Ozobot 2.0 Bit – The Programmable Robot

There is a wave of robotic toys on the market these days.  We have already highlighted a number of them already.  And this is a very good development for kids.  These educational bots both entertain kids and expose them to the type of technology that they may very well be designing themselves in future years. Video games merely entertain – educational robots prepare them for the future.

Ozobot 2.0

Ozobot 2.0

The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is a handy little programmable robot that can keep your kids occupied for hours.  Now first of all this device is a little on the small side – measuring in at just over an inch.  But the point of this bot is not its size but its capabilities.  You can program your Ozobot Bit to dance, race, and more.  There is a corresponding app that lets you play in-app games, download activities from the Ozobot website, and create your own challenges and games. 

One aspect that we find interesting is the various levels of programmability of this little device.  Younger kids can create simpler activities using basic OzoCodes, and they can command their Ozobot to do numerous actions with names like Nitro Boost, Zig-Zag, and Tornado.

Ozobot App Screenshot

Ozobot App Screenshot

Advanced Programming

As children grow they can advance on to more advanced skills in which they can fully program the Ozobot using a visual editor.  This is the real power of this toy – allowing kids to step beyond basic commands and activities and taking control with skills that they can master long before formal programming instruction in school.  The results of their efforts play out in 3D in the real world, not the virtual world like an app or a computer screen.  The Ozobot moves, races, and possibly crashes right in front of them.

The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is not very expensive, and for the potential it can offer your child we find it very attractive as an educational Robot, despite its small size.   This device is recommended for ages 8 and up.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

New LEGO Sets for 2016

Year after year the LEGO company keeps kids enthralled and entertained by creating building sets that are relevant to the hottest trends.  2016 is no different – there are many new LEGO sets representing popular movies and other fun themes, as well as well-loved LEGO series like City and Friends.  Both kids and adults have a nice selection of sets to choose from this year.

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

We absolutely love this Doctor Who LEGO set.  It is the perfect gift for Doctor Who fans of all ages, and great for parents to pass on that Doctor Who love to their kids.  The central element (of course) is the TARDIS which measures over 4 inches high.  The set is actually the control room and includes Clara, Daleks, and a Weeping Angel.  This set was designed by a Doctor Who fan-designer, which makes it even cooler.  Recommended for ages 10+.
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LEGO Ghostbusters Set

LEGO Ghostbusters

LEGO Ghostbusters

One of the hottest movies of 2016 was the remake of the 1980’s classic Ghostbusters.  The Ghostbusters Ecto 1 & 2 LEGO Set features both the Ecto 1 vehicle as well as the Ecto 2 motorbike.  The vehicle has a removeable roof and seats for 4 Ghostbusters heroes.  There are also some weapons such as the 4 proton packs, a proton sidearm, and an ion shield gun.  5 mini-figures are included in this set. Recommended for ages 8-14 years.

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LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

The LEGO Friends Amusement Park set continues the hugely popular Friends line of building sets.  There are an amazing 1124 pieces, which are used to construct an amusement park with many different functional attractions including: roller coaster, ferris wheel, drop tower, entrance booth, and dining area.  Four mini-dolls are included as are other accessories.  This is a great set for kids in the 8-12 year old range.

(Note: There are lots of other new LEGO Amusement Park sets – Find them when you click the button below)

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Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO Set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman is always a popular topic for gift-giving.  Kids just love super heroes.  So this Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash building set should be a big hit.  There are 759 pieces, which combine to form a Bat-Tank and the killer croc’s Battle Chomper.  There are also weapons and mini-figures included.  This fun set is recommended for ages 8-14.

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NINJAGO LEGO Set – Samurai X Cave Chaos

LEGO NINJAGO Set

LEGO NINJAGO Set

The NINJA and NINJAGO line of LEGO building sets may not be widely known, but many kids know the sets from the TV shows.  This Samurai X Cave Chaos building set is pretty cool.  It features 1253 pieces which are used to build an opening skull entrance, inventor launchpad, buildable jet and laser prison.  It comes with 8 mini-figures.  Recommended for ages 9-14.

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LEGO Angry Birds

LEGO Angry Birds Set

LEGO Angry Birds Set

This LEGO Angry Birds King Pig’s Castle building set turns the hugely popular game app, and movie, into a really fun toy that kids can get their hands on.  It’s got 859 pieces and this includes 5 Angry Birds figures and tons of accessories.  It’s getting really good reviews, which we always love.

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LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter vs. A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

Finally any list of LEGO sets would be incomplete without a Star Wars set.  We are in the midst of a multi-year resurgence of Star Wars popularity around the globe.  Episode 7 was released in 2015, followed by Rogue One in 2016.

The LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing set features Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter as well as an A-Wing Starfighter.  These fighters can battle using spring-loaded shooters, and the set also includes accessories such as Darth Vader’s helmet and 4 mini-figures.  The fighters are very detailed, and are great for role-playing by imaginative kids. Recommended for ages 9-14.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Hatchimals Take Over Christmas

Hatchimals are about to take this Christmas by storm – we believe it will become the hottest must-have interactive toy for 2016.  Never heard of Hatchimals before?  You’re not alone, but if you will be buying gifts and toys for kids in 2016 you need to know what they are.  Maybe you remember the Tamagotchi toys of the 1990’s – those little interactive digital “pets” that were a big craze for a few years.  Hatchimals are very similar to Tamagotchi pets and even Furbys, but exhibit more advanced behaviors due to the advanced technologies around today.

UPDATE:  Hatchimals are selling out everywhere.  Why not check out our Hatchimal Alternatives.

Hatchimals by Spin Master

Hatchimals by Spin Master

At its beginning a Hatchimal pet starts out in its own plastic egg.  After a bit of playtime (about 30 minutes) the figure starts pecking its way out of the egg.  After this initial “hatching” the toys will react and respond to a child’s play – when you tap on it, the Hatchimal taps back. When you stroke the top or bottom, it lights up and makes sounds.

This toy is designed to grow up and mature the more it is played with over the course of days and weeks.  This way children will not give up on the toy too quickly (at least that’s the hope anyway).   After its hatchling phase the pet becomes a toddler and eventually an adult Hatchimal.  As a baby you feed it by touching its beak to the floor. It becomes more interactive as a toddler (dancing and speaking) and then it will play games as it matures to adulthood.

The price is not too high for a toy like this, and we recommend that if you are interested in buying them don’t wait.  Hatchimals may sell out quickly and may not be available closer to Christmas.

Recommended for aged 5-10 years.

There are two variations of Hatchimals:  Draggles and Penguala (click image to find more information on Amazon):

Hatchimals - Draggles

Hatchimals – DRAGGLES

Hatchimals - Penguala

Hatchimals – PENGUALA


 

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Animated Movie Toys – 2016

It is now autumn of 2016 and many of the popular animated movies have come and gone, but their merchandising will live on for months or years to come.  Disney does not have a stranglehold on animation these days.  The other prominent movie studios are churning out blockbusters that compete with and often beat Disney at their own game.  The age of fantastic animation is here, and it will only get better.

Here is a rundown of some of the hottest animated movies of 2016 and a representative sample of toys spun off from those movies.

Finding Dory

At this point in the year Disney’s Finding Dory is the #1 grossing movie of 2016.  This Finding Nemo sequel focuses on the forgetful fish Dory and has become a good example of a sequel that can be as good as the original.

Finding Dory Educational Kit

Finding Dory Educational Kit

For kids this Finding Dory 4-in-1 Educational Kit looks like it will be a blast.  Designed for kids 3-8 years old this kit has games that help children develop their observational skills as well as their memory.  It might just be a great gift for fans of Dory.

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The Secret Life of Pets

Using a very original premise for a movie Universal Studios created the widely popular Secret Life of Pets.  The animation in this movie is superb, which made a lot of the action in the movie almost believable. The movie was filled with many fun-loving characters, each with his or her own personality.

secret-pets-apartment

Secret Life of Pets Apartment Playset

The Secret Life of Pets 3-Story Apartment playset just looks so darned cute.  It includes three pet figures (Max, Gidget and Snowball) and kids will have fun pretending they are playing with the real pets themselves.  The apartments are separate and can connect together in different ways.  Recommended for ages 4 and up.

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Ty Beanie Baby Chloe Plush

Ty Beanie Baby Chloe Plush

There are many adorable Secret Life of Pets figures and plushes.  We just love the attitude of Chloe – typical cat all the way.  The Chloe plush is appropriate for ages 3 years and older.

buy-amazon-button2Zootopia

Zootopia is yet another Disney animated hit movie.  Following the theme of animal-based animated moves Zootopia follows the unlikely teamwork between a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist as they investigate the disappearance of predator civilians within their metropolis.

Zootopia Police Station Playset

The Zootopia Police Station playset puts you right into the action of this animated movie.  This set is over 31 inches wide and 13 inches tall, and includes the Clawhauser figure, and a mini-helicopter with mini-Safety Squirrel figure.  There is also a mini-projector that simulates a computer monitor with 3 different images.  There is a moving elevator, working jail cell, and lots of other fun things to play with.  Recommended for ages 3-6 years.

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The Angry Birds Movie

The hugely popular gaming app has been transformed into a blockbuster movie.  Usually it’s the movie that spawns other consumer products, but in this case the Angry Birds mobile game clearly spawned the movie, and fans of the game are eating it up.

LEGO Angry Birds Set

LEGO Angry Birds Building Set

This LEGO Angry Birds building set offers hours of fun.  It includes 859 pieces which includes a wide array of movie-specific accessories and figures.  It is highly-rated on Amazon, as are most LEGO building sets, and we think most kids will get a real kick out of this set.  Recommended for ages 8-14.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.