Phillip Schofield is back with his look at the best things on offer in the shops for Christmas – How To Spend It Well At Christmas. As per last year, episode one took an in depth look at toys for children. Along with some help from famous faces and members of the public, the latest toys were put through their paces and judged for our benefit.
The programme started with Phillip on one of the stars from later on, a ride on unicorn! It was an entertaining start in true Schofield style.
The first category to be looked at was board games. Actor Simon Gregson, who has been playing the character Steve MacDonald in Coronation Street since 1989, was joined by wife Emma and his two eldest sons Alfie and Harry, and a group of families in Manchester to test 5 of the latest games.
Chow Crown looks a great fun toy for later on in the evening, or as the people reviewing suggested, after you had been celebrating well (i.e. had a drink or two…). It’s made up of a plastic crown that goes on your head. Dangling down from the crown are plastic forks on wires, for which you put treats on the forks. If it was me playing then I’m thinking marshmallows, strawberries, grapes and raspberries.
Once loaded with treats, you press the on button and music starts and the crown rotates. The aim of the game is to eat as many of the treats before the music ends, without using your hands. Recommended for ages 8 and upwards and can be played on your own or with others.
It needs a bit of assembly at first, and it requires 3 AA batteries. Most people find it hard to do at first, but it was obvious it was a silly game that would be best played at parties.
Break Free from Ravensburger was tested by Simon and his family. There are 4 sets of handcuffs and locks, and the idea is to be the first person to pick the lock with one of the 4 lock pickers. There is also 12 mazes although these were not mentioned in the programme.
Suitable for ages 6 and upwards, whilst Simon thought it would be cool to act as a spy, it was a quick game, lasting just 10-15 minutes.
The Sock Game by Spin Master Games was a simple but fun game that came out on top of the votes by the family reviewers.
Use the spinner to decide which object you should pull out of the sock, by touch alone. No peeking allowed! It is designed for players to play within two teams, so could be for 2 or more players, each taking turns to win points for their team.
Whilst everyone agreed this was a winner, one family felt it would be good for a larger version with 4 socks rather than the 2 it comes with. What wasn’t mentioned on the programme was that there are 4 spaces that are blank, which you can add items from your own home, thus making it more personal to you.
What’s That Smell is a card game for the whole family that didn’t go down well with the reviewers, coming in last of the 5 games played.
The 48 Mystery Whiff cards are impregnated with a different smell, and you have to rub them and guess what that smell is. There are various smells and people were guessing items such as pineapple and cinnamon. There is also 4 Stank cards which are not so nice!
There is also an app that you can download which will give game enhancements, although not necessary to play. This is a game I would struggle with, as my nose is not the best at smelling items, but I imagine it would be fun for children for a while.
Super Ski Jump by Drummond Park looks to me like game inspired by the TV programme The Jump, but a much safer version, as certain celebrities like Beth Tweddle will testify!
Once set up, which wasn’t the easiest according to those reviewing, you send your ski jumper down the ski slope and flip the ramp at the bottom to make your jumper do tricks. Points are awarded for the number of flips, how they land, and distance they fly.
This looks like a game that would be great once you master the flipping action at the bottom. Children may love the fact that one of the characters it comes with is in a bath! It may take a time to apply all the stickers it comes with, but leave that to an adult and call the kids to play once set up would be my advice.
Click the pictures to get more details and see reviews on Amazon.
New Technology – Air Hogs Supernova
Back to Phillip in his home and he was testing out some new technology in the form of an indoor drone – the Air Hogs Supernova.
Priced at £40, although you may be able to get a deal on Amazon, this drone is controlled by your hand movements and can do up to 39 tricks once you have mastered the actions.
Phillip quite clearly struggled to control the Supernova, but I wonder if given a bit more time he would have been ok. One thing that was clear was that he did not master it before the 7 minutes that the battery lasts for, although drones in general do not last a long time before needing recharging.
It has in built sensors that will see the actions you are making, and react accordingly. You can play with it alone, or with friends. Personally I think this is something that certain children will be fascinated by, and will take the time to master.
I popped over to YouTube to see if there were any videos and came up this below showing the master moves available. I particularly like the Boomerang, the Orbiter and the Walk The Dog. If you are buying the Air Hogs Supernova for a child then I would suggest watching the introduction video and the one below.
Questions about the Air Hogs Supernova:
How do I charge my Air Hogs Supernova? It has a USB charging point, so you can charge by connecting either to a computer or a wall adapter. The LED will flash red whilst charging, and go green when charging is complete. It should fully charge in just under an hour.
How do I start using my Air Hogs Supernova? Turn the switch to on, wait for the green LED to come on. Gently toss the Supernova into the air and wait 3 seconds before interacting.
How do I control my Air Hogs Supernova? You can control sideways movement by holding your hand in front of the side sensors. Height is controlled by holding your hand under the drone.
How do I stop my Air Hogs Supernova? Place your hands either side of the cage and gently clasp it. Do not put your fingers inside the cage, as you may damage the rotor blades. Turn it upside down and the rotor blades will stop. Then slide the switch to off.
Continuing with technology, Phillip introduced a segment on interactive toys where 4 lovable toy animals were battling it out to be crowned best in show. With over 200 interactive toys in the market, ranging from £2-£200, this is just a small sample of an ever increasing market.
Seeing the toys and marking out of 10 was a group of 6 and 7 year old children – the target market for most of these toys.
First to be introduced to the children was Rock-a-too from Fur Real Friends. Called the Show Bird, this parrot is so colourful and likes to entertain.
If you wave your hand in front of him, he waves back, which is kind of cute. But to me, the best thing about him is when you hold his beak, and then say something, he repeats what you have said.
It has a RRP of £80, although at the time of writing Amazon was selling for £50, which I think is a much more realistic price.
He has over 50 sound and movement combinations, and 3 song and dance routines. When you stop playing with him he tells jokes to try and get your attention back.
If you prefer your pets to be more mystical and more feline, then the Club Petz Mystery Mao could be just what you are looking for.
Mystery Mao likes to have his ears tickled and his back stroked, but don’t pull his tail or you’ll hear him hissing at you.
Use the magic wand to bring him to life. He will speak to you and can guess which sport, item of clothing or animal you are thinking about. He has an RRP of £60.
The cheapest toy in this section was the Robo Chameleon with an RRP of £40. As per the real life animals, the Robo Chameleon can change it’s body colour using LED lights.
It’s eyes roll in it’s head, and it’s tail moves. But my favourite aspect is that it’s tongue shoots out to gobble up the magnetic food laid out before him. It is controlled by an easy to use 4 directional remote control, and is the perfect introduction to robotic toys for children.
The final toy shown to the children was Rollie My Kissing Puppy. So cute, who doesn’t love a puppy that kisses you?
However, this was the least interactive of the 4 pets tested. When you stroke it’s back it wags it’s tail, and when you lay it on it’s side it will close it’s eyes and go to sleep.
I feel it was over priced with an RRP of £55, but at the time of writing Amazon was selling for £30, which is a much more affordable price for the cuteness factor.
Click the pictures to get more details and see reviews on Amazon.
In the next segment, Phillip talked to toy expert Peter Jenkinson, who had recruited 3 children to help him with his research into some of this seasons latest collectibles.
- Collectibles make up 10% of the current toy market
- 1 in 5 toys are collectibles
Each child was given £50 to go out and buy some collectibles from a particular series. They then counted how many they got, how many duplicates, and calculated what it would cost to get the whole set based on those findings.
Peter had to point out the huge amount of waste, including plastic waste, that was produced with the Hatchimals collection. It was clear that the most affordable way to buy these was to have friends who also were collecting and swapping your duplicates.
High Tech Gifts
Back to Phillip’s house now and he has donned a crash helmet and pads to test out the Segway Drift W1 E-Skates. A cross between roller skates and a hover board, they are advertised as for ages 6+.
Phillip struggled to get on at first – with one foot on one skate it started to move before he had got on the other. But it wasn’t too long before he had got the knack and was skating round his kitchen and dining room with ease.
With a top speed of 12 kilometres per hour, they are not for the faint hearted. As Phillip said, you need good balance and nerves of steel. They fully recharge in 45 minutes, which sounds pretty good to me.
The one downside seemed to be that you can’t use them on roads, pavements or in parks. But if you have a large house and/or garden, then maybe you will be able to master them and research other places where you could use them.