The Articulate Game

Articulate! GameToday we’re going to look at a classic game – in other words it hasn’t just come out like most of the toys featured on the site – but it has proven to stand the test of time, and still entertain families across the world. We’re going to talk about the Articulate! Game.

The object of the game is quite simple. It’s about describing a word as fast as possible, without actually saying the word itself or using the phase “it rhymes with” or “it sounds like”. No – the describing player needs to be fast thinking, fast talking and fast acting out the word for other members of their team – and have them guess as many words as possible within a short time frame.

There are 6 categories from which you need to describe words: Object, Nature, Action, World, Person and Random. This means you could end up describing anything from a deep fat fryer – over a TV celebrity – to the Sahara Desert. The words to be described are decided by where the team’s game piece land on the game board – the drawing from the 500 game cards containing a combined 3000 words to be guessed – and you’re not going to run out of fun any time soon.

But the game goes further than that! The competing teams gets the chance to throw a ‘spinner’ in the works, and win bonuses or the chance to halt other teams progress and put out traps, making sure that the game has a tactical element to it as well. If things weren’t competitive already, wait until someone lands on the ‘Control’ segment, and watch the competitiveness soar to epic proportions! In fact, it can become that competitive that some families have had to ban the game for Christmas.

Articulate has been hailed as the perfect family game to include almost anyone. The standard version is not suitable for younger kids, but they have the Articulate For Kids game available to them. Also, if you have played the game that much that you think you know all the answers, you can now buy the Articulate Expansion Pack No 1.

So, if you’re looking for a game that can bring the whole family together, from the stroppy teenager to Granny and Grandad, the Articulate! Game could well be the answer to your prayers. It is not for no reason that this game has been in the top ten of best selling board games in the UK since its first release in 1992 – and have won several prices and rewards since then. It’s family entertainment of the highest order!

Find the best price for Articulate! Game:

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£29.99
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Was: £32.99 Now: £21.99
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Was: £32.99 Now: £21.99
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£33.00
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Nerf Dart Tag Speedloader 6

Nerf Darttag Speedload 6Nerf guns has become extremely popular over the last couple of years, and little wonder why. They really are good fun for kids of all ages, who likes to have a little shootout once in a while without running the risk of getting injured. One of the latest Nerf guns to see the light of day is the Nerf Dart Tag Speedloader 6.

Basically this new shooter has come out to replace the very popular Nerf N-strike Maverick, which has a rotating barrel loader. On this gun the barrel loader have been replaced with a super fast internal clip-loading mechanism, which holds 6 darts, and will help you to really blast off your enemy when you get sight of them and they are within range.

The range of the Speedloader is the same as the Maverick, so you can comfortably hit targets up to 10 metres (35 feet) away. It uses the same ‘bullets’ as the Maverick as well – the Nerf Dart Tag Darts – which will whistle as they fly through the air, and stick to their target if is has got a wooly surface, as they have a bit of velcro fastened on to the tip. This is great for battles and target shooting alike, because it’s easy to tally things up afterwards.

There has been a few complaints that other Nerf darts, such as the Streamline darts, doesn’t work as well in this gun – but then – you’re better off buying the darts that were designed for use with the gun anyway. Also, some people have complained that the gun jams quite easily, due to the clip-load mechanism, and that getting the darts out is difficult and will break them. Not everyone seems to have this problem though.

I believe it would be safe to say that the Nerf Dart Tag Speedloader 6 is another great gun from Nerf. With the great range of guns in existence, everyone is always going to have their preferences – I have mine – and I know how much my own kids love playing with their Nerf guns, so I can recommend them without any hesitation at all.

Find the best price for Nerf Dart Tag Speedload 6:

John Lewis
£12.00
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Was: £14.18 Now: £3.58
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£14.97
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£20.00
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Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm

Fisher Price Little People Animal Sounds FarmFarms and animals are popular toys among most toddlers, combining sounds, textures and machines for lots and lots of imaginative play and learning. The Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm is an excellent toy for children aged 12 months and up, which will teach them about life on a farm.

Farmer Jed and his five animal friends will help your little one discover what a busy, but fun place a farm can be. Each of the animals have their own sound and texture. The cottony cow will go ‘Mooo’, the squishy pig will go ‘Oink’, the hairy horse will go ‘Niiarrgh’, the wooly sheep will go ‘Baaahh’ and the velvety chicken will ‘cluck’ away.

Apart from the chicken, which stays at the farm, all the animals and Farmer Jed are free to move around. Also, the whole set can be surface cleaned with a damp cloth, which is handy if the farm or the animals gets messy, which is bound to happen considering its target audience. Also, the farm is well built, so will stand up to hours of rough play.

The recommended age for the Fisher Price Farm is 1-5 years of age, but parents who bought it says that children down to 8 months of age have had fun using it, and that children above the age of 3 probably won’t give it a lot of time. In other words, this toy is best suited for toddlers.

The farm can be played with straight out of the pack, so you don’t need to put things together, but you do need to have 3 AA batteries to hand, if you want the farm to work.

All in all the Fisher Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm is an excellent toy for toddlers, and will develop their senses and learning on many levels. It is highly recommended by those parents who bought it already, and that is the best recommendation any toy can get.

Find the best price for Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm:

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£32.97
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$39.99
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Bananagram Game

Bananagrams GameGames that challenge players to make up words, using tiles with letters on them, is nothing new. Neither is the Bananagrams Game, which has been out for a few years now, but like other kinds of games in the genre it continues to be very popular and difficult to ignore.

Where the Bananagrams game stands out from the crowd is in the speed of play. One game – called ‘hand’ – could last for just five minutes, as there is no sitting around and waiting for someone else to finish their turn. Each player just take their share (up to 21) of the 144 tiles, and start building their own words.

Once a player has used up all their letters, they can call out for everyone to take one more letter from the stack, until the stack has less tiles left than there are players in the game. At that time, the game will end once one of the players have used up all their tiles. This player will win, if all their words can be found in a dictionary, and are spelled correctly.

The game can be played by yourself on your own – or by up to eight players – and provides awesome family fun for everyone from primary school age and up. Some people who doesn’t even like playing games have been known to get totally hooked on Bananagrams – and the game appeals equally to beginners as it does to hardcore word game fanatics.

Other features of the game is that you don’t need anything other than the game itself to play it. There is no game board, no pens and paper – all you have to do is grab the pouch and go – so the game is great for bringing on holidays as well. As long as there’s a flat surface – nothing can stop you from playing Bananagrams.

If you’re looking for some all-round family entertainment during the long winter nights, a quick and easy game to bring on holidays and caravan trips, a game that provides loads of fun while being both challenging and educational – look no further! The Bananagrams Game is the answer to your prayers – and you’re not very likely to find anything that will top it.

Find the best price for Bananagrams Game:

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£11.97
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Was: £14.99 Now: £7.20
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£15.99
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Elefun Butterfly Catching Game

Elefun Butterfly Catching GameEveryone loves having a bit of fun. Some people funds it funny playing games. Others like catching butterflies. So why not roll it all into one? That is what Hasbro has done with the Elefun Butterfly Catching Game – the game that allows you to catch more than just butterflies – you can catch a few giggles too.

The new and updated version of the game comes with 2 butterfly nets, around 30 vividly coloured ‘butterflies’ and the Elefun head/trunk that will blow the butterflies high up in the air (trunk will reach up to 4ft high). The object of the game is to catch as many butterflies as possible, before they hit the ground. The one to catch the most butterflies wins the game.

There is a way that you can win the game – even if you don’t catch the most butterflies – and that is by catching the special golden butterfly, which will give you an instant win.

The older version of the game, which is still available to buy, features the same contents as the new version – only there’s 4 nets in the pack – making it a bit more of a family game. The older version is in a less colourful box – so if you want more family fun – buy the old elefun game. Alternatively, you can buy the new version, and add a couple of butterfly nets to your order.

The Elefun game requires 4x C-type batteries, which is not included when you buy the game, so if you’re planning on playing with it straight out of the box, you need to add those to your order as well. You’ll want to buy good quality batteries, as the Elefun unit does take up a good bit of power, so poor batteries will quickly run out and detract from the fun. You may even want to consider buying re-chargable batteries, to keep your costs down in the long run.

People who have bought the Elefun Butterfly Catching Game already reports that once you overcome these few issues, it really is a good family time game, which is lots of fun for young and old. So, if you want to catch a few butterflies/giggles, or need something to keep kids entertained at a birthday party, this game could well be the answer.

Find the best price for Elefun:

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£16.99
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£17.99
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Was: £17.99 Now: £12.78
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Was: £17.99 Now: £11.99
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£18.00
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£18.00
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Haynes Internal Combustion Engine

Haynes Internal Combustion EngineToday we are going to look at what you may think of as a boys toy – yet there is no reason why girls couldn’t fall in love with this toy – and in any case it will teach some very useful skills to those who really get into it. The toy we are talking about is Haynes Internal Combustion Engine.

Haynes is probably best known for publishing books on how to repair almost any car on the UK roads, with repair guides and service manuals for all makes and models. Very useful for the DIY mechanic.

With this model of a combustion engine, they have created a great educational toy for those who were born with a spanner in their hand, or at least show a bit of interest in engineering. If you’re a parent or grand parent of a child who fits that description you may want to encourage them by adding this toy to their wishlist.

This set includes all the parts you need to build the engine, and a booklet with clear instructions on how to do it. In the booklet there is also a section clearly explaining the theory behind combustion engines, how to maintain them and the lingo you need to know if you want to work with them.

Most people will not have many problems assembling the engine, if any at all, though there has been some reports of one or two missing parts in some packs. These have, however, all been dealt with by Haynes customer service.

Another complaint made by some customers is that this engine doesn’t have enough power to run anything, which, although that would be great fun, shouldn’t come as a surprise since this is a model for educational purposes.

All in all this is a great toy for anyone who aspire to become an engineer or mechanic, and a cheap way to find out if your child have a real interest in the subject, before you go and buy the real thing. The Haynes Internal Combustion Engine is a perfect starting point.

Find the best price for Haynes Combustion Engine:

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Was: £29.99 Now: £17.35
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Was: £29.99 Now: £14.99
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Wild Science Bath Bomb Factory

Wild Science Bath Bomb FactoryWe all know that children learn best about things by playing. Perhaps this is one reason that the Wild Science Bath Bomb Factory has become a really popular toy, along with other sets in the series.

The Wild Science playsets teaches kids about the science behind some of the things we buy an use in every day life, while at the same time allowing them actually produce the items, and use them afterwards.

The Bath Bomb Factory doesn’t stop at making bath bombs, however, but also lets your child explore other related products, mostly based on things you can do with bicarbonate of soda, which in the case of the bath bombs will create the fizz. Other things your child can do with the set includes phunny phoam, bathroom volcanos and a bicarbonate submarine.

Kids of all ages have fun with this set, and while they thoroughly enjoy the creating process, they are also quite keen to get into the bath afterwards to give their creations a try. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. While the set is meant for children aged 8+, there is nothing to say that younger kids can’t get some fun out of this, although they will need supervising.

Now – you could be forgiven for thinking that a bath bomb factory is a girls toy only – which the colours on the pack suggests as well, but that is not the case. I have had a request from my own son to get him one for Christmas, so he can make some bath bombs for his mum. Aww – how sweet!

Although the set includes enough materials to make a few bath bombs, and carry out more of the experiments, eventually you are going to run out. Not to worry! There are no ingredients in the set which aren’t readily available from the shops – and certainly they can be bought online. Otherwise you can always buy another set.

A small word of warning needs to go out – the making of the bath bombs can be a bit of a messy affair – so allow for this when you let your kids loose with the set. Also, ladies, if you have any expensive perfumes lying about – you may want to put them out of your little scientists’ way – before they find their way into the bath bombs.

The Wild Science Bath Bomb Factory really is a great way to get your kids to learn about science, while playing, and producing things you might go and buy for a pretty penny from a gift shop anyway. If you have a child who loves exploring and likes being creative and making things, this set is a no-brainer – and a great stocking filler.

Find the best price for Wild Science: Bath Bomb Factory:

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Was: £12.99 Now: £10.01
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£12.99
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Play Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shop

Play Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream ShopPlay Doh is a great toy for kids with a bit of artistic talent, and has been a favorite to play with for years and years. Not content with rolling the dough out any more, and cutting out figures etc.? The Play Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shop could be the solution you have been looking for.

The set is not new out – but has been marketed heavily in the run up to Christmas 2012 – so let us take a look at what it has to offer.

Aside from 4 tubs of the play doh modelling compound, 2 of which are colours unique to the set, you’ll find a base onto which you can fit an Ice cream presser, toppings presser and a sprinkle maker, so your child can make pretend ice cream to their hearts content, without you needing to worry about the mess an ice cream would normally make. The ice cream can be put in the two ice cream dishes or ice cream cones, which is also supplied with the set.

This is not by any means a suggestion that there will no cleaning up to do after play with this set – that would be a false promise to make. The set does however offer an entirely new dimension to playing with play doh, so where the  fun of playing may wear off quite quickly with standard tubs of play doh, the Ice Cream Factory offers hours of play, and will still be taken out after months of use.

The Ice Cream Shop is suitable for kids 3 years of age and up – but younger children will need adult help to get much out of the set – as the ice cream presser does require the strength of an adult or older sibling to work. This is one of the few complaints people are raising about this set – the other one being that the ice cream making tools does require cleaning after play, as the modelling compound will otherwise dry out inside, and render the set useless eventually.

All in all the Play Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shop is a great new way to play with Play Doh, and it does offer hours of creative/imaginative play for kids who loves playing with it.

Find the best price for Play-Doh Magic Swirl Ice-Cream Shoppe:

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Was: £18.00 Now: £13.50
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£18.99
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Was: £19.99 Now: £14.97
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Lego City Forest Police Station

Lego City Forest Police StationLego City has long been one of the best selling series of Lego toys, and a firm favorite for kids between 6-12 years of age. The latest addition to the series is the Lego City Forest Police Station.

Having been chased out of the city by the city coppers, the Lego bandits are building themselves a new base in the forest outside the city, where they can hide the loot from their raids. They use a fast quad bike as a get-away, as normal police cars can’t go off road in the woodlands. The police will have to come up with a solution to this problem, so what else can they do than establish an outpost in the forest, with the appropriate tool to catch up with the ingenious thieves.

The above could be one scenario of imaginative play with the Lego City Forest Police Station. There are many other possibilities – like the thieves being chased up a tree by the included Grizzly Bear (a favorite scenario wit many kids) – and much more. Only your child’s imagination sets the limits.

The set includes a police station, complete with lookout, communications mast and a cell with 3 beds. You also get 5 mini figures, 2 forest policemen, 2 bandits and a pilot for the included police helicopter. Also, as stated above, the bandits have a scrambler bike, and the police have got a 4×4 police car. Also, you’ll get a number of rocks, gold and money, tools for the bandits, and a range of police equipment.

All together this set is a fantastic new addition to Lego City, and any child who is into their Lego, and maybe have other Lego city sets already would love to own this one as well. Kids will be able to put this set together from as early as 5 years of age – even if they might need some help – and will probably start to lose interest once they get into their teens.

The Lego City Forest Police Station is going to provide hours of entertainment, both while putting it all together, then playing with the set afterwards. If you’re looking to buy anything for a Lego City fan, who has all the other sets already, this is a no-brainer – and it would be a great place to start off a collection as well.

Find the best price for LEGO City 4440: Forest Police Station:

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£59.95
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Was: £59.99 Now: £44.97
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£59.99
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Was: £59.99 Now: £53.00
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£59.99
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£60.00
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Vtech Gadget The Robot

Gadget The Robot From VtechThere’s something about robots that draws interest from kids of all ages, and that goes for Gadget The Robot from Vtech as well. This charming little guy, which doubles up as an excellent pre-school learning toy and an interactive kids gadget, is no different.

He comes with 30 different learning chips, 26 of which will teach each letter of the alphabet and a word starting with that letter, and 4 special chips. Each chip slots into Gadget’s nose – much like you put money in a sweets machine – so kids are well aware how to work it.

The robot has 6 different learning modes. Learning will teach the letters and the word on the chip – Charge Me Up will make Gadget hungry for chips, so he will tell you how many he wants – Super Speller will spell out the word on the chip – Follow Along will make Gadget ask you to follow a sequence, turning his eyes and ears – Robot Rock will have Gadget dancing at a clap of your hand – and finally Quiz Mode will have Gadget asking you a question that you answer by inserting the correct chip.

All the chips can be stored in a ‘backpack’ that you can fasten onto Gadget’s back so the chips are safely stored away while not being played with. The robot requires 4 AA batteries to work. You get batteries with the toy – but you may want to buy some extra for backup – just in case.

Gadget is built for pre-school kids, aged from 3-7 years, but in all honesty kids at the top end of this group may well find this toy a bit boring. As a parent you’ll be happy to know that the robot has 3 volume settings – so although he has a cute robot voice – he won’t necessarily drive you crazy after a few hours of play.

There are lots of ways to play with Gadget The Robot from Vtech – so your kids are not going to get bored anytime soon if you decide to buy one for them. He will offer hours of fun and interactive play – and teach kids loads of different skills through play – right up until they start school.

Find the best price for Vtech Gadget The Robot:

Tesco.com
£39.99
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Was: £39.99 Now: £31.97
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Was: £39.99 Now: £31.99
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£40.00
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