My position on toys is...
If you are interested in having me review your product on my blog please email me at thetoysnob(at)gmail(dot)com!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Plan Toys Palomino

For some reason he insisted on wearing his swim hat and also liked starting with the back legs under the couch. I guess it propelled him forward a little more when he rocked forward.

My youngest just celebrated his second birthday last month. We've sure enjoyed having a new set of toys around here!

I've had my eye on the Plan Toys' rocking horse, Palomino since my oldest was a toddler. I love Plan Toys for their aesthetic, educational value, and especially their play potential! Palomino only took about 5 minutes to hurry and put together, it was really easy and self-explanatory.

Coen loved it from the beginning! The first night he rocked on it for a good 45 minutes, non-stop. He continues to ride on it every day. I think the movement and rocking motion are good for him and also help him strengthen muscles he wouldn't normally use by engaging them to make the horse rock back and forth.

Friday, October 15, 2010

That time of year again

Who is excited for Christmas gift shopping?! I am!! Stay tuned for lots of new posts as I help you navigate the toy isles this holiday season!

Hedbanz Review

Hedbanz Game was a very fun game to review. My 5 year old loved it! We played one night after the toddler went to bed for the night and Marshall was able to enjoy some individual attention from mom and dad.

Hedbanz is easy to play and great for little kids, it says 6 and up, but with help I think an advanced 4 year old could probably play. It took Marshall a couple rounds to begin asking the right questions, but once he understood, the game flowed smoothly.

Each player puts on a headband and draws a card. Without looking, you place the card in your headband and the game begins. As the timer is started, the first player begins asking yes or no questions to help them guess what is on their card. They have until the timer runs out to guess. We laughed a lot and had a really fun time playing Hedbanz together as a family.

I've said it before, but games are great for kids! Turn taking and losing gracefully are only two great benefits. Hedbanz also teaches critical thinking and memory as you think about what you already know based on the other players' answers.

Hedbanz has definitely been requested several times since we received it! Thanks, Spin Master!

Disclaimer: Spin Master provided us with one Hedbanz game for our review. No other compensation was given.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's all about the CROWN!

I've been a long time fan of Ellie Bellie Kids Capes, and now they've added these Crowns ($28) to their line! These are both so fun, I just love them!!! I love that the black one is masculine looking with the black, but bold and colorful at the same time. The white one reminds me of The Snow Queen for some reason. It's dainty and girly with just the right amount of pink. They're just perfect for the dress-up trunk!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Totally Rad Science

When I was in college I heard first hand from elementary teachers who said there was just not enough time for cool science lessons and experiments. They said a lot of kids grow up uninterested in science because the teachers don't make it fun and exciting. Most of the time I remember having to read a super boring text book then answer all the odd questions in the Chapter Review section. That was the extent of my "science lessons" in elementary. By the time I got to junior high and high school I was at the point where I'd rather be in my seat reading about it instead of doing it because I just didn't care. None of my early years teachers had ever made it sound exciting enough to want to learn more. The kids that did like it were the "nerds" and were singled out. Well, that's all changing with today's cool science kits. Have you seen them? They are literally everywhere! They are super popular right now. Your kids will love doing these experiments with you. At LEAST once a week I hear from my almost-five-year-old, "Moooom, can we do a science esspearimint?" We do one at a time and they don't take longer than 15 minutes or so each. Then, I let him play and "esspearimint" on his own for a bit with the materials we've just used.

This experiment taught about acids and bases. My son went around the kitchen and bathroom selecting different liquids to test.

He loved using the dropper and test tubes!

Mixing different ingredients to make fizz!

This experiment taught about magnets, and their north and south poles.

The first few experiments featured were from Scientific Explorer's Mind Blowing Science Kit for Young Scientists by Scientific Explorer ($19.99). I purchased this locally at Tutoring Toy.

The last experiment, the magnets, was from this set, Young Scientist Series - Set 1: Recycling (Kit 1) - Scientific Measurements (Kit 2) - Magnets (Kit 3). A big THANK YOU to Discover This for sending it for us to review!

Either of these or the many more out there would make a fun, entertaining, and educational Christmas present for the 4 and up set! There are a whole bunch of science kits out there just waiting to be "discovered." And who knows, you just might spark of love of science in your child!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby Einstein Update

Some of you have contacted me about the links in the previous blog not working. I've done it over and over, trying different things but it just doesn't like the link. Baby Einstein just doesn't want to refund your money ;] So, try this, go to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood website and click on the link to it there. It's right at the top under "The Latest," you can't miss it. At the bottom of the article, it says, "For information on how to obtain a Baby Einstein refund visit..." and that link should take you to the right page. Sorry for all the confusion!!! Let me know if this doesn't work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

North Star Toys

North Star Toys is a family owned business that makes high-quality wooden toys that help foster creativity and imagination in children. I love their entire line of fine wooden toys. These are truly heirloom quality toys that look like the toys your grandparents played with.

For my first order (trust me, I will definitely be placing many more) I bought my 1 year old son the following:

This is the Animals of the Jungle Set ($15.00) and I think it's to die for! They even through in an alligator for free!

My mom got him the Happy Hybrid ($16.00) and I hope to complete the set with the People Mover and Busy Boat ($52.00 for the whole set).

This is the Big Rollie Flatbed Truck ($16.00)

and the Big Rollie Bug Car ($16.00)

also check out the following:
Camera ($23.00)
Little Rollie Vehicle Complete Set ($45.00)
Helicopter ($20.00)
and Animals of the Sea ($15.00) or Farm ($15.00)

North Star Toys shipped my order very quickly and even addressed a charge for tax before I even knew it was there. They emailed me personally to let me know of it and again to let me know it had been reversed. They even included a hand-written thank you card for ordering with them! And like I mentioned before, they said an alligator had gotten in with my order. I thought all this added a personalized, caring touch. Thank you North Star Toys!


We were sent some wonderful books to review from our friends over at Simon & Schuster. My kids have loved these books! Here's why:

White Noise: A Pop-up Book for Children of All Ages by David Carter is a very very intricate pop-up book. The description on the page illustrates with words what the pop-up is about. The neatest thing about this book, that I missed upon first reading, is that the words on the page tell what the sound is when you open the pop-up. You have to listen very carefully, something children need to learn to do. This book is fabulous and beautiful, a real piece of artwork!

Another book by David Carter, Snow Bugs: A Wintery Pop-up Book (Bugs in a Box Books) is cute for the littler age set. My 1-year-old just loves this book. It has a little bit of everything from lift-the-flap, pop-up, and pull tabs. It's perfect for this time of year.

And last but not least, Robot Zot! by Jon Scieska, illustrated by my favorite...DAVID SHANNON!!! Who doesn't love a good David Shannon book?! Think "Alice the Fairy", robot style. My 5-year-old was just getting into robots after his dad taught him how to walk around and talk like one when this book arrived on our doorstep. This cute little robot walks around the house thinking everyday household objects are enemies that need to be destroyed to save his robot girlfriend. Kids will love the humor hidden in this book.

Thanks for the good reads Simon & Schuster!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

this is what I'm talking about

CCFC Victory: Disney Offers Refunds on Baby Einstein Videos

CCFC’s ongoing campaign to stop the false and deceptive marketing of baby videos has had an important success. We’ve persuaded the Walt Disney Company to offer a full refund to anyone who purchased a Baby Einstein DVD in the last five years. The refund is only available for a limited time, so please help us spread the word now.

As a result of our 2006 Federal Trade Commission complaint, Disney stopped claiming that Baby Einstein videos were educational for infants, but the company made no move to compensate parents who purchased them.

We thought parents deserved better. So, with help from CCFC members like you, we kept the pressure on until Disney agreed to reimburse Baby Einstein customers.

The refund offer is a wonderful victory for families and anyone who cares about children. Recent research shows that screen time is not educational for babies. Now parents who purchased Baby Einstein DVDs, mistakenly believing the videos would make their babies smarter, can recoup their money.

You can help by spreading the word. Letting friends and family members know about the refund will help parents get their money back – it’s also the perfect way to start a conversation about babies, marketing, and screen media. After all, a screen-free babyhood is a critical component of a commercial-free childhood.

For information about how to obtain a Baby Einstein refund , visit

To read CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, visit .