Season’s greetings, Learning Express readers!
Our home is feeling quite festive and smelling of fresh-cut evergreen. That’s because we actually got our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I patted myself on the back for being so on the ball this time. In years past we may have been known to scramble and get the tree up just in time for Old Saint Nick’s visit. But not this season! No longer am I the frantic mother of two toddlers who barely has time to shower or think about Christmas; I mostly shower every other day now, and I got my tree up already. For a brief moment, I felt decidedly supermomish.
Unfortunately my plan completely backfired. My three-year-old boy thinks tree-in-the-house automatically means Santa is headed our way immediately. So, every single morning for the last five days, he wakes up, jumps out of bed, runs to the living room, peeks under the tree, and is gutted when he realizes that Santa has, in fact, been a no-show yet again. Tantrum ensues. Mother has much less time to take much-needed shower. Oh heck, it’s not even December yet. It could be a very long month around here. I’ll take back that pat on the back now, please!
Fortunately, to speed up the month for me, there’s always Christmas shopping. This week I took a look at two fun toys that are only available at Learning Express. They’re great bets in their own right, but I think even more fun since you won’t see them out in every big-box store and mall.
Peace and Love Wippy Uglydoll
The very first present my first baby ever received was an Uglydoll. My quirky artist brother came into the hospital room shortly after delivery bearing a gift of a hideous, plush, orange squid complete with chest hair. We laughed and laughed as it was a very fitting present from my brother to his namesake, my son. My brother wouldn’t have been caught dead bringing a teddy bear.
The squid doll, technically “Suntan Target” from the Uglydoll collection, has been a hit in our home ever since. It’s always been one of my son’s favorite “pets,” and the squid has a special spot reserved in bed near his pillow. It also makes for a great conversation starter during play dates because it’s definitely not your typical stuffed animal.
I was excited when Learning Express asked me to review another character from the Uglydoll collection, the Peace and Love Wippies. We received two of these Wippies, one in pink and one in blue. My boys were chirping with delight when I brought out the creatures and informed them that two of Squid’s friends were coming to live with us.
My two year old grabbed the blue one, and my three year old was quite happy to have the pink. The boys think the Wippies are bunnies, “just like the ones in the backyard.” Hmm. I guess they could be rabbits. They do have long ears and buck teeth. To me though they kind of resemble vintage TV sets.
Whatever they are, the Peace and Love Wippies are certainly hippies, adorned with love and peace patches. They also come holding lollipops, which give them a happy-go-lucky vibe. My two year old began licking his Wippy’s pop, pretending it was real and saying “yummy!” Well, this toy’s going to need a good washing soon. I can attest to the fact that these dolls hold up well in the laundry. Our Squid has survived numerous washes during his life, and he still looks good as new.
Overall these Uglydolls are a spunky, original twist on the everyday stuffed animal, and one of them might be destined to become your favorite child’s cuddle bug of choice.
3D Wonder Paint Neon Fun Kit
This would be a superb pick for any crafty, elementary-school-aged gal on your list. Puffy paints have sure come a long way since the 80s! And, speaking of the 80s, those eye-popping neon colors are back in style, and this kit is up to snuff on the fashion with its wide array of vibrant neon colors.
What I love best about this kit is that it comes with many different choices for what to do with the paints and includes the materials needed for each option. The kit comes with 10 bottles of Wonder Paint as well as bracelets, headbands, and bottle cap necklaces to decorate. It contains embellishments like rhinestones and even gives instructions on how to create fabulous 3D flowers by rolling up dried strips of paint.
Ella’s favorite idea in the kit was to make window art, so she set to work. She chose a pattern and slipped it into a clear plastic sleeve. Then she “drew” over the pattern with the paints, which come packaged in fine-point bottles to minimize mess. She then let her creation dry overnight, carefully peeled the painting from the plastic sleeve, and voilà, she had a fancy, bright, rubbery work of art to stick on her bedroom window.This kit is versatile and imaginative. Ella was excited to get to work on making unique Christmas presents for her friends and family.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about these Learning Express exclusives--I know my toy testers certainly did!
Thanks for reading, and happy shopping!