Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Video and Toy Review: Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights Deluxe Set by MindWare Create, Build, Problem-Solve, and HAVE FUN!

If you’re looking for a toy that will test your child’s strategy skills, building skills, as well as provides hours of fun, then the Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights Deluxe Set by Mindware is the set to buy as a gift for that special someone this holiday season. MindWare makes a slew of amazing products that are magnificent STEM toys and sensory products catering to your kiddo’s needs. Marcello literally fell in love with the Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights sets at TTPM 2018 Holiday Showcase, and it makes sense, because Marcello wants to be an architect when he grows up, and this amazing set was developed by an architect! Kismet for sure! The Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights Deluxe set is $59.95, and the Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights starter set is $34.95 - both for ages six and up. 

The Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights Deluxe set is a maze that includes a collection of 52 cubes with differing entryways and exits to create the ultimate maze, and to make things a bit more exciting MindWare also included lights cubes that glow once the marble ball hits that part of the maze. At first, I found the instructions to be really daunting, but Marcello was totally up to the task. You can also get the smaller sized Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights set in the starter version, which includes just what you need to make an amazing maze. In our video, we tested the deluxe set, and I did have to explain to workings of the set as Marcello couldn’t be bothered with that stuff - he just wanted to get right to the action, create some mazes and light up some cubes! Slide or stack together each cube and make a tower or pyramid, any shape can be made, and you can follow the instructions included to make a bunch of different mazes, or go to MindWare website for more building ideas by checking out the plans for each type of Q-Ba-Maze set. 

Dropping all of the marbles at the start of the maze was so much fun, especially if you have one starting point because you just do not know where each ball will end up. The sounds are satisfying too as the marble is a metal ball, and the way it click-clacks through the maze cubes sounds so cool! Q-Ba-Maze has been around for a long time, but adding the lighted cubes to these awesome sets really makes the end result just so much fun to watch. Included with the set are 52 cubes, eight light up cubes, and ramps to watch your marble slide down and drop into each cube. Other Q-Ba-Maze sets that your kiddo may enjoy are the stunt sets that include coaster tubes, a trampoline, or even a spiral sphere! Create fish, candles, helixes, and so many shapes that your brain will be working overtime in a good way.

Marcello thoroughly enjoys playing with the Q-Ba-Maze 2.0, and it’s something that I think every child who loves to build and create needs as their ultimate holiday gift. Q-Ba-Maze provides the ability to test your kiddo’s creative side and problem-solving abilities, as well as adding a bit of whimsy and fun with the light up cubes.  

You can purchase your own Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 Lights set or any other amazing product from MindWare from Oriental Trading! Right now they have an amazing offer with purchases over $25 enjoy free shipping, and if you spend over $50, get an additional $10 off of your order - holiday steal of a deal for sure! With so many products available by MindWare at Oriental Trading, I’ll be doing some holiday shopping right now! Check out their Sensory Genius product line too for kids with high sensory needs - they make squishies, Sensy band has these tendrils on them that look super soothing, stretchy strings, and more! MindWare also makes putty called Putty Scents that truly do smell like what they’re supposed to smell like - Peanut Butter and Jelly is my favorite one!

Big thank you to MindWare for sending over the Q-Ba-Maze 2.0 sets for our review! 

Video and Toy Review: MagicPad Writing Tablet Trace, Learn, and Create with Glowing Writing Tablet! Perfect for Holiday Travel, Holiday Gift!

MagicPad should be on your list for best gifts to gift under $20 for Holiday 2018! MagicPad is for ages three and up, and is at the perfect price point of just $19.99! I even added it to my Holiday Gift Guide featuring best toys to buy for the holidays under $20. MagicPad will open the door to creativity, hone your kiddo’s tracing skills, strengthen letter and number writing, as well as have a lot of fun with the best part of the toy - making art that glows from the color changing LED lights in the MagicPad! 

The MagicPad writing tablet is truly magic as it will keep your kiddo nice and busy, something that parents love to see — busy kids, quiet moments! MagicPad is super easy to use, and it comes with everything that you need to get started —  three dual-sided markers in six colors that are used specifically for the MagicPad in six bright colors, a cleaning cloth, a fun guide, and a bunch of images to trace featuring letter writing, animal pictures, Math problems, and more! The MagicPad is the perfect size for little kids to hold, which also makes it super easy for when you’re on the go! On the back of the MagicPad are marker holders and a nifty stand. Kiddos will also be able to draw freely without the sheets to make cool, glowing signs. We took our MagicPad on vacation with us, and Marcello used it in the terminal waiting to board the plane, and he was quiet as a mouse. Light up your art, and your kids' faces will light up too. MagicPad is one of those toys that kids will play every day, thankfully you can purchase extra markers online here.  Gift giving is super easy with this set, visit BuyMagicPad.com, or buy MagicPad online at Amazon or at Target or at Walmart! 

Big thanks to MagicPad for sending us this awesome writing tablet for our review!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Video and Toy Chaos! Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Series by Bandai Unboxing

In today's video, we're joined by Marcello's cousins, Matthew and James!

Bandai was kind of enough to send my nephews a wonderful collection of new Power Rangers poseable action figures, dolls, and toy weapons to open. I was hoping to unbox, review, and show all of the many wonderful details of these amazing toys, but once that box was open, all heck broke loose! The kids went unboxing crazy, and just had a blast. That's what matters! Matthew and James are huge toy collectors. Matthew loves Godzilla, Power Rangers, Pacific Rim, and silly putty. James is an old soul with a real love of toy trains, and LEGO. Their toy collections are massive! It's in our blood!

My older nephew, Matthew, has ADHD with Sensory Processing Disorder. Many would think that having ADHD is a setback, however, his mom, my sister (who is also fighting breast cancer!), highlights his disability by promoting hands-on learning with slime, putty, and expands his sensory surroundings rather than enclosing him in. Matthew is extremely smart and very sweet. My sister does an amazing job and has so much patience, and it's because of her and my brother in laws caring nature, supportive family, and wonderful teachers, Matthew excels in school. Receiving these toys from Bandai was truly so magical as he collects many Bandai toys like Power Rangers, Godzilla, and Pacific Rim! Do you think he should start his own channel? Let me know in the comments below! 

BIG Thank you to Bandai! TRUE kindness is within this company and the wonderful people who represent them. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best Board Games and Apps for Holiday Travel, Family Game Nights or Holiday Get-Togethers!

I’ve compiled a list of our favorite games that we have played all of 2018, and all are perfect for group get-togethers with family and friends! With the holidays in full swing, you’ll want to be the life of the party and bring the chips, dips, and fun board games to get everyone in the spirit of fun and togetherness! Board games are the perfect way to loosen things up and keep kids’ minds active, and not begging to open the presents before you’ve even finished your dinner. Many of these games can be played in the car too, and would make perfect travel games like the games that just require a smart device to play. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!Happy Holidays and Happy Gaming!

Young Adult and Adult Games (based off of game play and how hard the questions are, it’s best for game players ages 13 and up!)

When in Rome, the second title by Sensible Object (creator of Beast of Balance) combines seamless gameplay with intelligent technology where game players “meet” genuine locals of the location they “travel” to via gameplay. Ask Alexa to take you to a place, and hear realistic sound effects, authentic accents, and answer questions to earn Explorer Points. This game is perfect for the seasoned traveler, foodie, or even the trivia guru. Get When in Rome today on Amazon, along with free one-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. Endless gameplay for $29.99, pretty good deal if you ask me! Details below!

Fun Family/Group Games (Great for Kids and Adults!)

Turn your living room into a real-life ESCAPE ROOM! YULU does not disappoint again with their Ultimate Operation Escape Room board game that includes seven challenges to solve before the timer runs out! Some challenges include breaking out of handcuffs, removing a key from a locked cage, and more! Each challenge will test your fine motor skills, your patience, and your friendship as you must work together in order to solve the puzzles. Time ticks down at a grueling pace, so make sure you are quick to the punch! We had so much fun playing Operation Escape Room that the Ultimate edition really does add more fun for more players, so this game is perfect for a huge family gathering. For ages six and up, two to six players can play this game. Make it fun by spreading each channel around the room. Find this awesome set at Costco for $29.99, and bring it to your next family gathering. If you don’t want the Ultimate edition, you can find lots of fun games by YULU, especially, Operation Escape Room at Target, as well as more games by YULU in this blog post! Before you break out the game make sure you added batteries into the timer, and set up each challenge, especially if you have impatient kids waiting to play! Happy escaping!

Dude! Doood! Dudey! Dudio! Doooooda! How do you say, dude? Who knew that a small four-lettered word could be spoken in so many different ways? Now there’s a new and fun game to play that illustrates all the unique ways to say “dude,” and that’s with Northstar Games Dude and More Dude: two new group games that will keep you laughing, dude! Like, totally awesome, dude. Dude, this game is utter perfection. Dooooooooood, this game is not spooky at all! With the game Dude, you pick a card and have to act out the way the word dude would sound by the word, so if it’s a surfer dude and your teammate gets that same card, the object is to see if you both match that sound. Or if you want to play More Dude, the idea of the game is the same except the cards have pictures on them instead of words. Both games are great for ages 13 and up, and at the price point of $10.99 each at Target only, it's an easy to choose game for a night of game night fun! 

Hackathon by YULU Toys will make you get up and scream and shout in a good way! YULU knows how to get your heart racing with their Spy Code series of games; you can feel like an FBI agent, escape from a locked room, a MacGuyver like puzzle solver, and even a lizard! We love YULU over here, so when we received Hackathon to review, we were up for the challenge! Hackathon is definitely a challenge, but once you get going and get the hang of it, it is so much fun. Hackathon is a cooperative game; everyone works together to deactivate the console. The console itself brought us back to a simpler time, a time where you had to “dial up” for your internet. Once you load the three AAA batteries, set the flash drive to start in the motherboard, turn the console on, and WOAH - you will immediately be transported to the sounds of 1992 with that dial-up modem. Click over one notch with the flash drive to start your first puzzle, the console will light up a number, and the Advisor will solve the puzzle according to the numbered card, he or she must work it out and then the Operator is given the clues to deactivate the console. I just want to add that kids today have the world at their fingertips, us 90’s kids had to wait until our mom got off of the phone to instant message someone, or update our AOL profile with the latest song and movie quotes. Well, that’s what I did at least. For ages eight and up, perfect for two to nine players, so get a group together to be the Operators (the people who deactivate the console), and the Advisors (the people who solve the puzzles and relay the information back to the operators via the game cards). Hackathon yields hilarious results, it’s heart pumping gameplay, and puzzle solving will keep you on your toes! Solve the puzzle before you get hacked, or before your kid explodes! Grab Hackathon only at Target for $29.99!

Another fun game by YULU is Cut the Wire, another MacGuyver style game where you have to cut the wire before time runs out, and you ultimately activate the dynamite and blow yourself up to smithereens! Cut the Wire is my son’s favorite game! It comes with snippers, a dice, and a fun game “board” that is dynamite with wires that are all connected together. Be the first person to snip and save the day! Cut the Wire is a must have game for its fun factor and great price! Find it at Target, Amazon, and at Walmart for $25.

Fire in the hole! That’s what you’ll be yelling while playing the new and exciting game Ya Blew It! by Wonder Forge. Dig through the card deck to prospect for gems by rolling the dynamite die - the number you roll dictates the card you pick up! This game is a blast for sure! Be sure to be careful, you may pick up the dynamite card and get blown up yourself. Perfect game for explosive holiday fun! For ages eight and up, this game is sure to excite you and bring the whole family together! Get it before it’s gone at just $16.99. 

Kid-Friendly Games (Perfect for the really small player to oldest adult!)

Are your kiddos naughty or nice? Either way, give them coal in their stocking this Christmas: Lumps, The Elf Coal Dice Game! Lumps is a fun, fast-paced dice game suitable for kiddos ages eight and up by Continuum Games. Each die looks like coal and numbered with varying ranges of numbers. The object of the game is to score the highest points by rolling the dice and making pairs - if you roll a pair of tens, you score 10 points. The trick is to be strategic and to try to get the highest pairs. The price is right at just $7.99 and can be found on Amazon or other specialty retailers, so putting coal in everyone’s stocking is not only funny but truly affordable. Kids will love playing this game, and parents will love it too as it will sharpen your little one’s Math skills; two gifts in one! Lumps is perfectly sized and totally portable as you can zip up the stocking with the dice inside, which makes this a great game for downtime in the hotel room, or playing on a plane. Coal for all this holiday season, and because it’s a perfect size, make Lumps a game-time staple and keep it with your playing cards. Perfect for parties, make Math learning fun, or just to build up your social skills. 

Granny wants all of the treats, and it’s your job to take some snacks before she wakes up! Greedy Granny by Goliath Games is a hilarious, fun game that requires little strategy just a lot of fun! Be careful not to wake up Granny or she’ll take all of the treats back all for herself! Your kiddo will love this game, and it’s great for adults, too! Get startled when Granny pops up from her nap, and watch her eyes really open and close. The Greedy Granny game is perfect for family game night, or bringing it to Granny’s house for the holidays! Play with real, festive holiday treats to up the ante and make the gameplay even more fun! Greedy Granny and Build or Boom are our top choices for little kids this holiday season! Find Greedy Granny at Amazon, Target, and Walmart. 

TOP PICK! MUST BUY! Have you ever dreamt of becoming a world-class sushi chef? Are you the master of the chopsticks at the dinner table? Need to fine tune your fine motor skills? Then Flying Sushi Kitchen by Redwood Ventures is the game for you and your family, especially your six-year-olds or wanna-be six-year-olds. Be the first to earn $25 by catching the flying sushi balls. Your flying sushi kitchen is made of realistic bamboo that has a fan with two timer settings. All you need is 4C batteries to get started, and you’ll be on your way to sushi shenanigans!

What do you get when you mix a unicorn, poop, and a blindfold? Don't Step in It Unicorn Edition by Hasbro Gaming, of course! This fun edition takes the original game to next level proportions with the addition of magical unicorn poop! Spin the spinner, and win the game by stepping in the least amount of beautiful, sparkly unicorn poop! Your unicorn obsessed kiddo will love this game, and so will you! For ages four and up and $19.99

Watermelon Smash by YULU is such a fun game that can be played indoors or outdoors. There is no thinking involved, just good, clean family fun! To play, you spin the wheel, bop the watermelon on your head the number of times you spun, and if the watermelon breaks open the game is over! The best part is watching what falls out of the cracked watermelon. If you’re playing outside, definitely fill it with water! Play indoors with the included plastic watermelon seeds. Spice up your gameplay indoors with silly fillers like confetti, or make it “snow” with torn up pieces of cotton balls, or add in some sprinkles! Watermelon Smash also comes with plastic watermelon seeds for indoor play which makes this game a year-round, fun game! You can find Watermelon Smash at Target only for $19.99. This is the perfect game to play with kids or even adults! We have been having a blast! If you want to see more videos like this, let us know in the comments below. 

TOP PICK! MUST BUYBuild or Boom is an explosively fun game perfect for the pre-schoolers in your life, and adults, too! Be the fastest to build your structure before your opponent, or your block tower is going down! With an innovative way to play and no batteries required, your family game nights will be action packed!

Gnomes at Night is a fun game for two players, and what makes it even more is that it is a cooperative game; players work together to win together (you lose together, too!). Gnomes at Night teaches patience, communication, and good sportsmanship as well, which are excellent assets to have with a board game. Just under $20, Gnomes at Night is the perfect gift for the holidays, too.  Players work together to move their magnetic game piece that also moves the other player’s piece in tandem. The game works like a maze, so you must help one another out to locate the Queen’s treasures! 

Tic Tac Tongue is a fast-paced, fun and silly game geared towards pre-schoolers and big kids! Tic Tac Tongue is made by YULU, the masterminds behind Breakfree, Operation Escape, Watermelon Smash, and more fun group games! Tic Tac Tongue is the perfect game for family game night! Test your lizard licking skills with their super-realistic lizard mask, and by way of what looks like a party horn, the lizard tongue snaps out to knock down your card! Pre-schoolers will hone their number skills with counting, and rapid-fire lizard licks to knock down the card that they chose! You can grab it now for $18 or a Black Friday steak for $7!! 

Toilet games! Poop surprises! The world of gross is getting bigger, so why not add in JAKKS Pacific totally fun Toilet Paper Blaster Skid Shot! For just $19.99, your kiddo eight years and up can use real toilet paper to blast it up to 30 feet. Why do we need this? Why is this a great gift? Because we do! Add in a roll of toilet paper (not included), I would suggest 2-ply, then add water into the tank - ready, aim, fire to make the ultimate spit wad without the spit!

Five Little Fish by Ravensburger is a fun kids’ group game! Pairing easy to play “memory” with some skill and strategy, be the first to catch the most of the colored fish to win the game! Toddlers and pre-schoolers will love Five Little Fish by Ravensburger. Kiddos will test their memory, strengthen dexterity, and have loads of fun! The player with the most fish will win the game. Five Little Fish is for ages three and up and is perfect for two to five players. Kiddos will love fishing for the fish and watch it pop up accordion-style from the “water." Snag this perfect gift or family game for just $19.99!

Roll and Play by ThinkFun! is the first game you should buy for your toddler! Connect with your kiddo with this game that is super easy, simple, and fun instructions. This is definitely a game that two small kiddos to play together to give the parents a little break! Each card refers to a specific category like Emotions, Body Parts, Counting, Colors, Actions, and Animal Sounds. Each category will prompt you and your child to identify or act out simple tasks. Wiggle, shake, clap hands, find specific colors, count objects, and more will get your little kiddo up and playing. 

Take Rock, Paper, Scissors to next level gaming with Kuroba! Pick up a Kuroba Training Pack for just $8.99 by Playmates. This tabletop battle starts when each player chooses rock, paper, or scissors, then fold up the Kuroba creature and lock it into game mode. To win the game, the winning Kuroba captures the other - it’s like the Kuroba cube gobbles up the other cube! Their clacking sounds have a satisfying sound too! Collect 16 Kuroba in all, you can also mix and match your Kuroba by changing out the panels from other Kuroba cubes from your collection. Will your little one become the master Kuroba Keeper? Pair this gift with a visit to watch fun webisodes on KurobaWorld.com and their Kuroba World YouTube Channel. 

Mighty Beanz by Moose Toys are always a fun gift! Grab some mystery capsules for just under $3 each, and pair them with the Mighty Beanz Slammer Time Playset for $19.99. Mighty Beanz are fun beans that roll, flip, and even walk! We have so much fun racing our Mighty Beanz! With 140 to collect, your collection will grow fast. Each Mighty Beanz has different point values and fun characters. Have you found the Influencer Beanz yet that include our favorites Sandaroo Kids and Toys Review Toys - other awesome YouTube channels like Fizzy Toy Show, Cookie SwirlC, and Squirrel Stampede are there, too!

Doggy Doo by Goliath Games is a totally fun and silly game geared towards pre-schoolers and big kids at heart! I love this game is and I’m 35 years old; not ashamed! With its squishy fart noises, and gooey, squishy poop, Doggy Doo is a sensory fulfilling experience! Not to mention we had loads of fun playing this game! Pardon the pun! Goliath Games is responsible for other family games like Build or Boom, and Shark Bite! Not stop smiles, and chock full of laugh, Doggy Doo delivers on the fun! 

Monopoly Junior The Incredibles by Hasbro Gaming is for ages superheroes ages five and up. Two to four players can play against one another to collect all of The Incredibles 2 Properties, and save the day from new villain Screenslaver! Your pre-schooler will love counting his or her own money as well as picking and moving their very own The Incredibles 2 character game piece! This classic game is made new again with an Incredibles branding and the colorful, recognizable artwork we all know and love that is Disney Pixar The Incredibles. 

Free and Fun Games to Play With Your Smart Device

Some families may want to disconnect from the devices during the holidays, but if you’re looking to eat up time before dinner is on the table, or if you’re on a road trip with the kids, why not download the Amazon Alexa app and play some fun, easy, and totally free games. Build up that social bar with your kiddos, and show your sick skills as any of the games below. You don’t need Amazon Alexa device at all - you just need a smartphone or tablet to download the free app. 

My favorite game to play with Amazon Alexa is Word Mine. Word Mine is for a person who loves Word Jumbles or Scrambles. You’re given three letters that are mixed up to start, and to get out of the first level of the mine, you must make a word from the jumble of three letters. Once that first level word is unscrambled, you are given a new letter to add on to the original jumbled word by Alexa. Every day explore a new “mine” by filling your rucksack with completed words. It’s really a fun game to play when with a small group of people, or with kids. 

Play Tic Tac Toe hands-free with Alexa, and call out your plays by calling out tells like “top right” or “bottom center.” I haven’t played Tic Tac Toe in a long time, so playing it hands-free and with Alexa was very fun! Playing Tic Tac Toe like this will test your memory skills, and will definitely require some strategy because Alexa is always one step ahead. We have always ended up in a draw! 

Akinator is a great group game that will knock your socks off! Again, you can play this game from your smartphone. Download the free Amazon Alexa app, sign in, and get started! Akinator is 20 Questions with the twist of Alexa as the Akinator, a mind reader who will blow you away with her knowledge and her mind-reading ability. I chose Mickey Mouse as my answer, and she asked questions like, “Does your character wear shoes?” or “Does your character fight crime?” You also don’t have to give simple “yes” or “no” answers. The Akinator will accept, “maybe” or even responses like “sort of” as acceptable replies. Of course, Alexa got it right! Alexa does preface gameplay with an age discretion, but as long as you play with your kiddo and choose kid-friendly answers, Alexa’s questions should not be wildly inappropriate. 

Who loves BINGO? We love the game BINGO, but it’s always tough to find a BINGO caller in our house. Never fear, Alexa is here to save the day! Download the Alexa app for your smart device, and then download the BINGO cards for free, and play away! BINGO is so much for the whole family, and Alexa will call out the numbers like a true BINGO caller extraordinaire! 

Stay tuned to this blog as I have plenty more games to add for holidays! From Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, you’ll be totally immersed in a world of fun board gaming. Nothing brings a family closer than the healthy, friendly competition! What games do you like to play when you get a whole of the group of people together? Let me know in the comments below!

Heads Up! is the perfect app to play in a large round table group of friends and family! This game is for ages 12 and up, but as long as you have quick readers, then kids as little as eight years old have played with us! You just need a smartphone to play and download the handy app. Be the team to solve the clues to guess the word as quickly as you can to become the heads up champions!

Happy Holidays! Happy Road-tripping, too!

Please note that some links are affiliate links! All of my opinions are my own. Enjoy the holiday season! Check out our YouTube channel to watch our unboxing videos of many of the games above!