Monday, March 29, 2021

Building Set, by Roominate

Nature/ Type:           Construction/ Building Toy 

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:  6 year-old 

Who would love this: Colourful modular pieces that can build up and up + interesting motor device 

This Roominate Building Set makes me smile. The online reviews are kind of mixed ranging from downright disappointment to absolutely loving it. Personally, I find this construction toy really awesome and I’m a new fan! 

Why I love this toy: 

(1) Colourful and Bright: Roominate is created by two female engineers who aim to inspire next generation of women engineers. But the toy is really gender-neutral, and I don’t see why it should be targeting just the girls market. My four-year-old boy loves creating tall structures out of the pieces. They are colourful, vibrant, bright, and not too hard to be put together. 

(2) Mini Motor & Circuit Devices: I love the mini motor and circuit devices included. It gave us a chance to explain to the kid how a circuit facilitates electricity to travel from the battery source in a full loop. The boy is very fascinated with the fast moving whirring device, which can be used to build a fan or a windmill. 

(3) Wide Possibilities: I love the wide creative possibilities that can be inspired by the modular pieces. This is a good toy that can keep the kids entertained for hours. 

However, if there were a few things I can change, I wish that the circuit devices can be improved. The motor does not seem to work well sometimes. Also, I wish there were switches to adjust the speed of the spinning motor to suit different uses. But overall, we are happy with the toy and I think the set has great re-play value. 

Have fun with the video: 

Tactile Search and Match, by Guidecraft

Nature/ Type:           Sensory Toy 

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:  2 year-old 

Who would love this: Colourful and fun to touch! 

This is "Tactile Search and Match" by Guidecraft. My 20 month-old was instantly attracted by this toy and was happy playing with this over an over again. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Great Sensory Toy for Young Kids: the nine rubber wood pieces are chunky and perfect for little hands to grab and match. I love the bright colours and the variety of surfaces for a fantastic touch and feel experience. Sharp red bumpy ridges, sea blue wavy lines, lime green spiralling design, smooth orange block and so on. They are pleasing to look at, and delightful to touch. The game can train up a kid’s colour, sensory and pattern recognition. 

(2) Right Skill Level- the puzzle challenge is just right for the skill level of a 1 to 2 year-old toddler. My 20 month-old can easily match all the nine pieces to their corresponding positions on the puzzle board, and she didn’t mind doing it over again a few more times right after. My four-year-old also loved a challenge, so he flipped the nine pieces of blocks upside down, did a “blind-feeling” of the texture, and guessed the answers. 

(3) Sturdy Design- I love that the set is sturdy, huge, but also easy to be stored away using the original box. 

Enjoy the video: 

SmartMax Build XXL 70-piece Magnetic Construction Kit, by SmartMax

Nature/ Type:           Magnetic Construction/ Building Toy

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age:  1 year-old ++

Who would love this: a one-year-old can easily connect the pieces together! 

SmartMax Build XXL 70-piece Magnetic Construction Kit by SmartMax. If I were only allowed to choose one toy for my one-year-old, I probably would just grab a box of this colourful magnetic set for the baby. And yes, it is THAT awesome, and the toy is well-loved by both my 20 month-old and 4 year-old. 

Why I love ❤️ this set: 

(1) Magnetic Building Set for One-Year-Old- there are not many magnetic embedded toys around in the market that are specifically designed for young baby from one-year-old onwards. Smart Max is a lovingly crafted construction set for little hands: each of the magnetic bars and metal balls are oversized, sturdy, chunky, colourful, and with high quality magnets. Any small kids can easily inter-connect the pieces and get any structures built up with ease. 

(2) Clever Lid & Bars Design- the lid is designed to be used as a base for construction. There are grids on it that can be used to lay down the metal bars and balls as foundation for the building. The metal bars have two different lengths to encourage more interesting structure to be built. 

(3) Strong Magnet- I am especially impressed by the strong magnetic force of the toy. The pieces can hold up a really tall and complex structure. 

The magnetic bars are divided into two categories: the warm colours (like red, orange and yellow) have their south poles directed outwards, and the cold colours bars (like green, blue and purple) have their north poles directed outwards. In other words, the two colour scheme bars can connect to each other, but the same colour group would repel each other. The concept is probably too complicated for young kids, but they can sort of figure this out by way of trial and error. 

Many online reviews suggested that the smaller sets of Smart Max couldn’t seem to get any good structure built up. So if any parent wants to invest in this toy, I would suggest that you go straight to a large box like this XXL 70 pieces set to avoid frustration. 

Enjoy the fun and colourful video! 

Matador Construction Set, by Matador

Nature/ Type:           Wooden Construction/ Building Toy 

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:  5 year-old ++

Who would love this: Classic, wooden, open-ended, and encouragement to create! 

Some toys are timeless - it has been here probably since your grandparents’ childhood; and now, whilst watching your kids playing with it, you know the toy is here to stay for the next generation or so. Matador construction set is one of those classic, timeless, and never grows out-of-date toys that will continue to delight kids and adults for years to come. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Classic & Back to Basic- it’s all about “back to basic” - just some blocks with holes, wooden sticks, wheels, tiny discs, hammer, and a plier. The possibilities are limitless. It encourages application of simple engineering knowledge and skills in a great fun way. According to online resources, the toy was created over 100 years ago by an engineer father who wanted to see complex wooden structures being built. The result is these clever Matador blocks. 

(2) Hammer & Pliers- the wooden sticks can connect the blocks tightly together with some simple pushing in or hammering. To disconnect the blocks, snap the pliers around the rod, do a little twist and turn, and simply yank it out. The kids are loving the mechanic and use of tools in getting the structures done and dismantled in style! 

Enjoy the video, and watch how engaging and simple the building mechanism works! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SnowWhite, by SmartGames


Nature/ Type:           Brain Teaser for young kids 

Rating:                      ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 4- 7 year-old 

Who would love this: Young kids that love brain teasers and challenges + fairy tale lovers  

SnowWhite by SmartGames- my four-year-old is a super Disney fan, so naturally, you can imagine his excitement when he saw a game featuring one of this well-loved fairy tales. 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Fairy Tales + Brain Teaser: As usual, Smart Games is pretty clever when it comes to combining kids stories with brain teaser, encouraging kids to solve puzzle using objects or characters that they are familiar with. 

(2) Easy but Nice Challenges: to play this game, we need to place the seven dwarves, the evil queen and / or Snow White in the house at the position as indicated in the challenge booklet.  Next, deduce and find out where the remaining  figurines should be placed at the empty positions. There are 48 challenges with different difficulties, 24 of of them to be played using the front-facing house, and the remaining 24 to be be played by turning the house facing backwards. The harder challenges would have additional “conditions” set out, for examples, the orange dwarf must be placed in front of the green window, and the purple and green dwarves must be placed next to each other and so on. The red dwarves and blue dwarves are “twins” that would always stick together, adding on to the fun of logic and deductive challenge. 

(3) Doors + Windoes: I love the closing and opening of windows and door to conceal and reveal the figurines. My four-year-old loves opening the door and windows to discover if he has got the solution correct. 

However, my feeling is the kids would outgrow the game really fast. My four-year-old found the challenge to be “easy”, although be doesn’t mind having imaginative play with the figurines using the 3D house as the scene. Also, the figurines can’t seem to fit well onto the slots, something I wish it could have been designed a bit better. 

Overall, we love it, but this is probably not my most favourite or top-listed Smart Games. 

Where to buy this:

Enjoy the video! 

Fishing Game Set in Tin, by Kaper Kidz


Nature/ Type:           Magnetic Fishing Game

Rating:                      ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:  2 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Fishing Game lovers + Parents who are looking for easy-to-bring-along toys 

Sometimes we need a toy to be chunky, huge and makes a stunning centrepiece in our kids’ playroom. Sometimes, we want them small, compact, easy to bring around to keep the kids entertained screen-free while waiting in a cafe or clinic. This Fishing Game Set in Tin by Kaper Kidz fits right into the latter category, and is the perfect toy to be thrown into any parent’s bag for a quick on-the-road game. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Travel-Friendly: the 2 magnetic fishing rods, 1 felt fishing pond and 10 magnetic wooden pieces fit right into a tiny cylindrical tin. The size is small enough to be kept in most handbags and easy travel bag packs. This is a great game to be brought around when running errands or travelling with kids. 

(2) Lovely Pieces: the 8 colourful sea creatures, a red boot and a treasure chest are made of wood. They are light weight, vibrant in colour, and really cute to look at. We can introduce some of the common types of sea creatures to young kids: shark, turtle, seahorse, octopus, crab, starfish, seashell and a yellow fish. 

(3) Boot + Treasure Chest: I love the idea of having a cheeky boot and a treasure chest amidst the sea creatures. There are always loads of giggling when someone caught the red boot, and a lot of excitement when someone got a treasure chest. 

(4) Two Fishing Rods: I also love that there are two fishing rods. The kids can play this alone or with another person. My boy used to play this game with the grandparents when they came over to visit, and it was great fun watching them laughed and giggled despite the language barrier. 

Enjoy the video! 

Crystal Village, by Weplay

Nature/ Type:           Construction/ Building Toy 

Rating:                     ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age:  2 year-old 

Who would love this: Colourful translucent building blocks lovers! 

Crystal Village by Weplay . I am enchanted by the colours, the clear translucent pieces, the visual enjoyment, and the whimsical structures. WePlay is a Taiwanese brand specialises in creating educational products, and I just can’t wait to learn more about it. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Creativity Building Pieces: The set comes with 12 tall translucent house pieces and 12 shorter house pieces. The roof blocks have two different angles (60 and 90 degrees), each of which fit nicely on top of two house blocks (which were designed at either 30 or 45 degrees). The roof pieces have grooved surfaces, providing numerous possibilities for the blocks to be stacked on top of one another in multiple ways. I love that the the toy encourages creativity whilst training the kids their fine motor skills to achieve structural balance in their construction. 

(2) Stunning Translucent Colours: The built structures are absolutely stunning to look at. The translucent pieces are in primary colours (yellow, blue and red), and they can be placed together to create secondary colours - another fun aspect of this toy. 

(3) Activity Sheets: There are some pattern and sequence games in the activity sheets, together with suggested ideas on how to build tall, tilted and iconic structures. It was a fun and lovely challenge to build the ideas. 

This is a pleasant find, and I can’t wait to explore more about WePlay. I highly recommend this toy. 

Enjoy the video and admire the beauty of the pieces: 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Picture Word Board, by Qtoys

Nature/ Type:             Wooden Toy & Spelling Game 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:    3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Parents who want to kick-start their kids' spelling journey 

Picture Word Board by Qtoys. As usual, when it comes to Qtoys, we know the product would look natural, pretty, and make a lovely addition to the kids’ room. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Learn to Spell: this is a “spelling” exercise with 9 image-printed blocks. Kids are to form the words using wooden pieces with lower-case letters. Each of the image represents a 3-letters word: we have “B-U-G (bug)”, “P-E-N (pen)”, “H-A-T (hat)” and so on. This is a good toy to kick-start a kid’s spelling journey. There is also a blank board with no image to encourage formation of other words using the available letters. 

(2) The Materials- like any other Q Toys products, this set is made of quality and natural timber with non-toxic and child-safe materials. Each of the tiny wooden pieces is light-weight and lovely to hold. 

However, if I can change something to the set, I would love it to have more images for more spelling exercise. I also wish the set can come with an “answer cheat sheet”. My four-year-old loves doing “matching” these days, and he would like to do the activity independently by referring to an “answer” sheet. I ended up drawing one myself using my mediocre drawing skills. That works well for the purpose and we are pleased. 

Enjoy the video! 

Clipo Hippo, by Hasbro

Nature/ Type:             Building Toy 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:    18 month-old

Who would love this:  Mini building lovers who love colours and a moving toys

Clipo Hippo from Hasbro (Playskool) is a toy with a long history, and as far as I’m aware, it has been around in the market since more than ten years back. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Cute! it’s colourful, bright, versatile, and kids love it. Both my 20 month-old and four year-old get excited playing with this cute purple hippo. You can stack the Clipo blocks on the hippo’s back, attach the pieces to its wheels, store the blocks in hippo’s tummy through its back, open the hippo’s mouth and “spill” the blocks out, or push the hippo on the floor with its rolling wheels. I love that they are many ways to play with this little toy. 

(2) Compatible with Other Clipo Blocks: the hippo is compatible with other Clipo blocks from Playskool. Originally came with just 20 Clipo parts in this set, there is a potential to add more of these peg-covered blocks to the set and elevate the play experience with numerous possibilities. 

(3) Great for Small Kids: The Clipo pieces are chunky and easy to be held by little hands. 

Personally, I find it not that easy to connect the Clipo blocks together; most of the time, I need to turn and move a Clipo piece around to find the right “position” in order to interlock the notches together. Strangely, the kids don’t seem to mind too much about it. My 20 month-old claps whenever she is able to attach a block on top of another Clipo, and is genuinely enjoying this toy. On this basis, I think this hippo set is a win. 

Enjoy the video from some clipo fun! 


Magic Touch Piano, by Hape

Nature/ Type:           Music

Rating:                      ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Recommended age: 12 month-old

Who would love this: Any mini music lovers! 

Magic Touch Piano by Hape is one of the cutest music toys I have ever seen. 

Why I love ❤️ it? 

(1) The Materials: it’s made of wood and is beautifully painted with bright and vibrant colours identifying 8 musical sounds. It’s also small and of the right size for toddlers as young as 1 year-old. 

(2) Features & Functions: it has multiple functions suitable for different skill levels; an older kid can train-up their colour coordination by following the sequence of colours on music card. But if you have a younger baby, you can switch to a different mode where any random touching of the keyboard would produce the melody on the music card placed at the slot. 

(3) Beautiful Sounds: the set comes with 3 double sided cards with 6 different melodies. The sound of the instrument is beautiful, clear and of high quality. We can adjust the volume, and also listen to demo with different variations of songs. Other than that, it also function well as a 8-note keyboard for music playing. 

This is a fantastic musical toy that I really love. 

Enjoy the video for some true music sessions! 

3 Games My Farm, by Ludattica

Nature/ Type:       Board Game

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Farm lovers 

3 Games My Farm by Ludattica. This is the type of “back to basic” game: large puzzle, throw a dice and go, and imaginative farm play with cute wooden pieces of animals. 

Why I love ❤️ this set: 

(1) Great for Young Kids: there are 24 large pieces that form a giant floor puzzle. Each piece is big and thick enough to be picked up easily by little hands. The puzzle is colourful, not TOO challenging, but also not TOO unchallenging for a four-year-old kid. 

(2) Puzzle & Game: once the puzzle is done, we can transform it into a game board. The set comes with a slightly larger than usual wooden colour dice. Throw it, and move your chosen animal forward along the path according to the colour scheme. 

(3) Farm-Theme Imaginative Play: once these are all done, the kids can play around with the wooden animal pieces using the giant floor puzzle as the farm scene. There are five animals in the set: a sheep, a cow, a chick, a pig, and a dog. 

Overall, I love how we can have three ways to play with this toy. There is nothing too extraordinary about the puzzle or game, but my kids do enjoy this, and we absolutely love the bright colours! 

Enjoy the videos! 

Super Sorting Pie, by Learning Resources

Nature/ Type:       Sorting Game

Rating:                  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age: 3 year-old ++

Who would love this: Kids who LOVE fruits and enjoy colourful sorting games

Super Sorting Pie by Learning Resources- Both of my 20-month-old and 4 year-old LOVE this  toy and have devised various ways to play with this brightly coloured pie sorter! 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Great Design: This set comes with 7 types of fruits of 5 colours, which can be sorted into a big pie plate, and can be nicely covered-up with a pie lid. I love the careful details of the tiny pieces of fruits: the intentional uneven surface of the lemon, the slightly tilted curve of the banana - the design is intricate and thoughtfully crafted. The colours are vibrant and discernible, easy to be divided and sorted even by really young kids. 

(2) The Tweezers: great tool to train fine motor skills. My four-year-old can pick up the fruits using a tweezer easily; my 20 month-old struggles with it as expected, but she loves trying it although she does get a little frustrated sometimes. I also like that there are two tweezers, perfect for a family with two young kids like ours. 

(3) Activities & Games: there are three double-sided sorting cards that indicate the types of games to be played (for example, sorting by colours, types of fruits, number and so on), although my kids seem to be only interested in colour-sorting. 

(4) Pretend Play: the pie design with tiny fruits is perfect for pretend role-playing. My kids love to serve the pie as a main dish in their imaginative cafe, together with some tea and coffee. I love how versatile the toy is. 

Enjoy the video!