You must already be inundated with holiday catalogues by this point, right? This the season for shopping and gifts, and that includes everyone from your niece to your Nana.
Toys can be the perfect gift for everyone on your list because everyone loves to play and there is something for everyone as evidenced by the Hot Toys for the Holidays showcased at the 2015 The Toy Insider HoliDAY of Play event.
There were over 16 companies: TOMY, LeapFrog, Lionel, Thames and Kosmos, HitFits, Jakks Pacific, Singtrix, Hasbro, Hexbug, Laser Pegs, VTech, Crayola, Wonder Workshop, Spinmaster, Future of Play, Alex Toys, I do 3D, and Zing Toys, to name a few, all showing the top toys for Christmas 2015 and all other holidays and celebrations this season!
And based on the toys at the Holiday of Play event, there are five popular toy trends this year:
back to basics
CHARACTER CRAZE: Whether it is the continued popularity of Elsa or the growing fans of Paw Patrol or the newest Star Wars toys, popular TV and movie characters dominate the toy aisles. Some of my top favorites I saw at the Holiday of Play are:
Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch: The TOMY brand has lots of new character themed toys, including products from Disney Jr’s hit TV Show Miles from Tomorrowland as well as Disney·Pixar’s feature film, Inside Out. TOMy also has The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch in anticipation of Disney·Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, premiering in theaters Thanksgiving weekend. Butch is a rough and tough T-Rex with roaring sounds and galloping action! Press the button and Butch gallops just like in the movie! Activate his aggressive jaw snapping motion and ferocious roar by pushing down on his arms. Butch also talks, he says 10 sounds and phrases from the movie! (Kids 3+, MSRP $39.99.)
Sing-a-Long Elsa: JAKKS Pacific is a leading toy company with a diverse portfolio in major toy categories including dolls, figures, vehicles, preschool and costumes, and this year they featured the new Sing-a-long Elsa, from the movie Frozen, with even more features and new technology including the ability to sing the full length Academy Award® winning song, “Let it Go,” as a duet with Elsa. Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa Doll has three modes of play: girls can sing solo, listen to the Elsa doll sing the full song, or join Elsa for a duet. The Elsa doll wears a sparkly dress and necklace that light up. Elsa also says an additional 15+ phrases, and is available in both English and Spanish. (Kids 3+, MSRP $39.99)
BACK TO BASICS: Basic toys have fun twists on the ones that most of us grew up with. They might be classics, but they have cool twists! These were my personal favorites at HoliDAY of Play.
Imagineering™ by Lionel – The Crayola Imagination Express: Lionel, the iconic model train company is celebrating its 115th anniversary this year, is introducing a new toy line for preschoolers called Imagineering™ by Lionel. Each playset in the line features a detailed kid-powered train, 6 feet of quick connect track and a functioning accessory that works with the set. The collection includes four differently-themed sets, of which one is the Crayola Imagination Express with a Crayola themed steam engine, Crayola gondola and Color Me caboose which kids can personalize each time they play. It comes with two Crayola washable markers to customize the caboose and The Crayon Factory, where kids can transform logs into Crayola boxes. (Kids 3+, MSRP $49.99)
HipFits: These clip-on dress-shaped charms tapping into the popular trend to accessorize your backpack, personalize your purse and more. The HipFits collection features more than 20 styles to collect and trade – each designed to reflect an individual’s own fashion identity, complete with a short poem that gives each a personality, too. (Kids 6+, MSRP $9.99)
Buzz Bee Ultra-Tek Snipe: Alex Brands offers toys for children from brands including: Alex Toys, Poof, Slinky, Scientific Explorer, Ideal, ZOOB, Backyard Safari, Zillionz, Shrinky Dinks, Buzz Bee Toys, Janod and Kaloo. The is the perfect dart blaster to complete any mission! This bolt action, long distance dart blaster will have kids hitting their target up to 72 feet away. It comes with a detachable scope and barrel and is over 3 feet long when fully assembled. The Ultra-Tek Snipe is clip fed and comes with 10 long distance suction darts. The Ultra-Tek Clip System allows interchangeability with all other Ultra-Tek dart clips, sold separately. (Kids 6+, MSRP $19.99) (Some parents are sensitive about having toy guns. Please consider this before giving as a gift and always teach respect and safety for firearms, even pretend ones.)
Sands Alive!: Consisting of sand and other natural ingredients, the only way to describe the feeling of this material by Play Visions is sublime! Sands Alive! is 100% organic and never dries out. It is non toxic, bacteria free, water soluble, and is soft to the touch when you mold it, squish it, and can be played with again and again! (Kids 3+, MSRP $19.99)
Pie Face: Hasbro creates the World’s Best Play Experiences, by leveraging its beloved brands, including LITTLEST PET SHOP, MONOPOLY, MY LITTLE PONY, NERF, PLAY-DOH and TRANSFORMERS, and premier partner brands such as Disney, Marvel and Star Wars. This year, one of the coolest (and messiest) games is “Pie Face”. It is fun for families and parties! Players load the arm with whipped cream (not included) or the included sponge and take turns sliding their head through the mask and spinning the spinner. Turn the handle the number of times indicated on the spinner and the tension on the arm will build — suddenly someone will be surprised with a face full of whipped cream! The Pie Face Game includes the throwing arm, chin rest, splash guard mask, spinner and sponge. (Kids 5+, MSRP $19.99)
STEALTHY STEM: We all know toys with science, technology, engineering and math components are toys that are super popular right now, and these following toys fit the STEM category! I wish I had them all in my house!
Remote Controlled Buildable Animals: Thames & Kosmos has Remote-Control Machines: Animals Science Kit. Kids can construct a whole zoo’s worth of remote-controlled animals with mechanical insides covered by colorful plastic “skins.” The animals all move using different mechanisms, each one mimicking the movement of the real animal it represents. A two-button remote control unit moves the small, lightweight motor forward and in reverse, allowing the models to move forward or backward. Build an elephant that walks, a scorpion that crawls along, and a cute little penguin that waddles. Construct a rabbit that bounds forward, a crab that scurries sideways, and an orangutan that climbs hand over hand along a string. You can even build a couple of dinosaurs: a Tyrannosaurus rex that walks on two legs and a Pteranodon that “flies” along a cord. Learn about animal locomotion and biomechanics as you build each model. When you are done, use the same 100 building pieces to dream up your own mechanical animal creations! You can even mix up the animal skins in funny ways to make outrageous hybrid animals. A full-color, 36-page step-by-step illustrated manual helps kids assemble all of the models, and teaches them about the animals they are modeling and the ways different animals move. (Kids 8+, MSRP $49.95)
Dash Robot: At Wonder Workshop, they code in kid speak. Founded in 2012, the company builds coding languages uniquely designed for kids ages 6 and up. Kids master this language by transforming their characters and robots into ready-to-play pals with code. For this holiday season, the Dash Robot is a real robot, responsive to the world, on the go and at the ready. Kids imagine the sidekick, pet, or pal they’ve always wanted and bring it to life with Dash and their own code. Packed with sensors and capabilities, kids can program Dash to move, dance, light up, speak, navigate around objects, and even react to their voice. Dash is a faithful explorer in the world your child creates. Wonder Workshop Dash Robot can greet kids as they come home from school, help them deliver a message to a friend, follow them on journeys, become a true partner in fun. There are no limits to what your child can do with Dash. (Kids 8+, MSRP $149.00)
VEX IQ Robotics Construction Kit. Hexbug has the HEXBUG VEX IQ Robotics Construction Set which is a sophisticated, yet accessible way for kids to learn valuable STEM lessons. Featuring simple snap together assembly, kids can use over 750 pieces (including motors, sensors, video game style controller, and a truly programmable robotic brain) to bring their wildest creations to life! With a variety of difficulty levels, there is something for every kids skill level with VEX Robotics! (Kids 8+, MSRP $299.99)
SuperCopter: Laser Pegs® is The Original Lighted Construction Set that combines two things kids love: light and building. Each kit comes with a range of models to assemble out of Laser Pegs® and clear or colorful construction pieces. All of our parts are easy to rearrange and swap so that anyone can build their own light up creations. With the Laser Pegs SuperCopter, you can build over 30 models with this 1 set. Build the light up SuperCopter Helicopter, Solar Voyager, Alien Beast and 27 more light up models! Includes all new sound activated power base! (Kids 5+, $99.99)
Meccanoid: SpinMaster has developed Meccano MeccaNoid G15 KS, a personal robot buddy, featuring 621 parts, 4 smart servo motors, and 2 motors to drive the feet. Meccanoid is an advanced yet easy to use, open source Robotic Building platform, making it accessible to builders covering a broad range of ages and skill sets. Three innovative programming options include: LIM™ –Learned Intelligent Movement; “Ragdoll” Avatar control via a free app; and finally and perhaps the most fun of all, Motion Capture, where Meccanoid will mirror your movements in real time. In addition, Meccanoid uses its onboard “MeccaBrain” and voice recognition to say thousands of phrases, tell jokes, initiate conversations, and it will even remember your name! (Kids 10+, MSRP $179.99)
HIGH TECH: Tech toys have come a long way. More so than just more powerful batteries. These toys talk, interact, and push the toy frontier. These were my top tech picks:
LeapFrog Epic: LeapFrog is a known leader in innovative learning solutions for children, and at this year’s Holiday of Play, the showcased their new Epic Tablet. The LeapFrog Epic is an Android-based kids tablet with unique personalized learning experiences that auto-level with a child’s progress; kid-safe browsing right out of the box that can adjust accessibility as a child is ready; and easy-to-use parental controls that help define the play experience for each individual child. You can see my full review here. (Kids 3+, MSRP $139.99)
Crayola Color Alive Easy Animation Studio: This holiday, get creative with Crayola‘s brand new colorful holiday toys, like the Animation Studio. Using the included 30-page booklet, kids can color in characters and backgrounds, then scan them into the animation studio using the Crayola Color Alive Easy Animation Studio app. The app works with iOS and Android devices. Once characters and backgrounds are loaded into the app, kids can make their characters move! (kids 6+, MSRP $29.99)
Flipsies: VTech showcased its latest innovations for the holiday season, including the Kidizoom Smartwatch DX, Kidizoom Action Cam, Go! Go! Smart Wheels, Flipsies, and InnoTV, a brand new educational TV-connected gaming system designed with preschoolers in mind. In particular was the Flipsies Sandy’s House and Ocean Cruiser Doll House an interactive 2-in-1 playset that transforms from a beautiful house into an ocean cruiser where she can spend time with her friends to an ocean cruiser that she can use to explore ocean life! Place Sandy on the eight MagicPoint locations on her playset or other MagicPoint locations on Flipsies playsets (each sold separately), and she’ll respond with playful phrases unique to her own personality. Collect Sandy’s friends (each sold separately), and they can switch clothes, wigs and accessories for more fun styles. When Sandy and one of her friends are on the MagicPoint locations at the dining table, they will chat with each other. Connect the slide and zip line for even more fun! Let your dreams shine with Flipsies! (Kids 4+, MSRP $39.99)
IDO3D: Using the IDO3D, kids can create 3D art by simply drawing, connecting and constructing designs using IDO3D’s 3D printing technology! These specially crafted drawing pens contain 3D printing ink that magically transforms liquid into solid in just seconds; just shine the IDO3D spotlight on your awesome creation! Kids can use the familiar form factor of a pen to draw numerous designs, either from their own imagination or from the 3D Guidebooks that are included with each set. (Kids 8+, $24.99)
Singtrix®: From the Creators of Guitar Hero®, is most exciting & transformative karaoke experience ever created. The perfect family gift, Singtrix by Voxx Electronics makes bad singers sound great with live tuning & harmonies! Works with any smart device and music, including free YouTube karaoke tracks. Sound like your favorite stars with hundreds of professional vocal effects, live backup harmonies created from your own voice & natural pitch-correction. Singtrix works with any music and any audio device. (Kids: 3+, MSRP $349.99)
Sky Rover Voice Command Helicopter: The company Tech 4 Kids has the can be controlled through 12 verbal commands. Simply wear the headset and control your helicopter with your voice! Sky Rover Voice Command also features Smart Hover and Auto Pilot functions, which makes it super easy to maneuver. The Sky Rover Voice Command is designed for indoor use. (Kids 8+, MSRP $44.99)
StikBot: The company Zing has Stikbots, which turns kids into creative moviemakers. These easy-to-pose figurines with strong suction cup hands and feet can stick to almost any flat surface. With the free mobile app, Stikbot Studios, available on iOS and Android, kids can shoot their own stop-motion movies starring Stikbot. The app snaps individual photos and stitches them together into a film, complete with built-in music and sound effect options. (Kids 4+. MSRP $4.99)
With all the trends and companies and products, there were lots of toys to see and play with. You can see my Periscope video here where I covered most of the brands and the products they have launched for our play pleasure, but to help you with your shopping, I’ve listed the my favorite toys shown at the HoliDAY of Play event by the popular categories:
Don’t forget to check out my post on the top 12 tech toys, the top ten STEM toys and the top 20 Hot toys for 2015 as picked by The Toy Insider. And check out my video with the all of the top toys to see them in action!
Charlene Chronicles may earn compensation on these sales through affiliate programs.