Archives For toys

Polly Pocket Playset

Christmas is coming….

My daughter enjoys this type of toy. While playing she is in a little pretend land, ruler of the Polly Pockets! I like overhearing her, enjoying imaginative play.

This is the second play Set we have looked at with Christmas coming up and this one does not have the new suction cups on the bottoms of the dolls and some play items. I did like those because the dolls stay up. Yet this one has a spot to tuck the Polly’s feet into so she stands. That works too. Each set has a number of little things to do, so that’s nice. The pet one seemed to really engage my daughter. I liked all the little pets and treats.

This one folds up somewhat but not entirely into a case. I would love if they would totally fold up into themselves. But this stays together pretty well and keeps all the little pieces inside.

I think this is a cute gift for a little girl from about 6-11.

You can see all the sets on the Polly Pocket website:

We also got a CD with some Polly Pocket short clips. You can see these and play on the site as well. I was a bit worried that the clips show unrealistic roller skating. Hopefully, kids realize they don’t need to go that fast? My daughter however, put her skates on and went to skate.

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mattel Polly Pocket. I received a product samples and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.”

Polly Pocket Upgrades!

Heather —  August 7, 2012

Polly Pocket updates their toy line…

What’s better than hanging out at the pool in the heat of August?

Playing with your dolls! In this case, the Polly Pocket Hangout House Playset and Polly Pocket Stick N Play Room Assortment. At least, that’s what this girl says.

And, if you do go out, these new Polly Pocket sets can go too. They have little suction cups on all the dolls and accessories. It is funny, but they work!

I like that my daughter is not frustrated by the dolls falling over and we are not losing little pieces. I think it’s a good upgrade. The dolls are a bit bigger too. They are still little but not as teeny.

Polly pocket2

cute toy, and all the items stick, so kids can design things and not lose them.

You can play some games and see the sets on the Polly Pocket Website. (turn the sound down or any little girls within 50 feet will come running…)




*I know, they are not super eco-friendly. But she loves these!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mattel Polly Pocket. I received a product samples and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.”

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Heather —  June 20, 2012

Ready to flick, stack, spin and attack? Then you need some Bonkazonks.

Whoa. I had no idea these little things could do so much. In fact, I think they are kind of silly. Not the most eco-friendly toy either, I am thinking, unless they are made out of recycled plastic or something…

Still. My Kids like these things. Go figure. I asked to do a review of Bonkazonks because I was curious about them and my kids are into anything with The Avengers right now.

So what are they? Well, Bonkazonks are little (like 1.5 inches tall) collectible stunt toys from Hasbro that feature marvel super hero designs. Kids can play live stunt games (flicking them and building with them and spinning them) or online with them at and they come with cards that feature extra stunt things to do. There are over 100 to choose from and are sold in various sets.

We got a face case starter set, with 4 characters

My kids thought they were hilarious and had plenty of fun with them. Note: for ages 5 and up (they are small).

Bottom line? If you have collectible loving kids these are fun for them!

*I received a Bonkazonks Marvel Characters Face Case in order to do this review. I was not compensated in any other way and have given my honest opinion.

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Nan makes Christmas magical every year for 10 grandchildren

Directly from Nana’s Desk, this post is brilliant!

Included, find all sorts of wonderful tips on choosing gifts for your grandchildren. Moms, you may even get an idea or two. (I did!)

Nan’s Tips:

  • Shop with age as a constant guide
  • Remember who your child or grandchild “is” – not all boys like blocks or trucks and not all girls like dolls and bows! Some boys would rather be in-motion all day, others need breaks and are happy to sit and play a game or read a book. Same for the little ladies!
  • Find out what characters/movies are the current favorites! This is an instant route to gift success. If your child is smitten with a recent character from a movie, chances are there 100s of products to choose from for both gifts and stocking stuffers.

“If your child loves a “character” (from Mickey Mouse to Cars) consider a shirt or PJs featuring that character. (This year we’re gifting a “Fireman Sam” long-sleeve tee. Not happy with online prices, we purchased a tee shirt -at least 50% cotton to take the high iron settings required and a package of iron-on transfer paper at Walmart. Finding a suitable image was simple with a Google image search. Just be cautious in watching heat if you’ve got a white tee – it can scorch easily. And don’t forget the image with be reversed! If your image includes a name be SURE the letters are backwards as you look at it since it will be placed face-down on the fabric!)”

  • Read reviews by Moms!

“I was going to buy a Big Wheels bike for a 2 ½ yr old but too many real Mom reviews said it was disappointingly too big for kids under 3, even with the addition of “blocks” on pedals!”

  • ALWAYS check price online several places and remember to factor in shipping! (One site had a fantastic deal on the toy but shipping was triple another site with only a slightly higher toy cost!)
  • ALWAYS assume you can get it for a better price! Check eBay, Amazon, GameStop, Craigslist, coupon sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, etc. – and used doesn’t have to be a negative – just be a careful and logical shopper.

“Often, items such as a smocked Christmas dress for a toddler have only been worn once and are in near perfect shape at a much better price! We have successfully shopped for everything from used Thomas trains to holiday dresses and dolls. One Christmas, an eBay American Girl doll was paired with a certificate for an American Girl doll-hospital visit. We received the doll well before Christmas and sent her for clean-up and repair. She was given a new “do” with shampooed hair and clean face; the owner had been the head doll repair person at the main American Girl store for years! Just be sure to check references and credentials.”

  • Don’t forget “Experience” gifts! A trip or weekend with Grandma can include a visit to a playground followed by ice cream or grow to include a hotel and admission to a near-by kids museum. Your own “Coupons” for these can be printed with free online graphics or photos and packaged with a small toy to bring/use on the special weekend.

“We have gifted trips to the Aquarium, Science Museum, and Train depot with a short ride on Amtrak + a train book to read together. A photo album afterwards provides a lasting history of the experience.”

  • Don’t overlook spreading out the “hit” to your pocketbook; give a “Club” gift you create for your child or grandchild monthly.

“A special Gift Notification announcing the “Club” membership can be printed (with a certificate and/or toy for the first month’s treat.) Depending on location, make it as personal as possible because of location-
For example:
For a 5-10 year old granddaughter, it could be membership in the “Ladies Club” and include a pedicure (either professional or done by you with special “tools” and polish), a visit to a specialty shop for a bow or bracelet, etc, a child’s book on manners (check Amazon and Amazon reviews for age appropriate books) followed by lunch at a very fancy restaurant.
Grandsons can be members of the “Tough Truck” club and go to a toy store (or Walmart) pick out a toy truck and head to a skate park (on off hours only please!) to “drive” their vehicles down the skate ramps and bulldozers and sand boxes at the park are always a hit. If you are a grandparent living at a distance, gifts can still be mailed for Mom and grandchild to do together.”

  • Magazine  & Website Subscriptions appropriate for the child’s age continue to “give” all year.

“If your child loves nature for example, consider a subscription to a nature magazine such as National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick ($15) – or National Geographic for Kids ($15) –
Or website options like the activity site for young learners –Enchanted Learning or BrainPop  –
Don’t forget, free kids websites like PBS – can be explored together, too – particularly if your child or grandchild is near-by, watch an online video together (such as PBS videos) and follow up with a related activity or craft.”

  • Don’t overlook books and/or a book club you put together for monthly arrivals.

“For grands who live at a distance, you can include an opportunity to read together online with Skype or purchased Skype credits for International calls. Just be sure if you are making “mom” work for this gift, it is not an imposition! And always check a good time on their end; no point in interrupting a nap Mom was looking forward to all day!”

  • Check out Amazons Top Toy list by age and gender as well as independent toy review and award sites online, like the following:
  1. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio –
  2. Parents’ Choice –
  3. FatBrain Toys –
  4. National Parenting Publications Awards  –
  5. Dr Toy Awards –
  6. The Noise on Toys –

(scroll down on this last one for a good list of award organization!)

  • Toys you’d better think twice about make that ten times about before gifting!
  1. Musical instruments, particularly drums!
  2. “messy” toys such as art supplies, PlayDoh, cooking toys (if art is a favorite pastime, look into no-mess products such as Crayola’s Color Wonder with markers that write only on special paper or tub markers or crayons)
  3. Toys that require someone else to work to get a project or kit done (model kits and science experiments can be great but who is completing or overseeing this? If someone else has to take on a responsibility for your “gift” be careful they really want to do that!)
  4. Anything alive! including puppies, kitties and fish – unless you want to be the topic of conversation for every holiday to come, it’s not a good idea to make your grandchild’s parents hate you!
  5. Video games that are violent or not age appropriate (even if the child says they “need” it)

Watch for more Holiday Gift Guide Articles!



Surprisingly Fun!!

This game is so fun! All of us like it. I like that it has a soft sound level and it can be played with another or solo. The actual toy seems very sturdy and the voice giving the commands is just amusing.

For those who haven’t tried the orginal Bop-It, this game is hysterical. The game gives you commands to Bop it, Twist it, Pull it, Spin it, Flick it and Shake it! And each time you get a command correct, you get another command and the game goes even faster. The music is catchy as well!

This seems so simple and yet it is so fun.

I recommend for ages 6 and up, although the box says 8, Em loves this!

Approximate retail price: $24.99. (Includes 3 “AAA” batteries). See more on Hasbro Games.

Available on Amazon right now for $18!  Bop It XT

I get to give one away! Some little (or big) child will love this game!

To enter to win a Bop-It XT, click on Continue Reading! Continue Reading…

Stocking Stuffer ALERT*

Well, here’s another one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” items for kids! Doodle Roll is a simple, portable coloring set for kids to use all over the place.  You can easily use at a restaurant, when traveling, or just when your child wants to color.

My kid loves it. She already played with it at home and brought it in the car recently.

I say simple, because it is. This is a little roll of paper and crayons packed into a little holder/dispenser. The paper rolls out, a little at a time, for kids to draw. Seriously, this is one of those things …like kids playing with a box. Sometimes less is more when it comes to helping kids express their creativity!

I actually quit buying coloring books last year when my Artist son mentioned to me that there are some studies out that show children actually draw more lifelike representations of items when they are raised doing freestyle drawings, rather than coloring stuff in. No joke!  So, when left on their own, they access the right side of the brain more. Cool. So, I like that Doodle Roll is blank, waiting for my Em’s creations.

I like the sizes available, a small one that is super easy to pop into my purse (4” Doodle Roll) and a larger one just because they can, I guess (6” Doodle Roll). The regular crayons are fine, and they have added double sided crayons in our pack. They did mention they are upgrading the paper dispenser, which I think is good, although I really think the one we got is fine for the cost.

I also like that these are a reasonable cost. At $3.99 for the 4” roll w/4 crayons, and $5.99 for the 6”roll w/8 crayons, this makes a cute stocking stuffer or little gift for a child. This would even make a nice party favor. You could roll the paper out and let kids make banners together or something like that, also.

Hmmm. Just very creative! And others must agree with me, because they have won a bunch of awards, such as Dr. Toy.

I get to give a Doodle Roll set away! Enter by rafflecopter, by clicking on MORE below!

Continue Reading…

Create and then work with your creations

Mega Bloks and the Blok Squad have a mission for kids ages 5 and up!

Build and then play, completing work “missions” and you are the hero. These new playsets from Mega Bloks are for your little builder who is looking for more of a challenge than micro and mini blocks and who have a little patience and curiosity.

The kit I got from Team Mom to review is the Blok Squad Construction Site Set. The value is great at $9.99. I have paid WAY more for building sets before and some of the details and plastic seemed a bit nicer, but again, $9.99? For a whole set? That is great. This particular set has 218 pieces-that is a lot of little pieces! But, for a building kid, it is a fun time.

These buildable playsets come with themes of everyday heroes like fire patrol, police, construction.

For this price, you can be a hero and so can your little one!

For more info about Blok Squad Playsets and — be sure to check out the family club (coupons and birthday promotions!) visit:

Available at Toys “R” Us, and Walmart, also online at, and

I received a Blok Squad playset for our review for Team Mom. I have received no other compensation and have given my honest opinion.