Hello, Learning Express readers!
As a child, I remember feeling that the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas marched along painfully slow, like an endless chasm of waiting and waiting.
Now as a mom, the five weeks between the holidays seem to just evaporate into thin air. One day I’m in a food coma from the rich sweetness of the November feast and then, poof, Santa’s already due to be leaving treasures under our tree.
This week’s Top Toys would be the perfect way for kids to kill time between the two holidays, and the perfect way for mom and dad to join in and savor some family time before another season passes us all by.
Learning Express Exclusive Shrinky Dinks Elf on the Shelf Kit
Ok, apparently I was deprived as a child. I never knew the
joy that is Shrinky Dinks. As soon as I walked
into the home of Elizabeth (11) and Emily (8) bearing my toys for review, their parents took one look at the Shrinky Dinks box and cheered.
“Oh my gosh, these were my FAVORITE THING as a kid in the 70s!” said mom. “Yay, here come the Shrinky Dinks, let’s fire up the oven!” said dad.
The girls, for their part, were super excited that the kit was Elf on the Shelf themed. They love the story and were eager to have this supplement to a very dear tradition in its own right. And good thing these girls love coloring because the kit comes with over 50 characters and accessories to work on.
Mom had to explain to me exactly what we were doing with these Shrinky Dinks. Basically, you color in all the pieces and bake them in the oven. The pieces shrink down into a tiny fraction of their original size and become these darling, miniature, glossy-plastic charms. You then take these charms and decorate the provided Elf on the Shelf landscape and Christmas tree. In the end, you will set it up (picture a diarama without the box) and proudly display it as the best Christmas decoration in your whole home.
A “kit” truly is an apt description here because the product comes with everything you need, top to bottom, to complete the task (ie glue, colored pencils, sharpener, etc). These details are greatly appreciated!
The Shrinky Dinks Elf on the Shelf kit would be a wonderful family activity. I’m picturing a roaring fire, the tree all lit up, hot cocoa all around, and the whole fam gathered together, busily coloring all the little characters together. In fact, I’m almost tearing up because my boys are too young to color in such detail. This kit is so fun though that I’m buying it anyway. I’ll invite my girlfriends over so we can rediscover two old girlhood loves – coloring and miniatures!
Swish™ Game by Thinkfun
Swish is a game that I applaud for its ingenious originality. As I sat down to watch Elizabeth and Emily play, we all remarked that we had never seen anything like it, and “How on Earth do they come up with this stuff?”
The cards are made of a clear plastic with different colored circles and rings. The object of the game is to create Swishes, or matches of balls and rings by stacking the cards on top of one another. The game is truly a brain workout because you have to really concentrate in order to see the Swishes. Each is a mini puzzle waiting to be solved. Check out this video to see how it works!
The girls seemed to catch on more quickly than the adults. In the end though, we were all playing with great gusto, which you definitely need to win because you have to find a Swish before anyone else snatches it up first.
I’m also keen on the handy storage bag. This game is durable and won’t take up much room, so it would be great for travel.
Overall, this is a game that would likely become a loved family tradition, a game that would be wonderful to play in the long (or short) span of time from here ‘til Christmas.
Thanks for reading. Happy shrinking and swishing!