As much as I know my kids would love a pet, getting a dog or cat is just not in the cards for us right now. Although the love and responsibility that would come along with taking care of an animal would be beneficial, the idea of having one more living, breathing character to take care of around here is too much for me.
Fortunately, up until now my girls have been happy with the next-best-thing: ZhuZhu Pets. They're cute, they're fun, and they're lifelike enough to entertain kids but don't require feeding, cleaning or anything other than turning the power switch from off to on.
So what's new from the toy masterminds behind the furry pretend pets that kids love? Cepia, LLC has again debuted the newest toy craze that is already on the Toys 'R Us list of Hot Holiday Toys for 2011: Xia-Xia.
Pronounced Shah-Shah (rhymes with Cha-Cha), Xia-Xia are four colorful, skitter-scattering, pitter-pattering, loveable, crazy hermit crabs with interchangeable shells and kooky friends to collect and trade. Said to come from the faraway land of Xia-topia, these bright crustaceans were designed with the Carnivale theme in mind and are happy to dance and play all day long.
With their wild and wacky shell fashions, silly faces, and humorous wobbly shuffle, these collectible creatures combine the loveable charm of a real hermit crab but with a child-appealing twist of imagination.
Knowing that Big Sister E and Little Sister B would be thrilled with new "pets" to play and love, when a large box of Xia-Xia pets, shells, and playsets arrived, we were ready to join in the festivities.
We received three out of four total crabs and four of the 12 extra colorful shells, along with the three Xia-Xia Playsets: Rio de Trio Village, Copoacabana Playset, and Confetti Cottage. After removing each piece from its packaging and assembling the playsets, it was time to meet these fun characters!
Each Xia-Xia not only has a candy-colored shell that caught our eye right away, but the girls' eyes widened when we found that the tops popped off easily to reveal a little friend hidden inside each one... meaning we had to peek inside of the extra shells to see the fun treasures awaiting us in there.
From a tiny piano to a rubber ducky, each additional shell contained two little friends that made us laugh. These pieces are extremely small, however, so although I'm not concerned that they will be a choking hazard in our house, I am already worried that they will be lost into the depths of our couch cushions or into the rug pretty quickly.
However, so far the girls have been careful with each tiny piece and part of the fun is for them to take the top off of each crab's shell and peer inside or change which friend is waiting there. Or, for even more shell fun, they have had a great time pulling off the entire shell and swapping it with another to give Bimini, Turks, and Tobago a whole new look before heading back to their playset.
While Little Sister B has had the most fun with the Copacabana Playset and its colorful decor, various rooms, and steps to the top...
...Big Sister E has come up with a variety of adventures for the Xia-Xia at the Rio de Trio Village. When I asked her what aspect she liked best, she pointed out the "store" she had created where the crabs could come and buy new shells!
As well as putting the Xia-Xia in the playsets, these little critters have been scooting all over our house! I appreciate how easy it is for my kids to push the black power switch on and off right on the bottom...
...and then all that is needed is to press on one of the claws and the crab starts zooming forwards or backwards until it bumps into something, turns, and continues moving. Every time the girls see these creatures zipping around the table, playsets, in a box or just on the floor, they get a big kick out of it!
I'm not surprised to hear that Xia-Xia are already a widely popular toy on holiday wish lists of kids of all ages and that these charming hermit crab toys have been top-ranked by trend-watchers as well. Big Sister E has pointed out multiple times that she likes them "because they are fun to play with" with a special nod to Turks as her favorite "because she is the cutest." Can't argue with that logic, right?
The only issue my kids have had is needing a little extra help to get the complete shells tilted just right so that they snap into place onto each crab's back, but I do think that it will continue to get easier for them as they have more and more practice. Our Xia-Xia aren't going anywhere anytime soon as the girls head straight over to playing with them every time they have a free moment!
For a fun and unique way to bring alive a world of color, magic, and imagination for kids to enjoy, Xia-Xia are the next generation of toys that are sure to be a hit. Retailing for $12.99 per crab, $5.99 for each individual shell, $14.99 for the Confetti Cottage, $16.99 for the Copacabana Playset, and $21.99 for the Rio de Trio Village, Xia-Xia products can be found at Toys 'R Us, Walmart, and on Amazon.
Unfortunately the small size of these toys means that they don't take traditional batteries - and are therefore less convenient to have to switch them when they run out - but a quick search online showed me that I could purchase the small LR44 batteries that Xia-Xia use for only a few pennies. We'll be set for hermit crab fun for years to come!
Plus, thanks to the generosity of Cepia, LLC, one person will get to experience the skittling, scooting entertainment of an electronic crab as well, because...
One lucky person will win a Xia-Xia and extra Xia-Xia shell* of their own!
To enter to win: Visit Xia-Xia and tell me which cute crab is your (or your child's) favorite. Their names appear underneath each scrolling image!
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry if you Like Xia-Xia on Facebook.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN a Xia-Xia pet crab and extra colorful shell! #XiaXia are the hottest new toys! http://bit.ly/sgF4Bb @thxmailcarrier #giveaway #win
2 Extra Entries (per follow method) if you follow me publicly with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email, become a fan on Facebook, and/or add Thanks, Mail Carrier to your blogroll.
3 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
3 Extra Entries if you blog about this giveaway linking back to this post. Please leave an address where it can be found.
Giveaway will end on November 16th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
A big thank you to Xia-Xia and MomSelect for providing the aforementioned Xia-Xia products for me to review as well as a Xia-Xia crab and shell for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.