The LEGO Mighty Micros line are a series of small affordable sets featuring some of the most high profile superheroes around. Each set consists of two characters & vehicles, one a hero the other a villain.
This set sees Batman up against his feline inspired nemesis Catwoman. You get 2 minifigures, 2 vehicles, and a couple of accessories.
As with all the other minifigures in this line, these ones have the shorter non-jointed legs usually reserved for shorter characters. They also have a more cartoony expressions (which is saying something given they’re LEGO) than the usual minifigures.
In this particular set you get a very cute mini Batmobile, as well as a cuter ‘Catmobile’, that even has a tail. There are also accessories of a Batarang, a diamond (presumably why Batman is chasing Catwoman), and a carton of milk – we all know cats love milk…
Like the others, this is decent value for money for a licensed set given that it has 2 vehicles and minifigures. We have a lot of Batman minifigures, as well as a few Batmobiles – so while it’s fun to have another, for me the big draw for this set was the Catwoman figure, and her Catmobile. As ever, I’m always keen for my daughter to have a good range of female character toys to play with too.
She is a big Batman fan – especially LEGO Batman – so this was another winner with her. But it was also great to be able to add another female character to the mix.
While I’m not a fan of these short leg minifigures, I get why they’re done here – so they work with the small vehicles. Anyway, it’s easily fixed by replacing the legs if you want.
The LEGO DC Super Heroes Mighty Micros: Batman vs Catwoman set has an RRP of £8.99. We were provided with a set from LEGO for the purposes of this review.
At Smyths Toys princesses and Queens are for girls AND boys. The latest TV ad from Smyths Toys Superstores sees a boy dreaming of being a series of toys – including dressing as a Queen.
Beyonce’s 2008 song ‘If I Were a Boy’ saw her musing on life as a man – and coming to the conclusion that she would probably make a better one than the ex-lover she is singing about.
Smyths Toys have reworked the song for their latest TV ad, which sees a boy imagining life ‘If I Were a Toy’, while browsing around one of Smyths Toys superstores. The ad finds him zipping from one amazing adventure after another – from flying in space to dancing so much his batteries run out.
Rather aptly, seeing as it’s based on a song about gender swapping, the ad neatly subverts traditional notions of boys and girls toys. While the usual suspects of Star Wars and LEGO are represented in the boys fantasy journey, we also see his immersion include the likes of Barbie, Frozen, and at one point he sings of being ‘Queen of the land’ – wearing a dress and a tiara.
The toy industry still has a way to go – but it has definitely improved in its approach to toys for boys and girls.
Anyone who spends time with young kids on a regular basis will have seen this – at playgroup while there will be girls with the train set on the floor, you’ll also find boys pushing buggies and running around in princess dresses. A gender neutral approach to toys isn’t about pushing a hidden social engineering agenda, as critics like to claim. If anything, it’s the opposite (undoing one) and simply reflecting the reality of how kids play.
A lot of the buzz around gender neutral categories in toys has been around girls not being excluded from playing with action figures and construction sets. But it’s easy to forget there are lots of boys who enjoy princesses and ponies. Encouraging them to feel confident in engaging in this is just as important.
So in its own small way, this TV ad is playing a part in subverting stereotypes of what it means to be a boy. And while it sees him imagining life as a toy, perhaps the toy industry is reimagining what a boy wants to play with.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smyths Toys Superstores
The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls is welcome addition to the raft of kids’ activity books. The premise of the book is simple – 20 b&w pictures for colouring, of girls & women doing a range of activities and roles not traditionally associated with girls.
Is there a place for a feminist colouring book for girls? I would answer a big yes – the marketplace unfortunately remains saturated with “girls’ colouring books” dominated by lazy stereotypes of princesses, flowers and pretty dresses.
The simple line drawings make this just right for younger children – a great way to introduce young minds to images of women in roles ranging from knight to palaeontologist.
The book is a great conversation starter – my 4-year-old daughter was asking me about all the different things the women were doing. Some, such as Astronaut and pirate were obvious to her, but the likes of sculptor or chemist less so and gave us a chance to talk about them. The image of a female artist – splashing paint on her canvas – even lead to a discussion about Jackson Pollack (just to reiterate, my daughter is 4).
Another nice detail is that each picture is on a separate page, so no need to worry about colours bleeding through to an image on the other side.
Some may object to it being called The Amazing Colouring Book FOR Awesome Girls, phrasing which excludes boys. I get that point, and have some sympathy with it.
However, I also think that while more people are becoming aligned with the gender neutral ideal when it comes to shopping for kids, there are still those who will only buy things for girls that are labelled as such. These are the people that still need to be reached, and a book like this can do that. I feel any misgivings about the wording of the title are completely overshadowed by the empowering nature of this project.
The book is by Rachel Garlick, a London based illustrator who’s also worked as a storyboard artist on high-profile films & tv shows such as Peaky Blinders, Call the Midwife,Broadchurch, 24, and Galavant. Hopefully, she’ll continue to create content for children too – perhaps we’ll see a similarly subversive colouring book for boys from her next?
In the meantime, I’m glad my daughter gets to use The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls.
The Amazing Colouring Book for Awesome Girls has an RRP of £4.99 ($7.49 in US). We were sent a copy free of charge for the purposes of this review.
These toys may be for the boys on the big screen, but little girls can join the action too with these nifty Captain America and Iron Man role play accessories.
After explaining to my 4-year-old daughter about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, how all the stories are linked, she decided she wanted to see them in order.
So a little earlier (by some years) than I had planned, we set about watching all of them from Iron Man to the latest Captain America: Civil War. After that one she said “I hope Iron Man and Captain America can be friends again?”
But she ended up being a big fan of both of these key members of the Avengers, so the timing was perfect when we received these toys from Hasbro to review – Captain America’s Shield and the Iron Man Slide Armour.
Role play is an important part of childhood development, and my daughter is always very keen to reenact stories. Props like these are a key part of that.
Both toys feature moving parts that slide/reveal at the touch of a button. Both also have a double Nerf Elite Blasters, a Hasbro owned brand that they often put into their other toys (e.g. our Millennium Falcon has one).
So what did we make of these toys?
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield
Captain America’s shield is a Marvel icon in itself. Made from an indestructible alloy, it’s circular representation of the American flag has remained unchanged for 75 years.
But how to make this into an interesting toy? It’s basically just a disc. Hasbro have created various versions in recent years, and the latest is the Captain America: Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield.
At the touch of a button (the star at the center of the shield) 2/3 of the shield retracts to reveal a Nerf blaster inside, that can be cocked by a lever and fired by large button on the handle.
With no batteries required, this comes with 2 Nerf Elite darts and is ready to go.
It seems pretty sturdy, though I doubt it would last long being thrown around like cap does.
My daughter thinks it’s cool, and loves playing with the retracting mechanism more than the Nerf blaster. She has also been know to pair the shield with a sword.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War – Iron Man Slide Armour
Unlike Captain America, Iron Man doesn’t have an accessory as such – his whole armour IS his accessory.
But Tony Stark Does have the occasional gadget, and in Captain America: Civil War, he has a pretty cool one – a wrist watch which converts into an Iron Man gauntlet (For all those cynics out there who think this stuff is in these movies just to create new toys – this was actually Robert Downey Jrs. idea).
Now, as cool as this is, recreating this digital marvel for an affordable kids toy requires a bit of imagination – from the toy designer and the child playing with this Iron Man Slide Armour.
This is basically a twin-barrel Nerf blaster (in Iron Man colours), but at the push of a button the blaster armour telescopes out to cover the wearer’s forearm. Like the shield, the Nerf blaster is fired by another button.
The unlocking is of less interest to my daughter in this toy than the shield.
Comparing the two? Let’s face it, neither toy is particularly authentic. Cap’s shield should have no moving parts, the Iron Man toy is a very broad approximation of Stark’s gadget in the movie.
But the least authentic – the shield – is my daughter’s favourite and probably the most successful of the two toys, as it basically looks cooler. The Iron Man one is more akin to the kind of improvised gadget Stark would have created in the Afghan cave in the first movie.
But we’ve had great fun playing with these – and we haven’t lost any of the Nerf darts… yet.
The Marvel Captain America: Civil War Blaster Reveal Shield and Marvel Captain America: Civil War – Iron Man Slide Armour both have an RRP of £24.99. We were provided with both free of charge from Hasbro for the purposes of this review.