Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Celebrate National Play Doh Day - DohVinci – for Older Kids




Today is national Play Doh Day!!  Yeah!!!  For the occasion I thought I would write about something new from Play Doh and oriented for an older child.  In August I attended a small Hasbro show for bloggers which featured new products.  My favorite is this new line from Play Doh – DohVinci – which is aimed at children older than the traditional pre-school.  Recommend over ages 6 and up.

Here I am at the work table creating a decorated picture frame


DohVinci is a new air dry compound that fit into a styler and squezzed unto any surface that you like.  There are different attachments for different designs.  You let it air dry and voila – you have a 3-D work of art.  At the event we had the opportunity to decorate a frame with DohVinci, let it dry and take it home.

 
Here are the simple directions on display at the show

Okay, So I'm not much an artist - but I sure had fun.

There are sets you can buy to decorate such as this one....
DohVinci Style and Store Vanity Kit

This is a great product for a craft at a sleepover birthday party or a grandparent visit.  It would make a fun project for a grandmother and school age child to do together - perhaps making homemade holiday gifts.  Check it out - available in stores and at Amazon.  See some Amazon links below.


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 Time 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.