Tag Archives: 2013 gift guide

KidKraft Farm Train Set Review

KidKraftFarmTrain

 

Ready to make your train lover happy?  The KidKraft Farm Train Set might be just what you are looking for the holidays this year!  My sons both love trains.  We can see and hear the train from our house, and they are fascinated, but they don’t care whether it’s Thomas or Chuggington or anyone else, as long as it’s a choo choo train!  The Farm Train Set is perfect, being durable, affordable, and entertaining for multiple ages.

This set is made of wooden track pieces, small figures and buildings, and train cars – a total of 75 pieces to keep your little ones busy.  Kids decide they love Thomas?  The KidKraft track is compatible with Thomas & Friends and Brio wooden train sets, too!  Our oldest has endless fun with the recognizable landmarks, such as a waterfall, barn, pond, windmill and various animals he identifies for us.  None of these pieces are attached to the track, so if your little one is not ready for small pieces yet, you can simply put those away and bring them out as the children grow and are ready for new adventures. 

 

KidKraftFarmTrainSet

 

The first time we saw a set like this was at our Toys R Us store, all set up on an activity table with trains and accessories galore.  We let our oldest son get down and play with it, and his first tantrum and attempt to run off was when we told him it was time to go.  I know, that doesn’t sound like a good thing, and he didn’t get to take any of it home that day.  But it did show us that he was incredibly interested in the wooden train sets, since it was the first thing he was so passionate about. 

The excitement was even stronger when he finally had his own set at home, and he loves knowing that once in a while, if he is good and helps Mommy and Daddy, he can add to his set with a small and inexpensive train car addition – compatible trains are sold at almost any major retailer!  It’s a great way to save money but also teach him about earning rewards and making careful selections. 

For a wooden train set, it’s hard to beat the quality and price of the KidKraft line.  A gift like this will last your little conductor for years to come, and could be just the start of a fun and educational collection!

 

Connect with KidKraft

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide

KidKraft was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for! 

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Prince Lionheart playMAT Plus Review

 PrinceLionHeartPlayMatPlusReview

 

With two kids aged two and under in the house, we have been looking for a play mat with roads on it to encourage pretend play with their cars.  Our playroom isn’t ready yet, so we needed something light and easy to move around, but durable and able to hold up to two very active kids.  We found our bright and colorful mat in the Prince Lionheart playMAT Plus.

The playMAT Plus is a light weight, sturdy, and cushioned playmat.  Measuring five feet eight inches by five feet, it is a great size because it does not take up the entire play area.  The mat feels like it is made of a rubbery foam core with a sturdy nylon exterior, but the materials are not listed on the packaging or labels, so I’m not positive what it is actually made with, though it is labeled as non-toxic.  It is water-resistant and cleanable by wiping or using a small amount of water and dish soap.  That takes a lot of the worry out of the equation – you don’t have to worry whether the mat will last through spills or spit up, and the soft core provides cushion for falls.

 

PrinceLionHeartPlayMatPlusPictures

 

Now for the fun part: each mat is double sided.  All mats have a city laid out with streets, trees, cars, people, and buildings, making it a fun place to ‘drive’ their little cars around.  There are currently three options for the opposite side.  The first is an ocean view, with fish, sharks, a whale, octopus, and a ship and sailboat on the surface.  There are plenty of colorful and fun looking items to look at, and the variety means you can teach your child to recognize, find, and name each animal.

The second option is an ABC mat.  This design is split into blocks for each letter of the alphabet.  Each block is a different color, and has a letter of the alphabet inside.  A fun depiction of an animal matching the letter is in the box, all with alliterative names like “Army Ant” and “King Kangaroo.”

The third option is the mat I chose, the farm landscape.  This design has an entire farm, including fields, animals, barns, windmills, people, and tools.  I chose this one because it seemed the most bright and colorful, which is great for my youngest who just turned one.  His older brother loves naming all the animals, telling us what noises they make, and making his cars drive around on the farm too! 

Both kids love playing on the mat, and they go back and forth flipping it over so they can play on each side.  There are only a couple things of note to mention: first, the mat is very lightweight.  This is a good thing, but it means that even my youngest can flip it over and drag it around – it doesn’t stay put.  Second, it comes rolled up in a sleeve, meaning the ends will roll up when you first put it on the floor.  I found that if you take it out, roll it the opposite direction, and put it back in the sleeve for a while, it will stop rolling up as much.  This step is important because when it rolls up, the kids tripped over it constantly while playing.

Overall I am glad we went with the playMAT Plus from Prince Lionheart, and our kids are definitely happy with it.   This will make the perfect gift for anyone who needs a soft play mat for a new baby, a fun mat for toddlers, or even a lightweight and versatile picnic mat for the park!  

 

Connect with Prince Lionheart

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Prince Lionheart was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for! 

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Simple Christmas Craft for Toddlers

This Christmas foam craft is perfect for toddlers

In my family, homemade gifts are always a favorite.  When Alex was 6 months old, we let him finger paint on canvases and gave each set of grandparents their own personalized canvas painting.  They absolutely loved it!  This year I wanted to find a way to give everyone a gift from him, including his aunts and cousins.  I don’t know about you but I just don’t have a closet full of craft items that I can just pick and choose from for my son to play with.  We have some of the basics…construction paper, crayons, cotton balls, pipe cleaners and a few other items.  I decided to browse Michael’s while they were having a huge sale a couple weeks ago and came across this fun set of foam ornament picture frame wreaths and it seemed just perfect!  I think I only paid around $5 for the box.  Considering it comes with 24 wreaths and the activity could be split over different days, that’s not too bad of a deal!  Here’s another cute foam ornament kit I found on Amazon! Continue Reading…

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Sofa – it’s toddler size!

This Mickey Mouse flip open sofa by Spinmaster is a definite hit with my boys this year!

 

One of the most often used gifts for my children this year is definitely the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Sofa.  Yes, I know… I gave it to them early in order to properly review it.  But the special moment hasn’t been taken away; I gave it to my youngest for his first birthday, which happens to be in November.  Both he and his older brother absolutely love it!

You’ve probably all seen the style of couch before, as it’s been around for decades now (wow, feeling old!).  It starts out as a cute toddler sized sofa, emblazoned with Mickey Mouse and pals on the front.  Grab the top of the back cushion and pull it to pull out a similarly small bed.  Unlike the couches available when I was younger, this has an attached sleeping bag, equally as covered in Mickey Mouse.  The sleeping bag can unzip from the couch to be used as a blanket, or for washing.  We removed the blanket from ours since our youngest likes climbing inside and isn’t able to figure his way out yet.  It isn’t dangerous, but he doesn’t like it yet.  Our older son, Alex, loves the Mickey blanket and enjoys cuddling under the Mickey Mouse blanket, on a Mickey couch, while holding his Mickey plush toy.

The outside of the couch is completely removable, and the inside is made of a sturdy foam, making the entire sofa soft and great for play at any age.  Both kids enjoy pushing it around, falling onto it, and leaning over so they fall off laughing.  The foam seems a bit sturdier than the old models, which just means even more years of fun!  If you have small kids on your list this year, and they don’t have their own seats like Mommy and Daddy, this is a perfect bet!  It’s one of the first things they’ve played with more than the box it came in, and it’s also useful as a spot for napping or sitting together nicely for activities.

 

Connect with Spin Master

Website  |  Purchase on Amazon (similar design as ours is no longer available)

 

 

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Daddy Scrubs was chosen to be included in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!  Are you looking for that perfect gift?  Check out the gifts on our list and you might find just what you were looking for!

 

Family Centsability was not monetarily compensated for this post. A product sample was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

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