Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baby Rosy Cheeks Baby Doll - A Review

There were squeals of delight as our Rosy Cheeks Baby Doll was lifted out of her packaging.  She is part of a gorgeous soft doll line by The North American Bear Company. Rosy Cheeks was recently noted as a winner of Top Tips Trusted and Creative Child Magazine Awards. The Company’s toy range delight and enchant children from infants to tweenagers, covering bears, baby dolls, princess and fantasy play dolls.
The Rosy Cheeks range features dolls made from a super soft washable velour. Their embroidered faces are minimalistic but carry a sweet expression. They also have a lifelike ‘outie’ belly button and bottom with the cutest toes and fingers. The baby dolls have a removable jersey top, hat and diaper and and I.D bracelet.
Product Pros
Being soft and squishy, Rosy Cheeks is perfect for a young child to take everywhere they go and sleep. The material is soft and immediately huggable and is of high quality. The baby doll is a good size for dolly strollers. The diaper and shirt have velcro fasteners so it’s easy for a small hands to dress and undress. Even if it gets soiled, a quick hand wash will ensure the doll and clothes look new when dried.
The I.D bracelet is a perfect addition for personalisation. This little detail makes introducing a new brother or sister a little easier for toddlers. Another beautiful option for this doll is the ability to embroider personalised messages or features directly onto the surface.
Rosy Cheeks is available in a few hair colours and skin tones as well as in boy or girl. They are suitable for toddlers through to children still enchanted by baby dolls.

Product Cons
The ID Bracelet is made of a hard plastic and could be a little scratchy when the doll is hugged and carried about.
The little hat is held on with a stitch. Ensure that this is kept on as once it is taken off, the hat does not sit well and could be easily lost.
Overall, Rosy Cheeks Baby Doll is a perfect gift for a child wanting a snuggly comforting toy. By ensuring that the hat is secure and bracelet removed, it is suitable for young babies, with the assurance of long lasting play for years to come.
Annie would like to thank The North American Bear Company for supplying Rosy Cheeks Baby Doll to review.  Their products can be viewed and purchased online .

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mythbusters Science of Sports Kit- Review

Searching for appropriate gifts for teenaged boys can prove to be a difficult task. Whilst well meaning books, underwear or boxed gags tend to populate the choices, finding something that pique their interest, add value to their learning experiences and is a safe but fun activity tends to narrow products down. Based on the popular Mythbuster Series, Discovery have released a series of science kits which promote exploration into science and its theories as the next cool thing to do. Having Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage wise crack their way through blowing things up hasn’t hurt the image for teenage boys either.

Mythbusters Science of Sports kit

The kit follows the formula the series is built on. Using science, it goes about determining the truth behind urban myths. This particular kit explores the legends surrounding sports. The kit includes the vital equipment required to test each of the theories:
  • string
  • mallet
  • ping-pong ball
  • baseball
  • rubber ball
  • chart
  • sticker sheet
  • marker
  • clear tube
  • face paint
  • stick
  • Activity Guide
Product Pros
The kit provides the basis for a family to test common sporting myths and develop a shared interest into exploration and investigation. It allows children to experience how important science is within the sporting arena. The main myths tested are
  • Finding the ‘sweet spot’ on any baseball bat.
  • Discovering how curve balls really curve.
  • Learning about why the ‘rest and digest’ strategy brings them more energy.
  • Testing out the truth of the ‘big bounce.’
The materials used in the kit are of good quality. The kit would provide a great resource for teachers of physical education or coaches trying to find a different angle to engage their players and students.
Product Cons
Whilst this kit can provide some fun family learning, care needs to be taken with inquisitive younger children, as their own ideas may take over and lead to household challenges. The materials are designed to encourage independent discovery and although suggest its suitability for aged 9 and up, from the instructions and scientific theories behind some of the experiments, it might be better suited to older children or those who are very passionate about science.
The instructions and information behind the science can appear jumbled and skips around a little. For children or people unused to the chaotic format the show follows, the activity guide may prove confusing and difficult to follow.
Mythbusters Science of Sports kit sets out to marry sports and science, making learning a hands on experience and giving an appreciation to the theories behind the urban myths. One of the best parts about it was that the kids had the final say on whether each of the sports legends is ‘Confirmed’ or ‘Busted.’ Anything that makes learning more accessible to teenage boys and encourages kids to use their brains and not just their muscles gets a thumbs up from me.
MythBusters science kits sell for about $19.99 and are located at Toys R Us or you can find them by visiting , , or .
You can also learn more about MythBusters by visiting :
Annie would like to thank Discovery  for supplying her with  the kit to experiment and review.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Special Occasions Fashion Kit

When your aspiring fashion designer has lost interest in paper dolls and flimsy tissue paper gowns and has begun to tack together swatches of fabric and drape them over dolls, its time to introduce them to the next step in dressmaking and design. Special Occasion Fashions by Creativity for Kids is a kit with everything needed to design beautiful dresses and outfits. Gorgeously packaged it includes a soft dress mannequin specifically designed for pins to be stuck in , a satin starter dress, yards of pastel fabric, a variety of trims, good quality tape measure, thimble, sharp fabric scissors, sketch book, sketching pencils, fabric swatches and satin pincushion. To add that special pizzazz, the kit also includes sparkle fabric paint, two tiny tiaras and veil accessories.
This kit is an upgraded version of the original, specifically for young designers to allow their imaginations go wild on bridal and prom gowns.
The first thing you will notice is the high quality of each of the inclusions. Lace, satin and embellishments are supurb. The scissors are sharp and pins of seamstress quality .
The mannequin is a touch of genius as an inclusion with the kit.  Styled like the old fashioned Victorian dress dummies, the body is a stiff but very squishy foam; making sticking pins into very easy. This is perfect when draping the fabrics or attempting to fix a trim or neckline.
Another brilliant inclusion for the kit is that it comes with a simple satin dress, already assembled and ready to embellish.  I would highly recommend this as a starting point in testing trims and colours and point of discussion and observation.
The sketch book has high quality paper included, with each page displaying a style of dress the young designer can alter lines, colours and embellishments with.
Despite the kit including a very pretty pink bag to keep everything together and organized, a small compartmentalised two tiered box might have been a better choice for practicality and as part of training toward the next step as a designer. The bag simply lumps everything together, allowing threads and yarns to tangle and fabric to crumple.
The age range suggests that it is suitable for ages 9 and upward.  The ability to stitch and sew has long been lost in most young people.  Whilst this kit might have had a high appeal and practicality 20 years ago, the skill sets of a normal tweenager is vastly different now.
Older tweenagers may be more likely to have the dexterity, fine motor control and skills to cut and sew tiny dresses, but most would not have the interest or inclination to pursue this. A 9 or 10 year old will require heavily support, in order to successfully produce a gown.
Although the size of the dress would certainly fit a “Barbie” sized doll, techniques in finishing a dress are fiddly and time consuming.  Unless the child has a real passion for finishing projects and for high detail, I believe many will give up in frustration.
The instructions on Special Occasions Fashions state the intention for the kit is for children to design the gowns with the included fabrics and embellishments in mind; rather than to get hung up about the production of the dress itself. Although the instructions are clear and it gives good examples of starting points, I have my doubts that the skills involved in the production of even a simple dress would be abundant within most communities. However, all of this can be avoided if this kit is used in a learning environment where the mentor and young designer take small steps, chunk  time and effort and plan each project dress.  The kit has a lot going for it; good quality sewing supplies, attractive fabric and trimmings and a mannequin which allows the designer to pin and drape fabric directly onto the body. Certainly, it would be a perfect gift for a child whose interests in this area are already piqued and they need a push to develop the skills towards dressmaking and design.
For more information on Special Occasions Fashions and Creativity for Kids  check out their facebook page or website.
Annie would  like to thank Creativity for Kids for the opportunity they gave her family to play with their wonderful product. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue - a Review

Beguiling and charming, sweet and fun; TinkerBell and the Great Fairy Rescue shakes off the recent film animation trends to appeal to a wide range of audiences through multi layered languaging and gags - instead focusing on being a great childrens film; one strictly made for kids. 
Even the most sensitive young child would find it difficult to find any fear factors hiding within this gorgeously presented movie. Colours are vibrant, detail is sharp and the story so playful, it is certain to be a film which will be played over and over.
The story is set years before Tinker Bell meets Peter Pan, Wendy and the Lost Boys. Fairy friends visit the Victorian meadow lands where Tinker Bell meets Lizzy, a little girl whose belief in the power magic and  fairies is ridiculed by many.  Although her friends believe Tinker Bell has been captured and puts into place a daring rescue, Tink develops a special bond with  Lizzy, seeing that she and her father are in need of some magic of their own.
As you'd expect from Disney, it's a charming tale playing on the childhood hope of meeting magical creatures at the bottom of the garden; where both parties push the boundaries of their fears to discover new strengths.
An absolutely stunning production, devoid of high profile names, this totally inoffensive movie is one of the most delightful films I have seen specifically made for children for years. This is a must see for fairy believers of all ages.
The DVD is available in Australia from the 15th of Sept.  Check out your local variety stores for availability.

Annie would like to thank Porter Novelli for sending her the Tinkerbell DVD to review. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hanna Montana (Series 3, part 2)

A concern for many parents of growing children is the selection of appropriate television and DVDs. With increasing laxity in classification standards violence and questionable moral themes have begun to creep into the PG bands; making many parents wary of modern reality style shows depicting tweenage children and their daily lives.   With television one of the major influences for young people, its important, therefore to be careful with the selection of role models.
Unless you have been living under rock at the back of a distant cave, you will have been exposed at some point to the Empire of Hannah Montana, complete with its huge merchandising range and DVDs.  Unike some television personalities and shows which appeal to the tweenage market, the concepts and themes presented in Hannah Montana  remain clean, ethical and inspiring; despite its longevity.  August 4th marks the release of Series 3 part 2 of the DVD range and is certain not to disappoint.
For those who may have escaped her marketing and shows, Hannah Montana is a world famous pop star who hides her real identity behind Miley Stewart – a normal teenage girl.  The formula for episodes revolve around issues in the lives of Miley and her best friend Lilly; interspersed with  the girls’ gawky other friend, Oliver. Mileys real life father – Billy Ray Cryrus, plays her father, lending his experience and knowledge as he advises her through her challenges in her split lifestyle. Disney continues a popular plotline made famous with shows such as Superman or Bewitched where the main characters real identity must be kept a secret.  Girls in particular identify strongly with the clumsy goofy Miley and dream about being the confident and popular Hannah.
After three series, it’s become a little hazy on who’s ‘in’ on the teenager’s huge, unlikely, impractical secret, but since it’s basically become perfect fodder for most of the  jokes, it doesn’t ultimately matter. Every episode generally packs a life lesson where characters learn not to lie, learn about forgiveness, and humility. Overall, the series itself is about not forgetting your roots, which can be an important lesson for anyone to learn. As its often taught in a series of humorous events, viewers do not feel that they are being preached at.
Series 3 sees Miley juggle the challenges of growing-up such as getting her driver’s license, sticking her foot in her mouth on a radio talk show and dealing with secret crushes.  As always, with the help of her father and timely reality checks from best friends Lilly and Oliver, Miley learns valuable lessons in trusting her instincts and ways to make decisions which are right for her.  Series 3 part 2 also resolves the cliffhanger “What Will Miley Ultimately Decide?” left from part 1.
Disney is usually reluctant to allow most of their shows continue past 50 episodes, siting that the original ingredients cannot be reproduced over a lengthy period of time, that creativity dries up and fans become more demanding and specific about what they want and need to see their icons do and say.  In the case of Hanna Montana, they have made an exception.  With over 70 episodes now made, the Hanna Montana empire appears as strong and robust as it has ever been. Whilst the script may never make the Nobel Prize, its filled with fun and delivered with a freshness which is envied throughout Hollywood.  For die hard Hannah Fans, this is a must buy and see.  For those looking for entertainment for their tweenagers which will uphold a strong social basis, you could do alot worse than investing in the entire stock of Hannah Montana DVDs.
Image via Wiki

Annie would like to thank Porter Novelli for sending her the Hannah DVD to review.