Tag Archives: hasbro

Summer’s a Comin…

As we begin the countdown to summer recess, you might be wondering (or worrying about) what the kids will do to while away the hours at home. If you aren’t out exploring the great outdoors, here are some fun ideas for you.

 

Hot Wheels 7” Tablet (Nabi)

nabi hotwheels tabletPlanning a long road trip or flight with young kids? If so, a tablet could be your new best friend. This one comes with several Hot Wheels screens, including one titled “Hot Wheels Labs,” which lets children watch videos about the science of and forces propelling the resistance, friction, and gravity of those loveable mini vehicles—in other words, how they really work. Since so many kids are addicted to Hot Wheels, this is a fun way for them to learn something new. Consider it branded science, LOL. Along the same lines, there’s also a “Trackwars & Hacks” area with over 25 apps and games. The tablet’s custom orange bumper helps protect the hardware from the bumps and falls it will likely take, and racing sound effects will thrill your little gear-heads. Not interested in Hot Wheels? Not to worry. Barbie and American Girl versions are also available. About $79 at Best Buy, Toys R Us, Kmart, Costco, or www.shop.nabitablet.com

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Cold Enough for You?

With much of the USA spending a lot of their time indoors these days, it’s important to think about what the kids are doing to entertain themselves. Here are a few of our current favorite toys to while away the winter.

Star Wars Hero Mashers (Hasbro)

star wars hero masherHasbro’s previous Mashers sets have included Spiderman, Jurassic’s World dinosaurs, and Transformers, so Star Wars couldn’t have been far behind. Oddly, though, only the male characters are available. Despite that glaring oversight, these toys are amazingly fun and give children hours of play, acting out favorite episodes, comics, and making up their own adventures. These figures are nicely articulated and fully interchangeable, so you can swap heads, arms, weapons, and everything else to create your very own ultimate hero (or villain). The only thing that would make them better would be to bring on Rey, Black Widow, Jessica Jones (without the booze), and the other leading ladies of heroism. Women matter. Hey—without Rey, how does the Force awaken, anyway? Prices vary. Learn more at http://www.hasbro.com/en-us/brands/heromashers

Marvel Legends Infinite Series (Hasbro)

marvel legends infiniteAha! If you’re looking for those female action figures, they’re over here, sitting on shelves right next to the guys. So now Wasp, Spidergirl, and a few others can join your child in adventures with Ant Man, Spiderman, Iron Man, Venom, and more. The Infinite Series is great for a number of reasons. First, the figures really look like their characters. Second, the line also includes some hard-to-find characters. Third, all of the figures are nicely articulated and seem to be begging you to pick them up and play with them (as opposed to collector editions that look great on a shelf but won’t stand up to being tossed around. Fourth, when you buy one, you get a bonus piece: an arm, a head, or something else that you can use to build a whole new toy once your collection is complete. Why wait for Marvel to create a new superhero when you can do it yourself? Around $20 each at stores like Toys R Us.

DigiBirds (Spinmaster)

digibirdThese friendly birds are adorable, and come in a variety of breeds, colors, and packages. You can get owls, penguins, chicks, and others one at a time, in multi packs, and in sets that include a birdcage, igloo, or another habitat. There are so many options that your child can assemble a whole chorus of tweeting friends. DigiBirds dance, bop, chirp, sing—either alone or in ensembles with their buddies—and do pretty much everything real birds do but fly and, oh, you know. Your child can blow into the (included) whistle ring to get the party started, or she can place two birds close together and they’ll automatically sync up and sing together. Want to expand the birds’ repertoires? Just download the free DigiBirds app. Prices start at about $10.99 at stores like Kmart. Learn more at http://us.digibirds.com/

Star Wars Disney Infiniti (Disney)

disney infinityWhile we’re strong with the Force, have you and your children played the new Disney Infinity 3.0 yet? It’s fun, interactive, and if you don’t already own one, it may become your console of choice. Some Infiniti characters are already out, and the most recent releases include Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren. You and your kids can awaken the Force, become a Rebel, or create new scenarios with your favorite Disney characters who’ve made the jump from a screen to your living room floor. Where else can Boba Fett and Princess Jasmine hang out, after all? Learn more at https://infinity.disney.com

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Have you noticed lately that a lot of your favorite toys from the 80s are making a comeback? Some, of course, never completely left—they just moved to less-prominent shelves and were overshadowed by the latest and greatest. But others seem to have suddenly resurfaced, like zombies returning from the grave (except they don’t bite and we’re generally glad to see them). Either way, despite those promises you made to your parents that you’d never be like them, you may find yourself giving your own children the very same toys you played with back in the day.

Care BearCare Bears (Just Play)
Bringing toys out of retirement can be a risky business. In many cases, the new ones are similar, but they sometimes look as though they’ve been run through a funhouse mirror: legs too long, eyes too wide, head too small, etc. Not so with Care Bears. New-generation ultra-plush Bears look very much like the old ones. And their mission hasn’t changed at all: teach kids about responsibility, caring, sharing, empathy, and being a good friend. That’s a pretty big job for a little bear, so it’s a good thing they still have those magic “belly badges,” just in case they need a little help from Care-a-lot. Care Bears come in a variety of sizes and retail for $3 to $25 at places like Target and Amazon.com

Doodle BearDoodle Bear (Just Play)
Doodle Bears are sweet, cuddly bears that you can create your own artwork on. When you need a new look, just toss Doodle in the wash (in a pillowcase or “delicates” bag), hang him out to dry, and you’ve got a brand new canvas. The original Doodle Bear comes in three colors, or you can get the Glow Doodle Bear, where kids do their doodling with light. Each one comes with special, Doodle-Bear-Only markers (Glow comes with a magic light pen and stamps). Available for $20 and up at your favorite retailer.

k'nexK’nex (K’nex)
K’nex have been around for ages, and are one of America’s top building sets. They have unique shapes and snapping pieces, bricks, struts, and big, flat swatches to hold the pieces together. The old sets were pretty free-form: dump the pieces out on the living room carpet and build whatever you want. Today there are all sorts of targeted sets that are based on old classics like Nitendo’s Mario and today’s sensations like Plants vs. Zombies (in this case, it’s a zombie-fied football helmet). But just as it was when you were a kid, your imagination is your only limit. Most sets work with each other, so the more you collect, the more you can connect. You may even be able to combine your old ones with your child’s new ones and take the building-bonding experience to a whole new level. Prices vary greatly, depending on the size of the kit. Available at retailers everywhere or at http://www.knex.com/

movie viewerFisher-Price Classics Movie Viewer (The Bridge Direct)
While not exactly an 80’s toy—the first Movie Viewers were introduced in 1973—the new versions look just like the ones we played with as kids. And despite being very low-tech, they’re just as much fun. Movie Viewers work exactly the way they did when you had yours: slide a cartridge into a slot, and turn a hand crank to play the “movie.” You can go forwards, backwards, fast, or slow.  Comes with two cartridges (one for learning letters, the other for numbers). If you still have your old Snoopy cartridges, they should work too. No batteries required. Available for about $30 at https://www.fatbraintoys.com or http://www.fisher-price.com/

Where Have All the Superheroes Gone?

In a word, everywhere (at least the little, plastic ones). If you’ve got a son, nephew, or superhero-loving child of either sex, you’ll find that there are tons of toys to go with movie blockbusters, TV shows, cartoons, and even a few just because.

marvel mashersMarvel Superhero Mashers (Hasbro)
Why is it that so many superheroes seem to have multiple personality disorders? They want to save the world, but they’re distraught and angry, filled with angst, feeling responsible and lonely, pushing people away, clinging to friends, and occasionally going off the rails (yes, we’re talking about you, Spiderman). Well, now you can make your own disjointed (literally) superheroes by mashing them up with other heroes and villains. Take the head of Iron Man, the body of Thor, the legs of Hulk, and the arms of Dr. Doom and you’ve got, well, we’re not sure. Prices range from $10 – $20 on http://www.hasbro.com or at your favorite toy retailer.

power rangers mega zordPower Rangers
Since they first appeared in 1992, Power Rangers have morphed through more incarnations than we can shake a stick at, if we were stick-shaking people. Two decades and nearly 100 Rangers later, the show is still going strong. The Power Rangers are an institution and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They’re still making movies and TV shows, and our children and their friends look forward to the new toys as much as we and our friends did a thousand years ago. So, what’s new in Power Rangers? Well, let’s start with the Legacy Megazord who’s celebrating 20 years of helping the Power Rangers saving the world. This latest Megazord has all the original details from the first toy, but beefs up the durability factor by using die cast metal pieces. The Megazord comes with a Ranger Key that can be used to open its chest. Good for collectors and fans of the current show alike. The Mystic Dragon Zord and Green Ranger set is also inspired by past seasons, and connects to other parts of the Zord Builder collection. Any four-inch figure or Power Ranger Key can work with the Dragon Zord. And the Legacy Megazord and Mystic Dragon Zord can be used together. Roughly $35 and $16, respectively, depending on where you buy them.

pokemon figuresPokemon (TOMY)
While we’re on the subject of toys (and TV shows) that have been around forever, does anyone (or everyone) out there remember Pokemon? Ash and his lovable companion Pikachu have been fascinating kids for a while now on several continents, and the latest versions (inspired by the hit Nintendo video games) are Pokemon X and Y. This generation of Pokemon lets you go head to head with the older Pokemon you have already “caught” as well as the newest ones, like Chespin and Fennekin. Kids (and their adult wranglers) learn at an early age that you’ve “Gotta Catch “em Al.”, And considering that they cost about $8 for a two-pack, that won’t be too hard. Each two pack contains two two-inch figures and two “Attack Tags” for game play. http://tomy.com

captain american winter soldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier (Hasbro)
With the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie recently coming out, kids want to act out the adventures (or perhaps misadventures) of Steve Rogers and the unfortunate Bucky Barnes at home. Hasbro has a line of 3.75 inch action figures to go along with the movie, complete with weapons, feature motions, and of course the famous shield. These figures are quite articulated and have weapons that fire actual projectiles. Additional accessories are sold separately. There are six figures in this line, $10 each. http://www.hasbro.com

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas…

It’s the week before Christmas and all through the land, there are parents who are still trying to find that perfect toy for the special child(ren) in their life. Here are a few of our last-minute favorites, toys that your children will be thrilled to find under the tree this year.
Big Hugs Elmo (Playskool)
hug elmo hasbroOnce again, that fuzzy, red monster has managed to be THE hot toy of the season. He’s large (about the size of a one-year old), loves getting—and giving—hugs, and will often ask for a bigger or tighter squeeze from your little cuddle bug. Elmo also asks to play ponies, jump like froggies, (and will comment along with appropriate noises), and dance. Elmo also moves his arms up and down, sings bedtime songs, and snores when you lay him on his back. About $50, and available at http://www.toysrus.com or in physical stores near you. But you’d better hurry.
http://www.havesippywilltravel.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif
Sesame Street Lullaby & Good Night Elmo (Hasbro)
Haven’t had enough of Elmo yet? Decked out in his Dorothy the Goldfish pajamas, this Elmo is all set to comfort your little one as he or she drifts off into dreamland. Kids can snuggle up with Elmo and press his tummy to hear a lullaby or one of a few bedtime phrases. Strangely, there’s no Off button, which means Elmo could start talking if your child accidentally rolls over him.  About $15. http://www.hasbro.com.
Furby Boom (Hasbro)
furby boom hasbroFurbies have been around for a while, but this latest incarnation has some special features. The new Furbies come in bright patterns and colors. Having an app seems to be a requirement for toys these days, and Furby’s got one for Apple or Android (including some kids’ tablets. The Furby Boom, like past Furbies, has a mind of its own, and the more you interact with and play with it, the more you shape its personality. Furby remembers his name and has more than twice as many responses as previous generations did. Furby can learn English or help you understand “Furbish.” And the app lets you mix smoothies, give your little pal a virtual shower, and even hatch and raise digital Furby Furblings. About $64. Available at http://www.hasbro.com or your favorite toy store.
Tabeo e2 (Toys R Us)
tabeo "toys r us" tabletAs we discussed last week, tablets are great way for kids to start interfacing with technology in a way that’s both safe, educational, and won’t trash mom and dad’s expensive tablet. The Tabeo e2 has all the specs needed to run the newest apps, 8GB of flash memory, Jelly Bean 4.2, Dual core 1.0 Ghz CPU, Quad-core GPU, and 1GB of RAM. All this makes for a zippy tablet that’s a breeze to use. The parental controls (which you have to set up before turning the e2 over to the kids) are pretty comprehensive and allow you to keep your kids from doing anything you don’t feel is appropriate for them. Comes with a charger, USB cable, and a protective case to keep it safe when those accidental tumbles happen. About $150. You can pre-order yours at http://www.tabeo.com.
A final note. If you’re still looking for something for the dads on your list, be sure to check out the winners of the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval, which recognizes toys and games that dads and kids can play together. The complete list is at http://mrdad.com/seal.
Best wishes for a safe, play-filled Holiday from all of us on the Parents@Play team.

 

 

 

Interactive Toys for Toddlers

The holidays may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean the end of the gift-giving season… There are birthdays, equinoxes, rainy days, and plenty of duplicate gifts to return. But what to get for the discerning tot in your home? Here are some of the top interactive toys for the toddler set that will keep kids entertained—and are fun for mom and dad too.
baby butterscotch pony from hasbro and furrealFurreal Friends Baby Butterscotch, My Magical Show Pony (Hasbro). This new addition to Hasbro’s Furreal Friends line is the most animated and responsive yet. Scratch Butterscotch’s head and she’ll nuzzle your hand, talk to her, and she’ll respond with the pony equivalent of cooing. Feed her a carrot and she’ll make happy crunching sounds. Brush her fur, and she’ll love you forever. Baby Butterscotch is a fun intro to owning a real pet—she even snores at the end of a long day of play. Carrot and brush included. Ages 4 and up.

Interactive Story Buddies from HallmarkInteractive Story Buddies (Hallmark)
Bigsby, the shy monster, likes to go on big adventures and learn new things with his friends. He—along with the other Story Buddies—speak up when they hear certain words. Those words can be delivered by mom or dad, your child, or even the narrator in the iPod/iPad app. Each Story Buddy comes with a book and a read-along CD, free downloadable apps, and a host of other interactive features on line. You can also buy more books, which continue Bigsby’s adventures. The books gently teach social skills, such as friendship. But what we think is far more important, they encourage parents to snuggle up and read with their children. And that’s priceless. Ages 2 and up.

Super Grover (Playskool)
super groverThe Sesame Street Flying Super Grover Plush toy is a lot of fun for fans of Sesame Street.  Parents can explore the world with their child as they help Super Grover investigate and solve problems on earth and beyond. He’s not only cute (in that monstery sort of way) and a good playmate, he can also help your child learn empathy and social skills by teaching him or her about different countries and cultures, and how kids can help others and their communities. For high-flying fun, just the right message for your pre-K and K children, delivered by a friendly face they know and love, Super Grover will be a year-round hit. His preloaded songs, motorized motion, cool flying sounds, and vocabulary of absurd Grover-ish phrases will keep your kiddo entertained long after the thank-you notes are written (you do have your kids write thank you notes, right?) Ages 2-5.

FURBY (Hasbro)
FURBY, HasbroFurby, one of the first robotic pets, was born in 1998 and immediately became the must-have toy of that year. Those first Furbys talked to and interacted with their human playmate, “learning” depending on the level of the child’s interaction and time spent together. The newest generation does much the same, but instead of being simply action-reaction (child says something, Furby responds), these Furbys add an emotional component and a touch of attitude. So if your Furby doesn’t like music and you play it anyway, she’ll get aggravated and yell. Continue ignoring her needs and she’ll get even angrier. It’s amazing how much this little fluffy ball of circuits, motors, and screens can mimic an actual pet. Don’t be surprised if next year’s model includes a real litter box. Ages 6 and up.