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Ok, get ready! Beginning next week, I will begin the Mad Dash Toy Review!

So, now you're wondering, "What exactly is the Mad Dash Toy Review?" Well, I will be reviewing between 1 to 3 popular toys EVERY week right up until Christmas. That's 29 weeks of Christmas toys reviews!

If after all that, you STILL are having trouble choosing toys your kids your kids would enjoy, well, I can't help you - LOL!

Also, I'm taking requests. If you would like to see a specific toy reviewed here on this blog, just let me know. Fill out our brief contact form by clicking here.

posted by on Top Electronic Toys for Christmas, Top Toys for Christmas

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Every year in September, Toys 'R Us releases its list of what it believes will be the top ten toys for Christmas. Well, this year it is the 'Fabulous 15'. I have had a brief look at the list, and some of the toys look pretty interesting and I would have expected them on the list. I am not so sure about others. Over the next week or so, I will be reviewing the Toys 'R Us 'Fabulous 15', but in the meantime, here are the toys that made the list:

LEGO Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle
Moshi Monsters Moshlings Mini Figures
My Keepon
Air Swimmers
LeapPad Explorer
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Start Pack for Wii
Fijit Friends
Playskool Poppin' Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper
The Trash Pack Trashies' Garbage Truck
Nerf® Vortex Vigilon
Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Dolls
Air Hogs Hyperactives
Sesame Street Let's Rock! Elmo
Monster High Fearleading 3 pk
Power Wheels Dune Racer

Edit: Look for reviews beginning October 11th.

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Wow, it seems like this year is really flying by!  I know that sounds so cliche', but I find myself wondering where the time has gone so quickly.  This past summer, I worked on a grant project focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with underprivileged kids (elementary to high school).  The kids' math and science levels were tested and they were placed in appropriate groups depending upon how advanced or how behind (sadly) they were.

I worked with the character development instructor who is a pastor at a local church.  Each week we received a new group of kids - for 7 weeks.  Though I worked with the same program last year, I focused more on technology and not so much on character building.  Working with the kids this summer was a real 'eye opener' for me.  I know that as adults we tend to complain how kids lack character these days.  But for the most part, I saw hard working, dedicated kids who really care about others and want to do something with their lives although they do not always show it.  Sure, there were a few 'hard cases', but we refused to let them ruin for the others.

You may be wondering what the heck character has to do with a STEM program, but you would be surprised how much character influences science and technology.  If people had no ethics in these areas, where would we be?  But I digress...

Okay, getting back to the point of this post...  Well, each group had to complete a project by the end of the week.  The project focused on community service and the impact it has on today's youth.  In other words, they had to explain why it was important for them to participate in community service, whether it be in their school, neighborhood, or beyond.  What I discovered was that these 'tough' kids bright, intelligent, full of ideas, and most of all - empathetic.  It gave me more hope for the future.

Though I am always striving to help others, after this summer, I began to think that maybe I could even do more.  So, I am focusing quite a bit more on volunteering in my community.  In addition to feeling like I may be making a difference, I get to meet people from all walks of life.  More than ever, I feel a sense of purpose.

I know this post really had nothing to do with toys.  But heading into the holiday season this year, my focus is a bit different.  Yes, i plan on spending plenty of time with my family, but hopefully I can make someone else's holiday a bit brighter this year.  Last year, I 'adopted' a disabled child for the holidays.  It felt good knowing that her Christmas would just a bit happier.  Though we never officially met, she did send me a wonderful thank you note.

So what is the purpose of this post?  Well, basically that each one of us can touch someone else's life in a positive way.  And no, you don not need tons of money to do it.  Believe me, I have been struggling for quite some time now as have many people.  Why not start making a difference right now, continue through the holiday season, and right into the rest of your life?  Remember, it's often the little things that count.

What are your thoughts? I would really love to hear them. Post a comment below...

posted by on Top Toys for Christmas

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Well, Christmas has come and gone and we are fast approaching the end of 2010.  It has been a year of ups and downs for as well as a year for major changes.  Going into 2011, I am hopefully optimistic that I will be able accomplish most of the things that I have set forth.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited the site during the holidays and helped to make it successful.

Just in case you are wondering, we will still be reviewing toys throughout the year although the site focuses a on the Christmas season a good bit.  There are still birthdays and other events where you will need to know just what toy is appropriate and which toys garner the best reviews.

In the spirit of getting off to a good start for the coming year, here is a listing of the current Amazon Top 10 in the Toys and Games categories. The list is updated hourly, so it will probably be somewhat changed if you visit the official page. Keep in mind that you can catch some GREAT deals this time of year.  So if you were not able to get your little one that special toy for Christmas, perhaps you might find it on sale now. Check it out:

New Syma 3 Channel S107 Indoor RC Remote Controlled Helicopter

Thomas the Train: Deluxe Expansion Track Pack

Scrabble Flash Cubes

Syma S107 R/C Helicopter with Built-in Gyroscope - Yellow

Bananagrams

Melissa & Doug Decorate-Your-Own Train

Qwirkle Board Game

Hedbanz Game

The Settlers of Catan



Melissa and Doug Create-A-Craft Flower Mirror

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The Sing-a-Ma-Jigs by Fisher Price have proven to be wildly popular this Christmas with the preschool set.  Initially, they were released in 4 colors - red, yellow, pink, and blue.

However, they were received so well that Fisher Price decided to add even more Sing-a-Ma-Jigs in a rainbow array of colors.  You can even purchase a set of 9 that include the original 4 colors plus 5 additional colors - light green, lavender, orange, hot pink, and light blue.

Fisher Price got even more into the spirit of the season when they released the Santa Sing-a-Ma-Jig, which is a special edition of the toy that sings "Jingle Bells".

If your child has been begging for these popular toys this Christmas, you can still grab a set and have them in time for Christmas.  Click here to purchase the Sing-a-Ma-Jigs through Amazon.

posted by on Top Electronic Toys for Christmas, Top Toys for Christmas

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Leapster Explorer green shortageRecently, I had someone ask if there was a 'leapster explorer green shortage' this Christmas, meaning is there a shortage of the Leapfrog Leapster Explorer in the color green.  I can imagine the concern seeing that this particular top is on the 'Top Toys' list for the 2010 Christmas season.

Sidebar: By the way, I did a full review of the Leapfrop Leapster Explorer 2, so be sure to check it out if you want to know more about it.

Well, rest assured, if you are planning to grab the Leapster Explorer this Christmas for your child, there are still plenty in stock.  However, that could change, so you will probably want to go ahead and purchase the Leapster Explorer now.

posted by on Top Toys for Christmas

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Here is a listing of the current Amazon Top 10 in the Toys and Games categories.  The list is updated hourly, so it will probably be somewhat changed if you visit the official page.  However, it gives you an idea of what is popular this Christmas season.  Check it out:

Lego Ultimate
Building Set

Scrabble Flash Cubes

Qwirkle Board Game

Matchbox Stinky the Garbage Truck

LeapFrog Leapster 2 Learning Game System



New Syma 3 Channel S107 Indoor  RC Remote Controlled Helicopter

Lego Kingdoms
King's Castle

Amazon Exclusive Limited Edition Brown and Cream Bear

ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr. Game


Crayola Glow Dome

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Squinkies Cupcake Surprise BakeshopThe Squinkies Cupcake Surprise! Bake Shop is a hit with the preschool set and why wouldn’t be?  There’s just something magical about placing a coin into a giant cupcake and getting a ‘surprise’ in return.  It’s like having your very own personal vending machine shaped like a giant cupcake.  I can definitely see why it made the top toys list for Christmas 2010.

The toy dispenses the ‘Squinkies’ surprise in plastic bubbles just like a real vending machine.  The ‘Squinkies’ are supple and can be squeezed to produce a squeaking sound, and each Squinkies Bake Shop comes with 9 Squinkies.  However, there are more in the series that your child will probably want to collect.  The bake shop is equipped to deal with up to 15 Squinkies.

In addition to being just plain fun to play with, the bake shop is bright and colorful and can be also opened up so that your child can play with the little cakes and pies in the bakery.  Once playtime is finished, the Squinkies can be returned to their little plastic bubbles and placed back into the Squinkies Cupcake Surprise Bake Shop for the next round of play.

I should mention that the Squinkies are very small and children under the age of 3 should not be allowed to play with this toy unsupervised.  The small toys pose a choking hazard.  Other than that, your preschooler will love playing with the cupcake shaped bake shop.

I like the Squinkies Cupcake Surprise Bake shop because it encourages imaginative play, and children just do not us their imaginations enough these days with all the computers, televisions, and video games.   For this reason, I would not hesitate to recommend the toy as gift this Christmas.  If you are planning to pick this one up for your child this Christmas, you can click here to buy the Squinkies Cupcake Surprise Bake Shop through Amazon.

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Toy Story 3 Tri-County LandfillYou had to know the Imaginext Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill was coming with the release of Toy Story 3 earlier this year.  This one kind of reminds of the Fisher Price Little People Garage that my brothers received for Christmas one year.  It was passed on to my sister and me once they outgrew it.  I recall hours of imaginative play with that toy.  So I can definitely imagine the Toy Story 3 Landfill fueling the imagination of your little ones.

In the movie, Buzz Lightyear finds himself in hot water at the Tri-City dump and must find a way to escape with the help of his toy buddies.  Included with the Tri-County Landfill playset are three characters from the movie:  Buzz, Lotso, and Three Little Green Aliens.

The landfill features 3 different levels of play plus a giant scoop that dumps the figures into a sorter.  After being thrown into the sorter, the characters are  spewed out onto conveyor belts.  The conveyor belts drop the figures from one level to the next of the landfill.  An incinerator is waiting at the bottom for the unlucky, but there is a crane arm that your kids can use to whisk their favorite characters to safety.

The odds are if your kid has seen the Toy Story 3 movie and is between the ages of 3 and 8, he/she will enjoying playing with the Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill.  Would I recommend putting this on the list for this Christmas?  You will get an unequivocal 'yes' from me.  I do encourage you to shop around for the best prices, though.

This one seems popular, so if you are planning on purchasing it, you can click here to buy the Toy Story 3 Tri-County Landfill through Amazon before it is sold out.

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MinotaurusMinotaurus... Sounds like the name of some extinct dinosaur, but actually, according to Greek mythology, the Minotaur is actually a creature with half the body of a human and half the body of an ox.  In the game, the Minotaur protects a secret temple hidden deep within a labyrinth.

The cool thing about this game is that it is unlike a typical board game with everything fixed in place and unchanging.  With Minotaurus, you pretty much build your own game - with Legos!  And every what kid doesn't love Legos?

The object of the game is for your heroes to reach the center of the board (the secret temple) before your opponents. The players assemble the board using the included Legos, which means each time you play you can have a different board.  In your quest, you must avoid the Minotaur or risk being sent back to the beginning.  You can keep the Minotaur away or thwart your opponents' progress by using the gray Legos to build/place walls in their paths.  The game never gets boring since there are several different variations of playing the game.

To be honest, I simply love the idea of the Legos and overall, Lego Minotaurus is a great game.  I did have one concern, though.  The game pieces are a bit small and can be a bit difficult to manipulate for smaller hands in the tight confines of the game.  The recommended age for the game is 8+, but even kids who are a bit younger will enjoy playing this with some direction.  Since the pieces are small, they do pose a choking hazard, so the game is not recommended for very young children.

Ultimately, I would have to give Minotaurus my stamp of approval.  If you're looking for a game that is going to provide hours of entertainment, then you won't go wrong by placing this one on Santa's list.  Click here to purchase Minotaurus through Amazon.