Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zing Zano Bow, Sky Gliderz and my Grandson's Haircuts


Zing Zano Bow Target

In the Spring and Fall I attend the Tim to Play Showcase in new York and get to see lots of new toys that will be available for the coming season.  There is always a crowd around the ZING display and lots of smiling grownups enjoying playing with the toys.  They are lots of fun and although you can play with them indoors and outdoors I recommend them for outdoor play. 
Today I am going to describe two items the Zano Bow for young children and the SkyGliderz for kids of all ages.

Zano Bow by Zing

















Zano Bow
I usually review products that I can test out on my grandson or another child who is visiting.  This one seemed perfect for that. The Zano Bow is for ages 4+ and Zach is 5.  My husband, Pop, is the official barber and when Zach gets a haircut, Grandma usually provides a gift he can choose from her cache of toys she gets for reviews and at shows.  Zach wasted no time with this selection and he chose the Zano Bow for his summer haircut present.  But soon it was time to go home and I didn’t get a chance to see him play with it.  I did ask him about it.  Zach’s review – “I like it and I play with it outside with my Dad.  It goes far and works really well.  Yes Grandma – it is easy to figure out how to use it. 

The Zano Bow is a small bow and arrow combo.  The bow is only eight inches long.  The arrows are designed to fly super straight and so even a younger child has a good chance of hitting the target (it's on the back of the package).  The arrows have soft-foam suction cup tips and did not go very far.  This is a toy that a child can enjoy alone but can also be fun for a parent or grandparent to join in.  Because of the limited reach and soft arrows this really can be played with indoors.  The arrows won’t knock anything over and no one will get hurt.

Sky Gliderz

Sky Gliderz by Zing

The Sky Gliderz says for ages 8+ but our 5 year old grandson had a great time with it and no problem using it.  Pop showed him once and he was off. The Sky Gliderz was his present of choice for his back to school (Kindergarten begins next week!) haircut this morning.

Zach is patient while Pop gives him his Back to School Haircut

Here's Zach with his haircut and haircut present - a Zing Sky Gliderz
Sky Gliderz are light weight soft foam stealth planes that zoom through the air with the greatest of ease. To prepare for takeoff, hook the planes on the bungee loop, pull back, flick the wrist and watch them ascend into the sky! I definitely recommend using this outside as it can go quite a distance and high into the air. 



 If you hold the glider and aim at different angles you can get loop-de-loops, boomerang and other paths that the rocket will take.  Zach enjoyed this and was willing to share with Grandma and Pop so we all took turns.

The one problem we had was that we have a lot of trees in our backyard and the planes went so high that they would get lost high in the trees.  Even if you are careful where you aim, when the Sky Gliderz moves fast with its high flying loop-do-loops you don’t know where it will land.  So try to stay clear of trees.


All three of us had fun with the Sky Gliderz and it is a great intergenerational active toy.  Great for outdoor parties too.  Take turns and even the younger kids can make these planes take quite a ride.

David Letterman had great fun with it too.  Here he is playing with it about a month ago on Late Night with David Letterman.  Dave’s comment, “This is great.  I can do this all night.”  

Oh - and that is a driveway full of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Chalk.  That was last week's project.


 


You can find both of these toys on Amazon.  Just click below to check it out.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Our Outing to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester



It is mid-August and some kids are already back in school, but here in northern NJ summer camp programs have ended and school starts after Labor Day.  It is prime time for summer outings.  Yesterday my husband and I took our 5 year old grandson to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center  Westchester.  We had a  blast!  First of all, our grandson is a super LEGO fan and I have written about this before.  He has sets from a variety of current themes and is working through the sets that were my son’s at a breakneck pace.  We were sure that Zach would enjoy the day but not sure how two grandparents would do.  Turns out – just fine – tired but not wiped out.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is actually in a huge outdoor shopping center with a parking garage half a block away. However, it is indoors and cooled to a comfortable temperature.  First we stopped for a few minutes and enjoyed this outdoor fountain.  Grandma was prepared with pennies and Zach enjoyed skipping some pennies.

Grandma and Zach enjoying the fountain outside the LEGOLAND Discovery Center




We are ready to get started at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center


The first stop in LEGOLAND is the Factory Tour and “Dr. Brickabrac” leads the kids from station to station explaining how LEGOs are made.  Zach was one of the kids who raised his hand and got to help at the mixing station.

The kids listen attentively as Dr. Bricabac describes how LEGOs are made



Next there is the Kingdom Quest Laser ride with laser guns that cause villians to explode on the wall.  This was my least favorite part and I really felt they could have had an upbeat game rather than a kill and violent one.  The particularly violent news lately made me really feel uncomfortable with this exhibit.  Considering the average age of the kids,  I think that this is inappropriate and should be reworked to something positive.

Next you are in an exhibit area – LEGO MINILAND - and this one is New York themed with big LEGO replicas of New York landmarks – everything from the George Washington Bridge to museums, Empire State building, NY skyline, statue of liberty, subway series baseball stadium and more.  You could push buttons to turn on lights or cause some to move.  Lots of fun and picture taking in this area.

Zach at the Subway Series Exhibit

Pop snaps a picture of Grandma resting as Zach is ready to move on


The NY Skyline Exhibit is a real WOW!


Ho Hum - It's just the Statue of Liberty

The George Washington Bridge is one of my favorites - Maybe because I remember walking on it with my husband when we were dating.
You can take as much time as you want here and then you move to a huge action area with a huge Play Zone -  LEGO themed climbing set -  in the center and surrounded by stations with activities that are good for different ages and interests.  You can take pictures here but there is too much activity to bother for most people.  Like lots of other kids, our grandson wanted to play on the climbing set for quite a while and benches were provided all around it so we sat and enjoyed watching the kids run wild inside.  It was enclosed with a net so the kids can only come out and join their guardian in one place.

The various stations include Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, LEGO Racers – which you build and can test drive on two tracks,  a LEGO studios 4D studio,  a LEGO Master Building Academy, DUPLO Village, LEGO Friends Center and more.  There is something for everybody so you can bring children of different ages at the same time. Zach enjoyed building a racing car and have it go down the track.  Alas it crashed and when he rebuilt it he didn't want to send it down the even steeper track.  We had lunch in the cafĂ© and it was actually reasonably priced and they had a good selection including kids’ and adult sandwiches, Capri juice, Water, soda small fruit cups, apple slices, salads and chips.

We enjoyed a bunch of the activities and then it was of course time for the gift shop.  Now this is a LEGO store that has everything. It is a real wonderland for a kid who loves LEGOs. Zach got the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Karia Bike Escape and his first Guardians of the Galaxy set, Starblaster Showdown.  When we came home he started to put them together with Pop’s help, but soon it was time for Pop to barbecue and he surprised us with how soon he had put them together by himself.  Zach is becoming quite a LEGO building expert.  He was amazed by the variety of Mixels and also got a “red package Mixel.”

LEGO Karai Bike Escape - Please note:  She's a girl


LEGO Starblaster Showdown

Grandma also bought a couple of items to hold back for Christmas and haircut gifts.  There is the Chima Legend Beast and the green package Mixel which “He has been looking for and hasn’t seen anywhere.”

LEGO Chima Legend Beast and a Series 3 "Green Package" Mixels

The facility was very clean and even the bathrooms were fun.  Each stall had a different huge LEGO figure on the door and the kids enjoyed choosing their favorite.  I wished I had brought the camera into the restroom – something I have never thought before.  There was plenty of staff and they were friendly and helpful.

On the way home we crossed the George Washington Bridge and sang the George Washington Bridge song for the whole length of the bridge.  You don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check it out here on youtube.



Pop, grandma and Zach all enjoyed ourselves on our outing to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center.  If there is one of these LEGOLAND Discovery Centers near you, check it out.  It is a good grandparent outing – not a lot of walking, lots of hands-on activity choices and fun to watch the kids enjoying themselves in active and constructive play.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Crayola Sidewalk Chalk Grab ‘N Go Games – Review and Giveaway

Update 7/14/14:  The winner is Janet W.  Congratulations!  This giveaway is now closed but check back soon for the one coming up.


Crayola has a new series of outdoor Sidewalk Chalk Grab n’ Go Games that are perfect for summer.  There are four games and each includes 4 sticks of washable chalk, props and directions for using the chalk to create your own “playing field.”  They are inexpensive and have everything you need for some summer outdoor fun in a pouch like container.  You can win the Chalk ’N Go Obstacle Course Game with a bonus pack of Crayola ultra-clean washable markers  in the giveaway right here.  Giveaway details are at the end of the post.


There are four Chalk Grab ‘N Go games:
  • Obstacle Course
  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Chip Shot Golf
  • Foot Hockey

I like the Bean Bag Toss and Obstacle Course for their classic simple games that they are.  Grandparents who play golf will enjoy the opportunity to show off their skill and introduce a new game.

I know that some grandparents have a summer camp outing at their house when all their grandchildren visit at the same time.  If you are a grandparent Camp Director you will definitely want to check these out.  I love to write about things toys or activites that we played when we were kids or our kids played and still work for our grandchildren but have a new twist.  These Crayola Grab ‘N Go games fit the modern approach of everything you need in the one container and still rely on the old fashioned simplicity of using sidewalk chalk imaginatively.  I love it.

What I like best about these games is since you draw the playing field yourself using the chalk it can be designed for children as young as 4 and as old as teens or adults.  They are great for driveway play at a backyard picnic and can be drawn for any age group you would like.

Here is my experience with my grandson, Zach, aged 5 with the Obstable Course and Foot Hockey games.

Zach Drawing the Obstacle Course


Zach is proud after winning the first round with the Crayola Grab 'N Go Sidewalk Chalk Game

The Obstacle course has 4 small “markers", 4 pieces of washable chalk and a directions sheet which shows various styles of obstacle courses.  I started to draw the lines, but Zach quickly wanted to participate.  So I drew to the first circle and we placed the marker and he drew the rest.  Zach was up first…but his idea was that the course was just a starting point.  He added that you run over to the soccer net and kick the soccer ball in (Well it is the same day as the USA Belgium World Cup match), then run around in 3 circles under a tree, loop through the swing side support 4 times, hand swing from the swing side support (Grandma gets a pass on this one), then 11 pushes of the bar on the baby swing and finally, finally……5 swings on the swing.  We did this three times and then I needed to sit down.  I was done...  But Zach was not.



Zach was just excited and wanted to play foot hockey now.  Ok..as soon as I catch my breadth…..  The Foot Hockey games has a yellow hollow plastic puck, 4 pieces of washable chalk (different colors than Obstacle Course) and directions.  I started to draw the field on the driveway and soon Zach wanted to help.  Fine with me.  I started the edges and he completed them.  We each drew our own goal area and wrote our name above it.  


Zach Drawing the Crayola Foot Hockey Crab 'n Go Sidewalk Chalk Game


We’re ready. Well the goal went flying on Zach’s first kick.  We quickly learned that it had to be hit gently….But not before I got a sharp hit in my leg.











Zach Gets a Goal in Foot Hockey Grab n Go Game


Overall these games were a lot of fun.  Since you draw the course yourself it can be as simple or difficult as you would like and is readily adjusted for different ages.  I didn’t expect that it was also the opportunity for creative play but Zach’s spontaneous expansion on the obstacle course demonstates that it is.  Bottom line assessment – Lots of fun, inexpensive, flexible but be prepared for a workout if you are a participant!

Giveaway Details
It is easy to enter and there are two ways. Both ways count as an entry so you get two entries if you do both.  I need to be able to contact you if you win. If you enter -  email me with your email address at marion@grandmachronicles.com.  I will not use your email address for anything except to notify you if you win.  Grandmother’s Honor.

1.      Leave a comment here on the blog 
     and/or

You can have two entries by doing both.  Deadline to enter: July 13, 2014 at midnight. The winner will be selected using random.org.

 This item can be sent to US addresses only.

Full Disclosure:  This review is completely my own opinion and I was not reimbursed for it.  I did receive a review sample. 


You can purchase the Grab ‘N Go Games at Amazon and other retailers.   Amazon links are provided below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Zach's 5th Birthday Party - An Avengers Backyard Jamboree!!!



Nothing can beat  a backyard 5th birthday party on a perfect summer day.  And that’s the day and party Zach had for his fifth birthday in our backyard on Saturday.  Earlier in the week I made sure I had the ingredients for the cake that Zach and I would make on Friday.  I showed him the cake mix boxes and asked if he wanted yellow or chocolate and I was surprised when he said “Both.”  I explained that he had to choose which one he wanted, but he patiently explained that it should be both with two layers.  So, of course I agreed.  Next the topping – should it be white or chocolate?  Zach’s choice – blue.  Blue?  Yes, blue just like his friend’s birthday cake. Oh yes with red trim. I planned to buy ready made frosting.   I really am not much of a baker  or cake decorator and would just as soon just buy a birthday cake but Zach wants a homemade one just like his Mom always did.  Guess what?  I was in luck - they now have ready made blue icing  - it is raspberry flavor and delicious.  And Betty Crocker has a super easy to use cake decorating product. The party theme was the Avengers and his Mom had bought all the party goods including Avengers candles.   Here are Zach and I working and having fun together making the cake.


 Zach and I licking the beaters from the chocolate cake

Uh Oh....Getting Caught......





The birthday cake with blue icing, red trim and Avengers decorations---oh and strawberry filling between the yellow and chocolate layers
Zach wanted to put those candles on at every step and he was so happy to be able to complete this final step.

Zach's Mom was busy blowing up balloons, decorating and getting ready for the party while Zach and I had all the fun.  On Saturday, when the kids first arrived it was free play in the yard.....

The kids had a ball…or really lots of balls…  That's Zach in the orange shirt



 
After hot dogs and hamburgers it was time for the sprinkler
The birthday cake was enjoyed by everyone....

Especially Zach.....  Oh yes and the chocolate covered strawberries that Mommy made were delicious too