Reviewed by Louise Totton
Choosing a gift for an older child seems to be harder than it ever was – my nine-year-old daughter seems to be under the impression that she’s actually seventeen and as such the requests on her birthday and Christmas list increasingly feature electronic gadgets, internet connected devices, digital games and, even more depressingly, slime (have you ever tried removing dried-on green slime from a beige carpet?). It seems like her sole life ambition at the moment is to become a YouTuber, and she will happily spend hours with her iPad in selfie mode, making instructional slime tutorials or demonstrating how she cleans her teeth.
Anyway, it was her birthday recently and I was quite keen to get her some non-electronic toys. The problem is that apparently, she is too old for toys now, so the traditional Barbies and the like have long since dropped off the request lists. So, it was quite a relief to be asked to have a browse though the older kids’ section on the Wicked Uncle website and choose something for her to try out. There are loads of choices on there – some of it quite cool and quirky, some of it cute and some of it just good fun.
I finally settled on Quirkology Mind Games – a box of fun and quirky tricks to bamboozle your brain and leave you scratching your head. On first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal to it, and we appeared to have selected a box of cardboard. What I hadn’t reckoned on was just how entertaining and engaging we would all find this little box!
It is basically a set of optical illusions, but they really work and are simple and impressive enough for a child to be able to take control of and demonstrate to their family and friends. My girls are nine and six, and between them had great fun trying out the tricks on each other as well as any visiting adults who were in the house. Lots of the tricks and illusions will be familiar to adults – such as the ‘which fish is longer’ optical illusion, the magic balancing bird and spinners that seem to leave objects swirling in mid-air even after you avert your eyes.
We all had great fun with this little set, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed using it, and I think it was quite a novelty for them as we’d not had a toy like this in the house before. Of course, with it being 2018, and kids being kids, they still managed to find a way to incorporate their tech, and once they had fully mastered some of the tricks they were then performing them to their iPads and recording them for posterity to watch again and again!
This is a lovely gift and is probably around the right price level to be giving as a gift to nieces and nephews. Knowing that my nine-year-old has enjoyed it so much, I will keep it in mind for a gift idea for in future. I think it would be great under the Christmas tree and can well imagine it coming out after Christmas dinner before the Monopoly set comes out, or on boxing day when the extended family turn up.
For more information or to buy visit www.wickeduncle.co.uk.