We were invited to Hamleys, St Enoch Centre as part of ToyTesters.tv. The kids were super excited, as was I! We were greeted by Nigel Clarke, top Toy Tester and children's TV presenter, and his crew who had been busy all day doing demonstrations in-store.
There were loads of toys for us to try and my son was immediately engrossed by the Real FX car racing. The slot-less track, which you can see in the photo below, is really quick to put together and I was amazed at the capabilities. Advanced artificial intelligence helps keeps the cars on the track and there is in-game commentary that tells you to take pit stops. If you're on your own, you can also race against the second car which will manoeuvre the track by itself. It's genius! At just under £100 I think this is great value for money and will give hours and hours of play, even for the big kids!
The littlest, who loves to craft, was keen to try the 3D drawing pens, IDO3D. I personally thought these were a bit fiddly and it's certainly something that little ones would need assistance with. You need to draw onto greaseproof paper and then cure the gel with a UV light. With a bit of patience though, it looks like you can create some really impressive artwork.
The other toys that we loved were the interactive Thunderbirds Tracy Island which had been set up with the Thunderbirds ships and the Power Ranger Dino Charge.
The new Tracy Island is very interactive - lots of sounds and flashing lights. The sounds are from the original series too! This is on Hamley's Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2015 (yes, I've mentioned the C-word and it's only August!). My two loved this playset despite not having seen the revamped Thunderbirds TV series.
There's a new series of Power Rangers called Dino Charge - which I hadn't previously heard of - but the kids seemed to enjoy the concept of combining the dinosaurs to create a Megazord. My son was drawn in by the Dino Charge Deluxe Morpher - you insert a Dino Charger cartridge, spin the barrel to charge it up and then pull the trigger to hear battle sounds and various phrases about morphing into Power Rangers. We were given the morpher away with us, and my son has been playing with this since but my daughter isn't as keen. Whereas we were also given a Thunderbird 2 to take home (we're very lucky!) and both of them have been playing with this lots - I can see why the Thunderbird playset is on the Hamley's Christmas List for this year.
The final toys that we tried were the Teksta Scorpion and Little Live Pet Mice. The Teksta Scorpion is basically a robot scorpion that you control from a wristband, which to be honest was a little creepy as it made it's way across the floor towards me. I much preferred the cute little electronic mice which raced round a track.
Not all the toys are available yet, but they will be soon at Hamleys, St Enoch Centre.
Do you fancy being a Toy Tester? You can apply here!
Disclaimer: We were given a selection of toys to take home with us, but as always opinions are honest and are our own.