New version of Monopoly keeps track of carbon footprint

Just received a press release from Late for the Sky that they are making a new game called, Earth-opoly.

They write…

“Every attempt has been made to make the game as earth-friendly as possible. The game board and box are made from recycled materials, the printing is done with soy based ink, the shrink wrap is plant-based EarthFirst PLA film, and the game pieces are either made by nature or are completely recyclable.
Players buy properties and increase property values through recycling and reducing.  Everyone learns how to offset their own carbon footprint as they collect Carbon Credits and trade them for Clean Air. While traveling the board and visiting impressive land forms, players will learn about the planet and pick up “Go Green” tips for everyday life changes from each property deed card.”

Note–We haven’t tested the game yet…just thought it was notable as the first boardgame to use carbon footprints.


Pick of the Day: Hot Wheels Color Blaster


If you have ever loved playing with Hot Wheels and/or you know a child that loves Hot Wheels, you have to go buy this toy! I’ve put off testing  the Hot Wheels Color Blaster–in part because I didn’t want to be disappointed.  I’m happy to report that this toy  is as much fun as it promised to be when we saw it at toy fair.   You fill the containers with some ice water and then one with warm water — it has a built in track but that’s the least of it.  The really fun part is spraying the “warm” car with the spray bottle filled with ice water.  The car CHANGES color just as it said it would.  You then dunk the car back in the warm water and you’re good to go!  It’s that’s fast and magical.  Of course it’s really very wet when you get done and there’s a likelihood that the spray bottle will be used on other things (like siblings)…but still so cool!   You can buy more cars–frankly I would do that right away…one car just isn’t enough. (We are awaiting the safety verification form for this one.)


Crayola Beginnings Baby Drop and See

We got mixed reviews on the new Crayola TaDoodles Drop & See. This three level ball run is designed so that your toddler needs to push a lever at each level to release the ball to the next level.  The toy is marked 9 months and up and that’s where the problems arose for our testers.  Our nine month old testers could not make the levers work.  In fact a play group with mostly 18 month old toddlers also had difficulty. The biggest complaint is that the toy falls over easily–unless it’s against a wall which is hard to make happen when you’re talking about a toy for on the go toddlers.  Nothing like asking a toddler to only play with something in one location!

Even without the falling over issues, our older toddlers had problems making the red cat lever operate. Our testers were creative — suggesting that the levers should be bigger and that the base should be wider to address the tipping issue. Everyone liked the concept but all had suggestions on how to “fix” the toy to make it better.

The testers that were 2+ could make the toy work–and even our younger testers enjoyed making the balls go from level to level with help…but still, we think the age label is too off the mark to make this one an award winner.

How to drive your mother crazy…

I just tried the new Construction Claw from Matchbox. Part of the Construction Adventures line..this big yellow construction toy can be used for picking up pretend construction materials (action figures, blocks, your sister’s Barbie)….Anyway, it’s really, really loud…so I was sure when I showed it to my mother she would make a disapproving face.  Instead…she just started laughing.  You see, you just never know!  If you’re not big on noisy toys, this isn’t for you…but your five year old will love it.

Pick of the Day: Tonka Wheel Pals Round-About Railway

099941418512_main200One of the hardest categories to fill each year are small vehicles that are safe for the 3 and under crowd.  Many parents just hope for the best and give their kids small Hot Wheels, Matchbox and wooden trains–the problem with them of course is that they do have small parts that are potentially dangerous.  Playskool’s new Wheel Pals line is meant to answer that issue.  The cars are  small in scale – with everything safely anchored.  Our testers loved the new Round About Railway. If you’re looking for a setting that your toddler will enjoy (and not sit on)…look no further.  You put the train at the top of the setting and then your child can either hit the plunger (which activates the train sound)…or just push the train down the track. The vehicle moves slowly enough so that your toddler can track the vehicle, a plus. We thought the Railway works much better than the Fold ‘n Go Garage (we found that some of the ramps did not lock in sufficiently well).

This seems to be the year of really fun plush doll collections! We just got in the Lubies from Rocket USA.  Each of the round animals comes in a box marked top-secret. The animals to select from include: a bear, a cow, a dog, an elephant (shown), a polar bear, a penguin, a cat and a pig. The elephant is my personal favorite.  I would have loved a little sound in them…maybe a chime…but then they would not have appealed to the 7 & up collector that the company seems focused on.  As soon as we took enough of them out the box, our testers started throwing them.  So it’s really a plush/ball? We’re giving the collection an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award.  They retail for $8.99-$9.99.

"You Sunk my Battleship!"

I’m a big fan of Battleship.  I used to sit next to my big brothers on the porch while they would play–and it was a really big deal when I finally got old enough to play a round.  So when the new version came in this month–we were pretty excited.  Unfortunately this vertical edition (where you are playing on opposite sides of the same vertical board) -doesn’t quite work as well as the original.  Our testers loved it during a recent game day–but then they discovered that if you bump the board, the pieces fall out and then you’re really out of luck.  We hope they find a way of securing the peg pieces more effectively.

Just back from the Today Show

I had a great time this morning–it was fun to do the segment with Ann..and the kids had so much energy!  Right before we went on they were all spread out doing different activities. At the last minute Ann asked, “who likes to paint?”…and then they all walked over to the easel and window setting! I didn’t get to the games at the end–but all of the info is posted.  That’s live tv–you just never know what’s going to happen.   If you didn’t get a chance to see it I’ll post the link as soon as they post it to the website.  Time to take off the “tv” high heels and start playing with the toys again!  The sun is out–so it’s time to start thinking outdoor toys…