Looking for the best new toys to keep kids’ brains sharp before they head back to the classroom? Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht stopped by City Pulse 24 in Toronto to show off the best new toys that are as fun as they are educational. 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.

Zoo Jamz Sompin’ Fun Drums (VTech)

  • Let your little one set the tone with the Zoo Jamz Stompin’ Fun Drums by VTech. Encourage your little rocker to be a star while they enhance creative thinking and motor skills by tapping out beats and creating their own sounds!
  • Kids will enjoy this fresh way to practice counting and develop coordination as they follow along with the melodies and sing-along songs or create their own rockin’ beats!
  • Mini musician swill love stepping on the elephant bass pedal to see the elephant trunk move up and down and create a fun bass sound effect. Watch them jam out to the beat of their own drum and create some sweet rockin’ tunes!
  • Ages: 18 MOS+
  • MSRP: $49.99 CAD
  • Available: Toys “R” Us

Wonder Crew (PlayMonster)

  • Wonder Crew Buddies, the toy line for boys designed to empower boys to connect, nurture and build empathy through friendship, imagination and adventure.  Combining the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a stuffed animal, 15″ Wonder Crew Buddies are available now.
  • The crew includes Will (Caucasian), Marco (Hispanic), James (African American) and Erik (Asian). Each comes dressed in superhero gear, complete with matching mask and cape for kids.
  • Wonder Crew also has three Adventure Packs: Builder includes a construction outfit and hard hat for the buddy, and a matching vest for kids; Explorer features a safari-looking outfit and hat for the buddy, and a matching hat for the child; and Snuggler is a set of pajamas for the buddy, and a blanket for kids!
  • Age: 3+
  • Canadian MSRP: $42 for Buddies (each sold separately)
  • Available: Target

Peppa Pig 30 Piece Alphabet & Puzzle Blocks (TCG)

  • Kids can learn and play with Peppa Pig! The set includes 30 chunky wooden blocks with four sides of play.
  • Kids can practice the alphabet, make object association, letter identification, word formation, sequencing and more while developing motor and building skills.
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $29.99 CAD
  • Available: Amazon



Muddy Puddles Memory Game (TCG)

  • The Muddy Puddles Memory Game is a fun way to practice memory and picture-matching skills with family and friends featuring Peppa Pig, brother George and other loved characters from the popular series.
  • No reading necessary so everyone can play. The game features brightly-colored, sturdy cards, and jumbo die that is easy for little hands to hold.
  • Place cards in front of the players with the character side facing down and let the fun begin! Roll the die to find the matching character on the cards. If you roll a Muddy Puddles, you miss your turn. The player that collects the most cards wins!
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $14.99 CAD
  • Available: Toys “R” Us,

Thumb Chucks (Zing Toys)

  • CONTROL THE ROLL! 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.
  • The app also includes an easy-to-use recording feature with built-in special effects to enhance and personalize Thumb Chucks videos.
  • The more kids master, the more belts they can collect. Learn how to earn special belts by going to ThumbChucks.Toys.
  • Thumb Chucks are available in red, orange, green and blue.
  • Ages: 5+
  • MSRP: $10
  • Available: Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Amazon, Mastermind Toys

K’NEX Education: Intro to Structures; Bridges (K’NEX)

  • Make learning more enjoyable! Learn about the art and science of infrastructures during play time. K’NEX Education’s Intro to Structures Bridges Set allows kids to create a variety of shapes and models of bridges.
  • The set consists of 207 classic pieces, which include rods and connectors. The snap-fit pieces stick together securely and can be easily reassembled into other creations.
  • Build 13 fully functioning replicas of real-world bridges, one at a time. These models demonstrate key bridge types, such as truss, arch, cantilever, beam, suspension, movable/bascule, and cable-stayed.
  • Enjoy hassle-free cleanup and storage, as this building set comes with a convenient portable storage tray with a snap-on lid.
  • Aside from being used to build 13 bridge replicas, it also allows kids to create buildings, houses, and towers. This toy is ideal for kids from grades 3 to 5, and two to three students can work on each set at one time.
  • Age: 8+
  • Canadian MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: knex.com

Popoids (Kahootz)

  • POPOIDS is a classic bend and pop building toy
  • This 60-piece building set allows kids to make endless wacky contraptions and crazy creatures
  • Using the 36 Popoid Tubes and 24 connectors, kids can bend, twist, stretch, and squish their creation over and over again!
  • They’re called POPOIDS because they make an actual fun popping sound!
  • Kids can build their own creations or follow the instruction guide included
  • Ages 3+
  • Canada: $49.99
  • Available: Amazon, specialty retailers

Monarch Life Cycle (Folkmanis)

  • Experience the beauty of life and the magic of metamorphosis with the Folkmanis Monarch Life Cycle puppet. A wonderful teaching tool with extraordinary design, this unique toy changes from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult monarch butterfly.
  • Utilize the zippers to tuck and reveal one stage to the next and watch life unfold before your eyes! Once the transformation is complete, insert your hands into the monarch wings to cause a flutter with your friends.
  • Ages 3+
  • CAN $55.00
  • Available on Amazon and thru Specialty Retailers

Laser X Long-Range Blaster (NSI International)

  • Take the ultimate high-tech game of tag to new heights with the Laser X Long-Range Blaster.
  • Featuring 25-shot rapid fire, LED spotting scope and super-fast reload, the Long-Range Blaster has pinpoint accuracy up to 400 feet – day or night!
  • Compatible with all other Laser X gear, it allows for more challenging games in larger spaces. Safe infrared beams can go through windows and bounce off walls and mirrors to hit opponents. Advanced sensors know when players are blasting, being hit, running or hiding, and an interactive voice coach uses this information to offer tips and tricks throughout the game.
  • Advanced sensors know when players are blasting, being hit, running or hiding, and an interactive voice coach uses this information to offer tips and tricks throughout the game.
  • You can even plug in headphones (not included) and listen to a stereo soundtrack and sound effects that make you feel like you’re inside a video game!
  • Includes: a blaster and a receiver vest
  • Age: 6+
  • Canadian MSRP: $49.99
  • Available: Target