|Product(s) and information provided for review purpose. Any opinions expressed are my own and yours may differ.|
“The first Brilliant Sky Toys & Books® was founded in 2002 in Lansing, Michigan with the singular goal of being the finest upscale specialty toy store in America. Based on the belief that the right playthings give children a gateway to physical, emotional and cognitive development Brilliant Sky Toys & Books provides the highest quality products in an atmosphere that is both active and interactive. Its unique aesthetic approach is vibrant yet warm, exciting yet comforting and exploratory yet safe. From rich colors and woods to low sight lines and custom fixtures the Brilliant Sky sensory experience is unlike any other. Now based in Brentwood, Tennessee and featuring more than 10,000 high-quality specialty products, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books is truly the place where everyone can find their way to play.”
While I don’t deny being a fan of technology and your typical “hot holiday toys” this year I am on a mission to find toys, crafts etc. with a little more substance, because these products are typically the ones that make the best gifts. They stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity on multiple levels and aren’t left to sit in the closet a few days after being opened. And that is Brilliant Sky toys’ mission. Bringing playtime back to kids without the fuss, loads of batteries and 24 page instruction booklets. Toys that get back to the basics, that don’t leave you guessing, just imagining and playing.
And The Winners For This Year's Brilliance Awards Are..
- Squigz Starter Set (24 pieces) :(Fat Brain Toys) As seen on NBC-TV's The Today Show, Squigz are fun little suckers. Apply pressure to two Squigz and watch as air rushes out and the fun rushes in! Connecting to each other and to any solid, non-porous surface - Squigz are a species altheir own.They are flexible fellows and committed joiners.
- Plus-Plus Mini-Basic (480 pieces):(Geared for Imagination) Picture two plus (+) signs joined together and you "get" this simple shape with endless possibilities. Plus-Plus building bricks allow kids as young as 3 to create mosaics or 3-D designs.This new Plus-Plus Mini-Basic set contains 480 bricks as well as instructions to make 3 specific models. A great way to get kids started with the Plus-Plus product line.
- Lottie Dolls: (Schylling) Designed in Britain and winner of 10 toy awards, Lottie is a new, innovative fashion doll who stands for positive contemporary values. Her bright, vibrant clothes, silky hair, and creative accessories are tailored to reflect a young girl who is happy, brave, imaginative, and bright - the most positive role model possible. And she stands on her own two feet -- figuratively and literally. At 7", she's the easiest size for girls ages 3 - 9 to clasp, and thanks to bendable joints, she can stand and assume different poses.
- Doodle Quest: (Blue Orange) Dive below the deep blue sea where there’s fish to gobble, treasure to discover and divers to save! You will complete each quest with the power of your pen, drawing your way through underwater scenes on the quest cards. But it’s not that easy! Players draw on separate transparent sheets and must trust their eyes in order to meet targets and avoid obstacles. This unique drawing game includes 36 illustrations and two levels to master. The bait of the challenge hooks kids for hours of fun! Ideal for 1 to 4 players. Expect to play each game for about 20 minutes
- Create Your Own Storybook - (Creatively Ever After) This kit includes everything -- it only lacks a child's fantastic creativity. Blank sheets, with a border frame to draw in and lines to write on, are waiting to be filled. (The finished book will hold 12 pages, but 18 template sheets are given in case an elbow gets bumped or the storyline changes.) Create a separate sheet for every page; draw a picture on the cover sheet. Fill in the info sheet with the child's name, book title, and dedication. Place all the completed pages into the postage paid envelope and drop in the mail! Creatively Ever After will ship back the final product in 4 to 6 weeks.
- Super Stadium Baseball Game: (International Playthings) Create a realistic ball park where you get to strike out your opponent with fast balls and curve balls. Throw a variety of breaking balls at different speeds. Your opponent won’t be able to predict the pitch you will throw! A unique magnetized infield creates ball movement when the pitches are thrown. There is a spring-loaded bat, counter for balls, strikes and outs. Hit singles, doubles, triples, foul balls and home runs! Choose to bat right or left-handed. Strategically position fielders
- LoopDeLoom: (Ann Williams) Weaving just got faster and even more fun! Loopdeloom is the new sister of the popular Loopdedoo. Simply stated, it's an ingenious new loom design with spinning pegs to make weaving effortless. Say goodbye to traditional looms as LoopDeLoom puts a new spin on weaving. Make purses, cuff bracelets, headbands, cell phone and tablet cases, potholders and more. Move up to making clothing and decorator items like scarves, wraps, pillow covers and throws. Weave items any length, and up to 7”wide using one loom. It's a great gift for tweens and teens
- Sew Cute Sets: (University Games) Get sewing with the My Studio Girl Sew-Your-Own Sew Cute Kits. Girls will love stitching up tiny, adorable animals and dolls with these easy to do kits. The 8-piece set includes easy-to-follow instructions, pre-cut felt pieces, stuffing, child-safe needle, and thread. The finished project will be approximately 6'' - 9'' tall
- Illustrated Adventure Stories and Illustrated Fairy Tales: (Usborne)Take your pick -- end the day with a bedtime story that's as fascinating to look at as it is to read!
- Paint Your Own Porcelain Bowls: (Mindware) This is one-of-a-kind art that's both fun and functional! Kids can paint and oven-bake their creations for a glossy, permanent finished product (non food-safe). The Porcelain Bowl Set includes 3 bowls (each 4 ½ inches in diameter), 12 colors of porcelain paint, a paint brush and illustrated instructions.
In all there are 10 toys, all representing different brands, that were chosen for the Brilliance Award, and with price tags from $9.99 to $39.99 they are completely affordable. But one look at this list and it's easy to see that through the years childhood play hasn’t really changed as much as we might have thought. Kids still appreciate the low tech, the kinds of toys that filled our own childhood memories with fun and imagination; from finger puppets and dolls to engaging arts and crafts.
We welcomed a few of these award winners into our home recently and it was clear the direction we would go this holiday season. The first product my daughter got her hands on was a simple Sew Cute Girls sewing set that taught the basics of sewing, while you created a cute stuffed animal.
The sewing needle was safe and child friendly while preforming like a “real” needle and thread. The amazing part came from not only watching the joy my daughter got from being able to craft her own stuffed animal, but when she asked to revise her Christmas list, taking away some of the techy stuff to replace it with, in her words, “more kits to make more cute animals!" She proceeded to tell me, "That was so fun and I made it by myself". I love creative gifts and I love how much creativity shines in the 2014 Brilliance Awards top 10!
Buy It: This holiday season and beyond remember to utilize the Brilliance Awards top 10 list when looking for that special gift and visit BrilliantSkyToys.com for additional information and store locations!
Win It: One lucky reader will win their choice of a Brilliance Award winning toy from Brilliant Sky Toys and Book listed above.
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