As far as I’m concerned, my son’s sense of humor is one of his better qualities. I think that he’ll be getting PicWits! for his birthday so we have a new game to play together on family game night.
PicWits! features full color photos and silly captions. Players try to choose which caption is most appropriate for each photo. One person gets to be the judge and choose a winner for each caption contest. It sounds like a spinoff of Apples to Apples, which is a game my son really enjoys playing at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.
The PicWits! game includes 504 full-color photo cards and 144 caption cards. It is intended for four or more players. It is recommended for players age 10 and up, but I think younger children could probably play just fine as long as they can read fairly well.
You can purchase the PicWits! game on the MindWare website for $24.95.
PicWits! has won several product awards, including:
It also gets a five star review from MindWare customers. Most reviewers said it is equally fun for children and adults, although a few parents recommended going through the cards and removing any photos or captions you found inappropriate before playing the game with young children.
Have you played this game before? If so, what did your family think of it?
Photo credit: MindWare
If you’re a homeschooling mom, or just looking for an educational activity to teach your child about geography, this coloring chart of the United States from MindWare looks like a fun activity.
The chart measures 40″ x 28″ and features state facts, brain teasers, and a picture hunt.
A set of 12 markers is included with the chart, but reviewers say the paper is so large that the markers will dry out before the project is done. So, I would plan on having extra markers on hand for your kids just in case they need them.
The activity is recommended for children ages six and up. You could certainly try it with a younger child, but I know my son didn’t have any interest in detailed coloring projects until about first grade.
The coloring chart sells for $14.95 on the MindWare website. You can also buy a coloring chart world map for $14.95 or a set of both maps for $24.95.
If you have the space, it would be fun to get this map laminated when it was finished and then display it someplace in your home. You could use pushpins to note places that your family has visited or all of the locations where your child’s aunts, uncles, and cousins live.
Do your kids like to color? If so, do you think they’d enjoy an activity like this?
Photo credit: MindWare
For me, the hardest part of planning a birthday party is trying to figure out how to keep the kids occupied when they’re not busy eating cake and ice cream. After my son’s friends trashed my house the year I failed to plan any organized activities, birthday entertainment is always at the top of my party planning list.
If you’re planning a party for toddlers or preschoolers, this birthday ring toss game looks like a fun yet inexpensive way to keep everyone occupied. This inflatable birthday cupcake comes with three rings. The cupcake measures 17″ tall and the rings are 6.5″ wide.
To make the game more fun, you could offer small prizes for getting one or more rings on the cupcake. For example, you could give kids a package of fruit snacks for getting one ring, a sticker for getting two rings, and a tiny jar of Play-Doh for getting three rings.
Some of the reviewers mention having trouble getting the product to stay inflated, but I don’t think you can expect a toy this cheap to last for a real long time. If I purchased it for a birthday party and it made it through an hour or two of the kids playing, I think I’d be more than satisfied.
What types of birthday games have you used to keep your little party guests occupied?
Photo credit: Amazon
What kid doesn’t like robots? I think my son’s interest in robots began when he saw WALL-E for the first time. We’ve tried a few simple build your own robot kits in the past, but I think he’d love this 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit from Elenco Electronics.
This kit includes everything your child needs to build 14 different robots. There are instructions for both beginning and advanced models, including a roly poly bot, auto bot, surf bot, and zombie bot. The finished robots can move on land and water. They can be decorated with decal stickers that are included in the kit, which gives kids a chance to give their creations a one-of-a-kind look.
In my experience, kits that feature solar powered creations work better than those which require batteries. Also, from a long-term play perspective, it’s nice not to have to worry about constantly replenishing the batteries of yet another toy.
The 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit from Elenco Electronics is recommended for children ages 10 and up. My son is almost 9. I think robotics kits are generally OK for kids ages 8 and up if there’s an adult on hand to provide assistance. Putting together robots has been a great father-son bonding activity in my house.
You can purchase the 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit from Elenco Electronics on the Fat Brain Toys website for $35.95. The company offers a $3.99 flat rate shipping on all orders shipped via UPS Ground to the contiguous United States.
What do you think of this product idea? Would your child like building robots?
Photo credit: Fat Brain Toys
My son loves Nerf guns. My brother has been buying them for him since he was in preschool, so he’s got the best collection of any kid in town. He doesn’t like to share them with me, however, so I may have to pick up something from the Nerf Rebelle line for myself.
Nerf Rebelle appears to be the company’s attempt at making Nerf toys “cool” for girls. They promise to make your daughter the “sassiest warrior on duty” with their punk rock inspired pink and purple graphics.
There are a few different products in this line, including traditional Nerf guns. My favorite, however, is the Heartbreaker bow featured in this post. I’ve always thought a bow and arrow was much more fun to fire than a gun. Plus, with the popularity of Katniss from The Hunger Games, I can see a toy like this being a huge hit with the preteen demographic.
The Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow sells for $19.99 and fires the 5 included foam darts up to 75 feet. Additional darts can purchased separately, although I’m not sure if regular Nerf darts will work or if you need the pink and purple Rebelle darts.
Other Nerf Rebelle products include:
Like the Nerf products, Rebelle toys are recommended for kids ages eight and up. However, my son and his friends have been obsessed with Nerf for years, so I think younger kids would be fine playing with these toys as long as you stress not to aim for anyone’s face or shoot at a close range. (With my son, the rule is that we aim for the waist on down and need to be at least five steps away from the person we’re shooting at.)
What do you think of Nerf’s newest marketing gimmick? Would your daughter be interested in a Nerf Rebelle product?
Photo credit: Nerf
Craft kits are one of my favorite gift ideas for children. I love toys that encourage creativity and help pull kids away from the TV. I think the Imagine I Can Crafty Eraser Creations kit is a an excellent idea because it’s something a little different than other project kits on the market.
The Imagine I Can Crafty Eraser Creations kit includes 12 eraser clay colors, 2 plastic design tools, 1 plastic molding tray, and an instruction sheet. Kids mold the clay into the desired shape, then have an adult help them boil it to transform their creation into a novelty eraser that they can take to school or use for doing homework.
Even though craft kits tend to be marketed towards girls, I don’t think this kit is especially girlish. My son would probably have fun making his own erasers, although he might prefer using molds we already have instead of the molds provided with the kit.
The Imagine I Can Crafty Eraser Creations kit sells for $11 on the Manhattan Toys website, so it’s a very affordable activity for a rainy day toy or a budget-friendly gift idea if your child gets invited to a classmate’s birthday party. If your child likes to make handmade gifts for Christmas, making little erasers for her friends would be another option to consider.
What do you think of this craft kit? Would your child enjoy making erasers?
Photo credit: Manhattan Toy
If you’re looking for a fun craft kit for a preteen girl, Crayola’s Jewelry Boutique Bead Studio looks like a winner. This unique toy lets girls make their own customized beads from Crayola Model Magic clay and string them into one-of-kind jewelry.
The set includes:
I like the idea of having a set where girls can make their own beads because it provides a better value for the money than simply buying beads at a craft store.
Purchased beads can get expensive, especially if it only takes your daughter 10 minutes to string together a necklace. Having her make the beads before stringing them makes the project good for more than a brief distraction. You could still mix the handmade beads in with a few purchased beads if desired, however.
The set is recommended for kids ages six and up, but I don’t think most children would have the patience to tackle a project like this until they were eight or 10. I’ve tried bead making with regular clay before and it’s something that requires attention to detail as well as good fine motor skills.
You can purchase the Jewelry Boutique Bead Studio for $21.99 on the Crayola website. Refill packs are also available, if you want to pick up additional supplies so you don’t have to worry about running out of Model Magic or jewelry findings right away.
Photo credit: Crayola Store
If your children love nature, the My Spy Birdhouse is a fun and educational way to learn more about the birds in your area. This unique “As Seen on TV” product features a clear back that lets you observe the birds as they make a nest, hatch their eggs, and feed their young inside your house.
It looks like it’s made of wood at first glance, but the My Spy Birdhouse is actually made from an engineered resin designed to withstand a full range of weather conditions. It seems to be constructed quite well and requires only minimal assembly.
It’s fairly plain looking on its own, but it would be easy to decorate if you wanted to let your kids personalize it a bit.
The bird house attaches to your window with three suction cups. There is a clear portion on the back of the birdhouse, so you can view the birds while they’re inside the house. You attach a two way mirror film to your inside window to make sure the birds aren’t disturbed by your presence. There is an optional privacy card you can attach with another suction cup.
For best results, you’re supposed to put your birdhouse out in February or mid to late March. Since it’s been abnormally cold in Iowa, I’m not expecting any birds in our house for quite some time. But, my son has enjoyed checking the house to see if any birds have appeared, and I think the house will provide a great source of entertainment once it warms up a bit.
Aside from being great for kids, the My Spy Birdhouse would also be a nice gift for any elderly relatives who enjoy bird watching. When I mentioned this birdhouse to my grandfather over lunch, he said several of his friends had purchased the product for their homes and had positive results.
The My Spy Birdhouse sells for $14.99 plus shipping and handling. Visit the My Spy Birdhouse website for details.
Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of preparing this review.
Photo credit: My Spy Birdhouse
The only thing artistic kids love more than getting new art supplies is being able to make their own supplies. Based on the success of their Crayon Maker, Crayola has introduced a Marker Maker.
My son loves making his own crayons, so I think the Crayola Marker Maker would be something he’d enjoy. I never purchased the Crayola Crayon Maker for him because it was easy enough to make our own crayons in tiny muffin tins. But, since markers aren’t as easy to make, the Crayola Marker Maker is something I’d be open to getting him.
The set includes three ink bottles, two marker boxes, two measuring tubes, mixing guide, tweezers, and enough parts to create up to 16 markers. The base of the Marker Maker includes a detachable storage tray to help kids keep track of all the small parts for the toy. Refills are available, although the refill pack only includes enough supplies for 12 markers.
The Marker Maker is designed for children ages eight and up. Due to the small parts and the potential mess factor associated with spilled ink, I wouldn’t recommend letting a child under the age of eight use this toy. My son is going to be nine soon and I think I’d require him to have adult supervision with the Marker Maker just to prevent stains on our carpet or furniture.
The Crayola Marker Maker sells for $24.99 on Amazon. It is eligible for free super saver shipping on orders of $25 or more.
Photo credit: Amazon