How many toys are on your holiday shopping list this year? If you have kids, or are buying gifts for your nieces, nephews, grandkids or any other special little someone in your life, we’re betting that there are plenty of playthings topping the list. If you’re still trying to figure out what’s hot for kids this year, let us help simplify your shopping by turning to the just-released 2014 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) list of finalists. We were invited to a product showcase highlighting all of the nominees earlier today, and boy was it a feast for the eyes and ears! Set against the backdrop of New York’s Bryant Park ice skating rink, a total of 84 toys in 12 different categories were on display, each more awe-inspiring than the next, with some toys like Bug Hugs Elmo and the Rainbow Loom earning nods in more than one category. Here are some of our favorite picks of must-have toys:
Furreal Friends Cuddles, My Giggly Monkey from Hasbro: This playful pet stole our hearts the minute we laid eyes on her. She moves and reacts with over 100 different responses, and even drinks from a banana-shaped bottle.
Big Hugs Elmo from Playskool: The latest incarnation of the Elmo craze is perfectly proportioned for kid-sized hugs. This furry first friend also sings to your child, giving plenty of love.
Sofia the First Talking Sofia and Animal Friends from Mattel: Yes, she’s every preschool girls’ favorite princess. And just like on her TV show, she can speak to her friends, thanks to the magic of her glowing amulet.
Y Glider 3 in 1 from Yvolution: Got a baby who can’t sit still? This grows-with-your-child toy is perfect for the toddler on the move, featuring a removable seat and fully extendable handlebars for kids up to age 5.
Glitzi Globes Glitzi Showcase from Moose Toys: Maybe it was the wintry backdrop of this product showcase, but we captivated by this cool craft kit that comes with everything you need to make one mega, plus four mini globes, including floating charms and glitter.
Flutterbye Fairy from Spin Master: This is one fairy who knows how to take flight! We were amazed at how this pint-sized fairy could lift off her base and into the air, spinning and whirling up to 15 feet.
Crayola Melt ‘N Mold Factory from Crayola: This one is on my 9-year-old’s wish list. Finally, a way to put those crayon stubs to good use by putting them into a melting tray and then pouring the wax into molds. The result is one-of-a-kind colored crayons!
This is just a mere sampling of what we saw, but you can check out all the other contenders at ToyAwards.Org where you can vote for your favorite toy between now and January 13, 2014. Each vote counts as a chance to win one of 12 TOTY prize packages. Good luck, and Happy Holidays!