Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Kim Taylor

You know you won’t go wrong with Gamewright Games for your child or as a gift, as this brainy brand has garnered more than 40 prestigious awards to date. Easy to understand yet still challenging, these games offer the opportunity to boost math, strategic thinking and geography skills in an entertaining manner. A Gamewright gem called Loot — The Plundering Pirate Card Game won the Mensa Mind Game Competition, and your wee-but-hardy pirate will enjoy learning by playing this high seas adventure card game. The Scrambled States of America is a thrilling way to learn and remember state names, and Castle Keep is a clever game of castle maneuvers. For a complete listing of all of the other fantastic Gamewright games, visit www.gamewright.com and take your pick.

PlayMobil offers another quality “never fails to satisfy” line of toys, providing a variety of theme sets that spark imaginative play for hours. Part of the PlayMobil lineup includes Noah’s Ark with 13 pairs of animals, a colorful train set with no small parts to swallow, a Horse & Pony Ranch, a Zoo, Viking Ship, Knight’s Castle, Pirate Boat, Dinosaurs on Ice set, Doll House, Nativity Manger, Jungle set, Police and Fire playstations, Airport and Construction sets, Post Office, Fairy Tale Castle and Grande Mansion.

The 1970s carry-and-go sets are making a comeback, and PlayMobil’s My Take Along line leads the way. This lightweight carry-along line is convenient and ideal for parents who want to engage their children away from home. Go to www.playmobil.com and see why children on five continents love these toys.

Franklin the Turtle, the Care Bears and Garfield are now featured as Nintendo Game Boy Advance titles for young gamers. The Franklin the Turtle game includes 16 mini games that encompass logic puzzles, dexterity and memory challenges. If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then a dash of Franklin will help your child learn various new skills. Visit www.gamefactorygames.com for more information and a complete game roster.

Cartoon Network has partnered with The Game Factory to bring favorite cartoon characters such as Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken, Johnny Bravo and many others to the videogame arena. The new arcade racing videogame is slated for release this month. For more information, visit www.gamefactorygames.com.

Did your little prince miss a Hess toy truck this past Christmas or were you too late for Hanukkah? It’s never too late to deliver. This red toy truck lights up, has an extendable ladder and push-button activation and features three separate sounds (including two all-new sirens for rescue work). To cap it off, it even arrives with batteries intact. High quality craftsmanship and attention to details has rendered this toy a tradition for every season. Find a Hess truck at www.hesstoytruck.com and put an enormous grin on your miniature rescue hero’s face.

Ever heard of tWibbles? If you have tweens, chances are you will. The 19-member collection is plush, micro-sized, clip-on animals for children 8-12 years old was designed by Hannah-Barbara cartoonist Al Tollefson and are sold in pairs so kids can give one to a best friend. The general idea, for gifter and giftee, is to bring kids closer together and to set an example of “random acts of kindness.” Visit www.tWibbles.com or a Target outlet near you.

That Tzzzzanggg! sound you hear is the sound of Oidz coming soon to your local toy emporium. These intensely powerful magnets emit a curiously mesmerizing sound when tossed together, and the hearts of British kids by storm. Your budding scientists can master many fascinating tricks with these magnets, and other gismos outlined meticulously at www.oidznoize.com.

With all these new toys and technology, boredom won’t find its way in your houseful of little tykes in this New Year!

Originally published January 2006
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