By Julie Terrone, Senior Toy Editor
Looking for gifts for kids over age 6? Check out our list, starting with some stocking stuffers.
Quick Attach Microscope: This attaches directly to your media device, aligning the microscope lens with your camera’s lens. Take science on the go to entertain children. Just turn on your camera and zoom up to 30x magnification using your device’s digital zoom. The microscope enhances what you are viewing, and your device’s camera can take pictures and record video. My kids are a big fan of this and they use it to scope out the strangest things. You would be amazed at what something looks like when it is magnified! Microscope works on Apple iOS and most Android devices. Ages 6+ COST:$14.99
Holiday Specs: Create holiday magic right in front of your eyes. Great for holiday parties. These featherweight, holographic 3D lenses give the viewer the WOW factor as they magically transform ordinary Christmas lights, city lights, streetlights or any bright single point of light into one of ten different dazzling holiday images. Just put the glasses on (fit over existing glasses), view any distant point of light and enjoy the 3D imagery featuring an array of holiday designs, such as: snowflakes, reindeer, Santa, candy canes, elves, ornaments, gingerbread men, snowmen, angels and Christmas stars. COST: $1.50 each, also sold in packages of 25 or more. Get at www.holidayspecs.com —also check out the Holiday Magic 3D Viewers: which come in 5 fun holiday designs, feature hand held plastic decorative frames. sold separately or in a 5 pack. COST:starting at $4.00 each.
Safari Ltd.com allows children to discover the frontiers of their imagination with dinosaurs, fantasy, wildlife and much more. There is no limit to your imagination so let the adventure begin. There are many great ways to reinforce learning and remind children about the importance of science and history.This educational toy company’s mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play. We are a big fan of these hand-painted, detailed figures and have used them in school projects because of their authentic replication of the real thing!
Here are a few examples of new products that are available:
Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly: this 4 piece life cycle shows what butterfly eggs look like and where they are layed (on a specifically chosen milkweed plant leaf), the caterpillar hatches, then encases itself in the chrysalis and then emerges 2-5 weeks later as a beautiful butterfly. Each piece is lead free and is a great replication of this natural process. In this Safariolgy Theme, there are 5 different life cycles to choose from. COST: $9.99 each
Ancient Fossils: The Dinosaur Footprint is from the Jurassic age. This item is also lead and phthalate free. This Safariology Theme has 4 different examples of dinosaur fossils. COST: $3.49 each
The Army Men Group TOOB: this collection of 6 men dressed in Army green uniforms are each positioned differently for hours of great reenactment play. My son loves to strategically place his men and create a battle field. COST: $12.99
Battroborg 2 pack Battling Robots with Battle Arena (Green and Red Colonel Clubber and Scaldor): This is the Rock em’ sock em’ for this generation, but with way cooler controls and lights! This is such a hot toy this season; making the top 10 FamilyFun magazine Toy of the Year award for 2013 and TOYS R US Hot Toy of 2013! Battroborg uses the handheld, Wii remote–style controllers to have a boxing match between two robots. Let me you this game is a workout! Players punch their arms in the air and see the same movement played out by the mini ’bots. Your motions control the battling robots that bring players center ring, or retreat if you are getting beat. There’s strategy involved in the timing and combination of punches needed to knock out an opponent: moving forward is accomplished by a series of right/left punches while a series of same-hand punches spins your fighting cyborg in a circle. Knock out your opponent by serving up five contact punches to the head. Train your robot to battle by taking it to boot camp where you can master the art of combat by taking on the 4 stationary training drones to punch. You know the damage your robot is receiving by the change of color in the head’s LED light. The lightening-fast, 2.5 GHz WiFi frequency means immediate pairing and real-time response, on-board speakers emit a sound each time a punch hits its target. An LED meter on each robot keeps track of punches and lets you know how close you are to a win. Requires 8 AA Batteries (not included). Robots recharge in 20 minutes. Tomy; $79.99; Ages 6 and up. Available NOW at TOYSRUS and other major retail stores.
SKYLANDERS SWAP FORCE Starter Kit: What a great game! Skylanders SWAP Force is the latest adventure in a series of exciting games that explore the magical world of Skylands. The innovative idea of changing the tops and bottoms of characters to better utilize their skills is genius! Now if you need a AIR character but you wanting the firing capabilities of one of your other favorite characters, now you can have the best of both characters. The magnet that hold the character’s upper body and lower body is strong and stable enough to hold the part in position, while remaining incredibly easy to remove. Introducing 16 New Swap-able characters, creating 256 new possibilities – now your new power is your choice. All characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants are compatible! The graphics are high resolution and give a crisper picture which allows you to experience the game better. The starter kit comes with a new Portal of Power which connects to you gaming console via USB, so no more dead batteries since the portal is charged by the connection! WELL worth the money.
Starter Pack Includes:
- 1 Video Game
- 1 Portal of Power
- 3 Skylanders Figures
- 1 Skylanders SWAP Force starter pack
- 3 Character Stickers
- 3 Trading Cards
Available for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 game consoles. Where to buy: major retailers (Toys R Us, Target, Best Buy, Walmart Game Stop); Availability:NOW, Release Date was October 13, 2013; COST: $74.99
HMDX-JAM XT Extreme Wireless Speaker: This Bluetooth, rechargeable, wireless speaker is great for on the go listening. The fold out carabiner clip allows you to clip the HMDX Jam XT to most clipable surfaces. Don’t worry if you drop it, splash it or get it dirty, it’ll still work just fine. The rugged outer protector prevents damage to the internal components. The rubber cover prevents the micro USB charge port and the audio-in jack from being exposed to the elements. The Bluetooth range is a little less than 30′ feet as the package claims (it worked when my Bluetooth phone was 27 feet away from the speaker in my house). Battery is rechargeable and lasts up to about 4 hours. The sound and volume were good and loud. The buttons on the thing are hard to press. I think this is by design, so they don’t get bumped and accidentally turn on. You’ll know when you have pressed them, though. It’s a good, heavy speaker; package includes a short charging cable for use with a computer or USB charge port. It comes in five different colors and makes a fairly decent tech gift. There is an instruction card and be sure to register this product which includes a 1 year limited warranty. Available: now; COST: $45.99-$59.99.
iHome eKids Marvel Avengers Iron Man Rechargeable Character Mini Speaker: WOW! This little speaker puts out a well-balanced, clear, crisp sound! It is a pleasant tone with a surprising amount of power in a little package. The speaker has a built in rechargeable battery. Cable for charging speakers and connecting to audio sources is included. Connect this to any audio source including: all MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, and computers, e-readers, laptops, as well as other audio sources featuring a 3.5mm line-out jack! You can connect multiple speakers via line-in jack for more incredible sound. There is a power and charging LED indicator. Average battery life: 2.25 Hours. My kids think it is so cool and love using it! Many cool character designs are available for boys and girls to enjoy. COST: $24.99
iHome eKids Spongebob over-the-head Earphones: These ekids headphones are very comfortable, have padded ear cushions, padded and adjustable headband and In-line volume control. The sound is so clear, detailed and rich. My son is so happy with these. It works with all music players and has a 1 year limited warranty. This is one of many characters available in the ekids Earphone collection for boys and girls. The quality is excellent and this product is definitely recommended! My 6 year old uses these earphone even though the product is intended for ages 9+. COST:$24.99
Furby Boom: Here is a great way for a child to see how you treat a creature will shape of its personality! The more fun you have with it, the friendlier it will become. Sing, tickle, feed it with your finger and it will respond. Furby does not have an on/off switch. Furby is sensitive to touch, motion & sound. It speaks more English so the more you play with it, the easier your Furby Boom will be able to communicate with you. The best part is now you can actually see how and what your Furby is feeling by using the free Furby Boom APP in the iTunes store. This APP combines physical and digital play for a fun type of entertainment experience including the ability to take care of your Furby, get virtual eggs, hatch and raise the Furblings! Just download the free app to have a Furby Boom adventure and translate Furbish. The Furby app is optional and works with iPad, iPod touch and iPhone with iOS 5.0 or later. The app is not compatible with prior Furby generations. Check Furby.com for device compatibility. The APP works without your furby and on the original non-camera iPad, but instant updates by using a device with a camera really help you know what your Furby Boom needs. It is innovative and interactive and kids love it! Ages: 6 & up Where to buy: at major retailers as well as at HasbroToyShop.com; Availablity: NOW; COST: $59.00 at Toys R Us.
Vehicles of Mass Destruction:Wow this is a boy or man’s dream R/C. Bring a blast of fire power to the R?C category for boys who love to fire weapons. These products are made from good material with high quality. Now the controls are at their finger tips with a powerful remote operated weapon that shoots hard, fast and far! My boys had so much fun with these two R/C vehicles. They created a battle zone and used their imaginations, competed and played their story out in a back yard battle for hours. There is precise steering over ANY terrain, a joystick style controller armed with switches and light up fire buttons:
- The Missile Striker: These enormous foam darts have a stiff front that aids in making them aerodynamic. and can be shot more than 65 feet. This R/C machine is tons of fun. My 11 year old was able to steer and launch the foam darts to his target with ease. He had a ball playing with this toy, was able to attack on the move and fire 1 of 3 long range missiles with precision (after a few tries at getting used to the controller) at a time. The controller had dual joysticks used to drive the treads. It took him a while to figure out that when he pushed both ‘sticks forward or back to make the Striker do the same; alternate angling moves it left or right or enables a quick spin clockwise or counter-clockwise. He had a great time battling his older brother in a backyard mission of mass destruction. Runs on batteries, not included. Ages 8+ COST $59.99 available now at Toys R Us.
- The Cannon Commando: Now for over-sized speed, this giant cannon can rapidly fire 16 small foam missiles at a rate of one per second more than 50 feet in an all out assault. My younger 6 year old son chose this R/C as his weapon of mass destruction in his battle with his older brother. This vehicle is easier to use. He tracked his target (the camp site and missile striker his younger brother was controlling), he armed his weapons, aimed his battle machine and FIRED!. He loved the fact that the tank’s maneuverability turns on a dime 360° to spin and shoot. The tread traction is great and allows for navigation over dangerous terrain. He was also able to use the adjustable trajectory for maximum targeting capacity and firing range by using his hands to angle the weapon since this function cannot be made on by the controller. Runs on batteries, not included. Ages 8+ COST $59.99 available now at Toys R Us.
Hex Bug Nano V2 Gravity Loop: This is an 18 piece set and includes 1 nano bug . You can create an endless loop for your nano to climb. This is a new breed of nano hex bug because the head allows for horizontal navigation, the legs allow rapid movement and the body with its redesigned exoskeleton and advanced technology gives gravity defying Nanos the ability to climb up tubes. You can play with this set alone or combine it with other Hex Bug sets for a even more fun. COST: $19.99 Warning: choking hazard, small parts ages 3+
Hex Bug Nano V2 Helix 180° : This is a great 40 piece set which allows your Hex Bug to climb vertically and twist through a vertical tunnel. The a micro robotic creature that reacts to its environment or that you control, an innovative battery powered, high-tech toy. You can play with this set alone or combine it with other Hex Bug sets for a even more fun.Fun for all ages! COST: $29.99 Warning: choking hazard, small parts ages 3+
Fun for Both Boys and Girls:
B-DAMAN Break Bomber Battlefield: In this 2-player, rapid-fire game, (a companion to the anime TV series) opponents face off with humanoid launchers and send marbles flying, trying to be the first to blast three red bricks into enemy territory. 2 characters and 2 wide marble holding magazines, 25 blocks, 4 ultra B-DA Marble,20 B-DA marbles, 2 collector cards and instructions are included. Easy to assemble and loads of fun. This was a big hit in my house. We all loved the fast-action competition. You can also battle online by downloading the free B-DAMAN app by going to Bdamanbattles.com. Hasbro; $29.99; Ages 6 and up
B-DAMAN Figure with Accessory: Add to your arsenal of characters to choose from to play with on the battlefield. Includes 6 marbles(one deco marble), a tool, a target and a unique accessory for advanced shooting performance. We tries Strike Dragren with a quick loader magazine and he was a precision type for extra accuracy behind every shot. He was a great addition to our collection. There are 3 deluxe figure assortments to choose from, each sold separately and each have a unique accessory included. Hasbro; $12.99; Ages 6 and up
Mega Bloks: Skylanders SWAP FORCE – Flynn’s Rescue Ship: Any SWAP FORCE fan would love this set. Great for building tactile muscles. This 546 piece building set will help you defeat Kaos by firing the real, working launchers or operating the crane! My son thought this was so cool and after we worked together to put it together, he used his real SWAP FORCE characters for some great imaginative play. Some features of this set are:
- Buildable Flynn’s Rescue Ship which opens up to take the battle below decks
- Working launcher, lander, and crane
- Includes swappable Magna Charge, Hot Head, and Flynn characters with cool new light up powers
- Combines with other Mega Bloks Skylanders SWAP Force™ playsets to build your adventure!
Available now at most major retailers; COST: $49.99 (@ Target); Appropriate for Ages 5+ (WARNING: small pieces are a choking hazards for small children)
NERF REBELLE SWEET REVENGE Kit: Now girls have the power and the accessories needed to take sweet revenge. This girls’ nerf bold 5 dart blaster includes a cool pair of Vision Gear eye wear and holster- my daughter loved them. She also loved that there was a blaster specifically made for and designed by girls! The extra design touches and colorful darts are definitely girly, but are just as powerful as any regular Nerf blaster. Load the 5 darts, pull back on the lever to ready the blaster and press the trigger to send darts soaring through the air up to 75 feet. This was great for my daughter who has 2 brothers to battle with, but now she has her own line of products to choose from. Available at most major retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com. Ages 8 & up; COST $19.99. Available: Now Also Check out these NEW REBELLE products: NERF REBELLE HEARTBREAKER Bow, NERF REBELLE POWER PAIR Two Pack, NERF REBELLE PINK CRUSH Mini Crossbow.
Air Huntress Z-Curve Bow: Now girls can learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and still feel girly with this handling and loading bow! Girls have the power to launch foam arrows up to 125 ft. This sparkly pink and purple set includes one zartz suction-cup arrow that sticks to almost anything and two Zonic long-distance arrows that whistle as they soar through the air. Aim at a wall and shoot – watch the sunction-cup stick or the foam darts bounce back. Bow only functions with approved arrows. A nice addition the ZING collection of bows and the best part is that it is “cool” enough for girls to play with the boys! The Air Huntress Z-Curve Bow is a great way for girls to become the next Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) . This is a bow that offers a safe, realistic introduction to the sport of archery and can be used indoors or outside. Recommended for ages 8 and up. COST: $24.99; Available now: TOYSRUS and major retailers.