Getting kids ready for back-to-school? Toy Insider Associate Editor Maddie Michalik stopped by Better Western Massachusetts to show off the best new toys to prepare your to head back to the classroom. 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.

Laugh & Learn First Words Smart Puppy (Mattel)

  • Interactive Puppy magically unlocks learning content for the entire First Words collection
  • Includes 8 starter blocks that help teach baby everyday first words
  • Smart Stages block reader reads a word when baby swipes or places a block, unlocking different levels of learning
  • Light-up shape buttons teach shapes, colors and more
  • Press Puppy’s nose for light and music
  • Send blocks down the chute for fine motor development
  • Ages: 9-36 mos
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart

LeapFrog Academy (LeapFrog)

  • LeapFrog Academy is an interactive learning program for 3-6 year olds that they can play anywhere. It goes beyond the core subjects that are important to a child’s development by guiding them through a variety of fun Learning Adventures.
  • Learning Adventures cover curriculum for preschool through first grade and include activities such as math, reading and science along with problem solving, creativity and social-emotional skills. Designed by award-winning educational experts, this program tracks your child’s learning progress.
  • LeapFrog Academy then provides extra practice in subjects they need help mastering and serves up more difficult activities designed to keep them challenged.
  • Ages: 3-6
  • MSRP: $7.99 per month, new users can try LeapFrog Academy free for one month
  • Available:

Game Of The States (Winning Moves USA)

  • First board game in history with Certification!
  • Kids learn all about the United States by racing their trucks across country buying and selling goods along the way.
  • Players will become familiar with the fifty states, their locations, capital cities, top products and learn interesting STEM facts about each state!
  • Learn fun STEM facts about the 50 states.
  • Earn a Digital Explorer badge online!
  • Ages: 8+
  • Players: 2 to 4
  • MSRP: $20.95
  • Available: Amazon


  • LEGO BOOST is a supercharged building and coding set that lets kids bring their LEGO creations to life by adding sound, movement, and personality.
  • Powered by a Move Hub, a LEGO stud-covered brick upon which children can add LEGO elements, motors and a sensor that combines color and distance detection, LEGO BOOST brings movement to any LEGO creation.
  • The LEGO BOOST set includes instructions for five diverse models: Vernie The Robot, Frankie The Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, each designed to give children the basic skills to express their creativity by personalizing whatever they build.
  • Ages: 7-12
  • MSRP: $159.99
  • Available: Aug. 1 at and LEGO brand retail stores

3Doodler Start Robotics Pen Set (WobbleWorks)

  • The perfect toy set for your budding roboticist and engineer!
  • With the 3Doodler Start Robotics pen set you can build the future. Create simple robots, vibrating robot walkers, two legged, four-legged and six-legged walking or crawling robots!
  • Includes: Special edition 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen, a motor and battery pack, themed activity guide (with over 12 projects), themed DoodleBlocks, Doodle Sheets and Eco-Plastic packs.
  • The motor and battery pack is also available for purchase separately.
  • Ages: 10+
  • MSRP: $69.99 (Themed kit without pen: $24.99)
  • Available: Barnes and Noble

Happy Atoms (Thames & Kosmos)

  • Thames & Kosmos partners with Schell Games to bring kids Happy Atoms to teach kids about chemistry, atoms, and molecules.
  • Happy Atoms is a physical construction set that incorporates the latest in augmented reality, delivering a digital teaching tool that enables kids to discover the world of molecules in an intuitive, hands-on way.
  • Kids create molecules from plastic atom models that connect easily with magnets, and then can discover the identities of the molecules they built by scanning them with the app.
  • Kids can then explore the molecules they discover thanks to the guided chemistry lessons in the educational app.
  • Ages: 10-17.
  • MSRP: Intro Set: $59.95; Complete Set: $159.95
  • Available: Amazon, Toys “R” Us, Barnes & Noble