Tag Archives: jakks

Holiday Gift Guide #4

Power Rippers 2-in-1 Competition Set (Jakks Pacific)

Power RippersIf your children love cars, or shows like Pokémon or Battlebots, they’ll surely enjoy this set, which comes complete with everything you’d want or need. It includes a Track Set and Battle Arena, dual loops that you can reconfigure for side-by-side racing, one long track, a crash zone, and an “epic jump” for the perfect ending… The kids will use the Battle Arena to, yes, you guessed it, battle each other (or mom and dad). The set comes in its own case, which makes for easy clean-up, storage, and take-along. Ages 4+. Under $30 at your favorite toy retailer. https://powerripperstoys.com/

Continue reading

Parents@Play Gift Guide # 4: Advent Calendars, Star Wars, and More

What do Advent Calendars, Star Wars, and TusmTsum have in common? Not much—except that they make great gifts this holiday season.

Playmobil Advent Calendar (#6624) and Playmobil NHL Advent Calendar (#9017)

playmobil-nhlplaymobil-adventWe’re already a week into Advent—have you bought an Advent Calendar for your child yet? If not, Playmobil has two adorable options. For children who love animals, the adorable farm-themed set #6624 is perfect (Playmobil refers to their sets by number and it’s sometimes easier to find them that way). Every day, as you count down to Christmas, your child can punch out a numbered door and find a fun surprise, such as a kitty, cow, goat, or a tractor. Whether you’re country born, or just have a country soul, #6624 is sure to please. About $25 at Toys R Us and Amazon. For sporty kids, the NHL Hockey set #9017 will score big. Once all the pieces are revealed, your hockey fan will have it all: hockey figures, child figures, flags, goal, Stanley Cup, puck bag, reindeer, and a Santa referee (who better to break up disagreements?) Around $27 at major retailers. www.playmobil.us
  Continue reading

Parents@Play Gift Guide #3: Disney Princesses and Where They Might Live

Princesses are everywhere—you might even have one living in your house. Here are some of our big- and small-screen favorites that are sure to entertain throughout the winter and beyond.

Disney Princess Belle Musical Tea Party Cart: (Jakks Pacific)

jakks belle tea partyBeauty and the Beast is arguably one of Disney’s best films. Anyone who’s seen it—no matter how long ago—probably has vivid memories of at least one or two scenes or characters. And what could be more memorable than the night Belle has dinner with Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the other enchanted objects? Now your little one can join in the fun by having her very own tea party—and if you’re lucky, you’ll get invited. The cart is delightfully ornate and comes with a Mrs. Potts teapot, two cups (including Chip, of course), two spoons, and more. And with the push of a button, it plays “Be Our Guest.” It’s for ages 3+, although you’ll need to be there to assemble the cart and install the batteries. Available at most retailers for around $59. http://www.jakks.com
Continue reading


Building Strong Families

Working on a project together is a great way for families to connect and spend quality time together. This week, we review some of our new favorite building sets.

Construction Runner and National Geographic Dinosaurs (Laser Pegs)

laser pegs dinosLaser Pegs kits are compatible with traditional building systems, but they add an element of light (and, in some cases, sound), which makes them unique. The Construction Runner comes with a power base and plenty of pieces to build eight different machines (one at a time), including a front end loader, bulldozer, and a crane. The Dinosaurs kit is a lot bigger, and, in addition to the base, contains enough pieces to build 24 different dinos (again, one at a time), including a few we’d never hear of (Tapejara and Sauropelta, for example). Once you install the batteries (which aren’t included), your creations will flash, blink, and generally astound. Both are for ages 5+. Construction Runner retails for about $23; Dinosaurs for about $45. http://www.laserpegs.com/

Galax-Z Zooboddysey (Alex Brands)

zooboddyseyWith ZOOB, you don’t just build something and put it on a shelf. ZOOB’s unique ball-and-socket-type connectors, let you twist, turn, move, and redesign your creation—activities that help bring your playtime to life. ZOOBOdyssey (a nod to Stanley Kubrick’s movie, “2001: A Space Odyssey”) is one of the stars in the Galax-Z line, a constellation of building kits with, as you might guess, an outer space theme. This kit contains 34 ZOOB pieces, a few important accessories (engine turbines, wing blasters, and more), a ZOOBonaut, and instructions for creating a number of different spacecraft, including a Robo Battle Station that transforms into a Time Warp Traveler and a Planet Observation Tower with an Interstellar Searcher. For ages 6+. $34. http://www.alexbrands.com/

Real Construction Deluxe Workshop (Jakks Pacific)

real constructionIf you’ve ever used real tools—hammers, saws, and so on—around young child children, you know how much they want to help. And you know how much you worry about them hurting themselves or someone (or something) else. With Real Construction kits, those worries are gone. These innovative kits allow your child to safely measure, saw, hammer, nail, screw, and assemble pretty much anything he or she wants. Real Construction Deluxe Workshop comes with a variety of pieces of “Kid Wood” (dense polyethylene foam), plastic tools (saw, hammer, screw driver, square), hardware (screws, nails, hinges), and plans for eight projects. Unfortunately, those plans aren’t nearly as clear as they should be, but there are very detailed instructions on the website. The pride and joy on your child’s face at having built something from scratch is priceless. Ages 6+. Prices vary. http://realconstructiontoys.com/

ICONX 3-D Metal Model Kits Queen Anne’s Revenge (Fascinations)

iconx queen anne's revengeFascinations has created several lines of building kits that are aimed squarely at builders who are looking for a challenge that traditional systems have a tough time providing. You start with several sheets of amazingly detailed, laser-cut metal. And after a few hours of thoroughly satisfying hand-eye- and fine-motor-skills-intensive work, you’ll end up with an even-more-amazingly detailed creation. In this case, it was the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of the 18th century pirate, Blackbeard. This ship is part of the ICONX line, which are especially advanced and not for the impatient. Other ICONX kits include the Taj Mahal and a stunning motorcycle. If you’re looking for something to warm up on, try their easier-to-build Metal Earth line, which include buildings and cars that are a great introduction to the techniques you’ll use with ICONX. Ages 14 and up. Queen Anne’s Revenge retails for about $16. But prices for other kits vary widely. http://www.fascinations.com/

A Playful Intro to Gaming

Are you looking to add a new layer of fun to your at-home gaming world, or maybe a gentle way to give your little one a taste? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out these toys, which will keep your youngster (okay, and you too) entertained through the rest of the winter and beyond.

nintendo plushPlush Toys from Nintendo
Got a kid who’s not quite ready for actual gaming? These cute, 7.5-inch plush toys from Nintendo are a great way to introduce him or her to popular cultural icons such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Link, Red Pikmin, and Yellow Pikmin. Plus, they’re sturdy, soft, and great for cuddling up with at bedtime (or any other time). They’re about $8 each at your favorite retailer.



tmnt hero portalJAKKS Hero Portal
Another one for the novice gamers among us (and for their more experienced, young-at-heart adult caretakers). These are the latest additions to the “Plug It In and Play TV Games” line. Right now, the Portals come in two flavors: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. The Portals are extremely easy to use, since the games are built right into the controller. Just plug it into pretty much any TV and you’re ready to roll. No need for any additional consoles, attachments, wires, or software. Then, pick your Hero, place him or her on the portal, and start battling your way through each game’s six stages and 18 missions. Available for $40 online and everywhere else. The portals come with two Heroes. Additional Heroes, as well as booster packs, which unlock secret missions and more, are sold separately everywhere.

angry birds telepodAngry Birds Telepods
These guys are a real blast for any Angry Birds fan, which at this point, must be nearly everyone with an Internet connection. Telepods come in a dizzying array of options, characters, and price points, so there’s something for every child and every budget. The newest Telepods are Transformers and Stella (the pink lady bird). Let’s start with Transformers. Yes, the birds are still angry, and yes, they’re still doing battle with the pigs. But now they’re cleverly (although a little obviously) disguised as robots. You play the game in both real life as well as on your tablet, with the figurines and the Telepods base, which transports all the characters right into the Transformers app (included). Place the pigs on perches, launch the birds, and try to make bacon. Being able to touch and manipulate the figurines and accessories bridges the real and virtual worlds and adds a new element to an already-engaging experience. It’s great fun for Angry Birds lovers and Transformers aficionados, and almost too much fun to endure for fans of both! How is it that no one thought of this before?

angry birds stellaWith its playhouses, swings, food playsets, and pinkish hue, Angry Birds Stella is definitely aimed at the girls. But oddly, most boys are perfectly willing to overlook the color scheme, as long as they can still catapult birds and terrorize those little porkers. Joking aside, we think it’s great that this one is pitched at girls; so many companies mistakenly assume that girls aren’t interested in gaming. But our young testers proved otherwise. It’s clear that with Angry Birds as popular as it is, the girls are glad to represent with the lovely Stella.

More Movie Madness

A few weeks ago we reviewed a number of toys based on movie adaptations of comic books, including Iron Man, Superman, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This week we’re looking at more movie characters, but these are aimed at a younger crowd.

Sulley Monster Mask (Spinmaster)
sully maskThis plush mask is cute, not frightening—just like the real Sulley. But that won’t keep the kids from putting it on and trying to scare mom and dad. 100 percent kid-powered, the eyebrows move up and down and the mouth opens and closes along with the child’s.  A t-strap on the back keeps the mask in place but also allows for easy on and off. For ages 3 and up. $14.99. spinmaster.com/

Roll-A-Scare Race Playset and Roll-A-Scare Monsters Assortment (Spinmaster)
roll-a-scare trackIf you remember the Zoobies craze from a few years back, the Roll-A-Scare monsters will feel familiar. They start off round and careen down the Playset Race track that parents and kids can build together. But when they cross the magnetic finish line, they pop open. There are a total of 12 monsters (including Boo, who isn’t really a monster). Each of the 12 comes with a student ID card that also pops them open. The Playset is $20, and each of the monsters costs $7-$12. spinmaster.com/

My Scare Pal (Spinmaster)
scare palsThese squeezable, cuddly Mike and Sulley plush toys will soon become your child’s new best buddies. They’re great for toting around the house and acting out favorite scenes from the movie.  Pull Mike’s long arms and legs and he’ll say one of 10 funny lines, encouraging your child to help him grow and to watch his eye, since he only has one.  For some reason, Sulley has 15 lines plus a growl that will send the kids into enough giggles to power Monster City. The kids can also shake Sulley into Tickle Mode, Scare Mode, or Sleep Time mode. Requires 2 AA batteries (included). $20-30). spinmaster.com/

The Smurfs2 Movie Figures (JAKKS)
smurfsCelebrate the new Smurfs 2 movie with a fun line of highly-detailed characters. There are 24 different 2.75” figures (individual Smurfs cost $4 each, 2-packs for $7). You can also get any of a dozen 7.5” Bean Bag Plush Smurfs that are perfect for snuggling up with on a road trip (and Smurfs do love to travel). $8 each. www.Jakks.com

Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane (Mattel)
dustyOne of the hottest kids movies right now is Disney Pixar’s Planes and this cool, interactive remote-control toy with an absurdly long name lets kids “become” Dusty, using their arms to control his movements.  In manual mode, your child pushes a button to start the propeller and move the plane forward, he or she then use the two controllers—one on each arm—to make the plane fly, dive, and roll. If your child doesn’t want to be a pilot, there’s also an autopilot mode too, which takes Dusty through three pre-programmed performances. $40. Batteries not included. http://shop.mattel.com/

Disney Planes Sky Track Challenge Track Set (Mattel)
This unique race set lets you attach planes to the track with special clips so they can do loops and other tricks. Lots of parent-child fun building the track, but the roadway didn’t hold together well so we ended up having to glue it. In addition, the set comes with only one plane, which is a bummer since a true “race” track should come with at least two vehicles, shouldn’t it? Still, pretty entertaining. $31 (plus the cost of an additional plane)  http://shop.mattel.com/