With the holidays upon us, the scramble for gifts has well and truly begun. Regardless of how well-prepared we are, there are always a few people that we have trouble buying for – and sometimes these people are kids. So who better than Smallest Thumbs to advise you on smart gift choices for your kids? The youngest member of our site has some interesting suggestions for you to think about.
Looks like do-it-yourself culture is making its way into the My Little Pony line! Hasbro sent us one of their My Little Pony Pop playsets (Pinkie Pie Sweet Shoppe) to check out, so Smallest Thumbs and I did just that. The idea of the Pop series it to be able to customize your own Ponies and Playsets, which seems like a well-conceived idea, but falls a little short on the implementation. It’s still a good value – but it’s important that you know what you’re getting into when you buy one.
When I was a kid, my dad had a Tyco slot racing set. It was a beautiful setup, with supercars that traversed a long track with a spiral section supported by glow-in-the-dark struts. When I became older, he let me play with the set on my own – but pulling out the box from the cupboard was always a calculated decision based on the amount of playtime that I had (it took a while to assemble). Later on, Santa gave me my own Tyco set, complete with cars that could swivel on their front track pin and go in the opposite direction. I enjoyed that set a lot – but it eventually lost its allure when the set stopped working.
Fast forward to 2014. When I first looked at the Anki DRIVE Starter Kit, I was reminded of my youthful days of slot-racing – but Anki DRIVE ups the ante with a few notable differences – the most prominent being that you control the cars with an iOS or Android device. Even Smallest Thumbs really got into the set that Anki sent us to review!
There is nothing quite like piloting a quadricopter. Parrot’s AR Drone 2.0 is a lot of fun to fly – but for a good number of people, it’s hard to justify the purchase, as it is a little expensive. It also makes some people nervous; even though it comes with a protective shell for indoor use, it’s relatively large, making it an intimidating prospect to play with inside one’s house – especially for beginners. Thankfully, Parrot has another option for those people who are jonesing for a chance to play with a remote-controlled helicopter without breaking the bank (or that vase you got as a gift from your aunt Betty): the Rolling Spider.
Nerf has been around for a while, bringing a soft side to fantasy-battle play with their foam dart blasters. Nerf has upped their game recently with the N-Strike Elite line, a surprisingly extensive series of dart-firing blasters. The latest model in the lineup, the Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2-in-1 Blaster, is what I like to call “the cavalry”. Firing both rubber-tipped foam darts and missiles, this battery-powered blaster is a show-stopper.
Several years ago, Hasbro and their partners took the My Little Pony franchise to a new place with the Equestria Girls film and line of toys. A significant departure from the normal My Little Pony series, Equestria Girls featured the ponies as humans – transformed by walking through a magic mirror. Now, Hasbro shines a spotlight on the My Little Pony Equestria line with the My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Mane Event Stage, which corresponds with the recently released film, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks.
I’m used to France-based Parrot making toys that soar – namely the AR Drone series; but earlier this year, I attended a media event that demonstrated that Parrot also made remote-control ground vehicles. The Jumping Sumo is an interesting two-wheeled oddity that is capable of far more than just driving. Using your iOS or Android phone (or tablet), the Jumping Sumo is a toy that is easy to pick up – but it’s not without its quirks.