Highlights from Day 1 of Toy Fair 2015

It feels like Arundel here in NYC, but I’m onsite at the Javits Center for Toy Fair 2015 covering the latest and greatest in toys and games. As in years past, I typically spend my days at Toy Fair meeting with companies, checking out their latest wares and getting the dish from their developers, marketing team and sometimes the creators themselves.

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For the first day, I started my day by having breakfast with one of my favorites: Spinmaster. Spinmaster is responsible for many recent top toys, most notably one of the hottest sellers from last year: Kinetic Sand and Sew Cool. Who knew modernizing two classic activities and repackaging them to make them kid AND parent friendly would make these toys such a success in 2014? Spinmaster, that’s whom! Piggybacking on kids’ interest in sewing, knitting and crafting, Spinmaster has new activities that emphasize this trend. Text Cool was my absolute favorite, mainly because it reminds me of my parents’ 1970s clicker label maker. This updated activity allows kids to design text bracelets with letters, emoticons and other designs. It’s a simple craft, but one that I think will resonate with nostalgic parents like myself.

 

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Another highlight with Spinmaster was checking out the cool Paw Patrol toys, including the Paw Patroler.

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On the heels of Dino Zoomer being honored with a TOTY award, Spinmaster revealed the latest iterations of this line: Zoomer Kitty and Zoomer Chomplings.

 

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One of the best aspects of Toy Fair is walking the first floor and meeting new companies who are exhibiting for the first time. This time around, I loved learning about Lace Locks, which is an innovative accessory for shoelaces. This company has well known partners and their expansive line has a lot of licenses and designs to choose from. Since we’re huge superhero fans at our house, I especially loved all the fun Marvel Lace Locks. I loved seeing the Lace Locks on branded Marvel shoes. 

 

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Another cool toy/app that I loved learning about on the first floor was Painting LuLu which is a traditional coloring book with a partnering app and crayon stylus. I loved the way the way the app and crayon stylus can bring a child’s real artwork to life.

 

 

 

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My first meeting of the day was with one of my all-time favorites: Crayola. Crayola always has innovations that are forward-thinking and fun for both kids and parents. I’ll have to share more in-depth details about Crayola, but some of my new favorite products include the Thread Wrapper, Color Wonder Stamper, Color Me a Song and the Cling Creator.

 

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Tomy has all kinds of cool stuff coming up this year. As the master licenser for the new Disney Jr. Show, Miles from Tomorrowland, I got to see all the fun toys for this hit new show. The Stellosphere and this cool board that reminded me a of a hooverboard.

 

 

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One of the highlights of my day was checking out Cloud B’s lovely night lights and plush toys. One particular new toy that I fell in love with Super Max the Turtle, which is a special turtle nightlight that was inspired by a young cancer patient who spent a lot of time in the hospital. The special protective casing on this light can be used in hospitals or settings where shared items can be sanitized. The story about this beautiful toy was amazing.

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My absolute favorite toy of toy fair so fair has to be VTech Toys’ Kidizoom. This small action camera packs a punch and fills a void for our social sharing youth. I watched a little demo video created by the Kidizoom and the quality is pretty impressive for an action cam of this size and stature.

 

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As always, I’ll have much much more to share, but for now, check out more of my favorites on Instagram and Twitter!

NKT Faves: Christmas 2014 Goodies, Lego, Disney Infinity 2.0, VTech and more

Happy 2015, everyone! Like all of you we had a busy holiday, so much so we took a mini-social media break. We seem to always have ongoing medical issues and work life consuming everything that it’s a necessity to recharge when we’re all together.

Anyway, we’re back and ready to focus on the new year.  But before I do, I wanted to share some of our favorites from Christmas.

Because we check out toys all year, as you can imagine, gift-giving can be tricky.  Thankfully, Santa and our relatives get that, and so the boys’ gifts certainly reflected this.

I thought I’d share a round up of the boys’ favorite gifts:

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Legos continue to be the absolute favorite toy in our home. Santa gifted the boys a couple of Lego sets: Duplos Joker Challenge and Minecraft Cave set. Admittedly, we haven’t assembled either set in their entirety yet, but we’re getting there. As Biggie’s big gift, we got him the Lego Movie Super Cycle Chase.

Littles got a couple of fun gifts that he’s been eyeing. He got the Fisher Price Grow with me Roller Skates. My little guy has been “skating” with his physical therapist for quite some time. As Early Intervention is winding down, I thought it would be fun to get him his own pair of skates. I love that there are multiple functions to help the kids grow with the skates. He’s currently on the first function, which lets him “walk-skate” until he has enough coordination to move on to the next level.

Another fun toy that Josh received was Vtech’s Go Go Smart Wheels Airport playset. I will never forget the look on his face when he first opened that gift! I was so in the moment, that I was too slow to catch a picture. He’s been begging for the Go Go Smart Wheels toys, but we haven’t had a chance to get it for him. Lucky guy got it from my parents. I love how smart this playset is; he can navigate the plane around the tracks and at specified points he can learn all the “smart” little quips about the airport.

The big gifts for the guys was Disney Infinity 2.0. This follow up to the first Disney Infinity features more characters than ever, including our favorite super heroes. The graphics are stellar and game play is truly an adventure. Since this game is still super new, we’ll do a follow up, more in depth review.

Perhaps Biggie’s favorite and really big gift was his iPad Mini. This gift was actually his birthday present, but we conveniently used his birthday money from relatives to pay bills or something else responsible. Since I had several Amazon gift cards, we got him his much deserved Mini, which he has been burying his face in ever since he opened. Upside: he’s learning how to type more efficiently. Downside: I get emoticon-filled texts every other minute.  Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Hope you guys enjoyed your holidays! Looking forward to sharing more fun stuff in  2015!

 

Best Halloween Costumes for Boys 2014

We’re just few days away from Halloween, and more than likely, you’ve got your costumes all picked and ready to go.  But for those of you who don’t, I put together a round up of some of the most popular boys’ costumes for the 4-8 year old range.  Four is a bit beyond the cutesy animals and eight isn’t quite into all the gory monsters quite yet.  There’s quite a few boy costumes that touch graze the gore factor but focus on that super hero/machismo theme.

Saban’s Power Rangers have some of the fiercest costumes at reasonable price points.  My guys had the chance to check out the toddler ranger and the Red Ranger, both of which were bold and appear powerful with the muscle detailing.  What we liked most about these costumes is that they featured a lot of details and were true to the characters from the show.  

Spider-Man must have some kind of record for being one of the most popular Halloween costumes.  This Marvel costume that can be found at Party City boasts lots of muscles and webbing details the only thing missing are the instant webs!

Batman is another favorite boys’ costume, particularly with the younger and much older boys.  This toddler Batman costume mirrors the old school dark knight costume, and one that’s likely to be a hit with the littlest fans.

Ninjas seem to be a longtime favorite for boys, presumably for its mysterious, yet powerful stature.  As opposed to the common black ninja costumes, this ninja costume from Halloween Spirit has green details that set it apart. Double swords and a draped mask complete this mysterious get-up.

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Ninja Turtles are, perhaps, one of the biggest comebacks in terms of revived characters and surrounding frenzy.  TMNT is expected to be one of the most popular costumes for boys this Halloween, so be on the lookout for all types of turtles, specifically in the likeness of Leo, Donnie, Mikey and Raphael.

Expect to see a lot of video game-inspired costumes this weekend, including Minecraft, Mario and lots of Skylanders.  Activision’s über popular video game franchise recently released a new installment, Trap Team, so be on the lookout for Skylanders of any kind.  My older guy will be donning a Chop Chop costume, which is essentially a ferocious skeleton warrior.

In case you’re on the lookout for a last minute costume, all of the above can be found at Walmart, Target, Halloween Spirit or Party City. Happy Trick or Treating!

 

Review: Max Tow Truck

There’s no shortage of cool boy toys on the market these days, and that definitely includes cars and trucks. The new Max Tow Truck from Jakks is destined to be a popular truck this holiday season, and not just for its cool factor. 

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Max Tow Truck is described as being able to tow up to 200 lbs.  He talks and moves, but more importantly, he tows!  My guys are really enjoying playing with Max.  Between the 2 and 7 year olds, Max appeals to both younger kids as well as older boys—my husband included.  

 

Max can tow things, without a doubt.  We towed toys, wagons, little brothers…but we never got as far as towing 200 lbs. We found a few glitches, but after shifting a few times, we were able to get Max to tow (most of) the things we wanted.  His rubber and almost hollow wheels allow for maneuverability and monster truck action. We loved watching the truck go up hill and over any and everything.  And contrary to what Bigs said in the video, I don’t think Max can move boulders.  Small boulders, maybe. 

All in all, Max Tow Truck is pretty awesome and lives up to its cool factor.  We’ve had so much fun with the truck, I’m sure I’ll end up posting more about it soon.

Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Review + Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Disney and Walmart, but as always, all opinions are my own.

As superhero aficionados, we’re all about superheros 24/7. You name it: superhero-themed shows, books, games and toys populate almost every inch of this boy house. With younger guys, we have yet to see Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but have definitely been reading all about it. Oh, and playing with Guardians-themed toys, too.

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If you’re fans of the movie, then you’ll be thrilled to know that Guardians of the Galaxy toys are available at Walmart.  There are five action-packed toys that will help kids save the galaxy, including: 

Battle FX Star-Lord Figure

Star Lord Battlle Mask and Blaster Set

 Rocket Raccoon Action Mask

 Big Blastin Rocket Raccoon

Milano Starship

Walmart has the whole lineup of these cool Guardians of the Galaxy toys.

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We had the chance to review the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon toy from Hasbro. This short in stature but big by nature character reflects the bold Marvel character.   

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My big guy got a kick out of his “funny words.” While the smaller guy cracks up at the motions of the blaster and blasting his big brother. The laughter and imaginative play between these two is so great! The main caveat with these toys is that since we haven’t seen the movie, we aren’t familiar with the storyline, other than what we’ve read. It certainly doesn’t take away from the play value, I just think the excitement level would peak even higher if we were more familiar with Guardians. We’ll have to rectify this soon!

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We had such a great time reviewing this cool toy, that my big guy enjoyed vlogging all about it. I loved how he lists the things he loves most about the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon. For those who loved the movie, your kids would certainly appreciate this cool toy. Be sure to check out J’s favorite aspects of the Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon.

 

Want a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon for you or your kid? Be sure to enter to win a $25 Walmart gift card. Click below for details. 

The Guardians Of The Galaxy At Walmart $25 Gift Card Sweepstakes

The Guardians Of The Galaxy At Walmart $25 Gift Card Sweepstakes

 

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my own.

 

Review: Disney Boys’ Book of Fun and Boy Stuff-Paper Planes

In between road trips and time at the beach, we’ve been reading quite a bit this summer.  My soon-to-be first grader absolutely enjoys reading everything in sight, so it’s been quite fitting to be a part of Parragon’s Book Buddies program.

 

 

Last month’s Book Buddy titles included Disney Boys’ Book of Fun and Boy Stuff- Paper Planes.  Both books were perfect for my six year old to bring along on our road trip to Va to my high school reunion.  The books kept him entertained for most of the seven hour trip.  He loved flipping through the different planes and learning how to perfect his craft.

 

Disney Boys’ Book of Fun is a beautiful hardcover book filled with colorful pages of beloved boy-centric characters.  From Mickey and pals to Lightning McQueen to Buzz, this deluxe activity book is geared to boys who appreciate reading, doing mazes, drawing and doing puzzles.  

IMG 5679IMG 5681Each page is a different activity that keeps kids engaged and unplugged.  My son, who has recently discovered the joy of comic books, loves the different comic-style pages included in the book.  I love how comics teach kids the importance of story sequence, something that’s of importance for young, eager readers.  Another feature that I absolutely loved is the different games that can be played just like a board game.  Again, so perfect for traveling or simply unplugging at home.

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Boy Stuff-Paper Planes is yet another relevant title for my young reader.  This book helps kids to make cool paper airplanes with simplified templates.  This kit includes a book with instructions on how to fold 25 different airplanes, a pad of pre-printed templates and a variety of stickers to decorate the planes.   IMG 5684IMG 5687IMG 5690 The planes range from standard rockets to Birds of Prey to Robots—you name it, this book covers it.  My son loved how practically everything is included for handcrafting a fleet of super cool paper planes.  The only thing we were missing were scissors for several of the templates.  This kit is absolutely perfect for any kit who appreciates the art of making and flying paper planes.

 

Full disclosure:  These books were provided to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.  Affiliate links are included above.

Review: Little Kids TMNT Splash Out Ball

During the summer, we can’t get enough of outdoor play.  Some days, we’re outside and in the water from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed.

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On that end, outdoor toys get much play time.  We love sports, bubbles, biking and truly, anything that has to do with water.  I loved learning that Little Kids’ has a fun selection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, but I was immediately drawn to their cool water toy, the Splash Out Ball.

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Just as it sounds, the Splash Out Ball is a ball that can be used with water play.  Just fill the ball with water, either manually or by submerging, and then close the cap.  Toss the ball back and forth, like you would in a game of hot potato.  When time runs out, someone gets splashed when the chamber pops open.  

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The Splash Out Ball is so easy and perfect for the pool or beach.  It’s like playing with a water balloon without the mess of balloon remnants.  A caveat of this game is that it can be hard for the younger ones to fill so that it’s full enough to pop open…and of course, when it pops open too early and all over you!

Review: Hasbro Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet

 

In a house of boys, it’s all about super heroes all the time.  My two guys love playing good guy vs. bad guy.  Sometimes, it’s even Marvel vs. DC. Ha!  

Nevertheless, we’re all big fans of Marvel heroes, especially Captain America.  Since David Wright, one of our favorite baseball players is actually nicknamed Captain America, our Captain America hero gear does a whole lot of double duty.

 

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This spring, my friends at Hasbro sent us over some of the latest in Captain America role play toys. We’ve had a great time checking out the Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet. My big guy absolutely loved the new details of these toys, especially the the light up features of the Dualshot Guantlet.

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The Battle Helmet features a button-activated light-up visor and a missile-firing projectile rocket launcher that can also be connected to three different points on the helmet via the innovative rail system feature.  You can customize the helmet by connecting more gear such as the Recon Rangefinder and Dualshot Guantlet. The helmet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $19.99

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The Dualshot Gauntlet is a cool gauntlet device that can worn on a hand and can also shoot missiles.  As mentioned, this device can be worn on a hand or can be used as an add-on to the Battle Helmet.  The gauntlet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $7.99.

If you’re into Captain America or super heroes like we are, this gear from Hasbro would be a perfect complement to your battle supplies.

 

Full closure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

 

Power Rangers Super Mega Power Rangers Toys

My big guy has been into paper airplanes, as well as construction toys as of late, so one of the most recent Saban-Brandbassador boxes we received was quite timely.  In our box we found some cool Super Mega Power Ranger toys and some coloring sheets. Needless to say, we enjoyed putting together the Red Ranger Air Glider and Ultimate Legendary Megazord from Mega Bloks.

 

Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider 

The Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider is a simple construction toy that took less than five minutes to construct.  After putting together the Red Ranger, we clicked him onto the glider and then practiced launching the glider.

 

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And here’s a vine of Biggie putting together the Red Ranger Air Glider:

 

At $4.99, the Super Megaforce Red Ranger Air Glider is a sweet and simple construction toy that’s also suitable for outdoor play.

 

Ultimate Legendary Megazord

The Ultimate Legendary Megazord is a completely build able Megazord that’s based on the final combination of the Legendary Megazord and the Q-Rex Megazord.  This set, aged for five and up, was a great set to build with my big guy.  It was a little time consuming, yet well worth the time spent building since we ended up the the Ultimate Legendary Megazord.

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These sets are available at retailers such as Amazon, Toys ‘R Us, and Walmart.

Review: Nerd Block Jr. Subscription Box

Subscription boxes continue to be a hot trend these days.  There are boxes for all walks of life; you name it, there’s probably a subscription box for it.  In this digital age when snail mail continues to lose its luster, there’s nothing better than getting a cool package of stuff that you love…which is why I adore subscription boxes!

Dubbed as Comic Con in a box, Nerd Block has been around for awhile.  Nerd Block’s little brother and sister recently made their debut and they’re aptly called: Nerd Block Jr. Boys and Nerd Block Jr. Girls.

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Appealing to the new generation of geeks, Nerd Block Jr. is a monthly subscription box that includes collectibles and trinkets that appeal to the 6-12 age range.  From Marvel to Hot Wheels to Star Wars, we absolutely loved everything included in the boys’ box.  The girls’ box was just as cool, featuring My Little Pony, Smurfs and Playmobil.  

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Nerd Block Jr. has all well known licenses and items that kids are known to collect.  Each individual item was worth just a few dollars, but the entirety of the box added up to around $20.  A monthly box costs about $13, so Nerd Block Jr. is a good deal.

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Nerd Block Jr. is my new go-to box for the tween who has everything.  The element of surprise when opening up a Nerd Block Jr. box is just as enjoyable as the goodies inside.

Check out our unboxing video to see the fun goodies that can be found in Nerd Block Jr.