Friday, April 26, 2024

Imaginary Fauna - Jungle, By Lekkid - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Magnetic building toys 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   3 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Young kids that have BIG Imaginations + love building/ creating 

Magnetic, clear acrylic blocks, solid timber, irregular shapes. “Imaginary Fauna - Jungle” from Lekkid ticks a few boxes that would guarantee to fascinate the kids and captured their attention for hours. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) 22 Magnetic Pieces To Build And Create  

“Imaginary Fauna - Jungle” has its unique “wow” factor - inside the red cylindrical storage box, you would find 22 magnetic pieces of interesting building pieces. This set has parts that can make sea animals, crocodile, and other imaginary creatures or objects (it makes more than just “real animals”). There is a V-shaped wooden piece that resembles a crocodile pointed snout; a red fiery flat part that looks like a lion mane; a long timber piece that looks like a tail curving upwards; a forked-tail piece that is so common amongst sea creatures; a blue “propeller” part that can be used for jet plane, flat pieces that can turn into pair of legs, a red “fire” piece (kids love building “camp-fire” with it for their pretend marshmallow-toasting session), and more! I can’t verify whether “500,000 jungle creatures” can be created using this pack (as claimed on the box), but this toy sure has HUGE potential and possibilities - especially if your kids enjoy inventing wildly imaginative, silly, abstract, and outlandish objects that don’t really need to make sense to the adults! 

(2) Wooden Material + Acrylic Pieces 

I love the beautiful interaction between the two materials - the solidness of natural beech wood AND the playfulness of light shining through the translucent acrylic pieces. 

(3) Explore The Inter-Connecting Magic Of Magnets 

I was worried initially that the magnetic polarity of the pieces would be too frustrating for younger kids to handle - you need to constantly adjust and test out both sides of the pieces to fit them together magnetically. What I didn’t expect was how much the kids love the challenge and problem-solving experience; They experimented with the pieces, turned the parts around, and identified the correct sides for the inter-connecting magic to happen. 

(4) Designed In Barcelona + Conforms With Toy Safety Standard 

Lekkid is designed in Barcelona. The toy conforms to the international standard of toy safety including ASTM F963 and EN71. This is an exciting toy that we really love. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Website) 

Enjoy the video! 

Food Chain Island, By Button Shy / Even Toys And Games - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Card game 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   8 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Anyone who enjoys a challenge of strategy games! 

I LOVE all Button Shy games I have tested: small, compact, always thought-provoking! But Food Chain Island is of another level - it’s ADDICTIVE and we seriously can’t get enough of this solo game! (Thank you Even Toys And Games ). 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Creative Food Chain Theme 

The food chain theme fits perfectly well with the game mechanism. Shuffle 16 Land Animals cards, arrange them faced up in a 4x4 grid, and placed 2 sea animals by the side. On your turn, move a card (the predator) orthogonally one space, and place it on top of another animal (prey) with value that’s 1 to 3 less. I love that each card clearly sets out the list of values that it can eat (eg a Fox (No. 9) can eat animals with value 6, 7, 8). Once a prey is being “swallowed” up, we can activate the special ability of the predator- which range from moving the card 1 space (Wolf), discard an unstacked animal (lizard), move card to any other space (bat) etc. The rules also include alternative starting layouts to really “spice up” the game”! Also, the artwork is unusually cute (one animal consuming another - how more disturbing can this get? 😂). 

(2) Special Abilities - Use Your Sea Animals Wisely 

Don’t forget you can activate the special abilities of the 2 Sea Animals at the side - Shark allows you to move any animal 1 space to eat, and Whale gives you power to move an animal to any other space, Octopus allows us to discard an unstacked animal and activate its ability etc. If that’s not enough - the set also includes “Air Animals” cards. The selected “Air Animal” must be used and discarded during the game. For example, A Buzzard, when used, requires the player to select next 3 predators with odd number. 

(3) Legendary Creatures Expansion Set Included 

If you are up to some intense challenge, add on the Legendary Creatures cards. The 4 Legendary land creatures must be placed face-down in specific locations, and can only be revealed when an animal adjacent to it gets eaten. Also, the legendary powers will only be triggered when it’s being eaten. 

(4) Lost Beasts Expansion Set Included Too! 

The set also includes “Lost Beasts” cards with eating restrictions: eg Dodo only eats lower even-numbered prey, and Archicebus can only eat when it has two or fewer adjacent animals. 

Loving it! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) 

Check out more reviews of Button Shy games here: 

Enjoy the video! 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Double Dice Truck, By Funyards Australia - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Wooden pull toy

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  

Recommended age:   3 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Young kids / Collectors of timeless/ vintage wooden toys 

I love timeless, vintage-looking wooden toys. You can get this “Double Dice Truck” from Funyards Australia - not only that it’s adorable in its non-flashy simplicity, this is also a functional and educational toy that can serve as a cute decor piece at home. 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) 3D Wooden Puzzle + Stacking Toy + Dice  

This adorable truck is a 3D wooden puzzle and a toddler-friendly stacking toy. It’s made up of 3 separate parts: Two removable dice, and a vehicle “base” with four rolling wheels and two vertical pegs where the two dice / cubes can slide in easily. I can imagine this being a lovely “first stacking toy” for toddlers to train up their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. I really love the chunky size of the dice; they are functional, with bright colourful pips on each surface, and ready to be used and incorporated into activities and games. I also really love the slightly concave appearance of the colourful dots/ pips. These dice are fun tactile toys, and would make great early learning resources for counting and colour-recognition. 

(2) Classic Pull Toy For New Walkers  

This Double Dice Truck is also a classic, good old-fashioned pull toy that can move around the house on its functioning, smooth-rolling wheels. I also love the long blue string attached to it with a wooden ball at the end for little hands to hold. I think this is a nice early companion for new walkers who are learning to take their first few steps with confidence. 

(3) Quality Wooden Material 

I love the sturdy, wooden quality of this truck. It’s solid and durable, not too heavy, made with beautiful craftsmanship and smooth finishes. I love the wooden material that gives each of the separate pieces some differing natural timber shades. This is a lovely toy for kids, and a minimalist decorative item at home that will never go out of style. 

Funyards Australia is a family owned business located in the beautiful Blue Mountains in New South Wales, specialising in quality wooden toys and educational products. Check out their website for more beautiful handmade items that would guarantee to bring you smile! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: 

Contact Funyards Australia 

Check out more reviews of wooden toys for your little people from Funyards Australia: 

Enjoy the video! 

Circle the Wagons, By Button Shy / Even Toys and Games - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Card game

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:   8 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Board-gamers who enjoy strategy games 

Button Shy makes “small” games - like, 18-cards-only small games. We are BIG FANS of Sprawlopolis and Skulls of Sedlec. So when Even Toys and Games sent over a few more Button Shy games, we were THRILLED! Today, I’m going to start with “Circle the Wagons”. 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Maximise Your Scores With The Best Strategy! 

“Circle the Wagons” feels similar to “Sprawlopolis” in a few ways - both games centred around a “building” theme and have similar placement rules. Each of the card has 4 quadrants on it, and each quadrant has a background represents a territory (Desert, Forest, Mountains, Plains, Snow, Water) and an icon (Beer, Fort, Gun, Pickaxe (Mines), Cow, Wagon). First, randomly select 3 cards to set the scoring objectives. Next, take turn to draft a card from a circle for your boomtown. Similar to Sprawlopolis, a newly placed card must touch or overlap an existing territory card. Players score 1 point per quadrant in their largest area of each of the 6 types of territories. Players may also score points (or get their points deducted) depends on the 3 scoring conditions (eg, you might get a “scoring condition” where 2 points will be earned for every Beer adjacent to a Wagon, but a point deducted for every Beer not adjacent to a Wagon). 

(2) Clever Cards- Drafting Mechanism 

I LOVE the cards-drafting mechanism that really elevate the strategic perspective of the game! Cards are arranged in a circle and each player draft the card in clockwise order. When it’s your turn to draft, you can choose the next card available, or skip over 1 or more cards. But there’s a catch: any cards you skip over are then immediately drafted by your opponent (and your opponent cannot say “no” to those cards)! It’s STRATEGY everywhere! 

(3) LARGE Combinations Of Variables With Just 18 Cards 

I love how the game creates large combinations of variables by using just 18 cards. Players need to formulate new strategy each round depending on the 3 objective cards being drawn and the order of the cards in the circle. We have played more than a dozen rounds of this game and each time it truly felt different! There is also rules included for a solo play variant. 

(4) Light Weight & Compact 

This game is light weight, compact, travel-friendly. Seriously, I can’t ask for more. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: 

Aussie Hobbies (Australia) 

Good Games (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) (Australia) 

Enjoy the video! 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Fluffy Valley, By LOKI - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Board game for kids  

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:   6 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Young board-gamers, especially those that enjoy cooperative games! 

LOKI makes spectacularly CUTE board games - complete with amazing artwork, creative use of game box, and incredibly adorable components. Thank you VR Distribution for providing Fluffy Valley - this is officially our latest most-demanded board game by the kids! 

Why I love ❤️ this game: 

(1) Cooperative Game - Mission To Get Ready For Winter! 

We love a game with an important “mission” to accomplish! Fluffy Valley is a cooperative game where our little people work together in a team, helping a colony of hardworking prairie dogs to get their burrow ready for the harsh cold winter. The aim is to gather sufficient resources and fill-out the reserve (honey, berry, hay); but be warned: you have only 9 rounds to do that before winter kicks in (the season board is keeping tracked of it). In the process, you will meet weasels, foxes, badgers, and eagles - trying to sabotage and hinder our resources-collection progress by taking prairie dogs away from work, stealing resources, and blocking the holes. 

(2) Interesting Decision-Making & Strategic Options 

lt’s GREAT to see a board game for young kids equips with interesting decision-making options. In each round, we move the prairie dog figurines into other unoccupied holes face-down; each of the hole brings different special effects - draws a shrub token (and get either a ripe berry or a spoiled one), get a hay token, take a chance with Tunnel token, exchange a hay for a beaver upgrade, take an action twice using the River’s power, remove a weasel by seeking help from Piper the Viper, exchange spoiled berries with Roger the Hedgehog, or slide a resource token into the burrow. The actions are complex, but also comes naturally once we start playing with it. I love the fun strategy in a game full of choices and chance! 

(3) Awesome Components & Ingeniuos Game Box Conversion 

Loki is a true expert in converting a seemingly ordinary-looking game box into part of the game. Place the Prairie board on top of the plastic inserts, and the box will instantly transform into an adorable game setting with harvest table, token slot with slide to the burrow, holes with special effects - oh and I just can’t resist the cuteness of the prairie dog figurines, peeking out from the holes with their cheekiest, playful look! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) 

Check out my other reviews on LOKI games: 

Enjoy the video! 

12 Puzzles In A Gift Box, By Funyards Australia - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Wooden puzzles 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:   10 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Collectors of timeless, wooden puzzles 

I am fascinated by the beauty of wooden brainteasers and Kumiki puzzles. They are timeless, ingenious, never go out-of-style! If you don’t know where to start your collection, have a look at the beautifully curated products at Funyards Australia - and don’t forget to check out its “12 Puzzles In A Gift Box” set! 

Why I love ❤️ this set: 

(1) 12 Wooden Puzzles In One Gift Box 

Well, what can I say? Imagine unlocking secrets of 12 mechanical puzzles, each unique and distinctive in its own right, all attractively wrapped-up in a handcrafted box completes with an enchanting white floral ribbon at the top. It’s hard not to get excited about these mesmerising puzzles; 7-piece 3x3 Soma cube in a container with lid (don’t forget to explore the 240 possible solutions available), the challenging Snake Puzzle (the included solution guide came to my rescue for this one!), Falling Star Burr Puzzle (my personal favourite), Round Saucers Puzzle (that looks a little like a mini wine barrel), Star Puzzle (really fun to build!), Lumber Jack, 2 different “Diamond Puzzles”, Squares Cube, Notched Stick, Soccer Puzzle, and the almost impossible “12 Puzzle”.

(2) Varying Difficulty Levels For All Ages 

I love that the puzzles are of varying difficulty levels. The 6-piece Star Puzzle is straightforward and I love how the pieces joined together in such believable clever way! The Soma Puzzle is pretty kids-friendly and the 7 polycubes can be stacked randomly to build various miniature structures. Don’t be deceived by the innocent-looking Lumber Jack and Diamond, and I have yet to figure out the steps to put this “12 Puzzle” (with an encased ball) back into its original structure. This is an awesome gift for anyone who enjoys stimulating brain activities and solving addictive logical challenges. There is an illustrated solutions included for all 12 puzzles. 

(3) Beautiful Craftmanship & Natural Wooden Material 

The craftsmanship of the puzzles is fantastic, and I especially love the natural wooden material of the products. The precision of the puzzle pieces is impressive, each smoothly-finished to high quality. (4) The gift box itself is an elegant work of art. It has two levels within, with individual compartment for each of the 12 puzzles. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: 

Funyards Australia 

Check out more reviews of similar wooden puzzle sets from Funyards Australia: 

Enjoy the video! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Numberblocks Race to Pattern Palace!, by hand2mind - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Board game for kids  

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:   3 year-old ++ (but my two kids, 5 and 7 year-old, love it too!)

Who would love this: Kids that love games and maths. A must-have for all Numberblocks fans! 

Numberblocks is one of the selected few TV animated programmes that I truly enjoy watching with the kids - it’s witty, cute, and educational! Clover Street sent us this new “Race to Pattern Palace!” from hand2mind recently - and I can’t wait to tell you more about this spectacular game today! 

Why I love ❤️ this toy: 

(1) Learn Counting/ Colours/ Patterns In A Fun Way! 

This game has 4 of our favourite Numberblocks characters as “heroes”- racing to the glamorous “Pattern Palace”, building bridges, whilst solving a series of maths-related problems! Seriously, how great is that! First, each player selects a Numberblocks Pawn (One, Two, Three, or Four) and places it on the starting space of the game board. Now, each player takes turn to press the dice popper. If you roll a colour, move your Numberblocks character to the next space with that colour/ or a multicolor space (whichever’s the nearest). If you roll a “6”, draw a “Six’s Tricks Card” and follow its directions (e.g. go forward 4 spaces, go back 3 spaces, roll again, skip a turn, move to the next bridge, and more). Along the way, players would also need to build “pattern bridges” to cross the rivers. The game reminds me slightly of the classic “Snakes and Ladders” game - but with more twists and turns, more cheerful and adorable graphics, and more “hidden” learning opportunities!

(2) Build Your Pattern Bridges With Challenge Cards 

The kids absolutely LOVE building their pattern bridges! The set includes 4 bridges, 25 bridge tiles (5 colours), and 40 pattern challenge cards (divided into 2 levels of 20 each). Each bridge has empty spaces where 6 tiles can be clicked onto it. Level 1 is pretty straightforward (eg patterns with two colours alternating between each other), and level 2 consists of mostly challenges with three colours and trickier patterns (and also a chance to create your own pattern bridge!). Solutions are provided. This is a GREAT game to promote pattern and colour recognition. 

(3) Great Components (Including A Durable Dice Popper) 

My two kids are “aggressive” dice-throwers - I love the idea of a Dice Popper that keeps the dice safe within a durable plastic dome. I also love the foldable game board and the solid storage box. 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this:

Check out my other reviews of Numberblocks products from hand2mind: 

Enjoy the video! 

Multiplication By Heart, By Math For Love - REVIEW

Nature/ Type:            Multiplication learning kit 

Rating:                       ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Recommended age:   3 - 8 year-old ++ 

Who would love this: Parents / teachers looking for creative multiplication learning resources. 

Mathematics used to be THE subject that I feared the most. Hence, I’m very excited each time when I discover a new learning aid that shows the fun part of maths. Today, I would love to show you “Multiplication By Heart” by Math For Love (thank you Divisible by Zero for another fantastic product!). 

Why I love ❤️ it: 

(1) Creative System To Learn Multiplication

The set includes 3 decks of cards (total of 162 cards), a spinner, and a box with sorting pockets. These are more than just ordinary flashcards. It’s a learning system, with different visual representations, teaching kids about multiplication in a non-overwhelming and effective way. It encourages short and sweet daily practice, starting with the simplest numbers, and gradually adding more (complicated) cards to build up confidence! First, shuffle the first deck of cards, and separate them into those that the kids got it right (grouped under tab “b”), and those that the kids got it wrong (tab “a”). On day 2, kids will start with cards in tab b, and again, divide the cards into those that they got it right (moved to tab”c”), and those that they got it wrong (moved to tab”a”). Next, follow the same pattern for cards in tab a. The spinner shows which tabs to practise for each day (day 1 to 20). The aim is to slowly move all the cards into the final “mastered” tab, where the kids would have done sufficient daily practise by then and “mastered” their multiplication skills. 

(2) 3 Decks Of Cards, 3 Ways To Learn 

I LOVE the design of the 3 decks. Deck 1 (25 cards) covers 1x1 to 5x5 using “equal groups of” visualisation (eg 3x5 cards shows three green circles (groups) with 5 white dots within each group, and the answer on reverse side). Deck 2 has 100 cards covering 1x1 to 10x10 with “grid” representation (5x6 shows 5 columns and 6 rows of purple squares, and the reverse side shows the relevant timetable sums 6, 12, 18, 24, 30). Deck 3 has 37 cards visualise prime factors (eg 4x6 is paired with 3x8, 2x12; factors of 2 is represented in green, and factors of 3 in orange). 

(3) Compact Set With Mini Games Included 

The instruction guide also includes mini games. I LOVE the organised, compact and solid box - easy to bring around to keep the daily practice going! 

# gifted in exchange for review 

Where to buy this: (Australia) (Australia) 

Enjoy the video!