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K'NEX Ferris Coaster Wheel
K'NEX Ferris Coaster Wheel
Offered by swonline
Price: $136.00
14 used & new from $31.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Knex Ferris Coaster Wheel disappoints, December 30, 2008
This review is from: K'NEX Ferris Coaster Wheel (Toy)
Our son is obsessed with Knex, and we're generally big fans of the models. He's a very experienced Knex builder and has put together with some assistance most of the larger, more complex Knex sets, including the Sawblade Thrill Ride, Double Dueling Coaster and Motorized Madness Ball Machine. We've generally had great results with these sets, but the Knex Ferris Coaster Wheel set was a disappointment. Here's why:

- The idea of combining a ferris wheel and roller coaster sounds impressive, but the image on the box is a little deceiving. In the other Knex coaster sets we've built, the motor has at least partially controlled the coaster cars. In this set, the motor controls the spinning of the ferris wheel, but the roller coaster cars move solely based on gravity. As the ferris wheel spins, the cars move around their individual tracks, which makes for a more choppy coaster experience.

- We had assumed that when built, there would be one set of connected coaster tracks that would run through and around the spinning coaster, but actually the tracks are set up in four separate sections, with one car per section. This is purely subjective, but having four shorter tracks seems less impressive somehow than having one longer one.

- The larger Knex models utilize a lot of small pieces, and it's not uncommon for a few to pop off here and there. But this set is especially difficult to keep from breaking. While the base is stable, the plastic coaster tracks are bent at such strong angles that they tend to "pop" off incredibly easily. (It doesn't help that each track section is held by only a few, small connectors to the body of the main ferris wheel.) It took two adults - one to hold the pieces in place and one to do the actual connections - to get the tracks to finally stay in place, and even then, the first few times we turned the motor on various track pieces kept popping off all over the place. We finally reinforced the tracks and let the model sit overnight in the hope it would help the tracks conform to their placement and that seems to have helped, but we still can't keep the motor on for extended periods of time without the set partially self-destructing.

I wish I could say more positive things about this set, but I'm afraid it's the one Knex set we've purchased that I'm sorry we didn't leave on the toy store shelf.


No Title Available

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knex Motorized Madness Ball Machine is one of our favorite Knex Sets, December 30, 2008
Our 5 year old son is a *huge* Knex fan (OK, I'll admit it - he's obsessed). :-)

And so he's built with some parental assistance quite a few of the more complex, larger Knex sets. With a few exceptions most of them have been very good, but the Motorized Madness Ball Machine set is definitely one of our favorites.

Here are the Pros and Cons we've found with this particular set:

PROS

- The end result is very impressive. Whenever the kids have friends over the kids (and their parents) spend quite a bit of time playing with the finished model.

- It's well constructed. (If you've built many of the Knex models, you know that some completed models are sturdier than others - this model is one of the sturdier ones.)

- Most of the Knex models perform the same action over and over. This model comes with 5 large balls that zip down various paths and then get "lifted" via a motorized ball elevator back to the top again. It's fun to watch.

CONS

- The bigger Knex sets can be expensive. That being said, you can often get Knex sets on sale and this one took some time to build and is still played with by our kids months after it was originally assembled so we feel it was worth the cost.

- It's BIG. It's not just high (over 4 feet tall) but it's also about two feet wide, which makes it a challenge to find a place to put it once it's built. (Because honestly, after all that effort, you never want to take it apart.) :-)

- The instructions that come with this set can be confusing if you're not used to reading Knex instructions, so while the end-result is quite impressive, I wouldn't recommend it as the first set for someone who's never built with Knex before.

For a younger child I'd recommend starting with a generic tub of Knex bricks and connectors that allows you to build multiple, smaller models.

For an older child with building experience with sets other than Knex I'd recommend starting with one of the Knex ferris wheel sets or the Knex Sawblade Thrill Ride set which still creates an impressive, large model but has simpler instructions and more repetition to help the child get used to Knex instructions and pieces. We've found the sets with tracks - like this one - tend to be trickier.

Overall, my son really enjoyed putting together this set and we all enjoy playing with hit. Definitely recommended for the advanced Knex'er.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Ladybugs are Lovely, December 29, 2008
This game is well-loved in our house by both our 3 year old daughter and 5 year old son. (I kind of enjoy it, too.) :-)

Each player picks a ladybug character and takes turns picking cards in order to move their piece toward the ladybug's home. But there's a twist - throughout the game, each ladybug has to get past the mean praying mantis (luckily it's easy and fun to do this by earning a "Bug Off" card) as well as collect 10 aphids to feed the hungry ants. Only after they accomplish both those things can the player proceed to the end of the game board.

The rules are pretty simple, and my 5 year old likes the fact that the game was invented by another child - a girl in first grade whose bio is provided on the side of the box. My 3 year old daughter also enjoys the game, but as she's not yet good at understanding game directions, she usually acts as the "helper", handing us cards and counting cardboard aphids. Because there is a lot of getting and losing of aphids, this game helps kids practice their counting skills.

We really enjoy this game, but it's not a quick play. I'd say each game lasts about 20 mins on average, sometimes more if the players are slower to collect all 10 aphids. We generally play this before bedtime, as its a good wind-down the day game for the family.


ThinkFun Tipover
ThinkFun Tipover
Price: $17.99
25 used & new from $6.50

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ThinkFun's Tipover is a hit in our house, December 29, 2008
This review is from: ThinkFun Tipover (Toy)
My 5 year old son greatly enjoys playing a similar ThinkFun game - Rush Hour - and so when we saw this in the store we decided to give it a try. Overall, it's been a big hit.

Here are the things we like and dislike about the game.

THINGS WE LIKE

- The game pieces (like in the other ThinkFun game we have) are very well made. We haven't had any problems with pieces breaking which has happened a few times with other games.

- Even though the age range says 8+, our 5 year old son quickly understood the simple directions and was able to start playing right away.

- Playing this game requires tipping over playing pieces. As kids tend to knock things down all the time accidentally anyway, it's a nice twist to have a game that encourages it. :-)

- Once a child gets the hang of it, they can happily solve the puzzles by themselves. (Not that we don't enjoy playing family games together, but it's not always easy to find games for individual child play that strike a good balance between challenging and solvable.)

- The puzzles are rated by difficulty, which helps children get comfortable with the game and then advance at their own pace.

- The game is educational. It's easy to see your child thinking about the various pieces and patterns as they try different solutions to get the little Tipper guy to the red crate.

THINGS WE DON'T LIKE

- This is minor, but the pieces come in a small drawstring pouch. It doesn't always stay tightly closed (The other ThinkFun game we own included a similar pouch which eventually broke completely) and so we've almost lost various pieces a bunch of times. (We finally ended up putting everything in a Ziploc bag.) It's a shame, as if the main box didn't have a hole in it for decoration, you could probably just store the pieces in the box and you wouldn't need a pouch at all.

- The game comes with a lot of puzzle cards (40!) representing various play levels from beginner to expert. It would be nice if they sold additional card packs separately though, as I can see us eventually going through them all.

Hope this is helpful!


Bazoongi 48" Bouncer Trampoline with Handle Bar
Bazoongi 48" Bouncer Trampoline with Handle Bar
Offered by MMP Living
Price: $77.56
7 used & new from $67.48

485 of 491 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Happy with Bazoongi 48" Bouncer Trampoline, December 29, 2008
I have two high-energy kids - a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl - so I'd been searching for an indoor trampoline that would allow them to have fun while safely expending some of that amazing kid-energy during the winter. :-)

We researched a lot of trampolines and ended up getting them the Bazoongi 48" Bouncer trampoline for Christmas. It's been a huge hit.

Here are the pros and cons we've experienced so far.

PROS

- As shown in the item image, the blue outer ring completely covers the springs. (This is a big deal when you have little kids as you don't want them to get a foot caught between two of those.) My understanding from reading reviews of other trampolines is that many are not built in a way that fully covers these pieces.

- The Bazoongi Bouncer has six legs which I suspect makes it more sturdy than models that have only four.

- For us, 48" is the perfect size for an indoor trampoline. It's big enough to allow the kids adequate jumping space and yet small enough to fit in our not-so-large living room.

- The bar that is attached to the trampoline for support is fully padded - there are no sharp or metal parts exposed. It's also seems to be a great height for both our kids to hold onto.

- The trampoline allows for good jumping. (It has a nice "bounce", which is obviously very important from a fun-factor perspective.)

CONS

- The weight limit is 80 pounds, so my husband and I can't jump on it (which is a shame as it looks like a lot of fun.) :-)

- Even with the extra two legs, my son (who is around 50 lbs) sometimes seem to wobble it a little when he leans on the support bar too heavily. This is probably our biggest issue with the trampoline, as it makes me a little uneasy. However, to be fair, it's only wobbled when he's leaned very heavily, and he probably shouldn't do that. I suspect if you use it outside you could tether it to stakes in the ground or something and not have this issue.

- Assembly was not as bad as we expected reading some other trampoline assembly reviews. My husband is quite handy and was able to have it up and ready in about a half-hour. He did get his hands pretty dirty though as it comes greased, so you might want to avoid attempting assembly on your light-colored carpeting. :-)

- The cost is more than some of the other models we reviewed, however it really does seem to be a good, sturdy bouncer and I suspect we'll get a lot of use out of it, so I feel it's worth the extra cost.

As with all trampolines, you should never leave your kids alone when using them, and only one child should be on the trampoline at a time. (We had Santa leave a note for the kids with safety rules.) :-)

Hope this is helpful!

Lisa
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2013 5:56 PM PST


Little Pea
Little Pea
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.05
160 used & new from $0.01

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love my little peas, August 29, 2005
This review is from: Little Pea (Hardcover)
Sure, it probably won't get your veggie-hating kid to request spinach at every meal, but the illustrations are adorable, and the storyline, an endearing tale about a little pea whose mom and dad make him finish 5 pieces of candy before he is allowed to eat his favorite dessert - a big bowl of spinach! - is silly enough to make my two-year-old son crack up every time we read it.

He loves personalizing the book for our family (instead of Mama Pea, Papa Pea and Little Pea he calls the peas: Mama Pea, Dada Pea, Ethan Pea and Molly Pea) and what toddler can resist making "yuck" and "blech" sounds along with the Little Pea when he's suffering through a plate of candy.

Ethan makes me read it again and again. I love this book (and my little peas.)


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