Bellz Magnetic Pickup Game

Bellz is a fun magnetic pick up game from Spin Master that all the family can join in with and is also great to take away with you as it comes with it’s own handy travel pouch that stores all the pieces and doubles up as the game board.  Aimed at ages 6+, my 8 and 6yr olds were keen to give it a try!

The game comprises of the following parts:

  • A zip up travel pouch/game board
  • A double ended magnet

Lots of colourful bells in various sizes and 4 colours

bellzThe idea of the came is to collect all of the bells in one colour.  The colour you collect is determined by the first colour you pick up that no one else is already collecting.  The magnetic wand is used to pick up the bells and has a bigger stronger magnet at one end and a less powerful one on the smaller end. It’s up to you which end you choose but we found the big end really strong so tended to play with the smaller side.

You can pick up as many bells as you want in each turn, as long as they are all of the same colour otherwise play passes to the next person.  With the strength of the magnet you can make a chain of bells which adds to the excitement.

bellz-2My children loved this game, the jingle of the bells kept them excited and the thrill of what they could collect on the magnet.  It is tricky, not as easy as it looks at all, but we did have our own rules to simplify it a little.  For such a simple game, it has been played many times over the last few weeks and it’s always lovely to see both concentration and smiles on their faces. I also love the travel pouch, a round neoprene zip up case that holds all of the bells and magnetic wand so the game is completely self contained. bellz-3 A fun family game that everyone can enjoy and is great to take on holidays, weekends away for a bit of healthy competition and fun!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Addict A Ball Game for All Ages

When Addict A Ball arrived at our door I knew it’d have us all fascinated, frustrated and intrigued for hours, and it hasn’t disappointed.  With the name Addict, it certainly lives up to this and all the family have tried for hours to complete and although we can get further all the time, the end still defies us.

addict-a-ballThe game is enclosed within a giant plastic ball and consists of a maze which goes every way imaginable.  There is a small silver ball which you have to get from one end to the other.  The maze is marked with numbers along the way which you have to follow and it guides you through.  There are three starting points, so if you keep getting stuck at a certain point, you don’t have to go right back to the beginning, you can step in at the second or third starting points.

addict-a-ball-2To get through involves a lot of twisting and turning to balance the ball along it’s path and just a slight wobble can make the ball fall off of it’s track.  The game is aimed at all ages and both my 8yr old daughter as well as us adults have all spent much time playing with this.  It’s one of those things where you are determined to get further than the last person and the challenge keeps you motivated to keep trying and trying again until you succeed.addict-a-ball-3

The plastic around the ball has a slight flexibility to it, to prevent it from cracking if it has dropped so it is very durable.  This game has widespread appeal and is something you keep coming back to in order to out do your previous attempt.  I imagine this would make a wonderful Christmas present for any family who like a challenge and being suitable for all ages means this is a very versatile gift!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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My First Bananagrams – Review

My First Bananagrams is a variation of the original Bananagrams game, designed to make the game simple for younger players from age 4 upwards.  With a variety of games and activities that the tiles can be used for, children can learn whilst having fun and playing educational games.

bananagrams-2The tiles come in a simple zip up banana shaped bag.  This is really useful and keeps all the pieces together for storage.  It also opens nice and widely so that it’s easy for little fingers to help tidy away at the end of play.bananagrams-3The Bananagrams set comprises of 80 high quality single tiles and 13 combination tiles.  There are brightly coloured and differently coloured to help younger children recognise their letters.  Therefore letters such as p’s, b’s and d’s will always be different colours.  The letters are all small letters which are what preschool children learn to recognise first and the tiles also have a small line at the bottom to identify which way up the tile should go. Vowels are also easily seen by being coloured yellow.

bananagrams-4Both my children aged 5 and 8 were eager to have a play and we started with some simple letter recognition ideas that we found on the instruction sheet such as finding the letters in your name, finding each letter of the alphabet and making small little rhyming words such as cat and mat.  We then had a go at the main game, although gave Mister B some assistance being the youngest.  He was really good at finding words, he just needed a little help to link them together.

bananagrams-5The game is a race to use up all your letters and you can have unlimited swaps from the centre.  It is fast paced and fun and get’s everyone excited and competitive during play.  Of course you can slow things down for younger players and even help them to maintain their motivation to play with letters.

A fun game that all the family can join in with or little ones can explore the letters and make words on their own.  The game is available from Amazon and other toy retailers.

See a bit more about Bananagrams in our video below:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Family Fun Playing Croquet in the Garden

A great game for friends and family of all ages is croquet, the perfect fun for all ages and great for garden gatherings, bbq’s etc.  The Sandford croquet set from Big Game Hunters is a high quality wooden set that I knew all the family would enjoy.

CroquetThe set comprises of:

  • 2 adult size mallets
  • 2 smaller junior mallets
  • 2 full size balls
  • 2 junior balls
  • 6 metal hoops
  • 1 wooden winning post
  • Carry bag to carry and store the set.
  • Rules

The bag to store the set in is really useful, keeps all the parts together and makes it easy to carry around, although I have to warn you that it is very heavy.  This is because all the parts are solid wood, so really are the best quality.

Croquet 2I like the way the set is designed for a family with a combination of adult and child mallets and the same with the ball sizes which are again solid wood.  Everything is beautifully made so you really are paying for what you get with this set retailing at £99.99.

It was then time to try it out which the children were itching to do so we invited the grandparents over for an afternoon of tea, cake and croquet.  What I love about this game is that it reaches all ages, young or old, it brings families together.  My parents in their late sixties joined in along with my children aged 8 and 5.

Croquet 4The children thoroughly enjoyed playing croquet even if we did play to our own rules, but we kept it simple and fun and it was a big hit with everyone.  This is definitely a family game and really brings about a bit of competitiveness that everyone can enjoy.

Croquet 3The quality of the set comes through when you are playing and it feels good to play with, it’s all very sturdy, looks nice and everything is a good size.

We’ve really enjoyed playing this game as a family through three generations and know it’ll be something that will come out on any dry days for a bit of fun and entertainment.
All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.
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Disney Frozen Race to the Palace Board Game

Disney Frozen Race to the Palace board game from Ravensburger is aimed at 5yrs plus and can be played by 2-4 players.  Initially it appears a fairly simple game of climbing places to reach the palace, but it has an interesting combination of three dice and the fact that you don’t just move your own player makes it more complex.

Frozen race to the palace xInside the box are three pieces that join together to create the playing board, along with a large card that stands up to be the Arendelle palace and five figure cut outs with stands, four tokens and three dice.

The game is easily assembled and then play can commence.  The characters used in this game are Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf.  There is also Hans although no one own’s him and the aim of the game is to race him to the castle.  If he gets there first then he wins, but if another character get’s there first then they win.

Frozen race to the palace 2

The game starts by each playing selecting a token, they take a look but don’t reveal which character they are playing.  You then take turn to roll the dice.  You will roll either two colours and a number or one number and two colours.  The colour tells you how many spaces to move and the colour determines which character or characters you move.  If you roll a white you can pick any character of your choice, which is where tactics come into play and you obviously want to choose the character that’s on your token.

Frozen race to the palace 3

There is also a space on the board with friendly trolls that allows you to jump ahead two spaces and a giant snow creature which sends you back one space.   When a character reaches the castle, it is declared the winner and players can then reveal which character’s token they had.

My children both loved this game, particularly 5yr old Mister B who quickly grasped the game rules, which I think was great and he got really excited during gameplay.  I think he was the perfect age for this although he does have a good understanding of things generally.

Frozen race to the palace 4

This is a really fun game that we’ve all enjoyed and has been well thought out.  I thought each game would only last about 5 minutes but we found it lasted a good 15 minutes and all the family joined in.

Disney Frozen Race to the Palace Board Game is a must for any Frozen fan who will love playing with all the familiar characters from the film, it’s also a game we have been playing most days which is great and shows it has long lasting appeal.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Bugs in the Kitchen Game from Ravensburger

Bugs in the Kitchen from Ravensburger is a fun, exciting, fast paced game where the momentum never stops until the Hexbug is caught in one of the four traps at the edge of the board.

bugsThe game is aimed at ages 6+ and can have from 2 to 4 players.  Inside the box is the game board and a couple of bags of pieces which require assembly to complete the board ready for play, but it’s simple and once done, fits back in the box fully assembled ready for the next time you play.

The board consists of the main part where the action happens, which has moveable cutlery pieces and four traps at the edges, a chocolate, fish, bread and cheese trap.  There is a wooden dice and the highlight of the game, a Hexbug cockroach!!

bugs 1The Hexbug comes with battery included and my children were both eager to take it out of it’s tube and watch it scuttle, but being a mean mum I made them wait until we were ready to begin.  There were also a sheet of high quality cardboard cockroach token’s that needed punching out and these are the reward if the cockroach landed in your trap.

hexbugSo as you’ve gathered by now, the object of the game is for the Hexbug cockroach to land in your trap, which results in you getting a token, and after you have won five of these tokens you are declared the winner.  The board is set up as a maze with three suggested patterns to start as shown below by simply turning the cutlery accordingly.

bugs 2The game play is for players to take turns to roll the dice.  The dice is wooden and a lovely chunky size with symbols on the sides to include a knife, fork, spoon and question marks.  If you roll a piece of cutlery you must turn the relevant piece, although if you roll a question mark you can turn any piece of cutlery of your choice.  The idea is to turn pieces of cutlery to allow the Hexbug to reach your trap by turning the necessary pieces of cutlery to allow it through!

It’s like a Hexbug maze and the noise of the Hexbug scuttling around just drives the children crazy with excitement!!  Just check out this video clip of the game in action:

They are so eager to get the Hexbug in to their trap that this game is fast paced and causes a frenzy of excitement.  It is perfect for family fun and we’ve all sat and played it which has proved great entertainment for us all at any age.  Obviously there is some strategy needed to turn the correct cutlery to open the maze up for the Hexbug to go in the direction you want, but my youngest who’s four and a half managed this quite well and loved playing just as much as my seven year old.

bugs kidsThis game has proved a great hit with us, and one they love to show their friends, and even got the grandparents playing!  For some energetic, interactive board game fun, then Bugs in the Kitchen is the game to get!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the products in order to write the review.

Pancake Pile-Up Relay Game – Review

Pancake Pile-Up from Learning Resources is a fun, fast paced team game that all the family can enjoy.  With two teams of up to six players in each, this is a game that encourages team work, promotes physical activity and builds a competitive atmosphere that everyone get’s involved in.  Also for younger players it helps develop recognition with the different toppings on the pancakes and also hand eye coordination as they balance the pancakes on the spatulas.

Pancake PileupThe game comes with two plastic spatulas, 10 soft plastic pancakes (in 5 different flavours), two plastic pieces of butter, 10 order cards, two cardboard plates and instructions.  Being soft plastic, the pancakes are durable and won’t break which is what you need when you are carrying them across the room. The box is made of an extremely sturdy cardboard which is fantastic to store the game in, but the bottom is actually used as part of the game play.  It has the image of a griddle on it, upon which you place the pancakes and this is where you collect them from during the game.

pancake1First you need to separate players into two teams and then select an order card which shows you the order of the different flavoured pancakes that you need to stack.  Also place the plates at one end of the room and the griddle with the pancakes at the other.

Then it is time to start, with the first player in each team running across to the griddle with their spatula, selecting the correctly topped pancake and running back to their team, carefully balancing the pancake on the spatula and placing it on the plate.  The next player in the team then runs across and collects the next pancake on the list until a tower of pancakes is built that matches the order card.  The first team to successfully do this are the winners!

pancake2pancake3

 

When I showed my two children the Pancake Pile-Up game, their eyes lit up and they were eager to play.  They both love playing games and often prefer them to toys so I knew they’d be excited at a new game.  They immediately took charge and decided to be team captains and picked their team members from a choice of mummy, daddy and their grandparents.  Then the relay started and they were away, I have to say the atmosphere in the room was brimming with cheers, encouragement and excitement as we took our turns at collecting a pancake for the pile.  Once the pile was complete and we had a winning team they immediately wanted to mix the teams up a bit and play again.

pancake4The suggested age range for this game is 4-8 years, so this was perfect for 6yr old Miss M.  Mister B is only 3yr’s old but is more than capable of playing this and totally grasped the game although did require a little direction.  He often got caught up in the excitement and came back with a different flavoured pancake to which he went for but non the less we let him off as he was enjoying it so much!

pancake5Pancake Pile-Up is such a simple game but one that children absolutely love and it really does bring people together.  Normally we are sat down to play games and children can get bored or distracted, but with Pancake Pile-Up we were all (adults included) totally engrossed in the game throughout as we cheered, motivated and encouraged each other along in a bid to be the winning team.

We love Pancake Pile-Up, it has been a huge success with our family.  I think the relay team aspects and the physical side of it really add to the fun and enjoyment.  My children have played with it again and again sometimes just by themselves racing to build their pile of pancakes.  We are seeing family this weekend and my children are keen to take it with us to play with Auntie K, Uncle K and Cousin L.  I think this game is versatile and would make a great children’s party game, and definitely one to bring out at Christmas.  But with pancake day on it’s way this year, it’s perfect to get children thinking about Shrove Tuesday and planning their desired toppings for their pancakes.

If you have young children and are looking for a fun, quick paced family game that everyone will enjoy, then why not give Pancake Pile-Up a try?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the game in order to write the review.

My Little Pony – A Canterlot Wedding – App Review

My Little Pony is a favourite with most little girls, and this latest App, A Canterlot Wedding is a lovely interactive storybook with activities that can be played over and over again.

My little pony app canterlot weddingThe story follows the preparation for the Royal Wedding.  Princess Celestia, the bride to be has allocated jobs to each of the ponies in Canterlot, but they need help to carry them out.

The images are bold and bright in this My Little Pony storybook, something Miss M really enjoyed looking at and listening to.  The word are written on each page, but also read out loud and you are prompted when to turn the page.  During the story, there are opportunities to help the ponies carry out their jobs, such as decorated the wedding cake, choosing the bridal outfit for Princess Celestia and picking flowers.

My little pony app picsMiss M really had fun going through the storybook with a smile on her face as she turned each page to see what came next.  I asked her opinion of the My Little Pony storybook at the end and she said “I loved it”.

I thought this was a lovely app, then many young girls would enjoy although I would say Miss M, at 6 is at the upper age range to enjoy this.  I think girls aged 3-6 years would really get the most out of this and go back to it again and again.

The app is available through iTunes and is currently half price, so now’s the time to buy a copy if you know a little girl that might like this.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received a free code in order to try out the app and write the review.

Shelby’s Snack Shack Game – Review

We love playing games as a family, and with 5yr old Miss M being the queen of games in our house, she was really excited when Shelby’s Snack Shack game arrived from Learning Resources.

Shelby's Snack Shack Game

The first thing you notice about Shelby’s Snack Shack game is the unique shaped box.  It definitely catches your eye with it’s bright, fun pictures and shaped design.  The game is aged at ages 4+, so Miss M is the ideal age to play.  The idea is to collect as many bones as you can and the winner is the one with the most in their bowl at the end of the game.   The box is incorporated into the game and used to place the bones.

A double spinner determines what you do on your turn whether it’s collect some bones, steal bones from other players or miss a turn.  If you do need to collect or return bones there is a second spinner to let you know how many bones you gain or lose.  This provides excellent number and counting skills for little ones as well as them getting used to gameplay and being competitive.  The expression on Miss M’s face when she lands on miss a turn is a picture although she is learning that this is part of the game and she has to accept that she doesn’t always collect lots of bones and be the winner!

Shelby Snack Shack game

The cutest thing about this game has to be Shelby a cute dog shaped pair of tweezers that are used to pick the bones up in this game.  This is an added feature that gives the game a unique aspect, but at the same time lots of fun and extra excitement for little ones.  It also helps aid coordination and fine motor skills so lots of added value with Shelby as part of the game.

Shelby's Snack Shack 2

We have thoroughly enjoyed playing this game,  it is well made and has lots of unique aspects.  It is fun, exciting and competitive to see who can collect the most bones.  It encourages learning in numbers, counting and general game playing skills.  An attractive, high quality game that young children will love and great for families to enjoy together.  We certainly have and if you’d like to try the game for yourself, check out the opportunity to win below.

For your chance to win 1 of 5 copies that Learning Resources are giving away, please click HERE to enter their competition.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

HABA Catch Me! Tin Game – Review

Our final toy in HABA’s 75th Anniversary celebration is a very cute little game called Catch Me! a cat and mouse game in a tin.

Catch Me! Tin Game by HabaCatch Me! by HABA is a simple but fun game that packs away in a small tin, ideal for travel, out and about etc.  The game uses the tin as the role of the cat and the players have to pull their mice off the circle of felt as quickly as possible before the cat traps them.  There is an added dimension to the game with the die which allows certain coloured mice to escape.

Miss M really enjoyed playing Catch Me!, more than I initially thought she would.  Although the game is over almost as quick as it is started, Miss M loved the thrill of pulling the mice away quickly or being the cat with the tin trying to trap the mice.  We had lots of fun and laughs playing this.

HAba catch me 2

I love the little tin the game comes in and the pieces are all well made inside.  This will definitely be coming on holiday with us this year and with up to six players able to play we can all join in the fun.

We love this game from HABA and Miss M gave it a big thumbs up!

Haba_4c_F_Logo75F_01All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.