- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
To be able to produce the balls from the cyclone, you need to roll the play-doh into a worm shape and then place into the top of the toy. Then all you need to do is to turn the handle (which is very easy for my 3 year old to do herself) and then the balls fall down into the toy in a spiral direction and come out of the bottom.
Once the balls have been produced, you can then make sweets by using the provided stampers or you can make a long sausage shape by using the provided syringe.
This toy is very easy to assemble and surprisingly easy to clean (when I compare it to the many other play-doh products we have!) To clean the toy, the panel at the back can open easily and you can access any pesky play-doh that lurks inside.
The cyclone does not do much else other than produce lots of balls that you can form other shapes with by using the stamps but my Daughter loves watching all the balls roll down inside, forming a cyclone pattern.
I have to say that it is one of the better play-doh products that are available to purchase.
After using a less robust chalkboard with my Daughter, I wanted to purchase a product that also had a whiteboard and magnetic function.
I chose Melissa and Doug as I have many of their products and they are normally of good quality. This product also came with the chalk and some magnetic letters. I also purchased magnetic numbers and lower case letters to be used together.
The board itself is approximately 12" x 16" and has a brightly painted wooden frame with a rope carry handle. On one side it has a black chalkboard which is magnetic and on the other side there is a whiteboard that can be used with any dry wipe pens (one is included in the pack). A set of wooden magnetic upper case letters also come with this set, some chalk and a board eraser.
My Daughter started using this product immediately and I primed the chalkboard by rubbing chalk over the entire blackboard and rubbing it out. I found that it was then far easier to write on and clean afterwards.
My Daughter started to use the letters provided by drawing around them on the blackboard using chalk. I think I would have preferred the magnetic side to be on the whiteboard side and it would be less messy (chalky letters!) and easier for her to draw around.
The whiteboard pen provided ran out fairly quickly, but I had already ordered an additional set in different colours (my Daughter is obsessed with purple, so I knew immediately that she would not be satisfied with the colour provided). All pens we have used so far, wipe off easily with the eraser provided.
I have written this after over one years use. The product is still being used and is in great condition, the only thing is that one of the sides of the board has come off - but I will just glue it back in place with wood glue.
I purchased the Insect Lore Creature Peeper due to being due to teach Minibeasts to my class at School.
It is fairly robustly made of solid green and clear plastic. There are two magnifying glasses, one at the top and a peep hole at the bottom so that you can view the top and bottom of the creature you catch.
You can easily catch a bug by taking the cone shaped top off and placing over a bug. However, I am a little squeamish with some bugs, so used a bug catcher (purchased with a Bug Hunter kit from Dorling Kindersley).
You can view the bugs inside this peeper easily as it magnifies to 3 times it's size. Once you have place the bug inside the peeper, all you have to do is to put the cone shaped top back on (if you have caught your bug inside this part, just quickly put in back in place).
My Daughter also used this device and has caught a millipede, snail, spider (large and small), worm, ant, greenfly and a beetle.
When I used this during a lesson at School, the children were so engaged, that I think at one point I had 8 different types of minibeasts/insects inside the peeper. The children asked for the bug catcher and creature peeper during every outdoor freeplay we had that week.
My Daughter was 18 months old when I bought this kit as she was so fascinated with butterflies at that time. I saw it advertised on television and bought it when you got 10 caterpillars for the price of 5! I was so excited when it arrived and then realised after opening the kit that you then need to either send off the certificate for your caterpillars or redeem online by using a code.
The Live Butterfly Garden Includes:
* Pop-up, reusable 30cm tall mesh habitat perfect for butterfly viewing!
* Feeding Pipette
* Complete Instructions
* A cup of 5 live caterpillars (we were lucky to receive 10 caterpillars)
After paying a nominal postal fee for the caterpillars (£2.99 I think), the caterpillars arrived within one week - although they do state that you can wait 1-2 weeks as they are being posted from Europe.
One of the most important things to bear in mind is the timings for ordering your caterpillars - it takes approximately 3 weeks for them to complete their life cycle and the caterpillars can be ordered between late February and late September.
The caterpillars arrived in a small cardboard box (I was a bit worried about the state they may be in due to travelling in this packaging) - however, I needn't have worried as all 10 caterpillars (5 in each container) were absolutely fine. The containers have air holes in the lid, which has a picture of the Painted Lady butterflies that they are to turn into. The sides of the containers are clear so you can see inside and there is a cardboard outer layer that can be removed. We never removed this as you could see clearly through the two sides that were left uncovered.
The first thing my Daughter wanted to do was to open the lid of the containers, which of course, I explained that the caterpillars had to live in this home until they had built a new home. She was absolutely fascinated with the changes observed over the next 2-3 weeks. This is our diary:
Day One: Received the caterpillars (29/6/11)
Day 7 Caterpillars had grown dramatically in size (5/7/11)
Day 9 All caterpillars had formed into chrysalides (8/7/11). We then transferred to them to the netting provided by opening the containers and pinning the card they were stuck to onto the sides of the netting.
Day 17 Butterflies started to emerge and we witnessed one emerging! (15/7/11) At this point we put in some banana, oranges and sugar water (by using the pipette provided)
Day 18 The last two butterflies emerged (16/7/11)
Day 20 The day that all 10 butterflies were we set free on (18/7/11)
Day 20 was a very exciting day and when the butterflies were set free, they stayed in the garden for around an hour. We were lucky that they actually flew onto us and I took some amazing pictures of them.
As a Reception Teacher, I have just ordered this kit for my class and we received 5 caterpillars last week. It is great that they are as excited about observing the changes as my Daughter was and I cannot wait for them to be able to witness the life cycle of a butterfly first hand and set them free!
I bought this game because my Daughter has become an avid Disney Princess fan at the tender age of 2.
Visually the game is very appealing due to the bright colours and the fact that it contains Cinderlla's glass slipper. The slipper itself slots into place on the cushion and underneath the cushion there is an on/off switch.
The game board is of a circular shape and has several spaces on it. The spaces indicate whether you should pick up a specific card or press the glass slipper (only if you land on the Fairy Godmother). The cards themselves indicate the rags to riches theme. For example one card has a picture of Cinderella in her rags but when turned over shows Cinderella in her ball gown.
The players pieces are all shaped as Cinderella but have four different colours - blue, pink, yellow and green. To play you need to roll the dice and move the correct number of squares and then do what the space tells you to.
If you land on the Fairy Godmother you can press the slipper. If the bell sounds then you cannot turn over any of your unturned cards, however if the magic wand sounds then you can choose any of your unturned cards to turn to the 'riches side.'
One thing to mention is that if you already have a Cinderella's dress card and you land on this square again - you cannot pick another card.
The winner is the person that has one of every card facing the riches way! You are then the chosen Cinderella that can go to the ball!
It is a lovely game and my Daughter has managed to play it to the end a few times.
My Daughter got this for her 2nd Christmas. She is 3 and still likes to play it.
Basically the game is made up of an elephant shaped game that contains a fan inside. There is a switch at the back of the elephant that turns the fan on, however if the elephant falls over it cuts out the fan.
The elephant has a long plastic trunk that is attached to the solid plastic base. When the fan is on, the trunk stretches up towards the ceiling (sometimes you need to straighten this out).
The game also has four nets to catch the 'butterflies' which are made up of plastic coated paper (difficult to damage).
To play the game, you place the butterflies above the fan, which you can access by taking off the elephant's trunk. Once the butterflies are in place and every player has a net, you can switch on the fan (make sure the trunk is straight) and then wait for the butterflies to get blown into the air.
It is a fun game to play but it is over very quickly. It can take time initially for the butterflies to make their way up the trunk, however once they start popping out of the top - they all come in quick succession. So you have to get ready to catch!!
Another old game that is still going. I bought this for my Daughter as I had one when I was her age.
The game itself is a solid plastic horse with a detachable saddle. Underneath the saddle contains a switch to change the level of challenge from easy to more difficult.
The idea of the game is to place the horse's saddle on it's back and take in turns to place objects onto the saddle.
There are various objects that you can put onto the saddle, for example: Dynamite, shovel, lamp, water bottle, rope, gun, cowboy hat, sleeping bag, a box, frying pan and a guitar
The principle of the game is fairly simple, however it is not as easy as it looks to balance these items onto the horse - trying not to make it buck. Each player takes turns to place an item onto the saddle.
The person who bucks the horse by placing an object onto the saddle is out of the game. The rest of the players then start again until there is one player remaining - who will be deemed the winner?
The new version of this game does not buck as far as the old version I had when I was young. It seems that they have changed this for health and safety reasons.
I bought this item for my Daughter as she likes Dinosaurs and wanted this game after seeing it advertised.
Basically it is all made of plastic and you need batteries (2 x AA size batteries) for it to work. The base is a solid plastic dark green item which is supposed to look like greenery and it had a deep ditch in the front where you place the dino eggs. A lighter green plastic leaf covers this ditch and is attached to the main base of the toy.
You can lift this leaf a little in order for you to try to retrieve your eggs with the dinosaur shaped tweezers. The dino eggs come in 4 colours - red, blue, yellow and green. They look like eggs that have hatched and you can see the baby dino heads.
The dinosaur then clips on to the base by it's feet as there are to connectors on the base. You have to position these accurately before pushing into place and you must wait for it to click - so you know the dinosaur is secure. Once the feet are secure, you then need to push the dinosaur back so it is almost standing up.
To play the game the players take in turns to roll the dice. If you get a red dino baby - you must you the tweezers to retrieve a red dino baby from the nest (in the deep ditch) but BEWARE - the dinosaur may try to bite you!!!
The players take it in turns until the large dinosaur leaps forward and tries to bite you. This can make you jump when it does this as there is a loud clicking noise! Of course if he bites you then the game is over.
The dice itself has the various single colours on it to indicate which dino baby you must get with the tweezers but there is a side that has all the colours on it. Then you can choose which colour you want to get.
Overall it is quite a fun game! The leaf only moves a little bit - so could be a little challenging for younger players.
This item was bought for my Daughter as a present. It is made of solid plastic and is aqua in colour at the bottom of the main item and it's lever is purple in colour.
Basically you have a choice of extruder rails that have different holes and shapes cut out. You select the shape that you want, put it on the front of the machine and turn it into place. Once this is secure, you lift up the purple lever and place your play doh into the inner section. When you play doh is in place, all you then have to do is to press down on the lever. Your play-doh is then squeezed out of the front in the shape that you selected.
It is a fairly basic piece of machinary but is very easy to clean and will give plenty of fun playing time as you can make lots of different shapes.
Also included are two small pots of play-doh and a plastic cutting knife.
I bought Frustration for my Daughter as it was a game that I had when I was younger.
It is surprising how things have changed since the original game was made. The newer modern version no longer has the push down method of rolling the dice that it once had. So you do not get that metal click that you used to hear when someone took their turn. Instead, each player has a coordinating colour lever that you press instead. Personally I did not know what was wrong with the old method and thoroughly enjoyed pressing the middle down to play. Plus you have to keep taking the levers off in order for the game to fit back in the box.
Instead of plain pieces that you move around the board, you have little genies in colours coordinating with the colour of your team. They are blue, yellow, green and orange.
There is one added change to this game - there is a gold genie that you have in the centre of the board. If you spin and it is the green genie, you can put it in your place. That way you are protected if the other players try to get you out. However, if you land on the red genie or if someone else gets the green genie it gets put back in the middle or given to another player.
I still enjoy this game even though it has changed somewhat. I will be keen to see whether my Daughter will sit through a whole game when she is a little older as at the age of 3 - she gets a little bored.
I bought the Pop up Pirate game for my Daughter as I remembered it from my childhood.
It is basically a brown plastic barrel with holes for the players to insert the plastic swords. The pirate is also plastic and to make it work all you do is put the pirate in the middle of the barrel, push down and twist.
Once the pirate is in place, you select which colour sword you will be (up to 4 players) from red, yellow, green and blue and take in turns to insert each sword.
The aim of the game is not to insert the sword in the place where the pirate pops up. Once the pirate pops up it signals the end of the game. Although, if more than 2 players, we have carried on by putting the pirate back in place until he pops out again. Therefore, you have an overall winner of the game.
It is a fun game and when the pirate pops, it can make you jump a little. However, the fun is very shortlived and can be boring after a while.
Still it was a good trip down memory lane.
My Daughter was bought this for her 1st birthday from Amazon for £69.99. It is delivered in pieces which all need to be assembled - a little time consuming, so do it before you show your child!
The Smart Trike comes in different models which vary in price and my Daughter was given the deluxe version which normally costs £99.99.
The great thing about this trike is that it can be used from 10 months old as it has a fitted harness and safety bar around the bottom/waist and also has a high back support. The seat is supposed to be more comfortable on the deluxe model but I would not say it is overly comfortable.
The pedals have a great function whereby they will stop turning when your toddler puts one foot on them by moving a switch. This is great for the younger children that are not able to pedal just yet. This function can easily be reversed if your toddler wants to try to use the pedals. This I think is a great safety feature so the pedals do not constantly hit their legs.
The trike can be adjusted according to age and stage your child is at e.g. remove the seat bar and back support and eventually remove the safety harness and parent steering handle.
The steering handle is great because you have control over the direction you turn the trike but your little one feels as though they are doing it themselves.
The trike has a little telephone in front which is very basic but may keep them amused for a few minutes if you have stopped moving. The drinks holder is handy but can easily fall off as can the rear storage basket if you put something that weighs more than a pint of milk. The good point on the trike is that it has a storage bag near the handle that I put my keys and purse in if just going to the local shops (it saves me having to carry a bag!) The storage basket will not carry your shopping but if only light bags are used you can tie them to the parent handle like I do.
The trike comes with a sun visor which easily blows with the wind - not of great use when moving but if stationary, should be functional.
My Daughter likes this item and I look forward to the day she pedals it herself when we adjust it to the final stage of the trike.
I originally bought this book for my Daughter when she was 8 months old from ELC. The book is hardbound which makes it very sturdy on the outside. The cover has 10 plastic little caterpillars that stick out - my Daughter loved to touch these.
The book starts with 10 crunching caterpillars and as you read, you follow their journey through nature. As you turn each page, one caterpillar stays behind to interact with another member of nature e.g. a bird or to munch on some leaves.
The story is cleverly written and rhymes, making it almost musical to read to your young one. I can still remember my Daughter's face when I turned to the last page and the caterpillars had turned into 10 beautiful butterflies that pop out.
My Daughter went through a stage of wanting to pull or tear the butterflies and eventually succeeded in removing all of them. I waited until she got out of this destructive stage and bought a replacement copy from Amazon for £3.99 - which was less than I paid originally from ELC. This is still one of her favourite books and as she likes pointing out other insects along the way, I bought two other books by this author (the little chicks and the tadpole books - both of which also have surprise pop outs at the end).
This book teaches numbers, the basic life cycle of a caterpillar, introduces other insects and wildlife. I like the rhyming in the book and the colourful illustrations. It is a great book for a baby or toddler.
I bought one of these when shopping in Lakeland in Bluewater - I just loved the look of it and thought it would make sandwiches more interesting.
The cutter was only £1.99 and is green plastic but easily fits nearly any slice of bread with minimum wastage. Other cutters I have seen wastes a lot of the bread - this cutter mainly misses out the crusts which most children do not want to eat anyway!
You literally place it on top of a slice of bread and you press down - cutting out two perfect little dinosaur shaped sandwiches!
I have used this with sandwiches toasted and untoasted, also with french toast and with cookies! All have come out in the perfect dino shape. I have even just done indentations in the bread rather than cutting completely through for my Husband (who just looked at me in amusement!)
For the price of this item, it is well made and is dishwasher proof - so even saves on washing up! It is even safe for children to use as there are no sharp edges - so lots of fun in the kitchen!
I would not recommend using this if you have a lot of filling in your sandwich though as it was difficult to push down. For your normal childrens sandwiches it will work perfectly fine.
My parents bought my Daughter this walker as a present due to it's dual function as a rocker and walker.
Description from Amazon:
WalknRock Easily converts from a walker to a rocker in a few seconds, it has a softly padded seat with backrest, a detachable musical electronic activity tray is included for babys entertainment, it is also height adjustable and it has a comfy padded footrest for when it is used in the rocker mode. Can be changed from walker to rocker and back in seconds!
Height adjustable in 3 positions.
Suitable from when your child can sit up unaided, walking to 30lb maximum in weight.
When my Daughter first used it, we put it on it's lowest height setting however, she was still a little short, so we left it in the rocker function for around one month. At first she was a little uncertain as to what to do in the rocker and really did not like the loud tunes played by the toy table (most toys have a volume adjustment but this item does not). I had to tape cotton wool to it until she got used to how loud it was. Now she loves it!
There are three round buttons - each playing the sound of an animal before playing a well known tune. The peach button plays the sound of a cow follwing the tune of 'Oh Susanna.' The green button plays the sound of a dog with the tune of 'Oh My Darling Clementine.' Lastly blue button plays the sound of a cat with the 'Row your Boat' tune.
There are two little bears - one on the left and one on the right hand side. You can twirl these around and one has three little rings at the bottom for the child to play with. My Daughter also liked to bite the bears. There is a peach coloured ball on the left hand that you can roll and on the right side there is a phone dial that can be turned with little fingers.
There is a steering column in the front (not a round steering wheel but like a plane steering column) which when turned also turns the two round circles at the front (which has little bunnies on them).
At the back of the walker there are two holders for bottles and one rectangular shaped. I have not used these for anything but can be used to hold things that you may need to hand.
What I really like about this walker aside from it's dual function is that the play table comes off and it can be used as a feeding table - or a table for other toys to be played on.
The teething problems that I initially had with this item was the two of the wheels were really stiff and I had difficulty moving the walker, let alone my Daughter being able to walk in it. The Customer Service department were very helpful though and sent replacement wheels which worked fine. My Daughter now whizzes around in it. The fabric can be taken off and washed with ease - which is very handy.
In summary - it really is a lovely item and even I have not tired of the tunes yet and that is after 6 months of continuous use! I would certainly recommend it for a gift and it is most certainly worth the money.