toy review

  • BulziBucket – Buckets of fun for summer!

    BulziBucket Game

    My first encounter with BulziBucket was at my local Learning Express Toys store. Two sales associates were playing it in the middle of the store; my friend and I watched and then joined in the game. We started playing it like a game of cornhole, however, the sales associates taught us two variations on the game—and tipped us off that the dotted bean bag was worth double points.

    BulziBucket is a combination of cornhole and hacky sack. The game comes with two 3-tiered targets and 8 hacky sack bean bags, which all collapse into a convenient carrying case. BulziBucket is perfect for playing in the yard, the pool, tailgating, indoors or anywhere you see fit.

    BulziBucket Banner Graphic

    I highly recommend BulziBucket if you are looking for an outdoor game for the entire family. It’s ideal for pool parties, cookouts or the beach! The BulziBucket targets float on water and fold up compactly, so you can play on land or at sea and bring it everywhere your summer travels take you.

    There are three ways to play BulziBucket:

    1. The traditional cornhole style, where partners line up on opposite ends and throw the bean bags directly into the buckets. Scoring is easy—the top tier is 3 points, the middle tier is 2 points and bottom tier is 1 point. However, the bean bag with the green dot is worth double points!
    2. The trademark style of playing BulziBucket is called Assist It. In this style, your partner can assist you by “hacking” (kicking hacky sack style) an overthrown bean bag into the bucket. No hands allowed!
    3. For the hacky sack aficionados, the Hack It style of play may be for you. In this game scenario, you must receive the bean bag from your partner and hack the bag twice before taking a scoring shot at the bucket. Again, no hands allowed!

    Happy playing!

    --Donna

  • Juballees – Stacking, Rolling Fun for Little Hands!

    juballees - stacking, rolling fun for little hands

    My 4-month-old daughter is just starting to notice toys.  Her main interest so far is putting them straight in her mouth. The same was true when I handed her Juballees stacking balls – but in a few months, she’ll learn there is so much more you can do with them!

    Juballees are uniquely-shaped, hard plastic balls designed for infants and toddlers 6 months and up. The set consists of three balls, which have gentle, fully-encased magnets that let them click together and stack. Each ball has a nub and a dip that lets it link to the next ball or rest flat on a surface. They even make a light rattling sound!

    Each of the Juballees balls also separates into rounded halves. Little hands, like my daughter’s, can grasp one half at a time and use it as a rattle for sensory development. The halves can be stacked upside-down as well, creating multiple building possibilities! Children can also mix and match the sides, which have six different colors.

    Juballees balls help children develop fine motor skills as they roll, stack, shake and click them. Little ones learn about the cause-and-effect relationship as they experiment with the balls, and receive sensory input as they explore the colors and sounds.

    Juballees Stacking Balls Juballees can roll, shake, click, stack, mix and match.

    These great features make Juballees a Summer Top Toy! Get those little hands on them today.

    --Becki

  • 5 Reasons Toddlers Love the SpinAgain

    SpinAgain CollageFor generations, stacking rings have been must-have toys for infants and toddlers. They’re tried and true for a reason – they teach fundamental skills and have universal appeal to children of this age.

    The SpinAgain is a colorful stacking toy with a new twist – the stacking discs corkscrew down the center pole. Toddlers (it’s recommended for 12 months and up) seem to never grow tired of placing the colorful discs at the top and watching them spiral down. It’s a Fall Top Toy!

    Little girl playing with SpinAgain

    Here are five reasons we’ve found toddlers love the SpinAgain:

    1. Toddlers love repetition. They’ll spin the discs again, and again, and again. Repetition helps toddlers learn about how the world works. As they place the discs on the pole and watch them spiral down over and over, they confirm their understanding of physics – gravity makes the discs go down, not up. As they play, they introduce subtle variations in the activity, such as dropping the discs a little harder or faster to see what happens. Every moment is a discovery!

    2. They can play independently. Independent play fosters creativity and critical-thinking skills. Once you’ve shown your child how the SpinAgain works, he can explore the toy on his own – whether that means rolling the discs along the floor, dumping them off the pole, or giving them a chew.SpinAgain Photo

    3. They can sort the discs by color or size. Sorting, arranging and grouping are critical cognitive skills for toddlers to learn. With the SpinAgain, kids can practice stacking the discs from largest to smallest, by color, or by shape. Determining which disc goes next helps children learn sequencing skills.

    4. The pieces are suited for their little hands, and they learn fine motor skills. The SpinAgain’s smooth, chunky discs are just the right size for young children to grasp and manipulate. As they develop their fine motor skills, they’ll be able to grasp and lift the center pole more easily. The bottom base can be flipped to act as either a stable base or a wobbly base, so as children develop their visual-spatial perception skills, they can increase the challenge.

     

    5. They love to dump things on the floor. A universal-but-sometimes-aggravating trait, toddlers love to explore their environment by dumping anything they can. The SpinAgain is extra fun to dump, as the discs go spinning off the pole the same way they spun on! Luckily, with the SpinAgain, stacking the discs back on is just as much fun as dumping them, so they’ll be content to repeat this activity over and over.

    Try one in-store today, and take the SpinAgain for a spin!

    Becki

  • Easter Gift Idea: Race to Pop Them All with the Bubble Buster!

    Race to Pop Them All with the Bubble Buster!Easter is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate spring. For me, Easter brings memories of egg hunts in my grandparents’ backyard with my brother and cousins, enjoying the grass, breeze and sunshine in a bright new dress. I also loved when the Easter bunny hid my basket, full of candy and toys, somewhere in the yard to find.

    Outdoor activities are perfect additions to Easter baskets. Sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls and jump ropes are all classic picks—and don’t forget the bubbles!Boy and girl playing with Bubble Buster

    Bubbles are even more fun with the Bubble Buster, a bubble-bursting race game that counts your bubbles as you pop them. It's a Spring Top Toy!

    This talking electronic game is as cute as a bug! The bug-shaped wand announces when it’s time for Player 1 and then Player 2 to play. One player blows bubbles while the other pops. On your turn, pop as many bubbles as you can with the Bubble Buster’s antennae, and a “ping” will sound on each one. When the timer runs out, the Bubble Buster will tally how many bubbles each player burst, and announce the winner!

    This game encourages active play as kids run and jump to pop as many bubbles as possible. It’s for ages 3 and up, and perfect for siblings, cousins and friends to play together.

    The game includes a bubble wand, tray and 4 ounces of bubble solution in addition to the Bubble Buster. All you need is two AAA batteries.

    Enjoy the sunshine, and Happy Easter!

    --Becki

  • PopSockets: Your Phone Can Handle This!

    Two girls using PopSockets on phoneI use my phone a LOT. I’m a new mom, so you bet I’m browsing Facebook during all those feeding sessions—and, of course, taking pictures of the baby every hour. After the first few weeks of motherhood, my hand was cramping up bigtime.

    Then I got a PopSocket for my phone. I’ve had it for about four days, and I don’t know how I survived without one!

    PopSockets are clever stick-on devices that make using your smartphone much more comfortable and practical to use. They function as a grip, a stand, a cord wrap, and more!

    When closed, PopSockets personalize your phone. They look like a decorative, half-dollar-sized circle on the back of your smartphone. They come in trendy designs for every taste—from wood grain to the American flag to donuts. Mine has a beautiful mandala-style elephant.

    When you pop open the PopSocket by pulling it straight outward from your phone, you can prop up your phone to watch a video, hold the phone between two fingers comfortably for texting or selfies, or wrap your headphones around it.

    Two teenage girls taking selfie using iPhone equipped with PopSocket

    It’s also a great fidget item – the PopSocket makes a satisfying “pop” as you snap it closed! Don’t worry about overdoing it – PopSockets are designed to expand and collapse 12,000 times. Three styles of PopSockets, one on an iPhone

    PopSockets stick to your phone with a sticky gel. The PopSocket can be removed and repositioned many times. If the adhesive gets dirty, you can rinse it with water and let it dry to stick it again—just don’t expose the gel to the air for more than 15 minutes, or it will dry out.

    Unfortunately, they don’t stick well to silicone phone cases or waterproof coatings. However, mine stuck just fine to my hard plastic, textured case.Android phone with elephant PopSocket

    PopSockets are also great for tablets, e-readers, the Nintendo 3DS, on your mirror to hang jewelry, and more.

    Paired with the optional PopClip mount, you can even attach your phone to your car's dashboard for music, speakerphone and GPS!

    Those Pringles commercials had it right: “Once you pop, you can’t stop!”

    --Becki