Whac-A-Mole Molehill Mania Game – Review

We were amazingly lucky last week to receive a bumper box of wonderful family board games from Mattel for review.

It’s all part of their Fun Times initiative, which aims to get families together to play games more often. All the games we received for review can be played in a maximum of 20 minutes, so there really is no excuse not to be able to find the time to play.

The first game we played out of the box was Molehill Mania, mainly because they boys opened the box after school and I still had the tea to cook. So they needed to find a simple game they could play together before eating, whilst the food was cooking.

Whac-A-Mole Molehill Mania is the perfect game for such a scenario.

It’s game for 2 players, for players aged 4 and up. Absolutely perfect for my two 5 and 7-year-old boys.

The game is based around the idea of the Whack A Mole machines that you get in arcades. Although this game is quite different to those, the feel is much the same.

Inside the box you get 2 mallets, 11 Moles (5 green,5 blue, 1 red) and a molehill for the moles to jump out of. The best part is the realisation that no batteries are required. Hurrah!

You can play the games in 3 different ways, each needing a bit more skill. Good for as your children get older.

Each game starts the same. Firstly you place all the moles in the molehill. Next both players grab a mallet. When your both ready you simply shout “Go” and start whacking the planks down on the side of the molehill as fast as you can. As you whack the moles will flip out of the molehill onto the floor. Once all the Moles are out then you move onto the next part depending which level of game your playing.

The basic game sees you simply collect 6 moles as fast as you can by whacking down on them with your mallet. Once you have 6 in your mallet, a yellow plastic mole will pop out of the top to indicate you have a full mallet and have won.

In level 2 each player choses to be either blue or green, and you have to whack all of your chosen colour moles as quick as possible. When all your moles are in your mallet then you can whack the red mole to win the game.

In the last level you bring points into the equation, with green moles being 1 point, blue 3, and the red 5. Tallying up your 6 moles at the end of the game to see which player has the most points to win. This way of playing was actually my boys favourite. Although all 3 ways of playing were great fun.

As a parent the things I liked the most about the game was:

  • It was very easy for my sons to set up themselves
  • They both fully understood the rules immediately as it was so simple to explain. So everyone knew what to do.
  • No Batteries
  • Each game only lasts about 2 minutes, so in the 15 minutes I was busy doing dinner they played about 10 rounds and were happy they’d had a good amount of playing time.

 

 

Top Ten Baby Toys for Christmas 2012

Well it’s that time of year again. Time for me to get rubbing at my crystal ball and start predicting what your little darlings would love to see Santa to leave for them underneath the Christmas Tree.

I’m up to my last list already, This time around it’s finally time for the Baby’s!

Check out the other lists here:

Top Ten Boys Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Toddler Toys for Christmas 2012

Top Ten Girls Toys for Christmas 2012

As always the lists aren’t in any sort of order of importance, it’s just the top 10 things that I think will be most appreciated by the littlest of little ones Santa will visit for the very first time this year.

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Dance And Play Puppy

Suitable for babies from 9 – 36 Months

When my youngest was just a little one, he had an earlier version of the Laugh and Learn Puppy which he loved so much.

That’s why I felt compelled to add the new Laugh and Learn Dance and Play Puppy to the list, as he’s the same cute puppy but a lot more livelier.

This loveable pup has two play modes, one educational and one which is plain singing and dancing (with a lot of wiggling)

With easy actions like clapping, and blowing kisses, the Dance & Play puppy encourages baby to play along and copy his actions.

Singing songs about ABC’s, Counting 1-10, Opposites, Manners, Parts of the body. He will keep your baby enthralled for hours.


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Lilliputiens Liz reversible Handbag

Suitable For Any Age

Lilliputiens simply has to be one of my favourite toy brands ever. I could have easily chosen a full top ten just from their range.

Which is probably the reason that this is not the only time they will pop up in this list.

This gorgeous little handbag is just the ticket to stop baby rummaging around your bag and trying to steal your keys and lipstick.

Letting baby have their very own Purse, Keys, Phone and compact mirror is a genius idea. Plus it looks super cute.

Also comes with the lovely Liz soft dolly, who sits inside the front pocket.

Lilliputiens products are designed by mums, with safety very much in mind. All pieces are non toxic and completely safe for all ages.

Lilliputiens Liz Reversible Handbag

Little Tikes Garden Activity Playset

 Recommended age 6 months+

Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t for outdoor play. It’s a babies playhouse, which helps to bring all the fun of the garden indoors.

Hours of giggles will be had by baby in this lovely little playhouse. Then unfold out the sides, and it becomes a two-sided play centre with all round fun.

Amongst the many bits and bobs that will keep baby occupied are the mirror, learning clock, ball shaker, moveable clickable bugs, Moveable lookout telescope, opening shutter windows, shapesorter mailbox, ball drop flowerpot, and a three language interactive telephone.


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Leapfrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

 Recommended age 6 months+

This one isn’t new exactly, it’s been around for over a year, but I still love this and have bought it several times as a gift for others.

Small babies will love simply lifting up the lid of the picnic basket and posting the food inside.

As they grow older  they will start to learn colours, numbers, shapes and much more, all from this friendly picnic basket.


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Scramble Bug

Recommended age 1-3 Years 

The Scramble Bug is unique in that in not only moves forward and backwards, but it also goes sideways, well anyways you want really. Full 360 degree fun.

This freedom of movement mean it’s the ideal first ride on for little ones, just starting to get to grips with pushing and steering themselves around.

Light and easy to carry, the Scramble Bug folds down for compact storage and transportation.

No assembly is required, just unfold out the legs and handle until it looks insect like and your done.


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 Fisher Price Apptivity Case

Recommended Age 6 – 36 months

All kids love playing with mummy and daddy’s gadgets, years gone past it was the TV remote that got most babies attention.

Nowadays though its mummys phone that baby wants to get their sticky mitts on, and who can blame them.

Full of lights, funny sounds, colourful graphics, lots of funny buttons to touch, expensive to replace. Everything a babies looking for in a toy

Well if you want to let little one have  a play around on your iPhone without the tears and tantrums (that’s your tears not theirs) then the Fisher Price Apptivity Case is your answer.

This sturdy case will prevent dribbles, drool, and unwanted calling and app purchasing.

Use with the free to download Laugh and Learn App from the App Store and your baby will be able to enjoy over 75 songs, tunes and phrases. Learning about shapes, letters, animals and numbers.


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 Vtech Tiny Touch Tablet

Recommended Age 6 – 36 months

Staying on the reclaiming gadgets theme. We have the Vtech Tiny Touch Tablet

Obviously styled to look like mummy’s and Daddy’s iPad or Android, the Tiny Touch tablet will probably not fool even the youngest of babies.

However hopefully it will give them something else to enjoy when the iPad is safely out of reach.

Press the light up buttons to hear happy songs, animal noises, abc’s and numbers.

Baby can also pretend to keep in touch with their friends by checking their messages and taking photos.


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Fisher-Price Stroll along walker with Baby’s 1st Doll

Recommended Age 9 months+

This is another product which has been in my top ten for a few years, but I still love it and think it’s a brilliant gift, so it’s going back on again this year.

Combining baby walker and your little girls first dolly and pushchair is a master stroke I think. Fisher Price have got this one exactly right.

The wide wheel base and sturdy handle makes sure that it’s easy for baby to push and move around.

The soft and huggable plush My First Doll fits perfectly in the stroller seat, and baby will love taking her for a walk. All the while honing her walking as she goes.


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(some stores are selling the walker and doll as a set, some and selling them separately. Be sure to check before you buy)

Lilliputiens Little Doctor Set

Recommended Age 9 months+

Second outing for the Lilliputiens team on the list, but I just love this little doctors set so much it just had to be included.

This gorgeous mini doctors bag contains everything your young physician will need, even a little teddy bear patient to practice upon.

The brightly coloured bag has lovely plush versions of 7 essential doctor accessories including: Thermometer, Syringe, stethoscope, medicine pot, blood pressure pump, and a white apron.

Lilliputiens. Little doctors set.

Little People DC Superfriends Batcave

 Recommended Age 1 Year +

It’s never to early to get the kiddos into their superheroes, and with the excellent World of Little People DC Superfriends range they wont need much persuading.

Your baby will have fun for literally hours and hours with this two level playset for these chubby little superheores.

downstairs has an opening garage with door for storing the Batmobile. Upstairs has the landing pad for Robins helicopter.

The ramp down the side with lift off lever means Batman can jump into action and be on duty quick as a flash.

Includes Batman and Robin figures, Helicopter and Batmobile.

Batmobile makes fun sound effects when you push a figure down in the driver’s seat.


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Red Rover Game – Review

Red Rover is a brand new game from Fisher Price, and would make an excellent gift for preschoolers this Christmas.

It features an adorable red talking dog who wears a backpack on his back containing his stash of special bones.

The aim of the game is to scatter the bones all around the room and listen out for which bones Red Rover wants you to bring back to him.

There are 12 bones in all, all with different shapes, colours and letters printed on them. The end of each bone is shaped in such a way that Red Rover will recognise which bone you are placing in his mouth, so will be able to let you know whether you have brought him back the correct bone that he asked for or not.

Depending on your players age and level of ability you can play the game on 2 different difficulty levels. You either go for the younger “puppy dog game” version in which Red Rover will only ask you to bring back different coloured bones, or you can go for the full on “Big Dog Challenge” in which Red Rover will ask for all of the different options of bones (shapes, colours and letters).

My son Jacob who is 3 absolutely loves this game (as you can see from the video below) He goes mad for it, and since we received it last week he has played it at least 4 times a day, either on his own, with me or with his big brother.

It’s great that it’s a game that doesn’t need much setting up, you simply open up Rover’s backpack, spread out the bones and your on your way. Jacob get’s it out several times a day and just sets it all up and starts playing on his own.

It’s also great that there are lots of different ways that you can enjoy the game. When it’s just me and Jacob playing on our own we usually just spread the bones out and play it as more of a memory game than a game of speed. It’s a brilliant way for him to gain confidence with his colours and letters especially.

However when he plays with his big brother Thomas who obviously being that bit older has the advantage over him. I make it more of a hunt by really spreading the bones out and hiding them all around the room. Trying to level the playing field a bit by making it more about the luck of finding rather than knowing the answer, trying to give Jacob a bit more of a chance so Thomas doesn’t win the bone every time.

Whatever way we play the game it always contains lots of laughs and giggles, and everyone always has a great time playing it. There are not that many games that I can think of really suitable for younger players, but this is definitely one of them. I highly recommend it for anyone with a little one around 3-5 , and it would make a perfect christmas gift for them this year.


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Octonauts

Like every mother with a toddler aged child at the moment, I have Octonauts mad children…or should that be Octonuts! Anyway both my 5yr old and 3yr old were instantly taken with this new ocean dwelling team of aqua do gooders.

After a few weeks I have now established that they all live together in the Octopod helping out marine life, but to be honest I’ve no idea why?

Anyhow Thomas and Jacob seem well and truly hooked at the moment, they couldn’t care less why a bunny, kitten, penguin and Polar bear are all living under the sea together. Whilst I think about it, why does Professor Inkling who’s an Octopus, the only one who does live under the sea in real life, live in the Octopod purposely out of the water? No matter I’m probably over thinking things.

The Octonauts were originally a set of 4 books by Meomi, which have now been made into a cartoon series and is later this year to have it’s very own toy range made by Fisher Price.

I wasn’t aware of the book series before we watched the show on Cbeebies, so will make sure to look for it next time we go to the library as the boys will really love to read about Captain Barnacles and the crews adventures before bed. If they go down well i’ll probably buy the set of 4 too.


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I’m off to Toy Fair next week, very excited understandably. If theres any news on the Octonauts toys front I’ll be sure to let you know.

Top 10 Baby toys for Christmas 2010

Here are my predictions for whats going to be the most requested toys from Santa in the Christmas of 2010.

Babies and toddlers are mostly forgotten about when the big toy stores do their Top 10 must have Christmas gift lists. We want to make babies first Christmas special, but don’t want to waste money on toys that are too old or that wont get played with.

So with all that in mind here is the Toybuzz definitive list of perfect baby and pre-toddler friendly gifts, that are guaranteed to put a cheeky smile on your little bundle on Christmas day.

Playmobil 123 Large Farm

Chunky pieces, bold bright colours, with rounded edges, washable, and with no small swallow-able pieces. The Playmobil 123 range of toys are suitable from 1 year old, and are perfect for little hands.

Have fun not only with the animals in the farm, but also playing inside the farmhouse.

Use the winch to transport supplies from outside up to the barn.

This charming farm set will be sure to spark your little ones imagination, and lead to some fun and all important creative play.


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VTech My First Tool Box

This fun Toddler Tool Box is perfect for Budding Bob the Builders and Handy Mannys from 18 months old.

Comes with four chunky tools ideal for those chubby little hands, A saw, Hammer, Screwdriver and Wrench.

Two modes of play help your baby learn Colours, Numbers and Shapes.

The bright lights and colours will also stimulate your babies senses and encourage baby to play and learn.


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Leapfrog Cook and Play Potsy

A good one for the little ones as it’s suitable from only 6 months, Potsy is more than just plastic food.

Potsy will teach your youngster colours, Counting, opposites, food facts and healthy eating and more.

Stirring the pot will make Potsy sing fun songs and rhymes. He also knows whether his lid is on or off.

Log onto the Leapfrog online learning path and you can see how your baby is learning through play, and what you can do to help her progress.


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Baby’s First doll and Pink Stroll Along Walker

One for the girls here and I can’t believe this idea has never been thought of before.

All girls love dollys and babies, and babies love walkers. It gives them independence when there at that stage when they want to be everywhere at once but are still a bit wobbly.

This combination of the two is just a match made in heaven.

The one problem with baby walkers is that once baby can walk confidently they quickly become redundant. However with this Fisher Price Stroller that wont be a concern as it will be loved for a lot longer as your little girls  first toy pushchair.

Theres even a first doll to go with the stroller which is suitable from birth. Which gives your little baby girl lots of time to get to know dolly before she starts pushing her around. The doll is even machine washable.

The doll is officially available separately from the stroller but some retailers are selling the Stroller and doll as a bundle, so be sure to check what your getting.


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Playskool Xplore ‘N’ Grow Ball and Gear Centre

For Jacob’s First Christmas I found it hard to choose between the Playskool Busy Gears set and the Playskool Busy Balls Popper.

In the end I went with the busy gears and he loved it, but now Playskool have made everything easier for parents and combined the too so we no longer have to choose.

Suitable from 9 months old your baby will have loads of fun watching the ball roll down the track and spin round, and will be fascinated by the twirling gears with accompanying lights and music.


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Leapfrog Learn and Groove Activity Centre

Now I know that the Learn and Groove Activity Centre is not a new toy for 2010, but in my opinion it’s still the best baby activity centre out there.

If you have an active baby like I did then this is possibly not only the best gift you can buy for your baby, but also for yourself too. My little boys were never big on sitting, the always wanted to be upright so this was perfect for them. Suitable from around 4 months once they can hold their heads up confidently until walking, your baby will get hours of fun and a great sense of independence from this toy.

It’s also hilarious to watch your 4 month old mixing and scratching at the record decks!


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Smart Trike Deluxe

Another toy that although not totally new this year I still feel deserves to be on here. There are so many incarnations of the Smart Trike now as it’s been so tremendously popular, but I’ve decided to plump for the Smart Trike Deluxe.

This great bike will see your child all the way from 9 month old baby up  to boisterous 3 year old toddler.

This 3 in 1 wonder bike first sees your little ones with a high backed seat, feet on the footrests and being pushed by mum or dad with the parent handle.

Once your now toddler has grasped peddling you can flip up the footrest to reveal the peddles, and then when confident you can finally remove the parent handle and off they go!

This Deluxe version comes with Removable Canopy, Handy bottle / cup  holder, Toy telephone and a bag for keeping all of those baby essentials in.


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Catch Me Car

This cute little car either comes with a friendly mouse driver or a playful rabbit.

Designed to help encourage baby to crawl the car will gleefully ride away from baby when the driver is cuddly driver is placed inside.

Lights, fun music and the brightly coloured fabric help to stimulate baby’s senses, and the different textures and patterns will keep baby amused for hours.

A fun little toy that baby will just love and will have her crawling around in no time.


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Roll ‘n’ Racers Spinning Sounds Speedway

Even though babies may be too small for a full blown garage, this fun car track will do the job nicely.

The raceway comes with two roller-ball cars so both you and baby can enjoy the fun together.

Press the button on the front to activate the spinning racetrack, and then watch as the cars spin around and spill out onto the exit ramp and crash through the chequered flag.


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Amazing Animals Roll Around Treehouse

Suitable for babies from 6 months old, the Amazing Animals Treehouse encourages babies to sit up and play.

Your baby will love playing with the three included chunky animals and really enjoy watching them have a great time sliding down the slide, riding the carousel and see-saw and swinging through the trees.

Each activity the animals do rewards your baby with fun sound effects and tunes.


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Imaginext BigFoot the Monster – Review

I’ll admit now that when I bought the Imaginext BigFoot the Monster for Jacob’s upcoming birthday it wasn’t because he’d been nagging me about him for ages or because he’d seen the tv ad and decided he wanted him, I bought him because I wanted him!

Don’t get me wrong I know Jacob is going to love him, but it was me that really really wanted to get this for him.

BigFoot isn’t exactly cute, but he is a character which little ones are gonna just immediately love. Coming in at just over 14″ tall he’s not exactly full Sasquatch size but he is big for a toy.

As the name suggests he does have big feet (which he sings a nifty little song about) and he also has big hands which he uses when he walks to propel himself along the ground. He also uses them to do handstands, exercises and to play with his favourite toy – the Red Ball.

Bigfoot is operated via remote control, and not just any remote control this one is moulded onto the shape of a Big Foot (geddit?). It’s also the most child friendly remote control I’ve ever seen.

Your toddler will be able to tell exactly what actions Bigfoot will perform when they press the buttons, there’s no reading required it’s all laid out in simple easy to understand pictures.

BigFoot has a huge variety of different moods and actions he can perform, and just like your unpredictable toddler he can flit from one to the other in record time. One minute he’s happily playing with his ball and then he’s having a full blown temper tantrum on the floor, arms and legs kicking and flailing around. I think the kids will identify with this aspect so much and have a great time making him happy one minute then angry the next.

As well as Angry and Happy he also does a good Sad and Frightened, he enjoys playing with his ball, exercising, singing and dancing, doing somersaults and handstands, eating leaves, and like everyone (especially men!) he loves a nice lay down and nap. As well as all of those actions I just mentioned he also has two different variations of all of them, so in fact he really has double the amount. For example if you press the angry button once BigFoot will have give a growl and start grring, but if you hold the button down he will fly into a full blown temper tantrum.

My favourite use of this is when BigFoot goes to sleep. If you hold the button down when he takes a nap he will start dreaming, you can then press all of the other buttons and he will incorporate them into his dream. Like when you press the play ball button and he sings the tune to “Lets all go to the ballgame” or press the scared button and he will have a nightmare.


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Included in the box you get the remote control, a big rechargeable battery with charger, his Red Ball and a plastic leaf for him to chew on.  The remote requires 2 AA batteries and the Big Rechargeable one which is included is for BigFoot. If your planning on giving this as a gift for your little ones I would suggest charging it beforehand as it takes 4 hours to charge. I managed to get it out of the box, charge it and get it back in quite easily.

The 4 hour charge will give you around 2 hours of continuous playtime, this may not seem like much but BigFoot is continually on for all of this time. Even when your not pressing buttons he stands there breathing and panting and then breaks out into all of his little actions sometimes without you pressing anything if you leave him long enough.

There is actually  one thing I don’t really like about BigFoot, the fact he’s not quiet in between button pushes. As soon as he’s finished a routine he will start doing some really heavy breathing, and it’s really disconcerting. I suppose it’s to make him more realistic, he’s a living breathing monster rather than just a toy but it actually creeps me out a bit. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but I wish there was a way to if not turn it off completely just tone it down a bit. Obviously being a birthday present I haven’t shown it to Jacob yet, but I do worry a bit that the breathing  will put him off a bit until he gets used to him

I’ll give this review an update when Jacob finally meets him and let you know how they both got on, Dec 4th is the big day.

If your looking for some more Videos of BigFoot in action check out my Youtube Channel ToybuzzUK, if you check under the Favorites tab you’ll find a BigFoot Cartoon to enjoy as well.  If you have an iPhone you can download your very own BigFoot App from the App Store, it has the cartoon and also an interactive Bigfoot for you to try out and a Maze game where you have to help BigFoot find his ball, and best thing of all it’s free!