Lite Wars, Lite Brix – review

Lite Wars, Lite Brix are a great construction toy for children aged 6+ available from retailers from RRP £9.99 to £19.99. We were sent the Slayer Jet vs Captain Bolts Bunker set to try out and review for you.

This Lite Wars, Lite Brix set comes with two bags of bricks, two figures, full colour instructions and a light brick which requires 3 AAA batteries (not supplied). The boy loves construction sets, and this one looks pretty cool so I knew he would enjoy putting it together.

lite wars lite brix

The instructions are pretty easy to follow, once you understand the highlighted next brick pictures. This pieces were also fairly simple to click together and there was only one piece that the boy couldn’t quite clip in tight. The figures which come complete with light up features are very cool, and the boy has been most impressed with these.

lite brix

It took the boy about 30 minutes to finish putting the Lite Wars Hawk vs Lt Blaze set together, and has enjoyed playing with the ship and gun wielding figures. The set is certainly different to other construction sets as you have lite up bricks that flash across the whole space ship. With 3 sets to collect this would be a perfect Christmas gift and something to keep all construction addicts like the boy happy.

lite wars

The boy says:

This ship is epic, and I like swapping the little figures over. It stays together well and doesn’t fall apart when I play with it. I think its pretty cool!

lite brix lite wars hawk

Lite Brix play sets are available for boys and girls and you can find more details here on the Character website. We will certainly be adding Lite Brix, to our Christmas list, and these sets would make a perfect friends Birthday gift.

Family Fever

Disclaimer, we were sent this product for review our opinions are our own and have not been altered.

Are you a K’nex-pert?

Are you a K’nex-pert?

NO! then why not? Ok I know not everyone has heard of K’nex, they are set this year to be a whole lot more popular in homes in the UK. K’nex now have a UK distribution and this American construction toy will be more widely available, just in time for Christmas.

I first came across K’nex about 10 years ago when my Godson first was given the ferris wheel set for Christmas. I remember all too well the crys of help, and sore fingers, as well as the satisfaction of completing this very amazing and impressive construction. Since having the boy, K’nex had slipped to the back of my mind, but seemed a perfect new construction toy to try over the holidays.

knexpert

Like most typical 8 year old boys, he likes the ‘other’ construction toy for which he is a plan follower. K’nex has much more flexability to make structures from you own imagination. We were sent a starter set to try out which comes with instructions, but they are more suggestions of where to start. Sets start from just £10 which we thought was great value for money. Our starter set costs RRP £19.99 and came with a good mix of standard size and half sized pieces, and with this made some cool working models including a robot man on a unicycle.

I had noticed Hobby Craft, who have a good selection offering 25% off sets over the summer so treated the boy to a couple more boxes so that the boy could take part in the challenge of becoming a K’nexpert.

knex

K’nex are asking all the budding architects to design and build a K’nex inspired structure. You have till the end of October to send in your designs with a one minute video explain the thoughts behind your construction as well as your design ideas. The boy was only too pleased to take part in this fun challenge and after a couple of weeks experimenting. The boy was inspired by constructing the Ferris wheel from one of the sets to make his very own traveling fair. He had great fun working out how to build a tower and then a train, and was pleased that he could add and remove parts of his construction. His video better explains his thoughts.

I am pleased to have rediscovered K’nex, as I can see that it has opened up the boys imagination to new ways of construction. There is some great maths needed for this toy with has also helped with the boys visualisation of lengths and measuring. We have had some great fun with K’nex over the summer, and I know that we will be on the look out for some Christmas inspiration in not too many weeks time.

If you think you have what it takes to become the next K’nex-pert then entry details can be found here, and there are some pretty cool prizes to be won.

Disclaimer, we were sent a set of Knex construction to, to promote and enter the Knepert challenge. The opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

 

Light-up Space Planetarium – Review

Light-up Space Planetarium from Great Gizmos, this is a great build it yourself science kit for ages 8+ and RRP £12.95.

This neat little boxed project comes with all the parts that you need to build a cool torch planetarium. There are several grey plastic parts needed to build the projector, some very small screws, pen, and projector film. with both pre printed and plain for you to design your own projections.

light-up space planetarium

You will need a small screwdriver to assemble this project, and despite the boy being 8 nearly nine, he had trouble getting the very tiny screws to fit, so I was instructed to do the tricky part of screwing the projector together. The boy completed all the other parts of putting this kit together. He especially enjoyed testing out the different films which slot in above the LED torch.

building light-up space planetarium

The summer holidays are such a big break to fill that this kit was perfect way to fill one of our days at home. The boy is getting more interested in all the science experiments, and particularly all things space. This kit didn’t take long to build, the boy took time to work out the effects of moving the light source closer and further away from the slides. You can project images onto the dome on the top of the planetarium or directly onto the wall of ceilings.

great gizmos light-up space planetarium

I would say that I think this kit seemed flimsy as the legs simply slot into place, and tend to fall out when you lift it from the floor. The boy didn’t seem to mind this, as he preferred to use it as a torch shining pictures on his walls. The star slides we thought were fun and we tried to work out which of the constellations we knew. when placed on the floor of the boy’s room the projector had enough power to light pretty patterns on the ceiling which was fun.

light-up space prodjector

For a space fan, this is a great little kit, and a good start perfect for looking at how projectors work. It does seem a little pricey for what is included in the kit, but with battery’s included it was nice not to have to dash out to the shops!

Disclaimer, we were sent this set for an honest opinion, the words have not been altered.

 

 

 

Despicable Me 2 – Review

Despicable Me 2 is a new 500piece puzzle from Ravensburger, with an RRP £9.99 and although it doesn’t come with a recommended age range, you will need to be a good puzzler to work this one out.

I love the film Despicable Me 2, and this puzzle looked perfect for the boy to have a go at. Despite the fact it is only a 500 piece puzzle it was deceptively difficult and the boy soon gave up as did Dad. I thought I was pretty good, if maybe a little out of practice, but this puzzle did have me scratching my head as to where to start.

despicable me 2 puzzle

The edges are the traditional start point, but even these proved tricky. The main puzzle was of course despicable! Once I had worked out the eyes, and mouths the rest was a sea of yellow and blue, “Minioness”. I don’t have much spare time, even in the summer holidays but I found myself determined to find a home for every last piece of this puzzle, and the boy came back for the final pieces.

despicable me 2 where to start

As I would expect from a Ravensburger Puzzle the pieces were well cut, sturdy and form a great finish, when the puzzle is complete. I loved this puzzle, and think it would be a perfect gift, for puzzle, or Despicable Me fans. I plan to see how long this one will take Bingo Granny, she is a pro puzzler. It took me about 5 hours in total, that was over a total of about 4 days. The perfect puzzle with its cute Minions for a rainy day.

Despicable me 2 jigsaw

Despicable me 2 is available now from shops and online, and makes it into our top 10 favourite gifts for Christmas 2014.

 

Disclaimer I was sent this product for an honest review.

Stink Bugz – Review

We were asked to review Stink Bugz from Character, and I should have guessed by the name what these toys were all about. Strangely though I thought these would be little cuddly collectable bugs, so was quite surprised when they turned up.

stink bugs arrive

Stink Bugz do have a strange cute quality about them, that is all the time they remain in their plastic containers! As the name would suggest once removed and squeezed, they have some rotten smells about them. The boy was excited when the Stink Bugz arrived, there was quite a bit of plastic, but the packs were easy to get in. There are four Stink Bugz to collect and they have an RRP £4.99, there is also a parasite pack with four mini bugs which has a RRP of £9.99

sink bugz skunk

Aimed at age 6+ I can see lots of kids adding these smelly little creatures to their Christmas lists, but parents beware! Stink Bugz stink!! The boy is eight and has enjoyed showing everyone how awful these little creatures smell, they went down especially well with his group of friends. Some even enjoyed the action of smelling them. I could manage a couple before the smell was just too much, and as you can tell from Dads face he wasn’t too convinced either. The boy has reviewed gross toys before, but these are certainly something different. He says:

“The Stink Bugz stink! they are ok when you keep them in their pots. My friend squirted one at me and it made me feel sick! I know I don’t like the smell of skunks now!”

smelly stink bugz

Stink Bugz, are something I can see plaguing the homes of many families, and if like us you have a Muck Maggot, then the smell of rotting fish is pretty convincing. Although the parasite pack contains smaller versions of the bugs don’t be fooled into thinking they will smell less, they don’t! Stink Bugz are a perfect gift, just beware what your child may be given in return! Stink Bugz are available now from toy stores and online.

Disclaimer we were asked to give an honest review this product.

Packing for Hospital

Packing for hospital is just like packing for a holiday. Ok so the destination may not be quite so exciting, but the boy was actually looking forward to it, me? not so much. I had been stock piling a few of the boys favourite things, as well as some new items for review, to keep him interested, I didn’t want to hear “I’m bored!”. So here are a few of our recommendations, and a few surprise finds of our brief stay.

Books

books

Yes we have lots of books, and they are defiantly in the case. The boy chose to take his current reading book which is Mr Stink by David Walliams, RRP £6.99 This is the 4th of David’s books that we have read, and I can thoroughly recommend them all. Gangsta Granny has a tough ending, and one the boy wasn’t quite ready for so if you have a younger child or one who is a little sensitive, this may be one to leave till they are older. Billionaire boy, and The Boy in the Dress are proper laugh out loud, the characters are brought to life in amazing detail, repeating characters common to all the books are fun to spot. We have a soft spot for Raj the shopkeeper, and the toilet roll puns!

Joe and the race to Rescue by Victoria Eveleigh is a Orion book that the boy chose, RRP £5.99 it is a different story to one he would normally chose, but I think he liked the look of the cover. This book is one for all animal lovers and while I know girls enjoy pony books, I will be encouraging the boy to enjoy different books. This way he can decide what he likes and doesn’t like.

When his family’s farm floods, Joe comes to the rescue with the help of two brave Shire horses, in the final instalment in the brand new pony trilogy from Victoria Eveleigh, author of the Katy’s Ponies series.

The Quirks in circus Quirks by Erin Soderberg from Bloomsbury RRP £5.99, looks like another good fun read. This story tells the tale of a family, but no ordinary family as the title might imply.

The Quirks are a rather special family with rather magical powers and, sometimes, when the Quirks are involved things don’t quite go to plan!

 

This is Erin’s first book for children aged 7-9 and is packed with the type of adventure you need to keep this age group of children interested. A book packed full of family life with a smattering of huge, hairy, twisted, sticky secrets! I think the boy will enjoy this book as it is based in small town America it will open up some new topics of discussion.

Puzzles

puzzles

We took a selection of puzzle books, including a new Deadly 60 Activity book from Orion books. Priced at RRP £4.99 and with lots of interesting facts and puzzles, full colour pictures, this will always be a winner with both Deadly 60 fans and puzzle fanatics.

I bought myself a mixed puzzle book, and it has been a long time since I have enjoyed some quiet time to sit and just think. I was looking forward to doing a couple of Sudoku, and was surprised that the boy wanted to join in and help. It turned out he understands the process of thinking behind Sudoku and was disappointed there went any in his comic. Bingo Granny had bought the boy a magazine called Adventure Time and a huge flower pen, she wanted to keep him occupied while he was away from home and the free toy that came with the magazine was a kit as it fired small plastic discs. I’m sure it wont be a long-lasting toy, but boys seem to really enjoy this kind of thing! These types of magazines are perfect for holidays, as you wont need to bring a whole library with you!

Games

games

Game number one to come with us was of course Dobble, RRP £12.99 (if you are quick you still have the chance to win the game here) This is such an easy and fun game, and the boy was quick to encourage both Dad M and his new friend O to join in with a few games. Having this game in a tin means it was easy to pack and you wont end up with a tatty crushed box at the end of your trip.

We also packed Brain Box Maths by Green Games RRP £12.99, this was something Santa had invested in for Christmas and a way to encourage the boy to think about all sorts of different maths problems I knew it would be a hit. We were sent Inventions Brain Box game last year and enjoyed the easy to follow concept of memorizing the information on a card then being asked a question to see how much you can remember. The boy challenged his friend O to a game, and was surprised when he was beaten. (He isn’t used to loosing well, and this went down badly) I do think this game will be one we enjoy though as it has some interesting facts and is well-balanced for adults to play with all ages of children.

Snacks

fruit bowl snacks

Finally packing food, OK! I knew that the food in hospital would be ok for the boy as he is used to eating pretty much everything. I would have to fend for myself, but having a few handy snacks for in-between times is always a good idea. Whether you are packing for a day out or a week away I think both fun and healthy snacks are a must.

Luckily Fruit Bowl came to our rescue. This is a brand I have been buying for the boys lunch for a long time now, and we particularly enjoy the yoghurt covered fruit flakes. As a mum I like to try and choose more healthy snacks and will choose these or cereal bars. We were very excited to see the New Sea Shapes and Jungle Animals, these are little gems of the snack world and are now a firm favourite of everyone in the family. They have the amazing fruit flavour of a sweet and as one of your five a day with no added sugar, are a better option.

Fruit bowl’s new peelers also went down well, the boy was excited to tear these apart, and the Strawberry peeler only lasted seconds from the jiffy bag! Have a look on the website to find out more about which supermarkets are stocking which Fruit Bowl Snack here. And keep your eyes peeled in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose for the New Sea and Jungle shapes as they are a big hit!

Disclaimer, we have been sent some of these items for review, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

 

 

Grobots from Galt

Grobots are a fab new and exciting way to get children growing. With four different and customisable Robo Crew figures to collect you can make them your own with the supplied stickers, water, and watch their hair grow. Available from the Galt website and other Galt stockists for RRP £6.99 these little ceramic robots look sweet sitting on our kitchen windowsill.

grobots

We started our Grobot adventure at half term and have had great fun giving our little robot friends different haircuts each week. Grobots come in a small plastic box with everything you need to get started. The Instructions are basic, and you will need to soak the figure in water before you start putting the stickers on. I would advise you do this before showing your children as once the boy had seen the robot he didn’t want to wait to get customizing. The instructions say that you should wait for the hair to grow, but we wanted to customise our Grobots straight away.

grobots 2

We were sent 2 Grobots Rosie and Red, you can also get Teccy and CanMan. Each has a unique colour and personality, with stickers to suit boys and girls. I set about adorning Rosie Grobot with little flower stickers and a weird face which the boy said made her look sad. The boy opted to pinch a few of my stickers to go with the smiley face that he had. There are plenty of different stickers which are all peel able and can be changed as the mood takes you.

robocrew

Once we had finished putting the faces on our little friends we would have to wait and watch them grow. This didn’t take long with the first shoots appearing in around a week. the growing part of the Grobot is formed from a seed ball in the head of the Grobot. There was no mess and it was fun to see each morning who had the most hair. It turned out that Red won the hair race, and Rosie was left looking a little patchy. I have found that due to the round opening Rosie is also a little more tricky to water than Red with his square head. I also was told by the boy that Rosie looked sad so I gave her a new smile when she started to get new hair!

grobots with hair

We have enjoyed watching our grassy grobots grow, and trimming their hair into funky styles.

So here are our new friends, tell us what you think?

Disclaimer, we were sent this product to review, the opinions remain our own and have not been changed

Brian – My half term Lego Build

When I saw a competition to build a Lego version of Brian from confused.com I knew what I would be spending my spare half term days doing. I am not usually allowed to build my own Lego, as the boy likes to make the models his own now. Spurred on by Jenny from the Brick castle, that it is ok for adults to actually make their own Lego models, I knew I had to give it my best shot! The boy quickly decided that building a replica Brian was too difficult, so started on his own version of a robot complete with jail, tower and minifigure’s. There are two competitions running side by side, one for an Apprentice builder and the other for Master Builder, so we can both enter our efforts.

Brian

So starting from the bottom up I set about trying to make my very own Brian, the Master Builder brief was to make your model as close to the real Brian as possible. The first problem was finding some suitable tracks and this is where we started to deconstruct some of the boys other Lego sets. The first model to be raided was Chima Lavel’s royal fighter with the Technic style pieces forming the base. Next I built up a platform using lots of my white or slightly yellowed 1970’s bricks. I needed to form a slope across the front which was achieved with a hinge on the back of two Star Wars base panels.

The most difficult pieces to fit were the curved areas, and this was achieved with the base of the Lego City Airport control tower, finished with some of the Ninjago Ice Dragons scales for the hint of blue. Still building up the back of the model with my vintage bricks I fitted another panel as the torso of Brian made from the roof of the Lego camper van. This was hinged again to get the right angle from the front, and then a small printed logo added for effect.

Adding in the detailed pieces for the sides was a fiddle, as I was not used to using the more advanced Technic Lego, which allows you to build on the side as well as top and bottom. The addition of a couple of Star Wars round dish shapes, and then the joints from the Ice Dragon allowed me to complete the side. Lego Hero arms were perfect for the model and not to off scale so I used these to complete the arms.

On to the all important face. I knew I had the blue dots from Lego City police cars for eyes, and a Star Wars grill for a mouth. But getting the shape how I liked it was tricky. I had a couple of attempts and then I found some more curved roof parts from the camper van which I think worked perfectly. Adding the head so it can both tilt and swivel allowed the face to have a little more character when I took the photos.

brian collage 1

I am so pleased with my finished model, and he is currently a proud addition to the model collection in the boys bedroom. If you would like to wish me luck, of have a look at some of the other amazing Lego Creations then pop over to the Brian Facebook page and my effort can be found here.

I love a creative competition, and this one is by far one of my favourites as I have a bit of a soft spot for Brian and the funny adverts that confused.com make. They certainly do stick in your mind.

Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures

Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures are a new series of toys that follow the TV show on Disney XD. This isn’t something the boy had watched as we don’t have that channel, but he has seen the adverts and was excited to try out these new toys.

Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures

We were sent to action figures from the collection the first is Metal Pack with his magnetic grabbing tongue, the second is Clyde one of the spinning figures. Each of the toys seem robust and would stand up to some battling without pieces coming astray, but the boy and I were confused by metal packs headgear which didn’t stay on and had no visible fixings. The figures are fun and if you collected some more of the spinners you could have great battles with them. We only had one, so the boy spent his time trying to knock metal Pac over. The boy enjoyed playing with these new action figures, and we will keep an eye out in the shops as the boy wants to have spinner battles.

Metal Pac and Clyde

Metal Pac Man retails at £10 and the smaller Clyde spinner is available for £7 with sets of the figure at £13 I think these are better value for money than the single figures. Each pack also comes with a special online code so that you can claim boosters in the Pac Man app. There are lots to collect and I am sure they will prove popular as more children find out about the TV show.

You can find out more about Bandai and the Pac Man Ghostly Adventures on their website, Facebook and Twitter Pages. You can also pick up a copy of the Beano Magazine for your chance to win the whole Pac Man range!

Disclaimer we were sent these items for review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Gross Magic

Gross Magic is definitely not for the squeamish, so when we were asked to review this box of gross tricks I thought it would be right up the boys street. Gross Magic is recommended for ages 8+ with an RRP £19.99. The box contains too many parts to list, with posts of slime, props and instructions for over 40 tricks.

gross magic

Some of the Gross Magic tricks in the box are ones that the boy has in other magic sets, but just a little bit more sticky or gross with everything from cockroaches to pots of pretend poo! (Well I hope its pretend) The boy was impressed with the amount of tricks in the box, the instructions detail over 40 tricks, but I am sure that you could make up more as there are plenty of props to work with. I was realy surprised that the boy wasn’t more keen to get his hands dirty with Gross Magic, but he has decided that it was too scary? He wasn’t keen on the plastic cockroaches or the slime opting for the tricks he could perform without having to touch anything. This is not something he would have been worried about when he was 5 or 6 so I wonder if this is a set better suited to this age group.

We set about testing out some of the props and here are a three of our favourite tricks.

As you can see the boy was not particually happy about the tricks, but still managed to perform them easily. I think if he had performed them infront of some mates the enthusiasm may have been different. We both agreed that some of the instructions and tricks were more difficult than others and would need some practice. The set is pretty full of some interesting props and I think any magic fan who is bored of the normal card type tricks would love this set.

whats in the box

Gross Magic is available from toy shops, as well as online stores and you can find out more by having a look at the website here. If you would like the chance to win a set of Gross Magic then why not enter the rafflecopter below, but beware its not for the sqeemish!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer, we were sent Gross Magic to review and keep the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.
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