Hot New Toy

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I often get queries from people wanting to know which toys are “hot” for the year. Invariably, the toy trends for the year are strongly influenced by movies being released that year. Also, almost always, the “hot toy mix” is peppered by a superhero or two! This year, there are some awesome icons vying for our attention – Indiana Jones, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Batman. Aside from these superheroes, the hot toy trends for 2008 also include dinosaurs, robots, musical toys and of course, web connected toys!

1. Indiana Jones Toys

Indiana Jones is really something to look forward to this year. The movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is slated to be one of the hot movies of 2008. It’s no wonder then, that Lego, Hasbro and the rest have jumped onto Indy’s bandwagon! The plot of the movie isn’t yet revealed fully. Still, Lego had some wonderful sets based on Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones LEGO sets include Indiana Jones Temple Escape, Indiana Jones Race for the Stolen Treasure, Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb and Indiana Jones Motorcycle Chase. Some of Hasbro’s Indiana Jones offerings include Mr Potato Head: Taters of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones Sound FX Whip and of course Indiana Jones action figures.

 2. Web Connected Toys

We all know and love Webkinz, the pioneer of the “virtual toy” revolution. Webkinz is still doing very well and now has been joined by several other toy manufacturers. Russ’s Shining Stars, TY Girlz, Barbie and now even TY’s Beanie Babies. Aside from dolls and plush toys, there’s a brand new preschool game which nicely incorporates play and technology. It’s called Me2 from IToys. Also worth noting is Clickables, a wonderful line of toys from Technosource. Clickables integrates the virtual world of Disney Fairies with toys for girls. There are a lot of other web connected toys and dolls. My collegue, the Doll Collecting guide, has a great article up on the virtual doll trend.

 

 

3. Batman – The Dark Knight Toys

The new Batman movie, The Dark Knight is slated to be released later this year. Mattel has a host of Batman related toys and action figures up their sleeve. The Stealth Batmobile and the Wayne Tech Tri Fire Blaster are must haves. Apart from those two, there are a lot of pretend play options and Batman action figures from Mattel. Lego also has some great Batman themed construction sets for release this year.

4. Dinosaur Toys

Dinosaurs have been around for a while now, (remember the very recent Pleo?), but they certainly made their presence felt at the Toy Fair! Here is one dinosaur which was hard to miss – Kota the Triceratops from Playskool. This friendly creature is pretty tall at approximately 40 feet and is equipped with sensors, which when activated, make him move his head, tail and horns. Kids will enjoy sitting on this playful (and very pricey) creature. Another dino in the spotlight comes to use from Mattel. D-Rex, a remote controlled dinosaur with a lot of different sounds and realistic motions aims to fascinate kids this year.

5. Animated Toys/Robots

Ok, so by now everyone must have heard of Elmo Live, right? Well, the animated toy trend seems to be very prevalent this year with Elmo Live, Hasbro’s Biscuit, Playskool’s Kota the Triceratops, Tomy’s ISobot and more. While I’m on the topic, let me mention that I just previewed an adorable duckling from Hasbro’s Furreal Friends line – it’s too cute for words. Just like me, it seems like everyone enjoys seeing animated animals nowadays!

6. Musical Toys

For the last couple of years, toys based on musical instruments have really grown in popularity. Remember Piano Wizard, Piano Made Easy, I Can Play Guitar, Guitar Hero and the other toys on similar lines? This, along with musical toys based on celebrities like Hannah Montana and hit TV shows like American Idol practically dominated the musical toy scene. This year, the trend continues with some more Hannah Montana toys, new DVD games based on American Idol (KIDDesigns has an awesome American Idol DVD game)  and much more. Stay tuned.

7. Science and Nature Related Toys

I noticed a large variety of Science Kits and nature themed toys at this year’s Toy Fair. Elmers (the glue company) had some really cool science kits represented by Bill Nye, the science guy. Scientific Explorer had a lot of fun kits to offer where kids can experiment with fascinating stuff like bubbles, perfumes, volcanoes and more. The biggie in the science category is none other than EyeClops from Jakks Pacific, which has updated versions(read night vision and higher magnification) available. Also, Uncle Milton of the Ant Farm fame had some cool Indiana Jones based products to show.

8. The Incredible Hulk Toys

The Hulk was at a lot of places at Toy Fair 2008. I specially loved the Kid Designs line of Hulk laptops and learning toys. Hasbro has a fantastic lineup of Hulk toys including the much awaited Hulk Smash Hands, a plush animated Hulk toy, conventional Hulk action figures, a Hulk power glow electronic mask, a Hulk dart blaster and much more. Looks like “green” is popular in more ways than one!

 

 

 

 

9. Speed Racer Toys

                                                             Speed Racer is another big movie franchise on which Mattel has a great lineup of toys. I know that Hot Wheels has a Morph Mach 6 vehicle and an interactive helmet to offer as well as the Speed Racer Sky Jump Track Set among other toy vehicles. The movie should spark off a craze for racing and toy cars which is going to be huge. Lego also had some great Speed Racer kits on display at Toy Fair. Personally, I think this is THE franchise to watch out for.

10. Iron Man Toys

Hasbro has a fantastic line of action figures based on the Iron Man. This is another movie franchise for this year which is going to be popular with Marvel fans.

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Wow, talk about something different! I was introduced to the idea of Pen Spinning a few weeks back by an acquaintance and was immediately taken in by the idea.

Pen spinning is a form of contact juggling which uses small writing tools like pens or pencils to perform various amazing tricks. It’s all about the dexterity of your fingers. Here’s a link to a pretty cool Pen Spinning website from Jakks Pacific where you can watch pen spinners in action.

For those of you interested in trying out pen spinning, Jakks Pacific has introduced a line of SpinZ pens. They write like normal pens but are specially designed for pen spinners to make their craft easier. They also spare them hours of labor on creating their own pens.

The SpinZ product line also includes ModZ which are accessories to uniquely customize the pens. This fad is rapidly catching on with novices as well as with expert pen spinners who have a diverse collection of tricks at their fingertips. Pen spinning is no longer a casual activity to kill time if you are bored. It is now a skill in itself to be developed and marveled over.

You can take a look at the Pen Spinning from Jakks if you’re interested in pursuing this art, or simply for something different to do once you’re back to school.

My Meebas Video
My Meebas is a new concept from Mattel which is aimed towards the younger set of kids. It’s a mixture of several things like a virtual pet, games and activities and finally a real plush toy which is the ultimate “reward” that kids get for “looking after” their virtual pet so well. Some say that it is loosely based on the Tamagotchi from Bandai America, which I am inclined to agree with. Having played with My Meebas, I do see some potential of kids liking it because of it’s friendly nature. But I can imagine that the ending would be bittersweet for me when the plush toy pops out (it hasn’t happened yet).

Pros

  • Games and activities keep kids busy
  • Surprise plush toy that pops out is the “grand reward”
  • The LCD screen moves up and down

Cons

  • Animations are not that great on the tiny LCD display
  • Once tube pops open, that’s the end of it

Description

  • My Meebas come in different colors
  • My Meebas retail for approximately $20
  • You can play different games and watch as your Meeba does different things
  • The My Meebas will pop and you get a real plush toy surprise at the end of it all

Guide Review – My Meebas from Mattel

A pink My Meebas arrived for me in the mail the other day. Having heard about it on the grapevine, I couldn’t wait to try it out first hand. By the way, there are four colors of My Meebas, signifying different things like love (pink), friendship (blue), intelligence (purple) and happiness (blue/green), with two more joining in later this year.

The My Meebas are basically a little tube with an LCD screen attached. The screen can be moved up and down – actually it’s pretty cool how this is done. There is a control panel with buttons that can be used to guide the little creature here and there within the screen. You can play games, make the little Meeba do various activities like explore the surroundings and watch as it grows.

The first time the My Meebas grew and changed, my little one burst into tears! She was upset and couldn’t understand why her new little Meeba looked so different. She finally got the picture that the Meeba keeps growing as you keep playing with it.

After playing with the Meeba for a while, it is supposed to pop and a plush toy is supposed to emerge. I’m still waiting for mine to pop. I just hope it doesn’t scare my little one this time around!

The Bottom Line

Now, this is one cool kid-friendly gadget! The Fisher-Price Kid Tough DVD player is just what the name signifies – a rough and tough DVD player which your kids will love. I personally loved the bright colors, the fair-sized screen, the crystal clear sound and the ease of operation. The kids got the hang of the Kid Tough DVD player pretty easily (which shouldn’t surprise me because kids nowadays are tech experts, anyway). The Fisher-Price Kid Tough DVD player was a real hit from the word go! I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a durable DVD player either for the road or for home for your kids.

Pros

  • Rough and tough – nothing happened to it after it was dropped twice
  • Clear picture quality and sound
  • Easy and child friendly usage
  • Rechargeable battery!!!

Cons

  • No headphones included
  • It’s hard to get the kids to stop watching!

Description

  • The Kid Tough DVD player comes with a 3.2″ color screen
  • You can pick up the Kid Tough DVD player in different hues like pink, blue
  • The Kid Tough DVD player plays CDs too
  • The Kid Tough DVD player comes with a rechargeable battery, a charger and a power wall adapter

Guide Review – Fisher-Price Kid Tough DVD Player

As you can probably tell, I’m one happy mom right now. Well, the Fisher-Price Kid Tough DVD player does have something to do with it. After trying out the Kid Tough Mp3 player and the Kid Tough Digital Camera also from Fisher-Price, I think the Kid Tough DVD player is the best of the lot. It’s well designed and the best part is – it’s performance is flawless.

There are a few colored buttons on the front panel with easy to understand symbols which will start, stop and pause the DVD player. You can go to the DVD menu pretty easily with minimal clicks. The headphone jack is at the side, and so is the A/C power input. The sound is pretty clear even without headphones and the volume is adjustable.

I can envision the Kid Tough DVD player being taken along on long car trips or to grandma’s house. It’s a perfect way to keep kids occupied and entertained (asuuming you’re ok with them watching DVD’s). Of course, parental supervision is advised with regards to nature of content watched, but that’s another story… As far as the Fisher-Price Kid Tough DVD player goes, I would definitely go in for this one. It also makes an excellent gift for the holiday season.



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  • Ange - I Buy It Green: This is Great!
  • Harry kuperus: We have tested several new toys for all ages from Green Toy Companies. These environmentally friendly toys made from rubber wood meets the safety sta
  • Bill Parker: Xeko also just recently released mission China (their 4th expansion) and we love it. I found a great image of the contents that you may wish to use l

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