ZingZillas Special Offer!

We’ll it was inevitable wasn’t it, but we now have all of the ZingZillas poseable figures!

Thomas had to go to the dentist today, and I promised him a treat if he was good. He choose to have a Drum figure, and as Jacob had been feeling under the weather we bought the Panzee figure too to make him feel better.

We bought them from Early Learning Centre as they have a great offer for ZingZilla fans at the moment. Spend £15 or over on ZingZillas merchandise and get a record bag worth £10 for free!

We had to spend another £5 to take advantage of the offer, so we bought a set of ZingZillas jigsaws, but it was worth it as the bag is really nice and will look great for day trips out and things. Thomas put both of his figures in there and walked home with it on, as he said it made him look cool.


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Toy Train Tables

I’ve already started thinking about Christmas time (OK I know it’s early, but good to make a head start!). When we were in Early Learning Centre recently both of my boys made a beeline for the Thomas the Tank Engine Train Table, so I’ve been considering getting them a nice train set to share.

The Thomas the Tank Engine set from the Early Learning Centre is stunning and has lots to keep two little boys occupied.

However the cost is a factor, it is a lot of money for a train set. The table and train set have to be purchased separately. You could use any set with the play table, but this is the one which is set up in the stores so I know my sons would be expecting this one.


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If your little one is a mad Thomas fan then this would be an amazing gift. However although my sons like Thomas and appreciate the styling I don’t think I need to pay the extra for it, they’d be just as happy with another set.

Another possibility is the Step 2 Deluxe Canyon and Train Track Table, an ingeniously designed table which takes cars and trains in its inbuilt recessed track.

The immediate appeal of this table is that the track and various bridges are moulded into the table, so no more putting pieces back together ever again (hurray!!).

Another great feature is the wipe clean hardboard lid, which means it can be used as an activity table for drawing activities and games etc. The lid also means that all the car’s and trains can be left on the tracks and just covered over, ready for another day’s play tomorrow with no more searching around for lost locomotives (hurray again!!!).

The set does come with 3 basic trains and cars, however most major types like Thomas, Brio and Hotwheels are all compatible.


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Another possible contender in the train table stakes is Toys R Us’s own City Train Table and Railway Set . A great looking set that would undoubtedly make an impressive Christmas present.

The set includes over 100 pieces including trains, trucks, people, trees and a helicopter, and 23 feet of track. This is also the first table I’ve seen to have electronic lights and sounds.

I like the idea of the big drawer at the front to keep all the pieces in, however I’m not sure I want to put the thing together every day.

Again this set works with all the other major types of trains like Brio and Thomas Tank.

And where would a page about wooden train sets be without a mention of the almighty Brio. I’ve got a real infatuation with Brio trains for some reason, and really have my heart set on getting my son’s one (although I’m really tempted by the Step 2).

I really like the simplicity of this train table and set, I’m sure that it would take only a few minutes to set up everyday.

I’m also swayed by the way that I could purchase the smallest set first whilst they are younger and then add on new pieces year on year.

Also from Brio is their new Set’s aimed at toddlers featuring Disney characters.

This beautiful Mickey Mouse Clubhouse styled train set would definitely be a big hit with my two boys, they love Mickey!

As you can see the clubhouse part is removable with a netting bag underneath for keeping all your pieces together.


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Also available in the new Disney range is a set of My Friends Tigger and Pooh Train Sets.


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Decisions, Decisions. I bet you can’t believe that there is so much choice in Train Set Tables. Going to have to go and have a good think about it!

Do Play with your food

 

My most treasured toy when I was a little girl was the Al A Carte kitchen. Do you remember the advert with the girl making swiss roll and beans for her daddy, I loved that kitchen.

I think every child should have a toy kitchen when growing up, even if it’s just one of those small hobs if you haven’t got the space for a full kitchen. The fun of the kitchen is pretending to make the food, thinking up all the strange combinations. My son brought me gherkins and grapes pizza recently, lovely!

So I’ve been having a look around at all the different types of pretend food on the market, and there’s a lot more than there was in my day (oh I sound so old). Wooden play food is something that wasn’t around when I was younger but I think it’s marvelous, with brighter colours and being so hard waring it always looks so much better than the plastic kind. 

A new feature that keeps popping up in a lot of the products is Velcro. Being able to cut up and slice food and then stick it back together again afterwards is great fun. Thomas and Jacob both love the food that we have with Velcro, like a block of butter with a small piece at the end that can be cut off and fried in a pan then stuck back on.

Thomas is endlessly making me sandwiches, or super sandwiches as he calls them. There’s a few adorable sandwich kit’s out there, the Toy Shop Soft Baguette is real fun with slices of salami, cheese and lettuce in a soft baguette roll. Equally scrumptious is the Wooden Cut and Play Sandwich Set from Early Learning Centre. Coming with Slices of bread and a roll, you can decide which one you’d prefer for your pretend snack. Also includes slices of cheese, egg and gherkin and a little pot of jam.

I saw this in toy in the Early Learning Centre yesterday and thought it was inspired, a set of tins with a can opener that actually works! This is definitely going to be purchased for my son’s kitchen (just played with by me).

Something for the mums here, fancy a nice cup of tea? well your little one will be needing these. Coming in a lovely painted tin these four wooden drawstring teabags are sure to be your cup of tea! 

How about some delicious cakes with your tea they look exceedingly good. This set of 9 Petit Fours look amazing and delicious!

If you think they look good, take a look at this set of wooden ice creams. They are just so cute and would be brilliant being sold in a pretend shop or cafe. I love the fact that there’s different varieties of ice cream and also the lovely holder they come in.

Talking of shops there is also a few market stall products around that I’ve noticed, two lovely ones being Daisy’s Market Stall and the Santoys Wooden Market Stall. Both are perfect for setting up your child as the next Ian Beale, with their own fruit and veg stall. Crates of vegetables can be bought and stacked along the shelves. Good educational value to be had as well, if you include a cash register and the buying and selling of the food.

There is so much fun and interesting play food available I could write about it forever and ever, fortunately for you I won’t. I will just leave you with another one of my sons latest gourmet taste combinations, Broccoli on waffles anyone?

Early Learning Centre Mobile Moon Base Review

Thomas received this as a gift from a friend when he was 2 years old and it was an instant hit and is still being played with today.

The moon base comes with a mobile unit, two spacemen, a robot and a space rock digger. 

The digger connects on to the front of the mobile unit and can pull it along.

The unit unclasps at the top and you pull down two flaps which act as a set of stairs and a solar panel. Inside is a computer screen and plenty of moulded things like coffee cups and there’s  plenty of room for the three figures. On the outside is a movable satellite dish.

The doors on the moon unit clip onto the sides but regularly fall off. This can be very frustrating for little ones as it needs a bit of force to put them back on. It’s easy enough for an adult to do, but you will be called upon a lot to do it.

The space digger has a shovel on the front and a space for a driver. There are no space rocks included in the set for the digger to collect, which would have been nice. My son found some small blocks that we used instead.


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My son went through a Lunar Jim phase about a year ago and this set complements those figures perfectly.

There are no sound effects and no flashing lights with this set which makes it a real delight, it’s just pure imagination.

In my opinion for the price of this set it’s great value for money, although a few more accessories like rocks or maybe an alien would have completed the set.

Currently Early Learning Centre are offering the Mobile Moon Base for just free when you purchase the Lift Off Rocket for £40.00, just put both items into your basket and it will amend the price at checkout. The Lift Off Rocket works really well with the Moon Base and also includes an alien in a crater , just what the Moon Base is missing.

I think this is a great deal and if you want the Moon base you should consider the extra to get the Lift Off Rocket too.

Review – ELC Light and Sound Fire Engine

Looking for a present for my one year old last christmas I came across this charming fire engine from the Early Learning Centre, and he was very pleased with it on christmas morning.

This is a really good toy for little ones, it’s perfect for small hands with everything being chunky and easy to move. My son loves moving the crane up and down, and I was surprised by the ease that he could do it even at only 12 months.

It comes with 3 chubby firemen which sit snugly in the front of the engine and one in the top of the crane, there held in by a peg so you have to press them down quite hard and my son hasn’t quite got the hang of that yet but it’ll come. When you press in the two fire men at the front, one say’s “full speed it’s an emergency” and the other say’s “all hands to the pump”.

There is a pull down hatch on the one side which houses a hose on a reel, which makes a gushing water noise when spun. My little one just sits and spins the wheel for ages. Also inside is 4 colourful push buttons which make authentic noises of a ringing phone, Fire alarm bell, old style neh-nor fire engine noise and a great sound of the hydraulic crane going up. There is also another pull down hatch on the other side and this contains decorative spades and water tanks, no noises on this side.

At the front end of the engine where the driver sits are two buttons, one makes an engine starting noise and the other an alarm. The alarm noise also starts when you move the engine and makes a screechy brakes sound when you stop.


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The noises it makes are really realistic my mother even thought that there was a real fire engine outside when she heard it, she didn’t believe it was from the toy.

There is two volume settings but in my opinion even the low volume is loud enough, I don’t think i’d need to use the loud setting even if I lived on the Heathrow airport runway. That said there’s always the off button but that’s bit mean.

The only down point I might make is that it does make a noise with any move and I mean any move however slight ,sometimes a bit annoying when you’re tidying up in the night and it starts going off  but i overlook it as he loves it so much.

My older son is three and a half and too be honest doesn’t seem overly fussed with it and doesn’t take much of an intrest, he tells me it’s a baby toy although I have seen him playing slyly when he thinks no ones looking. I would say that 2 would probably be the perfect age for this toy as then they start to have some imaginative play and would probably begin to get a bit more out of it.

All in all i’m really pleased with the Light and Sound Fire Engine, and even though he can use it perfectly well now I can’t wait until he’s a bit older and can have some really good fun times putting out some pretend fires.