• hot holiday toys Archive

    When I was a kid, I chopped off my Barbie doll’s hair and gave her a bob. I figured she’d need a sensible hairdo if she’d be blasting off into space. That may sound like the makings of a future scientist, but alas, I became a writer. I still like the fact that I was able to transform my doll into something that was more my speed: a thinking hot chick rather than a fashion doll who aspired to nothing more than acquiring 100 pairs of heels. Sure today’s Barbies have morphed into career girls and the like, but I still can’t relate to their kitten heels and tiny waistlines (and neither can my girls). Lucky for today’s kids, British-based Lottie Dolls have made their [&hellip

    Read More...

    Is a tablet on your kid’s wish list this year? If you’re in the market for a model that will keep him happy, but that won’t break the bank, we’ve found what you’re after. We got our hands on an advance copy of the VTech InnoTab 3S, and think it’s going to make many a kid very happy this Christmas. Targeted at ages 3-9, this tablet spans a wide age range–and with good reason. It comes loaded with plenty of apps–20 in all and others you purchase separately–including a MP3 player, art studio, calendar and friends list. We don’t personally know any 3-year-olds who are penciling in their playdates, but this definitely offers big-kid appeal for budding tweens making note of their friends’ b-days and [&hellip

    Read More...

    When I was a kid, I accidentally left my box of crayons outdoors on a very sunny, hot day. Once I realized what I had done, I returned to find an amazing creation: a truly one-of-a-kind colossal-sized crayon. Despite its uniqueness, it wasn’t exactly practical for coloring (I could barely hold on to it with one hand!). Naturally, I didn’t want to part with this, but eventually gave in to reason (in the form of my mother). Today, that cool factor can be brought to life again, albeit in a less cumbersome fashion (was some future Crayola exec spying on me back in the day?). The Crayola Melt ‘n Mold Factory is one of the more novel craft toys we’ve seen this season. We love [&hellip

    Read More...

    My 9-year-old loves her Nintendo DS more than me. I don’t take it personally, and of course, I’m only half-kidding. But the truth of the matter is, if I were to take a toy away from her as a form of punishment, it would be her DS. Much as I’d love for it to be otherwise–for me, taking my books and magazines away would be pure torture, and her 5-year-old sister, her crayons and markers–I know who I’m dealing with. Because in our house my fourth grader can only play her DS after a set amount of time (and, of course, after all her homework is done), she knows she must make her choices wisely. If you’re thinking I’m a cruel mom, then hold that [&hellip

    Read More...

    Has your kid set her sights on a new ride-on this Christmas? Amazing to me that these cars still appeal to my 9-year-old…and who can blame her? The latest models appeal to a variety of mini motorists, from a feline-friendly car, to one that even dear old dad would approve of. Two new ones that caught our attention this season are the Dynacraft Hello Kitty Coupe and the Famosa Range Rover. Any HK fan worth her salt will relish this sweet ride, complete with an MP3 speaker to play all her top tunes. Our favorite detail is the kitty cat ear-shaped bucket seat–purr-fectly divine. The 6-Volt Hello Kitty Coupe comes in white or purple. And if your driver-in-training is pining for something more like Dad [&hellip

    Read More...

    It only takes a couple of Christmas catalogs to fill our mailbox, and boom! We’re already thinking of holiday gift ideas. And with Hanukkah right on top of Thanksgiving this year, kids will be drawing up their wish lists faster than we can clear the dinner table! My 9-year-old is begging for her own iPod, but the jury is still out on whether Santa will deliver. One toy we’ve got our eyes (and ears) on this year is PopStars!, a super-cool playset line from Playmobil. If you’re already familiar with this company’s tremendous assortment of themed castles, pirate ships, farms and other adventure-packed settings, you’re no stranger to the tremendous play value…not to mention the multitude of miniscule accessories they come with! But don’t worry [&hellip

    Read More...

    Have your kids started drawing up their holiday wish lists yet? I know, I know…it’s not even Halloween! And yet the Frontgate holiday preview catalog arrived in the mail today and we’ve already seen a TV commercial for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular about a zillion times. Because it’s harder to come up with gift ideas as my daughters get older, I’ve been making mental notes of “this is so cool’ conversations that I overhear from my 9-year-old. The tween years can be a challenge in so many ways, and gift-giving is no exception. Because my older daughter appears to have outgrown Calico Critters (sigh…), I wonder what type of playset can boost her imagination and keep her playing long enough to stay away from [&hellip

    Read More...

    Yesterday’s weather was perfect: sunny and in the 60s, with just a hint of fall in the air. After a rather buggy summer, my 5-year-old was happy to finally be back outside where she could play undisturbed by those pesky critters. So we took out her trike and she happily pedaled back and forth, and even giving her stuffed panda Bamboo a ride. As I watched her attempt to maneuver herself through various twists and turns on her path, I realized that the days of ride-ons were pretty much behind us now. Even though she is almost too big to fit inside her convertible coupe, she still likes to cruise around the backyard, her knees bumping against the dashboard much to her (odd) delight. Well, [&hellip

    Read More...

    “Pure learning fun.” The new tagline for LeapFrog was a fitting greeting for the educational toy company’s holiday showcase this week in NYC. We were on hand to find out what’s big in teaching toys and from judging by the looks of the LeapFrog line-up, there’s plenty of opportunities to get kids excited about learning. First off, we had a chance to experience the just-released LeapReader. Bearing a striking resemblance to LeapFrog’s Tag Reader, this multi-level learning tool steps its up a notch or two, enabling kids to learn the basics of reading, begin to write their letters and enjoy the experience of listening to audio books. With so much functionality in one product, parents may wonder just how capable this product is in keeping [&hellip

    Read More...

    Less than six months until Christmas; have you started shopping yet? Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending two holiday previews–Disney and LeapFrog–and boy, did I get some ideas for what toys might find their way onto wish lists this December. Over at the Disney showroom, there were plenty of stars competing for attention. We couldn’t help but fall hopelessly in love with the Monsters University products (if you haven’t seen the movie yet, run–don’t walk to the theater; in our humble opinion, it beats the original!). From crib bedding that’s already selling out, to Roll a Scare figures that make great stocking stuffers, Sulley, Mike Wazowski and the whole gang were front and center. Our favorite was the Monsters University Sulley Monster Mask, with [&hellip

    Read More...