We received some samples of the new Antsy Labs Fidget Cube and Fidget Spinner. To say two of my boys couldn’t wait to get their hands on them, is an understatement. Two of mine are very restless, and tend to use anything they can get their hands on to fidget with, even if it’s just elastic bands. I’ve lost count of how many pencils and rulers I’ve had to buy, as they fidget with them, and they end up broken.
We’ve seen fidget spinners before, but the one from Antsy was far better quality than the cheapo I first bought from a big company, but that one had sharp edges. No fear of that with the Antsy one. I can see the attraction for the kids with the spinner, as they flick and twist, but personally, I struggle with that.
Moving onto the fidget cube, I just couldn’t put that down. With all the little bits to twist, spin, press, flick and click, and how it fit nicely into one hand, I could see the enormous benefit for that when my boys go back to school. The spinner is great for home, but the cube, as it’s less of a distraction for other kids, would be great for school. At the moment, my kids have a sort of putty they use at school, but the cube would be far better.
What does Antsy Labs say?
Leading international toy and consumer products company ZURU Toys is thrilled to announce an exclusive worldwide deal with Antsy Labs to manufacture and distribute the original sensation
which started it all – Fidget Cube™.
Fidget Cube™ is available now in major UK retailers including Smyths, Tesco, Asda, Argos, Toys R Us and The Entertainer, selling for £9.99 each. So, forget about fiddling about with paperclips and pens, once you get your hands on these toys you won’t want to fidget with anything else!
Headlining Fidget Cube™’s global launch is the world’s most famous “finger tutter” 23-year-old John Hunt (aka PNUT) – who wowed everyone with his amazing finger dancing moves in Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off videoclip. PNUT shows off his incredible finger moves with the cube in Fidget Cube™ commercials and other parts of the #FreeTheFidget campaign and has to be seen to be believed!
Also available in the range is the ZURU Spinner – the unique design uses high-quality ball-bearings for an even smoother spin, twirl and fidget. Designed to satisfy your natural fidgeting urges, you can choose from 4 classic colours. http://www.zurufidget.com/product-details-spinner.html
The Hasbro Toy Tribe has been good to us once again. The Star Wars Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper arrived on our doorstep, and with an afternoon stuck in with a sore back, I decided to make use of my time.
When my kids look for toys to play with, I know they tend to first look at how many moveable bits there are. Immediately, even before they open the packet, they’re feeling about and checking to see if the arms and legs move. It’s a very important things for kids to know.
Being imaginative tends to put a lot of pressure on toys, to get into positions kids want them to, and that includes just being able to stand up on their own, without flopping over, or being propped up.
If you want to know how the Stormtrooper fared, for doll type toys, I look for the following:
Really easy to get into, with simple elastic bungees holding down the figure. Four snips and it was free. The shield and gun took two snips each.
No huge and excessive packaging, so it’s a win win for this.
Several moving parts. Hands swivel all the way round, the head moves, and the legs move at the top.
When middler came home, he did express a little disappointment that the knees didn’t move, but he soon got over that when he realised it stood unaided, and with arms and legs in different positions.
65 sounds and phrases that are motion-activated. Pick up the stormtrooper for flight style sounds, and shake it for battle sounds. On the front, there is a mode selector, which lets you choose attack or flight mode. Buttons on the belt also activate for different sounds, as well as the realistic blaster sounds.
From Hasbro direct, download the Star Wars StudioFX App, to make videos with the toys. There’s a code inside the pack. It works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and some Android devices. Check starwars.hasbro.com for more information.
What Did Kids Say
Middler grabbed it when he came back from the footie match with his dad. Sadly Aberdeen drew 0:0 with St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership match, so he came in with a long face, and instantly brightened up when he saw the Stormtrooper out of its box and ready to take away. It had been sitting tormenting him on the counter for the last day or so, and I knew I’d have to do this review quickly, or I’d get no peace at all.
What Did I Say
Find out below. I promise I will get better at videos, and I promise to do them in the daylight and with make-up on – well most of the time anyway. Not that most of you care, but I’m new to this, so bear with me as I’m having to learn as I go – and that’s not an easy thing at my age. Someone told me brain cells dimish for every year after the age of 20. 🙂
Where to Buy Star Wars Interatech Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper
Prices correct as at 10th Dec 2016 and may be variable.
Tesco It’s currently and incredible £19 from Tesco, which is likely to not hang around long. Dec 16
This is a great wee duo. Captain America is possible for two to play….
One child can happily wear the magnetic shield and gauntlet, allowing them to fend off the foam darts of the Nerf Slide Blast Armour when they comes flying toward them.
Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the youngest ones who began to play with this initially…. Scottish Dad and the oldest teen got their hands on the goods first, and decided to have a good old shoot out. It was pretty cool to see to big strapping lads play like little kids again……
The man did have a little trouble fitting the Nerf Slide Blast Armour onto his hand, but with careful shuggling, he managed just fine.
I’ve got three boys, and two nephews, so Nerf products are always well received in our house. I don’t think age is a barrier to enjoying these. At my sister in law’s house a couple of weeks ago, the kids, and by kids, I mean the grown up men, as well as the kids, ran about with Nerf guns, whacking the bullets off each other.
Even mum was able to get a few choice shots in with one of the rapid fire guns….. Who says Nerf is just for pre-teens?
For ages 6-10 (plus all grown ups).
These toys are great for all good superhero fans…..
Toysrus Hasbro Captain America Civil War Iron Man Slide Blast Armour. The Nerf Iron Man Slide Blast Armour toy is from the Captain America film, and a 2 year old even enjoyed himself with the armour here. The armour covers almost the whole arm of a child, clipping over the arm. You pull the trigger, hold down one button and then press the other to release the darts, which go a good few feet before falling gracefully to the ground if the miss their target. The fire action isn’t hugely powerful, so they landed without causing damage here, although they did end up being fired towards the ceiling on occasion.
Toysrus Hasbro Captain America Civil War Shield and Gauntlet. The shield and gauntlet is in two pieces. One piece goes on the arm, and the shield part snaps onto the gauntlet fairly firmly. I like how the shield comes off if a little one gets caught in a door etc, as the magnet releases. It’s fairly tough stuff, and kids can pop on and remove the shield without having to remove the arm gauntlet all the time. We did initially have an issue with the shield falling off easily, but found we hadn’t put it on right in the first place.
The descriptions tell us the shield can be thrown just like Captain America does. We found it tricky to get it to work like a frisbee, but it was easy to pull off and throw. I wouldn’t recommend trying to throw the shield back onto the gauntlet
With these toys, kids can role play as characters from the film. All they need to do, is snap on their goods and save the world at home, by pretending to be one of the best super heros ever imagines, blasting into fabulous imaginative play, which is always good for kids.
If only we could invent super powers to finish the complete package…..
Where to buy.
Available from all good toy stores, including Toysrus and Amazon. As of 12 October, 2016, the Shield is currently on offer at £11.99, with the Slide Blast Armour at £19.99.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Hasbro for the Captain America Nerf Slide Blast Armour, Magnetic Shield and Gauntlet, which we received free of charge to test as part of the Toy Tribe. All opinions are our own.
Yep, Furby’s are back, and they’re jazzily souped up for this year. I know, raising the Xmas or Christmas as a subject has most people throwing their hands up in horror.
“But it’s October, go away,” I hear you all say in the back of my skull, as I chatter away with our most recent review toy.
Furby’s are now hi-tech, with lots of key features that change this to a far more interactive toy than any previous versions of the plush pal. I’m way too old to have had an original Furby, so this has been all new to me – completely….. Who knew how addictive these things really are? I spent about ten minutes giggling my head off when I switched it on. I’m easily pleased…..
Furby Plays Without The App
I woke Furby, and he said, “I’m so hungry, why you no feed me,” or something like that. And when I stopped speaking to Furby, it started whistling at me…. Then asked for “meatballs,” and “Gimme gimme.”
All we need to do with Furby out of the box, is tickle him, shake him, or pet the fur.
At one point, Furby asked us to turn him upside down. When middler did, he came out with “bat furby.” I don’t know who laughed the most. Me or the boy….. There are around 150 expressive animations, which work by the LCD eyes, ears and the light-up antenna, which we can press, and sometimes Furby sings….
Furby goes through a range of emotions and mood changes. He can be happy, sad, scared or excited, and they’re all amazing to watch.
There’s a sleep mask included, so now Furby sleeps all night long. I’ve heard stories from others, who’ve woken up Furby Booms and not been able to get them to sleep afterwards. Furby is pretty easy to wake up, and the eyes are amazing. Flickering through different emotions and images, they’re super cute. I love the heart one, and as much as I tried to capture it for the blog, I never seemed to click my shutter fast enough to show you.
Middler was too shy to let me take a picture, so you’ll have to put up with me… On the other hand, he’s had Bee-Boo on and yakking for the last six hours, so I might have to put Furby to sleep before he goes to bed, or I imagine Bee-Boo will be singing all night long…..
Furby Connect World App
Connecting our Furby to the Furby Connect World was really easy. Make sure Bluetooth is switched to “on” for your gadget. Open the app, switch on Furby and the screen guides you through connecting until Furby announces it, and lets you choose a name…. We named our Furby Bee-Boo, or Strong Beak.
With the app, Furby knows which time of year it is, so even on Valentines or Xmas, your Furby has a world of surprises for you. In the app, you can collect eggs and baby furblings, feed your Furby, and even take him to the toilet. When something new is downloaded to your Furby, his antennae will flash. Press it, and you’ll hear what the download is.
It’s important to realise that anyone can play the Furby Connect World app. You don’t need a Furby to play, although you’d get so much more fun out of watching your Furby Connect interact as you flick through the activities, and watch videos with our Bee-Boo. I am soooo looking forward to seeing my youngest nephew, who is 2, having fun with this toy….
Furby Connect is available in Pink, Purple, Blue, Turquoise.
Where To Buy
From all good toy stores. I did a quick search and saw Furby Connect in ToysRUs, House of Fraser, Argos, Amazon, and Smyths. I’m sure there are many more. If you’re a Twitter friend, you can see the chat at hashtag #FurbyConnect, and find out what everyone is saying about their new furry friends.
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Disclaimer: Hasbro provided our Furby Connect free of charge, as part of the Toy Tribe. All opinions are our own.
My middle boy quite likes a puzzle or two, and although he struggles with much of life, sitting with someone to do a jigsaw is very satisfying for him, when it’s one he can cope with.
For my review, I chose a 50 piece puzzle rather than a larger one. It’ one he is likely to be able to do for himself, with simply someone sitting beside him for a little support and guidance, and to give reassurance that he’s doing well. Wentworth have all kinds of puzzles, for all kids, big and small….as well as their parents, grandparents, and anyone looking for a little distraction time.
Wentworth Wooden Puzzles are suitable for everyone. The farm scene is something that he is passionate about. Actually, anything digger, tractor and farm related has him a very happy boy indeed. And as anyone knows, pleasing a special needs teenager is never an easy thing to do.
Wentworth Puzzles come in a broad range, to cover everyone. From art to animals, nature, nostaligia and dedicated children’s jigsaws.
Why Wentworth Puzzles
As a present, especially, they’re presented in a lovely box, with the puzzle pieces kept in a drawstring bag, which ensures they never get lost. It’s so easy to lose one or two small pieces from a box once it gets tatty, or has been well used.
The puzzles are made in the UK from sustainable sources, and are 100% UK made. On their website, you can even turn your own photo into a personalised puzzle. Now that’s a great and unusual present for anyone.
Jigsaws have benefits for school-aged kids, at any time of the year, but especially during school holidays, particularly when encouraging them to take a break from technology. Mindfulness is the word Wentworth use, to explain the calming effect of a jigsaw puzzle on our moods. So, if jigsaws are good for those who suffer from stress and anxiety, it makes sense to include one or two in your Xmas shopping baskets over the next few months.
These are especially good for children, as the thick wooden pieces mean the edges don’t get dog eared and ripped easily, which is always a good thing if you want to pass puzzles down to younger children or donate them when you’re finished.
And in case you’re already on the lookout for your Christmas Shopping, how about this Farmyard at Christmas for a lovely post Xmas day parent/child bonding session…
Find Wentworth at their website, or below on social media.
Imagine being a child, and then imagine being a child, or an adult, who can never learn to play their own music…. Then imagine being a child or an adult who not only can’t learn to play their own music, but also doesn’t have the manual dexterity to operate a keyboard, or press the tiny button on an app. It’s a significantly difficult thing to even begin to imagine for most of us.
We all seem to enjoy and want to play music at some level, especially if we’re young, disabled, or even musically challenged, but how do we do it? Sometimes, just listening isn’t enough, and music apps can be pretty challenging to learn, even for those of us who don’t struggle to read and write, or find it difficult to learn new things.
Skoog asked me to review their cube music box, which I think would be fabulous for schools, parents, clubs and music groups, and not just for those with special needs. I can think of many hours over the years that all my boys would have spent with one of these if we’d had one.
The Skoog is an easy to play instrument for almost everyone, and I mean everyone who can reach out and touch. With a special needs youngster, I am always on the lookout for things that are good fun and easy to use. You don’t have to be musical, or know anything about pitch, scales, instruments or anything to use it.
Skoog says “The easy-to-play instrument for everyone. Free the musician inside.”
I’d been looking forward to this one for a while, and rightly so.
How to use the Skoog
The Skoog is so very simple it’s incredible. Just a little light pressure on the foam, and it activates perfectly. For people who have no ability to apply pressure, it’s even adjustable, so that simply resting a hand on the Skoog should get it going. The battery life is around 10 or so hours, and works within around 10 metres of the iPad, so they don’t need to be next to each other to work perfectly.
How does it work?
The Skoog has 5 big soft buttons, one on each side as a visual aid, and helps control the little cube. The whole Skoog is touch sensitive though, even the area around the buttons, but just not the bottom that rests on your table or desk, or knee.
Setting up your Skoog
My version works via Bluetooth, but as our grown ups iPad is a second generation one, it doesn’t work as it’s so old, so we went to the PC to make the most of it initially, and hooked up ours via the cable rather than Bluetooth at the beginning. I downloaded the Skoogmusic for PC direct from their website, knowing I could go to the app when one of my children actually gets off his iPad mini at some point. It’s always nice to know that it’s accessible for those of us who are still on old school type machines too, but it’s far preferable to use the iPad for us.
With setting up, I was being extremely dim, when it’s actually pretty simple.
The Skoog is designed to be best used via Bluetooth I think. Make sure your iPad is updated to the current software, and to get the best use out of it, install Garageband alongside it. When the Skoog is charged, log onto the Skoog app from the Apple Store, press the button on the bottom of the Skoog to turn on the Bluetooth, and when you see the blue light flashing, use the app to connect your Skoog, not the general iPad settings. When the Skoog is connected, the bluetooth light stays lit.
It’s compatible with iPads supporting bluetooth low energy. This means iPad 3rd & 4th Generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, mini 2, mini 3, iPad Pro + onwards. Our old iPad 2 is not compatible. Thankfully, we have an iPad mini, and we got it set up, when I updated to ios 9, but Garageband needed to be updated too, for the best effect. Unfortunately, it’s not available for Android yet, but I’m sure if enough people ask for it, it’ll be considered.
The sound comes out of your iPad, and not the actual Skoog, which confused my middle child for a while. It can connect via USB to PC or Apple Mac, but does need the accompanying software. I’d recommend going the iPad route.
Apps to Use with Skoog
How genious. The Skoog lets you connect to apps to interact. Hold onto your hat here. It’s amazing and opens up a whole new world of things to do with your Skoog 2.
Skoog can talk to any app that supports MIDI. Examples are Garageband, NOISE by Roli, Nanologue, Orphion and ThumbJam. It is also compatible with Network MIDI, which will allow you to connect your Skoog to apps on any compatible device via your WiFi network.
What did we think?
It’s fabulous. When my kids were younger, they’d have spent endless hours popping the buttons on this, and my special needs boy is finding it incredibly easy to use. I think any school would find this amazing when coupled with the Garageband app on an iPad, never mind what else it can do. When I played music, it searched through the music to see if it could find a score for the song. I haven’t had the time to play around with that yet to see how it works, but I’ll let the boys figure that one out.
My Final Thoughts and Where to Get Your Own Skoog 2
As a toy / music maker / sensory tool, it’s well thought out and does far more than I expected. We’ve had ours a wee while now, and while they’re not cheap, retailing around £199, the value for money in this, far outweighs the price if it can be done for a school, kids group, or hospital. It’s sturdy, and as it’s squishable, I imagine it’s hard to break.
I can’t even begin to say how good I think this is, especially for children who struggle to control the regular music apps for themselves.
We’re really just beginning to find out what this nifty little gadget can do, a couple of months after getting it, and it’s going to get a lot of use here.
Find out more at Skoogmusic. You can buy it at the Apple store online or at Amazon. Apple even have a new section for Accessible Accessories, which included the Skoog. That’s brilliant recognition for this gadget.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a fabulous gadget to supplement a school music department, or you’re part of a parent teacher association, you don’t have to look further than this as an unputdownable teaching aid and sensory gadget. Try and find somewhere that has one, and give it a go for yourself if you think your budget could stretch to one. My middle boy tells me there’s one at his special school, which is really great news.
I did try to take my own video, but the ones from Skoog actually demonstrate this far more beautifully than I ever could. We’re looking forward to many long years with our Skoog.
Disclaimer: A very heartfelt thanks to the people at Skoog for providing us with our review Skoog 2.
In our mail a few weeks ago, was a wee packet of Tsum Tsum Squishies, Series 2. These have a new fuzzy feel. I don’t know how I’ve missed these, being the parent of a growing child who still likes all things toys, but we have.
In a nutshell, these are all our favourite Disney characters, just far more super cute as a result of the Disney toy makers. Apparently ‘Tsum Tsum,’ actually means ‘stack, stack.’ and is pronounced ‘zoom zoom.’
It couldn’t be clearer, what these are intended to do, as well as being lovely little pets for all of those with girlies who like to play with dolls houses and need some little pets to go along with them. You can’t get better than Disney character pets.
The Tsum Tsums include Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, Donald Duck, and many more.
To me, they seem to be collectable toys, with a little booklet included, where you can tick off the ones you already have. I can imagine lots of children swapping their Tsum Tsums in the school playground, to get the ones they’re missing from their collections.
When I opened the pack, I’d expected them to actually be squishy, which ours are not, so be aware. I think some Tsum Tsum versions have squishy bellies, but not ours.
Your favourite Disney characters are now even cuter! Tsum Tsum Squishies are squishable versions of Disney superstars that you’ll love to stack ‘n stack. There are 50 to collect, from Mickey Mouse to Toy Story’s Woody. Share ‘n swap with friends and try to find the rarest of them all! These adorable Disney figures are ideal for ages three and up.
When we opened our pack, we found:
Olaf was our surprise Tsum Tsum.
A bit more about Tsum Tsum.
TSUM TSUM COLLECTIBLES
Disney Tsum Tsum Squishies 2 Pack £2.99 – Kick start your Tsum Tsum’s Squishies collection with the 2 Pack. Includes 2 Characters.
Disney Tsum Tsum Squishies 4 Pack £4.99 – Kick start your Tsum Tsum’s Squishies collection with the 4 Pack. Includes 4 Characters.
Disney Tsum Tsum Squishies Pack of 5 with Carry Carabiner £7.99 – Kick start your Tsum Tsum’s Squishies collection with the 5 Pack. Includes 5 Characters and a Carabiner.
Tsum Tsum Toyshop Playset £24.99 – Create the ultimate Tsum Tsum’s Squishies collection with the Tsum Tsum Toy Shop Playset. Complete with 2 Exclusive characters. The playset can fit 30 Tsum Tsums! It includes interactive elements such as a stacking st age which pops, wiggling Mickie and Minnie, removable display stands and bouncing platform.
Suitable for Ages 3+.
TSUM TSUM LIGHT UP & SOUND PLUSH
Suitable for Ages 3+
Each plush comes with x2 batteries included.
UK Stockists: ARGOS, ASDA, B&M, CDS SUPERSTORES, COSTCO UK, DEBENHAMS, MORRISONS, SHOP DIRECT, SMYTHS, TESCO, THE ENTERTAINER, TOYMASTER, TOYS R US
Tsum Tsum toys originated from Japan’s highly engaging, fast paced and exciting social media game, developed in partnership with LINE, the #1 Messaging Platform in Asia. The app game received 1 million downloads in its first 4 days of release and 10 million downloads within the first two months since its launch! The Plush toy made its debut at the Disney Store Japan in 2013 and sold 500,000 pieces in the first 17 weeks!
Our little Tsum Tsum figures are going to a good home, where a lovely little girl will enjoy playing with them. When I looked on Amazon, to find some accessories to go with them, there seemed to be no end of accessories or sets to use with a pack of Tsum Tsum Squishies. I found a lunchbag, a create your own bracelet and bead set, and lots of others, some of which I’ve added to this page, if you’re looking for more ideas.
(This post contains an affiliate link widget. If you buy from Amazon after clicking through from one of these links, I may earn a couple of pennies.)
As part of Hasbro Toy Tribe, we’ve received a lovely new toy to try, the Nerf n Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster, for ages 8-16. Currently £49.99 from Toysrus.
We’ve already got one Nerf, with precious few foam darts left, so getting this to try was very well received by my boys, and even my teen had lots of fun with it. Our existing Nerf is teensy in comparison, and the Elite Blaster was in demand when they saw how fast the darts are when the trigger is pressed. I have to admit to getting a very real satisfaction from shooting it myself, as the foam darts went ping, ping, ping against the wall.
The box was a fairly big size, which would go down well for a present, I think. And unlike many presents, inside wasn’t a huge box with something teensy at the centre. The length of the box was fully needed. One of the biggest disappointments my kids have faced over the years with toys, has been opening a box to find hardly anything inside.
Take aim with the HyperFire blaster and challenge opponents with ultimate speed! It’s the fastest motorised Nerf dart blaster, unleashing 5 darts per second to rain down a deluge of darts onto targets! With its 25-dart drum, this Nerf N-Strike Elite blaster brings impressive firepower to the battle. It fires darts up 90 feet (27 meters). Press the acceleration button, pull the trigger, and let the rapid-fire action begin! Comes with 25 Elite darts.
Believe me when I say, those 25 darts are fast. My kids are already pushing to get more darts so they can do a rapid load and fire. It takes four D batteries, which are rather large round ones. Luckily we had some for a torch that hub was planning to renew batteries on, so we pinched them.
Putting it together was easy enough although my teen helped middler to get it all working. The box had sat for a full day before I got to it, and he couldn’t concentrate on anything until it was opened and set up, but had to wait until I picked up my camera from the motorhome, where I’d forgotten to take it home from, and charged it up. Very bad timing to be forgetful!
Thankfully, it comes almost completely built, with only the dart chamber and the batteries to be inserted. With the size of batteries, I’m guessing this will last for a fair time, which is a bonus.
The dart chamber is circular, and you pop them in the top. It’s quite easy to do.
From there, it’s press one of the two triggers to get the Hyperfire ready, and press that firing trigger, then watch the darts fly…… Very easy set up, and very easy to use. It’s proved to be a very popular addition to our household.
Thanks to Hasbro for the review Nerf n Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster. Currently £49.99 from Toysrus.
To see more of the top Nerf guns at the moment, make sure you have a look at this top list from My Kid Needs That.
This website contains affiliate links and banner adverts, mainly labelled advertisement. Opinions are always my own and are not brand influenced. Links to brands are not guaranteed, & are at my discretion. Posts which are commissioned by/in collaboration with brands, supported by brands, or reviews, will be labelled as such.
Oh wow. Amazing how sayings travelled, even decades ago.
Mine were about 13/14 when I took them. When we were there, there were a fair few kids around their…
This is a good recipe, I swap oil for lard however as fat retains moisture better making the bread softer.
Oh wow. Amazing how sayings travelled, even decades ago.
Mine were about 13/14 when I took them. When we were there, there were a fair few kids around their…
This is a good recipe, I swap oil for lard however as fat retains moisture better making the bread softer.