The Top 10 books we are loving
I loved reading as a child and I still do. I think my own love of reading developed from my own parents love of it and the time they spent with us each evening succumbing to the often relentless – one more story please. History is most definitely repeating itself in The Mamma Fairy house and requests of one more story are nearly always met! I have put together a list of our current 10 favourite books. At the moment this is the core group where “one” (!!) story is chosen from these nights.
- Midnight Creatures (By Helen Friel) – This is really cool, its a pop up story book that you use your torch to find various animals across the five scenes in the book.
Midnight Creatures – Pic Credit Laurence King Publishing
The detail is really intricate and the kids absolutely love being using their torch to show the shadows on the wall. This one suits both boys ages 2 and 5 and keeps both engaged.
- Pirates Love Underpants (By Claire Freedman and Ben Cort) – Nothing like the mention of underpants to emit howls of laughter from young kids. Join the pirates as they search for the fabled pants of gold!!! It doesnt matter how many times I have read this they love it every time and laugh their heart out a the mention of “big knicker bay”. Its beautifully illustrated. Their are loads of other underpants loving books by Claire Freedman, kids are looking forward to adding to their collection!
- Animal Architects (By Julio Antonio Blasco and David Nassar) – This is a stunningly intricately illustrated hard back book that gives you an insight into how animals build there homes. It really is a fascinating book. Each home contains a pull out section with more details. The kids adore this book.
- Hide and Seek (By Charlene Man) – As with number 3 above this is another Laurence King published title with the same level of intricate detail. While not strictly a story book this is more of a interactive book where you have to find the animal that doesn’t belong in the scene. The illustrations are just gorgeous and its a firm favourite in our house.
- Salty Dogs (By Matty Long) – Sticking with the pirate theme. Salty Dogs is another action packed mad cap story involving the Salty Dogs setting off on an adventure around the Pirate Islands. Each page of this one has absolutely tonnes of detailed illustrations with something new to spot each time. This one is enjoyed by both boys.
- Rhyme Crime (Jon Burgerman) – Not quite a fall asleep type story but a funny interactive one. Premise of this that a thief has committed a crime and everything he stole is replaced with a rhyme! Really silly but really funny for the kids. Probably not the wind down before bed type of book though!
- I want to go first – (By Richard Byrne) – This one id say is my youngest little mans favourite at the moment. Its a gentle tale encouraging (just enough) reader participation. The story centres around a baby elephant who in contrast to elephant rule wants to go first not last. She enlists the help of the reader to assist her. I like this one, its really nicely illustrated too.
- How to Babysit a Grandma (by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish) – our love affair with this book began well over a year ago and its certainly a testament to its popularity in the Mamma Fairy house that its still going strong a year later. In a reversal of roles this clever book teaches you how to babysit your grandma. I am not joking when I say I can quote from this word perfect.
- Animals at home (By Claudia Boldt) – Not strictly a book but I have included this one as its our bedtime game. Quite simply its a gorgeously illustrated card game where you match 27 animals to their home. Its really lovely and both kids play together for this one which I really love to see.
- The Magic of my Name – This book belongs to my oldest and its a personalised story based on the letter of his name. I think all kids go through that stage where they ask why did you call me x. Its a really detailed book, in fact my husband calls this “the long one” as there are about 40 pages in it!! Kids love it and the mention of their names makes it all the more special. Again like many of the others above it contains lovely illustrations.
Reading back the above I have come to realise visual books are what really appeal to the boys.
I love reading with them, its a lovely special time when my time is 100% theirs no distraction. I do hope they grow up with the same love of reading that I did. All books above readily available both online and in traditional bookshops with the exception of number 10 which is personalised therefore available direct from the publisher.
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – Our Review
You have to picture the scene for this one…..you are four years old and love the TV show Paw Patrol and wait for it …..this lands through the door! I only wish I videoed his reaction. I can only liken his reaction to my own if I won the lotto!!
He is beyond thrilled as he had been eyeing it up on the TV ad for the last number of weeks. The product itself is recommended for ages 3 plus and retails at a hefty €80. So whats included for the price -key features include:
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller contents
- The Sea Patroller itself can be converted to both a land and a sea vehicle quite easily (but its not a water toy!);
- It does light up and make sounds (it takes batteries but they are included);
- It comes with Ryder and his quad or ATV as im reliably informed. Not sure I knew what an ATV was at 4!
- A cage to lower Ryder down for his rescues
- A life ring launcher (this is what the kids totally love!!) – it quite literally launches the life ring when you push the button;
- Its quite big, definitely much bigger than I expected but im not complaining – it has the wow factor and its the ideal size of sharing and going on “secret missions” as my pair call them.
Mamma Fairy Verdict
I’m calling it now, I think this going to be one of the hot toys for 2017 – last year it was the Paw Patrol Air Patroller among my sons pre school friends and I sense this will be this years equivalent. Its a big toy with lots of fun parts to it and therefore lots of opportunity for kids to let their imaginations run wild.
Just one word of caution though, it doesn’t come with any of the pups. My Paw Patrol fanatics already had most if not all of them so wasn’t an issue but perhaps something to keep in mind. I think Santa will have his work cut out this year making Sea Patrollers and if the excitement here is anything to go by I suspect this toy will be very well received.
It’s readily available both on line and in most toys shops.
Note: We were sent this toy for the purpose of this review however this in no way influences mine or the boys opinion where appropriate.
Our review of Brainstom’s Big Beard Battle
Big Beard Battle Game
Big Beard Battle – Ready to play
As you might have read, we recently went glamping. A couple of weeks previous we had been sent Big Beard Battle by Brainstorm to review. I decided to keep the game until our glamping adventure as I knew the kids would enjoy playing a fun game like this in the absence of all things techie! We are already board game fans in this house especially my oldest, he really loves them.
This game can accommodate up to four players but can be played by less players and not impact on the game. There is a little bit of pre set up work required, simply to attach the velcro dots to the beards but that takes only a couple of minutes to do.
The game itself is very simple, the aim being to grow the longest beard without it being cut or shaved off. Its so simple but so much fun, made all the funnier by the fact the Dada Fairy has an actual beard!! You start with the youngest player and spin the spinner that comes with it. The spinner determines you task, whether thats growing your own beard or shaving or cutting another players beard. The game is aimed at ages 4 and up however the littlest man (2 and half) got great fun out of it so it is really a game for all the family to take part.
Games like this are ideal for Christmas and at approx €15 not bad value at all, all the parts are very durable and well able to withstand our very own Mr Destruction.
If you too have a board game fan in your house, it a big thumbs up from us.
Note: We were sent the game for the purpose of the review however all opinion are my own or the boys where appropriate.
Brianstorm Toys Mega Globe Review
Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal
A couple of weeks back we were sent Brainstorm Toys Mega Globe to review – and it is indeed mega!! When inflated its about 50cm.
Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal
It is packaged really neat so no issues transporting it. We took it with us to our usual holiday destination in Donegal and the kids had tonnes of fun playing on the beach with it. It is a great size and it wont get lost too easy. It is readily available both online and toy stores.
I sat back and watched the kids play and try to pin point their exact location on the map. We are a travel loving family and the kids are lucky to have been on many adventures both around Ireland and overseas. They had so much fun locating the places they have been and the places we plan on going to next. The Dada Fairy even got involved in the action. They ran, jumped and hopped after it. While it comes with some suggested activities the kids just loved making up their own games with it.
One bit of advice is that you do need a pump or you may need to pop into the local petrol station to pump it up!!
It really made me think – they really do have the whole world in their hands to explore, to discover, to investigate. And I hope they take full advantage of it. I think im a tad sentimental these days with my oldest starting school
Note: We were sent the Mega Globe for the purpose of this review, however all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.
Spy Gear Night Vision Googles – what we though
My oldest is going through a ninja phase where he is totally convinced he is a fully fledged Ninja! We were sent a pair of night vision goggles to try out and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job!
The package was torn open and away we went. For the first time since he was born he couldn’t wait for night time to try them out the back garden. He wasn’t content with the curtains closed he wanted “black sky”!
Spy Gear night vision googles
The googles (pic opposite) were really easy to assemble (bonus points from me for this!). I literally had to slot the two parts together, insert 3 AAA batteries (not included) and away you go. The product description maintains its capable of night vision at 30 feet away through the use of infrared LEDs. We are both really eager to see these in operation.
Spy Gear Night Vision Googles
We hid a number of objects in the back garden and set him off with the task of locating them in the dark! He was truly wowed, he just loved them. The vision was surprisingly really clear and he had no problem locating the items hid. The following weekend we headed to Donegal for the weekend and he was hyper waiting to show his grandad his night vision googles and to see them in action in the pitch dark away form city lights as it never really gets totally dark where we live with the street lights.
The Dada Fairy also gave them a go and affirms that he could in fact see around 30 feet away in the dark! I love toys like this – toys that get kids out and about and exploring. Toys that get kids using their imaginations.
He really loved these and I can see him gravitating towards these older toys now. They ticked the boxes for him – in his own works a proper big boy toy. If I was to be totally critical two points come to mind – we had to go out to buy batteries, no biggy but at approx €30 I would have liked at least a test set to be included. They aren’t cheap but you do pay for the quality product. The quality is really excellent – they are very durable. Durable enough to survive our two year old, who is affectionately know as Mr Destruction.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these as a gift for any budding spy’s or Ninja’s. I can see these and some of the other Spy Gear products in the range featuring heavily on Christmas lists this year. The night vision googles are made by Spin Master, see here and here for some other Spin Master products we loved. The googles are readily available both online and toy shops.
Note: We were sent the Night Vision Googles for the purposes of this review however this in no way influences mine or the boys (where appropriate) views on the product.
Bellz Magnetic Game from SpinMaster
Well……Chicken Pox times two has just left the Mamma Fairy house and I am not sorry to see it go. Only my kids would get Chicken Pox on the hottest days of the year so far. As you might have seen from previous posts my pair love being out doors so trying to keep them occupied and engaged indoors is borderline mission impossible.
We were sent the magnetic balls known as “Bellz” for review earlier in the month so this was duly dispatched to aid the relentless cries of im bored.
What is Bellz?
Bellz game consists of a magnetic wand and a batch (40) of colourful magnetic bells of different colours and sizes. The object of the game is to collect only your own colour of bells with the wand. If you pick up another colour it’s somebody else’s turn. The magnetic wand has one very powerful magnetic and another weaker side to aid picking up the bells. Even though its sounds really simple it isn’t! It takes skill and patience to use the wand to the correct degree to pick up only your own colour.
Bellz Game Storage Pouch
The game comes in a handy pouch which makes packing it up really handy. When the pouch opens up it doubles as the paying board – very handy! (see pic opposite)
What we thought?
Did it aid the “im bored” cries? Yes it did for a while anyway!! What we liked w was how portable it is and its definitely appealing for all ages too. We were able to take it travelling with us big plus in my book as lots of board games aren’t so portable. The downsides for me were that id love if there were two wands supplied as my pair ended up making their own version of the game up and two wands would have saved the odd argument. More of a nice to have. This award winning game from Spinmaster is priced around €15 and would an ideal one for summer holiday.
In summary the Mamma Fairy house gives this one a thumbs up. I have even caught the Dada Fairy giving it a go!!!
Note: We were sent the Bellz Magnetic Game for review however as always all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.
Mokuru the latest craze???
Who hasnt heard of the Fidget Spinner??!! Very few I reckon. However I think its reign is about to come to a halt as the Mokuru explodes onto the market.
What is Mokuru
The Mokuru is the latest toy craze which by the looks of things is set to be as big as the Fidget Spinner. Its a desktop toy made out of beechwood thats tests your hand eye coordination as well as skill and patience.
How to Mokuru!!
I am not ashamed to admit when this barrel shaped object appeared in my letter box I didnt know what to do, fear not my 5 year old came to the rescue and quite skillfully showed me how it was done. Its it so addicitve. We have been trying to beat each others records of “bouncing” it along the kitchen table. You can also use it two player or aim for Mokuru Master and use up to 5 of them at the one time. See here to see it in action and some commentarty from its creator.
Sorry kids this one is mine! This is the ideal office desk toy! I always find myself doodling at my desk in work so decided to take the Mokuru in to work and I am slighlty obsessed. It brillant for people like me who love to fidget or doodle while concentrating on something. Its available from Smyths and Amazon and I really think this is the next big thing for kids, like the spinners the market will be flooded with fakes and copies over time but do look for the original. Priced around €10.
Note: We were sent the Mokuru for review however all views remain mine or the boys where appropriate
Pic Credit: Spin Master
The boys love being outdoors so we are always up for trying out toys we can use in the garden or the park. The Air Hogs E-Charger from Spin Master fits the bill perfectly. Rumour has it Air Hogs will be big this year on Christmas lists!!!
Air hogs E-Charger
The kit comes with the E-Charger or plane, the charger and an instruction manaul. The product requires 3 AAA batteries which are not included. It is so simple to use. You literally plug the E-Charger into the charger device for 30 seconds! Yep only 30 seconds and you are ready to go. This in itself is ideal for kids especially mine who are not the most patient!
The e-charger itself can travel up to 100 yards which definitley impressed the boys. Its so light they werent overly hopeful at the outset but after a few attempts they managed to figure out how to gain good distance with it. The competitive nature wasnt long coming out in them and they try to see who can make it go the furthest distance.
One note of cation is to open it from the box with care. The boys were a little over zealous trying to get it out of the box and damaged the wing a little. It didnt seem to impact the flying thankfully.
Air Hogs E-Charger
Thumbs up from the biggest boy, especially the fact it only took 30 seconds to be able to make it fly. Its also very portable when out and about as im normally the one left carrying the toys after they are tired in the park!
Priced around €13 this is very reasonable for the amount of play it has got in this house to date.
Note: We were sent the E-Charger to review however as always opinions are my own or the boys where appropriate.
My kids had Stikbots before this fab product landed through our letterbox to review. I hadn’t heard of these guys before but my oldest did and was really happy to add to his collection.
What are they?!
Stikbots are little posable figures, approx 3 inches high with suction cups on their hands and feet to enable them to stay in position. How they work is that you download an app which enables you then to make stop start top animations with your phone or tablet.
The “Zanimation” studio contains all the elements needed to get started straight away. It comes with 2 Stikbots, a green back drop (and 2 prop boxes) and a handy tripod to prop up your phone. The app itself is available for free download (both iOS and Android) and very easy to use and follow. You will find plenty You Tube videos to assist if you are experiencing difficulty with it, or just ask the kids! Mine are far more tech savvy than me!
What we thought?
Kids were already fans of Stikbots so this was always going to be a hit. It’s the kind of toy I would have enjoyed myself as a child and a lovely introduction for young kids to the world of animation and how it works. Picture opposite of an epic battle about to start. (disclaimer the pink and green we already owned they did not come with it).
Be warned though the animation can be slow progress to make anything any length of time so younger kids may not have the patience for it as each teeny move adds up to make the animation video.
This is priced around €20 and in my mind very good value for hours of fun and a nice way to incorporate some old fashioned play with technology. Toys that engage the brain are a hit in my book and Stikbots do tick that box. The boys actually spend more time making up scenes and battles (!!) than actually doing the animation itself. Individually they are priced around €5 so its not too expensive to add to your collection. I can see this getting lots of play in our house and the requests have already started for more figures!!
Note: We were sent the Zanimation studio but we were already fans. The fact we were sent this doens’t impact our view as quick frankly the kids don’t care how it arrived to the house!!!
You probably have seen from previous posts how much we love board games in the Mamma Fairy house. A couple of weeks back we were sent the Paw Patrol Jumbling Towers game to review. Knowing how much the boys love their board games I decided to keep it hidden for that rainy day which was happened to be a family event. I wanted something to keep both boys (ages almost 5 and 2) amused and I had a feeling this would and it did.
Its a simple concept similar to the old school Jenga game where you stack the blocks, roll the dice and pull out the relvant block. The block are coloured with little paw patrol motifs on them. The power of TV/ adveritsing my two year old was able to tell me which symbol was which member of the paw patrol!
While the game is advertised for ages 4 up (i suspect due to the small dice) my2 year old had so much fun with this. They actually had more fun competing to build towers and knock each others down.
There really are lots of pieces to this set and endless possibilties of what to do with it, we had towers, bridges, castles. You cant beat the old school toys, toys that let kids let their imaginations run wild. I can happily report this game is has become a play date favourite.
Its very reasoanably prices at around €10, and a big thumbs up from the Mamma Fairy house. My only criticim would be storing it after you take it out of the box that it doesnt easily fit back in! Not a big issue really and im just ott about tidying every evening!
Note: We were sent this game to review however this in no way influences mine or the boys in the case opinion.