The first two are clearly aimed at very much younger children. The Gyro Bowl and the Twilight Turtle are probably best for toddlers. The Moustache Straws on the other hand are clearly aimed at children aged up to 80!
I Want One Of Those is a popular website in our house. My other half spends ages on it looking at all the stuff that's available. He's nuts for odd, whacky, and off the wall gadgets and 'boys' toys.
I'd not really thought of its potential for children's stuff before, so was really intrigued at what they might have to offer. Here's how they fared.
My friend's daughter has just had her 1st birthday, and has been walking about since she was 10 months old. She never stops, but toddles about everywhere. Like a little energiser bunny. But (sadly perhaps for the parents) with batteries that never run out.
She does a lot of eating on the move, whether mummy wants her to or not, so we figured that she'd make the perfect tester for The Gyro Bowl (£9.99). The premise behind the Gyro Bowl is that it is designed so that a child (or anyone for that matter) can hold the handles anyway you want, but the bowl in the middle will always stay horizontal.
According to the website "As the Gyro Bowl spins, the gyroscopic inner bowl keeps the food in an upright position. Like a globe, the inner bowl is able to rotate a full 360 degree, keeping the open bowl facing upwards under any circumstances."
That's the theory, how did it go down in practice? Well first off, make sure you read the instructions. I didn't. Do not under any circumstances put liquid or mushy food in there. I know, commonsense should have told me that, but there you go. I did it. I spent half an hour cleaning up the mess. Lesson learned.
The bowl is for dry snacks only. And it worked to a certain extent. As long as our little tester was walking around just concentrating on the food it all stayed in the bowl as it should. After a while though she figured out that the bowl moved, and then she figured out how to make it spin around. Not really sure how that happened, but again, the centrifugal force kept the food in there.
Throwing the bowl across the room didn't though. Then the Cheerios managed to spill out quite nicely.
It is a solid, well made bowl, and the blue and orange is a fun mix of colours. On balance though, the mum thought she'd rather make sure her daughter sat down whenever she ate and didn't move around, even for snacks.
Pros: actually works, most of the time
Cons: rather expensive if you don't really want to encourage your children to walk and eat
Overall verdict: 8/10
Next up, something that's for children and adults. Moustache Straws (£5.99). Now these are really just plain silly. You stick the little plastic moustache on the straw and then when you drink you look like you're wearing a silly moustache and everyone giggles.
Still, I thought, that's a little bit of fun for five minutes and I made plans to consider picking some up next time we have a bit of a gathering with lots of kids. Until I saw the price. I really cannot see how these can possible be worth nearly six quid. Even my husband said he wouldn't pay that much, and he really loved these straws.
They are well made though - a really strong plastic that will hold their shapes and not bend easily. Plus, as far as we could tell, they'll work with any standard sized straw.
Pros: solid build, makes you look silly
Cons: rather expensive, will probably bet lost after the first time you use them
Overall verdict: 5/10
Now look I Want One Of Those, do I really need to point out that this is clearly a tortoise and not a turtle at all? I'm guessing from the name that the Twilight Turtle (£24.99) is from the US, where they do tend to use the two names interchangeably.
The 'turtle' emits what the website calls an ambient glow from its shell, and projects eight constellations onto the walls of your child's bedroom. It comes with three different colours too, that is the shell's light can be amber, blue or green. You can leave the turtle going, and it will automatically shut off after 45 minutes.
What I liked is that the constellations are real ones, so you can also use it to look up at the 'night sky' with your child and point out the stars. If you're not too sure where to start on that there's a lovely story book included - the Twilight Turtle Star Guide.
The turtle (which is really a tortoise!) is for ages 3 and upwards.
It is really aimed at children who find it difficult to drift off. My son usually only just about forces himself to stay awake to the end of his bedtime story, so we've never had that sort of trouble. He did love this though, and was happy to lie there and look at the stars with me once it got dark.
So, I loaned it to my neighbour whose son can often stay awake for an hour or more before he goes to sleep. He is also afraid of the dark, to the point that normal nightlights aren't enough.
However, he was fooled by the Twilight Turtle. Because it is supposed to be used in the dark (it is the night sky!) he didn't seem to notice that effectively it was generating as much light as a nightlight. After a while, my neighbour was able to leave him and go downstairs. She could hear he was awake for at least a half hour after she left, but at no point did he ask for the light to be switched on. It has been a week now, and his sleeping patterns have improved a lot!
Pros: real constellations, lovely ambient light, soothing
Cons: there's not way to tell if it will really work for your child until you try it
Overall verdict: 9/10 based on our one test subject though, for whom it worked like a dream!