Toys, Toys, Toys– and a giveaway!!

I have been the happy recipient of several different toys to review– a huge blessing since this year we have ten children to shop for. I wanted to tell you about each of them.

First up is a 400 piece box of K’nex. I am a big fan of K’Nex. My teenaged boys have pretty good collections that they sometimes share with the younger ones. But now I have the beginnings of a collection for my 9 year olds too. When it comes to building toys, we will always love Legos. But one thing that K’Nex has over Lego is the ability to build BIG stuff. My guys have made awesome space ships and cars and a variety other things. The creations snap together firmly enough that you can play with them without worry about the thing falling apart. The firm snaps do cause preschoolers to need some help with creating, but overall K’Nex are an awesome toy for a broad range of ages.

Next are a couple things from Parents Magazine. I got a really awesome fruit and vegetable puzzle made of wood. I love wooden puzzles for durability. I also love that the puzzle included some of the more unusual fruits and vegetables along with the normal apples and carrots. We eat a lot of variety at our house, but our 3 year old will still learn something new from this puzzle.

The other really neat Parents magazine toy that I received is a bucket full of pop beads. My five year old daughter is going to just love these. Actually, I had to sit down and play with this for a little while when we first got them, they are that fun. These pop beads have way more variety in shape and style than the ‘old’ kind of pop beads that my now-17-year old adored playing with as a preschooler. I am pretty sure that my 3 year old will also be able to work them, though of course I’ll have to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t taste them. They are rated for age 3 and over.

Next on the list of fun items is an environmentally friendly bug. You’ve probably seen those crank flashlights that don’t need batteries. Well, how about a TOY that doesn’t need batteries? (Is that cheering I hear??) SEE Toys has created a variety of fun ‘creatures’, including a dynashark, dynatiger, dynacar, dynadolphin and the one I got, the dynafly. These toys light up and make sounds– the dynafly giggles and has lightup eyes. Given the fact that my kids LOVE dad’s crank flashlights, I think they will enjoy this toy too. I would guess that the target age range for this particular toy is around 3-7 years or so.

Finally I got some samples of a new line of toys called Baby Jamz. Baby Jamz is a hip-hop/rhythm inspired toy line for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. First on the list is a fun boom box/shape sorter. The songs are familiar songs–“Wheels on the Bus”, “Hip-Hop Buckle My Shoe”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” — but with a fun new twist on the rhythm. The toy is appealing to the eye, and the sound didn’t grate on my ears. Kids will like that you can push buttons and add your own sounds into the songs. This toy would probably be most interesting to kids in the 1-2 year old age range.

The next item is a dance mat for toddlers. The toy features 30-second clips of three different songs — “Bingo,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “This Old Man”. There are seven different spots on the mat so kids can dance to create their own unique rendition of the song. My three year old is really going to like this, since she loves to dance. I haven’t subjected it to extensive testing, but I am, hoping it will be sturdy enough to tolerate being tried out by older kids too.

And finally, my giveaway item is a really cute cell phone for toddlers. Kids always love to play with cell phones, and this one can play one of three different songs by pushing buttons. The phone opens and closes which toddlers will also find interesting. This item is probably most interesting to one year olds.

You can enter the drawing for this cell phone by commenting here and mentioning this post on your blog sometime between now and Monday morning. I’ll be conducting the drawing on Monday morning. Hopefully this will allow enough time to get the cell phone to the winner by Christmas.