GALT – MAKE YOUR OWN BOUNCY BALLS

Have you ever heard of such thing as a bouncy ball making kit? Well, I hadn’t!

Galt have come up with a kit that allows children to create their very own bouncy balls from scratch.

I’m not talking bouncy balls made from hundreds of elastic bands, but real bouncy balls!

Little man was quite excited about this kit which is rare as lately he only seems to get excited about anything WWE related (yes his driving me a bit nuts). So, this was a welcomed change and as he wanted me to do this activity with him it gave us a chance to spend some time together.

The Galt Bouncy Balls kit contains 8 10g packs of glow in the dark crystals, 2 ball moulds (one small, one large) and a simplistic how too guide.

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So it was decided that I’d have a go at it first to ensure we were doing it right. With this I had a go at the small bouncy ball which only took a few minutes to make. These are really simple. You just fill the moulds with crystals, layering the different colours for an added effect. place in a glass of water for two minutes, remove let stand for a further 2 minutes before removing from the mould, rinsing and leaving to dry.

I wasn’t sure why my ball didn’t come out as a fully formed circle but instead, one with an ever so slightly flat end, but so did little mans. Nonetheless, these did look fab and remarkably, they bounced pretty high too.

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Little man really had a lot of fun with this Kit. He loved that he could be really creative without having to put to much work into it. The activity is great for the improvement of his fine motor skills as you need to be careful when tipping the crystals into the mould therefore requiring a little skill not to get mum’s kitchen sides to messy.

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I was a little shocked at how much crystals were needed to fill the large bouncy ball mould. By the time we had filled the two mould we were only left with 3 bags out of the 8 supplied. You may get hours of fun playing with your creation but certainly not when creating them as they don’t take long to make and the 3 left over bags wont go that far.

Once we took the balls from their moulds (which was easily done) we noted how sticky they felt. Little man who has Aspergers Syndrome and has many sensory processing difficulties including tactile defensiveness actually really liked the way they felt before being washed and I actually found myself having to beg it off him just to rinse it off.

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This is an excellent kit that is both fun yet to a degree quite educational. Children like little man will be interested in the science behind their bouncy ball creations and you may find that they are hungry to learn more about how they went from crystal to ball.

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The activity is also very tactile. Its one that is very hands on and great for children who may sensory seek or like to work with their hands. Its great for the development of fine motor skills especially for children with sen and autism as its an activity that doesn’t take to long so holds their attention from start to finish.

The fact the balls glow in the dark is a big added bonus. We hadn’t even realised till we turned the kitchen light off to go to bed. Another great feature that little man really likes.

Galt Bouncy Balls, would make a great little gift or stocking filler though I do wonder if more crystals can be brought (but then again, the set is cheap enough to buy again)!

Galt Bouncy Balls is available from Toys R us Priced at a very reasonable £6.99.

Galt Friendship Braids TRU Toyologist Review

With the Galt friendship braids you can create all sorts of friendship braids from bracelets, hair braids and more.

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The set comes with everything you need to make fashionable friendship braids and my daughter Alice-Sara loves it.

Included in this kit you will find lots of colourful threads, beads and ribbon. holographic stickers for use on the flat beads provided, a foam braiding wheel and an instructional booklet.

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Alice-Sara got her kit out during a sleepover with her best friend. They spent a good hour on the kit and enjoyed making each other braids that they told me they would wear forever if school didn’t have a “No Jewellery” policy. 🙂

Alice-Sara even made the toddler a braid which his enjoyed wearing all week.

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The only problem the girls had with the kit was using the foam braiding wheel. They found the instructions difficult to understand and just made a tangled mess. Nonetheless you can make all sorts of braids without the wheel and this is what they did!

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Pretty cool, don’t you think?

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The Galt Friendship Braids Kit is available to buy from Toys R Us for £6.99 which I think is very reasonable and would make a great gift for any creative child this Christmas.

Mystyle Shrink Craft Jewellery TRU Toyologist Review

Mystyle Shrink Craft is a really great jewellery making kit that lets your child’s creativity do the work.

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Basically the kit comes with this fascinating plastic that once placed in an oven shrinks to a third of its original size while becoming thicker and more durable in the process.

The kit comes with all the tools needed to design your own jewellery (with the exception of coloured pens). We used Deco pens as these are acrylic based and the colour takes really well on the plastic.

Also in the box you will find an instruction and design ideas booklet that has projects designed for beginners through to Intermediates. The book was really helpful as it includes templates to trace and then decorate.

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What was especially great about this kit was the fact it came with professional finishings so jewellery is left with an overall professional finish which is far better than having necklaces that have cord tied in knots.

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With this kit children can make rings, earrings, necklaces and key-rings. They can also use the shrink plastic to make a whole host of other cool stuff like bookmarks or mini pictures.

The instructions make the process seem really simple however, we did struggle a little.The plastic stinks really quickly and sometimes it bends and folds making it a little disastrous.

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It did take a good few practice goes to get it right. The trick is to watch it super closely removing it from the oven at speed as soon as you see that its shrunk to the required size.

Once we had finally worked this out, Alice made a great heart pendent that she cut in half to make a friendship necklace.

Here she is modelling it with her BFF (that’s best friend forever, or so I’ve been told)!

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Alice-Sara said that she really enjoyed the Shrink Craft Jewellery Kit and would recommend it to all her friends.

Shrink Craft Jewellery will be available from Toys R Us in time for Christmas so keep your eyes open.

Pass The Bomb Junior TRU Toyologist Review

Today’s TRU Toyologist review is for the game “Pass The Bomb Junior

This is a family game for players 5 years and above. The game requires a minimum of two players and there is no maximum number for the number of people able to play. This means that the whole family can enjoy the game together.

Saying this, it was just myself and little man who played Pass the Bomb. I decided to get the game out while the toddler was having an afternoon nap and little sister was at school. Little man was on half day and I was in need of something other then the PS3 to keep him entertained.

The box that holds the game is small and compact making it very easy to store. We found the rules and instruction sheet inside the box and all was simple enough to read.

There isn’t much needed to play the game. The box just holds a ticking bomb ( that requires two AAA batteries, not included) and a packet of cards.

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There are no little bits that may find themselves sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. No dice, counters, not even a board is required for this one.

It’s very simple to set up and play. Shuffle the cards taking ten and placing them in a pile face down in the middle. The youngest player goes first. They hold the bomb in one hand starting the ticking by pressing the button and with the other hand they take the first card from the top of the pile laying it picture side down in the middle so all players can see. They then must come up with a word that fits in with the scene displayed on the card (example Beach – sea, sand, etc…). With each word given the bomb is passed to the person on their left who must give another word (but not one already given)! The answers and passing continue till the bomb blows and whoever is left holding it at that time must take the card in play.

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This continues till all 10 cards have been played. The player with the most cards is in this case is the loser.

The bomb ticks for anything between 10-60 seconds so you never know when it’s going to go off which has you slightly panicking. The suspense is what makes this game extremely fun. What seems really simple in concept can become a little difficult as you find yourself with brain block as you struggle to find a word not already given. The ticking sound really adds to the pressure of it all.

We highly recommend this game. It’s great for social interaction and gets children used to competition. It’s also a great way to get children to process their thoughts at speed. It encourages good language skills and helps kids to think outside the box.

Admittedly, Little man almost had a tantrum when the bomb blew up on him three times in a row but the ticking sound of the bomb quickly snapped him out of it and sorted that one out a treat.

Little man has Aspergers Syndrome and as a parent I think this is a great game for all children including those with special needs.

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Pass the Bomb Junior is available from Toys R Us

Check out the Toys R Us Toybox Blog for all TRU Toyologist Reviews

HedBanz Review For Toys R Us

Today I’m here to share with you all our latest review as blue group trutoyologists. The review is for the fun family game Hedbanz by Spin Master.

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Have you ever played that game when you write something random on a post-it note and stick it to a friends head. They have something like 30 seconds to guess who or what it is that they are and they do this by asking a series of questions? Maybe you’ve played it as a youngster or even at a drunken family Christmas get together?

Well, this is basically what the game of Hedbanz is… Only better presented and for children. Long gone are the days of having to have a post-it note stuck to your forehead!

Hedbanz has been designed for all the family and is a great game to get the brain working. This game is designed for a minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 6. It comes complete with 74 cartoon cards, 24 scoring chips, 6 headbands, 1 sand timer and of course a rule sheet.

This is a really simple but fun game to play. There is no board or dice so it takes virtually seconds to set up.

Before starting each players head is measured for one of the extendable headbands. Once all players have their allocated headgear, without them seeing, a card from the top of the pack is taken and then slotted into the headband. So basically players can fit each others card to their headband if they ensure the person wearing the card cannot see it.

Now, one at a time, each player has to guess whats on their head within a 30 second period by asking a set of questions that may help them guess what they are. This is timed with the use of a sand timer which has been supplied in with the game. Whenever a player guesses what they are correctly they are allocated a winning chip. The one with the most chips come the end of the game is declared the winner!

It was just myself and 9-year old daughter Alice-Sara who put Hedbanz through its paces. We loved how the game worked well to encourage social interaction and found ourselves giggling with frustration as we raced against the timer in a bid to guess what card we were displaying on our headbands.

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HedBanz is a fun family game that’s competitive but easy to follow. It also comes with question cards designed to help you on your way. The cards display questions like, “Do I have legs” or “Am I a Pet” you can ask as many questions as you like to help you guess who or what you are as long as the sand timer hasn’t yet run out. Every player who guesses right receives a counter. A new card Is attached to the headband with every turn. The one with the most counters come the end is declared the winner of HedBanz.

Here’s Alice-Sara having a guess at what’s displayed on her head.

This is a game recommended for players 7-9 years old though I think depending on the child’s ability, those a little younger may enjoy the game too!

Its fun, entertaining and not too long so doesn’t become boring.

We’ve decided to give this one a 4 stars out of a possible 5!

HedBanz will by available at UK Toys R Us in time for Christmas 2012.

Darth Maul Lightsaber Review

Evening all, Claire here from A boy with Aspergers and Mummy of many talents here with review number 3.

The 3rd item we’ve chosen to review is that of the Darth Maul Lightsaber.

Firstly here’s the product information:

“Become a master of lightsaber combat with this incredible double-bladed replica, just like the one wielded by Darth Maul. Mesmerize your opponent as you spin your lightsaber – then stun him with the press of a button as you extend one or both blades for a reach of five feet!”

Ok, yes it’s Star Wars, it’s huge, it’s double bladed but quite honestly it’s nothing more.

Firstly I spent what seemed like a good half hour looking to see where the batteries went only to discover it doesn’t require any at all! Why would I think it did you may ask? Well for £19.99 and outer packaging that displays pictures of Darth Maul holding a lighted Lightsaber you can’t blame me for being mistaken.

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The information on the box is vague and I was left to google it.

So what does this toy do? Basically by pressing a couple of buttons the blades shoot out off each end of the Lightsaber.These can be extended together or one at a time! There is no sound effects or lights and despite the many buttons only two can be actually pressed. Sadly the blades didn’t always extend at speed nor did they always stay up. We often found that both or one of the blades slipped down back into the body of the Lightsaber.

Demonstrating this to my youngest he sat staring at me blankly before shouting “Come on mum do it” I explained I had and he said in a grumpy voice “No…. Mummy… please… do it”

When Little man returned from school that same day he told me I was being silly and to let him sort it out. He returned some minutes later shaking his head and out loud stating “I don’t believe that’s all it does, surly not!”

This is a lot of plastic for £19.99 it’s a product that sadly offers no features other than the shooting blades that don’t always do what you’d like them to.

The packaging to me seems a little misleading. I’d see this in a shop and the box design would make me think it was electronic. Admittedly it doesn’t state it is but actually it doesn’t state much at all. I now know this is because it doesn’t do much!

For me the name ‘Lightsaber’ alone makes me think its at least going to light up! I know this is the actual name in the thing in the movie but still I felt it to be misleading. If your not a star wars fan as I am not, you avoid the movie and therefore have no idea what it’s called.

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I’m actually trying my hand at constructive criticism here but am seriously struggling to find anything appalling about the Lightsaber.

However there was someone who could. Alfie is the children’s cousin he came over today after school and as a Star Wars fan I asked him what he thought of the Lightsaber.

Alfie like little man is on the autism spectrum and is therefore very detailed about things his passionate about. He was very happy to have a play with the Lightsaber and although he also felt a little disappointed the Lightsaber wasn’t electronic he did actually like it.

Of course when he went home this evening he went home a happy lad with his new Lightsaber in hand and huge smile on his face.

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So, there you have it! Maybe true Star Wars fans can see past the fact it isn’t an electronic toy.The fact it hasn’t got any batteries does encourage imagination and role-play which is always a good thing. Alfie could be heard making his own sound effects as he played.

As a parent I wouldn’t recommend this to a friend. I felt it was far to expensive for what it offered. Once in the hands of a true Star Wars fan I still couldn’t help but feel somewhat disappointed with the product regardless of the smile it brought to little Alfie’s face.

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Star Wars Darth Maul Lightsaber is available at Toys R Us store.

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Toys R Us Toyologists Review – Hexbug Hive Habitat

If you didn’t know already than you know now.

Myself and the children are official 2012 Toys R Us Toyologists! How cool is that!

Here’s one of our latest reviews by my very gorgeous Little man.

Ok, so first there was my daughter Alice-Sara with her Monopoly Millionaire Review and now it’s the turn of Little man with his review on the Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat.

My son has Aspergers Syndrome and was a child that grew up not playing with many toys as he had difficulties relating to them. However over time his had fun discovering new and exciting toys and I’d say this is one of them. The Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat requires the child to use both imagination and logic when designing and building their chosen layout within the habitat.This means that the child doesn’t become bored very easily as they can customise the environment whenever they want to.With the endless possibilities presented to them the child can become very creative with the Hives contents. 16 pegs, 16 adjustable flags, 2 Merry-go-rounds and one seesaw.

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The Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat is Hexbugs first transportable environment. It’s very light and easy to carry around. It’s really easy to open and with just the click of two buttons the hive opens out to reveal itself.

Despite the fact it’s plastic the Hive is really well made. It’s a multi level environment, separated by a ramp. Little man got lots of enjoyment out of playing with this toy. His spent hours making different layouts, ones that encourage the extremely rare Mutation up the ramp and onto the top level.

There are a few downfalls that I should mention. The pieces are tiny and due to this the child may have difficulties when building the layout (especially if the child has poor fine motor skills like little man). However, he was able to do this it just took him a little longer than “average”.

Little man pointed out that he felt the suggested age of 3 years was much to young. He states this is because of the small parts and worries a child so young may put these in their mouths. For me I think this depends on the child in question and a parent should be able to reasonably make this judgement when buying the Hexbug Hive Habitat for a child so young. It’s my opinion that a child under 5 may need more parental involvement, especially when it comes to fitting the pecs into the holes located in the habitat. This can be quite tricky the first few times but does seem to get easier as the holes for the pegs expand a little the more you use it.

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This is a really great set that will interest both girls and boys. The Hexbug itself is really fast, though this does make it a little noisy! It’s powered by vibration and it’s the speed of this vibration that makes it move around the habitat.

We loved how easy the Habitat was to set up and put away. It unfolds quickly and is really compact and light for easy transportation.

The set can also be expanded upon making the overall environment larger. However, remember extension packs are sold separately.

A great idea for Christmas (but watch out… you may find that dad is just as interested in it than the kids)!

Check it out over at Toys R Us

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