer into an artist with in minutes! Just place and trace--it's so easy. You can trace or draw any picture, a cartoon, photo, or illustration to make your own amazing work of art. Digi-draw allows you to personalize your projects, design greeting cards, trace your favorite super heroes from comic books--- the possibilities are endless. This method is great for kids because it promotes creativity and eye-hand coordination. Some kids might not get it right away but it is still fun and helps your kid be creative. The complete kit contains a portable art case (like your own laptop), 6 color markers, 6 color pencils, a tracing pencil, 4 positioning magnets, animation kit and 1 removable clipboard. Some pieces are small so keep away from children under three. Retail value for this product is $19.99 and we give it three stars for its creative and educational values.(you can find these and other products from Overbreak on their website at www.overbreak.com)

ACTION PRODUCTS/ CURIOSITY KITS

First Product we will review is the Kidz Workshop™ All-Star Clock Wood Project. Build a battery-powered customizable sports clock! Everything needed for first time success is included: easy instructions, pre-cut, sanded wood, clock mechanism, hardware, and screwdriver. Choose from football, basketball, baseball, and soccer themes! Scoreboard frame is perfect for trading cards and 4"x6" photos, while bleachers make great seats for action figures. 1 AA battery not included. We gave this to a local youth center's craft night and the kids had fun making this together. It gets the kids thinking and working together to get the end result and get it right. We give this product three and a half stars for team work and creativity value.

Next we have the Drop Zone Extreme™ Tailspin TylerTailspin Tyler is ready to catch a whole lot of air, spinning, twisting, and soaring at 15,000 feet! With his removable skyboard, Tyler carves up the clouds and shreds the great wide open. Tyler is posable with articulated limbs and includes detachable, rip-resistant and tangleproof parachute, target game, and removable skyboard. This was a good prize for the kid who made the best project, he said he loved it and had so much fun using it at home. We give this little guy two and a half stars for its fun value.

Finally we have the Easi-Tracer. Fun light-box tracer kit lets you trace all your favorite things—cartoons, characters, and more! Tracer has a large 8 1/2" x 11" screen and sturdy carry handle. Kit includes tracing paper, colored pencils, pattern sheets, eraser, and 4 PR3 light The kids had so much fun with this at craft night, they made such funny characters from copying real ones and then adding some features to them. They used this product after they finished with their craft projects. This product is made for ages four and up. We give this product four stars for its creativity and imaginative values. For more information on these or other products from them log on to their website at www.apii.com

Baby and Toddler Products

LUCON KIDS

They have a new product out called Go Belts! They are these cute belts for kids that come with different gadgets, depending on the theme. We tried two already at home and my nine-year-old bother loves it. He took the spy one because he is in Agent Cody Banks phase. It comes with a belt that comes with two pouches to store things, a device that is a binocular, mirror and compass, a light to see in the dark and to let someone know you need help (it blinks for a distress signal) and finally a FM radio. There is a construction one that come with a drill and different tools, one called princess which comes with cute little things for girls and then finally one for the little kids who love to chase bugs or butterflies called bug catcher. We would recommend these products to anyone who has kids three to ten; it will keep them busy for hours. We give this products four stars for its travel, fun, creative and imaginative values. They will retail for about $24.95 and for more information on these and other products from Lucon Kids go to their website at www.luconkids.com and check it out. They also have large beanbags, large plush pillows and busy belts, which are to be used for mothers with babies on the go.

HOORAY!

The Huggy Buggy line is made from natural flocked foam rubber creating a distinct textured feel that encourages children to use their fingers and hands to explore. The fuzzy flocking stimulates sensory awareness and the bold colors offer color recognition and visual stimulation and the products themselves provide hours of fun. We got one of their new products and we gave it to a new but local playgroup and they loved it. "It makes them learn how to use some of their senses," said one of the playgroup heads. "They use their touch sense by feeling it and also it helps them flex their muscles in their hand. It also makes them use their sight sense but trying to figure out what color and shape it is." The line includes a truck, train, airplane, helicopter, SUV, ambulance, and police car. We give this product three stars for its educational and imaginative value. For more information on this and other products from Hooray! You can buy them at a specialty store near you.

toys and games

HASBRO

We are continuing to review My Little Pony products and playdough products. Here is what we thought of them after we checked them out. First we have the My Little Pony Celebration Salon. It is a cute new product from Hasbro where the ponies get pampered like its mommy does at the newly built salon. It even comes with parts where you have to use a foot pedal for it to work, like a real salon. "My daughter loved this product! She has so much fun collecting and playing with all the different ponies, especially the new ones" said one women who reviewed them. We love these products because the old dolls/ponies look exactly like they did then and the new ones are too cute for any kid to pass up. This is made for girls ages 3 to 9 years old and its suggested retail price is about 14.99. Remember parents it comes with some pieces that are too small for children under three. We give this product three stars for its fun value

Links to Pictures
Celebration Salon: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000VSGXM.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

Next we have two new sets from Play-Doh which is owned by Hasbro. These two new sets are very cute since they both are themed. The first set is the Doh Doh Island. Which is obviously based on the theme of an island. It comes with a fake island and some island creatures you can use with it. Also comes with a tree and tunnel drop, which is pretty cool the way it shows it on the cover. It will be hours and hours of play dough fun for you and your family! You can never get sick of playing with play dough. The other product is a themed based on a farm with your fuzzy farm friends. We liked both these products for their different themes and we give them both three and a half stars for its building value. If you need any information on these or other fine products from Hasbro check out their website at www.hasbro.com.

Links to Pictures:
Doh Doh Island Playset:http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00007H1ZI.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

MATTEL

Last year we reviewed the Little Mommy dolls this time we are reviewing the Potty Training set and the Shopping Cart set. Little Mommy is a series of products that are made for the little kid to act like a mommy. They have everything from babies, highchairs, carriers, Baby care center, etc. So here is what we thought of these two products. The Potty Training center is the cutest little thing, it comes with everything you need to teach your baby and take care of her afterwards. You got the baby and potty, which is obvious, then you got the diaper to change her into, wipes to clean her with, power bottle, bottle to keep her calm and a few other products. We saw why three and four year olds loves this product, if you were able to be exactly like mommy with your own baby and her products wouldn't you like that? So we give this product three and a half stars for its fun value. Next we have the Shopping Cart which is another kids will just love. They can now act like they are going shopping but this time they can bring the baby with them. It comes with food and the Little Mommy Baby is sold separately. We gave this product to a playgroup who was so excited about using it because the kids love to pretend and play dress up. "The kids love this item because it gives them more products to work with and expand their imaginations," said one of the playgroups heads. This is made for ages three and up and we give it three stars for its imagination value. The retail value for these are as follows: My Little Mommy Dolls are $12.99, the Potty Training Doll is $19.99 and finally the Shopping Cart Doll is $29.99.
link to the picture:
Potty Traing set: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000DJX4F.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg
Little Mommy Doll: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00009364N.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg
Next we have the My Scene Shopping Spree Dolls which will be a big hit this Summer and Holiday season. Did you ever wish you can wear the same clothes as Barbie and her friends? Well, guess what? Now you can! Mattel just made the My Scene Shopping Spree. They will be shopping at three stores for right now. The stores are Levi's so now you can wear the same jeans, Sephora so now you wear the same make-up and Aldo's where you can get the same shoes. This is gonna be a big hit when school gets back into session this fall. We think the My Scene dolls will top this years baker dozen wish lists for holiday with this product in particular. We also love these dolls because they come with more pieces, than I have ever seen in the past. We give this set of dolls four stars for it fun, imaginative and creative values. They retail for $13.99 and is for ages six and up. Next we have the My Scene Jammin N' Jamaica Dolls, which is Barbie and her friends going on vacation to Jamaica to join the guys! They are dressed in fabulous colorful beach outfits that will make for a perfect holiday in Jamaica. They each have a travel outfit and a bathing suit and an extra accessory piece to complete their vacation. Each doll comes with a DVD of an animated movie all about Jammin' in Jamaica! We love the colors and styles of their clothes and the DVD is cute and an added bonus for kids. We give these dolls three stars for it cute value. It retails for also $13.99 and is for ages six and up. Finally we have the My Scene: Roadster Jammin N' Jamaica: Copper. These vehicles are perfect for driving along the beach. Barbie and River cruise around in the orange buggy and there is also a yellow one that would be perfect for a hot date! Comes with tons of beach accessories like a cooler and umbrella for a beach picnic date. It retails for $19.99 and is for ages six and up. We give it two and a half stars for its cute look.

links to pictures
Jammin N' Jamiaca: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000C8RQR.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg
Shopping Spree Doll: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00027P7S6.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

Finally we have a few boys products. We have a new Rev-Up which is cars that you push back and forth to get it going and then let it go. It retails from $9.99 and up depending on the set. We give it three stars for its unique features. Next we have the Incredible Crash Dummies from Hot Wheels. It is the cutest little thing and we give it three stars and finally its the game called Clinq-O which is a travel game but we have not tested it out as of press time. Please stay tuned to its review next time.

THE ONLY HEARTS CLUB

The Only Hearts Club doll line is a group of six fun-loving girls who encourage each other to think with their hearts and to try to always do the right thing. They laugh, they share secrets and have the greatest adventures together as part of The Only Hearts Club. They have a bond of true friendship and they are always there for each other. Each doll is soft bodied and poseable, but they have different themes and personalities. Here is an example of the dolls personalities and themes: Briana Joy, an all-around athlete with brown hair and brown eyes; and Karina Grace, a blonde haired, blue eyed girl who is passionate about dancing and music. Each doll comes with their own dog for a pet. They also have fashion and theme sets and even dog accessory sets. All girls and mothers will fall in love with these girls come Holiday time and this doll line is sure to be on every little girl's wish list. Kids love this product because its cute and each doll is unique so there are different dolls for different personalities. We give these dolls three stars for its fun and imaginative values.

The TOUCH GAME

This game will be loved by all kids of all ages because it is so much fun. The main point of the game is to collect as many pieces as you can to complete sets and earn cards for double points. The way you collect cards is by collecting all the pieces on the card from the base, which is covered and you have to feel for your piece within 30 seconds, if you get it you keep it but if not then the next person goes. The other players are entertained watching each other through the observation window as they feel for the pieces. So its a race to finish as soon as possible and collect as many as you can. The one with the most cards win!! we gave this game three a half stars for its competitive value These games are available at independent specialty retailers, as well as http://www.museumtour.com/ , http://www.youngexplorers.com/ or www.thetouchgame.com

USAOPOLY

Famous for their many licensed monopolies and other games, we have now review their Shrek 2 chess and checkers. We played the chess game, which is the cutest game out their right now that is licensed. My little brother who loves chess said this is his second favorite chess set next to the METs Vs Yankees (which is also made by Usaopoly). It comes with the little pieces that look just like the characters from the movie. It seems like its the good characters against the bad ones. This is one unique set that will is on every game lovers wish list for games. The checkers is cute too but not as much as the chess. The retail value for these are as follows $35.95 for the chess set and $14.95 for the checkers. We think the age range for this is six and up and we give them both three stars for its fun value. You can look these and other games from Usaopoly up at their website at www.usaopoly.com

HOGWILD

We got a few products from this company and here is a review on the products they sent us. First we have a series called Benders, which are these metal stick figure characters that have magnets and stick to things. There are so many different ones that everyone can have a favorite. First you got the Hockey Joe Bender with molded gloves pads and stick and its comes with a net and puck. What we like about these characters they come with pieces that attach to the tops of the package that it comes in. Most of the time they come in tins. Next we have Workin Joe Bender, who comes with some supplies and is packaged in a lunch box. We have Bikini benders that come with a folding beach chair and accessory. (one with a book, another with a boombox, sunglasses and water bottle) they're packaged in a suntan lotion bottle. We also have Rock and Roll Benders we got Edge on guitar and Tommy on drums, each come in a guitar looking tin and a round tin to display them on. of course they come with the instruments. Finally we have the Monkey Benders which are four cute monkeys that look like mini king Kong's and they come with a building that looks like the Empire State Building. They are very cute. and we give all these products three and a half stars for its unique and collectable values.

link to pcitures:
http://www.hogwildtoys.com/images/update11.2003/BENDBrdSurf.jpg

Next we have Acrobots which are Articulated, stackable and very artistic They've got crystal clear round heads, magnets in their hands and feet, flexible joints and the ability to contort into hundreds of shapes. Four colors to choose from and each is packed in its own clear acrylic box. Balance them magnet to magnet. Strike a vogue pose. They're fun, collectable and acrobatic! They retail at $8.99. They also make Candroids which are Seventeen pre-assembled and interchangeable parts allow users to create and change this mechanical droid. CanDroid features spring loaded pinchers that grip thin or thick objects. He has powerful magnets in his robotic feet so he can scale vertical walls like refrigerators and filing cabinets. He also has a hinged jaw that opens and closes to devour loose change, nuts, bolts or anything else that looks appealing. Allen wrench included for assembly. The retail prices for this is around $26.00. We love these two products because they are good products to waste time at work with. So both of them get three stars for its fun and wasting work value.

Finally we have the Flying Torpedos. Pull back, take aim, let them fly! Flying Torpedos are soft foam flying darts. Just insert your finger in loop, pull back, take aim and fire. The soft materials won't hurt much and are the aviation materials of choice. Includes two Flying Torpedos and game booklet. Just got this product and my brother and I are fighting already and having competitions with each other. We give these products three stars for its competitive value. For more information on these and other products from Hog Wild Toys log onto their website at www.hogwildtoys.com

IRWIN TOYS

All of us here at Brooklyn College Newspapers grew up with Irwin toys so it was especially fun to get a chance to review several games including the all-new I-Top. The first game we played was an Irwin classic, Frustration!, from the newly reconstituted company, itoys, Inc. The game challenges players to move all four of their game pieces around the board using a pop-a-dice shaker; the player to complete one full revolution and reach home first wins. This travel edition of the popular game is compact and stores all pieces inside the board for easy transport. The next travel game we reviewed was Inline. This game is traditional Tic-Tac-Toe with a twist; the first player to get four of his counters in a row - whether, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally - is the winner. The final travel game we reviewed was Sea Battle. This game of strategy requires the two “captains” to seek and sink their opponents’ ships by guessing their coordinates. A correct guess scores a “direct hit” on the opponent’s ship and the first to sink all five of his opponent’s ships wins! Now we know what you’re thinking, “These games sound awfully familiar”- and they are. These are classics you grew up with, sized down for travel ease or even for the limited space of a dorm room! We give itoys travel edition Frustration!, In-Line and Sea Battle three stars; we’ve always loved them and now, in travel size, we never have to be without them close at hand.

Last, but not least, the most recent edition to the itoys line of playthings is I-Top. It has an illuminated display and four cool game modes including: Top Speed, Top This!, Match Top and Mystic Top. Additionally, it folds to fit perfectly in your pocket. We tested this toy with several kids around Brooklyn College but after a few minuets with I-Top they were hooked and so determined to keep the toy that we were forced to raffle it off! They all exclaimed that they loved the illuminated effect. Older kids and adults enjoyed Mystic Top, a high-tech version of the classic Magic 8-Ball and Match Top, which challenges players to hit a target number of revolutions; while younger children found Top This!, which pits players against one another to see who can spin the fastest, more their “speed.” We give I-Top four stars for its unique fun and play value. For more information of these products and other itoys offerings go to www.itoys.com.

Sababa Toys Sababa Toys is known for remaking classic toys with new twists and licensed characters of today. The first set of products we will review is a few collectible Simpson products. First they sent us a few Simpson Woolly Willy's. For those who do not know what a Woolly Willy is, its those sketches of characters in a plastic case with little magnetic strips or dust. It comes with a magnetic wand that picks up the dust and you try to make for the character some hair or facial hair. Its always funny when the original character is bald like Homer, how he would look with different hair styles or facial hair. So we gave this to a Simpson fan to test out. She told us that she had so much fun with this product, that she missed some of her favorite shows. Its more exciting to most when they are bored but kids love this and could play it for hours. We give this product three stars for its fun and entertainment value. The second Simpson product is a Simpson uno set, which will be a hot item this Holiday season for all the Simpson fans out there. This is a must have if you love the Simpsons. Its the regular uno game just it has pictures of all the Simpson characters on it. We gave this product two and a half stars for its are work. The last product from Sababa toys that we reviewed was the Shrek 2 Magic Eight Ball. Remember growing up and asking all the questions to see what the magic eight ball would answer? Well, the Magic Eight Balls are back but with a twist, it has answers geared towards the licensed character on the box. So this particular one has answers from the movie Shrek 2, like "What the Shrek?", "I'm all Ears" and "No, go far, far away." So now when you ask questions they will be more funnier. We gave this product three and a half stars for its fun and entertaining values. For more information on these and other products from Sababa Toys check out their website at www.sababatoys.com