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Learn to use a Yo Yo like a pro! (Giveaway ends June 30, 2020)

 

When I get bored and I have nothing much to do, I enjoy searching on Ebay for toys that I used to have when I was a kid. I’ve been known to bid (and win) a few of them too. I simply love retro-toys.

When I was a kid, toys were simpler. They weren’t crazy like today’s toys, which can be so “high tech.” I prefer the classics like Lite Brite, Etch-a-Sketch, Jacks and Mr. Potato Head. Even a good old Frisbee is just as fun as today’s toys, and it doesn’t required batteries or a complicated set up.

Another great toy to play with is a Yo Yo. A Yo Yo can be played with alone, or with someone else. They require no batteries and are one of the easiest toys to bring with you where ever you go. It easily fits in your pocket.

I’ve had several Yo Yos when I was a kid. I found it very relaxing to watch it spin up and down, up and down, up and down.

I used to be able to just one trick with a Yo Yo, “walking the dog.” It’s probably one of the easiest tricks to do with a Yo Yo, but that is certainly not the only trick.

You can see that trick here.

 

You’d be amazed by how many tricks you can do with a Yo Yo. Simply letting it roll up and down on the string is boring compared to what else you can do with a Yo Yo.

Sadly, these days children are not able to play and interact with friends and other children like they used to, due to the pandemic and social distancing. Now is a great time to pick up a Yo Yo and learn how to do some fun tricks with it. That way when kids return to school, they will know some amazing tricks to “wow” and entertain their friends.

Yo Yo has a fun program that encourages kids to practice and complete different skill levels. As they gain skills they earn FREE badges signifying their skill expertise. The program was originally created for the Scouts, but it is so successful and popular, Yo Yo decided to open it up to all kids. Check it out here, www.yo-yo.com/scouts,

The brand’s primary goal is to provide today’s youth with an easy to learn sport that promotes positive emotional development, fun, and friendship. Over time they have watched generations of kids pursue yo-yoing as a regular sport. It’s a fun sport that ultimately helped kids improve in their academics, social relationships, and self-expressionism.

Yo Yos are not just for children. Adults enjoy them just as much as children do. My husband has a Yo Yo. He’s had it for years. I see him playing with it from time to time.

Here are some fun facts about the Yo Yo.

  • Yo-yoing has helped kids find a place to belong, fight depression, manage ADD and ADHD, and other emotional struggles, like overeating and social anxiety.
  • It is a sport that can be carried in one’s pocket and played individually or as a group.
  • Yo-Yo play helps develop fine motor skills and brain functions including hand-eye coordination, bilateral integration and crossing mid-line function to name a few.
  • The origins of the yo-yo have been dated back as far as 440 BC. To Greece
  • From King Louis XVII to Napoleon, and to the Space Shuttle Discovery mission, the yo-yo has been a popular pastime throughout history.

Yo Yos are available in a variety of colors and styles. You can even create a custom Yo Yo on the Yo Yo’s official website, Yo-Yo.com.

You can find a lot on the Yo Yo website, including tutorials, contests, Yo Yo’s and more.

I received a couple of Yo Yo’s to review, and to try and learn to do some tricks with, thanks to the videos I found on the Yo Yo website. I learned a few things, most especially that when you have six cats, playing with a Yo Yo is easier said than done (ha ha).

The Yo Yo on the left is self-returning, meaning the Yo Yo will return to your hand automatically. That makes is ideal for novice or new Yo Yo players.

The Yo Yo on the right is a more advanced model. It comes with a piece you can use to have a better grip on the Yo Yo (the piece that looks like a die).

My husband has the more advanced Yo Yo. He keeps it in his work backpack. He tells me that he plays with it on break and when he’s bored (he has a lot of “down time” at his job). I have the one that is made for novice players. I honestly haven’t had a chance use it much. I need surgery for a tear in a tendon in my arm, so moving  my dominant arm (right) around is not that easy for me at the moment.

If you would like to learn more about Yo Yo, or check out some of the latest and greatest Yo Yo’s (including professional level ones), visit Yo-Yo.com.

You can also find Yo Yo on social media. All of those links are found at the bottom left of the brand’s website. You can also check them out on YouTube for fun instructional videos.

Yo Yo has been kind enough to offer a really cool giveaway. One lucky winner will receive the following;

  • Duncan Survivor Kit – Retail $25
  • Plus a 30-minute private yo-yo lesson via zoom with a Duncan Yo-Yo Champion & Pro Instructor!

Total prize value $50

Thank you Yo Yo! I love the idea of getting a private lessen for a champion & pro instructor.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 30, 2020. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be contacted via email and will have three days to reply, or a new winner will be chosen from all eligible entries.

To enter, please comment on why you would like to win this prize package, and who would it be for (you or your child)?

For extra entries, please use the Rafflecopter widget (below).

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Kimberly

*I received free Yo Yos to review in exchange for this post. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Last Kids on Earth Toys now available from Jakks Pacific

 

Do you have an elementary or middle schooler at home? If you do, you might be familiar with the popular book series, Last Kids on Earth. The popular book series was turned into an animated series that is currently available on Netflix (I linked to the books on Amazon and the series on Netflix for your reference, they are not affiliate links).

I’ll let you in on a “family secret.” My husband has never been much of a reader. I guess you’d call him a “reluctant reader.” It’s never been his thing.

Two years ago my husband started a new job. There is a lot of downtime at his job, so his boss told him that he can watch movies if he wanted to bring in a tablet/iPad, and he was welcome to bring in books to read (how many jobs tell you that?).

One day we were at Barnes & Nobles because I was looking for a book. Sometimes when we are in the bookstore we visit the children’s section. Our kids are young adults, but we find some of the books amusing, and it’s fun to find books that we read when we were kids.

On one visit my husband spied the Last Kids on Earth books. Back then there were just three books. He was flipping through the books when he told me that they looked like cool books, and he wished they were around when he was a kid because he probably would have read them. I jokingly replied that he should find some reading material for work, so why not get one of the books. To my surprise, he did.

Initially when my husband bought the book it was more so as a joke. Turns out he LOVED it. So much so he ended up buying the other books in the series.

My husband can read. He reads just fine. He went to college where he studied journalism. Even though reading a “kids” book sounds odd to most people, it’s OK with him. He find the books amusing, and he likes that they are short (he’s not about to read a book with 600+ pages).

FYI… Diary of a Wimpy Kid books were written for ADULTS, not children, even though people assume they were for kids. I personally interviewed Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s author, Jeff Kinney. That is when he told me they were originally for adults. You can read that interview here.

My husband was thrilled when they book series became an animated show on Netflix. I was too because I finally had the opportunity to see what he liked about the books/series. I like it too. And I’m a fifty-something year old woman.

Jakks Pacific, a toy company that makes a lot of cool toys available for many different brands, has released toys based on the Last Kids on Earth books and series. Needless to say my dear husband was happy to hear that too. He’s a big kid at heart (like me) and loves to decorate his desk at work with fun things.

Jakks Pacific was kind enough to send me some of the available toys to check out for myself. Thank you Jakks Pacific!

Last Kids on Earth Plush Zombie Dolls (sold separately)

These cute (yes, I said CUTE) zombie dolls are about 9″ long and are made out of a plush body and plastic-like head.

When you squeeze the zombie’s head, it’s one eye ball (baseball on the baseball player, yellow eye on the pizza delivery zombie) pops out. It doesn’t come out of the doll (thankfully). It reminds me of those stress toys that you squeeze and it’s eyes and ears pop out (hopefully people know what I am referring to).

I kept one of these (it’s on my desk) and my husband did as well. We actually use them like squeezable stress toys. They are also funny to look at.

Battling Monster Slicer

This is a fun toy for any child that wants to re-create sceens from the books and/or series. It’s a replica of the character Jack Sullivan’s weapon. It used to be a baseball bat. Jack used it to battle the evil monster, Blarg.

This toy is about two feet long and has 50 different unique sounds, phrases and light patterns.

I TRIED to take a video of it, but every time I tried, at least one of my cats would get in the way (we have six cats). Here is a VERY brief video which does not even touch upon all the fun sounds and games this toy offers.

 

There are five different games you can play with this toy, and five different monsters you can battle.

To play and trigger the sounds effects and lights, simply press on the “battle button” on the handle.

This toy requires (3) AAA batteries, which thankfully are included.

There are several different play sets available. Each includes one of the main characters from the book/series, as well as two zombies.

What I love about the play sets is that they each contain a cardboard backdrop to add to the fun. In addition, each set has a toy that acts as a “shooter” (for lack of a better description) that is used in conjunction with a plastic disc to “shoot” the zombies and knock them down.

Available sets include;

  • Jack & Zombies
  • June & Zombies
  • Dirk & Zombies
  • Quint & Zombies

Here are some random photos from the Jack & Zombies play set.

Jack & Zombies Play Set

Help Jack kill the zombies by inserting a small plastic disc into the shopping cart then “shooting” it at your target to knock it down.

Smashing Dozer Play Set

Similar to the play sets mentioned above, there is also a Smashing Doser play set that comes with a 6′ Doser, disc launcher and cool backdrop that looks like it’s straight out of the book/series.

When you press the button on Dozer’s back, his arm/fish smashes down. Kids can defeat Dozer by using the disc launcher and hitting Dozer in the arm.

My husband had fun playing with the disc launcher sets. Sadly, our cats did too and enjoyed trying to catch the discs.

Biting Wretch Monster Figure 

This is a big figure (similar to Smashing Dozer). When you open up his wings, he has a whopping 16″ wing span!

Just like Smashing Dozer, this figure also comes with a disc launcher. To defeat him you need to his his stomach with the disc.

There is a button on the back of Wretch that makes his jaws move.

Tree Fortress of Awesomeness

If your child love Last Kids on Earth, they are going to want this amusing play set. This set features so much fun things to do. It comes with a Jack figure, zombies, three discs and a disc launcher.

Jack can slide down the zip line when he needs to battle the zombies. You can also attach the disc launcher to the top of the tree house to battle the zombies.

Be careful! If you hit the tree’s trunk, the tree house fortress will collapse!

Chompin’ Blarg 

This is also one of my favorite toys from the Last Kids on Earth collection. This is a big figure (9″).

When you push on the spike found on Blarg’s back, his massive mouth opens and closes (chomps!). If you press another button you can have Blarg grab a zombie and raise his arm.

You can defeat Blarg by hitting him in his stomach with a disc (a disc and disc launcher are included).

To add to the fun this figure also comes with a Jack figure, and a zombie figure, and a back drop.

 

Last, but not leasts… Zombie Ball.

I love this Zombie Ball. I collect horror memorabilia, and this went right into my collection. It’s a nice size too.

Kids can recreate the scene in which Jack, Dirk and Quint find themselves feeling from the gigantic zombie ball.

The ball takes (2) AAA batteries (included).

When you switch the ball on it groans like zombies. It’s pretty cool. The cats are not sure what to make of it.

This is made out of a hard plastic. It’s not a “bouncy ball.” I wouldn’t recommend kicking it around like a soccer ball either.

One suggestion to play with this toy is to use it in a game of “hot potato.” Pass it around and see who gets stuck with it when the music stops.

I love that it looks like a bunch of zombies rolled into one. That is too funny.

The Last Kids on Earth toys by Jakks Pacific are recommended for ages 6+. They are available at many retail locations including Target, Walmart, Amazon and BAM! (Books-a-Million).

If you would like to learn more about these and other Last Kids on Earth books, visit Jakks.com/LKOE. You can also look for Jakks Pacific and Last Kids on social media.

Is your child/grandchild a fan of the Last Kids on Earth books and/or Netflix series? Do they have a favorite character? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Stuck at home? Grab a Wizkids Games Crate!

 

How is the quarantine coming along for you and your family? Personally, I’ve had “cabin fever” for the past several WEEKS. I can count on one hand home many times I’ve left our home since March 12th (the last day I worked). There is only so much staring at the same four walls 24/7 I can do.

My husband and son have worked the entire time. They are “essential workers.” As for my daughter, she just returned to work (at a restaurant) last week. Since I work in an after school program, I won’t see another day of work until September, if I’m lucky.

We live in the suburbs on New York City, which is the epicenter of the pandemic here in the United States. My area is weeks, even months, away from some kind of “normalcy.” So for now, we do our best to stay indoors (unless my family members have to work or shop for groceries).

I never thought my entire family would be so bored, especially my kids. They normally hang out with friends when not at work. Now they are forced to sit at home and mindlessly watch television or movies.

I’m grateful that we have a giant Jenga set to play with, but I regret that I donated all the games we had. My kids were too busy to play games anymore, so I donated them. Now I really wish I had them.

If you are looking for some fun things to do with your family while we all ride out this pandemic by staying home and keeping safe, why not consider picking up some fun, family games? If that is something that piques your interest, then look no further than Loot Crate.

Some people are familiar with Loot Crate because they offer monthly subscription services for a variety of subjects. Some monthly subscription boxes include Loot Fright (a horror themed subscription box), Loot Anime (Anime themed box), Loot Sci-Fi (Science Fiction Crate) and Loot Gaming (a subscription box for gaming fans). The brand also offers more specific crates like Marvel, Deadpool, Hello Kitty and Fallout.

A crate that was new to me is Loot Crate’s WizKids Game Crate.

WizKids Games Crate will upgrade your family game night with awesome tabletop games. This bi-monthly, mystery subscription crate delivers 3 WizKids tabletop games (a $60+ value!) to your door every other month. Every crate is a surprise and can include card games, mini-games, strategy games and more! And, to help cure those quarantine blues faster, we’re offering expedited shipping – out the door within 2 business days of your order!

I was sent one of the crates to review.

Inside my box I received the following games;

Coraline: Beware of the Other Mother

Coraline is one of my daughter’s favorite movies. She was excited to see this game when I took it out of the box.

This is a cooperative card game for 1-4 players. Honestly, I don’t see how much fun this game would be with just one person. I would think the more people you have playing, the more fun the game would be.

If you are seen the film, Coraline, you are familiar with the characters backstory. This card game is based off the movie.

Players will have to work together to protect Coraline and steal the skeleton key in order to set Coraline free before it’s too late, because once the button shadow eclipses the moon, beldam wins and Coraline is stuck in the other world forever. If you run out of Coraline or bedlam cards, the game is also over.

The object of the game is to take turns drawing a Coraline card and then a bedlam card (going back and forth) and doing whatever actions are written on the cards. The cards also indicate which characters are affected by the cards.

What I don’t like about the cards is that they require a lot of reading. They are not as simple as “Go to Jail” or “Give each player $100” like you’d find in the game Monopoly. I’m not saying that it’s really a “bad” thing, but rather I would have preferred it if the cards had the tasks written in a more simpler way.

This is a card game, but it comes with a little fold-up game board and game pieces. They all fit nicely in a small box, which I like. It doesn’t take up much room on the shelf like a traditional board game.

I haven’t seen the movie in years, but after checking out this game, it has inspired me to watch to watch Coraline again.

Sean Rumble: The Banishing

We haven’t tried this game yet. Reading the description, I think this game is going to take a bit longer to figure out. I’m not saying that we won’t play it, but I think this game needs to be played the first time with either (or both) of my kids. Kids tend to “grasp” things a lot quicker than us “old foggies.” I’m sure they will be able to figure it out and explain it to us in “layman’s terms.”

This game is about a dark void that has opened up, allowing undead creatures to try and make their way into our world. Players are “guardians” that must work together to send the creatures back to where they came from (into the void). Players need to collect cards to cast spells and complete rituals in order to banish the creatures back to the other world.

This is really a game of cooperative play. There are no clear winners or losers, per say.

My husband questioned if this is how Dungeons and Dragons is played, but I highly doubt it.

It does sound really interesting. Now to get both kids to be home at the same time so that we can tackle this game together as a team.

Yummy World Party Picnic Palace

I am familiar with the Yummy World brand. I have reviewed some of their products over the years. Yummy World is a brand of adorable food themed characters. This game will certainly appeal to kids in elementary and middle school.

This game is designed for 2-4 players. I would think 3-4 players would make this game more fun and challenging.

This is a picture card game (with points). It’s kind of like like a matching game, in a way.

The idea of the game is to place the cards in the center of the table. The cards are placed face down. As they are flipped over, adorable characters are revealed. The character cards make them “sets” and the idea of the game is when you see a set you want you need to quickly grab it before another player does. The more sets of the same character you collect, the more points you get.

Some cards are more “rarer” than others, and they have the highest point value.

There are also special cards called “invitation” cards, that allow a player to collect all the face-up cards from any one row on the table.

Honestly, this is not a hard game to figure out at all (I just think I’m not describing it well enough). I’m an adult, and I thought this game was fun to play, even if it was just with my husband.

This is another game that I cannot wait to share with my “work kids” because I know they know the Yummy World characters, so they are going to go crazy for this fun, adorable, game.

Andrew J. Smith: Palm Trees

Palm Trees is a unique card game, unlike any I have ever seen before.

The game can be played with individual players, or teams of two. It can be played with 2-6 players, and it’s geared towards people ages 10 and up. I work with kids ages 9-12, so when I finally return to work, I plan on bringing in this game because they are the perfect age for it.

The game is played by each player (or one person in a team of two) wearing a “sleeve” on their arm that resembles the trunk of a palm tree. The sleeve is made out of a stretchy material that should fit most arms.

This game also comes with plastic cards. Some of the cards have coconuts on them, others have palms (leaves) for the tree. Each card also shows you specifically how the card needs to be held on to.

The cards are a bit slippery, making them hard to handle. I don’t know if this was intentional by the game maker or not.

The idea of the game is to take a card and hold it in your hand (the one with the sleeve) without dropping any of the cards. It might sound easy, but it’s not. I have stubby little fingers and I had a hard time holding a few of the cards.

There are also alternative ways of playing the game to better suit your game-mates.

We have not played this game with my kids yet. My husband and I toyed around with it a bit to figure out how the game is played. When I finally get to play this with my kids, I will take some photos of the game in process. With my kids both back to work, it’s not that easy now to have them both home at the same time.

My “work kids” are going to LOVE this game.

Overall these are interesting games. They are not your typical “run-of-the-mill” games. They are unique games that I’m sure your family has never seen, or heard of before. I also like that these games can be played, and enjoyed, by people of all ages. They are not just targeted for one age group. They are easy enough for most kids to understand (The Banishing game might be a bit hard for younger children to grasp, at least initially), and entertaining enough that adults will look forward to playing them just as much as their kids.

All of these games came from just one WizKid Game Crate.

If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the WizKid Game Crate page on the Loot Crate website. The crates start at $19.99, plus shipping. Considering the cost of most board games start at around $20 for just ONE game, I think the WizKid Game Crate is a steal at this price point.

WizKid Game Crates are shipped every other month. You can sign up for one box, or an entire year. It’s up to you.

With people being stuck at home a lot more than normal, I think this crate is a “must have” for families.

Kimberly

*I received a crate in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Create Your Own Custom Toy Car With Modarri

 

 

Our son LOVED his trucks, cars and trains. I miss those years.

Here is a little known fact about me (unless you know me personally). I was a “Tom boy” growing up. I preferred playing with my Tonka trucks (the metal ones) over Barbie dolls. I would drive those trucks all around the dirt patches in my great-grandparents backyard (they lived next door to us).

I also enjoyed playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. I would create race tracks out of wood blocks, wood 2 x 4’s and bricks (or whatever else I could find).

My father drove a race car semi professionally, so I guess cars has always been “in my blood.” I wanted nothing more than to get his race car when I turned 16 (he had retired from racing before then). Sadly, he sold the car to someone else. I would have cost too much money to convert the car back into an ordinary car that you could drive on roads.

I couldn’t imagine having my own race car. That would be so cool! Of course, you can’t drive a race car to/from work or the grocery store. Ha Ha.

Not the best picture, but this was my father’s race car. It was a 72′ Trans Am.

Imagine if you could design you won car? What would that car look like? What features would it have?

There is a company that allows you to design your own car – toy cars that is.

Modarri is more than just buying a toy car… it’s an experience. That is because you, the consumer, can take control over how you want your car to look (colors, features…).

I was sent codes to design two cars for free to review. As an adult, I enjoyed the experience. I can only imagine how much fun it would be for a child to design their own car, then have it arrive in the mail to see and experience it in person.

When you start to design your car, you are shown a basic design sample. There are menu buttons on the bottom to indicate the different parts of the car that you can customize, as seen in the above picture.

As you design your car, you can see what the car looks like by choosing different background options. You can also see the car’s different pieces as you are building it.

The above image is part of the menu. It’s found on the top right of the screen. If you click on the three dots (circle on the right), it gives you a drop down menu, as seen below.

The first button (camera) is to take a photo of your car that you can save on your computer. The middle button allows you to see the various backgrounds (refer to the photos below for examples) and the button on the right shows you the car in pieces (also as seen in the photo below).

Once you have gone through each section and made your design choices, its time to name your car. You can name it whatever you like. You can give it your own creative race car name, or you can simply give it your own name. It’s totally up to you.

Once you have completed every option, you can add the car to your shopping cart. You also have the option to share the car with others (emails), put the car in your “garage” to order at a later time (or if you just want to enjoy designing cars and saving them), or place an immediate order (if you only want to purchase the one car and don’t plan on making anymore).

I’m not 100% sure if the cars are all the same price, but the ones I made all came out to $28.00 (plus shipping).

The above photos are of one of the cars I built. The site allows you to get different views of the car. Simple place your curser on the car to drag it around (up, down, back, forth) so you can see the car from all angles.

Modarri uses Google Pay, Pay Pal, Amazon Pay and regular payment options.

It didn’t take long for the cars I ordered to arrive. I honestly didn’t keep track of it, but I would think it was about a week, give or take.

The cars come nicely boxed. You can keep the boxes to store your cars in (in case you want to collect them or just keep them safe).

The yellow item seen in the box is the tool you need to “build” and “unbuild” the Modarri cars.

Included with each car is a tool that allows you can take the cars apart and rebuild them. Modarri sells different parts for the cars that you can order separately so that you can mix and match and create new cars. For example, I have two Modarri cars. I can use the tool to help me take apart, swap out pieces between the cars, and put them back together.

There are a lot of cool products on the Modarri site available for purchase including a race track and a car carrier.

The best thing about these cars is that you can change their looks. That way your child doesn’t get bored with the same cars all the time. They can create different ones each time they play with their Modarri cars.

If you would like to learn more about Modarri, or try out the car designer yourself, visit Modarri.com. The brand can also be found on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Those links are found on the top right of their website.

What do you think about Modarri cars? Does it sound like something your child would be interested in?

Kimberly

*I received free codes to make two cars in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Get back to the basics with exquisitely crafted wooden toys from Le Toy Van

 

Me as a little girl with some of my favorite toys (Fisher Price Little People snowmobile and hitch).

Some people (like my “work kids”) might say that I’m “old.” I don’t consider myself old. Well, not yet any way. I might be 50+ years old, but I’d like to think I don’t look my age (I certainly don’t feel like I’m 50+).

Sadly, my memory is not like is used to be, but there are memories I can remember vividly from my childhood. That has to be one of the best times of my entire life (my 20’s – 40’s were nothing overly special). I think back fondly (often) about how much fun my cousins and I had when we were kids.

I grew up in an age WITHOUT computers, smartphones and video games (I didn’t get an Intellivision – similar to an Atari – until I was in high school).

Back when I was a kid you used your IMAGINATION to have fun. You didn’t sit on an iPad or smartphone for hours on end, mindlessly playing video games. Instead you took items from around your home and created something with them. Or you would spend all day playing with Tonka trucks out in the dirt, or creating endless scenerios with your Barbie dolls.

One of my MOST favorite toys to play with was my Fisher Price Little People. I had all the sets they made at the time (and similar Playskool pieces/sets). Dare I say that the Little People I had (and still own!) were made out of wood. Wood and plastic.

A PLASTIC “Little People” person. I don’t know why they went from wood to plastic.

Wooden toys were the first types of toys made. They were around long before plastic, and certainly decades (or longer!) before smartphones and computers.

There is something very nostalgic about wooden toys. They certainly bring back memories of my youth. I also think that wooden toys are made to last. They are toys that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Toys made out of wood can also be recycled and leave less of a “footprint” on our environment.

The brand Le Toy Van takes caring for our environment seriously. As per the brand;

At Le Toy Van we believe in a world of play without plastic. We’ve been targeting single-use plastic as a priority and have already removed plastic windows and inserts from a large percentage of our packaging, moving towards recyclable and compostable cardboard boxes. We aim to have 100% plastic-free packaging for all our toys by 2021.

A very tiny number of our toys – the wheels on our wooden cars for example – have historically had a very small number of plastic parts, but we’re working hard to source innovative, plant-based, biodegradable alternatives to these so that we can become entirely natural, plastic-free & become truly eco friendly toys.

Le Toy Van offers consumers beautifully made wooden toys for boys and girls that are sure to provide hours of fun. They have toys for infants and toddlers (3+). Older children (I would think up to 10 years old) can enjoy many of Le Toy Van’s toys.

Here are a FEW examples of the beautiful toys you can find on the Le Toy Van website.

I included A LOT of examples. That is because I think these toys are amazing. If my kids were younger I would have shopped at their site all the time.

I was sent one of their toys to review. I received their Holiday Campervan.

California dreamin’? From the Daisylane Collection comes this perfectly scaled camper with rich details including a surfboard, a padded mattress and a removable roof. Handmade from sustainably sourced rubber wood, the pale painted camper provides a durable set of fun accessories that aids little ones to develop coordination skills and explore role-play adventures.

This vehicle is amazing. The brand put so much detail into this toy. They didn’t leave out anything. It truly does remind me of the type of vehicle you’d find parked at a beach so that the surfers can ride the waves.

The toy is very well made. I have tried to see if pieces wiggled about, but it’s a solid toy. There are no rough edges and I don’t see how it would be possible to get a splinter (unless the toy was neglected and/or damaged by a child).

This piece would also make a whimsical collectible for an adult. My husband likes to collect diecast cars. He thought this van was awesome. When I showed him other cars and trucks on the Le Toy Van website, he said they would made great collectibles (it was his idea).

Notice the steering wheel is on the opposite side? That is because Le Toy Van is a Brittish company.

Sadly, one of our cats chewed on the elastic that holds the surfboard in place (I had to cut it off). The elastic was there to hold the surfboard in place so when a child “drives” it around, the surfboard stays on the hood.

Le Van Toys also carries small dolls that fit perfectly into this campervan (as well as other Le Van Toy products).

If you are interested in learning more about this and other Le Van Toys, visit LeVanToys.com. The brand is also on social media. Their links are found on the top of their website.

I recommend visiting the site to learn more about their toy’s sustainability, and their stance on plastic-free toys.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary

 

Me as a toddler playing with a snowmobile toy in the spring/summer. I’ve always had a great imagination.

Growing up I LOVED playing with my toys. Sadly, I think a lot of this generation is missing out on all the fun you get from playing with toys. Even very young children have their own smartphones these days, and that makes me very sad.

I had a great imagination growing up. We lived on a dead end street and there were no kids on my road that were my age. I spent a lot of my youth playing by myself or with my cousins. Our play time was fueled by our imaginations. I grew up in a rural area, and much of my playtime happened in my backyard or in the woods behind my house. Of course, I grew up in a day and age where parents didn’t think too much about their kids being outside all day. I was outside from sun up to sun down when I wasn’t at school.

I like to think that I had a great imagination as a child (and even as an adult). Give me some cardboard boxes and fabric scraps and I could built a plethora of fun things to play with.

I once turned a bookcase into an apartment building for my Barbie dolls.

I loved toys that let me make believe and pretend to be a variety of things. There seemed like there were more toys for pretend play when my kids were little. There probably was for other generations, but I didn’t take note of it until I was a parent myself.

I used to make it a point of supplying both of my children with plenty of pretend play toys that encouraged their imaginations. One of my son’s most favorite toys was our pretend kitchen. He used it more than my daughter did, and it was originally purchased for her (she’s older than my son).

I couldn’t find a photo of the kitchen set, but I did find my son having a “picnic” with his stuffed animals. His barbecue is in the background. And yes, he likes cats. LOL!

When a child has a pretend kitchen, they naturally want to be able to “shop” for groceries to stock their kitchen. I used to help my kids create a “grocery store” where they could buy food. I even purchased them a shopping cart and a cash register.

The cash register I purchased for my kids (we’re going back about 17+ years) was the Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register. I’m pretty much most people who have been around little children (0r who are in their early 20’s) have probably seen it. In fact, it’s the only one that comes to mind when I think about pretend cash registers.

Can you believe that the Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register, will be celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary. Twenty five years – WOW!

This fun pretend play toy has been virtually unchanged toy, which is also very educational, has brought joy to kids for generations. Learning Resources introduced the first true toy cash register.

Since 1995, parents have relied on this Learning Resources toy to help their children learn the basics of financial literacy, all while making lasting memories of a child’s first play store. This is the same classic toy that has inspired countless accountants, entrepreneurs, business owners and more, and is primed to continue to do the same for the next 25+ years!

This isn’t a comeback, because the cash register never left, and retro isn’t it either, but the Pretend & Play Cash Register certainly is nostalgic for many; it’s tried and true, has a real purpose in any playroom, school and daycare setting.

I love that the brand never changed the look or function of this pretend toy. It looks just like it did when we owned it when my children were younger. In fact, when I showed it to them (I was sent one), they remembered it right away and instantly started to tap on the keys and swipe the card. Of course I dare not mention that to their friends or family members. My kids are 20 and almost 23 years old. I think they would be embarrassed to let people know that the child side of them made an appearance to play with this toy, even if it was briefly. I guess they are “too cool” to relieve a fond childhood memory.

Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register is a working calculator, where children can learn how to add and subtract. There are also buttons for multiplying and dividing. Little ones just love to tap on the keys, but older children can use this toy as a way to learn simple math problems. Even my daughter commented on it being a calculator. She remembered that about it.

This cash register is how I taught both of my children the basic fundamentals of money. They learned about dollar bills (in different amounts) as well as quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies.

This toy even comes with a debit card so that your “shopper” and pay for their “purchases” the way mom and dad do. I think that gives them a sense of being a “grown up” because they can emulate what they see their parent doing in the store.

I wish I had a toy like this when I was a kid. I had fun playing with it with my children. I bet it would have been even more fun as a child.

The Pretend & Play Cash Register comes with batteries, plastic coins (pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters), paper money ($1, $5, $10 and $20’s), a debit/credit card and a small note pad. There are 73 pieces in all.

The Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register can be found where many toys are sold, including online at places such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kohls, Barnes & Noble and of course, on the Learning Resources’ website, LearningResources.com. Be sure to check out the other fun and educational toys available from the brand.

Learning Resources can also be found on social media. Their links are found on the bottom of their website.

Did you have the Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Cash Register as a child, or for your own child? Feel free to share any fond memories you might have. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received a free toy in exchange for my post. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.