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Mega ConstruxIt was probably 1983 or '84, and at some point my parents bought me a set of Fisher-Price Construx. The cool new building set used grey beams with colorful accent pieces, connectors and plates that allowed kids like myself to create some interesting structures and vehicles. I distinctly remember creating "Doozer" towers at one point. While the line didn't really last long, the name has been used off-and-on, but not for awhile. Now, Mattel has resurrected the name as a new sub-brand to help better distinguish between the two main divisions of the MEGA Brands umbrella - now known as Mega Bloks and Mega Construx. The launch is in-progress, and I'm digging the new campaign - particularly, "The Beyonders." 

If you like motorcycles, toys and building things, then take a look at what Spin Master has just released as part of their Meccano line... the Ducati Monster 1200 S Build and Play Set. The Canadian toymaker and the Italian motorcycle maker have teamed-up for a series of building sets based on the popular bikes, bringing two icons together for the very first time. 

Published in Rock Father Rides
Thursday, March 10 2016 14:20

Review: Shopkins Kinstructions Cupcake Cafe

From what I've heard from other parents, we're probably fortunate that our girls haven't become engrossed in the craze that is Moose Toys' Shopkins line. These little collectibles are a huge deal, and while The Rock Daughters are well-aware of them (and played with them at last year's Chicago Toy and Game Fair), the only Shopkins we have here at home are the ones from The Bridge Direct's Kinstructions Building Collection (part of their C3 line). Now, I should note that this feature was actually meant to run back in December when Kinstructions launched (if you follow me on socials, you may even notice that the room in the background has since been remodeled!), but that's okay since the sets are easier to come by at this point, and there's actually been some changes in the Kinstructions world (more on that further down). So let's look at the Shopkins Kinstructions Cupcake Cafe...

When it comes to LEGO®, so much has changed over the years, though the fundamentals have stayed the same. Growing up, we had a couple of different options in terms of size, all presented as basic building sets limited only by your imagination - or available in themed collections that offered a starting point for adventures yet to come. During my first LEGO experiences in the 1970s and 80s, we didn't have all of the great licensed sets that exist now, and as a parent it's been fascinating to explore the multitude of possibilities available to the kids of today as they still build worlds limited only by their imagination - but ones that now feature some of their favorite characters from comics and film.  LEGO Super Heroes is a home-run on so many levels, with LEGO Super Heroes: MARVEL and LEGO Super Heroes: DC Universe allowing kids (including BIG kids like me) the ability to create the ultimate comic crossover at home. While you won't see MARVEL's AVENGERS vs. DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE facing-off or teaming-up on the big screen (I once explained to our oldest daughter that Superman and Spider-man don't "hang out" due to rights issues - she wasn't having it), it's completely feasible that you'll see it on the floor of your family room - and in multiple scales! There's Super Heroes for every age, with LEGO DUPLO (1½-5), LEGO JUNIORS (4+) and the LEGO Super Heroes (5+) putting the tools for adventure into age-appropriate packages that have just the right size or skill level for your little builder.

When I was a kid, I built model kits regularly. There was a time when you could walk into any Toys "R" Us, Walmart, Target, etc. and be greeted my massive aisles that were towering with hundreds, if not thousands of model kits waiting to be assembled and customized. Modern technology has helped shrink (and in some cases, eliminate) those aisles, and that's a shame... but it's swinging back. With so much focus on "building" and "making" these days, it's important to consider model kits as part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Kids love building things, and the folks at Revell get that - and they embrace the "I made that!" sense of accomplishment that kids can have. They're bringing that into a galaxy far, far away with their new STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS model kits, and the first four are SnapTite Build & Play kits for kids as young as six. No glue. No paint. No tools. Pure fun. Take a look...

After making their debut in Canada last month, Spin Master Toys' SICK BRICKS have officially launched in the United States, putting a new and unique spin on the toy/game crossovers we've been seeing of late. Those familiar with SKYLANDERS and DISNEY INFINITY will know the basic gist - physical toys and figures somehow make the jump into the digital realm as playable characters in a video game. For Sick Bricks, it's 3D Optical Beaming Technology that takes the real-world collectible figures and places them firmly into a wacky, digital world rooted solely in Mobile Gaming for Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store). "Get Sucked Into the Game!" is the Sick Bricks mantra, and it's completely valid. What's interesting here is that these "figures" are actually mix-and-match pieces that are compatible with "major brands" of building bricks. That means that while there's individual characters and playsets available from Spin Master, your Sick Bricks will have no problem infiltrating your LEGO, Mega Bloks or KRE-O worlds.

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