15 December 2015

FEATURE: Stocking Fillers for kids #5

There's still time...

Of course there is – why, we haven't even started shopping yet. Although Christmas is just a week and a bit away, we're still here for you to inspire that gift buying in time to make the morning of the 25th a real treat for the kiddos. Prepare for four more awesome things to stick under a tree!

Rio Roller Pure Quad Skates

Yes, an active gift! At Christmas, no less! If you're worried that your kids will spend all the school holidays tucked up inside playing with their toys and games, quickly working their way through the 17 selection boxes they were each given, then get them a pair of skates; both their health and their sense of adventure will thank you.

The Rio Roller Pure Quad Skates from skates.co.uk are designed in the classic style, just like the ones you probably had as a kid. Quad skates like these are, so skates.co.uk tell us, much better for younger kids and those having their first go on a pair of skates, as balancing is much easier. Our heroic six year old tester can certainly attest to that, giving them a bloody good testing recently. Available in sizes all the way up to adult (so yes, you too can have a pair), they use PVC leather for the main body, while the wheels and stopper are affixed by aluminium.

The Pure range of skates come in a huge choice of colours and designs, so you're sure to find something to suit your wee bairn.



This is a really unusual one that has captured our imaginations. Especially what Universe2go is, is a viewfinder into which you place a smartphone running the free Universe2go app. The viewfinder works like a heads-up-display to overlay the images from the app into your line of sight, giving you information about stars, planets and constellations that you currently looking at. It's like having your own planetarium... ON YOUR FACE!

Using the phones GPS and location services (as well as the compass to know which way you're facing) the Universe2go app is very informative and can keep up with even subtle head movements well. The viewfinder itself also works well, accommodating phones if up to 5.7 inch screens, iOS and Android. The HUD is great and, especially when used outside in low light levels, the information is clean, crisp and bright enough, without actually blocking your view.

We've been using it for a couple of weeks now and can already identify many more constellations because of it. It's also great for showing the things you can't normally see with the naked eye, like the position of Pluto. Hey, little guy! Definitely great for older kids with their own phone and an interest in astronomy, but also a real treat for the whole family.


Hovertech Battle FX

Do your kids love Nerf? Do they love flying drones? Would they like to shoot drones out of the sky with Nerf guns? Before you buy your kids £70 Nerf blasters and point them in the direction of the nearest army base, buy them Hovertech instead. Contained therein they will find two foam dart-shooting pistols, and a single drone with targets on it.

Yes, it really is as fun as it sounds. Set the drone flying and it will automatically hover a few feet above the ground. Kids (and, you know, adults too) have to then shoot at two targets on the drone's body, downing it only once both have been struck.

Christ it is tough! The two targets are pretty small, the drone has guards that randomly move around as it flies, and the thing itself doesn't keep still at all. Having said that... Christ it is fun! When you finally hit both targets it descends to the ground pretty quickly, leaving you to cheer and shout insults at it. Loads of fun, and plenty of exercise to boot.


Battle Action Millennium Falcon

Of course it wouldn't be a Stocking Fillers feature without a Star Wars product – it is a year with a number in its name, after all. This time 'round we've taken a look at one of Hasbro's largest offerings from the recent slew of new The Force Awakens toys, the huge Battle Action Millennium Falcon! Pew pew!

This vehicle toy-cum-playset is modelled after the iconic spacecraft and features shooting guns and pop-open sections. Funny that we should mention Nerf in the previous product review, as this toy actually features an official Nerf blaster built into it! Hasbro are clearly having fun blending their properties, as kids can open up the front part of the Falcon to reveal miniature blaster that shoots the standard Nerf foam dart. Granted, it can't shoot as far as a full-sized blaster (such as these), but it still packs quite a punch.

The cockpit can also open to accommodate two action figures, as can the top-side gun and rear section which features a recreation of the Falcon's lounge, complete with chess table. Speaking of the figures, with the Battle Action Millennium Falcon you get three... kinda. Included (with breathing masks accessories) is Finn, Chewbacca, and a tiny BB-8 droid. The organic characters are the standard 3.75” size with the usual articulated limbs and heads. BB-8 is just a bit of a plastic-y lump to be honest, lacking articulation the likes of which you'd get with a droid like R2D2. Still, he looks pretty funky and the kids will, of course, go nuts for the little fellow.

We were glad to see that all the opening sections close up quite securely, meaning that the Falcon is still very swooshable without bits opening up and falling off. Although not exactly to scale with the figures, the thing is great as a playset, with plenty for the characters to do. We were a bit surprised to get Finn instead of Han, but maybe that alludes to Finn's closer relationship with the Falcon in the new trilogy (as at time of press, the film was just three days to opening night).

Great figures, lots of do in the playset, and an actual realistic vehicle makes this a wonderful set to open on Christmas morning.

Around £95

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