Looking for great toys to pull kids away from the many screens they have? Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht stopped by WGN in Chicago to talk about the best toys to just unplug and play. For more on the items featured in this segment, check out the product notes below, and for our complete rundown of the best gifts for the holidays, check out our complete holiday gift guide.


  • The Cozy Cottage Starter Home Set is the perfect way to start a Calico Critters collection. The cottage comes fully assembled and complete with more than 15 furnishings and accessories, including a bed with sheets, table and chairs, kitchen counter with sink and storage, and movable ladder to access the upstairs.
  • Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners are timeless, classic toys that promote wholesome family values. These lifelike and award-winning miniature creatures inspire imagination and creativity while promoting healthy physical and cognitive development through pretend play.
  • Age: 3+
  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Available: Amazon, Walmart, Toys “R” Us


  • The charming FlipaZoo toy plush is two buddies in one, and kids will flip for these lovable animal friends!
  • Each fun-stuffed FlipaZoo features two fluffy characters that flip back and forth for two sides of fun.
  • FlipaZoo is simple and easy to maneuver, and it even doubles as a soft pillow.
  • Discover the complete FlipaZoo collection for a variety of characters, colors, and sizes that are great for fun on the go or at home.
  • People of all ages will love collecting FlipaZoo friends, one by two! Available in a variety of characters and sizes.
  • Ages: 2+
  • MSRP: $19.99
  • Available: Fipazoo.com; Walmart


  • Teaming with Disney for the new cartoon Mickey and the Roadster Racers on Disney Jr., Jada has produced an all new and innovative transforming R/C.
  • The Mickey Transforming Roadster Racer features Mickey’s red roadster and an easy-to-operate remote control that allows the classic roadster to transform into his all-new Roadster Racer, just like in the cartoon!
  • Other features include lights and sounds from the show. This is one of the most magical R/Cs Jada has produced and looks to be a big hit.
  • Ages: 4+
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: Toys R Us, Walmart, Amazon


  • ALEX DIY Sweetlings Sprinkle Shop comes with everything you need to Frost Your World and bring three adorable Sweetlings characters to life! Use whipped clay icing to frost two plastic cupcakes and a cone in the Sprinkle Shop workstation. Frost the characters easily as they rotate on the base.
  • Grab your accessories from the easy storage to create a one-of-a-kind Sweetlings look. When ready, add the final pizazz with the glitterizer—star-shaped glitter will sparkle as your creation rotates on the stage for their special moment under the strobing lights. Create GEEKling, JAMMIN’ JASling and SUGAR POPling.
  • Age: 6+
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: Amazon, Toys “R” Us

Discovery Underwater Volcano (HORIZON GROUP USA)

  • Underwater volcanoes are known as submarine volcanoes! With this kit you will create your very own underwater volcano eruption.
  • Set your scene and fill the aquarium with water. Once filled, add the volcano structure with the fizzing tablet and watch a chemical reaction occur right before your eyes.
  • Eruptions from submarine volcanoes account for 75 percent of the lava released from the Earth’s core each year!  The underwater eruptions go from a very hot environment to the bottom of the ocean, which is extremely cold. These eruptions form pillow-like shapes that harden quickly.
  • MSRP: $19.99
  • Ages: 12+
  • Available: Michaels, Amazon


  • Play charades with The Dude!
  • He’s relaxed, clumsy, and gets into the weirdest situations.
  • It’s the Dude! The life-size Dude is your best friend in this hilarious game. Play charades with him and let others guess what you two are up to. Play scenes from a movie or act out a sport or a profession. The other players try to guess within the time limit what you and the Dude are doing.
  • Age: 16+
  • MSRP: $24.99
  • Available: Target


  • 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.
  • 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+
  • MSRP: $39.99
  • Available: Target, Toys R Us

Nikko Air Elite 115 Race Set (TOY STATE)

  • Part of a debut line of Nikko Air racing drones, the first and only co-branded drones designed expressly for consumers.
  • New pilots can master the drone racing skills they need to fly to the next level with this new racer. The set even lets them create custom courses and challenge friends to a race.
  • Modular gate system and accessories included.
  • Age: 8+
  • MSRP: $59.99
  • Available: Amazon, Toys “R” Us this fall