My son saw this toy in Walmart a few days before Easter, but it was $20 so I passed it up. While last minute shopping at Target, I saw it on clearance for $10 (which is the price it seems to be everywhere else, so I’m really confused about Walmart’s higher price), so I grabbed it. To be honest, at that point I was grabbing a whole bunch of stuff, like I said, it was last minute shopping. Usually I’m way ahead of the game, but I just didn’t have a single moment in the last two weeks where I wasn’t working AND Jake wasn’t with me.

The picture on the box looked so cool. I mean, look at those vibrant colors, that neat spinning action, the huge smile on the oddly fake-looking child’s face! It’s Crayola, it spins, and it glows! Fun, right? Well, sort of, but with several frustrations. Inside the box, you will find a bunch of black sheets to make a glowing shadow cylinder type thing, a bunch of white sheets with punch outs for a mobile, some blank white sheets to accompany the cylinder, four glow markers, a glow activator pen , and a spinning base.

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The pop-outs are relatively easy if you actually pay attention to what you’re doing (I wasn’t and ruined the bear), the motor works great, the whole thing is cake to assemble. But the glow pens are a huge pain in the butt. First, you have to press the tip for about 3 seconds to get the color to come down, or at least that is what the instructions said. But I pressed for a good ten seconds only a tiny bit came out when we colored. It was streaky at best. I finally figured out that if you squeeze the markers, it comes out better. You cannot overlap the colors (they warn against this several times, and I was too scared to find out what would happen if I did). After some awkward misfires, we finally managed to color the white sheet for the cylinder project. Then we had to use the glow activator marker to, well I guess activate the glow. I’m not too clear on that point. I was careful to get the whole sheet, but when we took it in the bathroom and turned off the lights, it barely glowed at all. So clearly we did something wrong.

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We decided to try the mobile. Again, we colored, activated, and popped out the parts. Getting the little cutouts on the wire hooks was tricky, and the pictures bent a bit, but we managed. When I say “we,” I of course mean me, because by this point Jake was just asking “Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Did you read the directions?” We got the whole thing together, went back into the bathroom, turned off the light, and at least achieved a slightly stronger glow. But I still wasn’t extremely impressed. To the right there, you’ll see part of our mobile. I really tried to get a picture of the mediocre glow, but it just didn’t work out.

I think the markers are the problem. Maybe they’ve been sitting too long, the toy was on clearance after all. Who knows how long it has been sitting in the store. They were extremely frustrating and really difficult to use. The rest of the toy works exactly as its supposed to, so I’m going to see if maybe they sell the markers separately and give it another try.

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On the plus side, Jake and I did get to do an activity together, and that’s always fun. But I wish it would have turned out just a little bit better.