Toy Insider’s Chief Toy Officer Laurie Schacht stopped by NBC Chicago to show off the hottest new toys of the spring and summer. For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for the complete rundown of the best toys of the spring and summer, be sure to check our complete Toy Insider Spring and Summer Gift Guide.


  • Cheer on your little sports star with the Smart Shots Sports Center by VTech.
  • This electronic sports center features a soccer net and basketball hoop for a fun 2-in-1 play experience.
  • Toss the basketball into the hoop and watch as the LED screen counts the number of baskets. Kick the soccer ball into the net, and the sports center will respond with encouraging sounds and phrases.
  • In addition to counting baskets, the LED screen also encourages play with fun animations.
  • Build fine motor skills with a variety of manipulative features.
  • Turn the gears to hear playful sounds and press the shape buttons to learn shapes, numbers and hear fun sounds.
  • Score, learn and win with the Smart Shots Sports Center!
  • Ages: 12 to 36 months
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart


  • Join animal friends Turtle, Tiger, and Monkey as they explore new vocabulary in the Learning Friends 100 Words Book.
  • Explore the colorful pages and touch each picture to hear the animals say toddler-appropriate words along with exciting facts and sound effects.
  • For an immersive language experience, slide the language switch to hear the words, songs and instructions in Spanish.
  • Touch the pictures to hear silly sound effects in Fun Sounds mode or press the light-up star button to hear two learning songs.
  • Ages: 18 months+
  • MSRP: $17.99
  • Available: Amazon, Target, Kohls, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond


  • smART sketcher Projector is the next great product for promoting artistic ability, fine motor development, and STEAM education skills using 21st century technology.  
  • Developed by the innovative Flycatcher Inc. team, smART sketcher Projector allows children and adults to transform photos taken from their smart devices into a sketch.
  • By using the free smART sketcher app, photos are filtered and transferred via Bluetooth to the projector. Instantly users will see their desired image projected onto paper.
  • Users are able to draw anything the eye can see with just a touch of a button.
  • The smART sketcher Projector also comes with pre-loaded micro SD cards that are filled with a variety of activities including step-by-step drawings, learn-to-write letters and numbers, early spelling skills, and more.
  • Additional SD cards can be purchased separately to keep the creative learning going.
  • Ages: 5+
  • MSRP: $42.99
  • Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Michaels, Target


  • A magician is nothing without her hat, and with these hats kids can become master magicians.
  • Aspiring magicians can take their show on the road with these portable mini magic kits.
  • Each small top hat has the props and instructions to perform 2 or 3 simple, unique magic tricks with different themes — from shape-shifting to mind-reading to x-ray vision, and more.
  • Collect all 8 hats to perform amazing magic tricks.
  • They are also great as stocking stuffers, Easter basket goodies, and party favors.
  • Ages: 6+
  • MSRP: $4.95
  • Available: Amazon


  • Meet the #Snapstar squad from Yulu: Lola, Aspen, Dawn, Yiki, Echo, and Izzy.
  • The trendsetting squad of six social influencers, each with a distinct personality and unique sense of style, is ready to immerse fans into an exciting world of fashion, beauty, music, travel, photography, and design.
  • Each #Snapstar includes a doll, full outfit and accessories, removable hairstyle, green screen and stand, and a cell phone.
  • With the free #Snapstar Studio app on iOS and Android, kids can turn their doll into a social media star by customizing their doll to add makeup, hairstyle, and different, real world and fantasy backgrounds.
  • Dolls are fully poseable with 15 points of articulation.
  • Ages: 5+
  • MSRP: $14.47 (doll); $4.97 (fashion pack) 
  • Available: Walmart