Archive for December, 2010

Rhino Toys Oball

Rhino Toys Oball

We have quite a bit of Oball fanfare here.  We have experience with the Original Oball, Oball Rattle, and Big Oball. These are great! They are a wonderful developmental friend to children as they grow. They go from fun to play with tactilely, to a teether, to a crawling aid, to the perfect first ball as a child learns to throw and catch and develop their fine and gross motor skills. The holes allow for fingers to grip the ball easily, making throwing and catching a fun and successful, rather than frustrating, milestone to reach.

The Oball Rattle is the smallest of the actual balls and is perfect for infants learning to reach and hold & shake. It also can be linked onto an infant play gym for fun reaching and batting. The Oball truly is the toy that grows and is for any age (as it says its the toy for EVERYONE).

I enjoy these so much developmentally that I gave these out to all of the Little Critters that attend my Home Childcare  for Christmas this year because I wanted a toy that would grow with them and not be cast aside after a few uses- and they were a hit! They are fun to take out in the stroller as they can be looped through straps, linked with infant links, etc. It has a bit of bounce to it when tossed which makes its destination fun, exciting, and unpredictable at times. It keeps the children entertained at diaper changes and keeps them laughing when learning to throw and catch as they grow. The Oball is also a great aid in learning turn-taking and the perfect element to a game of Roll The Ball between friends.

Overall Oball is a great addition to any child’s toy repertoire!

L&O Rating: *****+


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Manhattan Toy Ringable Wooden Rattle and Skwinkle Teether

Manhattan Toy Ringable Wooden Rattle and Skwinkle Teether


I first want to start out by saying that Little Owl is sitting on my lap watching me type this, clutching her Manhattan Toy  Ringable Wooden Rattle right now. It has been a timeless favorite from the time we were at our favorite natural toy store and she reached out and picked it off the shelf all by herself. It is great because it rattles very nicely and is smooth making a fun clacking noise when you shake it. It is brightly colored so it appeals to the visual as well as tactile senses. It also rolls along the floor if you push it, so it is a great toy for encouraging crawling.  Another favorite thing Little Owl likes to do is put the rounded orange edges in her mouth and move them back and forth making fun noises with her mouth! It is good that it is make from water-based non-toxic finishes so we mamas don’t ha ve to worry about chemicals and varnishes. She really likes this rattle overall. We haven’t run into an issue with it being heavy for her. It seems to fit just right in her hand and I don’t have to worry about her hurting herself with it. Most rattles get looked at for a minute or two and then get tossed to the side; not this one, it is her favorite go-to choice when given her special toy basket or one I know I can keep in my purse for something to do at the store or doctor’s office.

L&O Rating: *****


We also have the Manhattan Toy Skwinkle teether. This one is very flexible and and has fun colors and makes a rattling noise when you shake it. The red twisted part is a plastic-y feeling material that feels a bit like a tough rubber straw. The yellow wooden ring in the middle is fixed so it keeps equal amounts of rings on each side and it cannot be moved out of it shape as it is bendable, but always returns to the figure 8 shape. The only problem we ran into with Little Owl was the above mentioned issue of it being played with for a second and then tossed aside. It hasn’t been revisited. This is not really the fault of the toy as we have a Baby Bear who attends our home childcare that really likes to teethe on this Skwinkle. Little Owl just prefers the Ringable to the Skwinkle. The red, rubbery plastic part is thin so it is easy for little hands to hold on to and is a long shape so it reaches the mouth easily. I wish Little Owl liked it more as it looks like a fun toy, but Baby Bear seems to enjoy it thoroughly so it really depends on the child, but overall a fun-looking and well make toy.

L&O Rating: ****

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Teacup Piggy

Christmas this year gave me tons of ideas for reviews, but this one takes the cake, in fact within ten minutes of turning it on I knew I should warn our readers. In the store I thought the Teacup Piggy was the cutest thing, I knew Little Ladybug’s best friends were getting one too so I though it would be cute to play with them together. When you press it’s nose it talks, you can dress them up, buy cars and houses for them etc. Little did I know the thing was just on demo mode in the store. That pig does not shut up! The piggy has touch sensors on its back and nose, it reacts to its bottle in it’s mouth, reacts to noise around it, as well as how it’s positioned. The phrases are not super expansive and are just repeated over and over and over. It’s super cute and I like it with out the batteries in but the incessant mindless chatter from this pig drives me batty!

L & O Rating: **

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Fisher Price Noah’s Ark

Even for the non-religious this is a fun toy. The box says ages 1 to 5 and I whole heartedly agree. You could even use it for a younger crowd as the parts are the perfect size and shape for grasping and mouthing. The ark itself has a removable deck to get all the animals in and out, but the windows are large enough, as is the drawbridge, to get the animals out with little hands. The one Little Ladybug got a few years ago comes with Noah, 2 giraffes, 2 zebras, 2 lions, and 2 elephants. Then there are a few different add ons with assorted pairs of animals, turtles, kangaroos, peacock etc. Little Ladybug only chewed on the animals when she first got it but as she, and her imagination, has grown she will make up stories and plays using the animals.

My only gripe with this would be strictly biblical. I love the set and add ons except for the fact that Noah’s wife is no where to be found. If you are using it as a bible teaching tool this might be a problem but as a general fun toy around the house it’s great!

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Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe & Glow Seahorse

Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe & Glow Seahorse

The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe & Glow Seahorse is a huge hit here at the childcare! We have a little guy who has one at home and one here at childcare for nap time. He seems to love it so much that with Little Owl having such sleep issues, I wanted to try it out for her as well. It is a very sweet and soft seahorse with a glowing tummy. He plays soft classical music with ocean sound (bubbles and waves) in the background. There is a sound adjustment for soft and loud, but personally I think there could be an even lower setting. It really isn’t super loud, but I find that if it isn’t on before the going-to-bed-process then it tends to be a distraction/toy rather than a soothing sleep aid. Little owl doesn’t like to be in the dark and his tummy glows ever so slightly that it is enough to be a nightlight and snuggle friend, but not illuminate an entire room or hurt little sleepy eyes. I also find it helpful sometimes to turn it on and lure her back to sleep while doing to middle of the night pacifier hunt.

‘Seabiscuit’ as Daddy Owl so lovingly deemed him, is a soft nighttime friend that I almost wish they had for adults. It brings back nostalgic memories of my glowbug I used to have when I was a little Owlet. Fisher-Price does also make a newer glowbug, but its music doesn’t seem as pleasant from my in store experiences as ‘Seabuscuit’.

L&O Rating: ****

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Cloud B Twilight Constellation Night Light, Sea Turtle

Cloud B Twilight Constellation Sea Turtle

The Cloud B Twilight Constellation Night Light Sea Turtle is a wonderful addition to any child’s room. It provides visual sensory stimulation and also allows a child who may fear the dark to drift off to sleep while looking at the stars and constellations. Little Owl and I nurse while using the stars as our nightlight before bed.  It is so peaceful knowing she doesn’t have to fall asleep in the dark or if she stirs shortly after, go from being in my arms all snuggled to a dark room. The Sea Turtle has 3 choices of colors: Blue, Green, or Blue and Green together. You can also illuminate pictures of 5 individual endangered sea creatures on the  circumference of the Sea Turtle’s shell. This is nice because it helps children learn about endangered creatures paired with a nice story book and adoption certificate. There is an automatic timer that shuts off after about 45 minutes. The only downfall is that you cannot keep it on all night, so it cannot be used successfully as an all night nightlight. Sometimes Little Owl wakes up in the dark and gets scared; that would have to be my only con to the Cloud B Twilight Sea Turtle. He has a soft plush body and a hard plastic shell, so he isn’t ideal for snuggling, more the type of guy who likes to hang out on a shelf, dresser, or nightstand. 

As far as the constellations go, there is a guide for identifying them, but I have a bit of trouble. I thought I saw the Dippers, but that is all I could see. There is also a nice crescent moon among the stars as well. Overall the Cloud B Twilight Constellation Night Light Sea Turtle is very nice, peaceful, and comforting.

L&O Rating: ****

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Calico Critters

In this post I am reviewing the Calico Critters in general not one specific set, although I may come back later and make notes about each set.

Let me start off by saying, Little Ladybug would rather wet herself than stop playing with these little guys….no really the first time she ever played with them in a little toy store in Glastonbury she started the potty dance, I asked her three times if she needed to go but she insisted she did not. Not 5 minutes later she says “Ut Oh Mama, I peed” and continued to play.

Little Ladybug is getting a doll house full of these critters and roomsets for Christmas this year. Her best friends have a few families and she loves to dress them up in all their outfits. Each room is carefully thought out with regards to accessories, kitchens with enough plates and cups for all, nursary with books, blocks, even a tiny chair for the critters Teddy bear. The animals are pose able, and have removable clothes. There are tons of add ons. You know how some sets the add ons are really kind of crucial to the set? Not this time, get what you like and leave what you don’t.

My two gripes about this would be the size of the pieces and the price. It’s roughly $20 to $25 a room, and per family, granted you get a lot of little pieced but it just seems pricey when furnishing the whole house costs just as much, if not more than the house itself. If the child you are buying this for has younger brothers or sisters, watch out. All the accessories for a room are major choking hazards. The box says 3+ and to me that is even low. They are vacuum food if your not careful.
Overall I would reccomend these for a imagination filled, house playing kid. Hours of fun in one small house.



L & O rating: *****

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