Do you ever look at a gift your kids ask for and think “I wonder if that is worth it?” Do you ever wish you could take it out of the box and look at it before deciding to spend your hard earned cash? I mean we are frugal, right? We HATE to spend money to begin with, and then doubly hate it when our purchases turn out to be plastic junk that breaks right away. Sigh.
Well as part of the Walmart Moms program I was offered the chance to avoid that trap, and to help you do the same! To pick, at my discretion, $100 worth of Walmart’s Top Toys for Christmas and review them.
I choose the Zoobles for my 5 year old niece who lives in Texas. She is a bit hard to shop for. I only see her once a year, if I’m lucky, so I don’t really know her tastes very well. According to my sister she is not much of a “girly” girl-so the basic concept of “if it’s pink and sparkly it’s good” that normally applies to that age group is not a sure bet. So I wandered the toy aisle at Walmart looking for inspiration.
I had never heard of Zoobles before. My first impression of them is that they were a cross between Bakugan and The Littlest Pet Shop. Since her big brother is very into Bakugan, I thought this might be a good gift!
I bought a set of 3 inside a metal travel tin with handle. The tin also acts, when open, as a little set for them to “play” on.
These are a bit of a “one trick pony”-they pop open, and if you press on their head the eyes blink closed. However, my son has loved his Bakugan for a couple of years now, and they do even less–just pop open–(note: he doesn’t actually play the game with them) so I’m pretty confident that she will enjoy playing with these for quite a while.
Princess is dying to be a spy. I’m not quite sure why. Last year she desperately wanted the little ear thing that would allow you to listen to folks conversations. That kept her interest for about a week.
This year she really wanted the $100 spy video camera thing that was a remote controlled vehicle. I told her that there wasn’t a chance of it! So she downgraded her wish to the video watch.
At just around $44 we still aren’t talking cheap~but I have to admit it is pretty cool. The Spynet Video Watch comes with the watch, a USB adaptor, directions and a special “card” with some codes to use on the computer.
The unit is not petite-it looks pretty large and clunky on my wrist, and on my 9 yr old daughter there is no way it will “blend in” and just lo0k like a plain old watch 😉
But you aren’t buying the things for it’s looks. You are buying it for what it does! Not only does this watch actually function as a watch-it tells time, has an alarm and has a stop watch–but it has a whole bunch of cool “spy” features.
It records video. Real video! It also can record voice or take still pictures. Not only that, but you can do all of those things in “Spy Mode”–ie it just shows the time on the screen so no one KNOWS you are recording or photographing.
I thought the quality of the camera was surprisingly good-I’d be interested to see how it looks transferred to the computer screen. I did notice that it really did need good light. It was hard to find something in my room to film where I had enough light for the video to come out well for the photo.
There are several games on the watch-which I didn’t try to play due to time. It also has a lie detector-you record a baseline of someones voice saying something that is true, then you can take a voice sample and check it. I have no idea how “real” this is, but I purposely told a lie and it said there was a 68% chance I was lying. So that’s fun.
There are also secrets & missions on the watch. These have something to do with things that you go online for-and since I wanted Princess to have the joy of trying that out I didn’t mess with it.
All in all-I think that she will enjoy the Spynet watch and really get a kick out of using it. I think it’s the kind of thing that she will use for a while, then forget about, then rediscover and use again.
Buddy had asked for this very roller coaster K’nex kit for Christmas. He absolutely ADORES Legos and building things, so I thought that he would enjoy the K’nex as well. There is a battery operated component to the completed kit. It will actually pull the little cart up the incline for the coaster. That will thrill a 7 yr old boy.
The box says that the K’nex kit is for ages 9 and up, and I can see why. There are lots of little pieces-little somewhat delicate looking pieces.
Younger children might have a real problem manipulating the pieces to go together, and if they are not gentle they could break some of them. I would stick to the recommended age unless you really know, like I do with Buddy, that they are good with small intricate stuff and will be careful. You don’t want to give a child a toy that will just frustrate them.
The directions are pictograms that the child can follow. There are quite a few steps-68 to be exact-but I think that given time he will be able to put it together. This will most likely be an all afternoon or couple of days in short spurts kind of project. And it will take up some room while it is “in progress”. You may even want to start building it on a board of some sort so it can be easily moved.
The directions only show you how to make one coaster, which I thought was a bit disappointing, but then I noticed this note in the back of the directions:
So there are additional schematics available. The only problem with the online schematics were they didn’t state which kit you needed to start with in order to make that “bonus” item. Oh well.
So there you have it, my take on 3 of the Walmart top toys for this holiday season. Have you considered purchasing any of them?
Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation and product for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.