Toy Guide 2012
This holiday season Santa and his elves headed into the vaults to bring back old favorites with new twists. The toy guru guys at TimetoPlayMag.com, Jim Silver and Chris Byrne, have released their much-anticipated annual forecast of the top toys kids want for Hanukah and Christmas. Their compilation includes several cool blasts from the past. But hold on to your sleigh because toy companies have freshened and reformulated them for today’s tikes, adding great surprises and, in some cases, apps. Below is a sampling from the Time to Play Most Wanted List for the 2012 Holiday Season. You’ll find a couple of debut items, too, as well as updated old favorites. To see Silver and Byrne’s full list or to watch video reviews of these toys, visit www.timetoplaymag.com.
Thomas & Friends™ Steam ‘n Speed™ R/C Thomas
Improve a child’s manual dexterity and imagination. Even young children can manipulate the three-button remote control designed for small hands to make Thomas move forward, backward and in circles. Thomas whistles and talks to add to the entertainment. Plus real steam—cool to the touch—coming from the smokestack imbues it with authenticity and gives kids a thrill. Both boys and girls will enjoy hours of playtime with Thomas. This toy’s durability and smooth edges without small parts mean it’s a favorite among parents, too. Toot, toot, chug, chug, off we go!
Fisher-Price, ages 3-years and up, approximate retail price: $45.
Little Tikes iTikes Canvas
Brilliant! That’s what parents will say when they see their child’s artwork on the iTikes Canvas. It’s the tried-and-true magnet board with a brand new way to play. This version of the magnet board allows parents to easily swap out the traditional board for any generation of the iPad. Download the free iCanvans app from the app store and expand a young artist’s creativity. The button shapes on the sides of the iTikes Canvas, the stylus or the child’s finger can be used to draw and design. By saving pictures to the iPad, parents can share their child’s creations with adoring grandparents via e-mail. And there’s no need to worry about the iPad being damaged, because the iTikes Canvas also serves as a sturdy case.
MGA Entertainment, ages 3-years and up, approximate retail price: $39.99.
Leapfrog is known for its award-winning learning toys, and it has hit another homerun with the motion-based play and multi-sensory learning of the LeapsterGS Explorer. More than 300 games and apps are available for download and can be accommodated by the LeapsterGS Explorer’s 2 gigs of memory. Children personalize their favorite games by inserting images from the onboard camera and video recorder right into the action. Kids can even customize the learning skills they practice to reflect those they are working asolving and acquisition of academic information while making learning enjoyable.
Leapfrog, ages 4-9 years, approximate retail price: $69.99.
Lalaloopsy™ Soft Dolls
The original, loveable Lalaloopsy™ dolls—Mittens Fluff N Stuff, Pillow Featherbed and Jewell Sparkles—and their respective pets now come in plush, huggable softness. Though the story goes that they are ragdolls who magically came to life when the last stitch was sewn, they’ll be nothing but quiet and cuddly at naps and nighty-night time. Just over 10-inches tall, the Lalaloopsy™ Soft Dolls fit comfortably into the arms of a child. While younger children love the dolls’ bright colors and huggable texture, older girls will enjoy collecting them.
MGA Entertainment, ages 4-15 years, approximate retail price: $14.99.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Power Sound FX Figures
All of the heroes in a half-shell—Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo—are back to defeat their arch nemesis Shredder. These articulated action figures add battle phrases and sound effects to the face-off. The 5½-inch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shredder figures practically come to life in the hands of children. Each one is equipped with its own phrases, sounds and ninja gear. As a child moves the arms and legs, the figure speaks or makes sound effect to go with the motions of the particular limbs. Cowabunga, dude!
Playmates Toys, ages 4-years and up, approximate retail price: $12.99.
Monster High™ Ghouls Rule Dolls
Meet the ghouls of Monster High™, Clawdeen Wolf®, Cleo De Nile®, Frankie Stein® and Draculara®, characters from the new direct-to-DVD Monster High: Ghouls Rule movie. These high-fashion dolls wearing wonderful costumes and donning delicious hairstyles are designed to demonstrate that every person should accept and celebrate her unique qualities. Fully articulated, each doll can be posed to show her most fang-tastic features. Each doll is sold separately and comes with accessories and a hairbrush. From little girls to doll collectors, these ghouls will make girls howl with delight.
Mattel, ages 6-years and up, approximate retail price: $22.99.
Mega Bloks Skylanders Giants Arkeyan Copter Attack
Pick up where the popular Skylanders video games leave off and begin building an adventure. Children put together the pieces to construct the Arkeyan Copter and the purple Spyro character. The finished Arkeyan Copter has an operating cockpit, spinning rotors and working missile launchers. Adding to the fun, the set also includes three blue Frigid Chompies, a treasure chest and a pretzel. One of the best features of this toy is that it can be combined with other Mega Bloks Skylanders Giants sets to build even more adventures that can only be dreamed up in the mind of a child.
MEGA Brands, ages 5-years and up, approximate retail price: $29.99.
LEGO Friends Heartlake Stables
The LEGO Friends series of LEGO play-theme sets is construction play designed especially for girls, with colors and subjects to which they relate. Heartlake Stables, with an equestrian theme, is the newest LEGO Friends release. Fit the LEGOs together to build a barn with two horse stables. Also included are fencing, practice jumps, horses, riding helmets, saddles, bridles and animal grooming accessories. With so many pieces, girls will discover that there’s more than one way to build a barn, which gives this set lasting appeal. For the obsessive horse-loving girl, this toy will feed the fire.
LEGO, ages 6-years and up, approximate retail price: $49.99.
With the Appfinity AppDrive, your smart-phone just sprouted a steering wheel. Designed for use with iPhones and select Android phones, this toy improves the racing-game experience and comes with one free game download. Made of plastic, the AppDrive steering wheel is large enough to be held in two hands and is rubberized and grooved for easy grasping in those intense gaming moments. Simply place the smart-phone into the cradle of the Appfinity AppDrive then use motion and the control mechanisms for interactive racing. The control mechanisms allow for safe contact with the phone’s touch-screen, while the steering wheel enables physical rotation. Parents will race to the stores for this toy.
Spin Master, ages 8-years and up, approximate retail price: $19.99.
The amazing, incredible Furby is the toy that plays with your child. Through interactive programming and robotic engineering, Furby changes and develops and demonstrates personality and emotion based on what a child does with it. Furby can even learn to speak English. Because of the dynamic nature of the relationship between Furby and its owner, a child doesn’t lose interest. Always unpredictable in its responses, a Furby is full of surprises. And not only does it interact with its owner, it can sense another Furby close by and socialize with it as well. A free app for iOS devices gives kids access to a Furbish-to-English dictionary and a Furbish-to-English translator, among other things, so their Furby-friendship can grow.
Hasbro, ages 6-years and up, approximate retail price: $59.99.
Air Hogs R/C Heli Replay
Master the air. With the Air Hogs Heli Replay, flying was never easier. An onboard electronic system improves aerial stability. Use the rechargeable remote control or download the free Air Hogs Control App to any iOS or Android device. The Control App allows users to manipulate the helicopter’s flight pattern either using the onscreen joystick or physical tilting and rotation of the iOS or Android device. Kids can also record the helicopter’s flight path and play it back for hands-free flying. Sure to inspire hours of creativity and experimentation, the Air Hogs R/C Heli Replay makes a great gift older children.
Spin Master, ages 12-years and up, approximate retail price: $44.99.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fir Blaster
Nerf continues to elevate the extreme excitement of shooting action. The Elite Hail-Fire is at the apex of Nerf Blaster technology. Whether engaging in target practice or a full-on take-back-the-living-room battle, kids can’t get enough of the semi-automatic motorized blasting power. With a capacity to hold up to 144 foam darts that sail up to 75 feet, the Elite Hail-Fire Blaster comes with 24 darts and four Quick Reload Clips. Eye protection is not included but is recommended due to the Hail-Fire’s amazing velocity, range and accuracy.
Hasbro, ages 8-years and up, approximate retail price: $39.99.