Monday, 1 September 2014

ScienceX Mini - Dinosaurs – Review

We were asked to review the ScienceX Mini Dinosaurs kit from Ravensburger over 
the summer holidays. I am always looking for new things to get the boy excited 
about learning, and this kit which is part of a great range of ScienceX kits looked 
a perfect place to start.

scienceX Dinosaurs

The ScienceX Dinosaurs kit is available on-line and from shops with a RRP 
£7.99 and recommended age of 8+. The age advisory on this kit is due to 
the inclusion of plaster in the kit, where adult supervision is essential. 
The ScienceX Dinosaurs kit contains 6 activities, with a bright colourful guide 
full of information as well as details of each activity.

Supplied: Dinosaur cut panels for two models, Excavation block, 
Plaster powder, Plaster mould.

Not supplied: Tools for excavation (we used an old butter knife), paint
brush, glue, measuring jug, and a pot to mix the plaster.

You can start with activity one, a fun Dinosaur timeline game, which explains 
when each species of Dinosaur lived, or like the boy, jump straight into 
building the T-rex! The first think I noticed about the ScienceX Dinosaurs 
kit is that it is not over packaged. The box is the perfect size for the content, 
and sturdy like the jigsaw boxes that Ravensburger produce. As a parent 
over packaged toys are a big bugbear of mine, and its nice to see that this 
ScienceX has only the packaging that it needs.

The boy set about activity six, building the T-Rex skeleton. He needed no 
help from me for this activity. The pieces pop out of the panels, and slot 
together to form a very pleasing model.

scienceX dinosaurs trex

Next was the excavation of the Megalosaurus tooth. We talked about how 
archaeologists would take their time and care when digging up a fossil. 
So despite the boys keenness to get the tooth out, he did attempt to take his time. 
The block is formed of a fine powder, easy to scrape away with a spoon, 
or like us blunt butter knife. I think out of all the activities in the 
ScienceX Dinosaur kit this was the boys favourite. He was proud of his
 findings, and was excited to get on with the next activity.

sciencex dinosaurs megalosaurus tooth

There are two activities where you can make a plaster model of firstly a 
Nautilus, then an Archaeopteryx, and the instructions do tell you to weigh 
out 50g of plaster for each. As the kit only contained 50g of plaster we 
worked out that these two models had to be made at the same time. 
We used a plastic cup to mix our plaster and a lolly stick was a perfect stirrer. 
The boy couldn’t wait for his fossils to dry, and we were very pleased with 
the finished results.

sciencex dinosaurs plaster

The only disappointment with the kit was the Pteranodon model. 
You will need strong glue, as we used a PVA and this didn’t work at 
all with the shiny high gloss paper. The boy was disappointed with this model, 
and said he didn’t think it looked very good at all. I have to agree with this, 
and think it would have been more fun to have the Pteranadon as a flyable 
paper aeroplane, type model.

dinosaurs sciencex kit

Overall we are very impressed with the ScienceX Dinosaurs kit. From my 
point of view the boy was entertained for  a couple of afternoons, and learning. 
The kit is great value for money, and something I will consider for a friends 
party gift. It’s not over packaged (hurrah) and the boy?

He said “It was great fun getting the tooth out, the Pteranodon was not good, 
but the T-rex is the best and I think I will put on my desk”

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review of Ravensburger Puzzle - Happy Days, Blackpool (1000 pieces)

blackpool Ravensburger puzzle

The Artist
The oil paintings by artist, Kevin Walsh have been reproduced on many greetings cards, plates and biscuit tins, and prints as well as jigsaw puzzles. Walsh paints those stone walled, idyllic countryside scenes of people picnicking, walking or playing sports. He depicts British life from an earlier time, childhood days post WWII…and the sun is usually shining … things like the traditional farmyard, seaside towns, the village green, street parties, and he will often include a mechanical/motorized vehicle from the 1950s, sometimes a tram, or a steam engine in its full glory. The historic detailing is expert, as Walsh researches his subject in great depth before he starts a project. The nostalgia in the imagery has earned Walsh wide attraction and appeal for his work and he has established a following of collectors. He has a prestigious list of clients to his name (including Ravensburger) and UK commissions include Harrods and Cadbury.

The Theme
This picture is a wonderful depiction of this famous Lancashire seaside town. The Blackpool Tower features of course, and pleasure beach attractions include a DH Dragon Rapide plane flying high. Trams are lining up at street level, and three donkeys are being led to the beach by a man with a walking stick wearing a flat cap. The cigarette smoking, young man dressed as a Teddy Boy and the woman with the headscarf and the Be Bop dress are showing off 50’s fashion. The seagulls and the people ‘promenading’ give a sense of the place. Happy Days, Blackpool includes that fluffy clouded skyscape that appears in many of Walsh’s designs. Skies are always a challenge for the puzzle enthusiast to correctly find and place those subtle shades of blue, grey and white. The image is not quite as sharp and bright as some digitally enhanced/produced artwork we have seen previously when reviewing Ravensburger jigsaws, this is due to the format and composition of the original; yet it is colourful enough and is in keeping with the theme itself.
The Product
This premium jigsaw consists of 1000 pieces which demonstrate soft click technology, and, as with all puzzles for 12 years to adult, there’s also a leaflet with the artist’s biography and an additional picture inside the box. This jigsaw is rectangular on completion, and measures 69.9 x 49.7 cm approx. Not suitable for children under 36 months (small pieces). RRP £11.99.
The Promoting
There is a range of ‘Happy Days’ themed jigsaws available with artwork by Kevin Walsh. Other Happy places from the collection include Oxford, The Cotswolds, The Lake District, London, York, Weymouth to name a few.
Communication and online selling of this item includes:

This review will also appear at Ravensburger Puzzle club

Monday, 18 August 2014

Mice in Love - 3D Puzzle Disney Eiffel Tower


I love jigsaws I find them calming but with being a busy mum I don’t tend to sit down and do the ones with little pieces, especially with little people. However this 3D Mickey and Minnie Eiffel Tower limited edition was just too cute not to attempt to make with them. And although baby J got bored very quickly and was more interested in watching Kinder eggs being opened on youtube on my phone (lol) but Ky on the other hand immediately loved it and so I had some mummy time with my big boy until my mum came round and joined in, she has always loved puzzles too.
In the box you have 216 Numbered puzzle pieces, the accessories needed to build the tower and the instructions.
First you start by putting the little square stands into your pretty board.
All of the pieces have little numbers with arrows on to show you where the next piece goes. I thought this was really clever and also loved that the pieces are plastic. When I was little I remember my mum having a 3D puzzle and it was made from some sort of foamy stuff. Yuck!
Me and Ky set about looking for and sorting the numbers so although this was fun we were getting some maths in here too!
Once we have completed the first section we have to pop it into the stand, having baby J around this was quite an achievement we placed the little square keeper onto the pieces and then we then began to work on tier 2.
puzzle 7When tier 2 was complete it really starting looking more like the eiffel tower and it was really nice to see the detail in the jigsaw, all the different imagery of mickey and mini and flashing lights. We added the last square keeper and began on tier 3.
puzzle 8
Tier 3 was by far the fiddliest with lots of the pieces being the folded pieces for the edges. But once we were finished this it meant ky was able to add the ‘finishing touch’ as he called it piece. The little blue spiked piece to complete the Eiffel puzzle.
puzzle finish
And this is the finished thing. I do love it, I would have liked to have kept it up as an ornament for my office but it didn’t seem the right thing to do with Baby J around and the fact that it’s a jigsaw so it has been carefully been packed away for the next time we fancy some calming fun.
If you wanted to own this gorgeous puzzle it’s currently on sale on Amazon 
Review By 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Review - Medieval House 3D Puzzle from Ravensburger

A few months back Harry and I had a lot of fun reviewing the 3D Taj Mahal Puzzle from Ravensburger, so when I was offered the chance to try another puzzle from the range I knew that we'd enjoy it. Harry was so excited to see the parcel, and he wanted to get started immediately!

The Medieval House 3D Puzzle has 216 pieces and is aimed at builders aged 10 plus, although I think that children younger than that could definitely complete it with some adult help. The house is mainly put together with numbered plastic puzzle pieces. There is also an instruction booklet to help you with the order of assembly that you need to follow.

For a more difficult challenge you could complete it using just the picture side, but you do have to be careful that you've got it right, as sometimes the pieces can be put together in several different ways.

Ravensburger 3D puzzle medieval cottage

The main part of the house is built using the jigsaw pieces, then there are additional plastic pieces to slot in for the roof and chimneys. It all fits nicely onto a base board, and it didn't take us too long to put the house together. It's a fantastic exercise for Harry to practice his numbers. I helped him to sort the pieces out into tens and then he put them together in the correct order. He loved joining all the pieces together, and then I helped with bending the corner pieces and fitting it all onto the board.

ravensburger 3d puzzle medieval cottage

This model was a lot simpler than the Taj Mahal with not nearly as many extra pieces. It perhaps doesn't represent much of a challenge for an adult puzzler, but it is a lot of fun for an adult to do with a child. The finished cottage is sturdy, lovely to look at and it would look nice on display, I know we'll have it out for a few days before packing it away for next time. Harry has also been having fun just playing with it, and flying it around like a spaceship!

We'll definitely be looking out for more of the puzzles in this range

ravensburger 3d puzzle medieval cottage

Review by Jennifer's Little World 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Ravensburger Disney Planes Puzzles Review

Joseph, like many three year old boys, is mad about anything Disney Cars or Disney Planes so he was ecstatic when a delivery from Ravensburger arrived with two awesome Disney Planes jigsaws for him.

Imogen has always been a jigsaw whizz but Joseph has never really shown that much interest, that is until now! He received two puzzles the first being a 35 piece featuring characters from the new Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue film.  In this puzzle Dusty, Windlifter, Blad Runner, Cabbie and Lil Dipper coming to the rescue of Piston Peak National Park which is threatened by a raging wildfire. 

Ravensburger Disney Planes

The second was a 4 in a box set which has a 12, 16, 12 and 24 piece puzzle included.  Each puzzle features Dusty, Lil Dipper, Cabbie and Windlifter individually. 

Disney Planes Ravenesburger Puzzles

Joseph’s really enjoyed seeing the new characters from Disney Planes & Rescue and now can not wait to see the film.  He loves the puzzles and has taken his time to complete all of them all by himself, without any frustration I may add!  The puzzles are really good quality with bright colours and nice details . Just like all Ravensburger puzzles the pieces are made from thick, recycled board with a matte finish to avoid glare.

Ravensburger Disney Planes Puzzles

Ravensburger Disney Planes Puzzles

Both of these puzzles as well as others are available from Amazon with prices starting from just £3.99.

Review by Me and my kiddy winks 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Ravensburger Colosseum 3D Jigsaw Puzzle Review

I was really pleased to be sent this to review; jigsaws are getting awfully clever these days.  The 3D element makes it an interesting project and once built it becomes quite an eye-catching ornament.  It is aimed for children 10+ but my son who is 7 was perfectly capable of completing it on his own.  

The pieces are all numbered which helps considerably; otherwise in this case you would be at it forever as the Colosseum is made up of many similar looking pieces.  Not only are they numbered they also have a handy little arrow that shows you where the next piece should be placed, up, down or sideways and gradually piece by piece you see the striking Colosseum take shape.

I must admit having had such a positive experience this time I am glad I finally have some new Christmas present ideas to pursue.  When we blog about toys so regularly I often get asked what do you get the boys for Christmas? It is somewhat tricky, but Ravensburger have heaps more 3D puzzles to pick from including ones that actually light up, you can see them all here so I think I am sorted phew!

The building of the Colosseum kept eldest happily occupied for ages, he spent a few hours each day and then when he finally finished he proudly showed if off to everyone just before bedtime.  

With summer currently hiding here and it getting colder and raining more, these jigsaws are wonderful entertainment and a great way to introduce your children to the most famous buildings around the world.  So they are very educational in that respect, plus handling all the pieces is good for fine motor skills.  The end result is very sturdy; the pieces bend round well to slot into the stand.

The RRP of £24.99 seems reasonable given the entertainment value and the quality of the set.  I will definitely be extending our collection.

Review by Karen at Missing Sleep

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Disney Eye Found It! Game

Our family really enjoy playing board games and so when we received the new Disney Eye Found It! Game from Ravensburger my two boys couldn’t wait to get it out of the box. In fact my eldest discarded his favourite tablet device the moment he saw the box!

The first you will notice is that the board is huge! It comes in three parts that slot together and when complete measures six foot long. The jumbo board is packed full of artwork and favourite Disney characters and is solidly made.

Once the game starts the clock is ticking and players must work together to get to Cinderella’s castle before the clock strikes midnight. Traveling through 12 Disney realms, starting from Radiator Springs through Alice's Wonderland to Peter Pan's Never Land and Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood. Throughout the race, everyone searches for iconic Disney objects... and gets a chance to say, "Eye found it!"

This game is great as it encourages co-operation and teamwork and everyone has to use their observation skills in order to identify the objects.

My youngest is 3 ½ and wants to play it all the time. As I put him to bed last night he said “The Disney game is my new best friend”

The game will be available in September from Toys R Us, Smyths and Amazon.  It's definitely one to look out for!