Super Lucky’s Tale: Bonding with Games

This post is sponsored by Playful Corp. Thank you for supporting NKT.

 

In between sports and activities, we sometimes squeak in some time on the Xbox. Recently, we had the chance to take Super Lucky’s Tale for a spin. In this fun adventure game, Lucky is faced with a series of challenges, which includes confronting some little villains and meeting some quirky friends.

 

 

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Whether we’re playing actual games, or the video game variety, it seems we’re always battling something. Games and gaming teaches and reinforces so many helpful lessons for my boys.

 

1. Healthy competition 

As always, I’m going to keep it real here: if there’s an opportunity for a competition, my boys will be up for it. Healthy competition works wonders for social development. We do our best to squash the entitled behavior before it becomes an issue, which is where competition between brothers is a pre-cursor for other friendships and learning how to cope and face conflict.

 

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2. Teamwork

When playing games such as Super Lucky’s Tale, it’s important for kids to know how to ask and reach out for help when they need it. Ultimately, kids thrive when working together, so learning how to flourish in a team setting is an important life skill that can be learned when playing video games. My boys love putting their heads together when trying to conquer certain levels or locating a specific part in a game. I love the way they work together and hone that teamwork skill.

 

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3. Loyalty and Losing

They will battle each other ’til the end, but when it really counts, thank goodness, they’ll always have each other’s backs. The boys have no choice but to support each other ’til the end because that’s when it will be their turn! If they don’t support one another, the game often gets boring or worse, long and drawn out. In (almost) every game, there’s a winner and a loser, and this is another important facet of life that can be learned when gaming together.

 

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The kids had fun exploring and facing the various challenges throughout Lucky’s adventure. There were quite a few parts when the boys couldn’t tackle a certain level and had to keep redoing it, but the were there cheering and helping each other the whole way. I can’t wait for them to get to the point where they can help each other find the hidden secrets of Super Lucky’s Tale, much like I did with my own favorite adventure games with my big brother.

 

Super Lucky’s Tale from Playful Corp.($29.99) is rated E for Everyone and supports Xbox Play Anywhere, which means you can pick up where you left off on another Xbox One device or Windows 10 PC, bringing all your saves, add-ons and achievements with you. 

 

Free Holiday Target Giftcard Printables

It’s that time of year when Target has fun sales with the holidays in mind. For today only, 12/3, Target giftcards are an extra 10% off

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As we all know, teachers, aides, bus drivers and everyone beyond seem to like gift cards vs. random tchotchkes. While a personalized note of gratitude ranks up there, I’ve learned from my many teacher friends and relatives that gift cards are the best gifts. 

And, thanks to Target, they have a little discount that comes in handy when you’re buying giftcards in bulk. The gift cards are varied in design and increments starting at $10. The discount applies to the gift cards in store and online, but I personally like ordering them online. I save money by ordering online and not buying $189 worth of stuff in the store that I didn’t know that I needed!

Free Target Giftcard Printables

I love Target beyond measure, so I’m all about sharing this love! Because of that, I created a free printable for the Target Giftcards!

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I made them four to a page so you can print them up for all the people in your life!

After printing out the printable on your desired paper (card stock worked well for me), cut out the cards on the gray lines. Take an Xacto knife or scissors and cut slits on the dotted lines to slide the giftcard through. I slid the card under the card so that the ends are sticking out. You can dress it up with a cute ribbon or some baking twine. Please note that some cards may be larger than the slit, so be sure to measure to avoid over cutting. In case you do over cut the slits or want to secure the card, be sure to tape the giftcard on the back of the printable.

 

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You can download the free Target Giftcard Printable here.

Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

 

Full disclosure: this post includes affiliate links. Affiliates and sponsored content help pay the bills, so thank you for your continued support.

Best in Show: Finds from the New York Baby Show

The other week, Josh and I spent the afternoon at the New York Baby Show at Pier 94 scouring the booths for the latest and greatest in baby gear. From well trusted names in car seats to gadgets helping to create smart nurseries, there were so many new products featured at the New York Baby Show.

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We searched high and low, snapped tons of pics, peeked into many booths and found a really great selection of gear from baby brands that we love, as well as products from new and upcoming companies!

Here are just a few of the many great products we spotted at this year’s New York Baby Show:

Pello

With is gorgeous textiles and poufy circular shape, Pello is described as a luxury newborn lounger. This new take on a pillow can be used for feeding or for a convenient way to help baby sit somewhat upright during his/her waking hours. When baby outgrows the newborn phase, this pillow looks ideal for helping to support during the sitting up and standing phases.IMG 2941 JPG 

Pello has a great selection of colors and fabrics. It can be found on Amazon and retails for $120.

Sage Spoonfuls

A longtime fan of Sage Spoonfuls, I love watching this baby feeding brand flourish. I’m so excited about the Happy Foodie stainless steel divided plate and lid. Plastic plates and feeding ware are among the first items to go in my house because they are the most used and abused. Our stainless steel lunchboxes have lasted 5+ years. 

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So, I can only imagine how well the Sage Spoonfuls Happy Foodie product line will do. Safe, non-toxic, BPA, lead and phthalate-free and easy to clean!

Britax Frontier

Since we first shopped for carseats 10 years ago, Britax has been one of my all time favorite baby brands. This is, yet, another brand that I’ve loved watching flourish and working with over the years. I was so excited to see the various new strollers and carseats on display, but what truly caught my eye was the Frontier booster.

 

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We are solidly in the booster phase with my preschooler, so boosters have been on the brain. This new fabric is chic and unique; combining safety with style is something that Britax does so well. And speaking of safety, the Britax Frontier’s Click Tight Technology makes car seat installation as easy as buckling a seatbelt. This technology is designed to be seamless, especially for families who travel frequently or need to switch seats regularly. Click Tight is a game changer!

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Volvo

And speaking of traveling, I loved that my dream car brand was at the New York Baby Show. I’ve been eyeing Volvo’s SUVs for quite some time. Sadly, the price tag hasn’t been in the budget.

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We decided that this specific Volvo was too small for our needs, what with our year-round sports, lake gear and coaching equipment.  Nevertheless, it’s fun getting a peek at my dream car at the Baby Show. Josh loved sitting in the driver’s seat and checking out the trunk. 

 

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With thanks to Momtrends, we enjoyed meeting up with fellow bloggers in the Blogger Lounge, as well as livestreamed our favorite finds from the show. My little guy loved having the chance to play! 

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Above all, we loved checking out all the awesome goodies and gear at the New York Baby Show. Stay tuned for more fun finds!

 

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Yowie Chocolate and Toy Surprises

If your kids spend any time on YouTube, then you must know that surprise eggs are quite the phenomenon. Actually, anything with a reveal effect is pretty significant for the kiddie YouTube viewers. 

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Yowie, which makes chocolate toy surprises, has a different take on this fun treat. Yowie are like egg-like chocolate surprises, but instead, they’re monster-shaped chocolates with toys instead. The difference with these toys is that they’re educational toys that teach kids about interesting animals, and in some cases how to help species who may be endangered. To boot, the chocolate is delicious!

Yowie will be at the Think and Fun’s Easter Egg Hunt & Bunny Fun on April 15. YOWIE aims to “Save The Natural World” by promoting wildlife conservation and educating children about ecology and endangered species. More info herehttp://www.yowiegroup.com
If you’re looking for a fun treat to include in your Easter baskets, be on the look out for Yowie treats!
 
Yowie was kind of enough to send us a pack of surprises and my guys had a fun time devouring them! All in a day’s work.

Full disclosure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. As always, all opinions are my own.

The Best Beauty and the Beast Toys and Dolls from Hasbro and Funko

Disney’s latest live action film, Beauty and the Beast, is debuting today with much Disney fanfare. Cue #BeourGuest and sparkly costumes!When the teaser started to show online and on tv, generations were captivated, including the generation that grew up watching the iconic animated version. Today, those kids who watched Belle and Beast’s animated tale are now parents, and of course, the new film’s appeal is reaching a new generation in an epic way.

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In celebration of the film’s release, we’re sharing some of our favorite toys and trinkets that we spotted at the 2017 Toy Fair here in NYC. The various companies that have the Disney license created magical toys to dazzle kids and engage in cool new ways.

Enchanting Melodies Belle Doll

Dressed in her gold ball gown, the Belle doll sings the “Something There” song from Disney’s live-action movie Beauty and the Beast. With one press of Belle’s stomach, she will sing of her budding love for the Beast in this classic song. Requires three A76 batteries, included. ($29.99/Available: Spring 2017)


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Dance and Code Belle

Dance and Code Belle was one of my absolute favorite toys at Toy Fair, and perhaps my most favorite coding doll. This unique and gorgeous doll is inspired by Belle’s brains and graceful dancing. With an app, kids can code Belle’s dances and movements. I thought this was such a unique way to incorporate the tenets of STEAM and introducing coding.
 
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Check out a video of Belle in action, as well as the other Beauty and the Beast dolls from Hasbro’s Toy Fair Showroom
 

Disney Beauty and the Beast Grand Romance

The deluxe duo 2-Pack includes a Belle doll dressed in a removable dress inspired by her yellow ball gown, Beast figure in his ballroom attire featuring a furry textured body, and fashion accessories. ($49.99) Available Spring 2017

 

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Castle Friends Collection Small Doll Set

 Once the human servants of the enchanted castle, the Disney Beauty and the Beast Castle Friends Collection Small Doll Set features five loyal friends to The Beast. The  set features some of the characters from the live-action movie including Lumiere, Cogsworth, Chip, Mrs. Potts and Plumette. ($14.99) Available Spring 2017


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Beauty and the Beast Village Belle Doll

 The Village Belle doll wears the iconic blue dress inspired by the village scene in Disney’s live-action movie Beauty and the Beast. Kids, collectors, and fans of the timeless classic will love reliving their favorite moments and imagining their own stories. Includes Belle doll, outfit, and a pair of removable shoes inspired by her outfit in Disney’s live-action movie, Beauty and the Beast. ($14.99/available Spring 2017)

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 Funko Disney’s Belle, Beast and Gaston

Funko creates an expansive line of licensed vinyl figures, including many beloved Disney characters such as Belle and the Beast. I loved checking out the multiple iterations of these characters from their Pop! line of vinyl figures. With their over exaggerated animated features, these lovable collectibles are ideal for fans and kids alike. Now if only they had a LeFou character!

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Have you seen Beauty and the Beast yet? If so, what did you love about it? More importantly, which toys are on yours and your kids’ wishlist?

Best Toys for 1 Year Olds + Diapers.com Giveaway

Even on the heels of Toy Fair, we always have toys on our minds. With a friend’s baby turning 1 soon, I was inspired to create a round up of the best toys for 1 year olds. I scoured Diapers.com to curate some of our tried and true favorite toys for 1 year olds.

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

From ride-ons to classic toys to techy toys, I gathered our favorites based on play value, durability, accessibility and whether my kids or kids we know loved them!

1. Manhattan Toy Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll

ManhattanToySnuggleBunnyNKTTransitioning from baby to toddler, one year olds start to change their play patterns. According to KidsHealth.org, babies go from shaking and throwing toys to understanding functions of objects as a toddler. At one year old, kids start to play pretend, so toys that allow for nurturing and modeling behavior is always a hit. Manhattan Toy makes a myriad of interactive and beautiful toys such as the Snuggle Bunny Baby Doll ($17.) This soft and cuddly doll makes for a perfect first baby doll.

2. Plan Toys Sort and Count

PlanToysSortandCountStacking and nesting toys help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination, as well as cognitive development, according to an article on Cnn.com Simple, open ended stacking toys such as PlanToys’ Sort and Count allows kids to sort and stack the various pieces. This abacus-looking toy is made of Plan Toys’ planwood, organic rubberwood, e-zero glue, water-based dyes, recycled and recyclable materials, soy and water-based ink.

3. VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker

VTechSittoStandWalkerMany toddlers are learning to walk and toddling around at a year old, so walkers make a fun gift. This VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker offers a lot of play value with its many learning tools and interactive electronic features. VTech is so great at the electronic learning toys, but they’re also masters at creating toys that grow with kids. This walker can be used for kids in a more stationary pattern, as well as for those who are cruising and walking.

4. Melissa and Doug Large Shapes Knob Puzzle

MelissaandDougKnobPuzzleAccording to Learning4kids, puzzles help toddlers with important skills such as cognitive, fine motor, hand and eye coordination, problem solving, social and self esteem. Wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug provide fun play patterns for toddlers to co-play and enjoy independence. I love the knob puzzles for toddlers, to give them extra help grasping these chunky pieces. Classic puzzles are timeless and perfect for curious problem solvers.

5. B Toys Fish Splish Boat

BtoysSplishFishBoatGood bath toys are the best for toddlers! I love the colors and creativity that B Toys inspires. This fun boat that can be used in the bath has a number of fun features that help toddlers explore bathtime and the environment around them. From the fishing pole, fish, captain and little rudder, this cool boat helpstoddlers with imaginative play while getting cleaned up.

6. Step 2 Whisper Ride II

Step2WhisperRideIIAs the winter starts to fade to warmer spring and summery days, ride-on toys will be all the craze. Step 2 are pros at the ride-on and outdoor toys, and the Whisper Ride II is one of my all time favorites. This push car is perfect for going on strolls in the neighborhood without the restraints of a stroller. Toddlers can pretend to steer while driving their ride, all the while mom or dad navigates with the handle. The Whisper Ride features a seatbelt, small storage compartment and cup holders.

 

 

 

There are so many awesome toys for 1 year olds on Diapers.com, and these are just a small sampling of their selection. Do you have a favorite toddler toy? What makes you and your kid love it so much?

Giveaway

Want to grab a few new toys of your own? We have a $50 gift certificate to Diapers.com up for grabs. Tell me what your favorite toddler toy is and why! Share your comment below.

For even more entries, check out the giveaway below to win a  Diapers.com gift certificate. This giveaway will be open for a week, so be sure to enter!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Full disclosure: this is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal, with a gift certificate as a prize. As always, all opinions on NKT are mine. Thank you for supporting The Next Kid Thing.

Mother Nurture: Sweet Treats, Baby Shower Gifts and Goodies

A few weeks ago, I attended one of my good friend’s baby sprinkle for her second baby. Baby shower gifts are always some of my faves, especially when I get to include fun treats like Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and Chocolate Truffles.

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Since most of us are moms of multiple kids, it was the perfect reason to get the girls together for a brunch with cocktails! After feasting on our bacon, eggs and quiche, we sat together to “sprinkle” my friend with the group gift. Since this is her second run at this mama thing, she already had most of her much needed gear and goodies. She did, however, request a hard to find bedside bassinet made by Chicco.

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And, as hard as it was, it was almost impossible to not over-shower her with pink and purple clothes. While I love shopping and including my favorite swaddles, socks, toys and such, this time around I included some treats for mama in my gift basket. In addition to the fun clothes, I added a bottle or two of Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and a box of the Chocolate Truffles. In between unveiling my favorite essentials, it’s a must to shower the mama-to-be!

My friend, who watches everything she eats and is a self-proclaimed ‘water snob’, texted me few days after her shower to thank me for the goodies, but to also thank me for introducing her to Mother Nurture waters! She said she is always thirsty and loved the taste of Mother Nurture. LOVE hearing that!

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Mother Nurture products are created with moms in mind by professionals known for creating great tasting food and beverages. Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters boasts natural ingredients such as filtered water, sugar and natural flavors. The waters come in Tropical Splash, Mixed Berry, and Pink Grapefruit. The truffles, which come in Milk Chocolate or Chocolate Raspberry, have natural ingredients, Folic Acid, DHA, calcium and Vitamin D. 

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If you’re looking for a tasty or refreshing treat to add to baby shower gifts, be sure to check out Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters and Chocolate Truffles. Mother Nurture Products can be found on Amazon.

Full disclosure: I received samples for review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Momtrends Holiday Soiree: Celebrating the Holidays in Style

The Holiday season is officially here, and what better way to kick it off than with friends and style. Last week, Momtrends hosted their annual Holiday Soiree, where, together with fellow bloggers and editors, I got a glimpse of some stylish gifts and entertaining ideas.

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Nambe offers a beautiful selection of gifts, including place settings, serving ware, jewelry and so much more. As a major silver fan, I fell in love with several of the rings. What I loved about Nambe’s offerings was that they look highend, yet at an attainable price range. I have this fun ring on my wish list!  

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Arizona Teas shared an array of 100% natural Good Brew teas. I kept going back for the delicious Lemon tea and Peach tea. The fresh taste of these teas are ideal for those who like iced tea all year round. 

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Avery as a perpetual DIYer, I loved absolutely everything that Avery was showcasing at the Soiree. While I loved the funny emoji labels that use the circle tags, I also love those square labels and gift tags. I plan on doing several DIY projects to showcase here on the blog, so keep your eye open for those fun gems.

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Mabel’s Labels is another one of my all-time faves and staples. Mabel’s Labels are the preeminent brand in personalized labels, so it’s no surprise that they have personalized gifts covered too. I’m definitely eyeing those personalized books. My little guy loves Paw Patrol, so we’ll have to ask Santa for those fun books. The stocking stuffer label set are my faves. I decided that I’m going to use those as labels for my nephews this year. Fun and functional!

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American Girl Doll has a beautiful lineup of classic dolls. Wellie Wishers are a popular segment that features a diverse cast of sweet dolls. I personally fell in love with the Asian doll, Emerson. Like the other gorgeous Wellie Wishers, Emerson is a lower price point at just $60.

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Avon always has a fantastic variety of makeup and other beauty products to pamper yourself or to save for gifts. Aside from Avon’s gorgeous palettes, these wonderful products are a great option for a home-based business. I loved learning how some people sell Avon to offset school expenses and other expenses.

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Armigami is a glamorous multi-function shawl that comes in a variety of fabrics and textures. It can be worn as a shawl over the shoulders, a cape, a bolero, a skirt and so much more. This unique shawl would be ideal for nights on the town to traveling to use in lieu of a blanket or coat. I was so fortunate to win the gorgeous black sequined Armigami which I can’t wait to wear to my community holiday party!

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I loved learning about Pearhead, a fun gift company that offers so many unique novelties, many of which can be personalized. IMG 2206In addition to baby  handprint gift sets, Pearhead offers pet gifts, ornaments, fun signs and even photo prop sets, which we had a blast trying out ourselves!

 

 

A big thank you to Nicole and the rest of the Momtrends crew for throwing another fabulous Holiday Soiree! Thank you to the sponsors for the generous gift bag, many of which were mentioned. Keep your eye out for my gift guide which will feature more items from these companies.

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Marvel Cross Pens are the Write Gift for Father’s Day

This post is featured in partnership with CROSS Pens.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, gifts for my husband and our dads are up in the air as usual. What do you get a guy who has everything?

Gift cards almost too impersonal for my family. Ties? Meh. Grilling supplies? Got those last year. Books? Still sitting there from the year before.

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As a writer, I appreciate quality writing tools, especially pens. Cross Pens, synonymous with style and professionalism, has many different looks and patterns. I love that Cross has pens that can be paired with any personality or passion—even superheroes! 

With the recent release of Captain America: Civil War, it’s so fitting that there are Marvel Pens that showcase Captain America’s iconic emblem. Or if you’re Team Ironman, there’s a style that’s fit for the sleek Tony Stark Fan. 

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Having just watched Captain America: Civil War, and as major Mets fans (catcher David Wright is nicknamed Captain America) it’s safe to say our entire tribe is Team Cap! For Father’s Day, we’ll be gifting my boys’ true hero a very stylish Captain America Cross Pen. The pen, which comes with its own case, is a beautiful shade of blue with a subtle Captain symbol along the side. For us, this is a fun gift for the boys to give dad because we love Marvel, we’ve seen the movie together and our Mets love!

Perfect for the office or playing tic tac toe with the boys, the Marvel line of Cross Pens is an ideal gift for the guy who has it all and appreciates a quality writing tool.

 Check out Marvel Cross Pens and all of the other sleek styles if you’re on the hunt for a great gadget for dad or your grads.

Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting NKT. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Coolest Star Wars Toys from Hasbro

Like so many of you, we are in total Star Wars mode these days. In honor of the long awaited debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought I’d share some of the new Star Wars toys from Hasbro. Back in September, my family was invited to the Global Day of Play where bloggers and other media were invited to play with all of the newly released Star Wars toys. I can’t even begin to describe how excited we all were to geek out with these awesome toys.

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Hasbro has a huge selection of Star Wars-branded toys, ranging from toys for preschoolers in their Playskool line to board games to role playing games to cool items for collectors. Because there’s something for Star Wars fans of all ages, my entire family loved being among the first ones to get a look at the Next Kid Things from Hasbro.  

 

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There was so much to see and try out, but our favorites include:

Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series

I love the Playskool Heroes Star Wars Series because of its chunky characters and easy to handle vehicles and accessories. Preschoolers like my little guy love these Star Wars sets because they’re more age-appropriate and perfect for open-ended creative play. ($4.99-39.99)

Blade Builders
My older Star Wars fan loved creating his own powerful Lightsaber with the Blade Builders set. By connecting and twisting various different weapons, young Jedis can create their own custom Lightsaber that boasts realistic sounds to be used in battle. ($49.99)

Play-Doh Can Heads

My Play-Doh fanatic can’t get enough of the Star Wars themed Can Heads. I love the way the cans become characters and can be included in open play patterns. Little Padawans can mold and sculpt their favorite Star Wars shapes with these fun sets. ($9.99-19.99)

 Kylo Ren Black Series Lightsaber
This super sleek lightsaber is geared to the collectors and die hard fans. It has solid features, light effects, movie sound effects, 3 blades and metal hilt. ($199.99)

Star Wars Mr. Potato Head
What better way to introduce Star Wars to the toddler and preschool set than with the iconic Mr. Potato Head toys. Mr. Potato Head takes on the Dark Side with all the coolest Star Wars accessories. Choose from Frylo Ren, Darth Tater, Spud Trooper and more. ($9.99-19.99) 

BB-8
Ok, so, like everyone else, we want BB-8 for ourselves. Biggie loved maneuvering the RC BB-8 and had a great time navigating the Dark Side obstacle course. This BB-8 boasts movie-accurate sounds and expressive droid sounds, just as one would imagine.

We absolutely loved getting our hands on all of these fun toys. To say we were over the moon with excitement at the Global Day of Play was a total understatement. Check out the highlights from the Star Wars Global Day of Play to see these toys and more in action! Biggie was so giddy to train with a Jedi and Littles, my Play-Doh fanatic, LOVES Can Heads!

 

 

 I truly can’t pick a fave, the whole day was such a treat. If you’re Star Wars fans like we are, I have no doubt that some of these fun goodies are on those wish lists. 

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Thank you to Hasbro for hosting us at the Star Wars Global Day of Play.