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Category: Arts & Crafts


Name: Young Picasso Art Kit
Company: NOODLE HEAD INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $20
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s roundtable review of this product.

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Name: Stitch-it Dolly Kit
Company: The Little Experience
Age: 6-12
Price: $14.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Penguin Needle Felting Kit
Company: WOOLPETS
Age: 10 and up
Price: $16
Category: Arts & Crafts

What It Is: Designed to teach sculptural felting, this craft kit comes with wool roving, a small pamphlet with step-by-step instructions and color pictures, two felting needles and a wooden skewer.

What We Thought: The Woolpets kit is a treat from the cute take-out packaging down to the finished product. The wool is obviously high quality — it’s extremely soft — and is easy to work with. I was impressed with the clear, step-by-by directions accompanied by color photographs. For a beginner felter, I felt empowered, and found it was fairly easy to catch on and start poking the little penguin into its proper form. I wondered if I was using the needle correctly, but kept on per the instructions, and it seemed to come out OK. There’s enough material to fashion two or three penguins, depending on size, so the kit is a decent value for the price. As a side note (and there is a warning with the package), the included needles are extremely thin and sharp, and should not be near or used by children. You will need a foam pad as an appropriate surface for the needle to land while felting; they are available from Woolpets as a separate purchase.

Why They’ll Want It: In short, it’s adorable! Woolpets offers a fun, keepsake craft, and something out of which the resident felter can build a nice collection. Plus, since the pieces aren’t preformed, every animal fashioned through this labor of love comes out with unique quirks and qualities. The penguin, for one, began to develop more and more of its own character the closer it got to completion! — Julie L. Jones, 12/8/2009

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Name: ArtiSands Mini Geometric kit
Company: ARTISANDS
Age: All Ages
Price: $14.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Make Shrink Art Jewelry and Tags for Your Pet and You Too
Company: BOWWOWMEOW
Age: 8 and up
Price: $17.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: 32 Artist Color Oil Pastels
Company: eeBoo corp.
Age: 3 and up
Price: $8.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: doodlebugz™ Crayola Chalk Talk Table Mate
Company: PRINCESS LINENS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $12
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Sparkle PlayFoam 6-pack
Company: EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $10.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What It Is
PlayFoam is a lightweight, colorful foam-sculpting material that won´t crumble, stick to skin or surfaces or dry out.

What We Thought
This product is innovative, high quality and amusing. Kids can play with for a long time. It doesn’t make a mess. However, the label says it “never dries,” which can be misleading, because the foam balls can gather dirt, hair, etc., and very slowly but surely lose their stickiness.

Why They’ll Want It
The addition of glitter should increase the appeal of this popular product. Some retailers, however, have noticed a big drop in PlayFoam sales over the last year. – TDmonthly Review Team, 6/22/08

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Name: Paper'oni Space Activity Kit
Company: PLASMART INC.
Age: 5 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Character Creator: Robots JR
Company: PLAY ODYSSEY INC.
Age: 4 and up
Price: $12.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Grafix Rub-onz
Company: GRAFIX INC
Age: 5 and up
Price: $8.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Fashion Fun Kits
Company: FASHION FUN STORE
Age: 6-14
Price: Not Specified
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Shrinky Dinks for Computer Ink Jet Printer
Company: SHRINKY DINKS ® (K & B INNOVATIONS, INC.)
Age: 13 and up
Price: $8.5
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Artlab Fashion Studio
Company: SMARTLAB TOYS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Christmas Scribble Mat
Company: SCRIBBLE MATS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $7
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Make-Your-Own Thank-You Notes
Company: MADE BY HANDS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Pop Up Pen Pal Cards - Holiday
Company: PLAY ODYSSEY INC.
Age: 6 and up
Price: $12.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
This set of 12 easy-assemble pop-up self mailers is meant to inspire beginning writers. The glossy printed card stock comes prefolded. It’s also ruled with manuscript printing guidelines on the front cover and inside, underneath the greeting, so little holiday-card creators can easily write addresses and messages neatly and correctly. The kit comes with glue-in supports for the pop-ups and an assortment of potential pop-ups with a holiday theme, such as the three kings, a penguin, Santa’s elf, etc.

What We Thought
The cards are easy to assemble; a glue stick is required as a separate purchase. Making pop-up greetings would be a fun project for a young family and a great way to get the kids to practice their penmanship. There don’t seem to be any identifiably female characters among the pop-ups, but boys will find plenty of characters to love.

Why They’ll Want It
Kids are fascinated by the magic of pop-up books and they’ll have fun creating their own pop-up pages. The pop-up support is easy for little hands to fold and even clearly marks where the paste should go. Kids will especially love that there are no envelopes involved; just fold over the card, seal it with the included snowflake stickers, address it, stamp it and sent it to grandma! — Alison Marek, 10-5-07

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Name: Giant Open Gift Box of Beads
Company: HAMA - MALTE HAANING PLASTIC AS
Age: 5 and up
Price: $34.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Perler Beads Bead Blast
Company: DIMENSIONS/PERLER
Age: All Ages
Price: Not Specified
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Crayola Color Wonder Sprayer
Company: CRAYOLA LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Push Up Face Paints
Company: CRAFTY DAB
Age: 6 and up
Price: $4
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read TDmonthly´s Toy Expert review of this product.

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Name: Playfoam
Company: EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS INC.
Age: 5 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this TDmonthly's Toy Expert review.

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Name: Glue Dots Sheets — Memory Book
Company: GLUE DOTS INTERNATIONAL
Age: 5 and up
Price: $4.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Works of Art: Watercolor Workshop
Company: RED FARM STUDIO
Age: 6 and up
Price: Not Specified
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: The Funky Bead Chest
Company: BEAD BAZAAR/KID JOURNEYS
Age: 4 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Magicrayon Coloring Shirts
Company: MAGICRAYON INC.
Age: All Ages
Price: $12.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Scrapbookit Baby's Story
Company: AVALANCHE PUBLISHING
Age: All Ages
Price: $19.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Little Scrapbook in a Box
Company: S.E.I.
Age: All Ages
Price: $24.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Chocolate Chip Bath Cookie kit
Company: KITS FOR CRAFTS
Age: All Ages
Price: $39.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
This kit contains all the ingredients to make a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies that you’d never dare eat. Following simple instructions, you coat big chunks of rock salt with glycerin and black mica until they look like chocolaty chips. A bit of milk-chocolate scent adds to the illusion. Then mix milk powder, oat meal and baking power with some cocoa butter (Mom or Dad will have to melt it for the kids), add some glycerin, more scent and fractionated coconut oil and … voila! The cookie batter’s ready, too! All of the ingredients are included.

What We Thought
This was a fun activity that’s easy to do. Many of the products are premeasured, but there’s still plenty of chance for kids to learn the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. The finished product smells very much like chocolate and looks something like cookies, too. Included are cellophane gift bags, gold-toned twist-ties and labels so kids can send cookies off to all of their friends and relatives. The cookies make bath time nice and soothing. But not only will kids learn to “cook” they’ll also learn about housekeeping: The mica leaves a very noticeable Cat-in-the-Hat type ring around the bathtub that really requires a bit of scrubbing!

Why They’ll Want It
This is a great kit for a slumber party or other kid get-together. The ingredients even need to be mixed up in two different bowls, which means that one set of kids can make the chips while the other whips up the batter. They’ll especially love being able to give the “cookies” away as a unique and unexpected gift. And what could be better than taking a bath in cookie dough?
— Alison Marek, 6/30/06


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Name: The Knit-It Kit for Kids
Company: CHRONICLE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Age: 4 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: Glamaphone
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: 8-12
Price: $49.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
What could be more fun for tween girls? Decorating this phone with gems and maribou or rappin’ with their friends? This high fashion phone comes with adorable flower power buttons and super tape ready to decorate. All kids do is attach the multi colored gems, glitter and fabulous fur after they’ve removed the paper containing adhesive and they´re ready to chat for hours.

What We Thought
What a fantastic phone! Not only is it easy to stick the sparkly buttons onto the adhesive that is already wrapped around the phone base and handle, but the bits stay on even as the phone gets used during mega-chat sessions. Be careful not to remove the adhesive, though, because once it’s removed, it’s hard to find a glue that will keep the buttons on as tight. Also, the glitter won’t stick without it. And, though this reviewer prefers cordless phones, it’s no hassle using this stationary phone as the cord is long and the base is easy to drag from room to room. At least, if you live in a one-bedroom apartment, that is.

Why They’ll Want It
Make-it-yourself crafts that allow the user to show off her hard work and artistic zealousness is all the rage right now, and this phone looks great on a side table or shelftop. With only a modicum of effort this useful telephone becomes a work of art, providing a real sense of accomplishment for busy girls who still like to remain crafty. And besides, it’s so glamorous that chatting on this phone while wearing a smoking jacket and sipping a martini (not recommended for users under the age of 21) feels like an event.    
                            -- Vanessa VanderZanden, 1/30/06


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Name: Giant Glitter Scoubiloop
Company: SCOUBILOOP LLC
Age: All Ages
Price: Not Specified
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
Scoubiloop strands are a colorful collection of plastic hollow strands that can be braided into key rings, friendship bracelets and even animals. This particular pack of high quality, odorless glittery strands is larger than the normal fare, measuring a full 6.5 feet per strand, and considerably thicker in width. The package includes instructions to a basic rectangular knotted design that can be attached to a large key ring and used as a key holder or tied to a doorknob as a decoration. Visitors to the Scoubiloop Web site can view instructions to other designs that the colorful strands can woven into.

What We Thought
Because these strands are so thick and long, they can be a bit more unwieldy than the normal Scoubiloop variety. However, they can also make larger crafts, a boon for anyone who likes to show off the results of their labor in a big way, and the basic weaving instructions are still relatively easy to follow. The fact that the plastic strands are round also poses logistical problems that would be less taxing were the strands flat, but the round, hollow design does allow for wire to be easily fit within the material, making more complex projects easier to pull off. All in all, crafting with Scoubiloop Giant Glitter strands is worth the effort.

Why They’ll Want It
Playing with pastel rainbow-colored glitter strands is good times for any girl, especially when the activity can be done while watching close football matches, episodes of The Office or while chilling on the playground, talking trash about the hall monitor. And what mom, best friend or future boyfriend wouldn’t want to receive a plastic glitter rectangle thingy that can be put to a million uses, from holding the laundry key to dangling off the paper towel dispenser to decorating a belt loop or baseball cap size adjuster? The addictive activity will have many converts in the new year — mark my words.
-- Vanessa VanderZanden, 1/30/06


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Name: Fun With Rock Painting
Company: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Please click here to read this special TDmonthly´s Expert Mom review.

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Name: PaintWorks Tiger Reflection
Company: DIMENSIONS/PERLER
Age: 3 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
A step-by-step systematic approach to painting, the set includes eight different vials of paint, a brush and a guide with tips and directions. The booklet includes instructions on how to mix paints to obtain different shades.

What We Thought
The intermediate-level Tiger Reflection design is delicate and takes some patience and diligence to complete. But once finished it is a piece worth framing! The intricate details would probably be more suitable for teens to adult or young kids with adult supervision.

Why They’ll Want It
Even artistically challenged people can create beautiful works of art with this well-designed kit. The instructions are simple and everything you need is there. You simply have to learn to stay in the lines.
– TDmonthly Review Team, 10/25/05


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Name: Beaded Bracelet Kit - Bling Bling
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $19.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
Beaded Bracelet Kit – Bling Bling is a complete beading kit that includes 12 mini cases of metal and glass beads and a spool of elastic thread. The kit makes 24 bracelets plus 12 rings. It includes instructions and tips in English, Spanish and French.

What We Thought
The beads are packed in 12 individual packages according to color, which makes color coordinating easy. But be careful when you open them – they are easy to spill. The packages are resealable so you can save the beads for another day. The high quality beads and attractive packaging make this a great buy.

Why They’ll Want It
Girls love to express their creativity and make individualized bracelets. The variety of beads allows plenty of design combinations. This is the perfect kit to bring out at a bead party!
– TDmonthly Review Team, 10/25/05


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Name: Fashion Angels Super Mini Day Book
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $7.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
A teeny-tiny diary that hooks to a girl’s purse with a ribboned clasp, the mini date book snaps shut with a strap and sparkles with an undercoating of glitter. Inside is a whole school year and summer-vacation’s worth of pages so that tween girls can keep track of their busy schedules. The front cover is decorated with the four Fashion Angels characters. The books come in a variety of colors, including orange, lime, fuschia, turquoise, lavender or silver.

What We Thought
These little books are eyecatching and will look pretty hanging from a little scribner’s backpack or belt loop. The pages are miniscule, so the writer will have to be concise in her expression, but it’s a great way for little girls to show each other just how much they have to do each week! Each page is illustrated with a cute character from the Bead Shop. Every month has a summary page with entry lines so tiny that girls will have to tax their best “I can writer smaller than you” skills.

Why They’ll Want It
It’s small, bright, pretty and unique! So what’s not to want? Tween girls will like the intro page, where they can write down all their pertinent information, including their height and their best friends’ names. Because the book is so tiny, they’ll probably feel free to write a few secrets in their most minuscule hand, without the fear that little brother will discover anything scandalous (unless he has a magnifying glass). The back of the book has a section for names and addresses – perfect for little tweenies who don’t yet have their own private cell phones.
-- Alison Marek, 10/24/05



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Name: Fashion Angels Super Stackable Gel Pens
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: 3 and up
Price: $4.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
This set of 6 stackable gel pens comes in a tube. Each fine-pointed pen is only about 2” long. The fluorescent colors include lime, lemon, tangerine, blueberry, grape and strawberry.

What We Thought
This is a unique, space-saving way to keep track of pens. The pens write smoothly and the colors are luscious. Writing with the entire stack in hand is a bit ungainly, but the pens easily snap apart for easy sketching.

Why They’ll Want It
What tween girl wants to write a letter in boring navy blue or black ink? They’ll love the bright colors, the smooth sensation of writing and drawing with the fine-tipped gel pen, and the hip, chunky design of the pens. The Super Stackable Gel Pens are a colorful addition to any girl’s desk and a sure way to make her notes and diary entries even more memorable.
-- Alison Marek, 10/24/05



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Name: Fashion Angels Too Cool 4 School Scrapbook
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: 8 and up
Price: $20
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
A glossy cardboard scrapbook decorated with the Fashion Angels girls comes with everything a little girl needs to begin her scrapbooking career. Pockets in the front let her store photos that she can later cut up to make trading cards, or add to other scrapbooking pages while keeping track of the year’s events. Protected by plastic snap pockets are trading card forms in different colors and forms; kids can insert their best friends’ pictures, fold the card, glue it, then fill out the form that keeps track of the girl’s name and important “stats,” such as grade, favorite colors and favorite bands. Funny bright stickers are included, so that the photos can be decorated with mustaches, silly hats, flowers, labels and more. There are four report card and autograph pages so girls can keep track of their social progress through four years of school and fun. It comes with a pen and a glue stick. There are also our protective sleeves where they can store their trading cards permanently.

What We Thought
This is a great way for kids to start documenting the important moments in their lives. They’ll have fun making trading cards of their friends and gathering autographs at the end of the school year. There’s plenty of space in the scrapbook to add extra pages, too, so kids can continue to be creative after they’ve made their cards and filled out their first year’s school report. The trading card frames are nicely varied, so you can really pick the right one for each friend. The cards fold over easily so that it doesn’t take much dexterity to make a really super-looking card. The stickers peel off easily and have a lot of variety. There are even word balloon stickers, so kids can make their friends say funny things.

Why They’ll Want It
Scrapbooking is all the rage. This set will appeal to little girls because it’s filled with fun activities that are easy to do. The instructions are clear and inspiring. The stickers are silly, colorful and have girl-important labels such as “Big Crush,” “Drama Queen” and “Whatever.” If one girl gets this, her friends will want one, too, so they can make cards of each other, trade them, and compare their notes and decorations. Girls and their friends will feel like little stars once they’ve become a hot trading card! It’ll also be fun for them to fill out their year’s report card, since it asks them to think about what their biggest accomplishment was and what they need to work on for the next year. The best thing is, this is a craft activity that they can do all by themselves, without supervision, making it a real Girl Power item.

The Bead Shop´s ToyDirectory Listing
-- Alison Marek, 8/19/05



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Name: Henna Tattoos for Kids
Company: LAKAYE STUDIO
Age: 9 and up
Price: $15
Category: Arts & Crafts

What is it?
This kit lets kids mix their own squeeze bottle of natural henna and practice the art of “mehndi” (the Indian word for henna body painting). It comes with a henna solution and a henna powder that have to be mixed in a special included plastic cone, massaged, then funneled into the squeeze bottle, which is fitted with an applicator top. Kids who want to trace out elaborate designs can do so using a page of reusable stencils that are applied to the skin with the aid of eucalyptus oil, which is also included.


What We Thought
The instructions, though long, were easy to follow. Impatient kids might have trouble with the “wait 2 hours” after the henna solution and paste have been mixed together. Once ready, the formula squeezed easily through the applicator tip. It was easy and fun to draw freehand, especially since we knew that nothing would be permanent! It might be difficult to keep the paste on the hands or other much-used body parts for the entire 4 to 6 hours that the manufacturer recommends, but it adhered well to legs and ankles. The images were clear and lasted more than a week.

Why They’ll Want It
Even our boss wanted a tattoo. That says it all. But, in case it doesn’t, here’s the rest: the tattoos are easy and fun to apply. This would be a great activity for a slumber party. Girls will enjoy tattooing each other into their latest “secret society.” Boys will like it, too, because who wouldn’t be cooler with a new “tattoo?” The included stencils have images of a dragon, lizard and scorpion, as well as the gentler butterfly, sun and heart, among others.

Lakaye Studio´s ToyDirectory Listing
-- Alison Marek, 8/9/05


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Name: Fashion Angels Fashion Design Sketch Book
Company: FASHION ANGELS
Age: All Ages
Price: $14
Category: Arts & Crafts

What is it?
The Fashion Angels Fashion Design Sketch Book is a portfolio that closes with a snap and is filled with a “croqui” sketch pad, tiny colored pencils and eraser, an assortment of small colored markers, and a Style Guide designed by “the pros.” The sketch pad comes with a preprinted design of a Fashion Angel’s body outline and full-color cartoon face. Kids can then use the markers to clothe the sketch. There’s a column on the right side for kids to add the date, title of the designer, their name, which character they’re deisgning for, which fabrics should be used, specs and notes. The Style Guide flip book gives them ideas for sleeve and neckline styles, various skirt shapes, and other style pointers they can use to make their creations.

What We Thought
The Style Guide acquaints kids with some basic fashion terminology and gives them ideas of shapes to try out on the doll sketches. The markers are so small that it would take quite a bit of time to color in the outfits with them, but they’re good for outlining. The pencils are good for filling in color and the markers draw right over them for detailing. The little eraser was hard to remove from its tiny pocket. If there was a sharpener included, it had already fallen out. Keeping track of the tiny pieces might be the biggest problem with this cute set.

Why They’ll Want It
This would be a fun activity to do alone or with friends or Mom. The sketches are easily removed from the pad so several people can draw at once. There’s a pocket for storing finished sketches, too. Girls will like learning fashion terms while using their imaginations to put together outfits of their own design. Fashion-conscious tweens will love the fashion/accessories aspect, but younger girls will like it, too, since it’s a step up from the average coloring book.

The Bead Shop´s ToyDirectory Listing
-- Alison Marek, 7/26/05


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Name: Print-On Magnet
Company: SEIBUN INTERNATIONAL
Age: All Ages
Price: $14
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?

Three sheets of magnetic paper that can be run through an ink-jet printer to produce images that can then be cut into magnets.

What We Thought

This is a great way to customize magnets, slogans, make calendars, stick important documents on one’s refrigerator, make magnetic arts and crafts etc. There is almost no limit to the amount of creativity and fun that this product inspires.

Why They’ll Want It

For all of the magnets one can make with this kit, they would spend a lot more money actually buying magnets from a store. Moreover, even if money is no issue, stores cannot possibly offer all of the wonderful magnet ideas that, with a bit of creativity, can be generated through one’s computer.



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Name: My Family Interview Album
Company: MRS GROSSMANS PAPER CO
Age: 8 and up
Price: $12.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?

My Family Interview Album by Mrs. Grossman´s (ToyShow) is a 3-ring album designed to illustrate stories, history and even bring families closer together. Layout consists of pages lined for text, and blank pages for photographs. The album includes stickers in a zip-lock pouch to decorate pages and photographs.

What We Thought

This is a fantastic way to interview and get to know family members like grandparents, parents, or even celebrities! More significantly, the Interview Album teaches the importance of documenting family history and events that are often too easily forgotten over time.

Why They’ll Want It

Adults will appreciate the stories told through the eyes and minds of younger ones. Stickers, including the alphabet make story telling an educational and creative activity. My Family Interview Album is an all in one scrapbook that instills the values of journaling, art and history for everyone to enjoy.


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Name: Twirled Paper
Company: KLUTZ
Age: 10 and up
Price: $16.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?

Twirled Paper is an arts and crafts kit containing spaghetti-thin paper strips that can be twirled into coils and glued together to make cute animals, flowers, insects and more.  It comes with everything you need to twirl your way into a land of paper characters; including glue, plastic eyes, a twirling stick and a “how-to” book.

What We Thought

Twirled Paper is definitely a project for the artistic child. The twirling takes a great deal of concentration and time. Those who are content to quietly sit and create will find satisfaction in this kit.

Why They’ll Want It

This handy self-contained kit can provide silent amusement for the mature child. Constructing characters is challenging and rewarding. Children can be proud of their concentrated efforts through an artistic final product.



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Name: Crayola Zoogles Model-Painting Kit - Clump 3
Company: CRAYOLA LLC
Age: 3-14
Price: $5.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?

Zoogles are characters that kids can personalize. These little creatures are made with special materials that young artists can customize and collect. The 3-inch tall mini-monsters allow the Crayola washable paints to immediately soak in, making this a low-mess creative activity. There are three kits, each containing three Zoogles, eight washable watercolors, a paintbrush and three collectible cards describing each Zoogle personality.

What We Thought

With three kooky Zoogles to decorate, eight different washable watercolors and one brush, this kit makes craft time a blast anytime.

Why They’ll Love It

Kids will love decorating the zany characters. Plus each Zoogle comes with a trading card that reveals pieces of his or her personality, including favorite foods and secret hiding spots.



Learn more about Crayola Zoogles Model-Painting Kit - Clump 3

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Name: Crayola Crayon Maker
Company: CRAYOLA LLC
Age: 8 and up
Price: $22.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
The Crayola Crayon Maker lets kids take those worn-down crayon nubs and recycle them into new crayons of their own creation. The maker uses a small electric bulb to melt the old crayons, which are then poured into a mold as kids watch it all through the clear plastic top.

What We Thought
With each melt taking about twenty minutes, kids will need parental coaching to be patient. The safety features are good: the lid locks until the melting process is over, and there’s an automatic shut-off switch on the bottom of the unit which stops the process if the Maker is turned on its side. Available accessories—molds shaped as alligators, ships or trucks—will make the process even more fun.

Why They’ll Want It
Crayola Crayons have been around for a hundred years and have lost none of their popularity. Giving kids the ability to create their own multi-colored crayons, before wrapping them in the 24 genuine Crayola labels provided, will be a hit at home or in art class.

 

--Tim Connolly



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Name: Color and Wash Finger Puppets
Company: THE CHILDREN'S FACTORY
Age: 5 and up
Price: $11
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
Color and Wash Finger Puppets by Fanny´s Play House (ToyDirectory) come in a set of three (fish or butterflies), with six markers for kids to create their own colorful puppets.  Puppets are machine-washable.

What We Thought
Children can enjoy the fun of a coloring book, while creating a toy all their own.

Why They’ll Want It
These are puppets parents will want to keep in a scrapbook long after their kids outgrow them.


         --Tim Connolly



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Name: Mandala Designer
Company: RAVENSBURGER
Age: 5 and up
Price: $12.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

What Is It?
Ravensburger's Mandala Designer is an art activity kit that makes complicated Mandala designs easy to create and enjoy. The set comes with a frame, Mandala template, 10 sheets of paper, pencil, felt pen, and 6 color pencils. Children can draw a number of classic Mandalas that are featured on the box or experiment with the template to produce their own masterpieces.

What We Thought
This great activity will keep children occupied for hours. The result is a plethora of colorful Mandalas that will look great on a wall or on the fridge. Children will be inspired by the works they create.

Why They’ll Want I
Patterns, designs and color pencils are a great way to pass a lazy afternoon.

-- Nancy Tan



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Name: Watercolor Painting Step by Step and Oil Painting Step by Step, 64 pp.
Company: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 12 and up
Price: $8.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Prospective Picassos and might-be Monets, take note: weighty examinations of color theory and costly instruction are no longer required to start painting. Fledgling artists can get a grasp on learning the basics of painting with two volumes of Walter Foster’s Artist’s Library Series.

In both Watercolor Painting Step by Step and Oil Painting Step by Step, painting novices absorb the creative and technical practices that will allow them to start putting colorful ideas unto paper.

In each volume, a handful of veteran painters guide the initiate through the different processes of painting from choosing the right brush to layering colors to create darker tones. The easy-to-understand books are well suited for creatively inclined older children as well as adults.

Learn more about Watercolor Painting Step by Step and Oil Painting Step by Step, 64 pp.

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Name: Colored Pencil Kit
Company: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 10 and up
Price: $14.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

The Walter Foster’s Colored Pencil Set includes a full set of professional tools— eight drawing pencils, white drawing paper, colored drawing paper, kneaded eraser, pencil extender, sandpaper block, sharpener, triangle and blending stump—and an easy-to-understand booklet outlining how to use the set with several different projects.

For youngsters bored with the limitations of crayons and glue sticks, the Colored Pencil Set would make the perfect one-stop gift.

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Name: Painting Landscapes in Watercolor and Painting Landscapes in Oil, 32pp.
Company: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 12 and up
Price: $7.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

Walter Foster brings a fine addition to its popular line of art instruction books. In Painting Landscapes in Watercolor and Painting Landscapes in Oil, a bevy of distinguished artists ably guide the reader through the basics of working with oils and watercolors in a variety of settings.

The acclaimed artists dispense personal tips and step-by-step lessons so a novice can easily grasp the fundamentals of painting. Each painter presents a different landscape—ranging from a bustling city scene to the sublime blue sheen of an ocean.

The Painting Landscapes volumes make a great gift for beginners, and their colorful artwork and simple language will make these books a mainstay on the shelves of art teachers.

Learn more about Painting Landscapes in Watercolor and Painting Landscapes in Oil, 32pp.

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Name: How to Draw Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, 35 pp.
Company: WALTER FOSTER PUBLISHING INC.
Age: 8 and up
Price: $4.95
Category: Arts & Crafts

The latest in Walter Foster Publications’ How to Draw series of Disney titles, Finding Nemo is much more than the coloring books you and I remember. Not only are there glossy animation stills from the movie, they’re also accompanied by step-by-step instructions showing would-be animators how to draw the characters themselves, rather than just color inside the lines.

The book begins with a recap of the Nemo story, followed by a suggested materials list (felt tip markers, colored pencils, acrylic paint and brush).

The Disney artists themselves load the book with surprisingly detailed “how-to” drawing notes, written in a way kids can easily understand without condescending to their abilities.

Learn more about How to Draw Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, 35 pp.

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Name: B*Stylin’ Button Designer
Company: BANDAI AMERICA INC.
Age: 5 and up
Price: $19.99
Category: Arts & Crafts

B*Stylin’ Button Designer marks Bandai’s hugely successful entry into the activity market, and it’s easy to understand why the product has gained the favor of a plethora of style-savvy Tweens.

The unit includes 20 button components, a circle template, 10 snap-in clip backs, 10 magnet backs as well as a sheet of button graphics and assorted decorative stickers. All that’s needed to create buttons and magnets is choosing an appropriate design (included in the kit), cutting it out and pressing it with the Button Designer. From there on out, it’s up to you to decorate, customize, personalize and stylize your world with dozens of inventive designs.

Learn more about B*Stylin’ Button Designer

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In the Mailbox...
Send us your toys! The Playzak Magazine editorial staff receives hundreds of toys to be considered for a free Review each year. After a careful evaluation process, a select few are chosen for Editorial Review or are scrutinized by Playzak Magazine's Expert reviewers. Please feel free to call us at 310-979-4330.

Manufacturers who wish to guarantee that their toys will be evaluated in the Review section should send a payment of $150.00 per toy along with the toy itself to:

Product Review Dept.
ToyDirectory.com, Inc.
12340 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 237
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Please make checks payable to ToyDirectory.com, Inc.

The majority of toys considered for review are donated to children's services organizations in the Los Angeles area such as Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

 


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