By Kim Taylor
Nothing puts a flush on a wee cheek or a twinkle in a kid’s eye more than a gift to unfurl. Here are some wrap-worthy gifts for some very fortunate boys and girls this holiday season.
Playmobil never fails to thrill with a vast selection of superb toys. This year let your kids recreate the big top with Playmobil’s Circus Ring, winner of a 2008 Parent’s Choice Gold Award and Top 10 Toy of the Year by Family Fun magazine. This endearing toy seats 30 little visitors and features trapeze artists, concession stand and LED lights. Great for children older than five; visit http://store.playmobilusa.com or simply http://www.playmobil.com.
The Eyeclops Bionic Eye, BioniCam, and Eyeclops Night Vision provide incentive for kids to explore the world around them, and new accessories enable kids to do more with their images and videos of specimens. The EyeClops toys will fascinate kids (and adults) of all ages, and are available at http://www.jakks.com.
Girls will love Juku Couture, the high fashion dolls inspired by anti-matching, layering fashion trendsetters in Harajuku, Japan. The dolls include a preppy girl, a girly-girl, an athletic/natural girl and a romantic punk girl for the full fashion spectrum. Available at http://www.jakks.com.
The K’Nex Amusement Park Series features four motorized rides: a classic Ferris wheel, speed coaster, swirling Octopus Whirl, and Drop-n’swing free fall ride. K’Nex has something to build for children of all ages, ranging from this amusement park and fleet of trucks for older kids to a Sesame Street Workshop K’Nex set for preschoolers. Browse the choices at http://www.knex.com, http://www.target.com, and http://www.toysrus.com to pick a few that will delight your brood.
The remote-controlled Spike the Dinosaur will blow a child’s mind and keep him or her enrapt all throughout the New Year. Cleaner than a puppy, and even more fun! Find it at J.C. Penney stores this holiday season.
Kids can rev up their Pro Stunt Ripper rider to soar over a mechanical moving and champing great white shark in the game MXS Shark Jump Challenge. If your guy misses, he gets chomped! Fun for everyone, large and small. Available: http://www.jakks.com.
Render exercise fun with the ME2 from iToys. Kids will get pumped with this handheld and online gaming gadget that allows them to power their games with their own exercise routine. Kids earn points for exercising through the device’s sensor, which they utilize in online games. Perfect! It’s a parent’s dream come true – as well as a child’s! Find it at http://www.me2universe.com.
The Bill Nye Paper Recycling Factory is a fun, educational science kit that allows kids to take scrap paper and turn it into colorful greeting cards and notepads. This is ideal for imparting info about the environment and the process of recycling. Another kid-pleaser is the Sour Candy Factory, which lets children create lip-puckering masterpieces in the form of lollipops, liquid or powder candy, and hard candy. Let’s hear it for sour power! Find both at http://www.elmers.com or Wal-Mart stores, along with a Bubble Gum Factory that will also enthrall.
Trivial Pursuit’s 25th anniversary edition aptly underscores why the game has endured for decades, and features upgrades such as easy, medium and difficult categories so the whole family can play. Let the next generation fill their pies and amass knowledge! Another family favorite is the classic wooden block stacking game, Jenga: Party for at home or at the ski lodge. This version adds an element of “truth” to liven up the party: players must answer the question on the block, too. Both are available at http://www.hasbro.com.
The Ugly Doll has become a holiday staple, and for kids, the bigger the better! A 2-ft. version ensures that your little one will have lots of cuddly Ugly Doll to embrace. Ugly Dolls are made in all shapes and sizes, and can be as small as a backpack clip-on that fits in the palm of a hand, or large enough to light up a child’s face. Find them at FAO Schwartz stores and at http://www.uglydolls.com.
The Fortamajig Connectables are an inspired way for kids to do what they do naturally: build forts. But instead of using your favorite bedding, they can now create with connecting Fortamajigs panels or wide Fortamajig tents instead. Brilliant! Check them out in their various forms at http://www.thehappykidcompany.com.
SillyTalk SpongeBob will lend mirth and merriment with tricky tongue twisters, kooky phrases and moving eyes. He’s oceans of fun! Kids will love him – as you already know. Twist his nose while he’s talking, and his voice changes. Find him while he’s still available at http://www.jakks.com.
The game Repeat Or You’re Obsolete, invented by 13-year old Zach Levins, has been racking up awards for good reason. This hilarious game of memory madness will keep everyone’s memory sharp and concentration in top form. Great for all ages and always engaging, this will become a family favorite – find it at http://www.innovativekids.com.
Jumpstart 3-D Virtual World: Quest for the Color Meister, for ages 6 to 8, provides mind-boggling puzzles, 3-D action adventures, virtual pets, collectible cards, and hours of fun for little ones on snow days. Find it at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.JumpStart.com.
The Melissa and Doug online toy store site is the source for all things wonderful for kids: stuffed dogs, various coin tricks sets, classic and new toys, and toys that will enthrall parents, grandparents and kids of all ages. Browse the online store at http://www.melissaanddoug.com.
This year and beyond: May your holidays be merry and bright!