Gift Guide from the Toy Insider Mom

December 15, 2011 4:50:17 AM PST
Laurie Schacht publishes toy industry and consumer publications, including The Toy Book and The Toy Insider, in addition to being the contributing toy editor for Woman's Day magazine. She shares her Hot Holiday Toys guide with ABC7.

Lite Sprites (WowWee)

It begins with an all powerful Lite Wand that can magically capture color and light from any flat surface and cast color spells onto the Sprites and playsets of Lite-Topia, while emitting enchanting sounds.

This unique play pattern empowers a girl to color her play world in whatever way she chooses.

It includes 3 interactive games: Color Hunt, Color Mix, and Memory.

The Sprite Sisterhood includes four Sprites: Prisma, Astra, Meadow and Brooke. Bleak, the naughty one, rejects color and uses her powers to eliminate and disrupt the color of Lite-Topia.

Each Sprite comes with a Lite Pod. It's for ages 4 and up.

Lite Wand and Prisma and Pod sell for $29.99; Tree of Lite: $39.99; and deluxe playsets: $19.99.

LeapPad (LeapFrog)

LeapPad is a personalized learning tablet for kids. It's like an adult tablet, but with endless fun experiences housed in a durable package that can handle a little rough and tumble play.

This will include the largest launch library of more than 100 learning games, books and apps for educational value and fun videos.

Curriculum covers everything from spelling, phonics skills and mathematics to creativity, science, music, geography, and more.

It includes stylus to let kids practice writing.

A camera and video recorder are built in with a robust library of educational apps, ebooks and personalized creativity suite for creating and sharing stories.

It has a tilt-sensor for game control and 5" brilliant color, finger-touch.

LeapPad Explorer can help kids learn vocabulary, phonics skills, and improve reading comprehension, but it also features interactive elements such as embedded games and animated stories to make reading even more fun.

Parents can tune into their child's progress and track achievements with the LeapFrog Learning Path. Parents receive regular e-mail updates so they can share their child's accomplishments.

It is for ages 4 and up and costs $99.99.

U Draw Game Tablet (THQ)

With UDraw Studio: Instant Artist, players can now flex their imagination and enjoy the ultimate art creation experience in a game.

Offering endlessly imaginative and immersive hands-on gameplay, this includes touch gestures, high def display, enhanced pressure sensitivity and more.

Players will meet Remmy, their animated guide through the world of Instant Artist where they can engage in numerous games modes such as Art School, Art Camp and Art Play.

Art school begins with the basics and includes 15 art lessons that continue to get harder when each is successfully completed.

Art Camp includes favorites like number painting, dot drawing, colring books, tilt painting and more.

Art play is all about freestyle drawing with animated stamps and plenty of fun tools.

Available on xbox 360, ps3, and the Wii.

Age: Everyone from graphic designers to street artists to the skilled or beginner doodler.

Cost is $59.99 for Wii and $69.99 for PS3 and xbox 360.

Redakai (Spinmaster)

Redakai is a ground breaking innovation in gaming, taking trading cars to the next level with amazing 3Dmatik technology .

Never before have trading cards contained 3D and animation effects.

New game technologies automatically track your progress and allow you to see the damaging effects of your attacks.

Kids can play at a beginner or more advanced level of the game.

It is for ages 6 and up and costs $5.99 and up, depending on pack and other accessories

Squinkies Adventure Mall Surprize (Blip Toys)

The adventure mall is the ultimate destination place for hundreds of your squinkies friends

Surprise, it's an amusement park, water park and mall all in one

Take a spin on the huge music and lights ferris wheel and view the park from above or, ride the roller coaster with the interchangeable track

Visit and shop at the stacking mall or snack at the coaster café, afterwards, take a dip at the water park and ride the water slide.

Includes eight new squinkies friends and 10 accessories.

It is for ages 4 and up and runs $49.99

HEXBUG Nano Hive Habitat Set and HEXBUG Nano Newton Calculus Series (Innovation First)

This is the first transportable environment that enables HEXBUG Nano architects to customize the design and layout.

The "construct habitat system" allows more building options and unlocks kids creativity.

Kids can take their Nano fun on the go with the convenient carrying handle, and parents will love the easy clean-up

This set can be connected to any pre-existing set or used as a stand alone.

The HEXBUG Nano is a tiny, collectible, micro robotic creature that acts like a real bug! It can flip from its back to its feet, and can find its way through any maze.

It is for ages 3 and up. The cost for Hive is $34.99 and Calculus Series $24.99 for all 5

Tetris Link (Techno Source)

Tetris is the most recognized video game brand in the world-the game has been translated into more than 50 languages and it is played by hundreds of millions of players in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Now, fans can experience the Tetris effect with Tetris Link, a new tabletop strategy game that the whole family can play together

In Tetris Link, players battle to score the most points by linking colored Tetriminos, the iconic Tetris playing pieces, into an upright game tower while attempting to block competitors from linking their game pieces.

When the tower is full, the player with the highest score wins the game.

The average play time is 15-20 minutes - play just once, or again and again.

For two to four players ages 6 and up. Cost is $24.99.

Baja Beast (Maisto)

Unleash the beast with this awesome, hobby grade radio control 4x4 off road that handles like a champ

It has a large pro-style controller for great control, and three kids can be playing at the same time.

It has extra long range (165 feet) and a lightweight body.

It is for ages 8 and up and costs $ 50.00

For more information, visit

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