5/4/12

The Scoop on Summer’s Hottest New Toys

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Suzanne Chan of Mom Confessionals
and I at the Time to Play event.
Photo: Maria Adcock
At the Time to Play press event last month, toy manufacturers from around the country gathered to premiere its newest toys for the Spring and Summer seasons. Bloggers and journalists previewed each company’s lineup while Time to Play revealed its Most Wanted list of upcoming hot new toys.

When reviewing toys, Time to Play tested and evaluated each one on criteria such as Repeat Play Value, Fun, Assembly Instructions, and more. Parents now are especially looking for play value – that is, toys that engage, keep kids active, and make kids want to play with them again and again.

Movie themed toys this summer are predicted to be hot as several big films will be released such as The Avengers, Brave (Pixar’s First Fairy Tale – see trailer here), The Amazing Spiderman, and more.

Time to Play also mentioned that three hits from the holidays continue to be strong: Leap Pad Explorer (iPad for kids), Angry Birds Knock on Wood game by Mattel, and Beyblade by Hasbro.

Below are highlights from the Time to Play event.

Air Storm Z-X Cross Bow
Photo: Zing  Toys

Air Storm Z-X Cross Bow
With the Hunger Games books and movie still popular, kids can channel their inner Katniss with this Air Storm Z-X Cross Bow by Zing Toys. Unlike the movie version of a bow, this one is quite safe with its foam arrow shooter and soft suction cup. Pulling the trigger shoots arrows over 45 feet. This toy is on Time to Play’s Most Wanted List.
For Ages: 8 and up
Available: Spring 2012
SRP: $19.99

 

The Amazing Spiderman Electronic Figure
Photo: Mattel
The Amazing Spiderman Electronic Figure
Based on this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man movie, this 10-inch electronic figure can fire one of three web missiles from its launcher on its right arm. Made by Mattel, Spiderman features flexible joints so kids can position him into action poses. Spiderman even says 10 different phrases and lights up. This toy is on Time to Play’s Most Wanted List.
For Ages: 5 and up
Available: Spring 2012
SRP: $19.99

Avengers Dress Up Sets
Photo: Jakks Pacific
Avengers Dress Up Sets
The Avengers movie is out now and kids will surely want to dress up as their favorite superheroes - Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America. These costumes for kids by Jakks Pacific are full body and include injection molded masks. Available at Target, Toys R Us, Amazon, and other retailers.
For Ages: 3 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $14.99

SPECIAL AVENGERS ORIGINS: ASSEMBLE! APP PROMO – Running 5/4 – 5/11:
Disney Stores and Apple are teaming up to giveaway 100,000 coupon codes for a *FREE* download of Disney Publishing’s Avengers Origins: Assemble! app when a consumer purchases at least $20 worth of merchandise at all Disney Stores locations across the U.S. and Canada.


Foam Fighters App in action.
Photo: Maria Adcock
As part of WowWee’s AppGear brand of products, Foam Fighters is a collectible line of toy-based apps. Simply attach one of the small foam airplanes to an app device, play on an iPhone or iPad, and use the real world as the background. From the user’s position, the viewpoint makes it looks like the player is actually in the airplane flying through the skies.
For Ages: 9 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $9.99


Hello Kitty Small Case Pool Party
Photo: Mega Bloks
A new generation of Hello Kitty fans can use their imaginations to bring Hello Kitty to a pool party with this cute small case set. Super portable, this set from Mega Bloks includes 19 pieces such as a collectible Hello Kitty figurine with sunglasses, floaty ring, carrying case, buildable table, chairs, pool, slide, diving board and more.
For Ages: 4 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $14.99


LeapFrog LeapPad
Photo: LeapFrog
LeapPad Sesame Street Partnership with LeapFrog
Since its debut last year, the LeapFrog by LeapPad has led the kid’s iPad market. LeapFrog just announced its partnership with Sesame Workshop to bring Sesame Street video episodes into the LeapFrog App Center. The episodes available on LeapPad will be Sesame Street’s most recent television season which focuses on a science-based curriculum.
For Ages: 4-9
Available: LeapPad available now, Sesame Street episodes in LeapPad App Center available in June
SRP: LeapPad $99.99, Sesame Street $5.00 per episode



LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop
Photo: LEGO

LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop
Otherwise known as LEGO for girls, this LEGO set breaks convention by targeting females. After exhaustive research, LEGO has found the right formula to reach girls. These sets so far are flying off retailers’ shelves. The representative for LEGO mentioned how research showed girls did not like the traditional blocky-style characters found in boys’ sets. Instead, they preferred more realistic characters that they could recognize as people. The LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop includes mini-doll figures with hairstyles to try, hairbrushes, cosmetics and accessories. This toy is on Time to Play’s Most Wanted List.
For Ages: 6 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $24.99

Merida Toddler Doll
Photo: Disney
Pixar’s first fairy tale, Brave, premieres this summer and features a new princess named Merida. Though several toy manufacturers are making Merida dolls, the toddler version by Disney is especially cute with her large eyes and cascade of curly red hair. According to representatives at Time to Play, retailers tended to under-order Merida dolls as they didn’t believe her “unconventional princess look” (i.e. red mass of hair, etc.) would sell well. Hopefully kids will prove them wrong, because princesses of all colors, shapes, and sizes are beautiful! 16” doll.
For Ages: 3 and up
Available: May 2012
SRP: $24.50

Pop Grrl Nail Charms
Photo: The Wish Factory, Inc.
Pop Grrl Nail Charms
Decorating fingernails with images is trending now, so it’s no surprise tweens will be looking for Popgrrl Nail Charms by The Wish Factory, Inc. Pop Grrl is the brand new line of popular fashion accessories just for tween girls that includes Pop Grrl Nail Charms stick-on nails and the iPoppin line of music accessories. The safe easy-on, easy-off nail charms come in these designs: Sweet Tooth, Animal Instincts, and Bow So Cute collections. Licensed nail charms include Blow Pop, Tootsie Roll, and Gummy Bears scented nail charms.
For Ages: 6 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $6.99

Razor FlashRider 360 Three-Wheeler
Photo: Razor
Razor FlashRider 360 Three-Wheeler
This is not the three-wheeler a lot of us parents grew up with -- this one is way cooler! Manufactured by Razor, the popular kick scooter company, the Razor FlashRider 360 features a bike that turns, drifts, and shoots sparks. Its rear, dual-inclined caster wheels move in all directions, allowing for free drifting and easy spinning. Its sturdy all-steel frame, double crown fork, and MX-style rubber grip handlebars holds up to 160 pounds. This item is on Time to Play’s Most Wanted List.
For Ages: 6 and up
Available: Spring 2012
SRP: $129.99


Soak N Splash Water Limbo Sprinkler
Photo: Little Kids, Inc.
Combine water and limbo and the summer is guaranteed to be fun! This cool new toy is produced by Little Kids, Inc.. Compatible with any hose, simply press a button and a horizontal stream of water spurts out. With limbo music playing from the toy, kids can start their limbo fun. To make things more challenging kids can adjust the height of the water stream. Great for outdoor parties and picnics.
For Ages: 5 and up
Available: Now
SRP: $19.99


Squishy Baff
Photo:Maria Adcock
Squishy Baff
As the name implies, Squishy Baff gives kids a squishy bath experience. It transforms ordinary bath water into squishy, gooey fun and then back to regular water again. Before parents say, “Ugh!” they should know that Squishy Baff is safe and environmentally friendly. The kit includes enough Squishy Baff powder for two baths. Simply sprinkle a pouch into the tub water, stir, and watch the goo form within 5-10 minutes. When the bath is done, use the Squishy Dissolver powder which turns the goo back into water. Available in pink, red, blue, and green colors. This toy is on Time to Play’s Most Wanted List.
For Ages: 5 and up
Available: Spring 2012
SRP: $9.99

3-in-1 Rocker Napper in sleeping mode.
Photo: Maria Adcock

3-in-1 Rocker Napper in rocker mode.
Photo: Maria Adcock
Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper
Nowadays parents want more out of their baby gear. They want products that provide value by offering more than one function. All of Tiny Love’s baby gear products achieve this goal. The 3-in-1 Rocker Napper is especially innovative. It’s a bouncy seat, rocker, and sleeper all in one stylish product. Adapt to baby’s needs by changing the rocker to a fully recline sleeper in one easy step. Baby awake and hungry? Simply position the sleeper to an upright position to become a bouncy seat to feed her. Unlike most bouncy seats, this one can support children up to 40 pounds.
For Ages: Newborn and up
Available: May 2012
SRP: $99.99

Zuzee for tweens.
Image: Zuzee
Zuzee
Though Zuzee was not at Time to Play, it’s still a hot new creative social network and photo book design for tweens. Girls from over 72 countries are already participating in this safe form of social networking and creative design. For this Spring, Zuzee is introducing a new line-up of book and card design templates with themes for Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Sleepovers, and a School Yearbook. Girls use their creative skills to design and personalize Zuzee scrapbook-style templates with their own photos, and they also participate in the social side of Zuzee by taking interactive quizzes and exchange e-gifts and comments with friends on the site. Zuzee recently received the The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval 2012 for offering a safe place for creative expression for tweens.
For Ages: Tweens 7-12
Available: Now
SRP:  Free

Disclosure: Author was not compensated for this post. Author did attend the Time to Play press event where all participants received samples of some products featured at the show. All opinions expressed are solely those of the author.



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