Toys & Games reviewed and tested
With so many young faces glued to various devices you may despair at the thought of what maybe happening to their minds, however there is so much potential to inspire creativity and curiosity with this modern world, the Kano Computer Kit Complete allows children from the age of 6 to build their own laptop and learn to code.
Sometimes the oldies are the best, I remember making bottle rockets in our back garden and the anticipation of either it zipping up over the neighbours fence or it falling over in a with an anticlimactic flop. The Air Hogs Sonic Rocket combines a classic toy with modern technology by providing a motorised boost that can propel the rocket up to 200 ft in the air. Ready to go straight out of the box, the rocket features a rotating countdown.
Anything that encourages youngsters to get moving is a great idea, the Soundmoovz are an interesting product that combines movement and sound to which lets your dance moves create the music rather than the letting the beat inspire your movement. The Soundmoovz are motion activated musical bands that can be worn on your wrists, ankles or shoelaces and work alongside an app via Bluetooth, the sound comes from your phone or smart device not the bands themselves. The In the App are 400 pre-set sounds to choose from, create; beats, rhythms, music and more.
When I was in school, my friend and I were separated for Food Technology class (yes, I took this class and I still can’t boil an egg), we took the class at different times but sat at the same desk, so we used to take it in turns to leave insults for each other in the desk. The Straight Up Chess is sort of like that, but also nothing like that at all. This is a pretty unique chess set, it isn’t square, it is very big, oh and did I mention it hangs on the wall?! It comes with a ‘last move’ marker which means you will always know whose turn it is.
We are big fans of the Nerf products in the Gadgethead office, a refusal to make the coffee’s will quickly degrade into an all-out, foam version of The Hunger Games. I have been informed however that children also enjoy Nerf toys. The Nerf Modulus Regulator is suitable for ages 8 and up, this fully motorised blaster with a choice of three firing modes, single-fire one dart per trigger pull, blast several darts per trigger pull, or just continuously fire the darts.
This adorable 12” robot friend is unlike anything else Meccano has released before, M.A.X. combines Artificial Intelligence with customisable programming perfect for young creators and future engineers. Once M.A.X is built it can then be controlled via voice commands, the buttons on the MeccaBrain and the free app. Then it’s little face will express how it’s feeling. M.A.X also uses a S.T.E.M robotics platform to engage children in intellectually stimulating play, and encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Trains and Christmas go together like Rudolph and carrots, don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules! So with that in mind, the LEGO Winter Holiday Train. This sweet little model features a full circle of track, boarding platform with bench and lamp post, a Power Functions upgradable train engine with brick-built smoke bellowing from its stack, coal tender, flatbed wagon with a rotating holiday tree, toys and gifts, and a red caboose (yes, we said caboose) with a detailed interior and table.
I was obsessed with tigers when I was little and would have done anything to have a little tiger friend of my own, but due to logistical reasons and the risk of getting swallowed whole, my parents got me a Sylvania ice cream truck instead. We all have scars from childhood. The Roarin’ Tyler is a playful tiger pet that almost definitely won’t eat your children, his favourite way to play is to ROAR, if you make noise he roars back. Suitable for ages 4 and up (batteries not included), this little cub responds to sounds and touch with 100+ sound-and-motion combinations.
Robots are the must have toy for 2017 so it comes as no surprise that LEGO Boost’s, Vernie The Robot, is such a popular choice. Build and customise Vernie, code its behaviour and complete activities with the included playmat. Vernie will respond with facial expressions when you speak, he can move in all directions at variable speed on large tracks, see objects and recognise colours, sense distance, grip and carry accessories, make hand gestures and even launch darts from its shoulder mounted shooter.