As I write this post my daughter is happily decorating a cardboard box using her creative imagination to transform it into an airplane. She’s constantly asking to create and I love that about her. I think most kids are more happily entertained this way. I am happy to see that Minneapolis-based company Manhattan Toy agrees!
Nora received three birthday gifts from Manhattan Toy from their new “imagine i CAN™” series. She was most interested in the Create-a-Puppet Giraffe kit. She LOVES giraffes and crafts so this was the perfect fit for my girl.
The box says for ages “3+” but I completely disagree with this statement in regards to ability to actually assemble this puppet. She is the perfect age to play with it though. They made a good attempt at the instructions but I had to call in my design engineer husband (he writes parts manuals) to help me assemble this paper puppet. There was a lot of folding and specifically cut stickers which had to be placed on certain sides of the paper. That said, Nora was able to help peel the stickers from the sheet and place them where they belonged with our help and it became a family craft. When the little guy was finished she adored him and we promptly set up a puppet theater for her to play with which kept her busy for quite some time. He’s adorable.
Manhattan Toy, the beloved specialty toy maker based in Minneapolis, is launching a series of 28 appealing arts & crafts, do-it-yourself, role-play and puppet kits plus exciting games collectively known as the brand new “imagine i CAN™” series. Recently featured on The View as well as touted by Parenting magazine as one of the best toys of Toy Fair, each kit is perfect for family fun, birthday party gifts or solo play on a snowy day. With topics like knitting, pet rocks, castles, caterpillars and fairies, there’s truly something for everyone, and at $5 to $20, for every budget. Nearly all come in a tin for storage and travel, the handled ones could even be used as a lunchbox.
I was also disappointed with a few other missed steps in the instructions. If they took the time to die cut the stickers to fit each section I thought it was strange that they missed the fact that the sticky-backed googly eyes only adhered to a half circle on the puppet. This would have left half of the sticky eye open and gathering a host of dust and pet hair in my home. Yuck. I took a scrap of the pink paper and placed it over half of the eye, then trimmed it to fit prior to attaching the eye to the puppet. Simple fix but this should be included in the instructions. Another little error on their part = the ears are attached upside-down. Ours match the instructions and the image on the box but the illustration on the instructions shows them reversed which makes more sense. Again, a little detail but for a craft that’s SO detailed it only added to the confusion for us. Point being, the guy is adorable and really fun to play with when he’s finished but the steps to get there are tricky.
The other two toys we received were a perfect fit for my girl as well. Caterpillar Connect is a game of matching colors after rolling a die. Fairy Enchanted is a dress-up kit.
Nora played Caterpillar Connect with my dad at her birthday party. It comes with three sets of little caterpillars which connect together one turn at a time as you match the colored body pieces to the die when you roll. She just turned four and I thought this was perfect for her age but would be a great learning game for a year younger. She also played this with her Nana and the two of them used all three sets of colored body pieces to make an extra-long caterpillar. My only complaint with this one is the size of the tin to store the pieces. You must stack all of the pieces together perfectly in order to get them all to fit again. I’m not sure about your kids, but my daughter doesn’t have the patience for that. I convinced her it was like a puzzle to put it away and she finally slowed down.
Fairy Enchanted is a beautiful dress up/pretend kit which comes in an awesome little tin lunch box. I love that! Nora was very excited to open this kit and ran to her room to put on her fairy skirt. Although the felt wings are very simple they actually fit really well. We have a few wings that have wire frames and they never stay up! These wings stay right in place and should fit a variety of ages/sizes.
The elastic arm bands pulled through the wing holes a few times but that was easily fixed. A simple solution for the kit would be a little plastic bead to tie to on the front side of the wings (easy home modification). Or simply tie the knot bigger. My daughter absolutely LOVES the little accessories which include a felt bag of pretend flowers, felt flower headband, a magic wand, and two wooden bottles (one for fairy dust and one for flower seeds). This fairy kit kept her busy all afternoon. Thank you Manhattan Toy!
There is a big variety of toys, games and kits all of which focus on imaginative play, basic learning comprehension or small motor skills.
Buy any of the “imagine i CAN™” series toys on the Manhattan Toys web site. Toys, games and kits range in price from $5-$20 making them affordable for most any pocketbook.
You can win any two of the 28 products, winner’s choice, in “imagine i CAN™” series.
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Disclosure: I received these games for the purpose of this post however all thoughts remain 100% my own!