hatchimals glittering garden shimmering draggleThey were the hottest toy last holiday season, and one year later, Hatchimals are still catching the eyes and hearts of kids of all ages.

Spin Master has come up with several new iterations of the cute creatures that kids love to watch hatch from an egg, including the Glittering Garden Hatchimals.

What is a Hatchimal Glittering Garden?

A Hatchimal is an adorable stuffed animal that literally hatches out of a large egg. Open the box, then wait for your cute new friend to emerge from its shell.

While the fun begins by caring for and waiting for the Hatchimal to hatch and reveal its hatchimals glittering garden in boxdesign, kids can have tons of fun with the interactive toy afterwards.

But while inside, you can interact with the toy to make its eyes light up, make cute sounds, and tell you how it’s feeling. Just like a pregnant mommy will rub her belly, sing to her growing baby, and feel for kicks, kids can have fun “caring for” their Hatchimal until its ready to be “born.”

When ready to emerge from its shell, the Hatchimal’s eyes will glow a rainbow of colours. Then, it’s up to you to touch and encourage it to peck its way out of the egg.

Only then will you be surprised with which Glittering Garden Hatchimal plush toy you get: either a Sparkly Pengualas in dark or light pink, or a Shimmering Draggle in light blue or dark purple.

Care for the toy in three stages: from baby, to toddler, to kid. Not sure how old your Hatchimal is? It will sing Hatchy Birthday to let you know that it’s about to enter a new stage. As it gets older, you can teach it to do things like walk, dance, and play games. It can even repeat what you say in its own cute voice.

hatchimal glittering garden in egg with childHands-on the Hatchimal Glittering Garden

Full disclosure: while I have a five-year-old, he had never expressed interest in a Hatchimal, and I’d never investigated how they work, nor looked at commercials or online videos. So I went into this review completely blind, only having a general idea of how they work. Nor did my son. Needless to say, we were both pretty excited.

I unboxed the Hatchimal, and we got to work, interpreting its needs by following along with the handy Tips and Tricks card that comes in the box. When its eyes glowed through the egg in green, we knew it wasn’t feeling well, and my son got to work, patting its bottom and tilting it to make it feel better. When it turned light blue, we knew it was cold, and he rubbed its head to help soothe it and warm it up. White meant it was entering sleep mode, and my son hugged or tapped it to wake it up. Yellow means to interact with it in any way you like – my son tried talking to it, hugging it, and patting the top of the egg. Emotions range from annoyed to scared, hungry (tilt it down to simulate feeding), and needing to burp. I did find it difficult to distinguish between the colours sometimes: was that pink or orange? Purple or dark blue? But my son had fun trying to respond appropriately, nonetheless.

hatchimals glittering garden pecking out of egghatchimals glittering garden emerging from egg

I was worried once my son got bored after about 10 minutes of playing with the egg. “Can we take it out now?” he asked. Luckily, about five minutes later, it began to hatch, and he came running back to check out what was happening. Again, he got bored after a few minutes of watching the pecking process. The Hatchimal makes a rather loud mechanical sound, which I was not expecting. And as the egg chipped away, little pieces went flying. If you have young babies or toddlers at home, keep an eye on the process, and pick up remnant pieces of the egg to ensure your child doesn’t place one in his mouth. I did appreciate, however, that the material used is not sharp, so my son happily stuck his finger inside to give the Hatchimal a little pet as it was being revealed.

The entire hatching process took about 25 minutes, though I had to consult online videos to reassure me that it was time to pull the top off the egg to reveal the toy. It was a purple Shimmering Draggle! I was afraid to break the Hatchimal, but after using some force, it popped right out of its base. Remove the plastic holding down the wings, and you’re ready to play!

hatchimals glittering garden shimmering draggleI was completely wrong in thinking that Hatchimals lose their appeal once they hatch: the hatching process is really just the beginning. My son had fun playing with the toy, following along with the Tips and Tricks and colour-coded eyes to determine what to do, which changes based on whether the Hatchimal is inside the egg or out, and what stage it’s in. For example, while you should pat the bottom of the egg to aid the toy in burping when the Hatchimal is housed inside, once it comes out, you can pat its head, or tilt it forward. While you pat the bottom or tilt the egg when the eyes turn green to indicate it’s not feeling well, once the Hatchimal is out, you can help it feel better by patting its head, squeezing the belly (there’s a small button under the fur), or by making a loud sound. As the Hatchimal “grows,” it can develop new skills. You’ll know when it progresses as the lights will appear in a rainbow to signify a new level, and the Hatchimal will sing its own version of Happy Birthday, called Hatchy Birthday.

While a baby, your child must care for the Hatchimal, just as they did while it was in the egg. Doing so will help the Hatchimal reach stage 4 toddler, where you can start to teach it to walk and talk. Wait until the eyes flash white, then clap once to make it walk forward, twice to spin around. It will also enjoy a fun dance game. The final Kid stage adds the ability to play with the toy more, and unlock new games. For example, there’s Hatchimal Says, which will see the toy turn different colours corresponding to what it wants you to do: red means to pat its head, pink means to squeeze its belly, and blue means to turn it upside down. One feature my son really loved was the Hatchimal’s ability to record your voice and repeat back what you said in its own squeaky voice.

If mom and dad are getting tired of hearing the Hatchimal’s constant giggling and gurgling noises, you can hold it upside down for eight seconds or more to power it down, or flick the switch on the bottom.

We entered stage 4 in one day, so with a bit of play, kids won’t have to wait long to do more with their Hatchimals.

Your child will probably get the most out of a Hatchimal right out of the gate, and unassisted, if he is able to read the Tips and Tricks sheet and understand what needs to be done. Otherwise, you can sit by their side and help out. Eventually, they may begin to recall actions, like what to do when it’s green and sick, or how to burp or feed it. Or, simply try different things freely to see what works. (After all, a real baby doesn’t come with a manual!) The recommended age is 5, which means the Tips and Tricks guide could become a great teaching tool for reading as well.

Bottom line

I was sceptical that the Hatchimal was a pricey toy that would lose its lustre once the hatching process was over. But I was completely wrong. My son had little interest in the hatching process (though many other kids I know are obsessed with it, so he may be an anomaly), yet he was mesmerized by the toy once it came out of its shell – literally.

For those who grew up in the ‘90s, or have kids who did, the Hatchimal is like the modern day Tamagotchi pet, requiring that you provide constant love, care, and interaction to help it grow and progress. And the Tips and Tricks guide is a great way to help younger kids practice their reading: as the eyes change colour, ask your child to try and read the words on the card that tell it what to do. Simple words are included like “rub” and “pat,” “sick,” and “hungry” that are great starter words for kids. It’s also a great way for kids to learn how to follow instructions.

In an ideal world, a next-generation Hatchimal would become a coding toy that kids can use with a mobile app to program it to perform additional actions. But for now, the Hatchimal is a great toy that will be worth the investment for a young child. And the Glittering Garden Hatchimal adds a new sparkly design that kids will love.

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Christine Persaud
I am a tech expert and journalist with 12 years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism. I write for a number of technology, business, parenting, family, and lifestyle Websites, blogs, and magazines. A self-professed lover of tech, I'm also a passionate foodie (and aspiring baker), a TV junkie (PVRs rule!), and a proud mother to a toddler-aged son.

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