Review – Magic Moves Wand

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Little Mr A’s love of technology and said I was looking for new technology to get him up and about and more active.  When I saw the opportunity to review the Magic Moves Wand made by Educational Insights and sold in the UK by Learning Resources I thought it looked like a great way to get him moving.

wand

The idea of the wand is that when the ‘play’ button is pressed the wand will light up and tell your child an action to perform.  Music will then play whilst your child performs the action.  If they miss what has been said they can press the ‘repeat’ button to hear it again. There are 90 different actions to be performed and 26 different musical tunes, each one having it’s own different light show.  The actions are things such as ‘Hop like a Frog’, ‘Wiggle like a Worm’, ‘Grow like a Beanstalk’…

At intervals, whilst performing the action, the wand will tell them to ‘Freeze’ or ‘March’ to add a different element to the game.  Also, at certain times the wand will say ‘Lets Dance’ which has it’s own three different tunes, ‘Techno’, ‘Afro-Pop’ and ‘Latin Salsa’.

The wand is aimed at children aged 3+ and the idea is that it gets them up and moving to exercise whilst also helping with creativity and listening skills.

Here is Little Mr A demonstrating how the Magic Moves Wand works:

At first, Little Mr A loved the wand.  He really enjoyed carrying out the actions and dancing around to the music, however, after the initial enthusiasm the wand has been left lying in his bedroom, unplayed.  I think perhaps he is a bit too old for the wand and it would be better enjoyed by younger children as there is not much to keep older children engaged for long.

I am sure 3 year olds would love the wand, particularly if they are into animals and the different sounds/actions they do.  Little Miss A was very taken with the lights and music!

I do like the concept of the wand as I think it is a good way to encourage children to move and dance, however, as I said above, I think it is more aimed at younger children.  I am sure if Little Mr A had a friend over they would probably play with it for a short while but cannot see it becoming a regular toy in his play routine.

Priced at around £15-£20 I do not think it is too unreasonably priced and would make a nice gift for younger children.  It is great quality, feels really sturdy and robust and comes with batteries included.

I think the wand would be great for playgroups and nurseries as I think children would have a lot of fun together performing the various actions.

Overall a good toy for younger children and groups and a reasonable price.

If you would like the chance to win one please head over to Learning Resources’ Facebook page, they have 5 to give away!

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Become an IzziWizzi Toy Reviewer in 2013

Picture from the IzziWizzi Kids Facebook page

Picture from the IzziWizzi Kids Facebook page

IzziWizzi Kids are looking for families to become toy reviewers in 2013.

You do not have to have a blog to apply, all families can enter.  What you have to do to be considered is create a video about their Playfest and why you would like to become a reviewer.  The video needs to be uploaded to their Facebook page and then you have to fill in a brief application form.

For more information on the application process please click here.

Why not take a look at my video for some inspiration…

So, what is Playfest?

Picture from izziwizzikids.co.uk

Picture from izziwizzikids.co.uk

Playfest takes place on Twitter between half 8 and half 9 on a Tuesday night and on Facebook at the same time on a Thursday night.  All you need to do to take part is ‘follow’ IzziWizzi Kids on Twitter or ‘like’ their page on Facebook you will then be able to join in! It is a chance for people to get together and discuss different toys and either provide their opinion or gain some advice and information on different toy brands.

I took part in one for Orchard toys before Christmas as my son loves their games and has a lot of them!  It was nice for me to be able to give my opinion on the games he had. Hopefully I helped people to understand a bit more about them and maybe even gave them some ideas for Christmas presents.  Also, I was able to gain information from other people about the different games he hasn’t got and ideas for  games that he might like as he gets older.

It really is a great way to gain information about different toys from real people who have experience of them rather than just the corporate information.

IzziWizzi works with lots of different toy brands and a different one is discussed each week.

Good luck to everyone that applies!

Photo: Toys

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We have spent an afternoon playing board games old and new!

Posted as part of the Britmums Snap it. Pin it. Tweet it. #SnapHappyBritMums

Christmas gifts for babies

Well it’s that time of year again, Christmas is nearly here and I am sure I am not alone in struggling to know what to buy for those pesky little babies!  This year I have made Little Miss A and her baby cousin a treasure basket each, however, people have been asking me what she would like for Christmas and I have really struggled to come up with any ideas.  As she is the second child she has lots of things that have been handed down to her from Little Mr A and really doesn’t need any more toys!

If you are struggling to find a present for a baby in your life, here are some ideas of things we had for Little Mr A that were really good toys and would make great presents.

Learning Curve Lamaze Puppy Tunes
puppy tunes
This is a great colourful toy for babies with a hook so you can attach it to pushchairs, cots etc.  Each of the puppy’s legs plays a different note when squeezed and with the puppy you get a leaflet showing you how to play a couple of songs such as Old MacDonald. You play the songs by pressing the appropriate coloured leg.  It is also a sensory toy as together with being brightly coloured, the tounge is silky and the ears crinkle.

Little Mr A loved the noise when I squeezed the legs – it really made him giggle!

Usually I would avoid noisy/musical toys as they can get very annoying, however, this is good as it just plays nice notes and is not too loud.

There are no batteries required it just works when you squeeze from the air in the legs.

You can also buy other ‘tune’ animals such as an Octopus and Elephant.

 

Early Learning Centre Wooden Noah’s Ark

ark

This is currently half price, a bargain at £7.50!

I think this is a great gift for any baby.  Although they may be too young to play with it properly, it looks really nice set up in a nursery, plus the animals are big enough for a baby to hold (and put in their mouth!) without being dangerous.

It is excellent quality and, as it is all wooden, is pretty much indestructible, unlike some of the plastic toys around these days!

As well as the Ark you get Noah and his wife and 12 wooden animals. The animals are printed on both sides so you get the front and back of each animal! The Ark also comes with a lift off cabin so that you can get the wooden animals back out again!

As well as being able to use it as a shape sorter, you can also use it to teach your child about animals or play snap.

Little Mr A had lots of fun with this toy for quite some time given all the different things you can do with it.

 

Prince Lionheart – BACK TO SLEEP Slumber bear

prince l

This is actually a gift that Little Miss A has received as an early present from Santa courtesy of Grandma!

What the website says…

The ORIGINAL audio pacifier with actual sounds recorded INSIDE
a mother’s womb!
Recordable function allows parents to create their own soothing
message for Baby!

Invented by a DOCTOR, recommended by midwives. Used successfully with millions of babies in maternity hospitals worldwide since 1978! Back to Sleep Bear’s authentic womb so unds are universally recognized by babies and effective in lulling them to sleep in minutes! Soundbox has a 5 minute auto-shutoff timer to save batteries, with sound and motion sensors that reactivate recording when baby cries orthe bear is moved.

Also includes Silkie™–the Natural Bonding Aid!™ Parents can bond with Baby by transferring their scent to the Silkie. Even when Mom and Dad cannot be with Baby, their scent remains to reassure and comfort Baby. Baby loves the soft and smooth Silkie texture that provides beneficial tactile stimulation!

Soundbox has a 5 minute auto-shutoff timer to save batteries, with sound and motion sensors that reactivate recording when Baby cries or the bear is moved.

What I say…

I was a little sceptical as to whether this would actually work at soothing Little Miss A and helping her sleep, however, I am pleased to say I was wrong!  We use the ‘sound box’ attached to her crib at night and play to her the womb sounds and were really surprised when it calmed her and sent her to sleep!  We also use the lullaby music sometimes during the day to sooth her if she is a bit grisly.

With the product you get the bear, the soundbox which can either be placed into the bear or taken out and attached with a velcro strap to a cot/pram, and a silkie blanket.

The bear is nice and soft and looks really nice and good quality.  At the moment he is just sat in Little Miss A’s crib as we prefer to use the soundbox on it’s own, however, I am sure as she gets older we will put the soundbox back into the bear for her to cuddle with.

The silkie is really nice quality and Little Miss A loves the feel of it.  Again, you can either leave it attached to the bear or use it as a separate item.

The soundbox is the main event!  It plays various noises such as the womb sound, white noise, lullabies and nature noises.  You can even record your own message.  It is easy to change what noise you would like, you just press the relevant button on the front of the box.  At the side is a volume control.  We have found you don’t need to have it on very loud when the box is out of the bear.  After 5 minutes the sound will go off, however, if the box is moved or baby starts making noise the sound will come back on again.  Little Miss A seems to have worked this out and gives it a ‘bash’ if the sound goes off before she is asleep!

The box takes 2 AAA batteries.  There is a notice on the website to say that Duracell batteries are recommended as they fit best, however, we have not had a problem with other batteries.  Once the batteries are running out a beeping noise starts (which can be quite annoying in the middle of the night!).

I appreciate this won’t work for every baby but it certainly works for Little Miss A!

 

I hope that has given you a couple of gift ideas for any babies you have to buy for, there is so much choice out there it is difficult to chose something that is going to be useful and enjoyed for a long time!

Treasure Baskets

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When Little Mr A was a few months old I attended a variety of sessions at my local Sure Start centre.  One of these sessions showed us how to make ‘treasure baskets’.  If you’ve never heard of this before it is basically a box full of everyday, non-toy items for your child to explore and play with.  They are meant to be put out occasionally for baby and parent to play with together and should not be left for baby to play with on their own as it may contain items that would not be safe if were put in their mouth.

When Little Mr A could sit on his own we used to get out his treasure basket in the evenings for him to sit and explore with either myself or Big Mr A.  It was a nice way for him to chill out before bed.

I would never have imagined giving him household items to play with when he had an overflowing toy box, however, it was by far his favourite activity.  He used to love getting everything out and exploring each item with his hands (and mouth!).  As Little Mr A grew he decided to take his items outside to play with in his sand pit.

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It is a great thing to make for your baby as you don’t have to spend much.  You can either put in items you have around the house or have a trip to a supermarket/discount store and buy lots of little bits that don’t cost much at all!  Also, it can be added to whenever you spot something else either in a shop or when you are out and about, perhaps at the beach where you could find some shells/stones.  The other great thing is, if anything gets too worn/soggy it does not cost a lot to replace.

We have been looking around for a present for Little Miss A’s first Christmas and have not been impressed with the baby toys on offer.  As she already has lots of things handed down from Little Mr A I have decided to make her her own treasure basket for her to enjoy when she gets a bit bigger.  So far I have put in the following items but plan to add a few more bits before I send it off to Santa!

Material samples (found lots of free samples from the internet of all different materials)

Wooden Spoon

Wooden Rolling Pin

Large beaded necklace (had for ages in a cupboard doing nothing as it is too heavy to wear!)

Plastic measuring spoons

Pine Cones

Pastry brush

Sponge scourer

Bag of pot pourri which I have separated the large ‘balls’ from

I am now on the look out for some ‘bathroom’ items such as sponges/pumice stones and perhaps some shells so Little Miss A will have a large variety of different items and textures to explore!  I hope she gets as much out of it as her big brother did!

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