Gayle Anderson was live in Santa Monica with Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy, from TimeToPlayMag.com to see what’s on his HOT LIST OF TOYS 2013, some of the best new toys he has selected for this holiday season.
Gayle Anderson was live in Santa Monica with Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy, from TimeToPlayMag.com to see what’s on his HOT LIST OF TOYS 2013, some of the best new toys he has selected for this holiday season. The holiday season which is based on sales in the months of November and December is the biggest time of year for retailers and can account for as much as 20-40% of a retailer’s annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This year, NRF estimates that holiday sales will increase 3.9 % to $602.1 billion. NRF estimates that online shopping will also increase to as much as $82 billion this year.
Since Thanksgiving is later this year, there is one less shopping week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While Black Friday has typically kicked off holiday shopping, there are plenty of opportunities to get early deals. Many stores, such as Target and Best Buy, will be open Thanksgiving Day.
To help you with ideas on what to buy for the young and young at heart on your holiday gift list, here is a list of this season’s hot toys as reviewed on their website.
AIR STORM Z-TEK BOW
The Air Storm Z-Tek Bow comes with three soft foam Zarts. Two will make a whistling noise as they fly and bounce off the walls. The third Zart will stick to any smooth surface. The bow includes storage for all three Zarts. This is really easy to use. This bow has the same construction as other Zing bows, where there’s no bow-string, but rather you hook an arrow onto the two elastic loops, pull back, and fire. The Zarts can fly up to 100 feet. The Air Storm Z-Tek Bow is available in orange or green. When we tested out our Air Storm Z-Tek Bow, we got the Zarts to fly more than 100 feet. They actually flew closer to 120-125 feet. Kids will really be impressed with how easy it is to load and launch the Zarts and the great distance they can get.
BATTROBORG 3-in-1 BATTLE ARENA
Nearly half a century ago, a pair of battling robots created a toy industry sensation, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots became a memorable part of many Baby Boomers childhoods. Now this classic play concept gets a 21st century upgrade with Battroborg from Tomy. The charger doubles as a controller that attaches to a Battroborg battling robot. Before battling, kids must use the controller to charge up their robot for about 20 minutes. Then, kids and their robots are ready to battle. Set your robots in the ring arena and go to it. Turn on the controller and pair it with the robot. The robot will flash blue until it’s paired, and then it will flash green. As you punch with your hands, the robot will punch, too. Punch with the left hand to move forward and turn clockwise. Punch with your right hand to move forward and turn counter-clockwise. The elastic cords on the sides can be used to configure the ring for different play modes. Practice with the ring set up with four drones on the side. Then, challenge an opponent to a dual in the gauntlet by moving around the elastic cords. When you’ve got the hang of it, open up the arena fully for complete battle action. There are five levels of play in each battle, and you’ll know how you’re doing by the light on the back of the robot. The lights will count down from green to blue to white to yellow to red. When the light flashes red and your robot won’t move, well, you’ve been KO’d. But just press the robot’s face mask to start again.
There are also other modes of play that are great for solo play when you don’t have an opponent.
CRAYOLA MARKER MAKER
With the new Crayola Marker Maker, kids can make their own custom markers. To get started, flip down the mixing tray, which also detaches if you want to spread out your work area. Then place your measuring tubes on the trap. Twist them to make sure they are latched into place. Use the included color mixing guide to decide which color you want to make. There are 18 different colors featured in the color mixing guide to choose from. Following the guide, add however much of the blue, yellow, or red ink is needed to make that color. Then, using the crayola tweezers, dip a marker core into the measuring tube’s mixture. Let it sit there until all the ink is absorbed, which takes a minute or two. Next, drop your core into a marker barrel and use the tweezers to press it in. Insert the plug and marker tip into the barrel and place the marker tip down into the center of the Marker Maker caddy. Push down the handle and the plug will snap all the way into place. Pop on the cap and stand the marker upright for one to two minutes and your marker will be ready for use. Use the included labels to make up unique color names to apply to your markers.
CHATTER PHONE TALKING GAME
The Chatter Phone Talking Game is based on Fisher-Price’s iconic Chatter Phone toy. It has been reimagined as an electronic interactive matching and memory game that guides children to learn about animals, animal sounds, and numbers and counting. When the phone rings, pick up the receiver, and the Chatter Phone will ask you to dial a game: 1, 2, 3, or 4.Game 1 is a numbers game where kids are asked to dial numbers on the phone; Game 2 is a sounds game; Game 3 is a mix and match game; Game 4 is a countdown game where players work together to beat the clock and pick the right answer. The Chatter Phone will prompt kids to insert a numbers card or an animal card. Then the countdown clock will start to tick, and players have 15 seconds to make their selection. If the card inserted is correct, the players keep the card. Once five cards have been collected or three incorrect guesses have been made, the game is over.
DINO CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WRECKER THE T-REX SKID LOADER
Dino Construction Company Wrecker the T-Rex Skid Loader combines dinosaurs and construction play. Wrecker rolls onto the scene with dino track treads that leave dino prints in the sand or dirt. Wrecker has a large movable jaw that opens to showcase white teeth. The dino’s segmented, swinging tail moves in multiple directions. Kids can scoop up water, sand, and toys in Wrecker’s mouth. This toy is all about imaginative play that will appeal to preschoolers who like dinosaurs and construction play. It’s great for the sandbox, the beach, or the playroom.
Disney Infinity is the most ambitious gaming initiative that Disney has ever launched and the whole thing revolves around character figures from different Disney and Pixar movies. When any of the figures are placed on the Disney Infinity Base, they pop into the game and become the playable characters. Infinity literally begins with a single spark that you control. As you move around, you light up a world and bring it to life. In the distance, there’s an arch and without any instructions, you know to head towards it. You will find Mickey Mouse waiting and the words, “Imagination becomes reality” appear. All of this is the game’s prelude and happens before you even place a figure on the base. It’s enough to show you that this is going to be a huge game.
DESPICABLE ME 2 FART BLASTER
The Despicable Me 2 Fart Blaster is an essential tool used by the minions, the little yellow guys, in the first Despicable Me movie, and it makes a guest appearance in Despicable Me 2. This toy is very easy to use. Pull the trigger to hear fart noises. We counted 10 different fart sounds. Kids can experiment with different ways of pulling the trigger, varying the speed and how long they hold it to get different effects. The light chamber on top lights up in response to the different noises. The toy also has Joke Mode. Hold the trigger until the lights flash red and green. Then hide the blaster, and after 20 seconds, it will start making fart noises on its own. For kids ages 4–7, there are few things as entertaining as farts, so this toy is pretty much a guaranteed hit. Fans of the Despicable Me movies will have fun pretending to be just like the minions with their very own Fart Blaster.
You may be familiar with the InnoTab 3, and the InnoTab 3S adds wi-fi connectivity to enhance the play and learning experience. Kids can connect wirelessly to a web browser to visit pre-approved websites with kid-safe content. Parents can manage the sites that are on the approved list. Navigation to sites that have not been approved is prohibited. Using the Kid Connect app and the wi-fi connection, kids can send and receive text messages and animated stickers from their InnoTab 3S to another or from their InnoTab 3S to a smartphone or tablet that has the VTech Kid Connect app installed. In addition, the InnoTab 3S includes 20 apps, including an e-reader with story dictionary, Wonder Cam for creating funny photo effects, an art studio, an MP3 player, games, and more. And features a 180-degree rotating camera and video recorder, a five-inch color touchscreen, two styluses, a built-in microphone, and a headphone jack.
JAKE & THE NEVERLAND PIRATES BEACH SHIPWRECK GAME
Yo ho, let’s go! Captain Hook has buried pirate booty all over Shipwreck Beach. Flip over the gold doubloons and use Jake’s spyglass to decode the secret clues. When you get a match, get up and go! Snag the correct treasure with the foam sword and hurry back to score! For two or more players this game for the young set promotes matching, memory, and physical dexterity.
LeapFrog is expanding its line of children’s learning tablets with the latest release, the LeapPad Ultra. What makes it ultra? Here are a few of its “ultra” features:
This kid-tough tablet has a bigger seven-inch, high-resolution touchscreen that is designed to help children write using a stylus while also supporting interactive touch experiences. The included stylus is tethered to the tablet so that you don’t lose it. It also features a rechargeable lithium ion battery that gives kids up to nine hours of play. It can be charged using a USB cable or AC adapter, both of which are included. And the LeapPad Ultra features 8GB of memory, more than on previous LeapPad tablets.
This new tablet also includes LeapSearch by Zui, a proprietary kid-safe web browser that kids can use to browse age-appropriate videos, images, and websites that have been reviewed and approved by LeapFrog’s Learning Team. The tablet’s Wi-Fi access also allows parents to easily purchase and download content to their child’s LeapPad Ultra and offers kid-safe peer-to-peer play across devices when two or more LeapPad Ultra tablets connect to the same local Wi-Fi network. This means that two kids can play a game together at the same time on their respective tablets. Intuitive parental controls with a four-digit security code means that parents are in control of what their child is able to access. As with previous LeapPads, the LeapPad Ultra also features front and back cameras and video recorders. And the LeapPad Ultra is compatible with LeapFrog’s learning library of more than 800 games, app, ebooks, videos, music, cartridges, and more that remember your child’s progress and auto-level to adapt to your child’s pace. Parents can connect to the LeapFrog Learning Path to see details of their child’s play.
NERF N-STRIKE ELITE CENTURION BLASTER
Kids can launch a long-range assault with the Nerf N-Strike Elite Mega Series Centurion. It features bigger darts that are engineered to fire farther than ever. It also comes with a bipod stand for even more accuracy. The detachable clip is easy to pop in and pop out, and it holds up to six of the new Mega Whistler Darts that make a whistling noise as they fly. With this pump-action blaster, kids can shoot the foam Mega Whistler Darts more than 100 feet. This blaster is the biggest, baddest Nerf blaster ever. Kids get great distance with this blaster, which is what Nerf is all about.
ROLL AND LEARN ACTIVITY SUITCASE
Pack for a learning adventure with Roll & Learn Activity Suitcase. Little travelers will discover a world of fun as they hear greetings in English and Spanish and learn about famous places with imaginative phrases. Numbered rollers and light-up piano keys play cheerful melodies and teach colors and numbers. The easy-to-pull handle and rolling wheels help toddlers take pretend travel accessories on the go. Now your little one can play around the world every day. The Roll & Learn Activity Suitcase encourages language development through numbers, songs, and multi-language greetings. Moving suitcase design, sliders, and shape sorters develop motor skills. Real pack-n-play design with cell phone and other travel accessories foster imaginative play. Sounds, lights and manipulative features encourage discovery and exploration
SHIMMER N SPARKLE CRA-Z-LOOM BRACELET MAKER
Friendship bracelets have long been a fun and favorite pastime for kids. Cra-Z-Art’s new Shimmer N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker builds on this trend and offers kids the chance to create their own personalized rubber band bracelets in a fun new way. Making the bracelets is alot like crocheting with a single hook. To make the basic single loop rainbow bracelet, start by placing the bands on the pegs that make up the loom shown in the guide. Then turn your loom around and use the hook to pick and loop it over in the pattern, which is indicated by the guide. The loom’s pegs make it easy to guide you under each band. Continue picking and looping until you reach the end of the loom, tie a slip-knot with a loose band, slide the bracelet off, attach an s- clip, and your bracelet is complete. The trend of wearing and trading rubber band bracelets is one that isn’t going away anytime soon. So we think the ability to make and personalize bracelets with the Cra-Z-Loom adds a fun new element to their collectability.
SKYLANDERS SWAP FORCE
Skylanders Swap Force from Activision is a brand new game in the Skylanders franchise that introduces the latest Skylanders characters. The Swap Force figures allow you to create your own Skylanders. There will be 16 figures at launch, and each one can be separated then snapped back together with another figure’s top or bottom half. This means that the 16 figures have the capacity to create 256 combinations. The swap feature is about more than just creating new characters because there will be times in the game when you will want a particular character’s weapon and another characters mobility. When those areas are reached, you just create the figure that you need then place it on the Portal to bring it to life in the game.
TEK RECON HAMMER HEAD
Tech 4 Kids
The Tek Recon Hammer Head is a new kind of battle system for kids. This basic blaster shoots reusable rings, which Tech 4 Kids calls NRG Rounds. Fill up the clip with the NRG Rounds and insert the clip into the handle. There are several options for firing. The blaster has a torque adjustment that allows you to vary the force with which the ammo is fired. Changing this setting will also change the amount of pressure needed to fire the rounds. At the higher end, the trigger is definitely much harder to pull, and you’ll need both hands, especially for kids. There’s also a rapid-fire pump-action option that is also controlled by the torque lever. While the blaster is fairly innovative on its own, it also has an app for iOS and Android that can enhance the play. The blaster comes with a mount and spacers, but when you’re setting it up, take extra care that your phone or iPod is firmly seated in the mount. You can leave the case on your phone, which is highly recommended. The app adds a viewfinder and different views in solo play. When you’re in a group play, it allows you to create teams, keep score, and communicate via walkie talkie with your other team members. You can play games such as Capture the Flag or any others that you devise. You can also track your teammates on the simulated radar screen when you’re all connected. There are several blasters in the Tek Recon line, and the app lets you select which one you have.
Tenkai Knights is an animated series about the Tenkai, who are living, shape-shifting bricks. There are two groups of Tenkai–the good guys known as The Corekai and the evil, The Corrupted–who are locked in an epic battle. The toys come in multi-piece sets and come with instructions to build one or another of each SKU.
TWILIGHT TURTLE TUNES
Ages newborn and up
An upgraded version of the original sleep aid for baby, The new Twilight Turtle Tunes (T3) features three modes, which you can rotate through by pressing the turtle-shell-shaped button. Turn the T3 on by locating the on/off switch on the turtle’s belly then press the shell-shaped button. Mode one is classic mode and features the simple nightlight and star projection. As with the original Twilight Turtle, T3 will project anywhere in a room to light up a soothing display of stars is an array of three colors: amber, blue, and green. Press the shell-shaped button twice to switch into Bluetooth Audio Mode. Download the free Twilight Turtle Tunes app and choose from a preset library of melodies and sounds. Parents can mix and match three songs and sounds to create a custom mix to soothe baby to sleep. There is also a premium app available for download for $1.99 that gives parents access to their own music libraries to play through T3. Make sure your Bluetooth is enabled on your phone to connect to T3. Then you can set programmed melodies to play for up to 24 hours for baby. The app features a timer so you can set how long you want the mix to play. The mix currently playing will be displayed at the top of the screen. The colors will morph every five seconds. The toy’s third mode features one pre-recorded track of soothing ocean sounds that plays on a loop for 45 minutes after which it will shut down automatically.
WORLD’S SOFTEST PLUSH line
Ages newborn and up
$4.99 (8”); $9.99 (12”); $19.99 (20”)
Introducing The Original World’s Softest Brand of the softest, cuddliest, most huggable, loveable, light-as-a-cloud plush toys. Taking classic plush to a level of softness never before achieved, babies and kids can collect a plush menagerie that includes three different sized teddy bears, puppies, unicorns, monkeys and horses.
HOT HOLIDAY TOYS 2013
Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy
Time to Play Magazine
229 West 28th Street, Suite 401
New York, NY 10001
National Retail Federation
325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20004
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