Friday, April 10, 2009

Product Hits & Misses: Bubbly Edition

It's spring, it's spring!

We had a gorgeous day yesterday. And we started it out with a trip to Target to pick up a replacement for what has become (for us anyway) an indispensible toy. Behold today's first hit, the bubble machine:

More Bubbles?

Here's a photo from the web of how it looks in the packaging:
Amazing Bubble Generator, official image
Joy got the first of these bubble machines for her birthday at the start of last summer. This year it's called "Amazing Bubbles Bubble Generator"; last year's model was called "Turbo Bubbles Bubble Generator", and both are from a Chinese company called Placo. Cost us about $15 at Target; they only have them during the spring months and into the summer, as far as I can tell. You pour bubble solution into the front of the machine, and then it turns both on and off by means of a single colorful push-button on the top of the machine.

Joy LOVES to turn this thing on and off, and to run around in the resulting stream of bubbles. Yesterday she was actually tracking bubbles and working on popping them, another skill that seems to come and go. The first of the above photos is the one that we use in Joy's PECS book; a highly motivating choice.

Downsides of the toy: it eats lots of bubble solution (make sure you buy an extra gallon of the stuff) and also eats AA batteries of which it takes six. It also comes with a handle on top, but if you try to pick it up with the handle while there's bubble solution in the toy, it will tip and dump out all the solution. Oops. For a cheap plastic toy, it did pretty well, lasting a whole year. Eventually the fan fell off in the back of the machine and there's no way to open the thing up to get to it. Still. You'll notice we ran right out to replace it while the getting was good!

On the MISS side of the equation last year was another battery powered bubble generator called Bubble Bellies: Manely the Lion, by Little Tikes.

Manely The Lion
Poor Manely. He was a cute idea: you operated him by grabbing a handle on his back and squeezing, which opened his mouth for the bubbles to come out and turned on the fan. Should have been good grip-manipulation practice. But he was too heavy for Joy to turn on and carry around easily, and his handle tended to stick which made him frustrating even if you worked him on a table, and he broke within weeks. Plus he didn't give nearly as good bubbles as the Bubble Generator. Manely = Miss.

So, one more bonus hit before I go today. This one is from Rose.

Multicultural Skin Tone Washable Crayola Markers
I first saw these "Multicultural" washable markers from Crayola last fall at Target when I was school-supply shopping for Rose. I passed them over at the time since we were spending so much money already, thinking that I could pick them up as a stocking-stuffer later. But when I went back closer to Christmas, they were nowhere to be found, and I didn't know the right search term (multicultural) to find them online. Suddenly we found them in our local craft-supply store this week. Rose was delighted, and set right in to make a rainbow of people! Wish I'd had this kind of thing back when I was a kid; the standard colors never did justice to skin tones. Heck, I bet my mama wished they had washable markers at all back when I was a kid!

There's your product roundup for the day. JoyMama out.


Me said...

Cool bubbly maker!!

jess said...

we LOVE the bubble machine round these parts too .. of course we have a dora one .. (i know, i know)

hint .. you can use liquid dish soap for the bubble solution. get a huge one at costco and it'll last you a while


Anonymous said...

Excellent product review!

I just came on this post this week and was going to send it to you anyway.

I was real impressed with t2 of the toys shown in video.

This comment is ended. Pop!


Niksmom said...

Oh, wish I'd had this info a year ago when we bought that same stupid lion!

pixiemama said...

We had some version of the lion thingy - a dinosaur maybe? It went practically from the package to the trash can with some sort of unholy and pathetic mess in between. Oy. I'm going to look for Joy's bubble maker. And in the meantime, if you happen to get one of those bubble rockets, let me know how that works. Reilly HAS to have it for his birthday. I am a skeptic.

datri said...

We have one of those bubble makers for the bathtub (not the one that makes a kajillion bubbles and looks like an invitation for a UTI!) and Kayla loved the bubbles but HATED the motor noise that makes the little wands spin around and it would just send her into a crying fit. So, we're reduced to using old fashion blowing!

Elizabeth Channel said...

We have that same Bubble Generator in our laundry room! Still in the pack from Christmas! I almost got it out yesterday but figured it was a loser like all the other bubble machines I've wrestled. So glad to know this one actually works!