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i-Mat: My Animal World & Voice Pen – An Exciting Learning Experience looks at the “i-Mat” from Creative Baby Inc.

We have found a high tech educational toy that will please both toddlers and their parents. It is the “i-Mat: My Animal World & Voice Pen.” It arrives with 4 foam square mats, each measuring 24″ per side, 1 Voice Pen, a USB cable, a handy screwdriver and a brief set of instructions. To get started, the 4 foam mats are placed flat on the floor, then interlocked with each other to form one large square mat measuring 48″ per side. Once the pieces are in place, there is a colorful world on display, featuring drawings of animals and their names. The drawings are beautifully captured on the mat, and they are large too, making it easy to identify for even the youngest of children. The “i-Mat” is recommended for children ages 18 months and older, with a parent helping the very youngest.
61wYos9KlBL._SL1500_To begin play, the Voice Pen must be activated. It requires 2 AAA batteries (not included) and the screwdriver (included) is used to unlock the back of the Voice Pen, allowing for easy placement of the two batteries. This locking mechanism provides an element of safety, making sure those batteries do not get into the hands of the child. We can confirm that it would be nearly impossible to unlock the battery case without the screwdriver.


Posted in Baby and Toddler, Learning

Robot Turtles: A Board Game that Teaches the Fundamentals of Programming to Kids looks at a most unique game release from ThinkFun.

We were most fortunate to get a hold of an advance copy of the new board game, “Robot Turtles.”  For us, it was one of the highlights of the New York Toy Fair this past February, and we could not wait to play a few games.  “Robot Turtles” was designed by Dan Shapiro, a software entrepreneur, who wanted to create a game to challenge his two 4-year old twins.  He believed there was a way to teach simple computer programming to his kids, without the need to read.  In what was the most backed game in Kickstarter history, “Robot Turtles” was born.


Posted in Board Games, Learning Update – New Site and Content Migration

cropped-cropped-Toys1.gifThis site has been up and running for more than four years, and we have been asked by a few people why we have never updated the design. The short answer is that the site worked, and we’ve learned before that if something works online, don’t mess with it. But the time has finally come for a refresher, a new design and layout that provides a host of benefits for readers.

First of all this new site will load much faster. The previous site was code heavy and a bit of a patch work Frankenstein job that accumulated a lot of excess size over the years. This new site is optimized to run much faster.


Posted in Apps and Video Games, Baby and Toddler, Board Games, Building, Card Games, Christmas, Doll, Electronics, Figures, Games, Girls, Information, Learning, Nostalgic, Novelty, Outdoor, Remote Control, Riding, Sports, Uncategorized, Vehicles

Green Tones Musical Instruments from Hohner – A High Note In Music Fun and Learning

drumsWe at Toys Bulletin fall into the camp that the best kids’ musical instruments are made by music companies, rather than toy companies trying to make musical toys. Maybe it comes from our musical background, or just a desire to see our kids exposed to music instruments that are real, that are fun, and truly educational all at the same time.

They aren’t always easy to find, however at Toy Fair this year we found a new group of musical instruments that fit the bill, and then even bumped the bar up a notch by using eco-friendly wood in absolutely remarkable instrument designs.


Posted in Learning

A Science Kit Review: Shark Teeth Dig Kit – Find the Real Thing examines an excavation kit from “Discover with Dr. Cool.”

There are several kits out there that let kids dig for various things, like fossils, rocks and bones, but the kits from “Discover with Dr. Cool” are certainly the best.  We got a chance to look at the “Shark Teeth Dig Kit,” which includes a large digging block that actually contains 3 different shark teeth, all genuine.  In order to find the teeth, which are hidden somewhere in the digging block, the kit provides 3 different excavation tools (a pointed metal tool for digging, a magnifying glass and a brush).


Posted in Learning

Educational Toy Review: Fun With Magnets – Lots of Eye Opening Experiments looks at the world of magnets from Lauri Toys and Patch Products.

FunwithMagnets1Every kid and most adults have always been fascinated with magnets. In fact, a simple magnet was among the items that amazed me most when I was growing up. I remember looking stunned when metal objects seemed to move by themselves. It was magic and I simply could not believe my eyes.

Now, Lauri Toys, a division of Patch Products, has come up with a very simple, and highly educational set of 14 experiments called “Fun with Magnets.” The set includes a large magnet wand, measuring 7 ½” in length, along with a smaller horseshoe magnet and a 3” bar magnet. In addition, there are 2 ring magnets, 3 colored magnetic balls, 5 nuts with washers, a foot of wire, a metal rod, 3 crepe rubber shapes and even a small compass.


Posted in Learning

A Science Kit review: Build an Erupting Volcano and a Working Seismograph looks at another educational learning experience from Thames & Kosmos.

 It is always fun to change gears just a bit, this time with a nicely packaged science kit from Thames & Kosmos.  “Volcanoes & Earthquakes” is recommended for ages 10 years old and up, and includes the key items needed to complete 11 different science experiments, plus a 48-page full color manual filled not only with instructions, but important facts about both volcanoes and earthquakes.

Two members of the Toys Bulletin staff, along with an 8th grade student, agreed to perform several of the experiments.  We made certain the student did most of the work, while we simply provided two pairs of watchful eyes, made sure all necessary materials were nearby, and most importantly that the working conditions were safe at all times.


Posted in Learning

Our List of The Best Zombie Products Available – Toys, Games, Books and a Few Surprises takes a look at some of the best Zombie products available. 

There is little doubt that one of the most popular media frenzies of the past several years revolves around a single word, that being Zombies. Quite frankly, they are everywhere. The public’s initial infatuation with Zombies may have begun with the release of the classic horror film, “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968. But more recently, the popular TV shows “The Walking Dead” and to a lesser degree, the Sundance Channel release of “The Returned” have continued to fuel the Zombie fires. Add to this the latest theatrical releases, including Brad Pitt’s “World War Z,” the Zombie comedy “Warm Bodies,” and even an animation hit, “ParaNormal,” and you have some idea what kids and even adults are putting on their Christmas lists in 2013. They want something related to Zombies. 

The staff at Toys Bulletin decided to put their heads together and create a list of some of the best and craziest Zombie items for 2013. We are not going to review these items, although we will admit to having purchased many of them as gifts for friends, family or ourselves. There are some creepy products out there, but we kept our list a bit more “family friendly.” Even so, many of our selections may not be appropriate for everyone. Consider the list a general guide to the world of Zombie merchandise. 

The format will be simple. We will provide a simple list (in no particular order), a brief description of each item, an approximate price, an age recommendation and, of course, a mandatory photo. All of the items can be found by performing a simple search on the Internet, and in many cases, is one of the best sources. You will laugh at some of the products, and be startled with others. In any case, have a good time. Here we go… 


Posted in Apps and Video Games, Baby and Toddler, Board Games, Building, Christmas, Doll, Electronics, Figures, Games, Information, Learning, Outdoor, Remote Control, Riding, Sports, Vehicles

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