Happy autumn, dear readers!
The carefree days of summer are behind us, and the crisp air and crackling leaves underfoot remind me that the holidays are just around the corner. You know what that means. We get to use the Santa-Claus-is-watching incentive again! And of course, with the holidays coming into focus, it’s time to start thinking about what gifts to get the children in our life – assuming they’ve been nice more often than naughty. :)
I recently put three new toys to the test, and each earned a solid thumbs up from my toy testers, Megan, age 8, and Anna, age 11. Without further ado, here are the reviews:
The LoopDeDoo™ Bracelet Maker
I remember sitting around with my girlfriends tying friendship bracelets. We’d usually have one end tied to a toe, and it would take hours and hours to make any progress at all. In fact, I remember finding half-finished bracelets stuffed in drawers but rarely ever actually completing my project because invariably the bell would ring or mom would call for supper.
Today’s tweens (and pre-tweens!) have a much better option. The LoopDeDoo is a handy-dandy spinning tool that enables kids to make amazing friendship bracelets in record speed. I would have LOVED this!
As big sister, Anna took the lead on this toy. She opened the box and read the directions, then skillfully set to work spinning her first bracelet. Her first attempt (pictured) turned out pretty great, despite there being some confusion as to how to tie off the end. She turned to the adults for help, but we couldn’t figure it out either. Luckily though we found a quick LoopDeDoo tutorial on YouTube. I would highly recommend watching this video first because it brings the written directions to life.
Anna really took this toy and ran with it on her own. She was excited to start her next project, a key chain for dad. He’d been looking for a soft one that won’t scratch his motorcycle. Anna looked forward to spinning all different kinds of colors and patterns, and even making things beyond bracelets, like headbands. Anna also couldn’t wait to show her friends the LoopDeDoo so they could create stuff together. Her 8-year-old sister, Megan, seemed really interested too but would definitely need to be taught to use the tool, instead of just jumping right in on her own.
The LoopDeDoo itself is a really well made gadget. It has a nice heaviness to it, so it sits firmly on the table while the user spins away. It also has a convenient storage drawer to keep all the embroidery thread tidy. And by the way, it comes equipped with an ample supply of thread in a wide variety of colors. I also like that there’s a range of levels for the LoopDeDoo. For instance, the basic bracelet looked pretty easy to make. But, there are intermediate and advanced options as well, and I think this really gives a long life to the device. The best part though is that the LoopDeDoo really delivers on its promise to make neat bracelets. They look almost professionally done, and the different styles and possibilities are endless!
Ready, Set, Pogo by Alex®
Both Anna and Meghan were excited about the pogo stick but a little unsure as to how the contraption actually worked. So, dad got on board to give a little demo. The Alex Ready, Set, Pogo is incredibly sturdy and well built, and although dad weighed well above the manufacture’s suggested 44-to-99-pound weight limit, the thing held up just fine to his antics!
Once the girls did figure out how to use it though, it was clear that the weight limit was set for a reason. People weighing more than 99 pounds won’t get the same bounce because the spring is designed for lighter folks. If your kid has never seen a pogo stick in action, I think it would be helpful to show them an online video clip of a person bouncing on a pogo. It is harder than you think to explain in words how to do it, but once you see it, it makes a lot more sense.
Both girls said they were eager to practice more so they could “go bouncing down the block.” And, parents will love that there is no assembly required. Overall, this is a safe, sturdy, quality take on an old favorite that will be sure to build lively, bouncy childhood memories for years to come.
Ready, Set, Stilts by Alex®
The girls had just seen stilts in action at the Minnesota State Fair, so we couldn’t get them out of the box fast enough!
There is some assembly required, but it was easy and took under 10 minutes. There are two sets of feet for the stilts. The beginner feet are wider and the advanced are narrower. We started off with the former. Megan got right up and was able to take steps pretty quickly. The manufacture suggests ages 5 and up, and I do think it is reasonable that a five year old could master this pair of stilts, especially with the beginner option in place.
By the end of our evening together, the girls had gotten so proficient in the art of stilting that they set up an obstacle course and were stilting around the hazards. So, as you can see, the learning curve on this product can be quick. I also like the longevity factor that this product provides. Megan and Anna are very different heights, and the girls could quickly and easily adjust the stilts for a custom fit. And, the beginner and advanced options will ensure that this toy is loved for quite awhile.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about these great toys - after and Anna and Meghan show them off to their friends I know they'll be in high demand in our neighborhood this holiday season!