Top Christmas Toys 2011 Shopping Guide by Carmichael - HTML preview

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Introduction

If you're a parent, you know the horrible pressure there is to get your kids the right presents during the holiday seasons. As adults, we all think that you should be happy for getting anything... But, I think you know just as well as I do that children won't react that way.

It's the happiest time of the year for many kids. They are out of school. In many parts of the world it's snowing. Best of all, the thought of getting exactly what they want on Christmas morning makes every child smile for the last couple months of the year.

If you need to know the top 25 Christmas toys of 2011, you've come to the right place. This ebook is here to give all those parents that are struggling to find that perfect gift your child really really wants. The toys in this book are all award nominations at the very least and each category has the winner of the year.

These toys are chosen due to product sales and overall child rating. Just to make it easier for those parents on the run... like myself... I have the ebook broken into 5 categories.

Infants/Toddler toys, preschooler toys, boys toys, girls toys, and specialty toys.

Each toy has a description and a couple reviews about that product. All of this information was found through Amazon, Walmart.com, and some popular toy blogs. This information is to give you a better idea of what you will be buying your kids.

If you are interested in purchasing one of the top 25 toys, click the title link for that toy. You will be brought to Amazon.com. This website will have the product for purchase and more information about the product just in case you haven't completely made up your mind.

Let's get to the toys...

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Top 5 Toys For Infants and Toddlers

1. Playskool Musical Activity Ball and Gear Center

Whirling, twirling, musical fun is on the way with this exciting MUSICAL GEAR CENTER set!

Your little one can push this button to activate the music and motion that will keep both his eyes and ears engaged. As he drops the ball onto the track, he'll watch with delight as it falls down the tube and then spins at the bottom. He'll love spinning the gears on the side to turn the friendly face around and around--and when he gets older, you can remove the gears so he can stack them and take his fun to "new heights"! The active play, twirling fun and happy music just goes on and on!

Features:

 Exciting and engaging ball-drop and turning gear set lets baby activate the action to get the balls rolling, gears twirling and music playing.

 Gears can be removed for stacking fun as baby grows older!

 Balls fit other EXPLORE 'N GROW ball sets. Gears fit other EXPLORE 'N GROW

gears sets. Each sold separately.

 Set includes activity center base, ball arch, two balls, five gears and instructions.

What's in the Box

Set includes activity center base, ball arch, two balls, five gears and instructions.

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Customer Reviews:

“Overall, this toy is pretty fun for a baby. I've played with my friend's 14 month-old with this toy and it kept her occupied for a good 15 minutes. She had a lot of fun figuring out where to put the balls and got excited anticipating them to pop out; also she had fun taking the gears off and putting them back on and turning them. The balls are large enough that she can't fit them in her mouth and there's a little slot for the balls to stay in when you're not using them (so they don't get lost). It's pretty sturdy as she was being a bit rough with it and didn't fall apart. The music is not totally annoying, so that's a plus too. “

“Durable and easy to assemble are the highlights of this Playskool toy. Otherwise, it's had it's 5

minutes of fame in our home, and likely will be stashed away while my young sons play with other toys they find more amusing. My boys are 8 months and 2 years old. The 2 year old likes to run around with the balls best, and finds the rest of toy less than engaging. My 8 month old has been amused with the music playing, and may become interested in turning the gears--

that is if the toy even still interests him in the near future. The gears turn well and they stack easily, but they don't DO anything. Turning the gears doesn't make the music turn on, or make the balls drop. The balls must be manually dropped down, and all they do is drop. When they drop, they don't cause the music to turn on, either. Only pushing down the red smiley face on the right corner makes the music go. If pushed far enough down, the gears will also turn. If the gears played more of a role in causing the music to play or the balls to roll, I probably would have rated this toy better. As it is, the elements are not related to each other at all. “

2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learn & Move Music Station

Get baby moving, playing and learning with so much variety—and so much fun. The Learn and Move Music Station easily connects to your TV, with five interactive worlds to discover on two levels. Baby can press the colorful piano keys or move the monkey, puppy and kitty to explore plenty of active learning. C’mon, let’s play. Teaches: Letters, A - Z, numbers, counting, colors, shapes, opposites, animals, first words, greetings, body parts, music and more.

Requires 3 AA and 3 C batteries, not included.

Customer Reviews:

“We took this toy out of the box and had it up and running in five minutes. Our intention was for our 11

month son to practice standing, but also have something lean on if needed. He loves our real piano, so we thought it would be perfect.

It is solidly built, and has great sound when used in stand-alone mode. Keeps my little guy interested for quite a while. The tv interaction has very smooth and almost un-noticeable transitions. For example the color keys will change the background color of the screen, while the animation stays the same.

However, my 3 year old daughter noticed immediately how the keys changed the colors, and she could change the animations using the trumpet slide or guitar roller to make slight changes in the animations and music. I had a hard time keeping her away from it so that my son could use it!

I had to put some strips of velcro on the rear legs, because when used in the upright settiing, it tends to slide all over the floor and my little guy would topple over. It surprises me that they diddnt think of this. After that slight modification it has worked hours without any incident. “

“We love this toy! Have not had any problems with it. After reading reviews, we expected lag time when connected to the TV but did not experience that. We consider the TV connection a "bonus" that we will use when our daughter gets older- playing with the toy "as is" is plenty to entertain her for now (she is 8 months, I know a little young for this, but we thought it looked so fun- and we like that it can grow with her and she can use it when she is able to stand). Overall, she loves to play with it and we like the music and activities it provides. The price was a little high, but when you consider that it will last for many months, I think it's worth it. “

3. LEGO Duplo Learning

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This Lego set brings the same top quality fun that all other Lego products have done in the past. Perfect for ages 2+. Overall it's a nice set with a lot of pieces, but it all depends on what you're wanting to do with Legos.

This set is great for novelty pieces, like the double-decker four peg pieces which each have a number or corresponding number of items. They would be great fun for playing little number games with. This set also contains one cute little person who can be made to attach standing, or laying, or sitting on any Lego piece, and his pal, a dalmation dog. There is a single window, and a little standard Lego car. The white fence is a great novelty piece too.

For anyone new to Legos, or who is balking at the $25 price tag, I think it is worth mentioning that the ABS plastic used by Lego is quite safe and durable, and that many basic Lego bricks are still manufactured in European countries, which is pretty outstanding when you consider how big the company is.

I wouldn't pass up this set. The possibility for games with numbers is cool, the novel pieces are nice, and there are a few basics like the car.

Customer Reviews:

“I originally got my son the duplo box of 71. We had fun, but it was hard to make more than one thing at a time and hard to make a good house.

This set was the perfect compliment to it and filled up the rest of the 71 box.

I love the pictures and numbers and so does my son.

The cute additions (dog, flowers, fence, window, boy) are great for imaginative play, and it's nice to have an extra train car to hook up to the other one from the 71 box. “

“when i purchased this lego for my almost 2 years old baby, i didn't think it would be this nice. the pieces are big enough for his age, and he loves the little dog and man, and the car, which is nice to find all in one box. It has great educational potential, since it allows to match the numbers with their correspondent amount of little fun figures. Colors are great, it looks pretty durable, and i hope my little one will enjoy it for a long time. “

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4. Fisher-Price Lil' Zoomers Spinnin' Sounds Speedway

Ready, set, spin. Baby will love the put-and-take fun of placing two cool race cars on the ramp.

They roll down and around on the swirling, light-up raceway, then, surprise. The spinning action sends each car out to the exit ramp and under the spinning flag. Or baby can pull the gearshift to start the fun. Zooming speedway sounds, lively music and five flashing lights ramp up the excitement, with a winner every time.

This toy includes a race car setting. It's fun and interactive for your toddler. The age recommendation is 6 months to 3 years.

Customer Review:

“I bought this on a whim for my 5-month old newphew. It was easy to put together - after we got it out of the box - and soon we were up and running. The first few times he just sat back and took it in, but once he figured out what was going on, he couldn't get enough. In fact, when the cars would stop spinning and come out the other side, he would cry until another one got started. He's played with it several times in the last week or so and gets just as excited. “ 5. LeapFrog My Own Leaptop

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The Leaptop takes the spirit of a real laptop computer and infuses it with an appealing, kid-friendly design. This durable and organically-shaped plastic case opens like a laptop. The Leaptop's lightweight and convenient handle makes it a travel-friendly toy.

Above the large alphabet pad, you'll find the E-mail, Music Playlist, and Blog function buttons. Around the LED screen, you'll see computer-like icons displaying all of the Leaptop's interactive features. Kids will love switching between the Animal, Music, and Alphabet modes, which are accessed with the moveable mouse switch.

Each Leaptop has one of two puppy hosts, Violet or Scout. Depending on which Leaptop version you buy, one of these adorable puppies will accompany your child through all of the activities. Kids will even have access to Violet or Scout's personal blog by pressing the Blog button.

An Introduction to Letters, Animals, Music, and More

The Leaptop's three play modes and three function buttons will help your child learn the basics while having fun. Alphabet mode teaches letters and phonics; Music mode turns the alphabet pad into a music sampling machine, so your child can contribute musical animal noises and funny audio effects to songs; and Animal mode teaches kids to identify animals and their sounds.

The Email, Music Playlist, and Blog functions help children build vocabulary, and practice listening and reading skills. And they'll enjoy receiving emails and singing along with Leaptop's preset and downloadable songs. With the Leaptop, you'll be confident that your child is exposed to activities that help develop essential skills.

Personalize the Leaptop Online

You'll want to personalize your child's Leaptop by connecting it to your computer with the included USB cable. After connecting to the Leapfrog Web site, you can create a parent account that allows you to customize this toy laptop by creating a profile for your child.

You'll also be able to select songs for the Music Playlist and set up personalized emails from Scout or Violet and other friends and relatives in your child's life. Additional Scout and Violet downloads are available for purchase, and printable coloring sheets are available for free.

Customer Reviews:

“I have three boys, ages 3,5, and 6. They are all in various stages of learning to read...they all enjoy this, but my three year old cannot get enough of it. He jealously guards it, keeping it away from the other two kids, and he arried it around with him...he has learned his alphabet, and now he is learning the sounds the alphabet makes. I thought this would be an OK toy at best, but it has been a huge success story in my house...so much so, that I had to order two more so that hte other boys would have a chance to play with it as well! Even my 6 year old really likes it. Another good product from leap frog. I'm not sure how long this will last though, and I'm worried that my very rough boys will break it.

We have had it about 3 weeks or so and it has survived, but I worry about the screen. Anyway, great toy, inexpensive enough that I will probably even buy another one if it does break! THat is how much my boys like it. “

“We got the leaptop for my 20 month old after finding that most of the other toy laptops were for older toddlers and had a possible choking hazard. This is just right for my son. He had no trouble figuring it out and really loves the music. My only wish is that there was a selection for numbers, but otherwise this is a great toy for young toddlers who like music and letters. “ Top 5 Toys For Preschoolers

1. Fisher-Price Disney's Dance Star Mickey

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Now kids can get up and dance as their fun-loving pal Mickey Mouse comes to life right before their eyes. The new, innovative Dance Star Mickey walks, talks, and dances his way into kids'

hearts, topping off his skills with an "out of this world" grand finale to one of his signature dances. With one press of Mickey's foot, Dance Star Mickey comes to life for a fun interactive experience that encourages kids to get up, get active and dance. Grooving to six different songs with styles including, disco, Latin techno, and the Moonwalk, Dance Star Mickey is also packed with interactive games that will have children and parents laughing and dancing along.

Customer Reviews:

“Dance Star Mickey is simply the must own toy for the holiday season in 2010. If you have the money or if you love Mickey Mouse, you will not find a better toy. It's so worth it. The motion is absolutely breath taking. There are six different dances including a cool moonwalk and 2 interactive games called Freeze and Mickey Says. My favorite part: When Mickey talks and sings his mouth opens and closes with each word. It's completely in-synch. I'm not afraid to admit it but Mickey has cooler moves than me. The folks at Fisher-Price have outdone themselves.

The only problem with it is that it is powered by batteries but these are included. If your Mickey stops in the middle of the song, his batteries probably ran out. I've found to conserve the battery it's best to switch Mickey off with the switch located under his foot when done playing. Also the moonwalk works best on a hard slippery floor. He actually does slide smoothly across the floor thanks to the wheels underneath the toy's feet.

There is no way to describe how amazing this toy is until you see it for yourself. No matter what your age Dance Star Mickey will make you smile. Even after reading how amazing it was, it still blew me away. Very few products do that. “

2. Fisher-Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System

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Intuitive and Kid-Friendly Technology

Made of rugged plastic that will survive all kinds of crazy play, the iXL is similar to popular hand-held game players, but is designed for the use of younger children. The device opens like a book to reveal an LCD touch screen that displays all the action. Your kid will navigate through the activities by touching the tethered stylus to the screen.

The iXL is extremely intuitive and uncomplicated. The stylus has a holster and is tethered to the device by a sturdy nylon string, so your child will never lose it. Opposite the screen is a speaker with volume control, an Action button that allows you to make choices in certain modes, and a Home button that returns you to the Main Menu whenever you wish.

Easy Set Up

To turn the piece on, you or your child will simply press the Power button positioned on the side of the device. All elements of interaction--from the generous buttons and stylus, to the iXL's hearty casing--

are practical for children's use.

After unpacking the iXL, you'll get it ready for play by inserting four AA batteries then completing a quick calibration of the touch screen. You'll want to install the software for this toy via the accompanying CD-ROM to access additional features, software updates, and customizations.

Additional iXL features include an SD slot for memory expansion, built-in memory of up to 150 MB, and a standard headphone jack for those long car rides or flights.

An Interactive Learning Experience

The iXL will keep curious kids busy, entertained, and learning with its six preloaded activities. Your child will practice reading and comprehension with the Digital Reader, which includes an interactive 15-page story available in either the reading or interacting mode. For kids who love action, the Game Player features a three-level arcade game that promotes counting and learning about sequences and numbers.

Future young writers can practice the alphabet and their penmanship in the Notepad mode, while young artists will flex their creativity with the Art Studio's digital tools. The iXL includes an MP3 Player with five preloaded kid's songs and a Photo Viewer with three sample images that can be embellished and manipulated.

Software Downloads Expand Features

You'll get the most from the iXL by loading the software onto your PC and attaching the device to your computer with the accompanying USB cable. Although with high-speed cable internet software may take up to 30 minutes to download, once you completed this you can transfer files to increase playing options, including additional software for purchase that will add new stories and games for your child to play.

Navigating the software is simple and intuitive. You can create up to five profiles for the iXL, so this device can be enjoyed by the whole family. Add images or music files to the library and transfer them to the iXL. The software also gives you access to other fun and free extras, such as printable activity sheets for your child or the whole family, craft and party ideas, and other activity suggestions categorized by age.

Customer Reviews:

Pluses: My 4 year old son was immediately engrossed with this toy and was able to use it very little assistance; we now limit his time on this device so he'll do other activities. This is a good learning tool for younger children. Various themes are offered: counting, spelling, music, and coloring (can select from a palette of 16 colors); it does offer diverse entertainment. It should be ideal for a long car or airplane trip (small size is good). Family photographs can be downloaded and then drawn upon. There are up to 6 user accounts for different youngsters that can be created, but I do not consider this as a toy that can be easily shared; other than there are games for two players.

Minuses: 1) Children learn fast and its hard to believe any educational software suited for a 3/4 year old is going to challenge a 6/7 year old (which is the upper age range). The current software available seems good for about 3-5 year olds. The included software only has counting up to 20; video game up to only 10; the reading and vocabulary are little more advanced. There are other CD titles released, but I'm unsure that these really address the educational level for older children. 2) The transfer speed to down load optional software titles from a CD is very slow. It took about 30 minutes to download the Batman CD; this is about 30 minutes for 42MB of data. I'm guessing a 256MB flash memory that is about 10 years old is being employed in this unit. You just need to be patient when downloading any items (CD, photos, music). 3) The screen space for writing words is small; children are asked to write their name on the screen, but names longer than 4 letters need to be crammed into the space allotted.

The major intent is to trace a single letter or number and then, in this scenario, the writing space is adequate.

Other Info: As noted above the unit most likely has a 256MB flash memory installed; initially about 65MB is used (this includes the monkey: games, book, spelling, numbers, etc.) and about 160MB is free. So you should be able to add 4 games ($$$), but most likely not 5 ... especially if you have downloaded some music and/or photos into the unit. The unit seems a little heavy after loaded with batteries (not included) ... so smaller hands may have a harder time grasping and not dropping this toy (it does appear to be durable). “

3. Playmobil My Take Along Puppet Theater

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This fun play along station is perfect for the puppet shows and story telling. Action figures, dolls, and character puppets all work great with the Playmobil scene.

Customer Review:

“I purchased this take along for my 4.5 year old for Christmas. I couldn't find any reviews but I couldn't resist when I saw it at the kids toy store. The other playmobil sets seemed to have too many small pieces. My son has been pleased with it. He spent some time playing with the little figures. Very nice details. It doesn't have too many small pieces. Just the right amount. This is a great way to introduce children to theater/performance...etc. Also, the story included on the playmobil website is very helpful.

It can be downloaded from their website...

The only thing is that the little musical device doesn't have a great sound quality, but that couldn't have been from the batteries I have placed.

Overall, I would recommend this product to anyone age 4 and up. The take along feature is a plus. My son loved the idea of having it as a "suitcase".

4. The Sing-A-Ma-Jigs

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Your kids won't be able to resist the Sing-A-Ma-Jig, a whimsical and unique creature that loves to sing in its own jibber-jabber language. Alone, Sing-A-Ma-Jigs sing their favorite songs and notes, but in groups, they can interact and harmonize perfectly. Kids 36 months to 6 years old will be delighted to see these quirky creatures' mouths opening wide for each note.

A Whimsical Singing Creature

Each spirited and well-made Sing-A-Ma-Jig is constructed with thick, soft fabric and comes in a colorful print T-shirt with a Velcro tab that makes changing easy. Kids will love these creatures' fun and cuddly shape and will be eager to collect these otherworldly singers.

Each creature has its own unique colors, ear shape, and singing pitch. The Sing-A-Ma-Jig's mouth, which opens wide whenever it sings, is as entertaining as its singing. Your kids will be delighted to see the little teeth and tongue inside the moveable mouth.

Customer Reviews:

I wanted not to like these things, because they're weird looking, but I find myself playing with them every chance I get. Each differently colored animal, when you squeeze them emits an "Ohhhh" sound of a different pitch. Together, they harmonize. Each time you squeeze them, there is a different note sounded. You really need more than one to get the fun effect. I was thinking these would be perfect for grandparents to give to sets of grandchildren (or nieces/nephews/siblings/whatever) so they could be played with together. They don't do anything else, but what they DO is really fun. I'm not sure why.

You'll be disappointed with just one, though, because you can't hear the harmony. “

“I'm not even a little kid and I find these toys so adorable. I got this hot pink toy at CVS

yesterday. My mom, my sister and I were going to go see a movie, and we stopped at CVS real quick. I'd seen the Sing-A-Mi-Jig on TV and I tried squeezing it's belly. So cute! Soon each of us had a toy in our hands and we were harmonizing in the middle of the aile. If you squeeze it's hand twice then press it's belly it'll sing. This one sings A Tiskit A Tasket. Took me a few minutes to find out what song it was. Each one sings only one song, but I know that one will sing Oh He's A Jolly Good Fellow, and another one It's Raining It's Pouring.

So much fun! “

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5. Tonka Chuck's Stunt Park

Zip, zoom, turn and even flip-- perform all kinds of stunts with your CHUCK THE DUMP

TRUCK vehicle and this fun electronic play set. Press the TONKA plate to activate your vehicle's motor and send him racing down the mountain to do his flip flop stunt or set him up for his daring two-wheeled hanging stunt. Turn the handle to raise the scoop and help Chuck get to the next level. This little daredevil just loves to show off with you. Vehicle can drive on or off the track. So bring him with you to sit down and read from his storybook and plan your next big daring feat! Playset requires 2 "AA" batteries (included). Vehicle requires 2 "AA"

batteries (NOT included). Works with other Power Playard systems like Boomer's Flippin'

Fire Rescue, Rowdy's Trash Crash, and Handy's Hangtime Bridge. Other sets sold separately.

Age 3+

Customer Reviews:

My little boy loves this sooooo much! So much going on, with hidden surprises and challenges. And, he REALLY loves even more now that he sees Tonka Chuck the Truck on his new TV show (HUB -

Discovery Kids). He can now reenact scenes from the show. He loves to watch Chuck motorize through all the different ramps and obstacles, and he can customize the track.....so he can get creative. My son freaked when he opened this gift! “

“I just had to review this toy. It is very cute and actually takes some thinking ahead for the little one to make sure the track is in the right place before the Chuck dump truck comes along. IF the track is not in the right place Chuck the dump truck will just keep on moving straight and off course. This takes some practice for a little one to figure out, but he/she will get that the track has to be lined up right (the yellow loose track pieces that is). Anyway, I had to review this because the stunt ramp comes with batteries so the kids hear a noise when the blue ramp is lifted... but... the entire Stunt Park will not work unless you have 2 AA batteries for the Chuck the dump truck. So, I would hate for anyone to put this toy together and think it will work since they give you batteries for the un-needed ramp part and not the very needed dump truck. It is really a neat toy. I could not give 5 stars just because of the battery thing...

seems a bit dishonest to have batteries for the ramp so you think you have all that is needed

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but then notice 2 AA are needed to get the thing to operate at all. So, I wanted to give a heads up! True, all you would have to do is read the box and see you need 2 AA... but still. “ Top 5 Toys For Boys

1. Air Hogs Hawk Eye Channel A

Take to the skies and record videos from a bird’s eye view with the Air Hogs Hawk Eye radio control video camera helicopter. This silver helicopter is a great way to play spy and record up to five minutes of video or hundreds of pictures.

Customer Reviews:

“Indestructible?!?! This thing went IN my pool and completely submerged, while running. The rotor was actually running under-water. I took it out, turned it off, let it try for about 12 hours and it came right back to life! If anything it's flying better now! This is a tough little device. I've crash landed it about 15 times and it is still fine. 5 Stars for surviving the water.... come on!!!

The downsides to this type of R/C Heli are well known: IR control has known issues, 4 "axis"

directional control is limiting and makes it hard to get the heli to do "exactly" what you want.. basically you can not control forward/backward motion in this type of Heli.

You can control it fairly well if you trim it (often) and learn how it likes to fly. I'd say it's more controllable than the Havocs I've tried but similar overall.

It's a fun toy. It flys and takes pictures and video all via remote control. The fact that this thing sells for around 50 bucks is pretty amazing. I'm sure a $500 or $5000 version would be really incredible but then I wouldn't be buying/flying it so I'm pretty happy overall. “

“My experience has been very good! I bought mine at Target. It does take a long time to charge, about

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40-45 minutes, but then I get about 10 minutes flight time with no crashes without running the Camera.

Folks should take note, taking pictures or running the video camera will shorten the battery life, so make sure you don't accidently turn it on. I have crashed and crashed and crashed this thing. It is still in the same shape it was when I pulled it out of the box. In my opinion, it is better and a lot easier to fly than the other models, e.g. The Jackal. I have already recommended this to my friends for their kids Christmas gift.

Another note folks should know about, the chopper itsself uses a USB cord to charge it, so you need a Laptop, PC, Play Station, X-Box or simliar USB compatiable divice available to charge it. “ 2. Hot Wheels R/C Stealth Rides Batmobile Tumbler

Miniature RC Racing Car Folds into the Transmitter/Carrying Case The innovative foldable design of this RC racing car is the first of its kind. Kids will love carrying this pocket-sized car around, and you'll appreciate how simple it is to store and maintain.

Modeled after the Batmobile, this car features a transformation button on the rear window. When the button is pushed, the vehicle's sides fold down, allowing you to slip the car into the slim carrying compartment which doubles as the transmitter.

While you're removing the car from the case press the transformation button and this speedy racer will spring back into shape. The transmitter's two buttons allow for intuitive, multi-directional movement.

A Lightning-Fast RC Racer for Indoor Play

The foldable RC Stealth Rides Racing Car features incredible, agile movement. It performs best indoors on hard surfaces, where it's protected from direct sun. This RC racer has a shorter driving range than other RC vehicles, so tell kids to stay close to their cars while they play.

Kids will love getting together and racing their RC Stealth Rides vehicles. Much like a TV remote, this RC vehicle relies on infrared signals to operate, so playing with two vehicles simultaneously requires that they be set to different channels. Setting up a race between two cars is easy--check the backside of

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the transmitters and cars, and switch one set to channel three, and the other to channel four.

If the car and transmitter remain idle, the power will automatically shut off. Teach kids to set the channels to zero after they're finished with the big race.

What's in the Box

RC Stealth Rides Racing Car with AG13 (LF44) batteries, three extra AG13 (LF44) batteries, and instructions.

Customer Reviews:

“Item arrived within delivery window and in good condition. It appears very close in detail to the movie vehicle. It requires channel selection on the case/remote and vehicle itself, with an on/off switch.

Once it is turned on and placed on a flat surface, it is actually faster than it appears. The kids love this item. In terms of its durability, remember that it does "fold" flat when pressed on the top "vertex" above the cockpit and requires a bit of force to get it to lock in place. Once locked in "flat" position, it actually retains that shape until you press the release button. The controls take some getting used to in terms of turning left or right but other than that it is a nice pocket replica of the movie vehicle and great for table top obstacle courses or racing. We are happy with the purchase. “

“My son loves this toy, so much so, his brother had to go out to buy one with Christmas money... “ 3. Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS

Fully-Automatic Blasting Power

The fully automated Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS has the ability to launch an astounding three darts per second. Your child can either squeeze the trigger once to let a single dart fly, or hold the trigger down and have the Stampede launch Nerf darts in rapid-fire succession. With three extended 18-dart clips, a quick-reload 6-dart clip, and 60 Clip System darts, the Stampede is ready to reload and keep the foam flying.

Pop-Out Bipod and Blast Shield Fire Up the Fun

The Stampede's accessories can be configured for all kinds of action adventures. Kids can bunker down for an ambush with the pop-out bipod. Simply snap on the bipod to support the barrel, hold the target in the pin sight, then take a shot.

The Stampede boasts a 30-foot firing range, so the backyard or basement can be covered in soft Nerf darts in no time. When the battle heats up, the Stampede's blast shield attaches quickly to fend off return "fire".

Designed for Realistic, Active Play

Weighing nearly 5 pounds and built of thick, durable plastic, the Stampede has the heft of a genuine article. Nevertheless, it's easy to hold and operate--even in the heat of battle--thanks to the trigger handle and two additional carrying handles integrated into the Stampede's stock.

What's in the Box

The N-Strike Stampede blaster with pop-out bipod and blast shield, three extended 18-round clips, quick-reload 6-dart clip, 60 Clip System darts, and directions.

Customer Reviews:

“I obtained this gun for my son. However, I am 50-years-old and even I think this thing is cool. My 13-year-old son thinks it is really, freaking cool. His 11-year-old sister does not think it is quite as cool for some odd reason...hmmm.

Anyway, my son has several Nerf guns. This one definitely has a higher rate of fire power than any other he has. He also has a Nerf gun called a "long-shot" (or some such thing). The long-shot can shoot a bit farther than this gun, but you have to pump it every time you shoot. So, in an outside battle when distances are greater, the long-shot pump may have a slight advantage. But inside, or in any shorter distance battle, the Stampede will be the gun of choice.

Really, this thing is a lot of fun. My son and his 6-year-old sister are playing with it right now. There are dozens of Nerf darts laying around all over the living room. The 6-year-old has poor aim, so this causes all sorts of mayhem.

But fun is fun, and they are having plenty of fun. It is amazing how quickly they can fire 60 darts all over the place.

The only downside to this gun is it uses batteries, so every once in a while I will have to replace the six D-cells (which do not come with the gun). So this adds some cost. Also, the original buying cost is higher than other Nerf guns. But it does have 4 magazines and 60 darts included. So that adds some value. And watching my kids play with this thing makes it appear that if you figure the cost per hour of time played with the gun, the cost will end up being fairly low. The gun also seems to be well built and sturdy.

In any case, it is very fun and worth having for kids that like Nerf guns...or for the dads that battle it out with kids. “

4. R

e

al Construction Deluxe Tool Workshop

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The Real Construction Deluxe Tool Set makes a great gift with over 120 pieces of tools, nails, screws and kid wood. With real sawing, cutting and nailing build anything you can imagine, or use the included project book. Real Construction Deluxe Tool Set includes: Includes Saw, Hammer, Screw Driver, Hole Borer, Small Detail Saw, Nails, Screws and Multiple Pieces of Kid Wood.

Customer Reviews:

“This is a great toy. My son got it for his eighth birthday and he has enjoyed it so far. However, it doesn't really come with an instruction manual. Instead there is a book that shows pictures of what the pieces look like. You have to guess the sizes of the pieces and how to cut them. If you just want to 'cut the wood' it's great, but if you actually want to make something, good luck. “

“Real Construction Deluxe Tool Set" is a charming junior carpentry set that includes everything you would expect to find with this kind of toy, including a saw, hammer, screw driver, hole borer, small detail saw, nails, screws, and assorted planks of "Kid Wood"

(basically a type of plastic Styrofoam). The kid-friendly plastic tools are able to cut and manipulate the "kid wood" just as real tools would with real wood.

With a little effort, your child will be able to build his own toys, furniture, accessories, etc. I gave this to my 6 year old nephew a week ago, and he loves it, having already built a truck, a plane, a box, among other things. When the wood runs out (and it will), you can always order more bundled refill packs (sold right here on Amazon.com).

While its true that a more descriptive manual would have been nice, the included "project manual" has enough ideas to get kids started. In fact, after an initial glance at the book, my nephew has barely used the manual, except for some occasional quick inspiration as to what to build next.

Also, keep in mind that this toy is definitely not geared towards the average child under six, and not just due to the small pieces (or lack of detailed instructions); while a five-year-old may seem close in age to a six-year-old chronologically, on average there is a fairly big

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cognitive difference between the two age sets. In other words, when compared with a six-year-old, the average five-year-old will have a far more difficult time conceptualizing, organizing and building the more complex structures that this toy set is capable of.

In all, this is a great toy set, one that encourages and challenges a child's creative thinking and other cognitive skills in a way that is sadly lacking in today's Disney-fied era of prefabricated toy merchandising. Only the lack of a more detailed set of instructions holds this toy back from a five-star review... but if my six-year-old nephew can overcome that obstacle, then chances are so can yours. Highly recommended. “

5. Spy Net: Secret Mission Video Watch

The ultimate spy tool, packed with high tech spy features. Includes: real working video camera and microphone to record video, audio and even photos; full color 1.4" TFT screen to watch recorded videos and live playback; onboard memory to store your evidence and files; upload and download video missions from SpyNetHQ.com. Rechargeable battery and USB cable, included. Ages 8+.

Customer Review:

“Let me say this is one amazing product. I at first thought it was just some high tech watch that perhaps did a few things extra but was I ever wrong. This watch is amazing.

Here are some of the features I found right off:

It takes photos, both in real time or you can use the time elapse feature It has a lie detector built in, we used this feature right away and it was really fun It is a video camera and you can take video or record voice without anyone knowing it It has a full screen, easy to see and easy to operate

It tells time in many different time zones

It can be connected to your computer by USB and you can download missions It has a built in voice changer that is a lot of fun to use It also has several add on features that can be purchased separately that we plan to look into in the future

And that my friend is just the beginning of this wonderful watch.

My granddaughter and I had a blast with it for several hours. We recorded everyone, took pictures, videoed, it was great fun. We than decided we wanted to download a mission. Understand, you do not have to download missions or interact with the website to enjoy this product. It's totally up to you . If you decide to download missions it will probably require adult help and/ or someone familiar with computers. I am well versed with computers and I still had to call customer service for a couple of quick solutions. I was delighted when a real person answered the phone(with no waiting)! She was very courteous and knowledgeable. Within a few minutes we were back on track and completing our first mission. The missions are clear good quality videos with easy to follow instructions.

I have not had it long enough to tell you how durable it is, however it appears to be very well made.

I am very impressed with this product, it is definitely top-notch in fun and entertainment. My 11 year old granddaughter used the product with ease and loves it. Of course understand Grandma's can have just as much fun with it as well, and I am living proof of that. Amazing product, well worth your money. Enjoy! “

Top 5 Toys For Girls

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1. Barbie Video Girl Doll

A Real Working Camera and Stylish Barbie in One

With Video Girl Barbie, your child can play filmmaker by shooting real videos. Barbie's necklace features a camera lens that shoots from her point of view. You can watch the recordings in real time and play them back on the color LCD screen that's conveniently located on her back.

Barbie's controls allow up to 25 minutes of recording at a time. You can scroll through your clips and delete what you don't want to use. With the USB cable, you can even transfer clips to your computer.

Barbie's playback mode doesn't include audio, but you'll be able to see and hear the clips when you transfer them to your computer.

Barbie comes out of the box in denim jeans, a trendy print hoodie with shimmery pink fabric, and matching pink ankle boots. You can hold her while you're recording, or use her jointed knees, elbows, and hands to pose and point her toward your film set. Whether she's documenting her birthday party or filming a dramatic epic starring her favorite Barbie dolls, your child will love the creative possibilities of Video Girl Barbie Doll.

Video Girl Editing Software Includes Fun, Preloaded Extras Plug Barbie into your Windows machine with the USB cable and download the free exclusive editing software that allows you to turn your clips into movies with music, sound effects, graphics, and transitions. The software comes preloaded with soundtrack music that fits most any genre--from romance and action, to comedy and drama. Kids will love integrating the Barbie-themed transitions, opening screens, and closing credits screens into their films.

With Video Girl editing software, you can even connect Barbie to your computer for live video display.

The software is intuitive and easy to use, but younger children may need help learning the tools. After your child is done editing her film, she can save the file and share it with her friends.

What's in the Box

Video Girl Barbie Doll with video camera inside, USB cable, instruction manual.

Customer Reviews:

“We purchased this for our daughter's 7th birthday. She loves it! The video quality is surprisingly good for something that fits inside a Barbie doll! The audio isn't bad either. You do need quite a bit of light for recording, but we were able to record things inside the house with light just from open blinds. The editing software is a little tricky to figure out, but I was able to "produce" a 2 minute video with intros, transitions, sounds, and credits in about 30 minutes. I don't have any prior experience with editing software, and I'm sure it will get much quicker now that I've figured out how to do it. I don't think my daughter will be able to edit any videos herself, but I would rather help her anyway. Overall, I think this is a great product, and I would definitely recommend others buy this if they are thinking about it. “

“I'm not sure other reviewers appreciate how brilliant this is. It's a working video camera that shoots video akin to the quality you'd find from high end digital cameras a few years ago, all from a tiny camera embedded in a Barbie doll's chest!

The potential is fantastic, tapping into a new way for children to tell their stories and engage in imaginary play. Imagine getting a Barbie's Eye View of her dream house or her date with Ken. It adds another layer of possibilities to make these playworlds come alive for those participating in them.

Some reviewers are concerned, but I wonder if they're the same reviewers who would just as easily give their pre-teen or young teenage children phones with working video cameras. It's just as difficult to tell what they're doing with those phones and who they're sharing photos and videos with. That doesn't mean these devices should be banned. It means parents and caretakers need to teach their children what's appropriate. Little girls could set Barbie's hair on fire too, but most parents would say they've instilled enough of a sense of right and wrong in their kids to make sure that doesn't happen.

As for educational value, it's tremendous. Children - boys and girls alike - need to have a working familiarity with technology today. Transferring videos with the hot pink (hot pink!) USB cable is fairly easy, but also takes a bit of technological prowess. It takes a little more learning to figure out how to upload such videos to YouTube, Facebook, or anywhere else. You can do this with Barbie's software, or with other programs like Picasa (that works great for me). There are some drawbacks, such as sound quality that is subpar to the video quality and battery casing that requires a screwdriver, but still, this is a $45 toy and video camera hybrid, so it's impressive for what it is.

All in all, I'm impressed with the new direction toys are heading in. I'm sure it's scary for those whose most sophisticated toy growing up was a Slinky. In her own way though, Barbie Video Girl will inspire young girls and empower them to embrace technology, learn from it, and expand their storytelling horizons. “

2. FurReal GoGo My Walkin' Pup

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Looks, Barks, and Pants Like the Real Thing

Modeled after a Bichon Frise dog, GoGo is soft to the touch and proportioned close to the real thing. Her ears have a crinkle-style texture and closely resemble a Bichon's after a trip to the groomer. In other words, GoGo is a cutie.

Pet GoGo on the head and she will bark with enthusiasm. Pet her on the side, and she'll turn to meet you. GoGo's tail wags and she gives off a high-pitched bark. Her head tilts, raises and lowers, and her body wiggles.

Her actions are startlingly life-like, so much so that while our testers were taking a break from playing with her, GoGo stood before the lunch counter, barking and panting as if she wanted a treat like any real dog would. She even sheds, so beware!

Remote-Controlled Dog Wants to Go, Go, Go!

GoGo is aptly named. With the big-buttoned remote control that doubles as a leash and fits comfortably in a young child's hand, you can turn on the pup and she's raring to go. Set her to "try" mode, and GoGo will respond to sound or motion--she'll also bark, but she won't move. Set GoGo to "on" mode, and she practically tugs at her leash to go for a walk.

The leash controls GoGo's movements. Press the forward arrow, and she walks at a kid's pace; press the left and right arrow buttons, and she negotiates corners. Once GoGo starts moving, she doesn't want to come back. Don't worry, though--her motor is not too strong, so kids can easily rein her in when it's time to go home.

Even while in the "on" mode, GoGo remains both sound and motion activated, so any activity on your walk will make her respond like a real pet. Be careful--if you cough or sneeze in GoGo's presence, she could take off on her own!

Built to Walk on Smooth, Dry Surfaces

GoGo is designed with four rubber wheels--one beneath each paw--that are hidden by fur. Each of the front wheels rotates on a cam lobe, and GoGo's knees are jointed, so her front legs appear to bend as if she's extending her forepaws to walk.

Customer Reviews:

“GoGo the walking pup is cute and is quite a bit of fun. It responds to being pet in a way that makes you want to pet it more. We have seen some people react to it as if it was a real dog, trying to call him and rubbing him on his neck. If you ignore GoGo it will whine for attention but then go to sleep after a little while. If you move near one of its sensors it will wake up and bark for attention. My son, who is autistic, enjoys playing with him and petting him and even trying to feed him. He has been a little rough with GoGo and GoGo has endured the abuse without any problems. I think the long term enjoyment of GoGo is probably limited because GoGo really can only do so much. But don't be surprised if you find yourself petting GoGo while he is sitting on your lap and you're watching TV. “

“I looked on the product page before this arrived to see what kind of batteries it would need. I didn't see any mention of this, so I was pleased it came with a set of batteries. It does require 4

"C" batteries, if you want to have extras on hand.

I was glad that my tester was here when this cute pup arrived. My grandson is 3years, 1

month. The recommended age begins at 4. This is probably a pretty good recommendation.

While a younger child will be interested, there are things they just won't be able to do. For example, for it to do a half-turn, you need to hold down the forward button at the same time as either the left turn button or the right turn button. I also hope the leash controls are sturdy because it has been dropped several times as well as being used to drag the dog.

This dog wasn't just built for walking using the remote control. If you pet her on the head, she will make excited noises while moving her head up and down and wagging her tail. There are even sensors on the sides. This dog might even whine to beg you to pet a little longer! If you stop playing for about a minute, the dog will go into "daydreaming" mode and won't move or make sounds. Activate any sensor and it will wake up. They recommend using the off position for the switch on the bottom to save on battery usage. While on the subject of sensors, the dog will stop moving when you pick it up. If it won't move forward, you should check to see if the

"pickup" switch is turned on. It's on the right rear wheel.

I think my grandson is having a good time with this pup. He just "walked" it until it's in front of my dog's food and told it to eat! He's really into imaginary play and this will add to that. He walks his dogs with his dad frequently. “

3. Justin Bieber Singing Dolls

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Home videos made him an online phenomenon, and now hes an international superstar!

Justin Bieber dominates the charts and captures girls hearts with his catchy songs and signature style. Now you can collect these JB figures featuring songs and outfits from his top music videos! Each figure plays a 30-second clip of the featured song and comes in an outfit Justin really wore in the video. Also includes a cool mini fan magazine for you!

Customer Review:

“This Justin Bieber doll is a very sturdy doll. I can't see anybody breaking theirs any time soon. The clothes are made of cotton I think, but what was surprising is that the jeans are actually made of denim, and not some fake-feeling fabric. Justin has the following points of articulation: neck, shoulders, elbows, legs, knees, and feet. Foot articulation was kind of surprising, but I'm really glad they included it, as it allows him to be posed in some dancing poses. Only complaint here is that the sunglasses included look massive compared to his head, but still manage to look cool somehow. This is a great doll for fans, children, collectors, or people who just want the clothes. Also, I really love his jacket. To get the doll off of demo mode, there is a switch underneath his right arm that has "On, Off, and Demo".

Flick the switch to "On", and it'll play 30 seconds of "Baby". “ 4. Monster High Draculaura Doll

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Monster High Doll Draculaura with Count Fabulous Pet Bat Draculaura, is one of the coolest ghouls in school with her trendy fashions, accessories and scary cute pet bat. And she has a very famous scary cool parents as well. Draculaura is the daughter of Dracula. Doll is fully articulated so she can be posed in many different ways. Includes 1 doll, pet bat, accessory, diary, brush, and doll stand.

Customer Reviews:

“Yes, they do have small parts, and yes they are fragile but it's easy to put their hands, arms, whatever falls off back in place... it snaps in. So don't let that stop you from getting these dolls. They are wonderful and fun and different and hey they're supposed to be monsters so if a random arm or whatever comes off it's no big deal. It is easy to put back together again. “

“I love this doll! I bought it for my daughter 2 days ago & she adores her. I am so glad someone has come up with a doll for girls who are not into the pretty-princess thing. I plan to buy all Monster High dolls etc.

The doll box clearly states age 6+ for this doll,so don't give her to babies or wild-ones that will pull her apart. Our doll does not come apart easily. We had to pull HARD to detatch her hand. It snapped tightly into place,so don't worry about the dropsies stated in an earlier review. Super posibility makes these dolls super fun for young imaginations. Give Monster High a chance. I don't think you will be disappointed. “

5. Blip Squinkies Cupcake Surprise Bakeshop

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Come along to the world of squinkies where you will find a soft and squishy surprise! Watch the gumball machine transform into a bake shop as you open the flaps on the side. Enjoy countless hours of fun playing in this cup cake surprise bake shop! Fill the cupcake with all your favorite Squinkies. Then, insert your coins into the slot and turn the dial for a super Squinkie surprise.

Customer Reviews:

“Excellent, Excellent toy. My daughter loves it. She even carries some of the squinkies off to the shower with her. She likes the "tiny" factor of the toy. I would not recommend this for small children who would put it in their mouthes; but it's great for her age-range.

You're able to put the toy-filled balls into the cupcake top, put one of the toy coins in the slot, and dispense it like a gum-ball machine. It is really clever; and my daughter has played with it for hours-on-end.

Even though it does not rank high on the educational value; it enables her to use her imagination.

Great toy, and I would recommend it. “

“Love this toy however I was very disapointed to see how much Amazon is charging for this as well as the Gumball Surprise Playhouse. They are just under $20 at Walmart and Target. Yes, they sell quickly but considering the price it's worth waiting for. I believe Toys R US also sells both for just under $20. I love Amazon and buy a lot from them however this is disappointing. “ Top 5 Specialty Toys For 2011

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1. Playmobil 5923 Figure Set Furnished School Set

Learning is fun with the Playmobil School. This playset lets you use your imagination as you explore the joys of education. Play the role of teacher or student as you explore the multi-level building. With plenty of room for different classrooms, you can learn about science, art and more. The school comes furnished with a classroom, science room, art and music room and all the accessories you need to explore these subjects. Adjust the time on the clock to keep everyone on schedule or write on the chalkboard to illustrate your lessons. The set includes 10

figures for a full class

Customer Reviews:

“My 6 year-old daughter requested this from Santa. At first, I was concerned about the high cost of the toy but then she reminded me that "Santa doesn't buy them, he makes them!" so of course, she found this set under the Christmas tree this year. My husband is still assembling it as I type - I would say that it takes about 2.5-3 hrs of assembly and your child will definitely need your assistance! I have to say that given its build quality, and number of figures and accessories, it is a "great deal" when compared to LEGO or other Playmobil sets. The attention to detail is impeccable- the globe spins and you can even write on the chalkboard and erase it.

I am certain that it will provide hours and hours of creative play. The building itself is huge-you will not be able to put it on their bedside table so make sure you have room for them to set this up in. But I "highly" recommend it ! “

“I purchased this set for my 4 year old daughter for her birthday. She already had a smaller "take along"

sized set that she really enjoyed. Her eyes lit up when she saw this full sized version. There are so many pieces (this can get a little hairy when it comes time to pick up!) and so many different ways for her to play. I forsee this toy providing many hours of enjoyment and imaginative play. “ 2. Hexbug Nano Habitat Set

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Hexbug Nano Habitat Set. Reconfigurable set lets you create a variety of Nano homes. Go buggy with Hexbug Nano--the micro-robotic creature that acts like a real bug! Habitat Set includes 2 extremely rare Nanos and everything you need to make them a happy home: 4

easy-connect curved pieces, 3 easy-connect straight pieces and 3 easy-connect hexagon pieces.

Configure the pieces any way you like, then turn your Nanos loose to play! Real fun with real science. Nanos may look like bugs, but theyre actually very cool little robots that use the physics of vibration to propel themselves along and explore their environment. Learn about the science of micro-robotics as you watch them run and skitter, flip over and pop back on their feet... all in their own special habitat, custom-made by you! 1"-long Nanos include batteries. Assembled habitat is 17" w x 14" l x 2" h. Nanos use 1 AG13 button cell battery each (sold separately for $3). The Hexbug Nano Habitat Set from Brookstone is home-sweet-home for Nanos! Order yours today. Warning: Choking hazard--small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

Customer Reviews:

“We got this as a last minute gift for our son's 6th B-day. I was talked into it by another mother who was there to purchase more "bugs" for her kids. She was right, this was an excellent toy for my son. He spends lots of time setting it up and fighting the little bugs against his sister's. I would purchase this again. “

“We bought the Hexbug Nano Habitat and two additional Hexbug Nanos for my 6 year old son for Christmas. We were looking for one last gift and the reviews of this product spurred us to make the purchase. Four days after Christmas, and this is still the hit of the day. He has been building and rebuilding their habitat and watching them go, all while laughing and sliding around on the floor and narrating their adventures. He's even begun to try to find his own ways to expand their world. The track, while appearing very simple, is actually fairly durable and can be connected in a variety of different ways. Even with a set of straight track for expansion, he can usually find a new way to connect all of the pieces in just a few minutes entirely on his own.

They've also been amusing for the adults in the household to play with and watch. They appear incredibly sentient for something so simply constructed. You can even bet on which bug is the toughest

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or fastest or smartest and wait for them to run into each other going down one o the pathways.

I can't yet attest to how long the batteries run, but after 3-4 days of fairly heavy usage, they appear to still be going strong. “

3. Creativity for Kids Shrinky Dink Deluxe

Make 60 Shrinky Dinks with genuine Shrinky Dink Film and an awesome array of ideas and accessories. A complete Shrinky Dinks fun factory with oodles of supplies. Includes 10 sheets of pre-printed Shrink film, charm bracelets, beads, greeting cards, gift tags, jewelry, cord, hair clips and keys chains plus 8 color pencils, sharpener, and hole punch. Color bake and watch them shrink. Quick and clever craft perfect for parties, play and rainy days.

Customer Reviews:

“I am very impressed with this set. First of all, Shrinky Dinks are just as awesome as I remember them being 25 years ago. Although they are even more fun now, playing with them with your own kids and watching my 3 year old looking through the window of the oven as they begin to shrink. We played with them together for almost 2 hours!!! The kit comes with everything, right down to the hole puncher needed to make the dinks into necklaces etc. Everything is right there. Super great Kid. Worth the money and will provide hours of fun! “

“I LOVE this shrinky dink kit. I have purchased/am purchasing it for every girls' birthday this year. My 5-yr old really likes to color the patterns in and then watch them shrink in the oven. I also like the accompanying supplies to make necklaces, barrettes, keychains, gift tags, etc. It's a great value for the price. If you have a child that enjoys arts and crafts, put this at the top of your list. All gift recipients (5

yr olds) have told me that it is their favorite thing to make.

One thing that I must stress is follow the instructions EXACTLY! Preheat your cookie sheet in the oven. Use babypowder on the foil. Watch the shrink dinks shrink. Do not use a toaster oven; you will not get the best results. I know this as a friend of mine used a toaster oven and didn't follow the rest of

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the instructions - the shrinky dinks didn't turn out very well. “ 4. ThinkFun Solitaire Chess

Everyone knows the best part of Chess is capturing your opponent's pieces. Solitaire Chess makes the best part the whole point. Players get 10 pieces, two each of the Knight, Rook, Pawn and Bishop, one each of the King and Queen, and 40 challenges. Set pieces on the board according to the challenge cards, and proceed to capture each one, but only by using the same moves allowed in traditional Chess. Players have to capture a piece with every move, so the game is fast-paced and always exciting. Ages 8 to Adult.

Customer Reviews:

I have purchased numerous ThinkFun games. Our favorites include all versions of Rush Hour, Sudoku, Clever Castle, Zingo, S'Match, and Chocolate Fix. I've tried a few others which we like, but those are my favorite. This is a new one to add to the favorite list! Having spent the summer learning how to play Chess, I am very excited that we can use the rules of the chess pieces to solve logic puzzles. It is really, really well done! The goal of each card is to have the chess pieces capture the other pieces until only one is left standing. The game is set up in a grid, so that you can look up the answers in the order at which you need to move the pieces. Ex. A2 moves to B4, etc. etc. The chess pieces are in a sliding drawer underneath the case which holds the challenge cards. Just beware, the cards are difficult to get out at first. It took some effort to slide them out. “

“As a non-chess player, I was intrigued by this game's promise to challenge experienced chess players while also teaching novices the basic rules of the game. WOW! What a fantastic way to learn the rules of chess! Early challenges help new players get used to the various moves each chess token can make, and there's a handy reference provided just in case. By challenge 4 I felt comfortable remembering the chess moves and was on a roll! Each of the 60 puzzles challenges you to eliminate all but one piece, kind of like a peg solitaire game, and you need to plan moves carefully or you'll be stranded and need to reset. Great brain exercise in strategy and planning.

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I would recommend this game to any game lover, whether a chess newbie or someone who has been playing for years - it is a blast, and the packaging design allows it to pack all together and travel easily, I'll take this on my next trip! “

5. UglyDoll Classic Uppy

From the creative minds of two artists emerge the Uglydoll family. What started as a drawing of a playful orange character known as Wage has turned into a whole new world of fun. The award-winning Uglydoll plush characters are available in a variety of styles each with their own distinct personalities. Uglydoll characters inspire creativity while reminding us that we are all unique in our own special way. These are the dolls that not only girls are seen carrying but boys as well. They are the dolls that many boys are willing to nap with, be seen on the streets with and take to camp. Uglies are neither superheros nor stuffed animals. Each has their face hand-sewn which gives them all a slightly different look. Bop 'n Beep is blue on one side and green on the other side.

Disclaimer

Some of the links within this ebook are affiliate links. The person who gave you this ebook may be getting compensated for each purchase you make. The promise of this ebook is to bring you the real information on the best Christmas gifts of 2011. Use this information how you wish.

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