Review: Z-Curve Bow & Zing-Shot Launcher

IMGP0648The boys love the playground and they love tossing/firing things.  Combine these together and you’ve got a sure hit.  I had the opportunity to try out the Z-Curve Bow and the Zing-Shot Launcher from ZING Toys.  The boys were even more excited because, thanks to watching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, they saw the bow and arrow set as an opportunity to pretend that they were Hawkeye.  (A superhero archer with perfect aim.)

IMGP0646Since the bow and arrow set says it launches over 100 feet, I thought it wise not to try these out in our front yard.  Even though the darts are made of a soft foam, which probably wouldn’t even hurt if they scored a direct hit on a person, I thought it wise not to take a chance damaging one of our neighbor’s cars.  So off to a local park we went.

Now, my boys are 7 years old ( almost 8 ) and 4.  The package said that these toys were meant for ages 8 and up.  I figured that JSL would have a lot of trouble with them.  Sure enough, he did.  With my guidance, he was able to shoot off a few arrows.  I didn’t measure how far these went, but they were a good distance.  Maybe 20 feet.  Not bad for his first bow shot!

IMGP0654NHL had a bit of trouble at first, but adapted quickly.  Before long, he was shooting arrows quite far away.  I don’t know if they landed 100 feet away, but they were pretty far.

Then it was my turn.  I liked that the arrows fit into a “quiver” that could be attached to a belt loop or other strap.  This helped keep them in place when they weren’t flying through the air.  The arrows have hooks on them that grip the bow’s rubber bands.  Pulling back, I let the arrow fly.  Sure enough, the arrows went extremely far.  I didn’t measure, but it just might have been 100 feet.

Here are two photos showing the distance that the arrows travelled.  The first is of the boys recovering an arrow that I shot.  The second is of me standing approximately where an arrow landed after one of NHL’s shots.  (Click to enlarge.)


IMGP0659As NHL and JSL took turns running after it, the arrow’s red tip really helped us locate the arrows on the green grass.

Next up was the slingshot.  Unlike the bow and arrow, this had a ball that gets positioned between two stretching prongs.  You pull the ball back and let it fly.  Theoretically, it then shoots over 50 feet.  Practically, the ball kept twisting and getting caught on the prongs.  These misfires only went a few feet.  We did get a few good shots out of it, but it was definitely the harder of the two to properly fire.

Both the Zing-Shot Launcher and the Z-Curve Bow were a lot of fun.  It didn’t take long for our toys to catch the notice of other children on the playground.  They asked to try and before long there was a veritable line of kids waiting to try them out.

Of the two, I would definitely recommend the bow and arrow over the slingshot.  It was easier to work and launched much further.  Plus, the “quiver” helps keep the arrows in place while the slingshot’s balls don’t have any receptacle to keep them in.  Either way, both toys were a lot of fun and both of the boys have begged to use them again.

Disclaimer: I received the Zing-Shot Launcher and the Z-Curve Bow from ZING Toys to review.  However, the opinions expressed above are my own.

Dinosaur Train Toys Review and Giveaway

My boys love the Dinosaur Train television show on PBS by The Jim Henson Company.  They also love playing with toys.  So when I was given the opportunity to review three Dinosaur Train toys from Uncle Milton’s Toys, I was excited.  When I saw that the toys had educational value, I jumped at the opportunity.

Dinosaur Poop

Let’s be honest.  Tell any kid that you’re going to let them play with poop at the table, and they’ll look at you funny.  But once you take out this product, they’ll be crying for you to open that package quicker.


Of course, the contents are not really poop, but a brown dough-like substance.  They come inside of a storage container to keep the “poop” fresh between uses and some pieces of the dinosaur’s most recent meal.


In the case of a carnivore, these pieces are 2 fish skeletons.  In the case of a herbivore, 2 plants.  An omnivore has one fish and one plant.  The pieces can be put together like a puzzle for even more fun.

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Once all the pieces have been found, you can flatten the poop and press the fish skeleton or plant into it to form a fossil impression.

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You can also get more creative and form poop sculptures.


Of course, this toy can also lead to interesting statements from parents such as “Who wants to play with poop?” or “Keep that poop on the table and not on the floor!”


How would your child like to grow his or her own dinosaur?  Hatchers lets your child do just this.  Each package contains an egg.

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Drop the egg into a glass of water and out hatches a dinosaur.


Ok, not immediately.  This is the tough part.  The hatching takes about two days.  So children get to learn a lesson in patience.

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Dino Track Discovery Pack

My boys love games.  So it was only natural that they loved playing with the Dino Tracks.  Each package comes with three trails.  Each card contains a dinosaur footprint on one side and some dinosaur facts on the other.  There are also two “egg” cards with suggested games such as follow the trail or try to jump the space of one dinosaur stride.  (As you can see, one T-Rex step is just a little bit shorter than JSL on top of NHL.)

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Thanks to Uncle Milton Toys, one lucky winner will receive a Dinosaur Train prize pack which includes two packages of Dinosaur Poop and two Dinosaur Train Hatchers. To enter, simply leave a comment below answering this question: What is your favorite dinosaur?

You can also earn bonus entries by doing any (or all) of the following items. Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each item that you complete.  (Don’t just leave one comment listing everything you did.)

  • Follow @TechyDad on Twitter. (1 bonus entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter. Be sure to include @TechyDad and a link to this post in the Tweet. (1 bonus entry per day) For example: Play with poop and hatch some dinos with @TechyDad’s Dinosaur Train #Giveaway
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed or let me know if you already are. (1 bonus entry)
  • Leave a comment on any of my non-giveaway posts from April/May/June. Leave a comment here letting me know which post you commented on. (1 bonus entry per comment, maximum 3 entries)
  • Enter any of my open giveaway posts (excluding this one, of course).  Leave a comment here letting me know which giveaway you entered. (1 bonus entry)
  • Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway. Leave 3 comments about this to get credit for all of your extra entries. (3 bonus entries)

To enter, please follow the rules above within the comment section. Contest starts today, May 24th and ends at Noon EST on June 7th, 2011. You do not have to be a blogger to enter, but must leave a valid e-mail address for me to contact you for mailing address once the giveaway is over. I will select the winner using and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to U.S. residents only.

Disclaimer: The products were provided for this review by Uncle Milton.  The opinions expressed above are my own.

Review: Green Lantern Colossal Cannon and Kilowog Action Figure

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!

If the preceding verse is familiar to you, then you are probably already a fan of the Green Lantern.  If not, here’s a quick rundown.  The Green Lantern Corps are a galactic police force.  They protect and defend the innocent and bring the guilty to justice.  They are given rings which they can use (along with their willpower) to create objects out of a green energy.

The two toys that I received to review are the Colossal Cannon and a Kilowog action figure.

Kilowog Action Figure


Kilowog won’t be winning any beauty pageants anytime soon, but this member of the Green Lantern corps is a fierce fighter and has a keen mind.  His action figure includes a “blast” green energy construct (which can attach to other constructs) and a Green Lantern ring.

My boys had fun playing with Kilowog, but I’ve got to admit that they were most intrigued by the ring.  NHL claimed it as his own and pretended to be a Green Lantern.  Of course, he decided to play fair (with some coaching from dad) and allowed JSL to wear the ring a few times.  Sadly, the ring was too small for my fingers so I didn’t get to play with it.

Colossal Cannon

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This toy, as the name implies, is a big cannon.  A child (or.. ahem… grownup) puts his hand inside it and pulls on a trigger inside.  This fires off plastic “lantern” projectiles, makes the cannon light up and causes it to make firing noises.IMGP6953IMGP6964

This was a hit and my boys (ahem… and I) kept fighting over who would wield it next.  There was just one problem.  As you can see in one of the photos, NHL is firing the discs at couch cushions.  I rightfully surmised that the cannon’s projectiles could hurt a person and forbade them from using it unless a) it was empty or b) it was pointed at the cushions and away from anyone else.

This worked well until one time when we thought NHL had fired all 10 projectiles.  He raised the cannon in the air, squeezed the trigger and out shot a disc.  It bounced off our wall and landed without anyone getting hurt or anything being broken.  Still, I decided not to risk future breakage and confiscated the discs.  I would count this as the only downside to the Colossal Cannon.

Of course, any projectile-shooting toy bears this risk and this can be easily managed by only giving kids the discs under proper supervision.  Even without the discs, the Colossal Cannon is fun.  Kids can put it on and imagine that they are a Green Lantern firing blasts at bad guys.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Mattel and received Green Lantern toys to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Twisting and Sliding Fun with Rubik’s Slide

Growing up, I loved Rubik’s Cubes, but I had a horrible secret: I couldn’t solve one. I could get one side all solved, but that was it. After that, I was just helplessly twisting and turning until another color was solved… and the first one was scrambled. Still, I loved spending time twisting and turning them trying to figure it out.

A while back, I won a Rubik’s TouchCube and I loved it. It was just like the Rubik’s Cube, only with touch-sensitive pads. You could have the cube self-solve too. This was cool, but it wound up not getting used often. The problem was two-fold. First, I still couldn’t solve it on my own. Secondly, I didn’t have much time to spend trying to solve it.

These problems turn into advantages with the Rubik’s Slide. Mine happened to come without a manual. While this mistake was quickly fixed, I was able to figure it out in a few minutes. You basically have six possible moves: Slide Up, Slide Down, Slide Left, Slide Right, Twist Left or Twist Right.

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Meanwhile, the “playing surface” has been simplified. No longer do you need to get 54 colors into the appropriate locations along a cube. Instead, you need to get up to 9 lit up squares (either red or blue) to match the appropriate pattern. Not only is this easier, but there are three modes of play: Easy, Medium and Hard. You can find the level that suits you best and play that one without feeling like the puzzles are way too difficult.

Rubik’s Slide has two modes of play. In Free Play, you solve puzzle after puzzle for as long as you like. In Lightning Round, you solve 10 puzzles as quickly as you can.

Here’s a video I shot of me solving a few Easy Free Play puzzles. (It looks more difficult than it is because I was videoing with one hand and twisting/sliding with the other.)


This is definitely a fun addition to the Rubik’s family and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s great for involved puzzle solving sessions or a quick game here or there. I’ll even be bringing mine to BlogHer just in case I get the urge to solve a puzzle or two.

Disclaimer: I recieved a complimentary Rubik’s Slide to review. No other compensation was given. The opinions expressed above are my own.

The Stories of My Office Toys

As you probably read on, we saw Toy Story 3 on Sunday. It was a powerful movie and it is quite amazing how Pixar keeps topping themselves. I keep thinking "There’s no way they’ll beat this" and then they go and beat it. I won’t spoil anything but I don’t think that it’s a spoiler to mention that the movie is about Andy going to college and what happens to his once-beloved toys when he goes. The toys long for playtime and Andy just keeps them in a toy chest, forgotten and unplayed with.

A few days ago, I looked through my office. I have quite a collection of toys, momentos, pictures and other assorted items that I’ve collected over the years. Most of them have some sort of sentiment attached to them. Let’s go on a tour, shall we?


Starting from the left and heading right is the head of Dilbert’s boss. This is actually a "silly slammer." You hit it and it says things like "I’m the boss. It doesn’t have to make sense!" Then there’s Tigger and Pluto from our Disney World honeymoon. Behind them is Humphrey the Bear who was given to us by a Disney World tour guide upon finding out we were newlyweds on our honeymoon. Behind him is a canner penguin from a trip to Montreal we took prior to being married. Behind that is a Long Island Ducks rubber duckie. The Ducks are a baseball team near where my parents live.

Moving on we find the characters from Lilo and Stitch, another Disney movie I loved. Behind them is a Homer Simpson Pez dispenser, Mickey in a car, Dilbert and Dogbert. After them is a stuffed Hershey bar from when we visited Hershey, PA. The photos are B at our wedding and B and I with Mickey on our honeymoon. Finally, there’s the M&M guys from a trip to the M&Ms store in Las Vegas just before finding out B was pregnant with NHL.


Here we have a Mickey/Minnie wedding couple. You can wind them up and they dance. We got them at Disney during our honeymoon. Then there’s Winnie the Pooh in a cow costume. He was handed to us with Humphrey. In the back is Dr. Evil and Mini-Me along with Dr. Evil’s cat. Next to them is a box with Thing 1 and Thing 2. Besides being Dr. Seuss characters, they are also one of our nicknames for the boys. B and the boys gave me this. In the front are various snowglobes and momentos from trips to Mystic Seaport, Boston, Sesame Place, Hershey and Niagra Falls. There’s also a Disney World photo holder from our last Disney Trip (currently sans photo) and a Yoda/Darth Vader mirror toy. (You look in one end and it’s Yoda, look in the other and it’s Vader.)


That crystal and the little "eye guys" are from our trip to Howe Caverns while B was pregnant with NHL. Behind them is a penguin keepsake from our trip to Montreal. Next to them are my Farscape guys: John Crichton, Zhaan, Scorpious (with shrunken Hynerian head), Chianna, and D’Argo. They’re joined by Gandalf and Shrek. Quite the combination, huh?

Not pictured (mainly because he hasn’t been dusted in far too long) is a Spiderman toy perched on a Gargoyle affixed to my wall.  A web head covered in cobwebs is irony not laziness, right?


On top of my computer resides an Easy Button, Super Grover and Oscar from our trip to Sesame Place, a talking C-3PO that I picked up from a going-out-of-business KB Toys, Photographer Goofy from last year’s Disney World trip and a couple of DRDs who wandered away from the other Farscape guys.



Finally, there’s the front of my desk where I have my "Judge Me By My Size" Yoda from our most recent Disney World trip, the first photo of B that she sent me (along with the note she wrote me after we were engaged) and a pinscreen.

And that concludes my tour of my office toys/momentos. Getting back to Toy Story 3, I can’t help but wonder, when I shut the lights off at night, do my toys come alive and have parties?

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