Friday, October 24, 2014

October's Nerd Block Jr. for Girls

*Complimentary Review Box Provided


Twitter: @nerdblockjr
Instagram: @nerdblockjr

My daughter and I just got to check out the Nerd Block Jr. for first time!  It's geared toward girls between the ages of 6-11 and each month subscribers receive a box filled with toys, games, and collectibles from some of their favorite brands for $13.99 a month + shipping.  That sounded pretty cool to us & we couldn't wait to check it out.


Parents can choose between a boy and a girl box when ordering, which is really great, because boys and girls often have very different opinions on what is cool.  My eight year old was very excited when our purple box arrived for this review.

I really thought the box design was very well done.  It's a fun color so it definitely stands out!  There wasn't any packing material inside nor was there an information card.  However, the shipping label included what was inside as part of the customs declaration since this box came to us from Canada.  I think the values are divided up so that the total equals the monthly subscription price, as I feel some of the items are actually worth a higher value than what's listed.


As you could see before, the shipping label partially obscured the Nerd Block Jr.'s cool logo but there are other custom touches that make this a fun box to receive.  The logo is also on each side of the box and they've taken the time to also custom print their packing tape.  Once this is cut open and you lift the lid you are greeted with "WOO HOO!" printed underneath.  This extra effort gives me peace of mind that this is a legit and and established brand.

I have not had personal experienced this issue, but I have read about some people having issues with new or fledgling subscription services.  Things like the custom packaging, professionally made promotional videos, secure payment portals, etc. are important when researching into reputable services.  It shows that the company has also invested in making their service special and is planning for the long run.


Here was our first look, and right away I knew the Hello Kitty vinyl figure was enough to make this a hit!  As I mentioned,there wasn't any kind of additional packaging within the box but judging from the contents it wasn't necessary.  Everything reached us safe and sound.


The October Nerd Block Jr. for Girls included five items and there was a nice range of variety.


We'll start with that Hello Kitty Collectible Figurine: Zombie. The box gives this a value of $4 CAN but on Sanrio's site it's listed as $11.99 and I usually see these kinds of figures at around $10 so that seems on point.  Since that's almost two thirds of the price of the box, we really liked seeing this seasonally appropriate and fun toy inside.  My daughter actually squealed when she saw it.  Normally, I don't think zombies are very cute.  I don't get how they are a thing right now, but it seems that Hello Kitty can even make zombies cute!


These are very fun and cute, perfect for the parent who is not super good at applying Halloween makeup.  Since I'm one of those parents, we were especially happy to see these.  The black and hot pink go perfectly with her costume too.  It's very nice how two come in a package so one can be for Halloween night, with a spare for another event.


This DreamWorks' Dragons: Riders of Berk - Volume 2: Dangers of the Deep has a value listed as $3  CAN on the box label but the list price is actually $6.99 US.  It's sold on Amazon for $5.88 so I think that between the Hello Kitty vinyl figure and this graphic novel you are getting back at least the value of the purchase price for this subscription box.

My daughter wasn't very particularly thrilled about this particular book, even though she did sit down and immediately begin reading it.  I would say this falls more under a gender neutral item & it was actually sent out in both the Nerd Block Jr. for Boys and the Nerd Block Jr. for Girls this month.  The story skewed toward a plot generally enjoyed more by boys.

What I liked that it's a graphic novel so a little different than the normal early reader type book that are sold and are around the same size dimensions and length of pages.  I think a graphic novel has more appeal to both the lower and upper age range this box is targeted toward.


This is the only item that I'm not sure about it belonging.  Yes, Frozen is huge and little girls often love jewelry and anything glittery.  However, these bracelets are on the small size and I'm not sure if an eleven year old could even get them on their wrist.

I'm also finding that my daughter and her friends are beginning to like more sophisticated jewelry, the kind that looks like adult jewelry but in brighter colors and sized for them.   Plastic bracelets don't really cut it anymore.  These seem more appropriate for the preschool through age five crowd.  In fact, that's who we gifted these to, a four year old and she loved them.


Pin trading continues to be popular and my kiddo is no different from tons of others who love collecting.  She has a lanyard from Disney World with Tinkerbell on it.  This blue one appears to be something you get for free from your travel agent when you book your trip through them.  My son has claimed it since my daughter prefers the two she already has.

I think the cute pin more than makes up for this in my daughter's mind so I am glad they made a point to include a Minnie pin.   I did a search for this older pin and it can be found on Ebay for prices between $5.50-$8.99.  That sounds about right compared to the pins we've purchased at Disney World.   I am glad that both a lanyard and pin were included, since I think the pin on it's own might have seemed kind of random. It shows to me, that thought was put into deciding what to include in the box.


Over all, I think the concept of Nerd Block Jr. for Girls is a very neat and I like that it's designed for the age ranges of 6-11.  It's been my experience that it's easier to find quality kids subscription boxes for babies through preschool so this fills a void.  

While my eight year old was generally happy with what came in her box, she was expecting all out girly based on the promotional video and preview pictures on the website.  It came pretty close, with only the book being something she wasn't very interested in.

That being said, I didn't mind that a unisex book was included that because now we also have some things for my son to enjoy.  Plus I think overall the items included will appeal to a wider range of girls than just pink, pink, pink.  My daughter just happens to be that kind of girl.

Yes, the bracelets are a little on the young side but to be honest, I would rather she get something like that, than something too mature.  Plus I know many of her friends are going to be Frozen characters for Halloween so I can see why it was included.  It is a very hot and popular theme this year!

It's been my experience with my own subscription boxes that it's rare that you end up loving absolutely everything in a box so I would say that this box does fulfill what it's sets out to.  I also think the value of the box versus the price of the box + shipping, around $20 total per month, is there.  It's a good buy or gift idea if you want to provide your child or a special girl in your life with a fun and age appropriate surprise each month.  My daughter certainly enjoyed getting it and gives it two thumbs up!  What do you think of October's Nerd Block Jr. for Girls?   Hit or miss?

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chuggington Snow Rescue DVD: Coming December 9th

*2014 Holiday Gift Guide
If you have a train fan like I do, you might be interested to know that on December 9th Chuggington: Snow Rescue will be traveling home to DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Ludorum. This all new winter collection is a must-have for your little conductor this holiday season!

Embrace the spirit of the season with this all new festive winter adventure with beloved characters Wilson, Koko and Brewster. In the most wonderful time of the year, watch old and new friends go on a magical ride in these five specials filled with fun and heartfelt lessons enjoyable for kids and parents alike!  Here is a clip from the DVD to get you in the holiday spirit:


Description:

It's wintertime in Chuggington and the Chuggers are busy making preparations for the Parade of Lights Festival, adorning themselves in glowing colored lights for a special procession through Chuggington! But, when freezing fog traps Koko and a snowy avalanche derails Fletch, that’s when Wilson and the Chug Patrol team must set out on a wild winter rescue!   This action-packed collection features five Chuggington specials, including the all-new Snow Rescue Special airing for the first time this fall on Disney Junior!

Episodes Included:

  • Snow Rescue Special
  • Iron Chuggers
  • Deputy Chug Patrollers
  • Movie Maker Brewster
  • Toot’s Tall Tale
Special Features:
  • Bonus Badge Quest Episode: Wilson Winter Feed
  • New Character Montages: Fletch, Cormac and Tyne
  • Coloring and Activity Sheets (DVD-ROM)
I know my three year old loves everything Chuggington and would love to find this underneath the Christmas tree!  He loves watching his favorite characters and I like that he's learning important lessons about safety, responsibility, and teamwork.

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Disclosure: PR Materials Provided

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giveaway! VTech Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser™, Chomp & Count Dino™, Grow-Along Music Center™, & Smart Shots Sports Center™!!!

*2014 Holiday Gift Guide

*PR Samples Provided
Giveaway Provided by VTech

I have an AWESOME giveaway from VTech today; you are going to be as excited as I am.  It's HUGE and the suggested retail value is over $125!   The giveaway package will include four educational toys that are perfect for the toddler years. 

I'll provide the product description for each one, followed by my thoughts on them.  Since there are four products being reviewed at once, I won't be quite as in depth as I was with the VTech Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Forest Adventure Playset™ and Go! Go! Smart Animals™! review but if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask away in a comment.  

Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post!


VTech® Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser™ (Age 6-36 months, MSRP: $39.99)
Amazon               VTechKids

Description:

Cruise into the learning zone on the Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser. This 2-in-1 toy grows with children and transforms from a floor play toy with detachable steering wheel activity panel to an exciting ride-on toy.

The interactive steering wheel features driving, learning and music modes with more than 80 songs, sounds and phrases that introduce animals, opposites and first words. Turn on the engine, move the gear shifter or press the horn to hear realistic driving sound effects.

Children can pretend to drive to six different fun locations with arrow buttons teaching the concept of direction and road safety. Attach the steering wheel to the cruiser and it becomes a fun ride-on toy.

The Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser also has a fun front activity panel and under seat storage children can fill with small toys for more fun on the go!

Review:

Every child needs a toy like this!  It's the quintessential ride on vehicle that's small enough give the littlest of kiddos a taste of freedom as they learn how to propel it independently. Both of my kids loved their first ride on toy and would ride it all over our first floor, but this one is so much more!

It's great how it it will grow with your child and that he or she can begin playing with it as a pre-walker.  When we had our first child we were apartment dwellers and I really appreciated multitaskers like this, no need to have a big toy to entertain them before walking that then has to be replaced once they get really moving.  This is one toy your child will get a lot of play out of!

Plus there are so many bells and whistles on the Sit-to-Stand Smart Cruiser!  It sings, teaches, has storage, and promotes both physically active and imaginative play. The wheel also detaches so my little guy likes to take in the car and pretend he's driving right along with me.  


VTech® Chomp & Count Dino™ (Age 12-36 months, MSRP: $19.99)
Amazon               VTechKids

Description:

Children can learn about colors, numbers and food with the adorable new Chomp & Count Dino. Simply place one of the eight brightly-colored play pieces in the dino's mouth and watch as he eats and recognizes each piece.

Play in either food or counting mode and the dino responds with rewarding sounds and phrases all while introducing colors, numbers, shapes and more. Press the question button and kids can answer the dino’s questions to show what they've learned.

Five shape buttons help kids learn shapes and numbers, while spinning the disc on dino’s back will play sing-along songs. The dino can also be pushed or pulled by a string for even more fun melodies.

Review:

This is such a fun interactive toy and there's a lot of play packed into it.  Kids will learn about cause and effect as they feed the dino.  It's so cute to see your child's face light up as they see the dino react to everything they do.  It's not just passive learning as your child can also answer questions posed by the dino.  Besides teaching basic concepts like colors and counting, it also plays music and is also a pull along toy so your child can also have fun taking the dino for a walk.


VTech® Grow-Along Music Center™ (Age 12-36 months, MSRP: $29.99)
Amazon               VTechKids

Description:

Children can pretend to be musicians and sing along to the music with the Grow-Along Music Center. As they sing into the microphone, five colorful lights correspond to children’s voices, or they can play with wacky voice-changing and amplifying effects.

Rock out with three instrument buttons that play guitar, drum and saxophone sounds. Five animal piano keys introduce kids to instruments, colors and animals. Kids can choose between Learn & Play mode and Sing-Along mode to become learning super stars!

Review:

One of the first things my kids liked was music and this up with that high interest toddler activity perfectly.  Again this toy is a great value because it will grow with your child.  The top keyboard comes off so your child can play with it on the floor and then as he or she begins to stand and develop better balance you can progress to placing it back on top for sitting or standing play.  One of the features my kids liked best, was being able to change their voice, the robot was especially fun, and even though I find them to be quite loud enough they thought being able to amplify it was hilarious.  Good thing there is a volume control!

VTech® Smart Shots Sports Center™ (Age 12-36 months, MSRP: $39.99)
Amazon               VTechKids

Description:

Parents can cheer on their little sports stars with the Smart Shots Sports Center. This electronic sports center features a soccer goal and basketball hoop for a fun 2-in-1 experience.

Kick the soccer ball into the net to hear fun sounds or toss the basketball into the hoop and the magic sensor will count up to ten each time a basket is scored.

Three buttons introduce shapes, numbers, opposites, sing-along songs and more. Turn the gears or flip the page to hear fun phrases and sounds. The sports center also features a light-up screen that plays a variety of fun animations and shows numbers, shapes and letters to reinforce learning.

Review:

If your child likes music but needs a little more physical activity, like mine does, then they will really like the Smart Shots Sports Center.  While it still provides music, teaches basic concepts, and has plenty of buttons to push and knobs to turn the real attraction to this toy is the hoop and net.  These are perfectly sized so the littlest sports fans can experience making a slam dunk or goal without frustration.  My kiddo could absolutely loves basketball so this was right up his alley!

Overall:

VTech can be counted on to deliver well designed educational toys that make learning fun and with a lot of variety of activities and interaction.  They infuse play with music, physical activity, and high interest themes.  These newest additions to their toys continue on their tradition of offering high quality toys parents and families can rely on to help enrich their child's life and provide exposure to key early learning concepts.

Learn more about VTech and their educational toys:


Giveaway: One reader will win a giveaway package containing each of the four products reviewed in this post.  Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  Entrants must be 21 and older and a US resident, sorry no PO Boxes.

Please make sure you sign into the widget with a valid email or an account associated with one, that you check on a regular basis.  Winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to respond.

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