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28 September 2019

FEATURE: Christmas Gift Guide 2019 #1

Playmobil Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E

We know, we know...

We're sorry about this. We're still a month away from Halloween and already we're banging on about Christmas. Although we can imagine festive thoughts can be somewhat distracting so far out from the big day itself, this year we're getting a head start on the celebrations with a series of Christmas Gift Guides to inspire your present buying. To start with, we're checking out some toys. Eeep!



Thames & Kosmos Ooze Labs Chemistry Station


Thames & Kosmos Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

What's the best thing about a science lesson at school? When things get messy, obviously. If you want kids to be interested in science, make a mess - ideally with slime - and that's just what this kit from Thames & Kosmos is all about. The Ooze Labs Chemistry Station reminds us of the traditional chemistry sets of Christmases past, complete with curious substances and test tubes. The twist here, however, is most of the experiments (20 in total) are about making different kinds of slime.

Yes, slime! The great and unexpected hit of the toy industry over the past couple of years. If your kids love nothing better than sinking their little fingers into gross and icky stuff, this kit is ideal. As well as the safe, non-toxic substances, the box includes an actual station, complete with upright stands from which to attach the test tubes and various bits of equipment.

Thames & Kosmos Ooze Labs Chemistry Station

There's a lot going on here, and beyond the joy gleaned from making a mess, our young testers actually started to learn things about the chemical reactions involved - thanks in no small way to the included manual and instruction cards. This is great value for money and you'll be pleased to know that Thames & Kosmos also sell replacement slime - for when they kids spray it all over your Christmas dinner table. Yay.

£29.99

Available from www.amazon.co.uk


HEXBUG Ring Racer


Big fans of HEXBUG here, and all their many fun RC and robotic products, we were excited to try the Ring Racer. This new little gadget is a radio-controlled car designed for zipping around and taking tumbles, all in HEXBUG's rugged and easy to use style.

HEXBUG Ring Racer

The Ring Racer looks a little like one of their classic crawling bugs, but beefy and set inside two large wheels. The main part of the vehicle rights itself automatically, rocking steadily at the base of the wheels... that is until you fiddle with the included remote. Using the same style of finger-pleasingly small controller that ships with many of their other products, including the Robot Wars range, you can drive the Ring Racer around at top speed, and cause it to spin like a tiny plastic demon.



A big improvement here to HEXBUG toys past, is that the Ring Race is chargeable via USB. Also the two speed settings make it easier for younger kids to get a feel for it, but even it they lose control and it slams into the Christmas tree, you'll be happy to know that it's pretty solid and durable. Great fun for young fans of RC (and thirty-something tech journos), the HEXBUG Ring Racer makes a superb stocking filler.

£25

Visit www.hexbug.com



Brainstorm My Very Own Moonlight




Brainstorm My Very Own Moonlight

There's something about the earth's natural satellite that intrigues kids of all ages. Hanging up in the sky like a huge nightlight, we've never met a child who didn't love the moon. So if you know one such youngster, get them this fun and educational light. The My Very Own Moonlight from Brainstorm Toys hangs flat on the wall like a clock and cycles through the 12 phases of the moon.

Easy to set up, the My Very Own Moonlight runs from four AA batteries and can be controlled via  the included remote (which needs two AAA batteries, FYI). Kids can then tap the remote to cycle through the phases, with the internal light changing to represent the image of the true moon. This they can do manually or, for a more educational light, set to automatic and see it represent the actual phase of the moon up in the sky.

Brainstorm My Very Own Moonlight

As a novelty nightlight, this is great. The face itself is textured to appear just like the real moon, and the light is subtle enough to allow kids to sleep with it on, but bright enough to see it during the day. It features an auto-off, which means it will switch off after about 30 minutes, conserving battery life. One of our little testers is a big moon fan, so the addition of this to his bedroom made a huge impact (quite like the impact that created the moon, billions of years ago - FACT).

£18.99

Available from www.amazon.co.uk


Playmobil Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E


Playmobil Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E

A few years back at the London Toy Fair we were stunned by Playmobil's new step into creating realistic vehicles. That trend hasn't changed, and tying in with Playmobil: The Movie we received the Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E set. And it's awesome.

Accurately representing a Porsche, but y'know... small, and in plastic, the car is also RC enabled thanks to the included remote control. You also get the titular Rex Dasher, a suave figure in a tux, and an electric charging station, because accuracy. The toy also features lights in front and rear, and can be controlled via the Playmobile app.

However, as well as being a spot-on model of a Mission E, the toy is still very much a toy, and can be rolled around independent of the RC controls. Rex himself is a standard Playmobil figure and comes supplied with a few accessories to help kids recreate scenes from the film. The roof pops off by the way, giving full access to the interior and the two seats.

Playmobil Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E

We found that our young testers really got a kick out of the RC controls of the car... for a while. Thankfully the Playmobil Rex Dasher's Porsche Mission E still feels like a regular Playmobil play set, being rugged and versatile and supporting play for kids of a wide age range. Writing as grown ups, we really love how the car looks, and are glad to see Playmobile continuing to work with the likes of Porsche to recreate some of their most stunning vehicles.

£54.99

Available from www.amazon.co.uk




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