Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's a Bilibo?

Bilibo ($29.98)

What's a Bilibo? It is whatever a child wants it to be.

A doll bed.

A laundry basket.

An igloo, or a cave for penguins. Arielle claims that it also makes an excellent animal hotel.

A Bilibo is a scoop shaped piece of Made in China plastic. It's also an award-winning toy that challenges children to be active, use their imagination and come up with new ideas. And, that's why Sara's Toy Box is reviewing it :0)

When we unpacked them, the girls asked "What's that?"
"I don't know." I said, "What do you think?"
"Is it a bird's nest?" and they climbed right in.

It was a beautiful day, so we took them outside. Imagine filling one with sand or water or snow.

Yes, they are also fun to rock around in. They also spin.

Lucky us, we tried one of every color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and pink. We played musical chairs - a little silly with just three of us, but still fun.

What is Arielle building?

It's a tightrope!

A little bit of a challenge for Arielle.

Too hard for Linnea, so she came up with a new game. Crawl over the bridge.

They've also been turtle shells and silly hats. Two put together make an egg that can hatch out a baby bird. Linnea can tote around a whole pile of stuffed animals by dragging one around. Turned upside down they make pretend rocks. It's all up to your child.

Bilibo is appropriate all year round, indoors and outdoors, and is fun for ages 2-7.

More than 50,000 visitors!!!!

Thank you!

Just a few updates...

My husband finally made it home a few weeks ago. He was injured at the end of his tour in Afghanistan, but now he is good as new - even better! It's been a busy few weeks while we've adjusted to having him back. Thank you to all of you who sent good wishes.

Meanwhile, my computer started freezing up making it impossible to finish a post. Yesterday the friendly people at Dell fixed it right up for me and I'm so happy to have it working again. I'll be catching up with long-overdue posts over the next few days.

And, Arielle (and Cockatooey) graduated from preschool. I can't believe she's so big. Next year, we'll be experimenting with home schooling.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The best sand toy ever!!!!

Even the college-aged big brothers loved it!

The Sand Play Castle ($22.98) from Magic Cabin Toys is comprised of twenty-two large pieces that stack and connect to form wonderful structures reminiscent of Rube Goldberg machines (you know, the mouse pedals a bicycle and makes the spaghetti boil which makes a bird jump which makes a whistle toot... and so on..) The sieves, funnels, wheels, strainers and levers move sand (or water) from top to bottom and actually fulfilled the promise of hours of outdoor entertainment. Not just for the two and four year old little girls, but also for their big brothers and dad. I played a bit as well.

The Sand Play Castle is made in the Czech Republic of high quality, pthallate-free plastic .

Here are the girls and big brother, Merlin, trying it out.

As you can see, the pieces stack together, but can also be used independently. There is plenty for everyone.

They had to try it out while they worked.

Linnea was really busy.

Almost done.

Will it work?

Yay! A moving, working sand tower machine. And next time, they can build something completely different.

What a great way to learn and play.

This is not a small toy, but add a few buckets and you have everything you need for the beach or sandbox.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy SquashToys

Sara's Toy Box loves to support Handmade Toys and I'm pleased to review another Etsy seller, Happy Squash Toys. Their brightly colored rolling toys caught my eye while browsing Etsy.

Flower Cars ($15.50 for set of three, or $5.50 each)

Both my little girls adored cars and trucks until they were about two. At two, they turned into princesses and everything was about pretty. Clothes had to be pink (and sparkly), tap shoes became everyday footwear, and crowns were necessary for trips to the grocery store. And they started eying the pink things at Walmart (Ack!)

So, a pretty car.... well, they love that. And, I love that because pretty and simple and powered only by imagination. What else could I want?

I'm pretty sure that while some little girls want to be full-time princesses, they still enjoy the same toys that they always did. Linnea certainly enjoyed the cars. The cars had some interesting conversations.

-Beep Beep. Where you going?
-Brmm.. Brmm... I going to play hopscotch.
-Brmm... Brmm... I going home to princesses.
-I'm going for Nayna (Linnea).

Happy Squash Toys
hand makes original toys from poplar wood. The bright, happy colors come from non-toxic, lead-free paints and finishes. Painted toys all have two coats of water based paint with a light sanding between coats to provide a smooth and even finish. Natural toys finished only with beeswax are also available.

The cars are sturdy and smooth and just the right size for little hands,


Happy Squash Toys also makes rolling farm animals, jungle animals, dinosaurs, board games and cars of all colors. All reasonably priced and handmade in the U.S.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Award-winning Rainbow Sound Blocks from Wonderworld

Wonderworld Toys are made in Thailand out of environmentally-friendly replantable wood from expired rubber plantation trees that no longer produce latex. Wonderworld works with farmers, the Rabbit in the Moon Foundation and the Thai government to plant two trees for each tree used. The colors come from non-toxic water-based paints and at least 70% of all packaging is recycled paper,

I first heard of Wonderworld Toys from some of you - our readers. I'm thankful to Toys and Games Online for allowing me to check out their extensive selection of Wonderworld Toys. The decision was tough, but I chose to review Rainbow Sound Blocks.

Rainbow Sound Blocks ($34.00)

The Rainbow Sound Blocks are part of the WonderEducation collection, a collection of learning toys for ages birth-5. The Rainbow sound Blocks are suggested for ages 2 and up. I chose them both for their learning value and for their creative play value.

You all know that I love blocks, and I love mixing in new shapes and textures. This is a cute little set of six blocks that can be used alone by young children and incorporated into larger sets by older children. Wonderworld makes an inexpensive 50 piece Basic Block Set ($25.00)

These blocks have been around for a while. They were the w
inner of the Silver Practical Pre-School Award in 2006, and National Parenting Publications Award in 2001, as well as numerous international awards.

The six wooden blocks come in a wooden storage case that is fun to pack and unpack. Each block is wooden with a translucent colored-plastic front and back. They are filled with different combinations and sizes of beads, so each has a unique sound when shaken.

The blocks can be used for stacking, matching, sorting and it's really fun to just look through them and see the world in a different color. I like purple :o)

Linnea liked packing and unpacking the blocks into their storage case - not an easy task as they don't fit if thrown in haphazardly. She also calls it a door. Maybe because of the shape of the storage case?

Here she is checking out the beads. She had fun shaking the blocks, but the enthusiasm was too much for the camera. I just got a pink blur.

Building a tower.

Wow! Everything looks "lellow".

That was my favorite part. I think Linnea knows her colors, but she loves to give the wrong answers on purpose. It's a two-year-old thing, just like the outfit. But, she was so distracted that she got them all right! Yay!