What toys are on your holiday shopping list? Do you remember the days when your mom handed you the Sears catalog and said choose what you want. Times have changed and there are a lot more toys to choose from. Just recently I met with three toy experts from Time to Play Magazine. They actually review toys for a living (cool job). They are not employed by the toy companies but have a great deal of influence over them. They put together a list of their best picks for the upcoming holiday season. See if your kids favorites made the list. These are listed by the recommened  age for kids. Big Action Construction Site From Fisher-Price Recommended for ages 2.5 and up The Big Action Construction Site is a 360-degree playset with lots to engage kids from every angle. It features a preschooler-ready R/C truck that’s easy for even a 3-year-old to use because it has four simple buttons and color-coded steering. It’s easy for kids to drive the truck freestyle on the floor, but then kids can drive it onto one of the ramps to activate play. The ramps are designed to guide the truck into the right position. There is also an automatic elevator. Just drive the truck on, and it raises the truck to the second level or lowers it back down. There is also an automatic dump-and-load feature and a boulder lifter. Everything packs away in the sturdy set that has a carry handle. Click here for more of this review Hot Wheels Wall Tracks From Mattel Recommended for ages 4 and up Hot Wheels has been around for nearly 43 years, and this year it’s adding some great innovation. Instead of tracks being built on the floor, Wall Tracks are built up on the wall. Packaged with a simple installation template, along with Command Strips from 3M, parents can easily hang the Wall Tracks without concerns over wall damage. Completely modular, the track pieces can be moved around and mixed and matched to allow for maximum creativity and fun. Once your track is assembled, put the car at the top of the track and launch it down. Wall Tracks were designed to also go around corners, so kids can fit their Wall Tracks behind a room door, closet door, or just along the corner of their room. Every Wall Tracks product comes packaged with a Hot Wheels die-cast car. Click here for more of this review InnoTab From VTech Recommended for ages 4 and up Kids are fascinated by everything in the adult world, so it’s no surprise that they want to get their hands on adult technology like an iPad. Most parents aren’t comfortable handing such an expensive device to their 4 year old. But toymakers are solving this problem by developing toys that offer age-appropriate tablet experiences for kids. VTech, which has been a leading manufacturer of interactive learning toys, has gotten into the game with the InnoTab, an activity-rich tablet designed for ages 4 ”9. The interface will be familiar to anyone who is familiar with a tablet computer. Apps appear on the home screen and can be selected with a touch. A swipe lets you scroll through them, and turning the unit lets you reorient the layout of the screen when you turn it on its side. Resident apps include an e-reader, motion games, art studio, and a coloring book. The InnoTab is also an MP3 player, a photo player, and an organizer. You can also connect the InnoTab to the computer to download more ebooks, games, and apps. (Parents can use the online Learning Lodge Navigator to track kids’ progress in learning.) In addition to the resident apps and downloadable content, there’s also a complete library of cartridges that let kids play games and have learning adventures with a variety of favorite characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, and more. The InnoTab has a headphone jack and a stylus. It comes in pink and blue versions. Click here for more of this review Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Jewel Sparkles From MGA Entertainment Recommended for ages 4 and up The Lalaloopsy dolls have gotten a new look ”bendable, plastic hair. Silly Hair Jewel Sparkles has long, bendable strands of plastic hair for girls to style and decorate. Add beads to the hair, straighten it, curl it, or twist it. The doll comes with a styling brush, four clips, six hair beads, and a poster. Also included is a pet cat figure that has a long and bendable tail for styling. Click here for more of this review Lazer Stunt Chaser Dragon Fire From Thinkway Toys Recommended for ages 4 and up The Lazer Stunt Chaser Dragon Fire is a light-controlled R/C stunt vehicle. This car performs stunts and is always “right side up,” thanks to its two-sided design. The remote control lets kids drive the car right, left, forward, or backward. But the remote also emits a light (Not a real laser.), and the car chases after the light. Wherever you point the light, the car will drive. There is a performance range of 40 feet, so the car and remote work together even from fairly long distances. The car comes with a stunt ramp for performing different tricks and a built-in rechargeable battery with charger. The remote has two channels so kids can race two cars at once. Click here for more of this review LeapPad Explorer From LeapFrog Recommended for ages 4 and up Today’s kids are very tech-savvy. Even the youngest kids know how to use the same gadgets that mom or dad use, and they want to. However, some parents may be wary of letting their 4-year-old play with an expensive iPad. LeapFrog introduces its LeapPad Explorer, which is designed to look and work like an iPad or other tablet device and offers kids an age-appropriate and educational tablet experience. The LeapPad Explorer features a built-in camera/video recorder, a built-in microphone, and a library of more than 100 learning game cartridges, books, apps, and videos. Just like mom and dad’s tablet, kids can touch the LeapPad’s five-inch screen with their finger or tap it with the stylus. Kids can also turn, twist, and shake the tablet for motion-based play. LeapPad also works with all Leapster Explorer and LeapFrog Explorer cartridge games and downloadable apps. Games auto adjust so kids can learn at the right pace. Each LeapPad book app is actually three books in one, offering each story at three different reading levels. LeapPad remembers a child’s progress from game to game and book to book to keep the content challenging and engaging. Content includes everything from phonics skills, mathematics, and spelling to geography, world languages, music, creativity, science, and life skills. Kids can also practice their writing skills with step-by-step guidance and a child-sized stylus. Click here for more of this review Lite Sprites From WowWee Recommended for ages 4 and up With Lite Sprites, girls can light up their world with color. Lite Sprites cast and catch color and light to express their emotions. Girls can “magically” capture, transfer, and share color and light in the unique play world of Lite-Topia. The Lite Wand, Prisma & Pod is the basic Lite Sprites starter set. It comes with the Lite Sprite named Prisma, a Lite Wand, and a pod for Prisma to sit on. The Lite Wand is key to the color and light capturing. It lets girls capture color and light from any flat surface and “share” it with the Sprites and playsets of Lite-Topia. The Wand includes a built-in color library, but it can hold up to 50 different colors. It also can capture virtually any color. Simply touch the bottom of the wand to the included color palette or any colored, flat surface to add color to the Wand. Press the button to cycle through the colors and choose which one you want. Hold the Wand next to the Lite Sprite, press the button, and the Lite Sprite will glow in the color you’ve chosen. CIick here for more of this review Angry Birds Knock On Wood Game From Mattel Recommended for ages 5 and up Mattel has taken the popular online game Angry Birds and turned it into an offline skill-and-action game. The Angry Birds Knock On Wood Game is a tabletop game that plays pretty much like the popular smartphone app. The pigs have stolen the birds’ eggs, and the object is to destroy the structures where the pigs are hiding. But with Knock On Wood, one player draws a mission card and builds the structure shown. The mission card also lists what birds to use to shoot down the structure. Using the guidelines on the mission card, another player loads the required Angry Birds onto the launcher and catapults them to knock down structures and pigs and earn points. The first person to 1,000 points wins. Click here for more of this review DaGeDar From Cepia, LLC Recommended for ages 5 and up A classic, yet innovative, new collectible toy line for boys comes from Cepia, the makers of the popular ZhuZhu Pets. Cepia describes DaGeDar as supercharged ball bearings, which is essentially what they are ”ball bearings with a rubber coating and cool graphics. What can kids do with DaGeDar balls? Aside from collecting the different DaGeDar characters, there are a variety of track sets available for fast-paced racing action. Kids can race their DaGeDar to see which one is the fastest. Click here for more of this review http://www.timetoplaymag.com/toys/2572/cepia-llc/dagedar/ Monster High Dead Tired From Mattel Recommended for ages 6 and up This is a product line featuring the following toys: Monster High Dead Tired Draculaura, Monster High Dead Tired Frankie Stein, Monster High Dead Tired Ghoulia Yelps and Monster High Dead Tired Cleo de Nile. Click here for more of this review Redakai From Spin Master Recommended for ages 6 and up Redakai is a new collectible trading card game from Spin Master. Unlike other trading card games, Redakai cards utilize Blast 3D technology, which means the cards contain 3D and animation effects, which players can see without wearing special glasses. The cards are also partially transparent. This is important because in the game, players stack their cards on one another which gives a constantly updated record of the effect of attacks, damage, powers and health. Ultimately it is the stack of cards on top of an initial monster card that determines the outcome of each round. Click here for more of this review LEGO Alien Conquest From Lego Recommended for ages 7 and up This is a product line featuring the following toys: Alien Mothership, Alien Conquest Earth Defense HQ, and the Alien Conquest UFO Abduction. Click here for more of this review Beyblade: Metal Fusion From Hasbro Recommended for ages 8 and up The phenomenon returns. Hasbro’s Beyblade was a huge hit, taking the concept of customizable battling tops to a whole new level and spawning entertainment, competition and a worldwide hit. The one-time hit is making a comeback with many major design improvements to engage a whole new generation of kids. The Beyblade: Metal Fusion battling top toy line encourages kids to collect, customize, and compete like never before with a new metal gear system and the introduction of an online virtual battle component. With a focus on customization and high-performance competition, each top comes with five interchangeable parts, ready for kids to build and rebuild to maximize performance for battle. To get the action started, kids pull the top’s ripcord to launch it into play with the battle cry “Let it rip!” The last top spinning wins. Click here for more of this review FyrFlyz From i-Star Entertainment Recommended for ages 8 and up Light up the night with FyrFlyz, a new take on a classic yo-yo-like toy. (In that it features a plastic piece that’s manipulated on a string. Hard to explain, but you get it the moment you see it.) Each precision balanced instrument is designed to spin on its axis. Simply by swinging the connected two strings and pulling to apply tension or letting go to allow slack, kids create a continuous movement ”figure eights, rings, etc. Turn off the lights or take it out in the dark, and the multi-color LED lights turn the movement into a light show. Click here for more of this review LEGO Ninjago From Lego Recommended for ages 8 and up This is a product line featuring the following toys: Ninjago: Garmadon’s Dark Fortress, Ninjago Turbo Shredder, and the Fire Temple. Click here for more of this review Nerf Vortex From Hasbro Recommended for ages 8 and up This is a product line featuring the following toys: Nerf Vortex Vigilon, Nerf Vortex Nitron, Nerf Vortex Praxis and Nerf Vortex Proton Click here for more of this review Spy Net Stealth Video Glasses From Jakks Pacific Recommended for ages 8 and up Kids love playing spy, and they want all the cool gear that goes along with it. The Spy Net Stealth Video Glasses lets kids capture evidence in plain sight with high-tech and stylish sunglasses that record video through the built-in video camera on the bridge of the glasses. The camera takes more than 2,000 still photos or 20 minutes of video with sound. Kids operate it using the buttons on the side. Press the record button once to take a picture. Hold the record button for two seconds to initiate video mode. Kids can tell when the camera is recording thanks to the red LED light on the inside of the glasses. When the light is lit, you’re recording. The glasses operate on a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery. To charge, connect the glasses to a computer (Mac or PC) using the included USB cord. Connecting to a computer also allows kids to download their photos and videos. Kids can also upload their evidence to SpyNetHQ.com. Click here for more of this review
3D BreakThrough Puzzle – Classic Mickey Mouse From MEGA Brands Recommended for ages 8 and up Over the years, jigsaw puzzles haven’t changed very much. There have been new pictures, piece counts, and even some new shapes, but puzzles have always been, well, flat. That’s not a bad thing: millions of puzzles are sold every year, and millions of people have fun putting them together. But MEGA’s 3D BreakThrough Puzzles have added a shot of innovation to this classic category. 3D BreakThrough Puzzles let you combine puzzle-solving and construction to end up with a 3-D work of art that’s suitable for framing. First, put together the flat puzzle. Then, use the enclosed glue to seal first the front and then the back of the puzzle. While the glue dries, assemble the 3-D art, folding it along the pre-printed and scored lines and putting it together with the clips. Clip the finished 3-D art to the flat puzzle with the clips provided, and you have a dramatic piece of 3-D art. Click here for more on this review The Logo Board Game From Spin Master Recommended for ages 12 and up The Logo Board Game tests your knowledge of the brands you love. Do you know what’s in a V8? What does UPS stand for? Can you name the most popular brand of frozen TV dinners? If you can answer these questions and more correctly, you’re on your way to the center of the game board ”the winning zone. There are three types of question cards in The Logo Board Game. Picture cards ask a question that relates to the picture on the card. The answers to Theme cards all have a common theme. Pot Luck cards feature general knowledge and logo questions. There are four questions on the back of each card and each question has a different color: purple, green, yellow, and red. If you answer a purple question correctly, you move your piece to the next purple space on the board. If you correctly answer a green question, move to the next green space on the board, etc. There are no dice to roll. If you answer incorrectly, the player to your left gets to answer. Be the first player to the winning zone and correctly answer two consecutive questions to win. The Logo Board Game comes with six movers, 400 game cards, and a circular board. It is for two to six players. The game can also be played in teams. Click here for more of this review You can find these toys at your favorite toy store.   And visit Toys R Us, Target and Walmart online to see if you can grab these toys at a discount.

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