Back-to-school time doesn’t have to be such a drag with these fun new toys. Toy Insider Associate Editor Maddie Michalik stopped by CTV in Calgary to show off some of the coolest new toys and games for the new semester. For more on the products featured in this segment, check out the notes below, and for more on the hottest new toys of the season be sure to view our Spring and Summer Toy Guide.

LeapStart Learning System (LeapFrog)

  • LeapFrog has updated LeapStart, the successful, interactive “whole child” learning system that provides the perfect balance of core school and 21st Century life skills..
  • LeapStart activity books and leveled library will grow with kids and also get them excited about concepts such as math, reading and writing as well as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and creative expression.
  • The magic behind the updated LeapStart system is a stylus that reads invisible dots on every page, triggering engaging audio like questions, challenges, songs, jokes and more to teach school and life skills.
  • The newly designed ergonomic stylus was created to be comfortable for kids of all ages and promote proper pen grip. And, tons of fun touch-and-talk games, creative challenges, problem-solving puzzles, math mazes and more await kids from ages two to seven with 30+ activities in every activity book.
  • Each activity is designed to be played again and again for endless learning, discovery, storytelling, music making, fun facts, jokes and more.
  • Age: 2-7
  • MSRP: $49.99 CAD
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

K’NEX IMAGINE: Creation Zone 50 Model Building Tub (K’NEX)

  • Specially designed for builders 5+, the Creation Zone Building Tub comes with 50 unique building ideas! Use the included full-color instructions to construct cars, planes, boats and more, or use your imagination to create your own exciting model.
  • Over 400 made-in-the-USA pieces come in a handy plastic storage tub. Most models can be built one at a time.
  • Ages 5+
  • MSRP: $29.99 CAN

The Original Fidget Cube and ZURU Spinner (ZURU)

  • The Original Fidget Cube™ by Antsy Labs is a versatile fidget toy featuring six different sides with multiple buttons, dials and switches so fidgeters can quietly focus while clicking, spinning, rolling and gliding their nervous energy away.
  • The six-sided desk toy is equipped with an array of addictive features including five clicker buttons (two of which are silenced), a switch to flick up and down and a side designed after a gaming joystick with a satisfying gliding action.
  • Launched on Kickstarter in 2016 by Antsy Labs, Fidget Cube has since been one of the platform’s most successful crowdfunding campaigns.
  • From the inventors of the original Fidget Cube, the ZURU Spinner lets fidgeters quietly finger spin, twirl and turn their nervous energy away.
  • The ZURU Spinner is specially designed using high quality materials for premium durability. Featuring the latest in low-friction technology, the ball bearings are made from iron with zinc coating to ensure frictionless rotations for over 3 minutes of spinning action.
  • The ZURU Spinner is available in 4 colors.
  • Ages 3+
  • $7.99-14.99 CAD

Spinzipz and Thumb Chucks (Zing Toys)

  • The spinners craze reaches a whole new level with Spinzipz from Zing! Small enough to fit in your pocket and quiet enough to use anywhere, Spinzipz have joined the fidget craze
  • Spin a single-blade Spinzipz individually, OR for even cooler effects, use the special stacking SpinPin to spin more than one simultaneously.
  • Control the roll with Thumb Chucks from Zing are the newest and coolest skill toy for the ultimate finger rollin’ fun!

Twirl, flip and twist Thumb Chucks around your fingers to perform awesome tricks. Two high-bounce plastic ‘Chucks’ are connected with a ‘belt’ and fit right in your pocket. Kids can master a wide range of tricks from intermediate to advanced. Thanks to the built-in motion-sensitive LED lights, the Chucks glow in the dark for the ultimate light show.

  • The new free Thumb Chucks app, available on iOS and Android in January 2017, includes over 20+ tutorials that teach users a variety of mind-blowing tricks.
  • Each toy is available in four colors.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $6.99-$10.00 CAD


  • Soft’n Slo Squishies Sweet Shop features favorite high-end bakery products, including slices of cake, cinnamon buns, ice cream cones, and super squishy s’mores. This is the tactile toy of the year – they are slow rising, ultra soft, and completely collectible!
  • Age: 8+
  • MSRP: $4.99 – $19.99 CAD
  • Available: Chapters/Indigo, ToysR Us, Walmart

Operation: Escape (YULU)

  • Escape rooms are so trendy, and you can find one in virtually every state in the country.
  • Operation: Escape from YULU Toys is a new interactive game that taps into the escape room trend by combining skill, strategy and teamwork to search, solve and escape the room before time runs out!
  • The whole family can work together and complete three tasks in order to set the captured player free of the master belt before time runs out!
  • First, choose a player to be captured. Place and lock the belt on the player and set the timer on the belt using the rotating dials. The game includes a series of three challenges, a Skill Challenge, Strategy Challenge and Luck Challenge.
  • Remember to work quickly! If all tasks are not solved within the time frame on the belt, the player wearing the belt stays captured and everyone loses.
  • Each Operation: Escape game comes with one master unit belt, three challenges, three keys and a set of cards.
  • Age: 6+
  • CA MSRP: $35.00
  • Available: Toys R Us and Mastermind Toys


Word Slam (Thames & Kosmos)

  • In Word Slam, two teams each have a storyteller. The two storytellers are given the same answer term. Playing at the same time, they must give clues to their teams so the teams can correctly guess the answer. And they must do this quickly, because they are racing the timer and each other.
  • But it’s not that easy. Speaking and acting is absolutely forbidden for the storytellers! They must tell their stories using only 105 cards, each with one word on it: a noun, verb, adjective, or preposition.
  • The storyteller must be creative in using this limited vocabulary to tell the story. And the team members must think quickly and nimbly to interpret the story cards. The team that correctly guesses the answer first gets a point, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  • It’s like charades, but instead of acting, you can only communicate with word cards!
  • Ages: 12+
  • MSRP: $43.50
  • Available: Barnes & Noble, Amazon