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Hot Summer Toys

Gayle Anderson was live at the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. She spoke with Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy, from, who has selected some of the best new toys for this summer that will help kids develop their minds, bodies and spirits during their summer holiday. 

This summer’s hot toys include:

Children can now have their very own Wi-Fi enabled tablet that opens up a world of educational content across a wide variety of curricula, from downloads to software cartridges, combining innovative technology with a developmental learning tool that grows with a child and makes learning fun. Featuring a secure wireless connection to VTech’s comprehensive app store called the Learning Lodge that features more than 350 educational choices, children can explore the games, e-books, videos, music and more, pick their favorites, create a wish list and send the list right to their parents’ e-mail. Parents can then approve the wish list, which sends the purchases wirelessly, directly to the InnoTab 2S.

MY LITTLE PONY PLUSH (Funrise) Ages 3+; $32.99
Since debuting in 1983, My Little Pony is just as beloved by little girls now as they were then. Girls can now hug their friends from Ponyville with the new 20″ plush bright pink Pinkie Pie, purple Twilight Sparkle, and yellow Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie loves to make new friends, Twilight Sparkle loves to learn new things and teach her friends, and Fluttershy’s sunny disposition goes with her wherever she goes. These have become huge hits this summer with fans of all ages…and genders.

SOFIA THE FIRST toys and accessories (Jakks Pacific) Ages 4+; $14.99-$19.99
Meet Sofia the First, Disney’s newest little princess and star of her own TV show, an instant hit on Disney Junior. After her mother marries the king, Sofia becomes a princess overnight! Suddenly, she’s on her way in a flying carriage to the Royal Preparatory Academy, where headmistresses Flora, Fauna and Merryweather (the fairy godmothers from “Cinderella”) will teach her everything she needs to know. What’s most important for her to learn is that being a princess is about what’s inside. So she learns about kindness, generosity and loyalty. But there are plenty of sparkly gowns and acessiroes as well. Little girls can bring the whole experience to live in their play with these toys: SOFIA THE FIRST TALKING MAGICAL AMULET – her enchanted and interactive amulet feature her voice and brings her world to life; SOFIA TRANSFORMING DRESS – a beautiful purple dress becomes a second style in seconds; and TALKING CLOVER – Sofia’s witty, snack-loving best friend says eight iconic phrases from the show when he’s hugged—even though Clover doesn’t like to be hugged.

LONE RANGER LEGO (Lego); $12.99-$99.99
Experience “Hi-Yo, Silver!” fun and adventure of the Wild West with The Lone Ranger and Tonto in six construction sets from LEGO and Disney. Build the Lone Ranger Colby City Showdown featuring the sheriff’s office with exploding jail, rooftop cannon and bank with silver vault! Or, with the Constitution Train Chase, ride to the rescue with the Lone Ranger and the Constitution train locomotive with three wagons, tracks, a gatling gun and a water tower! These are classic builds packed with active play that have broad appeal for all LEGO fans.

Catch Pokémon like a Pokémon Trainer with the Catch ‘n’ Return Poké Ball! Put a Pokémon figure on the stand, pull back the Poké Ball, aim, and release! Make a successful catch and the Poké Ball will come right back to you. Once you’ve caught your Pokémon, the Poké Ball pops open with the push of a button so you can send your new Pokémon into battle. Each pack contains one, 2” Pokémon figure with colorful detail, a Pokédex ID Tag with its height, weight, and type, a Catch ‘n’ Return Poké Ball and a stand. Each Poké Ball holds one, 2” Pokémon character and works with the included stand for hours of catch and return fun! There are seven different ones to collect.

WASHABLE SIDEWALK CHALK (Crayola) Ages 4+; $4.99
Millions of pieces of sidewalk chalk are sold every year. It’s classic play that’s engaging—and affordable.  Crayola’s new Washable Sidewalk Chalk is a standout from the crowd — it’s the first sidewalk chalk to feature 48 classic Crayola crayon colors – and the only brand of outdoor chalk to have 48 different colors! Kids will recognize their Crayola favorites that may include “carnation pink” flowers, “sepia” colored tree trunks, “granny smith apple” turtles or “scarlet” colored lady bugs.  A new anti-roll shape prevents chalk from rolling away and the wide sides allow kids to draw thick lines. Parents will appreciate that the chalk is washable from sidewalks and driveways – simply spray away with water!

SKY BOUNCER (Maui Toys) Ages 6+; $9.99
Inspiring active, creative outdoor play, the makers of the high-bouncing Sky Ball® have a revolutionary new toy that flies like a flying disc AND bounces! Sky Bouncer changes everything you ever thought of flying discs with its high bouncing technology. Not only does this fly through the air,  you can bounce it off walls, you can bounce it off the floor. Try bouncing one while making another one fly! You can’t do that with a traditional flying disc! No other toy in the world is like Sky Bouncer. It can leap over tall buildings in a single bound! It’s a bird, it’s a flying saucer, it’s a super toy… it’s Sky Bouncer!

TWISTER RAVE SKIP-IT GAME (Hasbro Games) Ages 6+; $19.99
It’s one of the all-time classic summer toys; versions of this date back to some of the earliest toys that give kids an active and engaging challenge. Skip-It®, a huge hit in the 1980s, is back in 2013 with the all-new TWISTER RAVE Skip-It game that has gotten an exciting high-tech upgrade. The longer you go, the more you glow as multi-color LEDs reveal 20+ color levels as you play! Try to master it by getting the game to light up to reveal all four iconic TWISTER colors (red, blue, yellow and green). The fun never ends when you’re skipping your way to victory! (Requires 3 AAA batteries – not included).

SKY RIPPERZ (Zing) Ages 8+; $14.99
The SKY RIPPERZ super sonic bungee-launched rockets are the newest innovation in flight technology in Zing’s Blast Off line. Just attach the Launcher to the Launch Hook on the SKY RIPPERZ Whistle-Screaming Rocket, pull the tab, and watch it fly over 250 feet high with a flick of the wrist! (The Time to Play team got it go go even further.) Listen as the SKY RIPPERZ Rocket takes off wailing through the air with Whistle-Screaming action. Whether kids are going for Long Shotz, High Shotz or Target Shotz, the new SKY RIPPERZ hand-launched rockets are set to soar to super sonic heights with unbelievable performance.

NERF SUPER SOAKER SWITCHSHOT WATER BLASTER (Hasbro) Ages 6+; $29.99  A pump-action water blaster with four different ways to shoot: scattershot, atomizer, triple shot, and jet stream. Just twist the knob to change between the four water-blasting modes. The removable banana clip holds 20 ounces of water and can be attached to pants or a belt. Kids can clip as many banana clips as they want to their pants in order to have a stockpile of water ready for water fights. Additional banana clips are sold separately. Kids can also remove the stock for more versatile shooting action.

Also, with the summer holidays, it is tempting to try and minimize the amount of free time that your child has in order to make every moment count. However, a study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in 2012  argues that unstructured playtime is beneficial for children because it helps them develop their cognitive abilities and imagination, physical development and dexterity and emotional well-being. According to an NPR series on playtime by Alix Spiegel, time spent playing make-believe helped children develop “executive function,” which enables children to self-regulate and control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. In 2001, researchers repeated a study of self-regulation first conducted with children in the late 1940s. The results of the latter study showed that children’s capacity for self-regulation has diminished.  

Parents should encourage unstructured playtime. According to researchers, Adele Diamond and Deborah Leong, the best kind of play only requires imagination and is FREE. Rather than planning structured activities for your child, parents should encourage unstructured play such as Simon Says, activities that require children to follow directions, storybook reading and complex imaginative play, such as reenactments. For more information on playtime and childrearing tips, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration “Building Blocks for a Healthy Future” website.

Hot Summer Toys 2013
Time to Play Magazine
Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy

 The Benefits of Unstructured Play
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/ Building Blocks
1 Choke Cherry Road 
Rockville, MD 20857
(301) 407-6798
1 (866) 419-2514 Toll-free

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Gayle Anderson was live at the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood.

Gayle Anderson was live at the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. She spoke with Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy, from, who has selected some of the best new toys for this summer that will help kids develop their minds, bodies and spirits during their summer holiday.

Gayle Anderson was live at the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. She spoke with Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy, from, who has selected some of the best new toys for this summer that will help kids develop their minds, bodies and spirits during their summer holiday.