Posts Tagged ‘Mattel’

Monster High Returns in New (Re-)Animated Feature

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

MonsterHigh.FrightsCameraActionUniversal Studios‘ direct-to-DVD Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action!, centers on Draculaura, a teenage vampire and student at the title high school. After being informed that she is heir to the Vampire Queen’s throne, Draculaura and a few close “ghoul”-friends embark on an adventure that takes them to such exotic locales as Transylvania, Londoom, and eventually, Hauntlywood. Along the way, Draculaura and friends learn that it takes courage to help others—whether or not that refers to one person or an entire kingdom of monsters.

Fans of the Monster High toy line from Mattel should find plenty to like in this 3-D animated movie. The characters resemble their toy counterparts, and despite a fairly large cast, each scion and daughter of a famous monster has his or her own distinct personality. Depending on their ages, some viewers may recognize elements of their own school experiences: for example, the various cliques running rampant throughout Monster High. The film is best-served to kids and tweens, but it is an all-ages-friendly comedy. Indeed, the most terrifying thing about Frights, Camera, Action! is the sheer number of puns utilizing words like “scare,” “ghoul,” and “fiend.” It’s downright spook-tacular!


Ever After High Dolls Create a Whole New Generation of Fairytales

Monday, February 17th, 2014

With all the fairytale-themed dolls on the market right now, I’d have to say that the Ever After High line, from Mattel, has to be one of my favorites. The line consists of teenage sons and daughters of famous fairytale characters who attend high school together. The class consists of Royals and Rebels, who can either follow in their parents’ fabled footsteps or discover their own version of Happily Ever After.

RavenqueenTwo of my favorite dolls, Raven Queen and Madeline Hatter, in the line are both Rebels, though by no means are the dolls that make up the Royals line not fabulous. Raven Queen is the daughter of the infamous Evil Queen, and destined to be the villainous sorceress who conquers kingdoms with dark magic. However, Raven is a rebellious dreamer who just doesn’t have it in her to be evil. She’s kind and compassionate and the leader of the Ever After Rebels.

What I love most about Raven, besides the fact that she’s super fierce with her purple and black hair and stylish outfits (and great shoes!) is that she has a real “independent woman” vibe about her. (Don’t get me wrong, she’s not man-hating by any means, but she also is focused on figuring out what makes her great.) She strives to stay true to herself and to find out where her own story is heading, trying not to get caught up in her mother’s dark legacy. Also, her favorite subject is Muse-ic class—“What, you thought only princesses get to sing power ballads?”—adding a little edge and making her a true Rebel.

madelinehatterMadeline Hatter is one of Raven Queens BFFs—and she is just absolutely fabulous. From her purple and blue hair and teacup hat to her polka-dotted tights and cute teapot purse, Madeline’s style is whimsical and chic. Madeline (or Maddie, as her friends call her) talks in riddles and doles out puzzles. Unlike Raven Queen, she is not fully opposed to her destiny, which is the mad host of tea parties, since she loves tea and madness, but she is also excited about what lies ahead in her own tale. Her personality is consistently happy and her dreams are limitless.

These dolls are a really cool and unique take on fairytale characters, because they show kids that it is okay to forge your own path. Many fairytales focus on fulfilling destinies, and these girls’ tales give them the opportunity to create their own endings.


Frozen Playset is Perfect for Imaginary Play

Saturday, February 8th, 2014


If you have a kid, odds are you’ve heard about Disney’s Frozen and all of the fun characters featured in the film.

Sure, there’s Elsa and Anna, the sisters who the movie is really about, but there’s also Kristoff, the adorable reindeer-loving fellow who becomes Anna’s partner through her frigid trip.  There’s Sven, that reindeer who rescues Kristoff more than once, and, of course, Olaf the snowman, who keeps you laughing throughout all of the drama. It’s no surprise that these amazing characters have translated into some even more amazing toys, including dolls, plush, and play sets.

My 8-year-old wanted each and every character to play with and we were lucky enough to find Frozen dolls at our local Walmart just before the holidays, so they became the perfect surprise come Christmas morning.

We ended up buying a set of character dolls for about $40, which I think is a great deal, since I don’t know how I would have found Sven on his own. The only character who wasn’t included in the set was Kristoff, but we  were able to purchase him individually for about $12, also at Walmart. Now, I’m able to find a play set from Mattell that includes all of the characters, including Prince Hans (not sure we wanted him anyway), for about $55. There are several options made by Disney, too, and I’m told many of the stores are sold out, so if you want one and see it, pick it up fast.

There are other options available, from plush characters (an Olaf that can detach his body from his head, but reattaches with Velcro so that kids don’t lose the pieces), to singing dolls that are a little more expensive.

I still think this is my favorite Disney movie ever, and that’s saying a lot since Dumbo held that title for decades, so I’m happy to have the characters for my daughter to play with often, being reminded of the film’s message about the importance of family and the reality that people aren’t always what they seem.

Desiree Miller is a member of the 2013-2014 Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board. She is also a blogger at Stress-Free, Baby!. You can follow her on Twitter at @DesireeMiller!


Mattel’s Monster High Secret Creepers Are Scarily Cute

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

MonsterHigh.SecretCreepersMonster High Secret Creepers, from Mattel, are the adorable pets of everyone’s favorite Monster High ghouls. Each ghoul’s pet matches their look and personality, such as Abbey Bominable’s wooly mammoth Shiver, Ghoulia Yelp’s owl Sir Hoots A Lot, or Frankie Stein’s stitched-up pup Watzit. Each pet—just like with the ghouls—is unique and cleverly named, making them adorable additions to the Monster High world.

But these creepy cuddly friends do more than just provide companionship—they keep your secrets. Each pet has its own secret-keeping feature. Girls can press down on the brains of their creeper and record a secret. The pet can repeat the secret back, or be locked so that the pet only makes animal sounds so the secret is safe. Secrets can be shared between Secret Creepers by touching their paws together. And of course, since the ghouls of Monster High are also such fierce fashionistas, their pets’ leashes double as a cool bracelet for kids ages 6 and up.

Count Fabulous (pet bat of Draculaura) and Neptuna (Lagoona Blue’s piranha) figures come with one invisible ink pen and paper that has a “reveal” feature, so thought can only be exposed when it’s safe. Captain Penny (Robecca Steam’s penguin), Azura (Nefera de Nile’s scarab beetle), and Hissette (Cleo de Nile’s cute cobra) each come with a basic pen and paper that can be used along with their secret-keeping features and note-passing features.

MonsterHigh.SecretCreepersCryptHidden deep in the catacombs of Monster High is the Secret Creepers Crypt, where the pets can hang out while the ghouls are in school. The Monster High Secret Creepers Crypt play set has plenty of places for girls ages 6 and up to stash their secrets as well as hiding spots, and a few open seats, for all of the Secret Creepers Critters and Pets. Clawdeen’s cat Crescent recognizes movement and guards the crypt with sounds such as growls, and kids can place her anywhere in the set to protect the secrets. The play set includes a doghouse that can lock, industrial pipes and tanks, and web-inspired seating. A coffin-like chaise also provides additional seating and contains a secret storage drawer.


Toy State Revvs Up Hot Wheels Brand

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Hot Wheels cars are a staple in most American households. Kids love the collectability element, the super awesome details, and, of course, the endless track options. Parents undoubtedly love the low price point, the easy accessibility, and the name recognition: Hot Wheels is a brand they know and one they can trust. But, some kids want something a bit more high-tech and flashy than a classic 1:64-scale car. Through a new partnership with Toy State, kids and parents can now get everything they want, including a name they trust and features that stand out.

Toy State manufactures highly stylized lights and sound toy vehicles. The agreement with Mattel, which kicks off this year and runs through 2016, will bring Toy State’s innovative, flashy designs to Hot Wheels cars in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Asia Pacific Region.


Extreme Action Sharkruiser

The Hot Wheels Extreme Action assortment includes vehicles that are anything but average. These motorized luxury vehicles feature extreme action and themed music. Available in three unique styles, the cars feature silver detailing and tons of movement. Kids can watch the glowing eyes and moving spider legs on the Street Creeper, the chomping/glowing jaw on the Sharkruiser and the stinging front pinchers and tail movement on the Scorpedo. And at just $12.99, these cars make the perfect gift for any family on a budget.


Hyper Racer Spin King

For kids who love light up toys, the Hot Wheels Hyper Racer assortment features two cars, Yur So Fast and Spin King, that have LED lights throughout the body. The glowing LEDs change the color of the car in hyper mode, and both cars play high-energy action music. Kids simply press the Hot Wheels button to activate the drive sequence. Much bigger than your standard Hot Wheels car, these vehicles weigh in at just $14.99.

Hot Wheels Energy Can R/C are affordable, 5-inch, full-function R/C cars. More of a novelty item than a high-tech R/C, the cars are packaged in really cool energy cans. Kids can turn the grip handle on top and pull to reveal the R/C car inside. Best of all? The tiny remote control is located on the bottom of the can. Kids just press a button to release it and they are ready to ride. Kids can collect all four brightly colored cars, including 24 Ours, Baja Truck, Bad-to-the-Blade, and Bone Shaker. The car and the remote control each require two triple-A batteries—so be sure to have a small supply on-hand to get racing.

All of these vehicles are packaged in try me packaging featuring the iconic orange and blue Hot Wheels colors—allowing kids to get hands-on experience with some of the great light up and sound elements. Toy State is sure to kick into gear in 2014 with these and more Hot Wheels-branded rides that are currently available at Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Target, and Kmart nationwide (in-store only!).


The Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle

Monday, January 20th, 2014


The Disney Princess Ultimate Dream Castle by Mattel is a kid’s dreamland, featuring fairytale-themed rooms for many of their favorite princesses.

Forget a staircase…the dolls can just jump onto Rapunzel’s hair and spin their way from the third story to the ground floor.

And when you download the virtual Magic Mirror app that comes free with the castle to any iOS device, you will be able to see extra features like the nightly fireworks display in front of the castle, just like you find at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Or, you’ll watch fish play in the tub in Ariel’s special space.

But even without the app, children will find hours of fun with surprises in each room.

The dining area has a table complete with spinning candles, just like in Beauty and the Beast.

Sleeping Beauty has a bedroom, Cinderella has a special chair and helpful mouse figurine, and Snow White has her special mirror.

Rapunzel’s hair is the coolest feature to me, but my daughter seems to prefer the play area at the top of the castle where all of the princesses can play together.

The castle can be found at major toy store and online at

Desiree Miller is a member of the 2013-2014 Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board. She is also a blogger at Stress-Free, Baby!. You can follow her on Twitter at @DesireeMiller!


The Toy Insider’s #StockedStocking Giveaway!

Friday, December 13th, 2013

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Though the presents under the tree get all of the glory, the stuff hanging over the mantle can be just as good– if not better! We’ve collected some of the best toys to stuff your kids’ stockings with this year– and we’ve got kids of all ages covered. Best of all, we’re giving ALL of these great toys away to five lucky winners from Dec. 16 through 20! Be sure to check these out and tell us your favorites!

Ages 0 to 2

technosource.worldssoftestbearWorld’s Softest Plush, from Toy Island, a division of Techno Source
This super soft plush is available in a teddy bear, a puppy, a unicorn, a monkey, a horse, and more furry friends. It also comes in assorted sizes, including 5-, 7-, 12-, and 20-inch plush toys. You won’t believe how soft these cuddly companions are!
Age: 0+
MSRP: $3.99 to $19.99


Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicles, from VTechVTech.Go! Go! Smart Wheels Fire Truck
With 12 Go! Go! Smart Wheels vehicles to choose from, kids can cruise into the learning zone. These electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands and entertain kids with a light-up button that activates music and sounds. Little ones will learn about different letters and vehicle names through pretend play. New vehicles include a car, a van, a truck, an ambulance, a fire truck, a police car, a tow truck, a helicopter, a cement mixer, a tractor and a race car.
Age: 1 to 5
MSRP: $7.99


GreenToys.RaceCarGreen Toys Race Car, from Green Toys
This little speedster is built in the U.S. from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The hood of the car proudly displays the #2 recycled plastic symbol from which it is made. The ultra-eco design has no metal axles, BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings. The car is available in red, blue, or pink.
Age: 1+
MSRP: $8.99


Ages 3 to 5

Hotwheels.basicassortmentBasic Hot Wheels Assortment, from Mattel
These cars have been a playtime staple for more than 40 years, with Hot Wheels continuing to make iconic vehicle designs for vehicle play. The Hot Wheels 1:64 scale basic cars fit perfectly into pockets, backpacks, and little hands (and stockings!). These cars drive platime and imagination. How Wheels cars feature high-speed racing, insane stunts, crazy creatures, city streets, classic looks, modern favorites, and more. The Basic Assortment includes 5 different segments of vehicles.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $1.09


worx.bopoBo-Po Nail Polish, from Worx Toys
The ’80s glamour sensation returns! Bo-Po (brush-on, peel-off) nail polish is back with 10 vibrant, kid-friendly polishes that peels away in seconds with no remover required. Bo-Po nail polish is bound to match every mood and every outfit in your little fashionista’s closet, allowing them to explore their funky and creative side. In new, non-spill containers, Bo-Po makes getting glam easy and fun for everyone.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $3.99


choon.rainbowloomrefillsRainbow Loom Refill Packs, from Choon’s Designs
Rainbow Loom is the hottest craze for kids, tweens, and teens! The refill packs feature tons of colors to choose from, including mixed color packs, a neon assortment, an iridescent “jelly” assortment, and two-color bands. Each pack includes more than 600 bands and enough C clips to make up to 24 single-patterned bracelets. The rubber bands are kid-safe and latex-free!
Age: 3+
MSRP: $3.99


skwooshiSkwooshi, from Irwin Toy
This stress-free dough transforms magically from solid to liquid state and never dries out. Kids can mold, stretch, squish, pull, and shrink the dough. This wheat- and gluten-free dough also has no scent and is easy to clean in order to put parents’ minds at ease.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $4.99


Mattel.thomasThomas & Friends Take-n-Play Assortment, from Fisher-Price
This assortment features kids’ favorite Thomas & Friends engines and vehicles. The characters are made of durable die-cast metal and have magnet connectors that connect either way, so kids can build any train they can think of. These vehicles are perfect for Take-n-Play Portable Fold-Out Playsets.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $6.00


Brush Buddies.Brite BeatzBrite Beatz Toothbrush, from Brush Buddies
The new Brite Beatz toothbrush features a fun synchronized light and music show while playing kids’ holiday favorite “Jingle Bells.” The toothbrush plays the song for the dentist-recommended two minutes that it takes to brighten your smile… and your holidays!
Age: 3+
MSRP: $7.99


hexbug.nanov2Hexbug Nano V2 Single Pack, from Innovation First
The Nano V2 Hexbugs can climb vertically, horizontally, around corners, and through loops and tubes to the tip top of any Nano V2 habitat set. The new system of tubular tracks highlights the Nano V2’s unique multi-level climbing abilities. Each Nano V2 single pack is the perfect addition to any Nano V2 set. The single pack includes one Nano V2 bug, one straight tube, and one connector. These Hexbugs are available in an assortment of six colors and patterns.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $7.99


Ontel.Dream Pets MinisDream Lites Minis, from Ontel Products
Dream Lites Minis are miniature plush sets that turn any room or surface into a magical starry sky. Simply squeeze the pet to project three soothing colors and create a magical environment for sleep or play. Each pet contains special LED lights inside that create a glow without producing heat, and the built-in timer can be set to automatically shut the light off. The portable pets can be clipped anywhere—to backpacks, key rings, belt loops, and more. Kids can choose from nine cozy critters, including Rainbow Unicorn, Blue Camo Puppy, Peaceful Bear, Playful Penguin, and Zippity Zebra.
Age: 3+
MSRP: $12.99


BlipToys.PalacePetFurryTailFriendDisney Princess Palace Pets: Furry Tail Friends, from Blip Toys
These collectible 2.5-inch figures shimmer from their sparkly removable tiaras to their soft and fluffy tails, which girls can groom with the included brush. The fall collection of pets includes Beauty (Aurora’s kitty), Berry (Snow White’s bunny), Pumpkin (Cinderella’s puppy), Teacup (Belle’s puppy), and Treasure (Ariel’s kitty).
Age: 4+
MSRP: $5.99 each


Playmates.TMNT DonatelloTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Basic Action Figures, from Playmates Toys
These highly detailed action figures contain more than 12 points of articulation and are uniquely sculpted, with heights ranging from 4.25 inches to 5.5 inches. More than 30 different action figures are available, including Leatherhead, Snakeweed, Baxter Stockman, and Stealth Tech Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo, which are decked out with stealthy accessories and cover ops outfits. Each figure is compatible with most of the vehicles and play sets.
Age: 4+
MSRP: $7.99 to $8.99


tech4kids.mashemsMash’Ems and Fash’Ems, from Tech 4 Kids
These squishy, liquid-filled, collectible toys allow kids to twist, squish, and launch their favorite characters. Available characters include Angry Birds/Angry Birds Space, Furby, Marvel Avengers, Marvel Universe, Moshi Monsters, Power Rangers, Smurfs, TMNT, and WWE. Fash’Ems are available in Hello Kitty and My Little Pony for soft, squishy, dress up fun.
Age: 4+
MSRP: $4.99


Topps.Baseball Foil PacksFootball and Baseball Foil Packs, from Topps
Whether kids or adults are obsessed with football or are a huge fan of baseball, Topps has something to stuff everyone’s stocking with this year. The iconic Topps Baseball and Football Foil Packs offer a variety of athlete cards inside.
Age: 4+
MSRP: $1.99 per pack


ShoulderFunUSA.ShoulderBuddiesLifestyleShoulder Buddies, from Shoulder Fun USA
Kids place the magical Shoulder Buddy coin underneath their shirt on their shoulder and watch as the buddy magically sticks in place! Each Shoulder Buddy figurine stands 4 inches high with fuzzy, fluffy hair and contains inaccessible magnets. Shoulder Buddies are also available in Hello Kitty styles.
Age: 4+
MSRP: $5.99


untitledPlaymobil Series Figures 5—Boys/Girls, from Playmobil
Playmobil Figures Series 5—Boys/Girls contains 12 different boy or girl figures that can be collected, assembled, and interchanged. Each figure comes unassembled in its mystery pack, so children can put them together or mix and match the interchangeable parts with another figure to create original characters.
Age: 5+
MSRP: $2.99


SmallZelf.MooseToysSmall Zelfs, from Moose Toys
When the sun goes away, these tiny Zelfs are ready to come out and play! Each quirky small Zelf has a matte, glitter, or pearl finish. The lil’ Zelfs can be displayed in the planter or used as a pencil topper to show off their crazy colorful hair. With 36 to collect in all, girls will have a hair-raising good time with the Zelfs!
Age: 5+
MSRP: $2.99


MooseToys.TrashPackThe Trash Pack Series 4 Wheelie Bins, from Moose Toys
Kids can start their Trash Pack Series 4 Collection with these new bright red wheelie bins! The Series 4 two-pack comes with two filthy friends and a collector’s guide that lists each new character from Series 4.
Age: 5+
MSRP: $1.99

Ages 6 to 

Tomy.PokemonPokémon 2 Pack 2 Inch Figures, from Tomy
A new generation of Pokémon toys inspired by the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y video games has arrived! From Chespin vs. Wobbuffet to Fennekin vs. Meowth, Pokémon go head-to-head in six match-ups featuring characters now available for the first time as 2-inch figures. Each pack contains two detailed figures and two Attack Tags that bring the battle play to life.
Age: 6+
MSRP: $7.99


Jazwares.MinecraftMinecraft Figure Single Packs, from Jazwares
Kids can play with their favorite Minecraft characters with these figures to create a world of free-play and imagination, just like in the 8-bit video game. Each collectible figure is fully articulated and comes with an accessory. Kids can collect Steve, Creeper, Zombie, and Enderman.
Age: 6+
MSRP: $12.99


Waluigi.KnexMario Kart Wii: Standard Bike Building Set Assortment #4, from K’NEX
Each of these packs contains more than 30 building pieces and a Nintendo figure. The wedge-style packaging doubles as a ramp so kids can recreate their favorite moments from the Mario Kart Wii video game with the characters they choose. Available characters include Koopa Troopa, Wario, Mario, Luigi, Toad, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong.
Age: 6+
MSRP: $9.99


knex.smmysterybagSuper Mario Mystery Figure Bags Series 2, from K’NEX
Each of these mystery bags includes one buildable figure from the world of Super Mario. Mystery figures include Mario, Wario, Princess Peach, Koopa Paratroopa, Boo, Shy Guy, Dry Bones, and Daisy. Each figure is compatible with the entire Mario line of K’NEX products.
Age: 6+
MSRP: $3.99 each


GlitterPetz.ArstiGlitter Petz, from Artsi
These tiny pets are waiting to come to life! Kids can cover a new pet friend in sparkling gems and watch them shine. The kit contains 100 gems, a figurine, two sets of eyes, a bookbag clip, and string. Available Petz include a fox, a puppy, a kitten, a squirrel, an owl, and a pony.
Age: 6+
MSRP: $5.99


IQ Twist, from Smart Toys & Games
Players can twist their brains with this award-winning, sing-player logic game. The challenge is to fit all the twisted puzzle pieces on the game board to solve each creative puzzle. One hundred challenges are included, ranging from easy to extremely difficult. IQ Twist is compact so it travels very easily for kids on the go!

Age: 6+
MSRP: $9.99


TMNTEarbuds.SakarMolded TMNT Earbuds, from Sakar
These high-definition earbuds come with extra cushioning for kids’ ears. They are compatible with all iPod/iPhone devices, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players. The earbuds are available in all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters.
Age: 7+
MSRP: $9.99


Mattel.unoUno Card Game, from Mattel
America’s No. 1 brand of family game remains a classic throughout the years. This game is filled with surprises—skips, reverses, draw twos, color-changing wilds, and draw four wild cards are all inside this 108-card deck. When you’re down to one card, don’t forget to shout “UNO!”
Age: 7+
MSRP: $5.99


LCR.WildDiceLCR Wild Dice Game, from George & Co.
This game is a fun new twist on the original LCR Left Center Right dice game. The new version’s gameplay gives players the chance to choose their moves. The unpredictable play of the game creates an added twist of excitement, making it fun for kids and adults alike!
Age: 8+
MSRP: $10.98


Age: 9+

thinkfun.wordaroundWordAround, from ThinkFun
In this new game, players must be the first to decipher and shout out the word on each WordAround card to win that card. The words are positioned in a circle, giving this game a challenging spin. The player to collect the most cards wins! This game is designed for two to four players.
Age: 10+
MSRP: $12.99


sakar.hellokittyflashdriveHello Kitty Licensed Molded Flash Drive, from Sakar
These molded flash drives feature kids’ favorite brands, including Nerf, The Avengers, Monster High, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, SpongeBob Squarepants, and, of course, Hello Kitty. The drive stores up to 4 GB of content, so kids can store important documents, photos, videos, and more.
MSRP: $14.99


Lionel-SilverBellExpressOrnamentLionel Trains 2013 Silver Bell Express Ornament, from Lionel Trains
Celebrating Lionel today, this ornament commemorates the 2013 Lionel LionChief Christmas Train Set The Silver Bell Express. The ornament is perfect for both indoor and outdoor decorating. The train sets (with the image of them running around the Christmas tree puffing smoke) are an iconic representation of the holidays.
Age: All
MSRP: $5.99


RoseArt-Holiday Color BlanksHoliday Color Blanks, from RoseArt
Kids can use the included Color Blank markers to make the Snowman happy with rosy cheeks and a big smile or blue and serious because it’s so cold. Draw a carrot nose, a striped scarf, flowers, buttons or a tie on the figurine, then add the finishing touches with the included stickers. For extra originality, kids can add their own fun stuff, such as buttons, sequins, glitter, a hat,or a prop. Make, play and display the artistic creation. A present, a tree, mini ornaments, a reindeer, and a nightcap are also available.

Age: 6+

MSRP: $6.99-$10.99 

Head to our Facebook page beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 16 to enter to win a stocking STUFFED with all of these amazing toys. Just look for the post at the top of the Facebook page and comment to enter!



Mattel’s Frozen Line Will Melt Even the Coldest Hearts

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

MusicalDollsTo go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

One of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music.

castleMattel’s Disney Frozen Castle and Ice Palace Playset is an expandable playset that turns into the two gorgeous homes from the movie—Anna’s Castle and Elsa’s Ice Palace. This play set captures all the great storytelling aspects of the film, with movie-inspired furniture and play pieces, including a throne, a bed, a chaise, vanities, a mountain slide, and, of course, an Olaf figure. Kids can recreate the storyline from the movie, or they can use their imaginations to build and expand with all of the available Frozen dolls (not included in the play set). It’s double the fun for kids two play in both worlds.

I would definitely recommend this heartwarming Disney movie to everyone this holiday season (It also has a great soundtrack!), and the toys are just an added bonus. They really drive home the importance of all different kinds of love—although it’s main focus is on families, the story does not slight those of you looking for romance as well—and create magic through those bonds (such as the Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls). Whether you’re like Elsa, who was never bothered by the cold, or Olaf, who fondly dreams of feeling the summer’s heat, these Frozen toys are sure to melt your heart.




The Toy Insider Mom Shares Hot Holiday TV and Film Toys with Woman’s Day

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht, shares the hottest toys from all of the best TV shows and movies for kids with Woman’s Day: Big Hugs Elmo from Playskool, Disney Infinity, Max Steel Interactive Steel with Turbo Sword from Mattel, Disney Palace Toys from Blip Toys, Despicable Me 2 Talking Minions Action Figures from Thinkway Toys, 5-Inch Classic Sonic with Light-Up Emeralds from Jazwares, Under the Sea Surprise Ariel from Tollytots, Power Rangers Battlefire Megazord from Bandai, and the Doc McStuffins Get Better Checkup Center from Just Play.


Growin’ Up ’90s: Christmas 1996

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


1996. It was the year of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the year of Jerry Maguire and the Macarena. It was the year of Bill Clinton’s reelection. But most importantly, 1996 marked the best Christmas ever, with toy companies cranking out some of kids’ favorite toys of all time.

Cabbage Patch Snacktime KidWho could forget the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, from Mattel? Those pudgy-faced, yarn-haired little cuties each had a motorized mouth, and kids could feed their doll a french fry, a pretzel stick, a banana, and other yummy snacks. This was one of the toys my mom admits to pushing other moms out of the way for at Toys “R” Us on Black Friday morning. The food, which the dolls realistically chewed when kids inserted it into their mouths, fell into a backpack on the doll’s back, so kids could feed them over and over again. Of course, this beacon of glory was shortly recalled after the holiday season, as kids were getting their hair, skin, and fingers stuck in the doll’s mouth (as you can imagine, this resulted in many unhappy parents and kids with bald spots). While I made sure my hair was secured tightly in a ponytail while playing, my Snacktime Kid remained one of my favorite toys through ’97.

FoamnColor BarbieI’m not sure why, but girls have a strange fascination with turning their hair different colors (this is still true today, just do a Google search for “hair chalk”). In 1996, a time before hair chalk, Mattel had the perfect answer. Foam ’n Color Barbie came in three different colors: blue, yellow, and (duh) pink. Each doll featured platinum blonde hair and girls could use the included bottle of colored foam to paint Barbie’s hair—and their own!—a vibrant color. Bath time was never so much fun. The color would wash out (mostly) and then you could start all over again. Mattel also sold color foam replacements, so even if you had the pink Barbie, you could color her hair blue and yellow as well (though this wouldn’t match her included dress—as if!).

Cool Shavin KenWho was the coolest dude on the block in ’96? Move over Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync members, Cool Shavin’ Ken is in town—stealing Barbie’s (and this at-the-time-6-year-old girl’s) heart. This particular Ken doll had realistic hair, and his face featured a full beard-and-moustache combo. There were so many amazing things about this Ken doll. No. 1: He came with shaving cream and a play bottle of Old Spice (Now, looking back on this, I was like, “wait, Old Spice?!?” But then I remembered 1996 was a time before Axe Body Spray). No. 2: Kids could dip the included little play razor in warm water and take it to Ken’s beard and watch as it magically disappeared. No. 3 (I saved the best for last): HE IS AFTERSHAVE-SCENTED. Need I say more? This was definitely a favorite doll for years to come (even after his aftershave scent wore off).

Congo the Gorilla Beanie BabyThough Beanie Babies, from Ty, had been around since 1993, 1996 was a top year for the plush pals, with help from miniature forms of the adorable animals distributed in McDonald’s happy meals. I had hundreds. The bears were the most coveted, as any Beanie Baby collector will tell you. I’ll never forget opening a gigantic shoebox full of them on Christmas morning and sorting them all out. It was overwhelming (looking back, though, it was a shoebox, so I’m not exactly sure how “gigantic” it actually was). Some of the best Beanie Babies released in ’96 include Bongo the monkey and Congo the gorilla, exotic cats like Freckles the leopard and Stripes the tiger, Patti the fuchsia platypus, Righty the elephant, Twigs the giraffe, and Zip the black cat.

Nintendo 64You think the new millennium marked the tech revolution? Well, you’d be wrong. In 1996, we had the best piece of tech around. We had Nintendo 64. That’s right. Cartridge games. Bulky controllers. 3-D (no matter how pixilated) scenes. We had it all. And it was glorious. The system launched with just two games, Pilotwings 64 and Super Mario 64 (the two best games, Mario Kart 64 and Star Wars Episode I: Racer, weren’t released until 1997)—but both were amazing. And best of all, the console supported up to four controllers at once! That’s four people playing at a time (not to mention the iconic atomic purple controller)! It was revolutionary, and even now with things like the PS4 and Xbox One in existence, big kids my age still love getting their hands on the iconic N64.

Tickle Me ElmoAnd of course, I saved the best for last. This one is a toy nearly everyone is familiar with. You know him, you love him: Tickle Me Elmo, from Tyco Preschool. While Elmo and other Sesame Street toys were nothing new, Tickle Me Elmo was in short supply and high demand. The talking and laughing plush toy interacted with kids and laughed when he was tickled. He won the hearts of kids and parents in the U.S. in no time. With a price point of only $28.99, Tickle Me Elmo is reported to have sold for as much as $1,500. A great toy for its time, kids delighted in interacting with Elmo and tickling him to the point of uncontrollable, shaking laughter. Older kids wanted him as well, which was interesting for a preschool toy. Though this was one my parents just couldn’t pull off for Christmas, my cousins were the envy of the family with their interactive, giggly red furball.

Though there have been many great toys and gifts in the years since the morning of December 25, 1996, none seem to stand out as much as these. Cheers, to the ghost of Christmas past.



More awesome holiday toys of 1996 that I couldn’t include in this post without you getting bored and not reading the entire thing:
1. Sky Dancers, from Lewis Galoob Toys

2. Lisa Frank EVERYTHING (namely, Trapper Keepers)

3. Real Talkin’ Bubba, from Tyco

4. 15” Talking Michael Space Jam Action Figure, from Warner Bros.