6 Great Toys for Travel

Sticker books
It didn’t occur to me to introduce stickers to my toddler until I thought of the long car trips we’d be taking at the holidays. Once I ordered some, he immediately took to playing with them.  He puts them in a sketch book, or all over the furniture, but no matter where they go he loves picking out which ones to peel off and it never gets old.  We purchased the Melissa and Doug Sticker Collection-Blue for Jr, which had a ton of stickers and lasted us quite a while. We have since bought another book. We also tried the Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Books, and I think this one will be great for when he is older. Right now he wants the stickiness of a real sticker versus the static cling of the reusable ones (they don’t stick as well to Mom’s pants!), but I still like them a lot and I think he will too, in time.


Fisher Price makes a mini version of the old classic Magnadoodle called doodlePRO Trip. My sons LOVES this toy. He loves drawing on it and scribbling away and he loves being able to erase and start over again. The best part about it is that it doesn’t make a mess! No fear of crayon ending up on the seat and the in-flight television screens. It still provides the satisfaction of creating a drawing.  This was the best item I’ve bought for traveling. Works great in a car or on the plane.


You can never go wrong with a puppet, not with my son at least.  Playing peekaboo or making the puppet draw or dance leads to long stretches of entertainment. We have particularly liked the Folkmanis brand of puppets with their realistic animals. Our most recent favorite is the Folkmanis Baboon Hand Puppet whom we have named Chester. Our son loves it too. We can get him belly laughing with a single look.  😀


Magnet toys
Magnet toys are great on trips for obvious reasons, the pieces stick to the pages!  The Mickey Mouse Magentic Zoo set is a fun little toy, compact, with lots of magnets and little scenes for your tykes to set up and move around. There are many options out there for tons of playtime fun, and if you live somewhere where you own a car (unlike us in Brooklyn,) keeping this in the back seat is a great option for your child’s entertainment when you’re on the go day to day.


Shape Sorters
Melissa and Doug K’s Take-Along Shape Sorter is a great option for a car trip. This toy is exactly as it’s named, a shape sorter, something Jr loves playing with and it helps him practice saying his shapes; “Dar!”  “Owoval!” (Star and oval.)

This might work on a flight too, but just thinking about parts dropping to the floor might become a bit of a headache. In the car you at least know it’s there to be found when you get to your destination, as opposed to a flight where it might travel down the aisle….
With a convenient carrying handle and a compact case this will pack away nicely in luggage or a carry on bag. Great for any trip you have coming up!


Buckle Toy
The Bizzy Buckle Toy has proven to be a winner on trips with our little guy. He loves trying to snap the buckles together, and though it can be frustrating for him at times, it is great practice. He is still a little young to have the dexterity of fitting the buckles together without help, but he has never gotten so frustrated that he hasn’t wanted to play with it. The Bizzy Buckle Toy is simple, easy to pack and has proven to have longevity.

3 Star Wars gift ideas that will make you the greatest gift giver, ever.

With the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS combined with the end of the Christmas shopping season, we wanted to take a moment to point out three super cool Star Wars gift ideas for young kids, adults, and teens.  If nothing else, you gotta check out #3.

01: Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

Designed for ages 4 and up this is one gift that will make any Star Wars fan jump with excitement.  It’s a 20 inch toy Millennium Falcon, the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, and the coolest spaceship ever. This version gets even better as it shoots Nerf darts; so, basically Christmas has been saved.  It also comes with 3 characters, including Chewbacca.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

02: Star Wars Battlefront

We all know that once we watch The Force Awakens we are going to want to relive it. Luckily this year also brought us the super popular video game Star Wars Battlefront.

This first person shooter might be a little to wild for little kids (blasters, fighting stormtroopers, explosions, etc) but dad and his nerd friends are going to go NUTS for this. Mom too. And, with versions available for Xbox, PS4 and PC you can make sure that no-one if left out of the fun. The story line takes place during the original trilogy, so it’s a perfect mix of old-school cool and modern video game excitement.

This being Star Wars you know there are a bunch of collector’s editions too. While not needed to have the fun, they are an easy way for you to spice up this gift even more. Check out the trailer below.

03: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Finally, this last toy BLEW MY MIND. You need to check out the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid.

Basically it’s a mini version of the new droid BB-8 – the one with the floating head – as seen in the The Force Awakens. Why is this so cool?  Because I can’t figure out how they actually made the thing work in real life.  You can control it via your phone, it takes voice commands, and the reviews on this are astounding.  It actually works and lives up to the promise… FOR ONLY $150!

Check out the video below, and if you don’t want one after seeing it in action then check you pulse because you may be dead. If you need a gift that will blow the mind of any Star Wars fan, this is it.

Perfect for the teen in your life who is addicted to their phone, this is a great way to get them off of Minecraft and – maybe just maybe – on their feet to explore with BB-8.

Nine Awesome Toddler Toys For Your Holiday Shopping [VIDEO]

It’s nearing the end of 2015 and the holiday season is here!

As always, our lists are compiled after months of extensive research.  We talk to other parents to learn what their kids loved, we dig through internet forums and blogs, read countless reviews online and best of all… We do our Christmas shopping!

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is a great toy for early walkers.  We inherited this toy from my niece for my son when he was just showing interest in walking and he took to it right away. The music is loud but he really loved it.  He still plays with it now that he is walking, going back to use the telephone and push the buttons to dance to the songs.

We used this walker outside on the street during a block party and he had the best time.  Less than one week later he was walking down the side walk all by himself!  I don’t know if the walker truly helped him walk, but I like to think it did. (Daddy says, “Yes, it totally did.”)

Anamalz [UPDATED]

The Anamalz toy is an eco friendly, wood/fabric animal figurine for toddlers children 3 and older. [See our video review for our updated thoughts on safety]

The toy comes as many different animals such as elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, the list goes on.  It is a cute and attractive toy that can entertain little ones from the earliest stages through pretend play.  A great addition to any toy animal collection.

Big Boom Bat & Tee

The Big Boom Bat and Tee is an inflatable tee-ball set.  Note, all parts are inflatable, making this toy great for indoor play perhaps during the winter months or hot summer days.  The bat is big in diameter and the ball is about 8″ in diameter making it virtually impossible to miss the ball.  The manufacturer recommends this toy for ages 3+, but we know of kids as young as 18 months understanding how to hit the ball off the tee.

Moluk Bilibo

The Moluk Bilibo is a classic toy for toddlers.  The hard plastic form allows children to find multiple ways to play from using it as a tote, a seat, a seat to spin or rock in, or something to wear as a helmet.  The Bilibo is a toy that is supposed to encourage imaginative play, and it will be up to your child whether they use it imaginatively or not.  If you look up reviews on this toy you will find hundreds of people who say their kids loved it, and a handful who say their kids just didn’t get it.  As an adult, I don’t really get it, but our niece LOVED this thing!  The video below pretty much shows why.

Kid O Go Car

The Kid O Go Car is a simple, slightly abstract, car great for little ones to grab hold of and push around the floor.  This toy comes in many colors, is easy to grasp, and is tons of fun for any toddler.

The car’s construction is solid and it can take a beating.    We love the rounded shape too!  You don’t have to worry about sharp angles for your kid to fall and hit his head on. If your toddler is anything like our’s random tumbles are par for the course.

The moment you see your kid crawling around the floor and driving a toy car around will just melt your heart.

Lego Duplo Deluxe Brick Box

The Lego Duplo Deluxe Brick Box is a great toy for kids starting at the age of 18 months.  It is an introduction to legos with larger brick pieces and comes with people, animals, windows, etc. as well as instructions on how to build some items like airplanes and trains. For parents who want to introduce creative play with building toys, this is a great addition to any toy collection. I know I have it on my son’s holiday list!

Bonus item: LEGO DUPLO Play with Letters 6051

The Lego Duplo Play with Letters set is a great set to include with your existing Duplo Lego pieces.  It adds blocks with letters on them to incorporate into any structure your child wants to build.  This is best for children ages 2-5 and can assist your child with learning their alphabet.

Buckle Toy

This Buckle Toy is a great toy for toddlers 1-4 years old.  It provides kids with the ability to practice buckling an unbuckling from an early age and most toddlers will spend oodles of time playing with it.  With over 200 reviews on Amazon and a rating of 4.5 stars you know this is a winner.

The Buckle Toy comes in various designs from a plush square with a face, stuffed animals, a backpack, etc, and it is a great toy to keep a child busy while traveling.

Moluk Plui

The Moluk Plui bath toy is a simple and great toy for the bathtub, or even a small backyard splash pool.  Simply fill it with water and let it rain, plug the hole at the top and it stops. I know this seems dull, but kids seem to find this fascinating and the fact that it kept coming up again and again, and again… and again as we researched awesome toys that we got the message and made sure to include it in our list.

The main complaint with this toy is that it can get moldy if not maintained properly.  Make sure the toy fully drains, and on occasion run some bleach water through it to kill off the mold that is bound to grow in any dark and damp environment.  You have to clean the tub, so it’s only fair that you need to clean a tub-toy now and again.  Otherwise it is tons of fun for toddlers!

Little Helper Broom Set

Every toddler loves helping mom and dad around the house with tasks like cooking to decorating the walls with crayons. Doh! Luckily, they also love to mimic and help clean up too. After several melt downs when we would take the broom away from our son – in an attempt prevent half the house from being destroyed by an out-of-control broom handle – we bought this broom set.  The Little Helper Broom Set proved to be  big hit in our house.  Apparently we are not alone either as this item has over 1350 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.5 stars.  Yes, a broom.

This has become one of his favorite toys.  Our son carried this broom around the entire night and for several days after he was “sweeping” just like mommy.  He definitely still goes for the bigger broom, but not as much and he is perfectly happy using his own now. Months later he still loves to sweep and he has now learned other uses like riding it like a pony. Best of all it’s become a makeshift microphone that he sings into while dancing to music.  So glad we got this for him!

This toy has a pull string. It does so much more! [Update!]

The VTech Chomp and Count Dino asks the user to feed it certain foods, which are provided on little pucks with an image of the food. The child is supposed to put the pucks into the dinosaur’s mouth and they then fall into its stomach where the kid can retrieve them. He also loves watching us tow the dinosaur by the attached pull string. …more on that later!

Our son loves taking the little “food” pucks out of the compartment and he tries to feed the dinosaur.  At 13 months he doesn’t know the difference between the pucks, and therefore doesn’t follow its instructions, but he is starting to become successful at getting the pucks into the dinosaur’s mouth.  It took him a few weeks to understand that he really needs to push the puck through, as it doesn’t just easily slide through the hole (the puck needs to trigger a small switch inside the mouth so that the toy responds). My son really enjoys this toy and he has spent a good amount of time sitting and playing with the pucks, putting them in and taking them out of the Dino’s belly.

VTech Chomp and Count Dino Toy

He grew so attached to this toy, that when he would play with it he would hold the pull string in one hand while feeding the dino with the other. He was so insistent on not letting go of the string that he took his first 10 steps while pulling the dino across the room! We were thrilled to say the least. Bonus points for that! Up until that moment he had really only been walking while holding onto our hands, even if it wasn’t needed. I think it was a security thing. The string apparently fulfilled that role and now he walks on his own. If only we could keep up!

Being a VTech toy, the music is lacking any sort of… musicality. I have decided that VTech puts no effort into creating decent songs and tunes for their toys. They are often out of tune and each song just ends, strangely. This is a bummer since the VTech Chomp and Count Dino seems to sing incessantly. I swear, these are undiscovered songs written by the Shaggs.


Our son is now almost two and half and this toy has come back into our lives with a whole new level of excitement.  He loves feeding it, dragging it around, pretending that he’s a dinosaur and tons of creative play.  I’m really glad we held onto this because it’s had a whole new second life…and I’ve gotten a bit more used to the music.  🙂

I give the VTech Chomp and Count Dino 4 out of 5 stars because my son really enjoys playing with it, but I just can’t stand the music!

Fond Memories Were Created With This.

The “Playskool Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper” was a gift to my son when he was 5 months old and he has enjoyed this toy from the beginning.  First, this was a great developmental toy that really encouraged him to develop his hand and arm coordination, something he needed to work on due to a birth injury.  His excitement for this toy made movements like grasping and wrist supination something he would do due because of his own motivation.

At six months, when he was standing supported, he loved feeling the air gently blow in his face as he would watch the balls pop out of the trunk.  As he matured he began figuring out how to push the button, cause and effect, and began playing with the toy independently of us.  I think that is when it became the most exciting for him.  He would screech in excitement every time he would start the elephant up again, this was probably around 7 or 8 months, and a huge highlight for us. We have lots of fond memories of those days.

At one point, around 10 or 11 months he became frustrated with the toy, and would get angry when the balls ran out and stopped coming out of the trunk, but this phase was very short.  I have since brought it out again now that he is 13 months old and he is loving it like a new toy.

Playskool Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper

My only complaint of this toy, is that it is rather noisy, but I suppose that is to be expected as it has a little motor to blow the air and plastic balls out of the trunk. That fan sound combined with the music can be a little intense at 6am. But, if that is my only complaint then I’d say it is still a great toy!  My son loves it, and that’s really all that matters.

We read on forums that other users were unhappy with this toy because the balls don’t always shoot out of the nose and instead tend to hover at the tip. I would actually say that this is a positive. When the balls would pop out consistently (fresh batteries) many times they would overshoot the ears designed to catch them and then they would roll away on the floor. When the balls hover it gives our son more enjoyment. It startles him less and it actually gives him a chance to grab the ball and put it back into the ear. (About 30 percent of the time the ball will eject fully.) He loves to place the ball back into the trunk and feel the wind blow it into his hand again. Overall the battery life is great. We have had this over 6 months and have not needed to replace them.

My husband adds that this toy can also be great when you are feeling exhausted. It always gets our son laughing, bouncing and keeps him fully entertained – and it does this all in one place! So after an especially hard day at at work you can sit with your kid, play along and catch your breath for a moment. Seeing the HUGE smile this toy put on our son’s face made it a great experience for us and it always energized us to keep playing once he moved on to the next thing.

I give this toy 5 out of 5 stars because our Little Prince really liked it from the beginning.  I also know that a cousin of mine enjoyed this toy well beyond 2 years old, so I know it’s a keeper.


Leap Frog: My Discovery House [Video Review]

My son received the My Discovery House for his first birthday.  It is a very simple toy, with moving doors and windows, a light switch, a couple of birds. etc.  For a child who is obsessed with doors and light switches this toy entertains him really well.

He played with this in the beginning for a long time.  It was a lifesaver during a recent long car ride, where he played with it for over an hour!   But, I have stopped giving it to him as it doesn’t keep his attention like it used to. I expect that I can bring it out every so often and he will love it again [see the update to this review below].

The birds on the roof “talk.” [See video]  The little bird has a cute high pitched voice, but the bigger bird has a low adult voice.  It’s rather amusing, but I feel like it could have been a little less of a man voice even though it is the bigger bird. My husband loves when the man’s voice belts out, “TWEEEET.” It’s become an inside joke in our house now and he walks around and will randomly go, “TWEET.”

All in all, we like this toy.  My son loved it at first and he really was entertained.  He did get bored with it after a few days, but as I said, I think it will come back in rotation soon enough.


We recently took this toy on a family vacation. Because it had worked so well in the car before we decided to try it again. It held our 1-year-old son’s attention for multiple hours during the long car ride to our destination. Once again, multiple hours.

This kept him happy and us sane!  And, it was a hit with his 3 and 8 year old cousins for the week we stayed with them. We were really surprised by how popular this was.

UPDATED RATING: 5 out of 5 stars. We strongly recommend.


Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Car Review [VIDEO]

We purchased the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Car for my son at the Holidays when he was just about six months old.  He is now 12 months and he has loved playing with this toy from day one.  It was delivered in frustration free packaging and we found it very easy to assemble.  As our son has developed over the past 6 months this toy has grown with him and gets plenty of use! Even the cat plays with it… But only when we are trying to sleep.

Cat playing with toy car

Every aspect of the toy has been explored from the shape sorting to the spinning back wheels, and the rotating dashboard.  It was even tested by a slightly older friend (at 15 months, he is the mature friend of our group) and was given a high approval rating by the car loving boy!  As with most children’s toys, the songs can get repetitive, but that’s what we get for purchasing battery operated toys in the first place, right?!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Car Review-p4

I give the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Car 5 out of 5 stars for its ability to grow with the child and provide plenty of entertainment.  I expect my son to continue playing with this toy for many months (maybe years??) to come, making it a worthwhile purchase!