Reviews, Science, Toys

Lite Poppers Light Up Kids’ Imaginations

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Lite Poppers are fun for the whole family! Even the cat! (Don’t really give your cat Lite Poppers.)

You may not have heard about Lite Poppers yet, but it’s a fascinating new construction toy line that really stands out. It’s connective system is unlike any I’ve seen before, original and innovative.

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These are the basic building components of Lite Poppers.

The colorful building units, not blocks exactly, but look like globes when connected up, can be moved around. So what you get here is a toy that can be moved and morphed as your child completes it.

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The units click into one another to form globes.

It’s a new kind of connective toy. That means that sussing out how the globes connect up may take your child a minute, but once they catch on, and they will, Lite Popper toys can inspire your children in creative ways other building toys can’t. So don’t worry if the system looks complex, Lite Poppers has THIS VIDEO to help you out in case things seem daunting.

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When figuring out the connective system, the basic units reminded me of the atomic models from science class, used to create, say, water molecules.

Think Lego crossed with Meccano crossed with a Rubik’s Cube, throw in a dash of Lite Brite, and you’ll get close to the ideas Lite Poppers can inspire.

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Here the globes are connected to each other and the light up platform provided in each set.

But wait a second. Lite Brite? Where’d that come from? As the name implies, Lite Poppers, well, pop with lite. Each set has a base that lights up and flashes. I dunno about you, but my kid loooooves toys that light up. So now, whatever gets built with Lite Poppers will glow, flash, reflect, and move as the toy does.

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Here we have the Lite Poppers Plane, with “Zef.”

Oh, and you don’t need batteries for the toys either. You can use a phone charger or USB cable to power them up. Each set also comes with plenty of reflective stickers as well, to enhance the effect.

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And here it is all lit up!

Now here’s the part you don’t tell your kids. Lite Poppers are officially classified as STEM toys. That stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. So what we have here is a opportunity to sneak some learning in for your kids. They won’t know it, but as they play with the toys, they’ll be grasping fundamentals of science and math!

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Trading cards, back stories, and interactive games are included in every set.

And they won’t know they’re learning because Lite Poppers provides back stories, comics and trading cards for their characters and toys. Learning disguised as fun! Win win.

As parents, it’s our job to challenge, coax, and encourage our kids to explore the depths of their imaginations, to reach beyond what they think their limits are. So when a toy comes along that is capable of helping us do that, it’s a toy our kids should have.

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Lite Poppers Plane with “Zef” and the Loader with “Xena.”

For the kid who likes LEGO, but you aren’t sure which sets they’re into; for the kid who loves toys who light up; for the kid who loves school, and the kid who doesn’t; Lite Poppers will make fun, unique, and memorable gifts.

Find Lite Poppers HERE.

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Playmobil NHL Hockey Arena
Parenting, playmobil, Reviews, Sports, Toys

Playmobil’s NHL Hockey Arena Perfect for Family Fun!

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When I was growing up, tabletop hockey games were a big part of life. We had one of those sets with the two-dimensional players for everyday use, but the really nice set with the detailed hockey figures was saved for the holidays. So when Playmobil sent me their NHL Arena to review, I was going to either really love it or really hate it. As the headline spoils, it was clearly the former.

As with my previous review, I’ve uploaded a video playlist as well, linked HERE.

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My first impression when I opened the box was that this would be an easy set to put together. If you know anything about Playmobil, you already know that they pride themselves on being hyper-detailed. While that’s an overwhelmingly good thing, that means some of their bigger sets have many small pieces, and can take a while to assemble. Well, I’m happy to report here that although Playmobil’s attention to detail is still greatly evident with their NHL Hockey Arena, it is very easy to assemble. It will only take a few minutes, shown in this video.

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The Arena comes with four players, two skaters and two goalies. While none of them wear official NHL team colors (don’t worry, Playmobil still has you covered, we’ll get to that) they do sport the official NHL Shield logo on their jerseys and helmets.

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Still, the colors the teams wear are wisely chosen, and mirror some official NHL teams closely. The blue team could easily pass for the Winnipeg Jets, for example, and the white and red team could easily become the Detroit Red Wings or Carolina Hurricanes. It would only take a few stickers to accomplish that.

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See that little grey arrow behind the player in the white jersey? That’s the spring loaded mechanism that pulls his hockey stick back and releases it for the shooting action. The goalie is attached to a lever and swings back and forth to try and stop the shot. Playmobil captured hockey’s play action just that simply and effectively.

The skaters snap easily into platforms that make them look like they’re skating, and it also allows them to shoot pucks. While they still have that iconic Playmobil aesthetic, the players are definitely unique additions. The NHL Hockey Arena (set 5068 for the sticklers) can either fit into an existing Playmobil theme or stand alone.

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The goalies are amazing. Underneath their equipment, they look like a more traditional Playmobil figure. Their accessories include skates (which connect to the lever that moves them), leg pads, a blocker, a trapper, a goalie stick, and, of course, an awesome facemask. Combined with the puck shooting action of the skaters, the ability of the goalies to go post to post in the crease really makes for a lot of fun hockey gameplay.

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And here’s something I discovered that I’m not even sure Playmobil thought of, you can put the goalie on his action feature sideways. Now he can stack the pads and make exciting kick saves just like in the real NHL! Not to mention this covers a lot more ice and makes scoring much harder. It’s a way to level up to a harder difficulty in game play.

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“But waaaaaaaaait a minute,” says the sharp-eyed reader, “Where did those New York Rangers players come from?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Playmobil also has official team players available, and as I’m a huge Rangers fan, I naturally had to have them.

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Each skater comes with a sheet of decals with numbers and their team logos. You can customize them any way you like. So for the Rangers goalie, I gave him number 30, for Henrik Lundqvist. The skaters got 19, because I liked to wear 19 when I played, and 36, because I think Mats Zuccarello kinda looks like a Playmobil figure.

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Image courtesy NY Rangers Fanatics.

I kid you because I love you, Mats. Seriously. ZUUUUUUC!

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But to the point at hand, Playmobil allows you to customize not just your players, but the NHL Hockey Arena itself. As we’re a New York Rangers family, the rink will be New York Rangers home ice.

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But you can choose whatever team you like. Playmobil includes three sheets of decals, including every NHL Team logo and the NHL Shield logo as well, in case you’d rather stay neutral.

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“But, wait,” you might say, “I don’t know anything about hockey!” Don’t worry, Playmobil thought of that too. They include a booklet explaining everything you need to know about the sport. Don’t worry, it’s not very complicated. If your child likes hockey and you don’t, then here’s a quick and fun way for you to catch up.

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As for gameplay on the NHL Arena itself, it couldn’t be simpler. There’s a slider on the boards behind each net to keep score. First one to ten wins. You’re all set to play games immediately.

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The rink also features removable side boards revealing ramps, as Playmobil also offers a Zamboni ice cleaning tractor. My full video review of the NHL Hockey Rink is HERE, by the way.

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With the NHL Hockey Arena, Playmobil will let you trick out your rink with players from your favorite NHL team, as well as the aforementioned Zamboni, referees, and even the presenters of the Stanley Cup. For those of us who love hockey like I do, these are the toys we’ve been waiting for. It’s a serious upgrade from tabletop hockey.

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It was symbolic that my father was visiting for Thanksgiving when I gave the Arena to my son. Hockey’s a family thing with us. That’s why I wore the number 19 when I played, because my father wore it before me.

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When I was growing up, tabletop hockey games were a big part of life. I played it with my family and friends, with the extra special nice tabletop game with the cool figures saved for the holidays. Thanks to Playmobil, I can pass on this tradition to my son, and we’ll play hockey games just like my father and I did.

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And while we may have picked up this tradition for the holidays, I think we’ll keep it going all year round.

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