Hands-on with the new merchandise, part 35
Several months ago I reviewed the Phineas and Ferb electric guitar. It was more of a sound effects device than an actual guitar, but it was kind of fun to play around with. After seeing it advertised online for quite a while, the local Toys R Us finally got the companion instrument: the Phineas and Ferb Drum Pad.
Like the electric guitar, there are built-in rhythm tracks that you can drum along with, two different sets of drum sounds, volume controls and recordings of Perry, Phineas and Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Also like the guitar, some of these can be played together while others will stop playing when you activate the new one. For example, if you've got a rhythm track going and you press the button to hear Perry chatter, the rhythm track stops.
The Drum Pad is large enough that you can put it either on a table or just on your legs as you're sitting down. I had some pretty good results with propping it up on my knees and leaning it against the edge of the table, kind of like how drums are angled in a drum kit.
The drumsticks that come with the set are made out of plastic and as far as I can tell, they're solid, so they've got a little bit of weight to them and they should hold up to vigorous drumming if you're so inclined.
About the only thing that is missing is the "MP3 input jack" that is advertised on the box. I guess the idea was that you could drum along with your favorite music and have it play through the speakers in the drum set. But I haven't been able to find it on either the drum set or the instructions, so that appears to be a feature that didn't get put in.
You can pick this up at Toys R Us for $35. On the website, they've also got a few other musical instruments like a harmonica, tambourine, recorder and a guitar accessory pack (carrying strap and three guitar pics), so it's not going to be long before you and your friends can make your own band like Phineas and the Ferb-Tones.
Since we're heading into a time where people may be traveling to their relatives for the holidays, let's take a quick look at an activity set that can help occupy your time during that trip.
Dalmation Press specializes in making activity book like the Phineas and Ferb Sticker Scene Activity Book and other sticker boosk, watercolor paint books, coloring books and coloring books with large crayons. They have several books with Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Dreamworks characters, plus independent characters like Strawberry Shortcake, Sesame Street, Curious George and The Berenstain Bears. You'll find these in various stores.
While I was on my trip, I found one of their products, a "Play Packs" activity book. You get four color markers, a sheet of stickers and a 24-page book with puzzles, mazes, connect-the-dots, jokes and trivia. The package is resealable, so everything can go back inside and you won't lose them.
I forget what I paid for them at Walmart (next to the checkout stands in their "impulse buy" racks), but there's a place on Amazon that is selling them for $5 each. On that site, I found out there is a second set. It's package is the "blue cover" that you see in the picture to the right, so I'm guessing that its activity book has the "playing outside" cover that you see above on the left.
The last item is another Mini Skate Board, which you can see at the top of this issue. It doesn't say it on the package, but the design and the packing matches the first Mini Skate Board so that indicates it was made by Creative Designs International, Ltd., which makes a variety of toys with a variety of themes and characters.
The last one advertised that you could use the plastic packaging as a ramp, but it was more like moguls that you'd find when snow skiing. This package is actually more ramp-like and smoother, so it's more practical to use it that way.
This set is a little more expensive, $8.50 at the Disney Store (which usually adds a dollar or two onto the price, compared with other stores), but you also get more. Three new boards with twice as many stickers to customize them.