Educational Insights Tuff Scope Review and Giveaway

I am always on the lookout for interesting/science related activities and games for my 5 year old. He just loves everything nature and science, but many of the products out there are for older children. I think it is particularly important to engage children in math/science during the summer months. Not only is it the perfect time to get out in nature and explore, but it keeps those little minds actively working during the long school break. Educational Insights is our FAVORITE educational toys website and they always have a great selection of unique toys and activities. I was thrilled at the opportunity to review their GeoSafari Tuff Scope. This is a microscope designed for the younger crowd (ages 5 and up). It is the perfect summertime science activity for little ones. Not only does it engage thinking skills but facilitates imagination and exploration. The Tuff Scope magnifys objects up to 400x their original size. Not only can it be used as a standard microscope, but it can also be removed from the base for on the go fun! What a great idea. Simply send your kids outdoors to explore on their own and see what they discover. This item has the capability to be used with the GeoSafari® Tuff Cam digital video camera, allowing the GeoSafari® Tuff Scope to be used as a digital microscope. When used this way, magnified images can be projected onto a computer screen or projector. [click to continue…]

Join ThredUP and get your first box free!!

I’m all about hand me downs- giving and receiving.  Kids go through sizes so fast and we’ve had stuff here that never got worn before it was outgrown- I’d much rather swap with another parent who has kids in different sizes than me than just toss clothing out when its in perfectly good shape- I do make donations to Goodwill and stuff, but sometimes getting some clothing in exchange would be really nice- and very appreciated!  I’ve been seeing things about ThredUP for a while but hadn’t really delved much into it- although I had 2 big boxes of clothing that was ready to go, and I thought perhaps I should check into this a bit more.  I think those boxes are going to be ThredUP boxes!!

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Neat-Oh ZipBins (Giveaway)


Sometimes I think we are going to run out of space in my house. Or rather, I know we are. Three kids and 2 adults in a not huge house with not a lot of wall space makes for storage issues. I’ve found a few innovative solutions for toy storage, one of my favorites being the Neat-Oh Zip Bins– toy storage that doubles as a play mat- and the ZipBins come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and themes!! We received  the ZipBin Mini Unicorn Play Set which nicely contains the pinkish purple unicorn it comes with along with all 400 other assorted pieces of pony and unicorn related toy pieces, all in a cute case that doubles as a unicorn/pony world!

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Battle Bands review and giveaway

Senario’s Battle Bands are a series of flexible, collectible and tradable bands that double as games pieces. The starter pack (MSRP $6.99) comes with seven bands, seven Warrior Cards and one Battle Mat. The bands are in shapes of dragons, sharks and monsters. I also received a booster pack (MSRP $3.99) that includes 5 Battle Bands and 5 Warrior cards.

When the Battle Bands arrived my 6 year old son could barely wait to get his hands on them. The packaging is colorful, dramatic and eye catching. We opened the packages and I was pleased to see that the Battle Bands, Battle Mat, Warrior Cards and instructions could be stored in the case it came in.

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Lil’ Teammates Giveaway

We’re born and bred New England fans around here- Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Hartford Whalers (I guess reluctantly we’d do the Boston Bruins too since the beloved Whale left our state…) Boston Celtics- and, being from Connecticut, diehard UCONN Husky fans.  When I saw that Lil’ Teammates had these chunky little collectibles for our favorite teams, I was excited to check them out!

The collectibles are fun and while cute, definitely have the right stances, poses and expressions on their faces for their team, role or position!  There are even ref’s and umps!!  Aren’t they just so cute?  Great little toys with no  violence involved with moveable arms, legs and heads- the perfect size for little hands to grasp, tuck into pockets, keep in your bag for keeping your kids busy while waiting someplace! [click to continue…]

B. Toys- great fun and great for the Earth!

We love B. Toys around this house.  We’ve had the  Critter Clinic (old style of it) for almost 4 years, Meowsic (old style) for 2 1/2, Parum-pum-pom, the HelloPhone and the FunKeys.  Oh, and PopArty.  Actually, come to think if it, I’m fairly certain we have Whee-ls.    See what I mean?  We LOVE them.  Bright, vibrant colors that don’t chip or fade, and super durable materials for construction.  All B. Toys are lead and phalate free.  That means they are safe for our little ones even if they end up in their mouths!

The toys are all appealing to kids of many ages, but are also appropriate for the ages specifed for the toy.  Whee-ls, for example, have a softer body construction because they are made for littler children.   (A note, B. Toys were also known as Battat toys and when I say old style, that’s what I’m referring to).

The new B. Toys we’ve had to play with are the Alphaberry (or as we call it, Baby’s First Blackberry).  A fun shape, and a neat way to reinforce and learn ABC’s for 18 month-5 year olds.  Spin the colorful wheel on the side and change the display screen color.  Even on loud this is not a LOUD toy.  Lots of fun!

  • Push any button. A letter
    appears & is read aloud.
  • 3 screen colors
  • 4 musical styles of the
    alphabet song
  • Cozy in little hands
  • Auto-off and volume control
    (It can use its inside voice, too)

My kids are big big big into music- the older two sing in the Jr. Choir at church, and we have dance parties almost daily in the kitchen and living room.  When B. Toys sent the Okideoke, they went nuts.  FINALLY they can have a microphone and have their voices heard!! (I say that from their point of view, because I promise you, they are not quiet children.  They’ve been heard all along).  What’s not fun to a kid about having a microphone to hear themselves sound all sorts of famous?

  • Amplify your voice
  • 8 pre-recorded tunes
  • Record a message or a song
  • Control the tempo

We needed a new doctor kit.  Our old one literally disappeared, perhaps disintegrated from overplay?  I’m not sure.  But the new Dr. Doctor kit is awesome. I love that the doctor kit itself is large enough to add extra doctor-type items into- something our old one definitely did not.

  • Stethoscope with heartbeat sound
  • Beeper with light & sound (this does NOT come with the batteries so you have to get them yourself)
  • Otoscope & mirror
  • Blood pressure cuff
  • Syringe & scissors
  • Thermometer & tweezers

One thing besides the design (NEUTRAL!! and FUN!!) of the B. Toys that really makes them stand out to me from other toys is their consciousness of the world around us.  Their packaging is an excellent example of just how much they think about their impact on this earth.  The new B. Toys boxes actually double as wrapping paper-a few quick things to do and you have an already wrapped gift – and haven’t wasted a single piece of paper in doing so.  The box wraps are not hard to do: (instructions can be found here)

 B. Toys that do use batteries have different volume settings.  Parents, if you are like me, this is REALLY important.  There are some brands of toys that, while fun, are SUPER LOUD and give me an instant headache.  Thank you, smart people of B. Toys, for thinking of the ears of the adults in the house….the car….the store…

I would like to take a moment to give thanks to B. Toys for including (most of) the necessary batteries in the packaging.  Nice attention to detail, yet again!  Kids don’t have to wait for someone to locate enough batteries that are 1. not dead and 2. in the right size and 3. in the right quantity!!

You can find B. Toys at Target stores, Barnes & Noble and specialty retailers nationwide and many places online.  Just visit to find a retailer near you!  You’ll be helping to give back, too, when you purchase B. Toys.  For every toy purchased, 10 cents goes to Free the Children.

I received samples of this product to facilitate my review.  Opinions expressed within are my own.

Caillou plush doll and toy train (Review)

If you have ever watched PBS Kids or Sprout with your own or other people’s little kids, chances are you are familiar with a little bald 4 year old boy named Caillou who has his very own animated show- and what may possibly the catchiest theme song ever.  (I can hear the notes now just typing this).   Kids love him, and they love the show.  My kids are no exception.  We’ve had a LOT of sick days in my family this winter which has made for a lot of extra television viewing time- including Caillou.  My 3 year old likes to snuggle on my bed with me after big sister gets on the bus for school and little sister goes for her nap- he likes to watch Caillou with me and then we turn off the TV and read some books together before nap.  Its one of the few things that are “ours” together, just him and me, and I love those times.

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Chuggington Wooden Railway Over & Under Starter Set (Giveaway) ends 4/25

I don’t think I could possibly ever count how much time my family has spent in the past 3+ years building train tracks, rebuilding train tracks, racing trains, making loopdeloops, bumpy tracks…if it is related to wood trains, I can almost guarantee you that it has been played with for dozens upon dozens of hours.  You’ll notice I didn’t say the kids have played…because, quite honestly, it’s us, too!  We love it.  Our living room is 21 feet long- quite often, much of that is taken up by train tracks going this way, that way, around chair legs, under the ottoman…the rule around here is, at bedtime, you can leave the tracks but any trains or accessories not ON the tracks has to be put away.  We actually tried a train table for oh, about a month.  It never worked.  The kids wanted more space to build and we decided to pass it along to a friend because we never used it.  (Well, the kids would stand atop it and jump, but that’s not train related!!)

While I love our wood trains and track, nothing has really excited me enough to want to purchase it lately…although sets like the Chuggington Over & Under Starter Set from Learning Curve have kind of changed that.  The set comes with 25 pieces- including a 2 story clock tower, Vee, Koko and Wilson along with Chuggington track, which fits with every brand of wooden train track we own but has its very own look…which THIS mama LOVES!! [click to continue…]