Reviewed by Debbie Talbot
Well, it’s that time of year again. The weather has changed and has become cold, wet, windy and snowy but best of all – Christmas is coming! I was lucky enough to try out several items that would make great Christmas Gift Ideas
Teddy Christmas by Allan Plenderleith
Teddy Christmas by Allan Plenderleith (RRP: £5.99) is a small hardback book with a simple but beautiful illustration on the cover.
A little girl received a teddy for Christmas. She was sad when a rip appeared on teddy where his heart should be. The story is about what happened to teddy when he got taken to a charity shop. I will not tell you any more details, but the story teaches you about kindness and thoughtfulness and has a heart-warming ending. The text is perfect for little people to read and would make a fantastic present for a Christmas Eve box or as a stocking filler.
The Smelly Sprout Sticker Activity Book by Allan Plenderleith
The Smelly Sprout Sticker Activity Book is full of fun things to do. The cover looks inviting. There are pages to colour in, stickers to locate and stick in the right place in the book, spot the difference, find the odd one out, copy the picture, a sprouts recipe, dot to dot, a wordsearch and more. At £4.99 it’s a bargain as there is so much to do. It would keep a child busy for hours.
Playmags 50-piece Classic Set
Playmags are 3D magnetic tiles (RRP from £19.99). The box looks really inviting. It lists how many of each type of tile are included with the set.
The concept of Playmags is really clever. The magnets attract on every side, even when flipped around. What I love about them is children are learning about shapes, building things etc. without even realising they are doing so. We made this set into so many different combinations. It’s great for encouraging a child to use their imagination. There are other Playmags items available and so this set can be used on its own, or in conjunction with other available items.
This set is not suitable for children under 3 years old. This set is made from supermags, which are twice as strong and also contains 6 double sided Clickins, so that loads of great words can be created. I think this is something that you could never get bored of. I love playing with it myself.
Coral Reef Board Game
The Coral Reef Board Game (RRP: £19.99) arrived well packaged in perfect condition. What first struck me was how inviting the box looks. It contained the following:
12 game board pieces which slot together
5 treasure chest tokens
4 lagoon boards
17 marine animal figures
There are 2 ways to play the game, we played it the most basic way.
First of all, I removed the game board pieces, treasure chest tokens and lagoon boards from the cardboard frames.
We chose to play the game using the less busy coral reef, due to the age of the children playing. For older children I would recommend using the busier side.
We then assembled the game by slotting the board pieces together. We then gave each player a lagoon board. Finally, we shuffled the cards and sorted them out into 2 facedown decks and placed the marine animal figures and the treasure chest tokens next to the game board.
The youngest player then turned over the 2 top cards. It was then a race between all the players to find both pictures on the game board. It got very competitive. The first person to find both pictures then placed one index finger on each picture on the game board. Both fingers must be placed at the same time. The 1st person to do all that is given a marine animal figure to place on their lagoon board. If two people place their fingers down at the same time, no one gets a marine animal figure.
If both cards turned over contain a treasure chest symbol, the winning player gets a treasure chest token as well as a marine animal figure. Any discarded cards are not used in the game again. The winner of the game is the 1st person to collect 5 marine animal figures or 2 treasure chest tokens.
We really enjoyed this game. I think it would appeal to a wide age group.
The last game we were sent to try out was Brainbox Bounce Dinosaurs.
Brainbox Bounce Dinosaurs (RRP: £5.99) is a compact game which can easily be popped into a hangbag or child’s backpack when out and about. The game contains 52 picture cards and 2 rules cards. The illustrations on the cards look fantastic and the rules are clearly laid out and easy to understand.
The game is all about rapid memory recall. All players taking part have to study a different card at the same time. Players then take turns to answer Question 1 of the card they have studied. Only those who correctly answer the question remain in the game. The winner of the round receives all of the incorrectly answered cards. Play continues until one player has all of the cards. The game can also be played as Spot the Difference. Each pair of cards has 6 differences between them. I think that this is great for younger children. This game was great fun to play. I will be checking out other Brainbox games.
My favourite item was the Coral Reef game, but we thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all of these items.