It’s nearly the most wonderful time of the year! The happ… happiest season of all! The kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be a good cheer, with much mistletoeing, hearts will be glowing when loved ones a near.. the most wonderful time of the year!
With Christmas in mind we took our chance to trial the top toys for boys and girls for Christmas this year from Vtech and Leap Frog.
Meet River one of our Junior Toy Analysts
Favourite reindeer: Rudolph
Favourite things to do: Play with games/toys and play sport
What’s at the top of River’s Christmas wish list:
Switch & Go Dash T-Rex & a bike
Meet Sailor, one of our Junior Toy Analysts
Favourite reindeer: Dancer
Favourite things to do: Swimming and music
What’s at the top of Sailor’s Christmas wish list:
Anything with dinosaurs, dragons or cars
It’s the season when my kids Wishlist that’s been in planning for almost a year comes to crunch time… when a toy finds out if it’s on or off the list!
It can be brutal, watching them decide what toys & wishes end up landing a place on the coveted final draft. Just as we headed into this nail-biting decider of a time the boys were given the job of trialling 3 Vtech and LeapFrog toys. They’ll give a thumbs up if they think these toys are worthy of a place on every kids Wishlist!
Vtech Switch & Go Dash the T-Rex
Best for ages: 3 to 8 Years
Just its name was enough for me to know it was going to get a place on every kids Wishlist. And sure enough it has become Mr 5s special toy, the kind of toy that all the kids want a turn of on a playdate, but good luck if they get one!
What kid doesn’t love a remote-control dinosaur that automatically switches between a T-Rex and racer! Push the switch on the remote or Dash and Dash will transform between the two. This action absolutely lit up the eyes of River when he first saw it, and later again when he introduced Dash to his playdates, their eyes similarly shone with what can only be described as “awesome” written all over their faces, they excitedly gathered around Dash to give him a go. I’m not sure if they got one!
It has an LCD screen which animates Dash the T-Rex with its dashing dino eyes and dino roaring. Customise Dash by choosing from a selection of dinosaur eyes and drivers. Press the buttons on Dash or the remote control and you’ll hear fun phrases, dinosaur facts and great sound effects. River is a sponge for dinosaur information and has been installing the facts to memory and regurgitating them back to me, normally right on bedtime! Kids are so technically advanced so River worked out the remote’s controls and Dash’s buttons easily after trying them all out.
You can adjust the volume on the remote control for quieter play which is handy when you’re hitting the one-hour mark of kid & Dash play. We all know “noisy” toys suddenly end up “broken” when we remove the batteries without the kids knowing! Dash isn’t a “noisy” toy though but if you would like a bit of quiet the kids don’t have to give up playing with Dash.
The batteries that came with the toy were replaced fairly quickly, Dash would turn off spontaneously like he’d run out of puff, but with new good batteries he was rejuvenated and well energised.
River fell in-love and seems like a boy with his pet dino, sitting side by side the two were ready to play together at any time, he’s both proud and protective of his new toy friend and he plays with Dash throughout the day.
Is it on the list? 👍🏽
Switch & Go LCD Crew
Horns the Triceratops
Best for ages: 3 to 8 Years
If Dash had a non-remote-controlled baby this would be it, except a Triceratops! And so baby brother got to trial Horns. In 7 moves it also transforms from racer to dino. At 2.5 years old Sailor needed to be shown how to switch Horns from racer to dino, but once shown and having a memory like an elephant, as kids seem to have, he had it all worked out and could manage to switch from one to the other with ease.
Horns has an LCD screen too with animated eyes and you can choose a driver. Press the talk button to hear fun phrases and learn dinosaur facts in Horn’s own voice, did you know that Triceratops large head is almost half the size of his body! Press the sound button or move Horns to hear dinosaur and car sound effects depending on what form the Switch n Go is in! At 2.5 years Sailor’s not yet at a place where he’s taking in the facts, but he was keen on which driver to choose and chatting back to the driver or dino, so cute. Sailor is all about play, imaginative play, and he’s a passionate player who commits 100% to his own sound effects of any given toy, their talk, their growl, the sound of a fast car, the sound of a crashed smashed dino so he enjoyed hours of imaginative play (and chats) with Horns the Triceratops in his epic play sessions!
Is it on the list? 👍🏽
Learn & Dance Dino
Best for ages: 2 to 5 Years
Sailor first clapped eyes on this bright green dino at the Vtech Christmas toy launch. The dino found a place for himself nestled under Sailor’s arm so I knew the Learn & Dance Dino was going to be well received!
It comes with 9 action plates that customise Dino’s voice, emotions and dancing styles. When you insert one of the 3 red plates into Dino’s back the voice style will change into a dino, cool robot or a fearsome Monster! There are also 3 yellow plates to make Dino happy, angry or sleepy and 3 blue plates that make Dino march, dance to hip-hop or ballet.
Sailor needed to have the finer details of the Learn & Dance dino explained. He realised switching out the plates was possible, this was a game in itself! He also knew he was getting different affects from different plates. Some simple explaining that when he switches the blue plates the music changes, when he switches the yellow plates the dinosaur switches emotions and when he switches the red plates the dino switches character, may or may not have registered for him! It didn’t matter, as he develops he’ll grasp what the plates actually do, meanwhile he switches plates and something different happens, which is awesome enough!
It includes a dino egg to store the plates which he reported was “YAY”. He enjoys all the fun sing-along songs and melodies and is learning colours and shapes as he matches the plates to the same colour and shaped socket.
Is it on the list? 👍🏽
LeapFrog Magical Adventure Globe
Best for ages: 5 – 10 years
This is an educational interactive Globe for ages 5-10 years but really it is a magical adventure globe for the whole family!
The boys 5 & 2 have taken to globes and world maps with great gusto already. From a young age, looking for countries and curious about flags, native animals and languages have always been a keen interest for them both and supported by their learning at school and pre-school. So when this spinning planet Earth was set upon the table, they knew exactly what to do, explore! The Magic Adventures Globe lets young explorers travel the world and see everything in it with a 2.7″ integrated video screen. Using the stylus, the kids can tap on the globe to choose what they’d like to discover & do! Explore the World, do the Travel the World challenge, a Quiz Show, and a Where in the World mystery solving game!
The globe is such an awesome interactive learning globe! The boys enjoyed exploring the world like the fearless adventurers they are. Featuring high-quality BBC videos we were immersed in any country we tapped our stylis on! Exploring Animals, Countries & Capitals, Culture & People, Currency, Flags, Landmarks & Famous Places, World Geography and World Languages, discovering all sorts of stuff!
We could also Travel the world traveling on a plane, train or other transportation in the Around the World game using the knowledge we’d picked up on our explorations to answer questions along the way in an attempt to circle the globe as quickly as possible!
We could test our knowledge with the quiz show game that you can either play (compete fiercely) with a friend or challenge yourself, and we could solve mysteries with the Where in the World game by answering questions and following the clues to discover secret items and locations.
The Around the World game, Quiz show and Where in the World game was a particular obsession for River (and myself just quietly), at 5 years old he’s hungry for facts, learning, understanding and winning! So being given a learning challenge by way of games and quizzes is a sure bet for the best fun!
You can continue to learn by downloading additional expansion packs from their App Centre covering worldly topics like dinosaurs, food, art and music, mythology, global inventions and pioneers (each sold separately).
The Magic Adventures Globe really is magic, it kept the whole family happily occupied… and who knew we were getting an education at the same time!
Is it on the list? 👍🏽
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Written by Ronnie Swainston
Online Producer & Experiences Editor Ronnie is mum to two spirited kids who keep her on her toes. With a love for travel, film, tv, photography & (eating) food keeping her wishing for more time, & having a keen curiosity means she’ll give almost anything a go making her, and her family, up for the job!
Favourite place to be: On an adventure