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.

 

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Set for August 23 + Giveaway

In less than a week, on August 23, the 19th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess is set to take center court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. 

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As in years past, the day promises a lineup of the hottest up and coming musicians including Hunter Hayes, Shawn Mendes, MKTO, McClain, The Vamps and Madison Beer & DJ Salerno. 

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Last year, we enjoyed the likes of Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone, not to mention an awesome intro from none other than the First Lady, Michelle Obama.  

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And because it’s a family-centric prelude to a grand slam event, tennis greats Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are expected to help kick off the 2014 US Open.  

According to reports, defending champ, Rafael Nadal, pulled out of this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury, but here’s hoping that last year’s defending champ will be onhand this Saturday for festivities.

 

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is not only an entertaining day with musical acts, but it’s also a fun day for families with plenty of free interactive activities. Starting at 9:30, throughout the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, there will be free face painting, juggling workshops, 10 and under tennis, hair beading and braiding, balloon artists, Nickelodeon characters and The US Open Express Fan Experience. In addition to watching the tennis pros practice, our favorite activities include the tennis and skills activity course sponsored by Nike and Tennis education clinic.

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Because I grew up watching my dad and brother play tennis and watch the sport on tv religiously, tennis runs deep in our family.  Both of my boys have started practicing with my dad, so it’s even more special that my dad will be joining us this year for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.  

 

This is absolutely one of my favorite events to cover all year, so I’m even more excited to be giving away a set of four tickets to this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day! Enter below for a chance to win tickets to this fun family event in Flushing, NY on 8/23!

 

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Nuclear Cowboyz Returns to IZOD Center + Giveaway

Another exciting show is headed to the IZOD Center this weekend. Nuclear Cowboyz, a freestyle motocross show is returning to IZOD Center on Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2. The show’s storyline follows an allied tribe, the Nuclear Cowboyz, who must defeat an indestructible evil tyrant and her army in this action-infused freestyle performance of pure danger and raw combat.  

 

According to the show producers, the new storyline is conveyed through more than 1,000 gravity-defying freestyle stunts by the globe’s most dominant freestyle athletes, including performing over 200 flips on 10 ramps. The action-packed show is complete with mind-bending performances by world-famous Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, laser effects, an indoor pyrotechnics show and a soundtrack comprised of heavy metal, electronic dubstep and alternative hip hop.

  Nuclear Cowboyz features the world’s top freestyle motocross athletes, including four-time X Games medalist and New Jersey Native, Ronnie Faisst

After the exciting time we had at Monster Jam, our family is super pumped to check out another action-packed show, this time featuring motocross. Since we’re not too familiar with motocross, I’m sure my boys will be thrilled to experience everything in person. The thrill, the action, music, stunts—all of it.

 

Check out some of the daring tricks from the Nuclear Cowboyz show:

Giveaway

I’m excited to offer a family four pack of tickets for the Saturday Nuclear Cowboyz at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Just tell me what you’re most excited about for the show and comment below. This is a flash giveaway, so I will pick a winner tomorrow afternoon.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live Hits NYC and NJ + Giveaway

DJ Lance, Muno, Brobee, Foofa, Toodee, Plex and their friends are at it again!  The crew from the wildly popular Nickelodeon Show, Yo Gabba Gabba are on the road once again, this time hitting 50 stops across the U.S. for their Yo Gabba Gabba Live Show.

If you’ve been following NKT for the past few years, then you already know that our whole family are big time YGG fans.  From entire family Halloween costumes to interviewing Christian Jacobs, one of the creators of the show, who is also the lead singer of the Aquabats, Yo Gabba Gabba is near and dear to our hearts.  And judging from the show’s ongoing popularity, many of you probably feel the same!

We reference “There’s a Party in My Tummy” more times than we can count, not to mention, the music featured on the show has found its way onto our playlist.  So, needless to say, we’re beyond thrilled that Yo Gabba Gabba will be in NYC/NJ within the next few weeks!  On their first tour, we absolutely enjoyed seeing them at Beacon Theatre in NYC, where quite a few super cool celebs made cameos at the live NYC show!  I can’t wait to see who will be visiting the Gabba Friends’ live tour when they make their stops at NYC and NJ.  And speaking of the Garden State…

Giveaway

And since the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show is making a stop in NJ, my homestate, I’m thrilled to announce a giveaway for a family 4-pack of tickets to the Wednesday, October 12th show at noon in New Brunswick, NJ!

To enter to win, please comment below and let me know who is your kid’s favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character!

For additional entries:

  • Become a fan of The Next Kid Thing on Facebook
  • Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab
  • Share on any social networking site
  • Comment below for each entry.

This giveaway ends on Monday, October 10 2pm!  Good luck!

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Yo Gabba Gabba Live: There’s a Party in My City will be stopping at the following cities:

Friday, October 7 Philadelphia Tower Theatre
Saturday, October 8 Pittsburgh Petersen Events Center
Sunday, October 9 Hershey Hershey Theatre
Tuesday, October 11 New Brunswick State Theatre
Wednesday, October 12 New Brunswick State Theatre
Friday, October 14 New York Beacon Theatre
Saturday, October 15 New York Beacon Theatre
Sunday, October 16 New York Beacon Theatre
Tuesday, October 18 Scranton, PA Scranton Cultural Center
Wednesday, October 19 Norfolk Chrysler Hall
Friday, October 21 Charleston, WV Municipal Auditorium
Saturday, October 22 Richmond Landmark Theater
Sunday, October 23 Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium
Tuesday, October 25 North Charleston, SC North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Wednesday, October 26 Columbia, SC Township Auditorium
Friday, October 28 Charlotte Ovens Auditorium
Saturday, October 29 Charlotte Ovens Auditorium
Sunday, October 30 Atlanta Fox Theatre
Tuesday, November 1 Raleigh Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Wednesday, November 2 Knoxville Tennessee Theatre
Friday, November 4 Memphis Orpheum Theatre
Saturday, November 5 Tulsa BOK Center
Sunday, November 6 Kansas City Music Hall
Tuesday, November 8 Denver 1st Bank Center
Wednesday, November 9 Salt Lake City Kingsbury Hall
Friday, November 11 Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Saturday, November 12 Seattle Paramount Theatre
Sunday, November 13 Seattle Paramount Theatre
Tuesday, November 15 Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
Wednesday, November 16 Reno Reno Events Center
Friday, November 18 Fresno Save Mart Center
Saturday, November 19 San Jose San Jose Civic Auditorium
Sunday, November 20 San Diego San Diego Civic Theatre
Tuesday, November 22 Bakersfield Rabobank Theater
Friday, November 25 Los Angeles Nokia Theatre
Saturday, November 26 Los Angeles Nokia Theatre
Sunday, November 27 Las Vegas Orleans Arena
Tuesday, November 29 El Paso Abraham Chavez Theatre
Wednesday, November 30 San Antonio Lila Cockrell Theatre
Friday, December 2 Houston Verizon Wireless Theatre
Saturday, December 3 Dallas Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Sunday, December 4 Austin Cedar Park Center
Tuesday, December 6 New Orleans Mahalia Jackson Theatre
Wednesday, December 7 Tallahassee Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center
Friday, December 9 St. Petersburg, FL Mahaffey Theater
Saturday, December 10 Fort Lauderdale Broward Center
Sunday, December 11 Fort Lauderdale Broward Center

Stocking up on Staycation Goodies and Gear with Diapers.com

As everyone is anticipating the upcoming holiday weekend, I’m finally getting back into the groove of things after last week’s travel and then a bout with sickness.  I hope you guys have fun weekends planned.

At our house, summer is definitely in full swing, and we’ve got the bug bites and sunkissed faces to prove it.  It’s our first summer in the suburbs, and by the smiles the kid gives us, I think we made the right choice in neighborhood.

Our new neighborhood, though just 30 miles from NYC, is in a wooded area that surrounds a lake.  Families swarm to the lake for daily swimming and evening outings; it might not be the chaos of the city that I love so much, but this corner of the world is truly more than I could have ever envisioned for our family.

A patch of grass to call our own

Having spent the past few summers at public parks, running through water sprinklers to cool off, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to have our a patch of grass to call our own.  As much as I miss city living, one thing I don’t miss is the lack of space.  Once upon a time, we’d have to question ownership of one or two ride-on toys and where we’d put them, and now, we sort of have a fleet of them, next to the baseball bats, footballs, water balloons, water guns, floats…

Boredom is not an option

Outdoor play is a big part of our day-to-day routine, and making sure we have the goodies and gear onhand is crucial.  Boredom is not an option.  Because of our former space restraints, we didn’t have too many big outdoor toys to begin with and besides our usual brick and mortar shopping locales, I love knowing that my go-to online shop for all things baby/kid, Diapers.com, sells toys and other outdoor play paraphernalia.

Diapers.com fangirl

I’m a long-time fan of Diapers.com and their sister site, Soap.com.  In fact, I went to the launch event for Soap.com and regularly sing their praises on Twitter.  When I was asked to participate in this BabyCenter Blog Network campaign, I giddily obliged knowing that I’d get to write about Diapers.com, yet another service that I already love.  And because the suggested topic idea had to do with a staycation, I actually waited to write about this campaign so it would coincide with our actual staycation, which begins this weekend.

On this recent shopping trip on Diapers.com, I made a point to stock up on even more outdoor toys and gear for the boy to enjoy over the holiday weekend.

The staycation  goodies and the gear

So, for this staycation,  I spent right around $100 and I made sure to stock up goodies and gear that would get good use on our staycation.  For starters, we have enough sunblock in our arsenal, but we’re low on bug ointment that actually works and is safe for the kid.  Badger Balm, which gets great reviews on Diaper.com, was first on my list.  Can’t play outside if the bugs have their way with you!  And as for the good stuff, of course I ordered toys..lots of outdoor toys!  I ordered a kiddie pool for the back yard, a float for the lake and various other toys to play with in the yard or when we go to the beach.  So, here’s the main goodies I ended up buying:

I’m so impressed by how many great toy brands there are on Diapers.com, including brands that I’ve only seen at specialty boutiques.  I especially LOVE Spielstabil‘s beach and outdoor toys.  Spielstabil is a beloved German toy company that’s also under the Haba umbrella.  Their products, which are extremely durable, are bpa, pthalate and pvc-free.  I just love that Diapers.com puts a lot of thought into the products they sell. (Trust me, I’ve seen the buying team in action at Toy Fair.)  I ordered the sand and water mill from Spielstabil and can’t wait to see it in action!

Amidst the hundreds and hundreds of choices of toys, gear and baby and kid products, I finally made my purchase and the first shipment should be arriving tomorrow.  The main caveats of this shopping trip were my indecision and that the order is coming in three separate shipments, with one of them not coming until next week.  Nevertheless, I  can’t wait to share more AND to reveal a pretty fun giveaway to boot!  Stay tuned.

Full disclosure:  This post is sponsored by BabyCenter in conjunction with the BabyCenter Blog Network.

Gift ideas for 3 Year Old Girl

Friend and NKT reader, Sarah, posted a really great question on the NKT FB page last week.  With her daughter turning three soon, she asked if I had any gift ideas.  On the heels of last month’s Toy Fair, I have stacks of ideas, actually.  As a mama to a three year old boy, I was excited to research some answers to Sarah’s question.

Three year olds are known for continuing to express their individuality and independence. They are honing their gross motor skills, and for most, attention spans are still quite limited. Role playing and group play is a growing trend at this stage, too.  And as much as I’d like to ignore the whole gender toy issue, like many of you, I’ve seen firsthand just how different play patterns are of boys and girls at this age.

Sarah said her three year old is into girly toys, pets, bubbles and jumping.  And since I haven’t had a chance to talk about many of the fun toys I saw at Toy Fair, this is a great topic to discuss since I saw so many great products that embrace these exact themes.

Princess

Princesses, long-loved favorites to toddlers, preschoolers and beyond, still have a strong presence on the toy front, especially with the success of last year’s Rapunzel.  Even though Disney has hinted at no more new princesses in the near future, toy makers still have a strong grip on this multi-million dollar license.

Squinkies, the tiny bubblegum machine-inspired trinkets that the kids love (and moms not so much), are now available in Disney Princess themes.

Word of caution: these toys are rated 4+ for safety purposes.

With the upcoming release of Tangled on DVD and Blu-Ray, there are quite a few cute dolls that focus on Rapunzel’s hair.

My favorite Tangled-inspired toy is the Toddler Tangled Rapunzel Doll from the Disney Store.  Only caveat with this adorable doll? She’s sold out on Disney Store’s site, but is probably available at select stores.  She’s cute and her hair looks manageable for the littler girls.

Tangled Sing and Glow Rapunzel doll, with her light up hair and singing voice is another cute doll that might be of interest to little girls.

Dolls and Doll Accessories

Doll and doll accessories are, no doubt, a big hit with toddlers and preschoolers because of the imaginative and creative play involved.  Quite a few toy makers have cool new doll accessories coming out, but Hasbro’s Baby Alive and Step 2’s Deluxe Nursery Station are two products that stood out for me at this year’s Toy Fair.

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Dinosaur Train Introduces New Episode and Giveaway

It’s a chugging kind of day; I’ve got lots of cool train-related news today.

To start off, Buddy and crew are welcoming the new year with a new Dinosaur Train episode.  The Jim Henson Company property that follows a Buddy the dinosaur, along with his family and friends on their train adventures, is chugging along with a new episode called “The Good Mom;” “Diamond Anniversary.”

In the new episode, Mrs. Pteranodon meets fellow mom Millie Maiasaura, who hovers a bit over her kids. The moms share some mothering methods in a play date at the Big Pond.  And, Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon decide to surprise each other with gifts on their anniversary.

The new episode can be viewed on PBSkids.com, so be sure to check it out if you missed it.

As fans of both trains and dinosaurs, Dinosaur Train, which airs on PBS, is one of our all around favorites.  We’ve been tracking Dinosaur Train’s adventures way before the very first episode even aired.  Dinosaur Train has been so well received, like many popular shows, licensed toys and products have followed suit.  I love Learning Curve’s Dinosaur Train toys and can’t wait to see what’s up next toy-wise.

But toys aren’t the only Dinosaur Train products worth checking out:  There’s a new line of pjs that are now available at Kohl’s, ideal for this frigid weather.  The Dinosaur Train Striped Footed Pajamas feature a dinosaur appliques and a striped pattern, and I’ve got one to give away.

Giveaway

Would you like to win a size 3t Dinosaur Train Striped Footed Pajamas?  Just tell me why you and your kid(s) like the show and comment below.

Want additional entries?

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab

Follow The Jim Henson Company on Facebook and tell them The Next Kid Thing sent you.

Comment on the NKT FB post associated with this giveaway!

Share this giveaway on any social networking site.

Please comment below for all entries.  This giveaway will end 1/25 at 11:59 p.m. and is available for U.S. residents.  All giveaway winners will be contacted via email, so please be sure to include a valid email address.

77kids Gives Back with Wish-4-Snow Charity Program

IMG_2072The holidays are in full swing, and it’s certainly the time for giving.  NKT fave, 77kids, is once again in the spotlight for their charitable initiatives.  The retailer announced that they plan to keep their “Do Good” momentum flowing by giving back through a charitable initiative twice a year, once in the summer and once during the holiday season.

The Motherhood invited the kid and I, along with several of my NYC/NJ blogger friends, back to 77kid’s NYC design studios a few weeks ago to discuss their current holiday charity.  The execs from 77kids shared a lot of great details about their holiday line, plus gave us a sneak peek of upcoming lines.  But more importantly, we were on hand to learn about what matters most about the holiday season: giving back.  77kids has kicked off their holiday season with their Wish-4-Snow charity program that benefits children’s hospitals.

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Want to know why I love working with 77kids?  It’s not just because I genuinely adore their kid’s clothes and their “Do Good” mantra, but also because they enlist bloggers to spread their word.  As Betsy Schumacher, chief merchandising officer of 77kids mentioned, their grassroots approach to marketing involves moms and word of mouth.  And to me, that accounts for a lot; reaching out to the key demographic who makes the buying decisions and involving bloggers in their social media campaigns speaks volumes.  But better yet, this company continues to underscore the importance of charity, and  I like that even more.
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For 77kids’ Wish-4-Snow program, there’s a variety of easy ways you can get involved to make a big impact:

In stores

– Customers can donate 77 cents (or more) to benefit their local children’s hospital!

– Customers/kids will receive a snowflake to write their name and wish on, and then they can place the snowflake on the “blizzard wall” in the store for all to see!

– In addition to the snowflake, the customer will get a ‘you done good’ bumper sticker to take with them!

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Online

– Visit 77kids’ Wish-4-Snow microsite, featuring a fun “catch the snowflake” game and giving visitors the opportunity to design their own snowflake to help 77kids reach their children’s hospital donation goal!

– Help 77kids reach their goal to make a total of 100,000 snowflakes.

– If that goal is hit, 77kids will make an additional $25,000 donation to the children’s hospitals on top of the customer donations each store collects during the month!

– You can make as many snowflakes as you want – not just one! You’re asked to submit your contact information only after the first snowflake.

– Creating a snowflake makes you eligible to win a $77 gift card from 77kids (one gift card given away daily!) and enters you to win the ultimate grand prize: an awesome block party for you and 77 pals!!

Local benefiting hospitals include:

– Children’s Health and Wellness Center at Danbury Hospital

– Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

– Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

– Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper

– University Hospital (Cherry Hill/Philadelphia)

– Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital (Syracuse)

– WakeMed Children’s Hospital (Raleigh)

– Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (Hartford)

– Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago)

So, log on and help 77kids give back by making a snowflake or three!

Giveaway

And because it’s the season for giving, 77kids would like to give one NKT reader a $50 giftcard!  All you have to do is, you guessed it, make a snowflake! Do you know of someone that needs a warm coat or a new outfit?  Nominate them for the giveaway! ‘Tis the season.  After you make your snowflake, just leave a comment below.

Would you like extra entries?

Become a fan of 77kids on Facebook

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @jenrab and @77kids

Become a fan of NKT

Please comment below for all entries.  This will giveaway will end at midnight on December 6, so enter away!  Winner will be chosen via random.org and will be notified via email, so be sure to include a valid email address.  Good luck and have fun!

Full disclosure:  I am being compensated for my participation in this campaign, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

‘Tangled’ to Unravel at Theaters on November 24

In more movie news, maybe you’ve heard about another Disney flick that’s slated to hit screens in just a few weeks?  Y’know, the one that’s touting hair-raising adventures and quite literally, a lot of hair?  As in, 70 feet of golden hair.

Tangled, which is poised to be another Disney classic, is set to be released on November 24th, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Tangled follows the misadventures of Rapunzel, voiced by the dynamic Mandy Moore, and her “prince charming,” or rather, her unsuspecting hostage, Flynn Ryder, who is voiced by Zachary Levi, the handsome geek of NBC’s Chuck (one of my favorite shows.)

 

As an all-around Disney fan, I can’t wait to check Tangled out!  I’m looking forward to seeing the modern-day interpretation of Rapunzel, as I’m sure many of you guys are too!  I will be hitting a screening of the movie next week, so be on the look out for my thoughts and reviews, and maybe a surprise, too.
Speaking of which, Disney is spreading the Tangled excitement with a giveaway!

ImagiPlay Dinosaur Puzzle Play Merges Puzzles, Activity Fun

Puzzles are well known activities that involve cognitive development, problem solving and hand-eye coordination for children of all ages.  Better yet, puzzles are awesome activities that can engage the whole family.  Who doesn’t love an activity that promotes brain power and team work?

 

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ImagiPlay, a toy company that creates sustainable toys and games, has found a way to combine an activity set and a puzzle with their Dinosaur Puzzle Play.  The Dinosaur Puzzle Play is comprised of 13 puzzle pieces that are made of rubberwood.  When not being used as a puzzle, the pieces double as wooden dinosaur play pieces.

 

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My dinosaur-loving preschooler recently acquired an interest in puzzles, so ImagiPlay’s Dinosaur Puzzle Play is such a fitting new activity.  The kid had a fun time with dad, putting the puzzle together over and over, and then going on to exercise their imagination to play a little Jurassic Park on their own terms, with a little help of some colorful dinos.  I appreciate the quality wood pieces, colorful and imaginative design, and the very reasonable price point.  ImagiPlay toys, always a perfect addition to our toy box, has great lineup of toys that would make great holiday gifts.  Don’t be surprised if you see more ImagiPlay on the NKT holiday gift guide.

 

Giveaway

Speaking of gifts, want a Dinosaur Puzzle Play for your kids?  Please comment below and tell me which ImagiPlay product you’d love to check out.

 

Want extra entries?

Follow ImagiPlay on Twitter

Find them on Facebook

Fan The Next Kid Thing on Facebook

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab

Please comment below for all entries

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Want to do some early holiday shopping?  ImagiPlay has kindly offered NKT readers a 20% discount from their website.  Just enter Play420 to receive a 20% discount from their website.  The coupon code is valid for 30 days and is only available in the U.S.

 

Full disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.