Category - Toys & Games

Back To School Trend – Gutzy Gear

Looking for a great way to personalize your child’s school gear now that it’s Back To School Time? I know my daughter and many of her friends attend schools where they don’t allow characters on their backpack, clothing, lunch boxes or drink cups. While I completely understand their reasoning for that specific rule I definitely want to find ways for Miss A to express herself in a positive, fun way. She can do exactly that with Gutzy Gear.

Gutzy Gear are basically detachable velcro straps that attach to your child’s backpack. The great thing about the straps is that they are the perfect foundation for Gutzy Gear Gutzies {aka velcro patches}. Gutzies come in so many different styles, for girls and boys, and cater to each child’s personality. We had a variety of children at our Gutzy Gear party #GettinGutzy, and every child left happy.

MommyBKnowsBest Gutzy Gear Party

I really like the fact that Gutzy Gear is interchangeable, easy to remove AND clean, and fun for my kids. My only worry is the wear-and-tear of the product which I can only find out after a few months of use, I’ll keep you posted on that front.

Gutzy Gear Backpack Straps are $9.99 retail and Gutzies come in a pack of 2 and range in price from $4.99 to $5.99. Gutzy Gear products can be purchased at Kmart, Office Depot, Shop Rite, Target, Toys ‘R Us, Wal-Mart and online.

Do you want to Get Your Gutzy On?!?! Check out Gutzy Gear’s website: http://www.gutzygear.com/, also between now and September 7th, your kids can win 1 of 100 Toys ‘R Us gift cards, worth more than $5000 by showing how you “go gutzy”! Head over to www.facebook.com/gutzygear to participate and upload your photos.

What Gutzy Gear products would be your kiddo’s favorites??

As a member of MomSelect I was given the opportunity to host a Gutzy Gear party and invite all my friends to try Gutzy Gear products. 

Hasbro’s Elefun & Friends – Elefun Snackin’ Safari Game

My girls enjoy playing all kinds of board games, including the original Elefun, where cloth butterflies pop out of Elefun’s nose and there’s a silly frenzy to catch as many of your own colored butterflies as possible.

We heard about Hasbro’s newest Elefun game called Elefun Snackin’ Safari and were as excited to try it out as we were to play the original, which says a lot for our family.

Hasbro Elefun Snackin' Safari

A little bit of background on the game – This is a game for up to two players (unless you want to get “crafty” and make 2 teams of several players.) It comes with two Snackin’ Safari elephant heads (with long plastic springs for trunks), several team colored food cards, and 2 “home base” cards.

The object of the game is quite similar to the original Elefun, try to get the most cards that have your team color on them. There are a few different versions, like getting the “golden tutti frutti cake” for more points, placing the cards face up versus face down, etc. Mostly, in our home the girls left the cards face up and just tried to get as many as they could.

Although Lil’ C is a year younger than the recommended age (age 3), she actually did a pretty good job scooping up the cards with her elephant trunk, so it’s a pretty simple game once your kiddos get the hang of how to grab things with the trunk.

Lil C' Elefun Snackin' Safari MommyBKnowsBest

MOMMYB TIP*** Have a good amount of practice time before you begin actual game play so that kids aren’t frustrated not being able to pick up a single card.

This game is very easy to clean up, and a great travel game because there aren’t too many pieces and the pieces that are in the game aren’t small enough to get lost/step on etc.

We really loved this family game and continue to play with it when the girls need a board game that involves a good mix of play and brainpower. Just make sure you keep the elephants trunks away from one another, ours were tangled for a few days, but have now been set free!!

Buy yours for $17.99 retail here: Hasbro Elefun & Friends Elefun Snackin’ Safari Game

I wanna know, what’s one of your favorite board games to play with your family??

Playskool Poppin’ Park Squeeze ‘N Pop Animal Review

Playskool Squeeze 'N Pop MommyB

Lil’ C is flooded with toys that have either been passed down from Miss A, or are Miss A’s current toys that are not quite age appropriate for Lil’ C, {even though she tries to play with them anyway.} It’s rare that Lil’ C gets a new toy unless it’s birthday or Christmas time, so when we got the Playskool Poppin’ Park Squeeze ‘N Pop Animal she was ecstatic:

Lil C Playskool MommyBKnowsBest

What I love most about this Playskool toy is that it’s super easy to use, and still gives both Lil’ C (2 years) and even Miss A (5 years) lots of entertainment.

  • Choose from an elephant, lion, or alligator.
  • Place the accompanying ball in the animal’s mouth/nose/trunk
  • Squeeze the animal’s tummy
  • Out pops the ball
Playskool Squeeze 'N Pop MommyB

It’s that easy. After seeing the toy in action I knew the ball wasn’t forceful enough to hurt anyone or break anything, but being the Type-A parent that I am, always caution my kiddos to aim away from the face and any breakables. {Better safe than sorry.}

The Poppin’ Park Squeeze ‘N Pop Animals are easy to clean, extra easy to pack for trips, and great for play in the tub too. At $6.99 it’s a great gift to buy 1, 2 or all 3 for a little one age 18 months and up. Buy yours at the HasbroToyShop today.

I received a Playskool Squeeze ‘N Pop Animal for purposes of this review, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest thoughts. Yours may vary.

Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure Universal Studios

Red Fish Blue Fish MommyBKnowsBest

We are huge fans of Dr. Seuss, his books, and of course the new television show, Cat in the Hat on PBS Kids. So much so, in fact that when I asked Miss A what theme she wanted her 5th birthday to be she said, “Cat in the Hat.” And that’s exactly what we did. {I’ll post more on birthday party details another time.}

On our Spring Break trip to Florida in April, we got a Seuss-y treat when we arrived at Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure – Universal Studios. Not only did I get to do some research/gather party ideas, but we had a truffula-green-egg-and hammy-fish-splashing-whoobilee-sneetch-filled time!

Seuss Landing was magnificently themed, from the details of each ride, to street lamps, and signage. Here are some pictures from our fantastic few hours:

Seuss Landing MommyBKnowsBest

As you can see we enjoyed the Caro-Seuss-el, with it’s many Seussian creatures, but that wasn’t the only ride we had a great time on. Miss A and I really loved The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, and all the fun Sneetches we got to see along the way, warning, this one has a really, really, really, long queue, but totally worth it to be able to ride above Seuss Landing and through the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous, a very cool big top themed restaurant.

We also liked the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride, well, all of us except Lil’ C, she wasn’t a fan of even the thought of getting wet, we ended the ride with a few tears, but Miss A loved making the fish car go up and down trying to avoid the water streams using the easy controls.

Red Fish Blue Fish MommyBKnowsBest

The only ride that really scared the kids was The Cat in the Hat indoor ride. We asked the ride attendee outside the entrance if the ride was “scary” or “very spin-y”. She told us that there were about 3 spins and they were mild. I guess we had a different definition of spin. For Lil’ C who is 2 and Miss A who was then not quite 5 years old, it was not a good ride. Both of them were a little scared from being spun around and all of the different pieces from The Cat in the Hat story moving or jumping out in front of us. I’m not sure what I would have thought if I was a kid, but it was a little intense for me. So just a warning if you have sensitive kiddos you may want to skip this one, but if you have daring, ride-anything children have at it!!

All in all, most of the rides in Seuss Landing were entertaining and enjoyable. We also loved the theming, play areas that were set up, and bush sculptures. Of course after watching The Lorax in theaters, we were very excited to also see parts of the book, {and movie accordingly} portrayed in Seuss Landing. Like the Lorax himself, the home of the Once-ler, truffula trees, and the, “Street of the Lifted Lorax Sign.” Miss A got super excited, because it’s one of the few movies she’s seen in the theater.

The Lorax MommyBKnowsBest

Honestly and truly, visiting Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure was like stepping into Dr. Seuss’ books, I only wish we had more time to enjoy more rides and details of this section of the park.

Don’t be a grinch!! Make sure you visit, and bring the kids to Seuss Landing when you come to Islands of Adventure Universal Studios, I promise you’ll have fun too!

And if you’ve been, we would love to hear your thoughts on Universal Studios Islands of Adventure as well. Leave a comment and make sure you visit my Facebook page http://facebook.com/mommybknowsbest for more pictures of our Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure Universal Studios trip. For the roller coaster fans, check out DaddyB’s site for his review on Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey, also at Universal Studios: http://www.thecoastercritic.com/2012/05/harry-potter-the-forbidden-journey-review.html

Thank you Islands of Adventure Universal Studios for having the B family visit. We loved our time visiting the park and the above opinions are my own honest words and thoughts. Your opinions may vary. 

Play-Doh Sweets Cafe Perfect Pop Maker – Perfect for Summer

With temperatures in the hundreds and humidity out of control it’s nice to be able to keep my girls inside the house once and a while. And what better way to enjoy keeping them cool indoors than playing with frozen treat inspired Play-Doh?!?

I love Play-Doh, and so do my girls. I don’t mind breaking it out anytime of day and creating fun mini sculptures while enjoying the company of my girls. Best of all, I get to see their creativity come out. I will be completely honest here, while I am not a mom who, “says no to dough” {did I just coin that term?!?}, it makes me cringe to mix colors together, because I know, in time it will probably end up brown. Alas, with the Play-Doh Sweets Cafe Perfect Pop Maker, I couldn’t bear to see Miss A making swirl pops and not combine colors…so there you have it folks, this Play-Doh set broke me. {It still gives me a mild case of agida writing about it, but I’ll be okay.}

Miss A {age 5} and even Lil C {age 2} could both, easily use the pop maker to create their very own creations. The set comes with four pop sticks, 4 (2oz) containers of Play-Doh, two pop molds (4 pieces total), and the “pop maker” aka stamper. For $9.99, in my opinion this set is WELL worth it for the hours of play we will get out of it, even after the dough needs replacing.

Play Doh Sweets Cafe Perfect Pop Maker

Check out these great pictures of Miss A enjoying her set and my favorite, a picture of Miss A’s candy creation that she found out how to make thanks to Play-Doh’s conveniently placed demo pictures on the product packaging. {Personally, I LOVE that they do this.}

Play-Doh MommyBKnowsBest

PlayDoh Candy MommyBKnowsBest

Pretty cool huh?? {Pun intended}. This set is great for rainy days too! Hint hint!! Buy this Play-Doh set and more here: http://www.hasbrotoyshop.com

What activities do YOU enjoy indoors in the summer while keeping your kids cool and still having fun??

I received the Play-Doh set and we loved testing it out. All opinions expressed in the post are my own, honest thoughts, yours may vary, but Play-Doh is pretty awesome, so I’m not sure they will…just sayin’

The Super, Incredible Big Sister Personalized Storybook

B Sisters

Have you ever seen a set of sisters cuter than this??

B Sisters

Okay maybe you have, and maybe I’m a little partial, but I love these two and love even more the way they love each other. Now, don’t get me wrong, they have their moments when they’re arguing over the same Disney Princess dress up shoes, or complaining about what color their snack bowl is, but all in all they love each other tremendously and it melts my heart.

DaddyB and I make it a priority for the girls to be sisters and best friends, we want them to grow up supporting, and lifting one another up as a team. To help facilitate that we give them joint tasks, have them do something nice for the other, and look for other resources to encourage them to want to be the best sister ever.

I received The Super, Incredible Big Sister, and this is totally a tool that has encouraged Miss A to want to be a great big sister. This personalized story shows Miss A and Lil C’s name throughout the book. making it even more relevant to her {and she always gets excited to read her name too}. We love the bright, colorful illustrations and the cool award that we often use when Miss A has been a good big sister. She loves it!

Miss A Big Sister Badge

Personally, because of the tense of the book, it’s better for someone who is going to be a big sister, or who has a new sibling, but sometimes we’ll change the words to make more sense. Perhaps I See Me!, will come up with a book for siblings that are a little older.

I would recommend this book if you are bringing a new baby into the home or as a baby shower gift to a friend with older children. I personally like to bring a gift to mom and older siblings when they are in the hospital after baby has been born, it makes everyone feel involved in the joyous event and excited too.

Check out The Super, Incredible Big Sister Personalized book for $32.95 and more unique books here: http://www.iseeme.com/

I received a copy of this book and have given my honest opinions about the product in order to help consumers make more educated choices. The opinions expressed in the post above are my own, however yours may vary.

Miss A Enjoys LeapFrog Summer Camp

LeapFrog Summer Camp Maze

Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring my post about Leapfrog Summer Camp. To sign up for LeapFrog Summer Camp, please click here. #CleverLFCamp #spon

We are currently in Week 2 at Leapfrog Summer Camp. Have you signed up yet?? Miss A has been enjoying the printables and recommended activities that Leapfrog has been offering us through this program. She loves figuring out where we are whether it’s a local business or different states, asking the age-old question, “are we there yet?” So it was fun to use the Leapfrog Printable Passport in Week One to help map and tell us how often we frequent areas in our neighborhood like parks, schools, and more.

LeapFrog Summer Camp Passport

 

She also LOVES maps and mazes so this week’s lesson on Animal Babies was perfect for her, not only was she doing something she was enjoying (mazes), but she also learned that a baby elephant is a calf.

LeapFrog Summer Camp Maze

 

We have really been enjoying the past two weeks of LeapFrog Summer Camp. The best part is that the lessons are not based on prior weeks or days so if you haven’t started you can sign up online anytime during Summer Camp at leapfrog.com.

This program keeps your kids learning and engaged throughout the summer, allows you to travel and still participate, and you miss a week and not feel bad about it because it’s FREE!!!

If you have signed up I would love to hear what your thoughts are so far. Feel free to post your own pictures on my Facebook page too.

This post is sponsored by LeapFrog. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Creative Baby i-Mat Review

Creative Baby i-Mat

Now that school is out I am pulling out the toys that both girls really enjoy playing with. One of these toys is the i-Mat made by Creative Baby. This foam mat is not only easy to piece together since it’s in the shape of a large puzzle, but it’s also simple to take care of and comes with a zippered carrying case {great for travelling!!!}

We have the, “My Animal World” mat that teaches my girls barnyard animals, desert animals, ocean animals and more! It has cool tasks like, “Click on an animal with stripes,” or “click on a bird that doesn’t fly.” Both my 2 year-old and my 5 year-old really get into playing the game, which is great because the i-Mat offers both basic and advanced levels of games.

Creative Baby i-Mat

{My PC is in the shop so my images of the girls playing with ours are on that computer. I will however upload on my Facebook page once I get it back}

This toy has a ton of other features too:

  • Teaches your child 3 languages – English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • Features real animal sounds and music
  • Teaches vocabulary and comprehension
  • Features a voice recorder for capturing funny, silly moments

The i-Mat is recommended for babies 6 months and above, personally I think it’s best to have a child who is able to grip the “pen” better so I may say closer to a year, but if you want your baby to start hearing and recognizing sounds and pictures of animals you could always click the images for them too. Great for multiple children especially and encourages sharing.

I love that it’s just the right size to include a lot of animals but not take over the entire floor space and easy to store because it’s pretty compact. Definitely a “must purchase” in my summer toys list for sure!! Now, just FYI it retails for $79.99, which to some may seem a little steep. I will tell you in my opinion, this toy is worth it for us, it has a lot of features that the girls’ more expensive handheld games have {minus the screen}.  Get more information on Creative Baby’s website here: http://www.creativebabyinc.com/our-products/

I received a Creative Baby i-Mat in order to play with, er, have my girls play with it and give my honest opinions. All opinions expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary, although this is a pretty rockin’ toy, so maybe not. 

Introducing the LeapFrog Summer Camp Program

Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring my post about Leapfrog Summer Camp. To sign up for LeapFrog Summer Camp, please click here. #CleverLFCamp #spon

Are you ready for the summer? I am very excited for parties, travelling, heading to the pool, and enjoying time with my family. Miss A had her last day of Preschool last week and we’ve had our full share of, “what can I do now?, I’m bored., I miss school.” Her schedule at home isn’t as busy as it was at school so I think now she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Lucky for us, one of our FAVORITE learning companies, LeapFrog is hosting a great Summer Camp program! {Thank you!!!}

If you have a child or children ages 4 to 7 years, hop into LeapFrog’s 8-week Summer Camp starting June 4th through July 29th 2012. You don’t have to wait to sign up for camp, you can go online now to enroll. Plus it’s FREE!!! We’re super excited because the program is designed to keep kids learning throughout the summer no matter where they are. Yes, that’s right, anywhere you have access to your computer your child can explore geography, writing, science, art and more. Love it!!!

Here is the LeapFrog Summer Camp schedule, take a peek!!

Week 1: June 4-10 Out & About—Learn about the people and places in our world on your way to becoming a global citizen.

Week 2: June 11-17 Caring for Animals—Experience animals in new ways and explore themes of responsibility and compassion.

Week 3: June 18-24 Puzzle Time—Build logic and reasoning skills as you puzzle your way through brain-bending activities!

Week 4: June 25-July 1 Art & Music—Let your creativity run wild as you experiment with a range of media, including handmade instruments, crafts and a home art gallery!

Week 5: July 2-8 Writing That’s Real—Explore fascinating nonfiction topics and try your hand at investigative writing.

Week 6: July 9-15 Storytelling—Bring your ideas to life through storytelling, music, art, drama and pretend play!

Week 7: July 16-22 Science Adventures—Observe, ask questions and draw conclusions as you explore and investigate the world around you.

Week 8: July 23-29 Friendship Week—Get ready for school and International Friendship Day by exploring what it means to be friends.

Which is your favorite?? You don’t have to choose, but if you pick one I’d love your comments here.

So again, it’s super easy to sign up online: leapfrog.com, keeps your kids learning and engaged throughout the summer, allows you to travel and still participate, and you miss a week and not feel bad about it because it’s FREE!!! Your kids will thank you, I promise!!

This post is sponsored by LeapFrog. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Ubisoft’s Drawsome Tablet Review

Drawsome Box

Drawsome Box

Having a little girl who loves to learn and try out new things {she’s like her momma}, it’s always neat to be able to test out the newest gaming technologies and tools. We were very excited to check out Ubisoft’s Drawsome Tablet, a new drawing peripheral for the Wii™.

 

Here are some things we like about it:

[crosslist]

  • The Drawsome Tablet comes with two games, DrawsomeTM Artist and Drawsome Sketch QuestTM. {Both are easy for Miss A, age 4.5 to play}
  • Drawsome Tablet is very sturdy, no small pieces and very light.
  • SD card allows users will be able to easily share their masterpieces with friends and family
  • Great quality graphics for the age range it caters to

[/crosslist]

The Drawsome Tablet features a large 8.5-inch screen, and a wireless stylus that is easy for small and large hands alike to grasp. Miss A loved being able to trace her favorite characters and practice her writing skills, which is great for preschool and school aged kiddos.

In Drawsome Artist, players can draw, paint and color by sketching on their own or learning advanced art techniques step by step. They even can interact with their favorite characters from The Smurfs, the world renowned animated brand, and learn how to draw and color them thanks to a huge gallery of predefined models. Also included is Drawsome Sketch Quest, in which players embark on an adventure to help a variety of cute animals race through their world by drawing bridges, trampolines and more. With 40 characters and 80 levels there is never a dull moment in either solo play or family-friendly four person co-op.

Miss A is not quite 5-years-old and once she got the hang of The Smurfs game was off and running on her own. The Drawsome Sketch Quest gave her a little bit of trouble once she got a few levels into the game, but with some pointers and help from mom we were able to progress. I think unless your child has been using the Nintendo Wii from birth, or in the womb they may need some help if under age 7.

Here’s Miss A using the Drawsome Tablet:

Miss A Ubisoft Drawsome Tablet

and some screenshots of the games that are included when you purchase the Ubisoft Drawsome Tablet:

Smurfs Coloring Game

Drawsome Screenshot

 Some tips that would have helped us use the Drawsome Tablet for the first time:

  • Wait until you’ve made all of your selections on the Wii Drawsome Games before you place the Wii-mote into it’s slot on the tablet.
  • Make sure you have a flat surface for the tablet to rest on, it makes it much easier to navigate and maneuver.
  • Go through the games one time yourself {or a few if you’re really loving it} that way you can help your child while they are playing.

Ubisoft’s Drawsome Tablet for the Nintendo Wii retails for around $59.99 but you can certainly find it online for as little as $29.99, which in my book makes it an amazing price. I have not seen any other games compatible with the Drawsome Tablet, however it was just released {on my birthday}, December 6th, 2011 so I can only guess that there will be some coming our way. I can’t wait to see what other fun ideas they come up with. Totally Drawsome!!! {Sorry I couldn’t help myself.}

Check out the Drawsome Tablet for yourself here: www.drawsometablet.com

I received the Drawsome Tablet in order to give you my complete, honest opinions about this product. The opinions expressed above are my own, true thoughts, yours may vary.