Monday, February 22, 2021

All In One Coffee Shop, by Wonderworld Toy

Nature/ Type:             Pretend/ Role Play & Imaginative  + Wooden Toy

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:    3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Mini aspired- barista + cafe owners 

All In One Coffee Shop by Wonderworld Toy is such an adorable piece that both kids and adults will find something lovely in it.  

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) The wooden material. This is one sturdy toy that looks natural, durable, and pretty. 

(2) "Surprised" Storefront: It’s a coffee maker, but turn it around, it’s a storefront with lovely cookies, doughnut and cakes. 

(3) Interesting Features: The filter handle has a magnet that can easily attach to the coffee maker. The steam wand can be moved from side to side, and the dial for coffee dose makes a “click-clack” sound when being adjusted. I love that the toy doesn’t need any batteries to function but still provides some realistic touches.

I also like the coffee names and the symbols printed on the coffee maker (you have a good selection of cappuccino, latte, mocha, espresso, or Americano ). However, if I can change just one thing, I wish there were some press-able buttons for the selection of drinks just to make the coffee-making process more fun. 

Overall, this toy has given my kids many hours of cafe barista-customer pretend play fun, and we are generally quite happy with it. 

Watch the video and enjoy some special features of this wonderful toy. 

Colour Code, by SmartGames

Nature/ Type:           Brain Teaser 

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:  5 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids and adults that love puzzle challenges, colours and patterns

Colour Code by SmartGames is another of my absolute favourite 5-star game! Yes SmartGames, you have done it again!!! 

Why I love ❤️❤️❤️ this game: 

(1) Brain Teaser for Young Kids: This is a perfect brain teaser for pre-school kids who love colours and shapes. The object of the game is to recreate the image in the challenge booklet using a combination of two, three, four or even more partially see-through tiles of different shapes and colours. The player is to stack the selected tiles on the game board in the right sequence on top of one another to form the correct image. The game tests your logic, order, orientation, and sometimes I suspect, the illusion of brain! 

(2) Different Levels of Challenges: there are a total of 100 challenges, with different levels of difficulties. My four-year-old loves this game and is happy to play with it independently. This is a real fun game that both kids and adults can have a go and would find joy in it! 

(3) Be Creative and Devise Your Own Challenge: There  are a total of 18 different tiles for different combinations of possibilities, so the parents (or even kids) can devise new challenges to test the puzzle-solving skills of each other once they have completed the ready challenges in the booklet. 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Have fun, enjoy the video and watch how the game works! 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

1001 Nights Arranging Game, by Haba

Nature/ Type:        Wooden tiles with magnetic board 

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Art + glittery tiles lovers  

1001 Nights Arranging Game by Haba is glittery, beautiful, and easy to stick around to create limitless possibilities! 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Beautiful Glittery Art: The set comes with 80 wooden tiles of multiple patterns and designs; some with glittery silvery windows, some with mysterious Middle Eastern styled domes. Kids can mix and match the tiles and arrange them in numerous combinations to form a glamorous piece of art with sparkly evening view. 

(2) Light-weight Magnetic Adhesive Board: I love the very convenient and light-weight magnetic adhesive board with a background of night sky and crescent moon. The kids can stick the wooden tiles on top of the board, or they can stick them on fridge or any white writing board. 

(3) Idea Booklet: The set also comes with an idea booklet, but I think any design would look good and pretty regardless on how we arrange the tiles. 

Enjoy the video below for some glittery arts in action: 

Magnetron Magnetic Wooden Blocks Future Collection, by Tegu

Nature/ Type:        Construction and Building with Magnetic Fun 

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Lovers of construction blocks + futuristic toys 

This awesome toy is called Magnetron Magnetic Wooden Blocks Future Collection by Tegu. We first discovered the brand many years back in a museum play area, and we have not stopped loving this delightful wooden magnetic toy since then. 

The name “Tegu” is derived from “Tegucigalpa” - the capital city of Honduras. The founder Chris Haughey brought home from a business trip a vision to transform the lives of Hondurans. The dream and magic of this gravity-defying toy continues. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Sustainable Materials: The blocks are made of sustainably sourced hardwoods in Honduras. But it’s more than just wooden blocks, they are embedded with magnets, and can be joined together to form interesting structures that most usual wooden blocks cannot. The magnets are not evenly distributed within the wooden blocks, and they repel each other unless the pieces are connected at the right point and angle. Surprisingly, this supposedly shortcoming doesn’t seem to bother my 4-year-old. In fact, we find the magnetic searching game to be part of the fun. 

(2) Futuristic and Cool: I love the soft minty colour of the future collection, and the fact that the blocks can easily be snapped together and form many “futuristic” objects. I am loving the really cool-looking robot. 

Enjoy the video below for some magnetic construction fun: 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Dentist Set, by PlanToys

Nature/ Type:        Pretend/ Role Play & Imaginative Toy  

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids with great imagination and who love a game of pretend play 

If your kid has immense fear of dentist or doesn’t quite get the point of dental hygiene, this dentist set by PlanToys might be a good way to start a conversation with your little people. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Quality Materials: As usual, Plan Toys is quality guaranteed. Made of sustainably sourced wood, coloured with carbon-neutral organic pigments and watercolour dyes - the set is pretty, and eco-friendly.

(2) Clever Design: I love those little “extras” that make this toy so unique and fun to play with; the syringe with a pull-able and press-able plunger, a dentist mirror to check the back of a jaw, some wobbly loose teeth to be yanked out by the plier, a drill to treat the blackish tooth cavity. We are loving all the fantastic pretend play time while educating the kids the importance of taking care of your precious teeth, without sounding boring.

Just a warning that the toy is of a smaller size range compared to most of the plastic dentist toy sets in the market. 

Enjoy some of the awesome features of the toy in the video below. 

Trix Track - Up Stairs Track, by Wonderworld Toy


Nature/ Type:        Construction and Building + Ball Run

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids and adults who love a mesmerising ball run

Trix Track - Up Stairs Track by Wonderworld Toy . This is one lovely toy that a grown-up, kid and even toddler of one-year-old get to have a play and enjoy. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy? 

(1) Easy Instructions: It’s easy to build, and the instructions are good. My four year-old assisted me with the construction, and we got the structure done within 10 minutes. No stress at all. 

(2) Clever Spinning Handle: The spinning handle that moves the ball up and up. My kids (including a 20 month-old) love turning it. It’s easy to manoeuvre and really fun to watch .The fact that the ball can go one round and back again means it’s mess-free! No marble rolling around the house waiting to be picked up! 

(3) Wooden Materials: The wooden material is high quality, sturdy, colourful, and natural! 

If there is one thing I can change, I hope the instructions booklet can give us a few more ideas on how the pieces can form into other structures in order to increase the replay value. But overall, we had a great time playing with this. 

Enjoy the video for some fascinating ball run in action. 

Three Little Piggies, by SmartGames

Nature/ Type:       Brain Teaser

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Fairy Tales (especially the "Three Little Piggies") + brain teaser fans 

If I have to vote for my favourite SmartGames, this Three Little Piggies is definitely at the top of my list.

Why I love ❤️ this game 

(1) Three Little Piggies Story & Clever Challenges: The game incorporates the storyline of the three little piggies fable within. There are a total of 48 challenges. To kickstart the game, first, place the pigs at the correct position on the game board, as shown in the challenge booklet. Next, place the three pieces with houses at the correct positions to solve the challenge. If the wolf is around, the pigs stay outside the house. If the wolf appears, the pigs stay inside each of their houses. My 4-year-old loves the concept and doesn’t mind thinking real hard just to make sure that the pigs are safe from the wolf. 

(2) Quality: As usual, all the little characters produced by smart game is well-designed, cute to look at, and lovely to touch. 

(3) Storybook: There is also a wordless three-little-piggies story book to go with the game. 

(4) Great Replay Value: This game is well worth the investment. It has great replay value for both adults and kids! 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Sparkling Orient Building Set, by Grimm’s

Nature/ Type:        Wooden Building Toys

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids who love glittery blocks, puzzle and colours! 

When we talk about Grimm’s, we think about stunning array of colours, instagrammable wooden arrangement, high quality and minimalist toys. This Grimm’s Sparkling Orient building set instantly captured my heart the very first time when I laid eyes on it. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Beautiful Glittery Set: Like most of the other Grimm’s toys, they are pleasing to the eyes. This set added acrylic glitter stones within some of the wooden pieces, giving the set an extra wow factor. 

(2) The Organic Shape- no two pieces look the same.  It’s balancing, stacking, and building time! The outcome is limitless. Sparkly castles, Glamorous palaces, tiny houses, or a colourful market. It’s a puzzle, and also a no-limit and no-rules building set. However, I find it quite a challenge to build anything taller than 3 or 4 levels given the irregular shapes of most of the pieces. 

(3) Quality Materials - this 53 pieces block set is made of lime wood, hand-painted with non-toxic water based stains and plant-based oil finish. The quality is apparent. 

The kids are fascinated by the glittery jewels, but I think the adults are the ones that would truly appreciate the beauty of this toy. 

Enjoy the video below for some glamorous + glittery movements in action! 

Playstix, by Popular Playthings

Nature/ Type:        Construction and Building 

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age: 4 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids who love to create and build 

Playstix by Popular Playthings is one of my favourite and most delightful recent discoveries. We have just started, but already, we are extremely impressed by the clever design and the limitless potential of the construction set. It looks pretty ordinary- just some plastic sticks with groovy surface. But what I didn’t know was that the sticks can snap and interlock when placed across each other. This is a very pleasant surprise, and I still haven’t figure out the real secret behind the science. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Fun For All Ages: it is suitable for kids as young as 4- they will enjoy stacking the sticks up and form colourful geometric-shaped structures; Older kids and adults on the other hand, can design and snap the pieces together to form sturdy creations, from moving car, fancy ship, or a little windmill. This is a building set that can be enjoyed by the entire family for years to come. 

(2) Interesting Design & Exciting Possibilities: In this Playstix super set, it has a total of 400 pieces, including rigid and flexible / bendable sticks, wheels, propellers, snap-on head and feet, and a really interesting idea book. I can’t wait to explore more to find out what other amazing things these simple sticks can make! 

Enjoy the video to see how the clever Playstix works!  

Glowing Sensory Blocks, by TTS Early Years

Nature/ Type:        Sensory Toys with beautiful LED lights

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: Suitable from birth 

Who would love this: Kids (and adults) that love colours and lights

I am absolutely in love with these magical Glowing Sensory Blocks from TTS Early Years . My 4-year-old wants to light them up in his bedroom, and the baby loves turning the cubes around and around to view the transformation from one colour to another. These LED-filled blocks also make an amazing Christmas tree accompaniment in the dark. 

Why I love ❤️ this: 

(1) Exciting Colour-Changing Cubes: They are beautiful and cleverly-designed. Flip them from one side to another and watch how the colour changes from red to green, then blue, yellow and purple, and repeats again. Switch it off or turn it upside down, and the cube will turn back into the original milky white colour 

(2) Bedtime Light: it can be a substitute for a soothing bedtime light. 

(3) Good Size: They have the right sizes and are easy to be carried around by young kids. For this set of 12 cubes, four of them are 15cm at each side, and eight of them are 7.5 cm. They are light weight but quite sturdy. 

Each cube is run by two AA batteries. 

Enjoy the video for some light shows in action! 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine, by GoldieBlox

Nature/ Type:        Smart engineering toy 

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 4 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids who love to create and watch the magic of engineering 

Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine by GoldieBlox. I have quite a mixed feeling about this toy; on the one hand, my four-year-old is absolutely loving this and smiled really proudly each time when he managed to spin his invention around; but on the other hand, there was a bit of frustration when we just couldn’t execute quite a few suggested designs from the book, although we did enjoy creating and modifying the ideas into something else in the end. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy? 

(1) For Aspiring Engineers: a construction toy combines with storybook can hardly go wrong! The concept is aimed to encourage girls to discover the wonder of engineering world, although I think the toy is gender-neutral in itself. 

(2) Let's Invent: kids love watching the magic of the five beautifully-crafted figures spinning on the wheels with the pull of ribbon. I love how it encourages kids to invent! It’s amazing to watch how some axles, blocks, wheels and a ribbon can form so many clever designs with so much pulling and spinning fun. However, I would have loved the set more if the characters and the crank can fit a little more snugly on top of the wheels. Throughout the play, I have to keep asking the boy to “pull gently, not too fast” just so that the characters and crank wouldn’t keep fallen off  whenever the ribbon is being pulled. I also wish that the ribbon is a bit longer to give the build a few more seconds of spinning fun. 

It’s difficult to rate this toy seeing that it has loads of potential, but definitely much room to improve in term of quality and design. But my kid loves it and gets really excited to execute each of his spinning machine ideas. So I guess the goal of the toy has been achieved pretty well! 

Enjoy the video below for some spinning fun! 

Melody Mix, by I’m Toy

Nature/ Type:         Music

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Music lovers who love to shake and strike and make beautiful sounds 

This is a rainbow-colour, 10-instrument-in-one music station. Melody Mix is a beautiful set produced by a brand in Thailand called “I’m Toy”. 

Why I love ❤️ this: 

(1) Neat Storage: I like how it has dedicated slots and places for each instrument, so all the items can be stored together neatly at one station. 

(2) Fantastic Variety of Sounds: xylophone, drum, tubular chimes, triangle, cymbal, bells, maracas, castanet, double guiro, and pair of rhythm sticks plus 2 strikers and 1 scraper. It’s easy to make a concert out of this compact array of music. 

(3) Colours and Materials. According to online information, this set is made of sustainable rubber wood, finished with non toxic child-safe paints and lacquers. An eco-friendly toy deserves a tick from all of us. 

There are quite many online reviews that complained about the xylophone being out-of-tune. Personally, that doesn’t bother me that much. In fact, the wooden echoey sound reminds me of the raw and heart-warming traditional music coming from a Burmese classic xylophone. I quite enjoy the uniqueness of the sound. 

So just one reminder to all: the xylophone is not in perfect tune. 

But I do have a little issue with the slots for the two rhythm sticks. The sticks keep falling out from the slots every time when I move this music station around. This is one design flaw that I would really love to see a fix. 

Enjoy the video and listen to the variety of sounds produced. 

Botley The Coding Robot, by Learning Resources

Nature/ Type:       Coding Robots  

Rating:                 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 5 year-old ++

Who would love this: Anyone who loves smart things! 

Meet Botley the Coding Robot from Learning Resources . At the time of this review, there is already a Botley 2.0 in the market with enhanced features, but today, we are going to talk about this original and first version of Botley. 

Why I love ❤️ this: 

(1) Coding in a Screen-Free Way. We don’t need an iPad or tablet, or any downloaded app. All we need is to key in the instructions using the remote programmer comes with the set. I like that the instructions booklet is easy to follow. Even my four-year-old can understand the steps and functions of each buttons quite easily. 

(2) Smart Robots: This is a smart robot with many obvious and hidden talents: it can follow the pre-programmed directions, detect and follow a black line, avoid an object when pre-programmed to do so, push things around using detachable arms, spin and turn around, and say “hi”. The robot is cute to look at, and keeps the kid entertained and occupied for a very long time. 

Where to buy this: 

The Creative Toy Store (Australia) 

Enjoy the video below to see the coding robot in action! 

What’s In The Fridge, by Galt Toys

Nature/ Type:        Board Game 

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Memory game lovers who love foods and kitchen! 

A board game combined with delicious foods can never go wrong! “What’s In The Fridge” by Galt Toys modified the classic memory game by incorporating a fridge full of ingredients for strawberry smoothie, a sandwich, a pizza, and colourful cupcakes. This is one interesting game that makes you hungry and wants to play another few more rounds. 

The set includes 24 small ingredient cards, a fridge board, 4 playing "food selections" with ingredients set out, some mouldy food cards, and an instruction sheet. The ingredient + mouldy food cards are placed face-down on the fridge board. The aim is to flip them around one at a time to match the food card in the player's hands by "memorising" the position of the ingredients needed. The game instruction is similar to the traditional "memory game", but this game relates to us in a happy way because it is all to do with preparing and making our favourite foods!   

Why I love ❤️ this: 

(1) Learn About Food Ingredients: an opportunity for kids to learn about food ingredients in a fun way using simple rules: each player takes turn to flip a card in the fridge over to reveal an ingredient. Place the card face down again if that’s not the ingredient that you are looking for. The player that first collected all the ingredients win the game. It is "challenging" for little kids, educative, "delicious" at the same time. 

(2) Funny "Mouldy Food": I like the little twist of “mouldy food” in the fridge. This gives us a little laugh.

Overall, this is an awesome game. I wish it has more than just four types of food selection, and has a bigger fridge with more ingredients! 

Little Red Riding Hood Deluxe Board Game, by SmartGames

Nature/ Type:       Brain Teaser 

Rating:                 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 4 year-old ++

Who would love this: Fairy tale lovers who love puzzle and challenges! 

It is no secret that I am a BIG FAN of SmartGames. I like how it always combines brain teaser with stories and beautiful high quality 3D pieces. “Little Red Riding Hood Deluxe Board Game” is another really impressive Smart Games creation loved by both kids and adults! 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Incorporation of Story into Game: Combining fairy tale and smart game is a really clever concept. Kids can relate to it and get interested to piece the puzzles together. 

(2) Simple Instructions; place grandma’s house, the wolf, trees and little red riding hood according to the challenge booklet. Next, move the puzzle pieces around to form two separate paths to bring little red riding hood and the wolf to the house. 

(3) Portable Size: Small size and can be easily brought around; 

(4) Picture Book: The set also comes with a wordless picture story book for young kids. 

I really love this game, but if I were allowed to change just one thing, I would get the kids to form a path bringing little red riding hood to the house, and another to lead the wolf back to the forest, away from where grandma is. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Roll, Wrap, Slice Sushi Counter, by Mellisa and Doug

Nature/ Type:         Sushi Wooden Toy

Rating:                  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Sushi fans or anyone who loves making pretty things in kitchen 

“Roll, Wrap, Slice Sushi Counter” by Melissa and Doug - I just can’t wait to share this absolutely fantastic, boundary-pushing set to all parents looking for creative imaginative toys. Being a downright HUGE sushi fan myself, this toy makes me extremely excited. I have the greatest fun playing with this, rolling, snapping, and cutting those pieces, and serving them on the wooden plates like a professional sushi chef. This is one super clever toy we really love and can't say enough good things about. 

Why I love ❤️ this 

(1) Exciting Design: As usual, Melissa and Doug goes one step further and beyond. This is no ordinary sushi serving and dining toy. We can wrap it, roll it, slice it, and serve the sushi in style! I am really impressed with the menu and educative instructions teaching us how to get the steps done in a true sushi chef way using traditional rolling mat. The felt material makes interesting nori or seaweed pieces, and the self stick tab holds the ingredients of the maki and nigiri together beautifully. 

(2) Quality Materials: I also love the high quality wooden materials, chopsticks that easily stick to the nori wrap, the realistic looking wooden serving tray, sturdy counter, and a slicing board with knife. I love how thoughtful and clever everything is. 

But if I can add something to elevate the already amazing and almost-perfect sushi playing experience, I would add a wooden bowl of pickled ginger, teapot of green tea, and a soy sauce dip. 

Enjoy the video below for some snippets of "master" chef in action: 

Alpha-Bots, by Lakeshore Learning

Nature/ Type:         Alphabet Learning 

Rating:                 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Robot / transformer lovers + Parents who want to introduce ABC to their kids with great fun way!

Now finally, it comes to a stage where learning to read and knowing alphabetical letters become an important step for your kids. Next question: how do we get to learn? After all, that’s only that much interest we can spark by repeating the centuries-old “A for Apple, B for Boy, and C for the cat that miaows”. Books are useful of course, but what if we can make it sooo fun that the kids are happy to sit still and gaze at the amazement of alphabetical letters like they are the coolest stuffs in the world ever? 

Well, this Alpha-Bots from Lakeshore Learning might be your answer! 

Why I love ❤️this: 

(1) Clever Transformation: Ordinary letters transformed into robots - just give them a few twists and turns, and ta-da, a cool-looking robot appears! Each is unique on its own, colourful and fun to hold. My kid is now excited about “turning the B into a robot, and the green one back into a J”. Learning while playing, perfect match. 

(2) Good Small Size: Each Alpha-bot is around 5 cm tall. Great size to bring around. 

Enjoy the video below and see how these ordinary-looking letters can change themselves into colourful cool robots with a few clever twists and turns!