Kids can roll, pop, and scare with the Roll-A-Scare Monsters Assortment, from Spin Master. Each Roll-A-Scare figure is uniquely stylized and has a surprise pop-up activation. Inside each pack kids will discover a student ID card that springs the monster open. With 12 characters to collect in total, kids ages 3 and up can recreate their favorite scenes from Monsters University.
Kids can also kick playtime up a notch with the Roll-A-Scare Toxic Race Playset. Kids can play solo or with a friend by racing two Roll-A-Scare characters down the track. Watch out for Sea Urchins, or they’ll stop the character right in its tracks. The first player to cross the finish line and watch the character spring open wins the Scare Games. Each Roll-A-Scare Playset comes with an exclusive Sulley figure.
Also from Spin Master are the My Scare Pal Sulley plush, Scare Off Sulley plush, and the Sulley Monster Mask.
Romo, from Romotive, is a smartphone-enabled robot kids can train. Romo comes to life when an iDevice is plugged into the rover base. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Romo can be controlled, trained, and programmed. Romo zips along at a maximum speed of 3 feet per second, he can be tilted 15 degrees forward of up to 45 degrees back, and kids can charge Romo’s battery pack anywhere using the included custom mini USB cable. Romo’s software is updated every month, so there is always something new he can do. Romo responds to human reactions, can be driven using an iDevice, and captures data through pictures. When not in play-mode, Romo can also be used as a docking station to charge iDevices. Currently distributed only in the U.S., Romo is available online and will hit store shelves this summer.
When we think of toys, we don’t always think of the youngest members of our families – babies who are six months and younger. Yet, there are some great developmental toys that provide visual stimulation, cognitive development and an opportunity to learn how to play. Here are my five itty-bitty baby favorites, with each one satisfying a particular developmental need for a baby.
The Winkel (Motor Development)
I consider this one of the classics. With its safe, gentle, chewable tubes and bright colors, the Winkel fosters how babies learn best – by putting things in their mouths. You can even put it in the refrigerator for a cooling effect for teething infants. The loops make it easy for a baby to be successful at swiping at the Winkel and actually grasping it with their little hands. The soft rattle sound is a total treat when they do.
The Corolle Elf (Compassion Development)
The Corolle Elf comes in a three engaging colors (red, pink and blue) and the soft rattle sound will make a baby follow the object to foster eye development and basically provide delight. The pointy parts of the hat make for fun places to gnaw, and provides a friend to play with, similar to a lovey, with its soft, machine washable fabric and baby friendly size. Toys like the Corolle Elf can foster role-playing and relationship building. As your baby gets older, it is a comforting bedtime friend or a first doll.
Wee Gallery Art Cards (Visual Development)
Wee Gallery art cards are created from bold, whimsical, hand-painted originals that cater to a baby’s visual strengths in their early days. Up until two months of age, babies see black and white objects the most clearly and gravitate towards those high contrast items. Throw a couple cards in a diaper bag to entertain a baby on the go. Tape some above your changing table to keep your infant occupied during diaper changes, or hang from the ceiling and create a modern mobile. Later, use the cards as an opportunity to identify objects and learn words.
Links (Cognitive Development) This baby toy is so much more than it seems. The links encourage touch with a textural variety to inspire exploration, and the bold color spectrum provides visual stimulation. For little ones, place two links, linked together, in their hand and watch their faces light up when there is a click-click sound from plastic pieces hitting each other. Whether it is on a stroller bar, car seat handle or play mat, use the links as the baby gets older to place toys at appropriate height for baby. Needless to say, these little links provide a variety of developmental opportunities.
For my final favorite, you’ll have to watch the video! But let’s just say that it is a truly multi-functional piece that you can take with you. It comes pink as well as a gender-neutral version too.
All in all, these are great developmental toys for babies and it’s a great way to start having fun with the littlest of players.
Did you know that only 10% of the toys manufactured are made in the USA? Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht did some research though and brought all of her all-American toy finds to The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Schools all over are getting ready for their Easter/Passover break. Many families plan on traveling to relatives houses and for mini get aways with the kids. If you have an upcoming trip with the little ones, our Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht, visited with ABC Money Matters to giver her suggestions for travel toys this spring!
Hello Kitty Small Case Ice Cream Palor or Pool Party (Mega Bloks) Age: 4+
- Portable cases to create and decorate on the go!
- Have Hello Kitty make some yummy ice cream for her and her friends or help her throw them a fun pool party for all to enjoy!
- All pieces included fit perfectly inside the cute cases and are easy to transport with the carrying handle!
LEGO® Star Wars™ ZipBin® Small Millennium Falcon™ Minifigure Case (Neat-oh!) Ages: 3+
- This Millenium Falcon shaped case is home for 23 LEGO Star Wars Minifigures, each in their own pocket.
- The detailed artwork creates an awesome play experience and playmat on the inside and outside of the case!
- Race through space and dodge the pursuing Tie Fighters, all while keeping your figurines neatly tucked away.
- Weighs less than half a pound and wipes clean with a damp cloth.
LEGO Star Wars Mini Figures (Lego) Ages: 6 to 12
MSRP: $12.99 for Star Wars Endor Rebel Trooper & Imperial Trooper
- The Star Wars line has sold in excess of 200 million boxes worldwide since its 1999 launch.
- More than 340 LEGO Star Wars models have been developed, replicating iconic scenes and starships, as well as more than – - 425 minifigures from the Star Wars universe.
- Sets depict everything from the feature film Saga to the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
* These mini figures are not sold separately, but part of larger sets.
DIZZY DANCERS Assortment (HASBRO) MSRP: $8.99
Ages: 4 & up
- Take a spin with DIZZY DANCERS pets, a playful assortment of twirling, spinning animals
- Simply pull the included dizzy cord to set these pets in motion and watch as they spin and dance wherever you place them.
- Each DIZZY DANCERS pet comes with a spinning base, dizzy cord and a twistin’ tricks card that challenges girls to complete cool tricks with their pets. Girls can collect more than 50 DIZZY DANCERS characters this year, and interchange the top and bottom of any pet to create a custom DIZZY DANCERS collection of her own.
My First Crayola Dry Erase Activity Mat (Crayola) Age: 24 mo. and up
- Perfect for colorful on-the-go creativity, the My First Crayola Dry-Erase Activity Mat features 12 activities that slip into place in the map so little ones can draw, erase and draw again with Crayola Washable Triangular Dry-Erase Crayons.
- The crayons’ triangular shape guides little fingers into a “tripod” or writing grip.
- The mat folds up easily and features carrying handles and built-in storage for convenience and portability.
- The fun is endless, as the dry-erase colors cleanly and easily wipe off the mat.
- Includes a portable activity mat, 12 reusable activity sheets, 4 Washable Triangular Dry-Erase Crayons and an erasing cloth
PLAY-AWAY PUPPETS (Demdenco) Ages: 0+
- Kids can play the day away with Nat & Jules’ new line of Play-Away Puppets!
- Made of super soft plush, the Play-Away Puppets are available as eight different animals, so kids can put on a show with the entire cast of friendly animals.
- Styles available include: Gunda (Giraffe), Griff (Lion), Bingley (Monkey), Elma (Elephant), Colbie (Pig), Graizey (Cow), Horace (Horse), Vert (Frog). Surface washable.
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (Activision) Ages: 6+
MSRP: $7.99 each
- Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is a boldly innovative adventure game and collectible play experience that allows you to “Bring Your Toys to Life.”
- Through a revolutionary use of technology players can collect real-world toys and transport them directly into the game using a mystical Portal of Power – a magical gateway between our world and the Skylands that allows players to bring their toys to life by teleporting them directly into the game.
- The additional cost of a new toy offers new content and play experiences on the consoles, the web, 3DS and soon on mobile devices – providing families with hours of additional entertainment in the virtual worlds, as well as in the real world.
- The game’s innovative online and offline play experience can spark kids’ imaginations in ways that neither a toy or video game alone can do.
Ryan Oakes Magic Sets (Poof Slinky) Ages: 8+
- So easy to travel with with these travel size boxes
- Each has 15 magic tricks
- Keeps your little magicians busy and engaged
Nuzzles Alice Bunny (Gund) Age: 1+
- This is the plush that hugs you back.
- This soft bunny with the extra large head (and cute bunny teeth!) is designed to lay gently and comfortably against your neck and cheek.
- A great addition to any child’s bedroom or playroom, Alice also offers a soft place to lay your head on longer car or plane rides, or while you’re watching TV!
Furry Couture (Douglas Company) Ages 3+
- Meet Rachel Chihuahua who is crazy hot in regal purple cheetah print outlined in sheer purple ruffles that are trimmed in satin. And elegant in hot pink cheetah print is Kira Shih-Tzu.
- Each animal print Furry Couture bag wears a full feather boa around the animal’s neck for an extra touch of glam.
- Great for little girls to carry their most important items on the road with them
Goodnight Moon Bunny™ (Zoobies) Ages: 3+ (safety tested for all ages)
- The polite and refined little bunny is the perfect cuddle buddy.
- From his cute rabbit ears to his soft, striped pajamas, Goodnight Moon is too adorable.
- This is a plush toy and it’s also a pillow with a printed cozy coral fleece blanket zipped inside.
- 100% polyester and easy to wash.
- Blanket unzips to machine wash and spot was the plush
LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet (LeapFrog) Ages: 4-9
- LeapFrog will continue to be a “must have” item in 2012 thanks to its growing content library of educational entertainment offerings.
- Educational and fun, comes built in with 4 apps
- New Self-paced Ultra eBooks such as the new Disney Princess Cinderella and LeapSchool: How Not to Clean Your Room are unique because kids read at their own pace with auto adjust for reading levels, have on-demand phonics help and comprehension activities
- Disney Cinderella has kids playing games and learning activities as they help her get ready for the ball which comes in cartridge and app form
The Little Tikes Bubble Camera (Imperial Toys) Ages 3+
– This is a great way for young photographers to enjoy hours of picture snapping fun while creating tons of magical bubbles!
- The Little Tikes Bubble Camera blows tons of bubbles out of the lenses
includes an easy grip handle and activator made especially for small hands.
- The Little Tikes Bubble Camera encourages active play, imagination, and love for the arts while mimicking mommy and daddy with their cameras!
- Includes Super Miracle Bubbles Premium Plus Solution in 100% recyclable bottle.
Earlier this week The Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht visited ABC News to give them a peek at some of the school gear kids will love as well as some educational toys that will keep them thinking. And the best part? They are all for less than $25!
Penguin Young Readers (Penguin Books)
These books are part of a wonderful collection that help children learn and love to read.
Penguin early reader books are offered in a variety of fun and loveable preschool character including- “Butterfly Girl, “Skippy Jon Jones”, “Corduroy” & more.
MSRP: $16.99 each for the books; $9.99 each for plush Ages: 2+
I Spy Ready to Read Game (Briarpatch)
I Spy is celebrating 100 years this year!
Get ready to read! Develops verbal, pre-reading skills and letter, shape and pattern recognition.
This game enhances observation and spotting skills; teaches rhyming and strengthens hand/ eye coordination.
To play, fill in the empty slots on the riddle/picture boards, match the words you see on the tokens to the place they belong on your game board.
5 ways to play
Includes 6 game boards and 24 double sided tokens
MSRP: $16.99 Ages: 4+
Time and Space Projection Alarm Clock (Blue Hat)
This rocket-shaped alarm clock projects a digital clock display against vivid galactic images on any wall or ceiling.
This interactive clock also features the year, month, date and day of the week.
Duel pivoting lenses project up to ten feet away to create images up to 4 feet wide
Displays images with or without time
Includes 4 space scenes with the option to project time MSRP $19.99 Ages: 3+
Angry Birds Multi Pocket Backpack (Accessory Innovations)
Head to class in style with Angry Birds backpacks featuring smart details and spacious designs, including extra durable zippers, multiple pockets and organizers to keep everything close at hand.
Also features side pockets to hold water bottles and adjustable comfy straps MSRP: $24.99 Ages: 3+
Shains Notebook (Shainsware)
Got Something to Say? Want to keep your thoughts in writing?
Let your inspiration and imagination flow with Shains Notebook.
Personalize the cover with your name, class subject, or decorate and change it whenever you want.
Use the unlined paper as a journal, sketchbook or scrapbook.
Easy to take in your backpack!
Comes with 60 elements for personalization. MSRP: $16.00 Ages: 7+
Uglydoll School Planner (Ugly Doll)
Makes it easy to get and stay organized!
Includes weekly calendars, practical tips, more than 150 stickers for highlighting important events, and an elastic band to hold it together
Stay on top of homework, activites, and busy social lives MSRP: $14.99 Ages: 10+
Squinkies™ Bubble Packs (Blip Toys)
Bubble Pack includes 16 collectable squishy, squashy, squooshy Squinkies characters, including four hidden “surprise” Squinkies
Each Squinkies comes in its own toy bubble capsule.
Squinkies are great as pencil toppers, too
Collections include your favorite Disney® Princesses, Barbie® and Hello Kitty®, as well as themed sets boys will love too; from monsters to aliens, to Cars 2, to Marvel super heroes MSRP $9.99 Ages: 4+
Counting Money Jar (Summit Toy)
Who’s counting anyways? Now with the original Counting Money Jar – you are!
This handy jar will count your coins and digitally display your savings.
With Balance Guard ™, it remembers your balance…even if you have to replace the batteries.
Choose from two different colors: blue or pink. MSRP: $9.99 Ages: 5+
Scruble Cube (RSV Entertainment)
Players rotate and twist rows and columns of the cube, with the goal to rearrange letters to create new words.
One word is formed per turn and can range from 3 to 16 letters spelled horizontally, vertically and, uniquely, around multiple faces of the cube. Each of the 96 letter pegs is assigned a point value.
Players can earn bonus points by using 2X Word Score or 2X Letter Score pieces in their word
Eight or more letters or spell a word across multiple faces also earn additional points
Sand timer included for more challenging play
1 to 4 players MSRP: $24.99 Ages: 8+
20Q™ (Techno Source)
The new 20Q is an updated version of the best-selling electronic game of twenty questions.
Players think of any animal, vegetable, mineral or other object, and 20Q magically reads their minds by deducing the answer in twenty questions or less.
After each question, players answer yes, no, sometimes or rarely, with their object in mind. A new feature button allows players to skip a question, and there’s even an undo button for those who change their minds.
Features the most eerily accurate artificial intelligence (A.I.) to date.
Allows for easy on-the-go play and offers adjustable sound control
Promotes cognitive thinking and reinforces reading skills
Available in three colors: red, blue and pink
Batteries included (2AAA). MSRP: $12.99 Ages 6+
Inkoos (The Bridge Direct)
Inkoos are funky, quirky characters that are drawn to life with a little “Inkspiration”!
By using the Inkoos’ amazing washable markers, creative tweens can express themselves by drawing, designing and decorating their Inkoos into anything they imagine.
Then with a spin in the washing machine, Inkoos are ready to be designed all over again!
Available in a variety of colors and styles, each Inkoos includes 3 clip-on washable markers and the Inkspiration Wheel for tons of design ideas. MSRP: $7.99 Ages: 4+