By Julie Terrone, our Senior Toy Reviewer
We know, you’re reading a lot of gift guides these days. We’re here to help even more with a gift guide that features toys that your kids will go crazy over!
STOCKING STUFFER IDEA:
Mash’Ems: loads of fun and a good form of PT (physical therapy) for little hands to get strong……by using these squishy fun-filled collectables that you can twist, squeeze, and launch! These are sold in single packs with one Mash’Em character per pack. The best part is when your Mash’Ems gets dirty, just clean with warm water! For ages 4+. Sold in single foil pack, Multi Pack (Comes with 2 Mash’Em Characters). Favorite Character Collections of 6: Angry Birds Series 1 Random Figures, Moshi Monsters, NEW: Power Rangers Samurai; Character collection of 12: Marvel. Cost $3.99 foil pack, $7.99 Multi pack. (Read More after the jump).
Mash’Ems Laucher: Same squishy fun, one Mash’Ems character comes in a package with a Launcher. Available in stores: Angry Birds, Marvel characters. For ages 4+ Cost: $5.99
BOYS & GIRLS:
Angry Birds Splat Strike: It’s fun, quick to set up and most ages will be able to play it (recommended for ages 6+). Take aim and splat, and if the flat squishy birds get dirty you can clean them with warm water. Package comes with suction cups to hang the pig target poster, 1 launcher and 3 sticky birds. My only concern is how easy the paper board is to rip so handle with care when removing splat birds. Cost $9.99
Mathable Junior: This is a board game for 2-4 players ages 5+. It is a cross number game and a great introduction to the world of Mathematics. Combine addition or subtraction and place numbered tiles (ranging from 0-20) on the game board until all the tiles have been played. Package comes with 4 racks, 60 number tiles and games rules and a reversible game board (for two different ways to play). This acclaimed game of logic, strategy and math skills designed specifically for younger players. Cost $14.99
Mega Bloks Skylander Giants Arkeyan Copter Attack Building Set (95418): This 138 piece building block set allows your age 5+ child to build a Skylander adventure and to be the master of the copter. Set includes a buildable Spyro, 3 frigid Chompies, the Arkeyan copter with spinning rotors, 2 launchers and a cockpit. Mega Bloks hit a home-run with this collections by creating another great way to bring the Skylanders to life by now creating the scene right before your eyes instead of on the TV. Collect them all! Warning: small pieces may cause choking in children under 3 years of age. Cost: $29.99. Available at Target, ToysRus, Walmart and other retail stores.
Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants LEGO 3818 Bikini Bottom Undersea Party: This 471 piece LEGO set captures Spongebob’s life complete with his Pineapple house, Squidward and his dwelling, and other fun characters also included are Gary, Patrick and Mrs. Puff all having an underwater party with mini turntables, a see-saw and a merry-go-round. Warning: small pieces may cause choking in children under 3 years of age. Cost: prices vary between $49.69-$60.99. Available at Target, ToysRus, Walmart and other retail stores.
Shaun White Hero Stunt Scooter: Tricks are made easy on this elite scooter built to appeal to the novice, experienced and extreme rider. The Shaun White Supply Co. Hero Scooter offers the specifications any park veteran would want with a double welded frame, 1-piece, extra-strong handlebar assembly with comfort grips, metal core wheels, and a re-enforced thread-less fork for super smooth turns, tail-whips and bar spins, quick stop rear brake is perfect for stalls and an extra-strong T6 aluminum deck with full grip tape putting this scooter on a pedestal, high above any competition and making it a lot safer knowing your child is riding such a well made scooter. This is by far the best scooter you can get for the money. (Better than Razor scooter) Ages 10+ Cost $99.97
Shaun White Series Skateboards: Built with the highest safety specifications in mind, Shaun White Supply Co. will launch three separate series of advanced skateboards. With art work designed by some of the skateboard’s top industry illustrators and artists, the unique and eye-catching gear will be one to have everyone talking about in the skate park: The AMP Series $59.97 The Thrash Series $59.97; ,and lastly perfect for the skateboard fanatic, The Core Complete is the highest spec’d board in the line and gives fans the opportunity to ride the same board as Shaun White: The Core Complete $69.97. Ages 10+ Available at ToysRus
SkyBall Jr. Football: Wow this ball can fly. Great features: especially no assembly required, repeat play can provide hours of fun. It is a great size so kids of any size can handle it. The material is well made, light, durable and waterproof. This helium propelled ball can be thrown or kicked 45 to 75 yards depending on your skill level. This is a great ball for kids developing their skills; it is not an official ball and is not used in any formal competition. Warning: To avoid helium leakage, do not puncture the football because the company will not be replaced. Cost: $14.99 Age 6+
Extreme Customz Starter Kits: Keep your Spider man fans hands busy while manipulating the pieces to make this ultimate cool car.XtremeCustomz.com Mavel Spider man Build Your Ride is a kit that comes with everything your child needs to build a rad ride for Spidey himself. This single vehicle package includes a 1:48 scale spider man car. Kit includes a RIDE Body which is about the size of a cell phone, and 4 mode adjustable chassis plus 4 piece set of reversible rims, 4 piece set of tires, spoiler, 2 piece set of side pipes and an exclusive web shooting launcher which is a nice extra feature my boys like to use to knock out Spider man’s nemeses. Warning: small parts are a choking hazard for children under 3 years of age. Cost: 9.99 Ages 5+ 1:48 scale Swap Set Kits are also available for $19.99. For more information on larger sized sets or XL single kits visit the website. Product sold at various retail stores such as Amazon.com, Costco, CVS Pharmacy, Toys R Us stores and website.
Mega Bloks Halo Covenant Wraith Building Set (97014): This 637 piece building blocks set is for ages 8+. A great addition to the the Halo building sets line. The Wraith serves as the Covenant’s mobile anti-aircraft artillery but can do massive damage to both air and ground targets. This is a must since boys will love expanding their units and building their army with Covenant figurines: Elite in Commando Gold, Elite in Combat Gold and UNSC figurine: Spartan in EOD Green armor. Collect them all! Cost: $44.99. Available at Target, ToysRus, Walmart and other retail stores.
Lite Brix; Build light up 3D constructions. These brix are compatible with other building bricks. They are a super light building system and look really cool. The battery power pack makes your creation light, but remember to switch off the battery pack when finished playing. Batteries are NOT included (rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries will work.)The This is Cra-Z–art at its best! Lite brix, special shaped parts, connectors brick blocks and decal sheets are included int he package. My son could not wait to build his Lazer Copter 35801! Cost: $19.99 Toys R Us exclusive available in stores and online. Choose from the super jet fighter 35806, lumi-cycle 35802, lumi-star racer 35803, space trooper 35800 prices may vary. Warning: small parts are a choking hazard for children under 3 years of age.
Angry Birds Star Wars jenga: a combination of two great games! Choose from these favorite Star Wars characters: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Exclusive Chewbacca birds. For an epic squawk attack against the Death Star, just roll the die and load your bird on the X-Wing Fighter launcher. Object is to destroy the 31 piece Jenga Death Star and see the Darth Vader pig and the four Stormtrooper pigs tumble over. Some Adult assembly is required. suitable for ages 5+ Cost: prices vary but have seen it for $20-27. Available at Toys R Us and other major retailers.
Magna Color 3D: No more markers, crayons or mess. Now you can color and create pictures on the magnetic design station by following a stencil or making your own picture. Using magnetic colored dots, place the dots one at a time or in a line and see you design in 3D when wearing the ultra-vision glasses. When you are done, slide the dots across the board and they fall into the bottom of the station, then shake to sort into each color space, load them into your pen and start over again. The Magna Color 3D Magnetic Design Station features: Specially-designed magnetic drawing studio with screen sweeper, 4 design stencils, 4 colorful pens, 160 3D Magic Dots in 4 different colors, 1 pair of Ultra Vision Glasses. For Ages 4+. Cost $29.99; available at Toys R Us and major retailers.
Nickelodeon’s Winx Club Rock Star Microphone: You little fairy can sing along to the Winx Club TV Theme song. The microphone features voice amplification or it can be connected a MP3 player to sing along with any song. It is plastic, requires 2AA batteries (included for “try me” purposes to be replaced with fresh batteries) Cost: $14.99; Ages 3+. Available at major retailers
Fortune Cookie Maker: My daughter could not wait to make her our fortune cookies! Children just write down their fortune, combine the included mix with water, heat in the microwave for a few seconds, knead and roll out their dough and then place it in the Fortune Cookie Machine. With the push of a button, their fortune is deliciously sealed and is ready to decorate and eat within 10 minutes! The Fortune Cookie Machine makes up to 12 cookies, and is fun for the entire family right at home. Be careful to follow the instructions carefully or cookies will end up raw or dough will crumble. If done at the right temperature the cookies turn out fine. Cost: $27.98-29.99 (prices vary from store to store); Age: 5+ Available at major retailers.
Mystixx Vampire Dolls: These two faced, 11″ dolls go from innocent schoolgirl to fierce vampire with a quick, radical turn of the head. Siva is a blonde during the day, but has purple hair for when she transforms from girl to vampire. The Day side of her face shows a pretty, blue eyed girl who loves school and the other side of the face features a vampire appearance complete with fangs for the night. I have to say this doll is not creepy looking. The vampire face has nice glittery green eyeshadow and the blue eye turn to pinkish. You can mix and match her hair, face and clothes to create so many looks for one doll. Changing her hair is simple because there is a notch on top of her hear to easily switch the wigs, but changing the clothes has its challenges. The fashion outfits are pretty trendy. There are 4 girls in the collection named Talin™, Silva™, Azra™ and Kalani™ Each girl has a story: Siva comes from a royal family of vampires from the old country. She wants to be a normal teenager, so she tries hard to hide her royal identity at school. She loves the color purple and has it all around her, from the clothes she wears to the food she eats. She’s very popular at school because others are naturally drawn to her including the boys. Siva is sweet, caring and fun, but slightly arrogant because ultimately royal blood still runs through her veins. Warning: small pieces may cause choking in children under 3 years of age. Suitable for ages 6+ Cost:$19.99; sold exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us and toysrus.com
Nickelodeon’s Avatar the Last Airbender Graphic Novels: The Promise is the first installment in the trilogy of graphic novels set in the World of Avatar as a continuation of the Avatar: The Last Airbender storyline. Ever since the conclusion of Avatar: The Last Airbender, its millions of fans have been hungry for more–and it’s finally here! Part one: Approximately 70 pages; The war is over but the new adventure for Aang and his friends has just begun in a Fire Nation colony in the heart of the Earth Nation. Aang is on a collision course with Fire Lord Zuko, one of his closest friends. Part two: Aprroximately 70 pages; The Avatar’s greatest adventure continues as Aang and Katara work to prevent a dispute between the Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei that could lead the world back into war. Books script written by Gene Luen Yang, Art and Cover by Gurihiru, published in 2012. Cost $10.99 each Book three is also available.
VIDEO GAMES, ACCESSORIES, ELECTRONICS:
Skylanders GIANTS: VERY HOT TOY!! This game is based on the previous video game Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure, dramatic changes and enhancements have been made to make this game worth playing. Bringing toys to life in an exciting virtual experience and seeing how the characters can now light up on the portal as they come alive on your TV and join the game. Skylanders GIANTS introduces 16 new characters, led by 8 Giants which hare twice the size of their comrades. The Giants have exciting new powers and abilities to match their size. Also 8 new classic size Sklanders will feature never before seen powers. LightCore Sklyander characters glow when placed on or near the portal of power – no batteries needed for the characters. The Portal of Power does require 2 batteries. NOTE: GIANTS characters will NOT work with Skylander’s Spyro’s Adventure game, however, All characters from Syro’s Adventure are compatible with stats and customizations in tact with the new Skylanders GIANTS Video game and some characters return as Series 2 characters with “Wow Pow” upgrade power and are frozen in a new stance. Players 1-2, Rated E10+(Everyone 10 and older). TIP: If you already own a portal from Spyro’s Adventures, choose The Skylanders Giants Portal Owners Pack Cost $59.99. If you DO NOT own Spyro’s Adventures, you must purchase The Starter Pack, it will cost $74.99. Game is available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, 3DS, DS gaming consoles.
Transformers Prime Game Wii: This Wii console game lets fans play as their favorite AUTOBOT character and embark on an action packed adventure to save the earth from the evil MEGATRON and his new secret weapon. Along the way, gamers cultivate friendships with human characters (Jack, Miko and Raf) from the show as they set out to protect mankind and eliminate DECEPTICONS. Players can battle head-to-head as one of eleven AUTOBOT or DECEPTICON characters with a dynamic multiplayer mode. Up to 2 players; Rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older – fantasy violence). Available for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Cost: $39.99
Nickelodeon Dance 2: The dance party’s back and bigger than ever in Nickelodeon Dance 2! Gamers of all ages can dance, sing and workout with a handful of new Nickelodeon characters and all new tracks from the network’s hit TV shows including The Fresh Beat Band, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, and Team Umizoomi. Exciting new game features like “Freeze Dance” and “Workout” modes will keep kids on their toes and get their hearts pumping while learning original dance routines developed by an Emmy-recognized® children’s dance choreographer. Available for Game platforms: Wii and Kinect for Xbox 360. Rating: E for Everyone Cost: $39.99
Nickelodeon’s WINX Club Magical Fairy Party for Nintendo DS. Who doesn’t love a party? Well in this game you will create your own characer, be a new student at the Alfea School for Fairies and become friends with Bloom, Stella, Flora, and the other fairies from the Winx Club to create the coolest school party ever. You magic skills will be tested in mini-games and unlock rewards; just look out for the troublemakers Icy, Stormy, and Darcy who are out to mess up your plans! Cost: $28.98-29.99 prices vary at different stores. Available at all major retailers.
APPS for devices:
Skylanders Battlegrounds, Skylanders Lost Islands and Skylanders Cloud Patrol : Now you can bring your skylanders everywhere; just use your portal and skylanders with your iPad, iPhone or iPod in 3 great App games. By entering the codes on each skylander profile card, your skylander will to life on your device. 3 games to battle the chompies and other creatures. Battlegrounds has some great on screen instructions and a tutorial to help you understand the game better. The bluetooth compatible portal is suggested for an enhanced experience and quicker switching between characters during battles, but we just entered the codes for each element and manually added players to the roster. Skylander character may also be purchased wit the coins and gems you accumulate from each challenge and level completion. These Apps are a great way to get more “replay” with the skylander characters at home or on the go. Cost: $6.99 each at the App store
Nickelodeon’s Spongebob‘s Super Bouncy Fun Time: You play as Spongebob trying to catch all the Jellyfish. Object is to use the least amount of bubbles to knock out the jellyfish, some of which are blocked by obstacles. Try to get 3 stars on each level to get the high score. Once the jellyfish is knocked out by the bouncing bubble, tap the coins that are revealed and save up to buy power ups. Fun game which may be familiar since to us it is a combination of Peggle and Angry Birds. Children and adults will enjoy completing each challenging level and will possible need to redo a level to obtain 3 stars. The sound is a blast. The music is fast-paced and really retro and Spongebob will occasionally utter sayings that are pretty funny. You can turn the sound off because it can be too MUCH handle. It is addictive, fun and loaded with great graphics. Cost $1.99 at the App store.
Nickelodeon’s Monkey Quest: ThunderBow is a great name for a fun game. The nameless monkey shoots a variety of ammunition — pineapples that explode like cluster bombs, bundle of mosquitoes that splinters into 3 individual kamikaze dive-bombers, etc. — at exploding barrels and supporting structure to gain bananas, score points for knocking enemies, destructing all obstacles, having remaining weapons and doing combo shots. It’s all standard stuff for the physics-slingshot genre of games. Much like Angry Birds, proceed through levels and unlock free exclusive items that you can use in the hit online game Monkey Quest. Cost: $0.99 at the App store. Available for Android, iPhone, iPad
Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer: Dora ABCs Vol : Letters & Letter Sounds; Dora ABCs Vol 2: Rhyming Words; Dora ABCs Vol 3: Ready to Read; Dora’s Dress Up Adventures; Dora’s Enchanted Forest Adventures
Nickelodeon’s Team Unizoomi: Zoom Into Numbers
Nick Jr.’s Draw & Play
Kindertown: Check out these Teacher approved Educational Apps available with prices ranging from FREE-$9.99+
JibJab Jr. Books App: StoryBots Starring you Storybooks: Another fun place you will find great holiday eBooks is at StoryBots.com, from the famous JibJab Brothers who created the “Starring You” video technology. Here you can personalize anim
ated eBooks with your child’s face and name. From an iPad you can download the book App for free and read the books created for kids aged 2-6. All you do is upload your child’s (or any family member’s) name and photo into the book and they become a main animated character in the story. There are many fun holiday titles to choose from and just watch your child giggle as they see themselves as an Elf, Santa’s little helper and more! Go to Storybots.com to enjoy content or download the Starring You Storybooks in the itunes app store for free.
Choose From these:
- Snowball Fight-Watch your child become the main character in this Winter Wonderland themed storybook
- Elf for a Day –– An elf visits the reader and takes them to the North Pole to help make toys. They then fly around the world with Santa and deliver gifts.
- Saving Christmas –Santa needs help delivering presents—your child will help save the day
- Snow Much Fun — Watch your kids giggle as they build snowmen and more in this fast paced storybook.
Hasbro: Hungry Hungry Hippos App: Use your iPad as a board and munch with the padded hippo heads! The iPad version features the classic four player free for all allowing four people to gather around one iPad to play. Must purchase Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippos iPad Game. Each hippo head has capacitive pads underneath to interact with your iPad. Free app download from the Apple store.