Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tried & Tested - Outdoor Toys and Activities

Available from: Focus DIY
Suitable from: None give - would say 2+

Initial Reaction: Surprise .Great and sturdy looking kit for litter gardeners.

  • Very pretty set
  • All perfect size for little fingers/hands
  •  Will encourage gardening/outdoor play .
  • Light weight,

  • Bucket could be a little flimsy and may break if stood on
  • Knee pad again may not last

Value for money? Yes
Overall Reaction: I loved this kit and so did the kids, not only is it cute but it is also practical. Nothing is to heavy/dangerous and is just perfect for kids to play with (or help out mummy with) . The knee bad was great and really helped protect their knees. It is hard to say anything this - it is very cheap and great value for money. After about 4 weeks of being used most days it is still in great condition and the kids love getting in the garden with it. All little girls should have this set. 
Price: From around £20+
Available from: Stores nationwide check list here

Initial reaction: When I was sent this to review I was really excited! I was a child of the 70's and fondly remember my orange space hopper.  With Happy Hopperz, bouncing just got even cooler!  These cute, bold coloured animals are fast becoming an iconic product.

  • Quick and easy to inflate and deflate, these take up much less storage space than traditional sit on toys.
  • Aids core balance and stability as well as helping develop co-ordination skills.
  • Fun and funky - this is fast becoming a 'must-have' toy.
  • Wide range of colours and animals to choose from.

At 3 years old my daughter decided she was too old for it - like she's so grown-up now! I really don't get her sometimes - I personally would love an adult version for myself! Our friend's 2 year old absolutely adored it though, as do other children who've visited.

There was quite a bit of falling off while they got the hang of it, so I'd recommend using indoors on carpet etc or grass outside.

Value for money: Yes. I was actually surprised at the price - I'd seen them at the Baby Show and expected them to cost a lot more.

Overall reaction:

These are definitely ones for 'cool kids'!  Really quirky characters, a great innovation and I think they'll become a household name.  Great fun - Happy Hopperz, if you're reading, can we have a grown up version please?!
By: Liz

Creative Kite Kit
Price: £7.95
Available from: Handpicked Collection
Suitable from: 6 yrs plus 

Initial Reaction: This is a 'decorate your own' kite kit, and looked to me like the perfect 'dad' activity for my daughter and her dad to do together.  Generally crafty sessions are done by me, but he was keen to get involved with this one.

  • Everything is included in the kit - right down to the colouring crayons, so it's a perfect 'self contained activity'.
  • A lot of 'bang for your buck' as they say! From making and decorating the kite to flying it, this kit provided hours of entertainment, and will continue to do so.
  • Good value for money.
  • Sturdy kite, which held it's own on the downs with all the professional kites.
  • For older kids (and geeky dads!) it also includes lots of scientific facts and flying information.
  • I think this would make a great Father's Day activity, lots of quality time.
  • The crayons were not very bright (or perhaps our daughter didn't press hard enough), but it just meant it wasn't easy to see the decoration once it was up in the air.
  • 'Daddy' struggled a bit with the construction instructions - even though he's a good 30 years older than the suggested age range!
Value for money? Yes.

Overall Reaction: This was a really enjoyable activity from start to finish.  Our daughter was very proud of her kite and couldn't wait to take it flying.  Brookite make a whole range of other kits and ready-built kites, which are well worth a look - there are some real eye-catchers on their site.

By Liz

Price: from £31.99
Available from:  Vtech, Amazon, ELC, Mothercare
Suitable from18 – 36 months

Initial Reaction: I thought this would be a great toy for LS to enjoy and one that could be changes when she got bored of it being a certain way.

  • 3in1
  • Easily change from walker, to ride along to scooter.
  • Great bright happy colours
  • Great learning songs
  • Very stable product.
  • Great design
  • Lots of different things to do and play with on it.
  • Basket doesn’t stay on very well.
Value for money? Great value for money.

Overall Reaction: Fantastic product!! LS loves it hasn’t stopped playing with it since she got it. All the songs are really cheerful. I love how it can easily it can b changed from walker to ride along to scooter and also how quickly it can be changed back because some products are really stiff and some can’t be hanged back once you change them. Really love this product!

By Danii

Britain’s Big Farm 6430 John Deere Remote Control Tractor

Price: £40
Available from: available from all good toy retailers stockist number  01271 336155.
Suitable from:  3 years

Initial Reaction:  Lovely brightly coloured box with good size play tractor in – children very excited as they love tractors and both dream of driving one when they are older!

  • Quality product – very hard wearing (to survive a day with my children, who really do “test to destruction”, and get through it in one piece is saying something).
  • Realistic tractor features – cab lights, engine sounds etc and also 1:16 scale of the real thing
  • Forwards, backwards, left and right steering
  • Supplied with batteries – always a plus particularly if giving as a gift
  • Compliments the range of other toys – trailer, bales, fertiliser sack etc. – that are available
  • Tough enough to work on grass and more rugged terrain
  • Excellent for children’s coordination
  • It can go very fast (unlike a real life tractor!) particularly indoors

Value for money? Excellent, would be perfect for any tractor-loving child

Overall Reaction:  Really positive, the children loved it and played for hours with it. Great for role playing and with the sunny weather here it was great to get out in the garden and test out some off-roading. Highly recommended.
By Louise

Price: £29.99
Available from: All good toy stores.
Suitable from: Age 6+

Initial Reaction: fabulous, the boys were so excited and couldn’t wait to get it out of the box.

Pros: Easy to set up with easy to read instructions, we liked the fact that that the swingball is height adjustable.

Cons: The base takes a bit of time filling up, we used sand but you can use water too

Value for money?  Extremely good value for money.

Overall Reaction: The swingball is a definite hit with the boys, we had a good few hours of fun with it last night, having competitions, as it is height adjustable. Spare parts are available from Mookie

We couldn’t find anything negative to say about the swingball and I imagine there will be lots of fun to be had over the coming months.
By Cherylin 

Boys Adventure Cross Bow
Price: £14.95
Suitable from: Age 6+

Initial Reaction: The crossbow looked good and sturdy and my 7 year old was very excited, Packaging was eye catching.

Pros: Easy to use and made from sturdy material

Cons: There were only 3 darts supplied and the targets were on the back of the box.

Value for money?  We thought the cross bow was a little too expensive for what it was.

Overall Reaction:  Overall, we felt a little let down with this product, reading in the 
catalogue, it says there was a spare string, sight and assembly locking screw, we could really have used these as there was no locking device with the product at all, OH had to find one in the shed. The front guard kept flying off every time the trigger was pulled, meaning that we had to look for it before using again.

The cross bow didn’t keep my 7yo’s attention for long, but my 11 yo quite liked it and had more patience with it, he enjoyed shooting at the targets.

By Cherylin 

Price: £39.99 
Available From: Online toy stores and Mookie Stockists. 
Suitable From: 1-3yrs.

Initial Reaction: Loved it as soon as we saw it. Caleb couldn't wait to get it out the box and get on it. 

Pros: It folds down almost completely flat for storage and ease of carrying/travelling. Goes up and down in seconds. Easy to use. Great for indoors or outdoors. Wheels rotate 360 degrees for ease of movement. Easy to push and steer. Great pre-bike toy. Lovely colour ranges and cute design.

Cons: Seriously cannot find any. 

Value for money: Great. 

Overall reaction: We adore our scramble bug. It goes everywhere with us and all the kids who play here love it too. It’s the firm favourite outdoor toy and so cute. I would recommend the scramble bug to anyone with toddlers and think the skills it helps them develop are great for future biking. Its so easy to fold up and down and slides easily in the boot for day trips and going to grannies house. 

The colour range available is gorgeous and there's one for every taste. 
I can't recommend the Mookie Scramble Bug enough. 

By Julie 

Bucket and Spade, Balls, Water Pistols, Golf Set.

Price: £1
Available From: Poundland
Suitable From: Various ages check items.

Initial Reaction: What a great range of products

  • You get quite a bit for your money, for example the bucket and spade sets come with at least 7 items.
  • Ideal if you have a small budget
  • Lots to choose from

  • The stitching on the soft balls came undone
Value for money: Great. 

Overall reaction:  Poundland do a great range of toys and with them only being a £1 each it’s perfect for any budget.  BG had great fun testing all the toys out. She loved the small bucket and spade set, it was ideal for her little sand table in the garden.  She really enjoyed playing with the golf set and mummy and daddy had fun with water pistols. BG can be quite heavy handed with toys so I’d rather her break something that costs a £1 rather than break more expensive toys.  A shop worth a visit for this summer’s toys.

 By Carol

Big Bubble Wand
Price: £2.49
Available From:  Find Me A Gift
Initial Reaction:  BG “mummy that makes big bubbles"

  • Makes both small and large bubbles
  • Easy to use
  • Little mess
  • Lots of bubble mixture

  • None

 Value for money: Great. 

Overall reaction:  BG is bubble mad so this was great for her. She’s not very good at blowing them herself or swishing it to make the big bubbles but she is only 2 ½.

 By Carol

Yeominis - Starting Gardening Set
Price: £13.99
Available from: www.greenfingers.com
Suitable from: 3+

Initial Reaction: Brightly coloured, fun gardening accessories – trowel, spade, watering can in handy bag with an illustrated book full of useful information for the beginner gardener.

  • Excellent quality products
  • Lovely brightly coloured bag with lots of pockets for putting all your gardening bits in
  • Yellow enamel trowel and spade – great for digging, sturdy and hardwearing
  • Fantastic Usborne gardening book with some excellent informative and colourful content
  • Children loved the products and had great fun looking through the book, asking lots of questions!


  • Really can’t think of any but it would be handy to include a few other bits such as gloves, seeds etc. so they can really get stuck in.
Value for money? Great value for money for a quality product that will get used lots and last.

Overall Reaction: Love this product, would make great gift for any child who is interested in the outdoors. It is also very educational for them to learn more about where their food comes from, how easy it is to grow salads, vegetables etc,plus the role of insects, birds etc in the garden.

Price : £35
Available from : Early Learning Centre , Amazon, Prezzybox, Boots and other online retailers
Suitable from : Age 3 onwards 

Initial Reaction : I initially thought this looked like a great toy. Its a series of different size poles and balls which click together to create a variety of structures such as a tent or a fort, you then add a sheet or blanket and let the kids play in it. Versatile, creative and a good building challenge. I could imagine my boys building all sorts of things and then playing, or hanging out in them afterwards.

Pro's: Its two toys in one , a building toy and then a play tent.

Con's : The balls and poles dont fit together very snugly meaning the structures fall apart very easily. This means the process is a little frustrating as the structures cannot really be played in without them needing constant rebuilding.

Value for money: The cost seems reasonable for this type of toy.

Overall Reaction: Although we had fun building with this toy , the structure fell apart very 
easily. This was frustrating and means I would be less likely to use this toy regularly.

By Ella 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot for all this amazing reviews, it is much easier picking an outdoors toy now. Great job!


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