Vtech Kiddizoom Action Cam – Review

Last Wednesday the Toybuzz clan headed out on an adventure to London.

We travelled to White Grounds Skate Park, near London Bridge, in search of the new Vtech Kiddizoom Action Cam.

The new Kiddizoom Action Cam is roughly described as a Kid friendly version of the Go Pro. However don’t let the kid tag put you off,  it still packs quite a punch in the tech department.

At the skate park all the young adrenaline junkies invited choose their weapon of choice from the available scooters, skateboards and bikes. All came pre equipped with an Action Cam for capturing all the action.

We were joined for the day by  a few of the boys from Team Extreme, a professional team of Bmx, skateboard, and scooter performers.

After the boys had put on an awesome display of skills for the kids, they gave all the different groups a skills workshop.

My boys Thomas and Jacob had both chosen scooters, and had a great time racing up and down the skate park in a time trial. Thomas even learned how to do a bunny hop. Admittedly he didn’t jump as high as Team Extreme, but he’s been practicing ever since.

Everyone had a great time at the Skate Park, and thanks to the Action Cam we have the onboard footage to prove it.

The Kiddizoom Action Cam comes with everything you need to get some thrilling action shots and videos of your young daredevil.

This Picture of Team Extreme was taken by Jacob on the Action Cam

You get two different camera mounts. One attach’s easily to your scooter or bike’s frame, and the other has an adhesive bottom which is perfect for using on skateboards or as we have done, jacob’s bike helmet.

Theres also a wriststrap, and most excitedly for us an underwater camera case. How awesome is that!

We can’t wait for the summer now so we can head to the beach and take some underwater photos and movies.

 

Although not pro-photographer standard, I’ve been impressed by the photos and video captured by my boys.

Ok so it’s not really a Go-Pro, but for a start it’s at least half the price of the cheapest Go Pro I could find online with an RRP of £49.99.

Plus it comes with all the mounts, straps, and the waterproof case for that amount.

It’s incredibly easy to use, plus it even has a few inbuilt games to keep the kids amused for a while on the way to wherever your going to film.

I would throughly recommend the Kiddizoom Action Cam as a good way to let kids imaginations run wild while out on their scooters and bikes, and in the fresh air.

 

Disclosure: We were invited to the event and given an Action Cam for review by Vtech. All opinions however are my own and honest and unbiased.

 

Kiddizoom Smart Watch – Review

This time last week I was busy watching my boys climbing around in the trees, negotiating rope bridges and flying down zip wires, all the while filming their exploits on their brand new Kiddizoom Smart Watches courtesy of Vtech.

We had an amazing Day at Go Ape! Black Forest Park putting the Kiddizoom Smart Watch through its paces.

Vtech had planned a brilliantly fun range of tasks for the children to attempt whilst moving along the treetop course.

As they made their way along the obstacles they had challenges like “pull a cheeky monkey face” , “Film yourself howling like tarzan on the zip line”, and “Take a selfie on the balancing beam”.

My boys both loved their new Kiddizoom Smartwatches, which have the ability to take photos, movies, play games, record voice memos, and obviously help them tell the time.

The quality of the photos isn’t going to be rivaling your iPhone, but it’s a lot better than I was expecting. For a comparison the last Kiddizoom camera I used was the Kiddizoom Video Camera, and the video and photo quality are much improved over this. Thomas took his watch to school to show his friends yesterday, and I was actually surprised how good some of the pictures he took were.

The watches are charged by connecting it up to a computer by the included USB cable, so hurray no batteries.

When your charging the device you can also easily retrieve the photos and videos from the camera watch and put them onto your computer desktop. Thomas has already changed his desktop picture to one of the photos he took on the day from his watch.

Don’t take our word for it either, the Kiddizoom Smart Watch has today been announced as one of the Toy Retailers Association’s Top 12 Dream Toys of 2014.

The watch is available in three colours, Pink, the usual Kiddizoom Blue, and a gorgeous white version.

Both my boys picked white, and I was really glad they did. The white looks more grown up, and for me makes the watch look a bit less kiddy and much more fashionable. I would recommend the blue or pink for younger children, and probably the white from aged 7 upwards for this reason.

Thomas thinks he’s a mini Tim Cook from Apple wearing his Kiddizoom Smart Watch, he’s thrilled with the reaction he’s been getting from his friends whilst wearing it.

The touchscreen is responsive, and makes the inbuilt games like Finger Dance (my boys fave) and rotating puzzle really fun.

Even though the games are small and simple they’ve come into there own when the boys are bored in the car, or waiting in the supermarket, or going on the bus to town.

The cool thing with the rotating puzzle game is that any photos you take with the camera can randomly appear as a puzzle in the game along with the default pictures.

Jacob has even taken to amusing himself with the stop watch function. Timing how long it takes for me to drag him around Sainsburys, and how long it takes to walk to school.

With an RRP of £39.99 I think that it’s a brilliant value for money toy, and if you shop around you can almost certainly find it cheaper at the moment. However that’s if you can find it, as I can see it selling out rather quickly now due to its appearance on the Dream Toys top 12. My advice would be to buy early and beat the rush.

Perhaps the only thing missing would be a mp3 player and headphone socket. This would be the killer addition, however probably impossible considering for its size I’m surprised they managed to fit in a camera and video recorder. It’d be nice for the next model though :)

Thanks so much to Vtech Toys for arranging such an amazing day out, and for letting us try out these awesome Kiddizoom Smart Watches.

 

VTech Short Story Competition

VTech have launched a short story competition to celebrate the launch of their newest gadget – InnoTab MAX

VTech are challenging children from 4-8 to write a short story of 500 words or less about absolutely anything. The winning story will be published as an InnoTab E-Book.

The competition is open for entry from Monday 6th October 2014, and closes on Wednesday 22nd October 2014. Entrants can enter as many stories as they like.

The stories will be judged by Best Selling Children’s author Terry Deary, known for his gruesome ‘Horrible Histories’ series.

The writer of the winning story will see their story turned into a downloadable InnoTab E-Book, and receive a brand new InnoTab MAX to read it on. Six Runners up will also receive an InnoTab MAX.

To be in with your chance of winning, simply send your entries to InnoTabMAX@grayling.com by Wednesday 22nd October 2014. Winners will be announced later in November.

For more information on InnoTab MAX and the full VTech range, visit www.vtech.co.uk

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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InnoTab2 – Review

The InnoTab2 from Vtech is the second iteration of last years best-selling InnoTab.

Initially I was surprised that Vtech brought out an update to the InnoTab so quickly, but after playing around with the InnoTab2 for a while I can appreciate the changes Vtech have made for the better.

The InnoTab2 is Vtechs take on a children’s version of their parents Tablet. It has a 5mp camera/Video recorder, Touch screen and g-sensor, plus kid friendly versions of mum and dad apps Notes, Calendar and Contacts which now becomes friends.

Differences Between InnoTab and InnoTab2

The first main difference between the two models is the size. Although both boast a 5inch screen, the InnoTab 2 has a smaller outer casing surrounding the screen, and is also lighter than the original. For my youngest the size and shape are just right. He can still hold it securely, but the lightness make it easier for him to use and move around.

The next innovation is the new rotating camera, like the one on the Kiddizoom Twist. One swivel of the camera and you can go from taking photos of your friends to a self-portrait in an instant. I was surprised how much Jacob enjoyed this feature, he’s been taking photo after photo for his profile page, trying to get his best side.

There is also a button to go directly to the camera app now, which whilst handy doesn’t really save that much time. Although you can get to the camera without signing in, if you’ve just turned the InnoTab on.

The Camera and Video Recorder are 1.3mp, which doesn’t sound like much but actually looks surprisingly good. Well on the InnoTab screen anyway. I haven’t downloaded any onto my computer yet.

Jacob and his brother love making videos, so the InnoTab2’s recording capabilities have been well-tested. They both loved using it and set about filming the ABNN (Angry Birds News Network) with no help from me. Although 1.3mp dosn’t sound great, it’s enough for the kids. They are used to filming on the Kiddizoom Video which although it has a 2MP camera, I think (and they agree) that the InnoTab2 looks better.


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Apps

Included pre-loaded on the InnoTab2 are:

  • An E-Reader – Doesn’t come with any books though. You’ll need to download these from the Learning Lodge
  • Games – Comes with one preloaded game, all others need to be downloaded from the Learning Lodge or purchase the cartridge
  • Art Studio – Colouring program with effects and stickers to use (You need to register your InnoTab2 to use this)
  • Notes – Cute little App that looks and works just like Notes on your iPhone or Android
  • Photos – View the Photos you’ve taken or uploaded
  • Videos – View your videos you’ve filmed or uploaded. Plus you can download premium videos like Octonauts and Peppa Pig from the Learning Lodge
  • Music – MP3 player where you can listen to your own music or download some from the Learning Lodge
  • Calculator – Kid friendly calc which whilst practical is also fun to look at and use
  • Clock – Tells the time, and also has a stopwatch feature
  • Calendar – Cute kiddie calendar which is pictured above. You can drag the picture icons onto important dates, and write up future event details.
  • Read, Play & Create cartridge – This comes with every InnoTab2 and has a colouring book application, interactive e-book, and an augmented reality alien game which is a lot like face raiders, it’s very fun.

Vtech Learning Lodge Navigator

The Learning Lodge Navigator is Vtech’s Hub from which you can register your devices, follow your childs progress through the games and apps, plus download games, music and videos.

Just for registering your InnoTab 2 you get 5 free downloads from the store, although these are only from Vtechs own apps, not the premium videos and Ebooks.

With our free downloads we choose Shopping Spree (an old favourite from the Mobigo) Chameleon Escape, Globe, Letter Pooch (a handwriting game) and colouring book.

My suggestion is to not waste your free download on colouring book as it is a not so good version of the colouring book you get on the cartridge with your InnoTab2.

I’ve always found the Learning Lodge Navigator easy to use, and with most apps costing around £2.99 it’s good value for money in my opinion.

If for some reason you delete an app by mistake it’s quick and simple to re-download to your InnoTab2.

Cartridge Games

As always with Vtech there is a wide array of games available with all the licensed characters that your little ones will be looking for. Even though the InnoTab2 has only just been released all the original InnoTab cartridges are compatible, and there are new games being released all the time. Hello Kitty, Scooby Doo, Disney Princess, Cars, SpongeBob are just some of the characters available on InnoTab software.


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 Great for the young ones

In short I think the InnoTab2 is a great for younger children. I’d say best for 4-7 year old is perfect. Any older and I think you would be better off with a proper child friendly tablet like a Kurio, but with all the MP3, Video player, camera and game capabilities, the InnoTab2 will certainly be popular and well-loved until the time comes for that.

 

 

 

 

Vtech MobiGo Touch – Review

The MobiGo Touch from Vtech is the latest in a long line of Vtech handheld children’s educational gaming consoles. Like the V Smile Pocket and V Smile Cyber Pocket before it, the Vtech MobiGo is a brilliant first games system for toddlers, it does however have some brand new features which really add to the fun and bring it bang up to date.

For starters the MobiGo has a touch screen, which makes it perfect for tiny little hands. Children instinctively try to touch the images on the screen anyway, so with the MobiGo they can play immediately with practically no instruction.

The second feature is the slide up screen, which then reveals a full qwerty keyboard. Thomas’ favourite game on his Cyber Pocket has always been Scooby Doo Funland Frenzy, and he has learnt a lot about letters from this game. The only problem was with no keyboard you needed to press the coloured buttons on the console when you saw the correct letters, which wasn’t perfect although for the time it did work well. Having the full keyboard is so much better, and in the games that we’ve tried like Shrek’s Cave adventures and Vroom Broom, typing the letters is so much easier. Also I realised not only is Thomas learning reading and spelling skills, but also computer skills as the letters on the keyboard are laid out exactly like they are on your laptop or home computer keyboard.

The console comes with one game included – Shrek Forever After, which in itself is split into a series of eight mini games. Each of the games either uses the touch screen, the keyboard or sometimes both. There are tons of variety in all the different activities, and lots of learning opportunities. Everything from counting how many bowling pins you’ve knocked down, to remembering which painting has been covered over. In all fairness the Shrek game doesn’t feel much like a game, and more like a sampler as to what the MobiGo can do. That’s why I feel it’s a good title to be bundled in with the device, but I would expect more from the other titles that I subsequently bought.

In addition to the traditional boxed games you can purchase, you can also download titles from Vtech’s Learning Lodge. Learning Lodge is a free downloadable program which helps you track your child’s progress through the games they play on the MobiGo.

You can also download free or relatively cheap mini games which are stored onto your consoles memory. Jacob in fact prefers these smaller games, to the main Shrek cartridge and always plays either a shopping Cart game, or a colouring book one.

The only problem with these downloaded games is that when you turn off the console, the games disappear from the memory and have to be transferred onto your Mobigo again. It dosn’t take 5 minutes to do, and you don’t need to pay again only copy the games over, but it is annoying. To prevent this from happening you’ll need to purchase a MobiGo Game Storage Card, the card comes with 10 preloaded games and can store 30+ downloaded games from the Learning Lodge. In my opinion it is well worth investing in this card to stop the games disappearing every time you power down, so I will definitely be getting one of these.

The catalogue of games available for the MobiGo is very impressive, with lots of games to keep both the boys and girl happy like Disney Fairies, Toy Story 3, Cars, Ben 10, Disney Tangled and Super Hero Squad.

Thomas has put in requests for Super Hero Squad and Ben 10 for his birthday, and although I’m sure Jacob would love the Mater Carstoon game I think he’s perfectly happy with his Shopping Cart adventures at the moment. Now just got to get him a storage card for his favourite game, or should that be get me a storage card to save me a bit time!


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Battle of the Kiddie iPad’s – LeapPad Explorer vs InnoPad

This autumn will see the launch of two new tablet computers onto the scene. These 2 however aren’t the new Apple or Microsoft models, no these are the latest kid friendly techno-toys from children’s educational gadget specialists Leapfrog and V-Tech.

The LeapPad Explorer is Leapfrog’s offering, a children’s learning tablet. The new device will be launching with an amazing 100+ titles available, consisting of e-books, games, videos, flash cards and more.

The LeapPad explorer will come with a built in camera, video recorder, microphone and Animation studio software. The 5″ colour touch screen will also feature a tilt sensor for games playing.

The LeapPad’s competitor for that coveted place on your kiddies Christmas list will be Vtech’s InnoPad.

The InnoPad is also a mini me version of mummy and daddy’s tablet computer.

Like the LeapPad Explorer, it will also have a 5″ colour touch screen but also some of it’s own innovative features like an MP3 player and personal voice alarm clock.

There will be no integrated camera in the InnoPad, but it will be fully compatiable with the Vtech Kidizoom 3D and Vtech Kidizoom Twist cameras.

Which device will win the race? I’m not quite sure until we’ve seen the finished devices I think it’s anyones game. I do think however Santa will be keeping close tabs on the outcome, as one of these two gadgets is bound to be the hottest toy for Christmas 2011!


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Dream Toys 2010

Yesterday saw the Toy Retailers Association announce it’s annual list of Dream Toys.

The TRA complied their predictions of the Top 12 toys in 7 different categories, and then the best from all the list were combined to create the Dream Dozen.

I was pleased to see plenty of my favourite products making it onto the Dream Dozen, like the Lego City Airport, Kidizoom Videocam, Moon Dough and the Paper Jamz Guitar.

Here’s the full list of all the winners:

The Dream Dozen

Lego City Airport

Fireman Sam Deluxe Fire Station

FurReal Go Go Walking Pup

Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear

Kidizoom VideoCam

Monopoly Revolution

Moon Dough Barn

Nerf N Strike Stampede ECS

Paper Jamz Guitar

Pumpaloons

Sylvanian Families Motorcycle and Sidecar

ZhuZhu Grooming Salon

Girls Top 12 Toys for Christmas

AniMagic Tender Care Twins

Baby Alive Bouncing Babbles

Baby Born Magic Feeding Doll

Barbie A Fashion Fairytale Doll

Barbie Puppy Swim School

Bratz Party Dolls

FurReal Go Go Walking Pup

JLS Collector Dolls

Moxie Girls Art-titude Dolls

Ocean In My Pocket Coral Reef

Sylvanian Families Motorcycle and Side Car

ZhuZhu Grooming Salon

Boys Top 12 Toys for Christmas

Armouron Action Set

Bakugan Maxus Dragonoid 7 -in- 1

Ben’s Mark 10 Car

Beyblade Super Vortex Battle Set

Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver

Hot Wheels Dr Bones Colour Lab

Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear

Kung Zhu Battle Arena

Star Wars: Clone Wars General Grievous Lightsaber

Star Wars: Hoth Wampa Cave

Toy Story Collection Sheriff Woody

UNSC Arctic Rocket Warthog

Pre-School Top 12 Toys for Christmas

All Around Chuggington Train Set

Duplo Toy Story The Great Train Chase

Playmobil Fire Engine

Fireman Sam Deluxe Fire Station Playset

Thomas Zip, Zoom & Logging Adventure

Kidizoom VideoCam

My Pal Scout

Peppa Pig Lullaby Peppa

Play To Learn Mr Colour Maker

Play To Learn Pic ‘n’ Pop

Storio

Toy Story Collection Lots ‘o’ Huggin Bear

Games Top 12 Toys for Christmas

‘Best of British’ Board Game

Boogle Flash

Cuponk

Elefun

Gator Golf

Harry Potter Hogwarts Lego Game

Jolly Octopus

Monopoly Revolution

Pig Goes Pop

Pumpaloons

Scrabble Trickster

Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It

Creative Play Top 12 Toys For Christmas

Bendaroos Creativity Centre

Lego City Airport

Lego City Cargo Truck

Crayola Color Explosion Glow Dome

Crayola Color Wonder Magic Light Brush

Disney Princess Snow Globe Maker

Harumika Designer Dress Form Set

Moon Dough Barn

Noteez

Play-Doh Puppies Playset

Toy Story 3 Woody & Buzz to the Rescue

Zubber Jewellery Maker

Cool Toyz Top 12 Toys For Christmas

Air Hogs Lazer Zero Gravity

Air Hogs Vectron Wave

Animatazz

Barbie Video Girl

Battle Machines

Bladez Micro Helicopter

Bop It!

Loopz

Nerf N Strike Stampede ECS

Paper Jamz Guitar

Technic Buggy

Zibits

I had a great time at the show, and as you can imagine was in my element playing with all the new toys and gadgets, I also got loads of new ideas for toys to cover in the future. So be prepared for a Toybuzz deluge, as it’s look like Dream Toys is going to keep me busy all the way up until the big day itself!

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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VTech Kidizoom Video Camera – Review

I’m not sure how many years it’s been since the first generation Kidizoom Cameras came out, but it seems like it’s been top of Thomas’ Christmas for the last 3 years at least.

I’ve been seriously considering it every Christmas too, but are always a bit put off by reviews complaining of bad picture quality, and have decided against it for another year.

So when I received the brand new Kidizoom Video Camera to review I was excited to put it to the test, but also preparing myself that it wasn’t going to be up to much.

Well I’m pleased to report that my fears were unfounded and that the Kidizoom is actually amazing quality for a child’s toy. In fact the pictures and video are much better than the ones I could take on my mobile phone I had only 3 years ago.

If I’d have received my very own video camera when I was younger I would have been amazed! I used to run round the garden with my uncles broken old cine film camera that didn’t even work and that impressed me, so I know how much I would have loved this.

The Camera

Just like all of the Kidizoom range, the Video Recorder is made of tough kidiproof plastic, so there’s no worrying about the kids getting too rough and the camera falling and breaking, This camera can handle it!

The Kiddizoom Video recorder has 4 different modes, Video mode, Director Mode, Camera Mode and Games.

In Video mode it’s just like a normal camcorder, just point and shoot up to 15 minutes of video at a time. A chunky button on the side activates the Zoom function. Kids will have no problems getting to grips with filming, it’s just one button press and your away. It couldn’t be simpler.

The Director Mode is where the fun really begins, and where the Kidizoom shows off why it’s the best camera/video camera for children.

In Director Mode you can choose from a set of 5 interactive backgrounds. There’s a Birthday, Seaside, Outdoors, Spooky alien and Magician themes to choose from.  With the Kidizoom Face Tracking technology, your children will have great fun making the pictures appear to come alive.

Each background has a set of 4 interactive elements, which are activated by pressing the directional buttons on the Kidizoom whilst filming. The clever Face Tracking will have Kids amazed as crabs pinch them, funny Hats appear on their head, Octopuses squirt them with ink…and much more.

Birthday Theme press the four directional buttons for a

  • Birthday Cake in the face
  • Kisses
  • Party Hat and Streamers
  • Blowing out Candles

Seaside Theme

  • Waves splashing sound and Waves splash over picture
  • Crab walks across the screen and pinches claws
  • Sun comes out and beads of sweat down face
  • Octopuses appear and spray ink over the face

Outdoor Theme

  • Bongo drums play and you get an Indian mask on the face
  • Spider comes swinging down and spins web over the face
  • Bee flies across screen and stings the cheek
  • Rainbow appears

Spooky Theme

  • Alien pops up and gives you one big alien eye
  • UFO flies across screen
  • Ghost floats across and sticks his tongue out Licking your face

Magician Theme

  • Puffs of smoke come out of the boxes and turn your face into a pig
  • Rabbit come out of boxes and juggle carrots which end up on your ears
  • Shooting stars fly across the screen
  • Birds fly out of boxes with flowers which land as a hat on your head

The Directors mode is so much fun, and incredibly easy to use. It was so funny watching Thomas’ face as he filmed his little brother getting stung by a bee, which he thought was hilarious. Thomas had no problems at all getting the hang of the controls, I only showed him one of the directional buttons, and he got it straight away.

Next up is the Camera mode. Either use it as a regular point and shoot camera, or add some fun effects to your pictures. Whilst in the camera mode by pressing the directional buttons forward you can scroll through a huge array of funny effects to make your pictures even better.

Choose from Dame Edna style Glasses, a Musketeer hat, Pink hair in bunches, a Lion face, Sailors hat, Bunny face, Hippo’s head, Knights helmet, Albert Einstein moustache and glasses, Minnie Mouse bow, Cake over the face, Bandaged head, and Elton John style star glasses.

There’s also some great photo frames which really make a picture special. Choose from an Artist’s Easel, Airplane, Dinosaurs, Rock star, Shark, Hearts, Dracula, Film star, and Newspaper.

Editing

Video editing on the Kidizoom Video Recorder is obviously child’s play. Just navigate to the video editing option on the screen and you can cut and edit your videos instantly. You can also add one of 3 opening scenes to make your movies look even more snazzy and professional. Here’s a sample of one of the option below:

I’m still a bit paranoid about putting pictures of the kids onto the website, so I took this picture and the video using a photo of Thomas from when he was younger that I have on the wall, just to show you how the effects work. The Face Tracking was still able to work its magic, and I think they look great.

To show you how good the picture quality of the Kidizoom is in Camera mode, here is a photo I took of my sons new favourite toy Buzz Lightyear. I think you’ll agree he looks pretty good, and amazing when you think that this is only a child’s toy.

The Camera comes with a USB lead for hooking up to the computer, and a Video out lead for setting it up to view the photos on the TV.

Using the USB lead to download photos from the Kidizoom is simple and painless. It works with both PC and Mac. I am a Mac user, as soon as I plugged the USB lead in It started up iPhoto and my pictures were on my screen in minutes. I also hooked it up to the TV and that was easy as well. It’ll be nice for the kids to see their movies and videos up on the big screen.

You’ll probably want to invest in an additional SD card for the camera, although I’ve found the internal memory enough so far I haven’t let them totally loose with it yet. I’m sure it’ll be filled up in no time with movies of action figures fighting and Thomas doing Karate moves.

Games

For a little bit of extra fun there are 3 inbuilt games to try out as well, Photo Swap, Hide and Seek, and Crazy Kitchen. The games are very easy and wont keep an avid gamer used to the delights of the DS and PSP busy for long, but having your own face and photos in the game does make them something more interesting.

Photoswap is one of those moving the tiles around games. I really do detest those games, but this one is fun because it’s more at my level (as in it’s for the kids and is quite easy). What makes the PhotoSwap game special is that as well as some stock photos of animals and things your own photos get added to the game too. Run out of photos in the game? Just snap some more!

Hide and Seek is a simple game where you press the directional buttons where you see the rabbit appearing from.

Crazy Kitchen is an extremely cute little game. You start by using the Face Tracking to take a photo of your intended subject in a chefs hat and outfit. The game then consists of different ingredients falling down from above, and you moving left and right to catch them in your big pan. Another simple idea made very funny thanks to the ability to be in the game yourself.

Review Sum Up

I’ve been extremely impressed by the Kidizoom Video Camera, and so surprised by how great the video and photo quality is. Sometimes big claims about backgrounds, graphics and face tracking are made and then disappoint, but the Kidizoom is different as the face tracking technology is integral to it’s success (and it really works) There are so many things to add to your pictures, that it’s much more than just a camera/video recorder, it will really set your children’s imagination alight.

The backgrounds and images are so amazingly well done that I’m even considering buying the new VTech Buzz Lightyear Digital Camera as Thomas is totally enamoured with Buzz Lightyear at the moment, and being able to take pictures of himself with his Toy Story hero’s in the pictures would make him so happy.

It would also mean that we’d have two cameras in the house, and the boys can finally stop arguing about who has it first!


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