Toy Story 4: Our five favourite toys from the new movie

Just under a month more to go until Toy Story 4 hits UK cinemas on 21st June 2019. It’ll mark nearly 25 years on since the original Toy Story movie released in 1995!

I absolutely adore the Toy Story franchise. In fact, one of my favourite toys when I was younger was a Buzz Lightyear Action Figure. Complete with a full range of motion, wings that pop out, a laser pointer, and his catchphrase “To infinity… and beyond!”, this toy really captivated my imagination and went everywhere with me.

As the franchise grew over the next decades, so did my appreciation for it’s core premise. Disney Pixar have consistently delivered high quality entertainment, perfectly balancing humour (for both kids and parents), emotional moments, and meaningful messages. Toy Story’s core premise focuses on a lovable set of toys who find themselves, or rather feel themselves, getting unloved and neglected by the kid who owns them, Andy. It’s no surprise that these stories have in part inspired what we do at Whirli.

Quick Preview of Toy Story 4

The fourth installment of this franchise continues where we left off in Toy Story 3 with the toys having been given from Andy to Bonnie. Some years later, Bonnie creates a new toy in arts and crafts, named Forky. Forky suffers from a constant existential crisis about being a toy, and the rest of the toys rally together to help Forky and save him when he gets separated from Bonnie on a road trip.

With this premise, Disney Pixar have set the stage up for tonnes of nostalgia mixed in with a very modern twist, and fun new characters. This movie is sure to delight fans of the previous films and create new following amongst younger children today. Great day out for the whole family!

If you haven’t already, check out the official trailer for Toy Story 4:

Disney Pixar – Toy Story 4 Final Trailer

Whirli’s Picks: Best Toys from Toy Story 4 movie

We were so thrilled when we received our first batch of Toy Story 4 toys a few weeks ago. Mattel have done an outstanding job with the range – as usual their dolls and action figures are top notch, and their bigger play sets would delight any kid.

Here are our top 5 toys from the Toy Story 4 movie:

1. Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear (35 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear Toy
Photo of Toy Story Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear Toy

Oh the memories! This Buzz Lightyear action figure is everything I remembered it to be, and then some. On top of the standard fare Buzz motions, pop out wings, and laser – Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear can also activate to walk forwards, backwards, and swivel (and there is a secretive Easter egg to make Buzz moonwalk!).

2. Carnival Spiral Speedway (40 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Carnival Spiral Speedway Toy
Photo of Toy Story Carnival Spiral Speedway Toy

This toy was so popular that we went out of stock less than 24 hours after uploading it onto our website. So we got some more! Taking inspiration from the carnival scene, kids will really enjoy setting cars racing down the spiral track. We can see why this was so popular!

3. Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack (20 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack Toy
Photo of Toy Story Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack Toy

If your kids like to recreate scenes using a variety of figures then this is the perfect pack for you. Kids can let their imaginations run wild and play with 7 of the key characters from Toy Story 4. Mattel has co-branded this set under their Fisher Price Little People range as the figures are perfectly sized for toddlers, and age appropriate from 1 year+. That gets a big thumbs up from us at Whirli.

4. True Talkers Rex Figure (18 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story True Talkers Rex Figure
Photo of Toy Story True Talkers Rex Figure

If the standard iconic and realistic figures aren’t enough to hold attentions, then try the True Talkers range of figures. Fully posable with many articulations, the True Talkers range adds many realistic voice phrases from each character. Rex is one of my favourite characters, as I just love his comedic relief moments in the films!

5. Alienizer Voice Changer (16 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Alienizer Voice Changer Toy
Photo of Toy Story Alienizer Voice Changer Toy

Not going to lie… we had A LOT of fun with this at the office. The Aliens are probably the most adorable and cute characters in the franchise, with such an iconic scene in the original movie (“the claawww….!”). Get one and have hours of fun at home, or get a couple and try to have a business meeting in alien voice. Trust us on that one.

Let’s talk about toy neglect!

After weeks of pleas, begs and tantrums, demonstrating her absolute need to have a particular toy, I give-in and buy my eldest that toy. What feels like mere minutes since we left the shop, it’s tossed aside, dropped on the floor or forever left in my pocket, never to be played with again.

Is it just me or am I one of many parents struggling to wade through the tide of unused toys that forever litter my home? Chatting to other parents, it doesn’t feel like I’m alone, but how common is this? Across the nation what is the scale of the issue?

Toy box overflowing with kids toys
My overflowing toy box after Christmas 2019

Back in February of 2019, Whirli conducted some research, and interviewed 2000 parents with 0 – 7 year olds. Of all the questions they were asked there was one stat in particular that resonated with me.

An estimated 60% of kid’s toys are neglected at any one time. And 15% of toys are neglected within just days!

Toy Waste

What a waste! So difficult to manage, so hard to keep tidy. Mounds of kids toys that are no longer wanted. So many toys that don’t entertain our children in the slightest and now they’re simply clutter.

The UK is estimated to spend around £4 billion per year on toys – that’s an awful lot of toys. An estimated 60% of which are unused at any one time.

That’s £2.4 bn worth of unused toys just lying around in the UK alone. Splutter, shock, horror!!

And what do we do with all these unwanted toys? Move them into other rooms? Put them in storage (huh, what storage?!)? Palm them off on someone else? Sell them? Give them to a charity? Bin them? Since so many toys are made of plastic their fate needs to be carefully thought through.

Baby playing with baby toys

Toy drought followed by toy surge

After having a clear out how do I fill the toy void? Boredom is creeping in. Ok, I need more toys.

But their birthdays are in 2 months time. They’ll get lots of toys gifted to them then. In fact, it will be a surge of new toys. More than we can handle. Do I really buy more baby toys now?

I wait a few weeks, procrastinating. All the while, my children keep reaching for the screen. I give-in and buy more toys…some new, some through facebook.

And so the cycle repeats.

Our top 10 outdoor summer toys for May

At Whirli we love sourcing the latest toys on the market and after the “hard task” of playing with our new 2019 summer collection, we’ve carefully selected our top 10 kids toys. So, slather on the sunscreen, prepare the barbecue and get everyone involved in the fun!

1. Kiddy Pool – Rainbow by Sunnylife (40 tokens)

Child paddling on a rainbow inflatable pool by Sunnylife

Bring summer to your garden with this dreamy inflatable pool! The rainbow will shade your little one from the heat and it also has a sprinkler to cool them off (great bonus point). It’s a win-win situation for the family – the kids get to chill whilst you relax under the sun!

2. Inflatable Ring Toss – Crabby by Sunnylife (24 tokens)

Sunnylife inflatable crab with rings tossed on its claws

Are the kids acting crabby because they’re stuck inside your home? Lure them outside to soak up some rays with this snappy game! It’s also great for the grown-ups – you can make it more challenging by popping it on someone’s head. Snap this one up before it’s all gone!

3. Super Soaker Soakzooka by Nerf (20 tokens)

Kids blasting water at each other using Nerf guns

Summer isn’t complete without getting absolutely soaked with water! This is the ultimate toy that can provide hours of fun for all ages! Prepare to have a blast and be drenched with the Soakzooka. Alternative uses include watering the plants!

4. Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter by Mirco (82 tokens)

Kid riding a Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter at a park

Who said scooters are only for older kids? Let your little one cruise the world with this award-winning scooter. Summer is the best time to go to the park and let them learn how to scoot confidently.

5. Rainbow Slip Slide Splash by Sunnylife (45 tokens)

Sunnylife white water slide with a rainbow sprinkler

Help make summer memorable and the heat bearable with this super fun slide! It’s a great alternative if the swimming pool nearby is packed. After setting it up, sit back and relax whilst the kids soak up some vitamin D.

6. Kiddy Float – Flamingo by Sunnylife (22 tokens)

Sunnylife Pink Flamingo kiddy float

Pool season is here, and summer would be incomplete without a float. So, make sure you pack this trendy float for your little swimmer! Let the kids float and splash all day in style with this fabulous Flamingo. We also have one for the older kids!

7. Kids Skittles – Unicorn by Sunnylife (20 tokens)

Kid playing with Sunnylife unicorn skittles on the floor

We can’t get over how adorable these unicorn skittles are! Just look at them! Your budding bowlers will never get bored with endless magical fun in the garden.

8. Giant Jumbling Tower – Malibu by Sunnylife (40 tokens)

Sunnylife stack of giant jumbling tower

It’s not a party without this classic game that leaves everyone on the floor in fits of laughter! We’re super stoked with this stack-crashing game because the grown-ups can play with it too. What’s your stacking strategy?

9. My First Slide by Dolu (30 tokens)

Small slide for kids by Dolu

Imagine this – you’re spending a relaxing sunny afternoon watching the kids slidin’ in the back garden whilst you’re sippin’ on a cooler. Yes, it does sound great! We also love this because we’re all a kid at heart and we still get excited whenever we see a slide in sight.

10. Garden Playset by Janod (26 tokens)

Collection of gardening toys for kids by Janod

This is the perfect weather to encourage your budding gardeners to get their little fingers green. They’ll be excited to garden like a grown up with their “big-kid” tools!

We hope you enjoy our recommendations!

Summer is the perfect time to let the little ones discover new ideas for outdoor playtime and share the joy. This is just the beginning of our summer collection…we’ve got more surprises for you, so watch this space!

What else would you like to see in our ever-growing toy box? Let us know your thoughts!

Whirli Update: what’s new in Apr 2019

Welcome to Whirli’s Blog

It’s always a great delight to see our team’s collective efforts bear fruit and come to life. Whether this takes the form of a new brand added to our toy range, an improved operational process, a new feature for our customers, or a new blog, these tangible milestones gives us confidence that we are on the right track towards building something great and something that will last.

Whirli box of toys with welcoming gesture

But the greatest delight is no doubt having an engaged community of parents to share all of this with. Since launching our limited scale pilot a few months ago, we’ve been blessed with how many parents got in touch. Parents shared their enthusiasm about our mission and service, their amazing ideas for what else we could do, and that they’ve been proudly telling all their friends about us.

We built this blog to engage you better and to share back some of the things we think about. It’ll be a place for you to hear about:

  • Whirli’s progress and what’s to come
  • Opinions on children’s toys and specific toy reviews
  • Expert opinions on skill building and early developmental play
  • Stories from featured guest parenting bloggers
  • General parenting lifestyle and tips

Eventually, we’ll build this into a place for you to also share your own thoughts and discussions with the broader community at Whirli.

Features coming soon to Whirli

We are always hard at work making many more improvements and introducing new features at Whirli. Some highlights include:

  • Toys for the summer: We’ve been busy shopping and adding more kids toys to our library. With the brilliant sunshine over Easter I’m sure many of you are thinking about super soakers, garden pools, water sprinklers, or beach and swimming pool toys. We’re really delighted to have successfully brought on new summer brands and toys to our ever expanding toy library. These will be all be available on our website very soon. New toys are added all the time so do make sure to check what’s new in our library from time to time!
  • Swifter Swaps: This feature will eliminate delays between returning toys and getting your new box. You’ll get even more value from your toy subscription! It’ll work by letting you pre-select which toys you want to return, while also choosing your new toys. We’ll send you your new toys and in parallel you can send us your returns. This feature will be made available to all subscribers free of charge
  • More delivery and return options: We’re making it more convenient to receive and return toys. New options like Collect Plus, nominated day deliveries, courier pick-ups, and others are coming soon
  • Referrals scheme: Thank you all for spreading the word about Whirli. We’d love to be able to share back a small token of appreciation with you. Hence, we’re introducing a referrals scheme to reward subscribers for each successful referral. Your friends will also get a discount if they joined using your referral code. It’s a win-win-win. Share The Joy!
  • Gifting: Is there a better way of doing toy gifting? We certainly think so. It’s all too common of an experience to receive a toy you know isn’t right for your kid, or a toy you already have! Whether you prefer gifts towards your Whirli subscription, want to swap toys you received, or buy a subscription for a friend or family member – we’ve got exciting plans for you, check back soon.

We’re also staying on top of some housekeeping – ranging from minor bugs to optimisations so that we provide a better online experience. Parts of the site are still works in progress and are being completed soon. We haven’t forgotten about them! In the meanwhile if you need any assistance with your account please get in touch with our team.

Why I stopped using our much loved toy library

Toy libraries have changed the way in which we think about consuming toys. That we can share toys instead of own them. A place where ideas, friendships, suggestions and help is also traded. So why on earth did I stop using one?

The trouble with toys

Once my first child had firmly established herself within our home – and I mean firmly establish herself – toys occupying every available space in our kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathroom – I started to think of a better way. I was buying brand new, shiny toys only for them to be gathering dust moments later.  

Girl playing with toy

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Why don’t we share toys at home?

It got me thinking. We all share cars, bikes, homes, offices…even dogs. But when it comes to toys for the home we’re stuck in the old way of doing things.

Children share toys all the time – at playdates, nursery, their childminder’s, play cafes. These toys are used time and time again. They are the most commonly played with toys outside of the home and they’re exciting. A “brand new” set of toys to play with, the child would say. What fun! Yet, they’re not brand new. They’ve been used before.

Girl sharing toys

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Second hand toys

Savvy parents, aware that toys can be neglected within just days of being bought, seek alternatives. eBay, facebook groups and hand-me-downs are all great places to trade second hand children’s toys. But it’s toy libraries that have truly introduced the notion that we don’t have to buy toys at all.

Could a toy library be the solution?

A recent trip to Lewisham Toy Library, specifically looking for party hire equipment, was a welcomed find. I could borrow exactly what I wanted and when I no longer needed it, I could send it back – no need to store anything!

I have friends who rave about Charlton Toy Library, who offer Stay & Play sessions so you can try toys out there and then, and meet like-minded companions. Pimlico Toy Library take it a step further and have qualified toy librarians to help you choose the best baby toy or kids toy. And the Toy House in Urmston offer an outreach program visiting children who may not be able to get to the library itself.

Toy libraries and their communities

What all these toy libraries have in common, beyond the concept of sharing is a sense of the wider community. A place where not only toys are shared, but ideas, friendships, suggestions and help is traded. Unlike a second hand sale, where goods are fleetingly sold, members belong to a library. There’s a shared need and a collective voice. A place to share common ground.

So why did I stop using my local toy library?

I loved our local toy library. It was full of hidden treasures and filled me with a deep sense of satisfaction. I loved the concept, the community and I very much wanted to reduce my toy consumption. Buying brand new was not great for my pocket, my tiny house or the environment.

But it wasn’t the easiest location for me to get to, especially once I’d returned to work and I wasn’t always sure which toys they had in stock before I went.

Online toy library to the rescue?

So when I discovered Whirli, my eyes lit up! An online toy library with a catalogue of the latest toys that I could choose from and access at any time. This could work! I immediately registered to join their wait list before they launched last year – and checked their jobs board to see if they were looking to expand their team. They were and voila here I am working for Whirli. Anyway…I digress!

Whirli toy box

We’re four months into our toy subscription and my eldest daughter is truly starting to understand the value of sharing. She understands that giving back toys means she gets a whole new bunch to play with. And when we tell her we are returning her unused toys so another little girl or boy can play with them she is delighted – proud even. It’s given her a virtual sense of community.  

Now you can’t buy that at the supermarket.