Marvel Super Hero Mashers Combine Construction and Action Figures Toys

For young boys and girls, super heroes personify strength and bravery.  So, when toys depict these super heroes and super powers, action figures become an extension of their imagination.  

Over the past few years, we’ve become major MAJOR super hero fans.  What with Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and other Marvel movies on the big screen and eventually making their way to our small screen, it’s super hero all day, every day around here.

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Appropriately enough, Hasbro’s line of Marvel toys are some of our most played-with toys in our house.  Marvel Super Hero Mashers, which debuted a few weeks ago, are perhaps among my favorite action figures to date.  What sets these super hero action figures apart from the rest?  They’re completely customizable!


As action figures promote imagination and creative play, why not customize the super hero and his powers while you’re at it?  Well played, Hasbro.


Excited to get a first look at Marvel Mashers, my guys haven’t put them down since they arrived.   Marvel Super Hero Mashers combines construction/building with action figures, which is the most popular play pattern for my six year old and his copycat two year old little brother.  For review, we received a Marvel Mashers Action Figure Assortment of Hawkeye and an Action Figure Assortment Upgrade of Hulk.

To be able to mash Spidey’s arms with Captain America’s Legs, Iron Man’s torso and Hulk’s other arm most definitely extends his imagination and creative inner story lines and then some.


Not sure about you, but when we were kids, I remember taking apart GI Joes and then trying to reconstruct our own guys.  It was endless fun!  So, to me, Marvel Mashers is a brilliant concept and past play pattern come true.  My six year old is within the target age demographic, and without a surprise, it’s a mega hit for him.  Biggie says: “Marvel Mashers is cool because you can make your own guy and mix with another guy, too.”

IMG_7452 For a six year old, it was fairly simple to mix and match, but at times, it was difficult for my son to interlock some of the limbs and parts on his own. Nevertheless, once we had the figures put together, it was open-ended superhero play for everyone.We’ve been having fun mixing and mashing our characters, but in my opinion, we had even more fun when we added even more characters’ “parts” to the mix.


I’m such a fan of Marvel Mashers that when I attended last month’s Hasbro cocktail party at Toy Fair, I was beside myself when I saw the Marvel Mashers corner.  

image I stood there, alongside several of my fellow bloggers, building our own superhero and naming them ourselves.  I loved digging into the buckets full of Mashers and making my very own superhero with the absolute best powers.  I lovingly named him Captain Wolverman.


Marvel Mashers has made its mark as custom action figures, underscoring this superhero and construction play pattern which is huge for this age bracket.  It’s an absolute favorite in my house, and not surprisingly, I will most likely find broken (non Masher) action figures at the hands of my boys who will want to Mash every character they meet from now on.

Full disclosure:  I received samples of Hasbro Marvel Mashers to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

NKT Faves: Bot Shots, Chan and Skylanders Cloud Patrol

As usual, so much has been going on around here.  Even though I haven’t been updating as frequent as I like, I’m always updating Twitter, Facebook and my current obsession (and everyone else’s,) Instagram.

My current Instagram obsession made me think about the other obsessions we have going on in our house.  My Four year old is at that stage in life where he clings onto things incessantly.  And the fact that I review kid products means that his obsessions change with every new package we receive, or so it seems.

So, I thought I’d try to update weekly on what are our new favorites.  It will most likely be a random sampling of things, but all fun finds nonetheless.

1. Transformer Bot Shots

These Bot Shots from Hasbro can be cataloged in a few different ways:  they’re collectible, have a battle aspect and they transform.  They’re small in size, which makes them perfect for young school-aged kids and maybe even preschoolers.  The fact that they’re Transformers adds to the cool factor.  When in battle mode, players can push, then crash into their opponent, and then the Bot Shot automatically transforms.  I can’t tell you how many battles we’ve had with our guys.

I love the low price point for these toys, almost as much as I love the fun play pattern.  It’s competitive, yet creative and all around fun, especially for Transformers fans.

2.  Chan, Pie and Gnon Teethers

I’ve had a lot of baby on the brain as of late, and baby toys are no exception.  I’ve talked a lot of Sophie the Giraffe, but I’m so excited that the makers of Sophie have friends for this famous giraffe.  Chan, Pie and Gnon are rubber, just like Sophie.  These little mushroom-looking characters are easy to grab and even have a squeaker toy inside.  As my baby learns to grasp things, it’s so cute to hear that little squeaker squeak.

3.  Skylanders Cloud Patrol

The uber popular video game franchise is already a hit on the web and on consoles, and now, it’s available on mobile platforms.  Our whole family loves playing Skylanders, so naturally, Cloud Patrol was an instant hit for all of us.  Cloud Patrol has a combination of mini-missions and shooting adventures, which are all easy to play on a touch-pad devices.  The colors and characters are just as vibrant as the other game platforms, and quite honestly just as addicting.  Activision is getting it right with the multi-platform interactivity.  I love the way you can engage characters you already own, just by inputting the number they came with.  Skylanders Cloud Patrol is a game that will be along with many of our roadtrips and train rides this summer.

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.


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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Toy Fair 2011: Hasbro Showroom, Boy Toys

Along with many of my blogging and media colleagues, Toy Fair affords us an opportunity to take a glimpse into toy manufacturers’ lineup of new products for 2011.  A few big brands opened their doors for informational tours of booths and showrooms, including #2 toy maker, Hasbro.

I already mentioned a few notables from our tour of Hasbro’s Toy Fair showroom, but Hasbro continues to underscore their success in existing toys and licenses, which includes many of the familiar products that have shows on the new family channel, the Hub, a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

I’m finding it quite difficult to organize everything I saw over the past few weeks, so I’ll try to post them in good-sized chunks to avoid bombarding too much information at once.

Here are just a few of the many new toys for boys from Hasbro:

Hasbro’s new Boys Toys didn’t disappoint. Marvel Super Heroes, once again, have a big presence in Hasbro’s lineup of new toys.  With Thor and Captain America hitting the big screen later this year, Hasbro has several new toys, including role play sets, that will have launches coinciding with movie releases.

(above) The Lightning Hammer is a replica of Thor’s signature weapon, and is fully equipped with electronic battle sounds and a launching projectile.

The Captain America Disc Launching Shield fires miniature foam disks and has a diameter of 15 inches.

Because I have a smaller super hero fan, I love the Super Hero Squad 3-Packs.  In addition to other popular super heroes, Hasbro will have Thor and Captain America 3-Packs as well. I’m excited to see this segment of Super Heroes go on to expand with more accessories and playsets

Aside from the Marvel Super Heroes, Rescue Bots (Transformers) and Star Wars are joining this chunkier line up for smaller hands.

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May the Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars day, everyone!  May the 4th be with you!

As a nudge to the iconic phrase from Star Wars, “May the force be with you,” May 4th is dubbed Star Wars Day.  While many hardcore fans are celebrating with Princess Leia cupcakes and Hot Dog Lightsabers, I thought I’d share just a few of the latest Star Wars goodies, starting with some of Hasbro’s upcoming toy launches.

Star Wars

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Toy Fair 2010: They Call it Puppy Love

In perhaps every imaginable shade of pink on the spectrum, Toy Fair 2010 offered a glimpse of some of the girliest toys a girl could imagine.

Beyond the obvious girl toys–dolls– Toy Fair showcased a lot of girls’ (and guys’) best friends, too.  Continuing the ongoing trend of taking stuffed animals to the next dimension, here are just a few of the many, many pet-themed toys I learned about at Toy Fair.

Littlest Pet Shop

One of Hasbro’s best selling girls properties that are best known for their cute, beady eyes, The Littlest Pet Shop, has quite a few new goodies this year. Just a few of the many new additions to their line include the Rescue Tails Center that will give girls a platform to care for their pets. This set comes with an ambulance with a light-up X-ray machine and plenty of accessories to provide thorough check-ups.  Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Fall 10

Littlest Pet Shop Rescue Tails Center

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Affordability and Accessibility at Toy Fair

Apologies for the lack of posts, but as Toy Fair wrapped up, I had my own wrapping up to do, to the tune of  3,000 photos and bags upon bags of flyers and flashdrives of press kits. I’m sure you noticed, but I did much more Facebooking and Tweeting than updating over here, simply because internet access was scarce in the media room.  But I digress…

For my First Toy Fair, this was an exciting and extremely productive event.  I was been able to meet with a number of the big companies to hear about their latest and greatest, but, as you know, I also love learning about the smaller, lesser known companies as well.

Gloworld rattles and plush toys

I’ll try not to be redundant in my posts, as I’m sure a few of you have read some of my updates already.  So, as I continue to wrap my brain around all of these toys, I thought I’d offer a quick update.  Next week, I’ll go through a myriad of topics, but for now I thought I’d talk about what I saw and relate it to what the “real” experts had to say.


wooden yo yo from ImagiPlay

Several of the “Toy Experts” have cited accessibility and affordability as prominent themes throughout the event.  Obviously, I’m no expert, but as a parent and writer who seeks out these trends, I’m always drawn to see how it all fits.

Generally speaking, of all the modern and attention-grabbing products, I found, for the most part, many new products were being marketed as affordable.  Of course, affordability is a subjective term in this context, but nonetheless, affordability is a burgeoning theme throughout this industry.


Heavily influenced by the turbulent economic crisis and volatile job market, companies recognize the consumers’ needs, thus emphasizing affordability of their new products.  There’s so many to include in the affordable category, but since I met with MegaBloks, Goldberger and ImagiPlay, these companies come to mind.  All three of these companies had seemingly different new products to showcase that were tailored for budget-minded families.

new Gloworld toysGoldberger Lily Layette


MegaBloks, well known for their Preschool Construction Toys, had several new items that I know my kid would love, most notably the new Thomas construction train sets, which are in the $20 range.  Goldberger had a variety of dolls I loved, but the new Lily dolls from their eco-friendly line are under $20.  ImagiPlay, as one of my favorite sites tweeted, is pioneering the eco-affordable toys, especially with their new yoyos

But, perhaps accessibility of toys is most noticeable in the size of toys.  As the toy experts said, many toys were compact, condensed and suitable for on-the-go play.
Goldberger Lily LayetteImagiPlay wooden play sets

For both boys and girls, from tiny tots to teens, compact toys ranged from new variations of plush rattles as seen in Playskool’s new Gloworld line to wooden playsets such as the ones from ImgaiPlay to electronic readers like VTech Toy’s Flip to the new bikes like those from Tech Deck.


(I’m still updating photos, but I’ll be sure to update as soon as they’re all up!)

Happy National Puzzle Day!

In case you weren’t aware, today is National Puzzle Day.  (I wasn’t aware at all, but now I am.)  With that in mind, I’m reminded by how many really great puzzle sets that are out there.  Did any of you play with puzzles growing up?  I know we did.  I remember playing with whatever character du jour and putting it all together piece-by-piece, and feeling so accomplished when I finally laid the finally piece.

My mother-in-law, in fact, has done a great job of keeping many of my husband and his siblings’ old puzzles.  So, when the grandkids get together, all of whom range in age 17 to 2 years old, it’s fun to see them play with these puzzles together.

National Puzzle Day is said to encourage family togetherness, as well as encourage the skills that are involved in putting together puzzles:  reasoning, concentration and teamwork, among others.

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Kidz haz cheezburger: Play-Doh Burger Builder

Play-Doh has cooked up some new items, specifically, some new food sets, some of which are set to roll out this fall. With school starting up for many, the unofficial end of summer might be imminent, but the kids can BBQ all year round with the Play-Doh Burger Builder. With the Burger Builder, kids can press, knead and “cook” up their own burgers and all the “fixins” (That’s how they say it back home) How ever they might like their burgers—lettuce, tomato, pickles, fries on the side—the possibilities are endless with the Play-Doh Burger Builder.

Play-Doh Burger Builder

We had the chance to check out this latest set, which, like all of its timeless playsets, the Play-Doh Burger is entertaining for boys and girls. Even with the various pieces, it’s easy put together and take apart.  It comes with five small canisters of Play-Doh, and the cool looking molds.  Even with all the glorious electronics out on the market, there’s nothing like good old fashioned play with classic toys that encourage creativity. I love that the allure of Play-Doh will never get old. Anyone remember the Fun Factory?

The sets are recommended for kids 3 and up, but in my opinion, I’d push that age range to whenever kids “get it.” I know some parents might think of Play-Doh, as one of “those” toys, but really, if the kids get it, then it’s much more fun for everyone.


The Play-Doh Burger Builder can be found at toys stores and will retail for $15.99.

In addition to the new Burger Builder set, Play-Doh has rolled out the Spaghetti Factory where, you guessed it: kids can create a spectrum of noodles, meatballs and even shrimp. And for all all the budding Star Wars Fans, keep your eyes out for the R2-D2 playset.

But, Happy Friday, I’ve got the Play-Doh Burger Builder playset for one of you!

Want it?
Just tell me any of the items that you can make with the Burger Builder!

Share this giveaway for extra entries. Please comment below for each entry! This giveaway ends on 9/18.

Hasbro will be one to watch

…quite literally, perhaps.


discovery_logo_1It was reported last week that Hasbro and Discovery Communications are partnering up to launch a new tv network and website, built around toys that many of us—and now, our kids—have grown to love. New programming will be based on shows, toys and games such as Romper Room, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, My little Pony, G.I. Joe, Transformers, among others.
Discovery Kids Channel, which currently touts shows such as Bindi the Jungle Girl and Hip Hop Harry will be replaced by the yet-to-be-named channel that is set to debut in 2010.

Moms and dads, what are your thoughts on this new format?