Holiday toy ideas

November 23, 2009 11:55:51 AM PST
Toy industry expert Chris Byrne shares some ideas for fun toys for the up-coming holiday season.ANIMAGIC HONEY MY BABY PONY AniMagic pets are just like real baby animals and respond to their owners just like a puppy, kitten, or pony would. Lap size and super soft, they interact, move, and make real animal sounds. Pet them and they respond with a bark, meow, or whinny, while moving their head, twisting their neck, wiggling their ears, blinking their eyes, and wagging their tails. The more you pet, cuddle, and feed AniMagic pets, the happier and more playful they become and the more sounds and movements they make. Honey loves when you pet and stroke her and loves eating her carrot. Hear her "whinny" when you pet her back or forehead, then feed her the carrot and hear her munch. Peanut and Dotty wag their tails when they're happy and bark for their bones, then bark again when they're full. Sandy and Snowflake meow for a bottle of milk and slurp it when they're fed. Vivid Imaginations, $49.99; recommended for boys and girls 3 and up.

BATTLE STRIKERS Say goodbye to the strings and ripcords of traditional tops. Here come Battle Strikers, the ultimate kid-controlled spinning top battling system! Battle Strikers tops attach to a handheld unit-aka the Turbo Launcher. With the push of a button they spin and are revved up. Learning just the right amount of power to give them is a key strategy. When the tops are spinning, a quick flick of the wrist drops them-and they're ready to take on all comers. But that's not all. Once the tops are spinning, a magnetic finger cover, featuring MEGA Brands' MagNext technology, lets kids guide their tops into attack mode -or dodge an oncoming opponent. As always, the last top standing is the winner. Mega Brands, $14.99; recommended for boys 6 and up.

CONNECT 4X4 Connect 4 x 4 is the first-ever four-player edition of the classic four-in-a-row game! A clear double-decker checker grid allows players to win by playing four-in-a-row in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line on either side of the grid or by weaving through one side of the grid to the other. Think strategically to find ways to connect the ringed checkers that may be unseen by your opponents. Or focus on defensive game play-use the new block checker to claim territory and prevent an opponent from scoring! Hasbro, $19.99; recommended for boys and girls 8 and up

ELMO TICKLE HANDS These big, furry, red Elmo hands (featuring Elmo's friendly face on one side) allow your kids to tickle and dance just like Elmo does! The Tickle Hand gloves easily slide on to little hands and when Elmo's nose is pressed, the fun begins! When your child touches a surface to tickle, the Tickle Hands start to vibrate and move allowing your child to feel like he can tickle just like Elmo! But thats not all! Touch Elmo's nose again and its time to dance! Elmo will give instructions on how to do his brand new dance called, "The Tickle Hand Groove!" This new dance encourages kids to get moving and grooving! The hands also come with an instructional DVD that teaches kids how to do the new dance step by step! The DVD features Elmo and his mystery friend! Your child will be tickling, wiggling and giggling in no time at all! Fisher-Price, $29.99; recommended for boys and girls 2 and up.

LIV DOLLS The new Liv line is a collection of four dolls, each with a unique personality. The dolls have been designed to represent "real" girls, or at least idealized versions of attainable goals that pre-teens can relate to, rather than a total fantasy world. (After all for a pre-teen, that magical day when they become teenagers is a very real fantasy!) Spin Master, $19.99; recommended for girls 5 and up.

SHRED SLED Are you ready to SHRED!? Start shredding in no time with the Shred Sled, the next generation caster board. The first 4-wheel, dual-deck inline caster board, the Shred Sled makes it smoother and easier to start carving up the streets. How it works: Shred Sled's two boards and flexible connector allow both boards to rotate around the vertical and horizontal axes so it's easy to maneuver the board. The best part is you don't even have to push off! For better control and traction, each deck has a grip surface to maximize traction and stability while the concave decks make for better foot control. The 4 x 80mm polyurethane wheels and ABEC-5 bearings are smoother and stronger than standard hardware and unlike other boards, rarely need to be replaced. Riding the Shred Sled feels like a combination of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing and it's much easier to control than older 2-wheel generation boards. Great for strengthening the legs and waist muscles, Shred Sled encourages kids to get off the couch and get active outdoors. Shred Sled, $119.99; recommended for boys or girls 8 and up.

SUPER WHY SUPER DUPER COMPUTER Parents are always looking for toys that balance fun with education?and what better way to do it than with the brand new fully interactive electronic learning aid, the Super WHY! Touch & Learn Super Duper Computer from Learning Curve based on the adventures of reading-ready superhero characters from the popular PBS Series Super WHY! This hands-on laptop is loaded with more than 35 fun and exciting literacy activities that help teach important early literacy skills like spelling, reading and problem solving in a really fun hands-on way. One of the unique features on the Super WHY! Touch and Learn Super Duper Computer is its fully interactive touchscreen. Children can either use the "Why Writer Stylus" or their finger to make selections on the screen, making play and learning super easy. The best part about the Super WHY! Touch & Learn Super Duper Computer is its "grow with me" curriculum that offers multiple levels of play. So as your child's literacy skills grow and develop, the learning becomes more challenging and offers extended play value along with the educational value. Learning Curve, $39.99; recommended for boys and girls 3 and up.

TRIO BUILDING SET/BASIC TUB SET The Trio Basic Tub Set with bricks, sticks and panels provides more easy ways for kids to build their creativity. The set features easy to attach parts that click and hold together for big building play and provides multiple ways to build. Set comes in bright colors and includes custom parts such as figures, wheels and chassis and durable tub for convenient storage. Fisher-Price, $29.99; recommended for boys and girls 3-6 years.

For more information check out Chris Byrne at timetoplaymag.com


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