Top toys for the holidays

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by New Day Producers

KING5.com

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 12 at 5:22 PM

We like our food, movies and toys around New Day, so we get very excited when our good friend the Toy Guy comes to town!  Toy expert and Content Director for www.TimeToPlayMag.com, Chris Byrne shows us ten of the top toys this season.  He also has a new book out called Toy Time, which looks back at the most beloved toys of all time.

INNOTAB 3S
VTech
Ages 3+
$79.99
You may be familiar with the InnoTab 3, and the InnoTab 3S adds wi-fi connectivity to enhance the play and learning experience. Kids can connect wirelessly to a web browser to visit pre-approved websites with kid-safe content. Parents can manage the sites that are on the approved list. Navigation to sites that have not been approved is prohibited. Using the Kid Connect app and the wi-fi connection, kids can send and receive text messages and animated stickers from their InnoTab 3S to another or from their InnoTab 3S to a smartphone or tablet that has the VTech Kid Connect app installed. In addition, the InnoTab 3S includes 20 apps, including an e-reader with story dictionary, Wonder Cam for creating funny photo effects, an art studio, an MP3 player, games, and more. And features a 180-degree rotating camera and video recorder, a five-inch color touchscreen, two styluses, a built-in microphone, and a headphone jack.

WORLD’S SOFTEST PLUSH line
Techno Source
Ages newborn and up
$4.99 (8”); $9.99 (12”); $19.99 (20”)
Introducing The Original World’s Softest Brand of the softest, cuddliest, most huggable, loveable, light-as-a-cloud plush toys. Taking classic plush to a level of softness never before achieved, babies and kids can collect a plush menagerie that includes three different sized teddy bears, puppies, unicorns, monkeys and horses.
 
JAKE & THE NEVERLAND PIRATES BEACH SHIPWRECK GAME
Wonder Forge
Ages 3+
$24.99
Yo ho, let's go! Captain Hook has buried pirate booty all over Shipwreck Beach. Flip over the gold doubloons and use Jake's spyglass to decode the secret clues. When you get a match, get up and go! Snag the correct treasure with the foam sword and hurry back to score! For two or more players this game for the young set promotes matching, memory, and physical dexterity.
 
CRAYOLA MARKER MAKER
Crayola
Ages 8+
$32.99
With the new Crayola Marker Maker, kids can make their own custom markers. To get started, flip down the mixing tray, which also detaches if you want to spread out your work area. Then place your measuring tubes on the trap. Twist them to make sure they are latched into place. Use the included color mixing guide to decide which color you want to make. There are 18 different colors featured in the color mixing guide to choose from. Following the guide, add however much of the blue, yellow, or red ink is needed to make that color. Then, using the crayola tweezers, dip a marker core into the measuring tube's mixture. Let it sit there until all the ink is absorbed, which takes a minute or two. Next, drop your core into a marker barrel and use the tweezers to press it in. Insert the plug and marker tip into the barrel and place the marker tip down into the center of the Marker Maker caddy. Push down the handle and the plug will snap all the way into place. Pop on the cap and stand the marker upright for one to two minutes and your marker will be ready for use. Use the included labels to make up unique color names to apply to your markers.
 
TENKAI KNIGHTS
Spinmaster
Ages 6+
$5.99-$39.99
Tenkai Knights is an animated series about the Tenkai, who are living, shape-shifting bricks. There are two groups of Tenkai–the good guys known as The Corekai and the evil, The Corrupted–who are locked in an epic battle. The toys come in multi-piece sets and come with instructions to build one or another of each SKU.
 
TEK RECON HAMMER HEAD
Tech 4 KCids
Ages 8+
$19.99
The Tek Recon Hammer Head is a new kind of battle system for kids. This basic blaster shoots reusable rings, which Tech 4 Kids calls NRG Rounds. Fill up the clip with the NRG Rounds and insert the clip into the handle. There are several options for firing. The blaster has a torque adjustment that allows you to vary the force with which the ammo is fired. Changing this setting will also change the amount of pressure needed to fire the rounds. At the higher end, the trigger is definitely much harder to pull, and you'll need both hands, especially for kids. There's also a rapid-fire pump-action option that is also controlled by the torque lever.

While the blaster is fairly innovative on its own, it also has an app for iOS and Android that can enhance the play. The blaster comes with a mount and spacers, but when you're setting it up, take extra care that your phone or iPod is firmly seated in the mount. You can leave the case on your phone, which is highly recommended. The app adds a viewfinder and different views in solo play. When you're in a group play, it allows you to create teams, keep score, and communicate via walkie talkie with your other team members. You can play games such as Capture the Flag or any others that you devise. You can also track your teammates on the simulated radar screen when you're all connected. There are several blasters in the Tek Recon line, and the app lets you select which one you have.
 
SHIMMER N SPARKLE CRA-Z-LOOM BRACELET MAKER
Cra-Z-Art
Ages 6+
$14.99
Friendship bracelets have long been a fun and favorite pastime for kids. Cra-Z-Art's new Shimmer N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker builds on this trend and offers kids the chance to create their own personalized rubber band bracelets in a fun new way. Making the bracelets is alot like crocheting with a single hook. To make the basic single loop rainbow bracelet, start by placing the bands on the pegs that make up the loom shown in the guide. Then turn your loom around and use the hook to pick and loop it over in the pattern, which is indicated by the guide. The loom's pegs make it easy to guide you under each band. Continue picking and looping until you reach the end of the loom, tie a slip-knot with a loose band, slide the bracelet off, attach an s- clip, and your bracelet is complete. The trend of wearing and trading rubber band bracelets is one that isn't going away anytime soon. So we think the ability to make and personalize bracelets with the Cra-Z-Loom adds a fun new element to their collectability.
 
CHATTER PHONE TALKING GAME
Fisher-Price
Ages 3+
$19.99
The Chatter Phone Talking Game is based on Fisher-Price's iconic Chatter Phone toy. It has been reimagined as an electronic interactive matching and memory game that guides children to learn about animals, animal sounds, and numbers and counting. When the phone rings, pick up the receiver, and the Chatter Phone will ask you to dial a game: 1, 2, 3, or 4.Game 1 is a numbers game where kids are asked to dial numbers on the phone; Game 2 is a sounds game; Game 3 is a mix and match game; Game 4 is a countdown game where players work together to beat the clock and pick the right answer. The Chatter Phone will prompt kids to insert a numbers card or an animal card. Then the countdown clock will start to tick, and players have 15 seconds to make their selection. If the card inserted is correct, the players keep the card. Once five cards have been collected or three incorrect guesses have been made, the game is over.
 
DISNEY INFINITY
Disney Interactive
Ages 8+
$74.99
Disney Infinity is the most ambitious gaming initiative that Disney has ever launched and the whole thing revolves around character figures from different Disney and Pixar movies. When any of the figures are placed on the Disney Infinity Base, they pop into the game and become the playable characters. Infinity literally begins with a single spark that you control. As you move around, you light up a world and bring it to life. In the distance, there's an arch and without any instructions, you know to head towards it. You will find Mickey Mouse waiting and the words, "Imagination becomes reality" appear. All of this is the game's prelude and happens before you even place a figure on the base. It's enough to show you that this is going to be a huge game.
 
BATTROBORG 3-in-1 BATTLE ARENA
Tomy
Ages 6+
$79.99
Nearly half a century ago, a pair of battling robots created a toy industry sensation, and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots became a memorable part of many Baby Boomers childhoods. Now this classic play concept gets a 21st century upgrade with Battroborg from Tomy. The charger doubles as a controller that attaches to a Battroborg battling robot. Before battling, kids must use the controller to charge up their robot for about 20 minutes. Then, kids and their robots are ready to battle. Set your robots in the ring arena and go to it. Turn on the controller and pair it with the robot. The robot will flash blue until it's paired, and then it will flash green. As you punch with your hands, the robot will punch, too. Punch with the left hand to move forward and turn clockwise. Punch with your right hand to move forward and turn counter-clockwise. The elastic cords on the sides can be used to configure the ring for different play modes. Practice with the ring set up with four drones on the side. Then, challenge an opponent to a dual in the gauntlet by moving around the elastic cords. When you've got the hang of it, open up the arena fully for complete battle action. There are five levels of play in each battle, and you'll know how you're doing by the light on the back of the robot. The lights will count down from green to blue to white to yellow to red. When the light flashes red and your robot won't move, well, you've been KO'd. But just press the robot's face mask to start again.  There are also other modes of play that are great for solo play when you don't have an opponent.
 

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