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Friday, May 30 2014 23:12

Summer Toy Review: National Geographic Explorer's Torch (Uncle Milton)

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As summer approaches, time outside will be plentiful, and I'm always on the hunt for new toys for outdoor fun. One recent arrival here at Rock Father HQ came from Uncle Milton, and is a pretty unique bit of fun, albeit one that's been known by a few different names over the past year or so. The National Geographic Explorer Academy Explorer's Torch (also sold by ThinkGeek as the "Wall Torch Sconce" or Uncle Milton direct as "Torch in my Room") is one of those simple toys that just hits on all the right marks for exactly what it's supposed to be.

The authentically-styled torch just screams "adventure" and is perfect for indoor use, or those backyard explorations that we tend to enjoy here at home. If I were a kid, I can guarantee that I'd be out pretending to be INDIANA JONES, roaming the darkness hoping to avoid snakes as I did my best Han Solo Harrison Ford impression.

Simple, sturdy and overall a good design, the torch features a realistic flickering light that's powered by a pair of AA batteries. Complete with a mountable wall bracket and "rope" (it's molded plastic), the torch can, indeed be mounted on a wall for fun at a moment's notice, which is really handy if those bedroom monsters happen to show up. 

torchtoy

The only thing I'm not fond of is how the switch works. To turn on the torch, you simply twist the flame, but if you go too far, it can open up as if you were doing a battery change. Far from a deal-breaker, but just a little bit of Rock Father examination. 

Overall, a 4-star toy that I highly recommend (and the kids do, too!).

4

The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars
James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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