14 March 2016

FEATURE: The Non-Chocolate Easter

That damn bunny will be livid.

We could write about the increase of childhood obesity, the growth of diabetes, and the worrying amounts of childhood heart attacks recorded world wide... but we ain't. Instead we're merely going to point out that your child (or children) will probably be receiving a butt-load of chocolate eggs this Easter from friends and family, so how about getting them something else? We've put together a helpful list of awesome little gifts to bestow upon your bairns, be they Easter-y themed or not.

Playmobil Eggs

Not a drop of the icky sticky sweet good stuff in these eggs, but rather another fun and random addition from Playmobil. Our love for Playmobil has only grown over the years, especially as the toy maker explores new themes. This new series of eggs include a figure and lots of accessories for them, drawn from their worlds as varied as pirates, football, the zoo, and mermaids.

We were sent the football player egg (we refuse to say Soccer, despite it being printed on the packaging) which is actually more of a target game than a standard Playmobil figure. You flick the little chap's leg and he kicks the included ball into the included net. Bags of fun (or rather 'eggs' of fun), and your child can add it to their existing Playmobil collection afterwards.

And look, they're only... £6.99

LEGO Nexo Knights small packs

We recently reviewed the much larger (and pricier) Jestro's Evil Mobile set from LEGO's new Nexo Knight range. Whereas that 600+ piece, £50+ toy might be a tad too big for Easter morning, we've also been playing with the smaller, more affordable sets from the range. We tested the Battle Blaster and the Chaos Catapult.

Both sets contain around 100 parts and two minifigures each, and feature a real firing mechanism. The Battle Blaster uses the new LEGO disk shooters which flick small rounded parts like a Frisbee (actually quite far!), while the Chaos Catapult uses rubber pieces to create a very springy catapult. Because of this you can have some great battles with the pair of them set against one another, with two figures apiece for more play.

We've never ignored the fact that LEGO is bloody expensive, but we're happy to see this very popular new line has* some cheap and very cheerful sets included along with it. Perfect pocket money toys, and great for an Easter gift.

£8 each

Snackeez Drinks Cup

If you travel around town and country with your kids, you'll know the importance of always having a drink and snack to fill their lovely little faces. If you're a bit sick of all those damn Tupperware boxes filling up the car, kill a couple of plastic birds with one cup-shaped stone. The Snakeez Cup is a drinks cup with included plastic straw that also has a removable compartment on top for a snack. Snackeez. Get it? Snack- eez (ease). Yeah, you got it.

This is actually a very handy thing to have, and not just for kids. Giving it as a Easter gift would be good along with the promise of fun road trip to somewhere. And we suppose you could fill the snack compartment with chocolate. If you're just giving up on the whole non-chocolate Easter. Weak.


The Adventure Suit by Zappar

This is a pocket-friendly little hard-page book designed to be read in conjunction with an AR smartphone app. Read the story, and then when prompted, scan the page with your phone while running the Zappar app, and the action will come to life in a very interactive manner. To make the story continue the reader (watcher? Player?) has to tap parts of the phone's screen, and there's even a little game to be enjoyed at the end of the story.

Zappar's app works a treat, and every page is quickly brought to life after just a couple seconds of scanning. The animations are smooth and bright, and the transition between the real page and the AR page is pretty remarkable. We also love that the story ends with the reader being able to 'wear' the Adventure Suit by snapping a picture of their face, and seeing themselves in the book. What's more, the app is free to download, and the physical book is only...


Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Colour-in Puzzle

Fans of Ben and Holly will love this special floor puzzle, designed for younger kids. On one side of the puzzle pieces, which slot together like a giant jigsaw, you'll find a full-colour image of the characters, while on the other the image has been left black and white. Included in the set, which comes in a very nice little carry case, are crayons which let the kids colour in the blank image.

Regardless of if the kiddos just want to complete a big puzzle on the floor, or colour in a picture of Ben's face, this a great addition to any play room.


Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB10

Whether you hated it or not, there's no denying that James Bond's latest outing in Spectre certainly featured a cool car. Now you (and your kids, we suppose) can own an Aston Martin DB10 thanks to this 1:36 scale toy from Corgi.

This is a lovely toy car that perfectly captures the sleek good looks of the DB10, while also boasting real opening doors (with detail on the inside) and low profile rubber tyres. Collectors might be grabbing these like hot cakes, but we bet any young Bond fan will appreciate a visit from 007 this Easter.


Lost My Name Personalised Books

If you have kids who love to read, but who also hate how books are always about 'other' people, give them this. The Lost My Name books are put together by you on the company's website, whereby you enter the name of your child and it presents you with a bespoke story about said child trying to find their name. Therefore, if you have a son called Mark, the little boy in the story will go on an adventure and meet a – for example – Mammoth, an Aardvark, a Robot, and then a Kangaroo.

Even if you have a child with a very short name, Lost My Name still make it worthwhile by adding a few extra pages of story to make it all the more interesting. Parents can not only edit the book to change the stories (there are a few choices for each letter), but also add a personal message at the start and pick the general appearance of the character. And yes, there are two versions available for both boys and girls.

We really love the books that we created on the site, and we found the whole process easy and lots of fun. Delivery was swift, and the finished product looks just like a book you'd find at the book store. A great bespoke gift.

£19.99 per book

Peppa Pig Tumble and Spin Memory Game

Peppa Pig is always good for an easily recognisable branded toy, and this Easter she's getting the kids' memories churning. This simple game, in which players set the plastic Peppa spinning and await her commands, is plenty of fun and very easy to pick up, making it great for many different ages.

Although the game requires the included picture cards to play properly, we discovered that the children most enjoyed having a wobbly Peppa Pig to play with; especially one that spoke and played her theme tune every time she was spun. Seriously, that damn theme tune is lodge into our brains for eternity.


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