Get a Head Start on Holiday Shopping

Last week I had the time of my life visiting Santa's Workshop. Okay, I lied. But I did get the next best thing: the opportunity to visit New York and attend Time to Play Magazine's annual Holiday Showcase. Time to Play's chief Toy Guy, Chris Byrne, must have apprenticed with Santa himself, because he and Time to Play head Jim Silver have come up with the 2009 Most Wanted List of toys for the holiday season.

The highlight of the event was the press conference where Jim and Chris did a roll call of the 16 toys that made the list, and told everyone why they thought these toys were so great. You can see their list here, or keep reading below to see all 16 toys and my initial take on them. Be sure to check these toys out; they're sure to sell out soon!

Center: Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles. Clockwise, from left: Bakugan 7-in-1 Maxus Helios, Transformers Constructicon Devastator, Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CD-35 Blaster, Printies, The Beatles Rock Band, Battle Strikers.

(and by the way, I've listed the toys in the order that they appear in my photos, so #1 doesn't imply that it's any better than #16)

1) Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles: Utter coolness for young spies-to-be allows them to see in the dark (as in, monsters-in-the-closet dark, boogeymen-in-the-basement dark) up to fifty feet.

2) Bakugan 7-in-1 Maxus Helios: This will probably be on 3Po and Jammy's Most Wanted List. It's 7 Bakugans that all work separately (place each little ball on a magnetic card and they pop open to become little dragon/robot figures) as well as connect to form a huge Bakugan Beast.

3) Transformers Constructicon Devastator: This is another 3Po/ Jammy favorite, although at age 5.5, they're still not too adept at transforming the Transformer toys they already have.

4) Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CD-35 Blaster: Hmmm. I'm not a gun fan, so Santa won't be showing up with one of these anytime soon.

5) Printies: Print and stuff your own stuffed toy -- without pricking your finger on a single needle! When I saw this, I immediately began making plans to feature this as a craft activity at The Pea's next birthday party.

6) The Beatles Rock Band
: I like the concept of introducing the Beatles to a new generation, but since the only video game consoles we have in our household are the Leapfrog Leapster and Didj, I can't really form an opinion on this video game anytime soon.

7) Battle Strikers: A spinning tops game, with a twist -- you can actually control your spinning top via a magnetic finger glove, and use it to spin your opponent's top out of the battle arena. Looks like great fun, but I'd need some practice to get my top spinning for longer than 5 seconds.

Clockwise, from left: Barbie Fashionistas, Rocky the Robot Truck, Candy Land Sweet Celebration, Girl Gourmet Sweets Candy Jewelry Factory, Air Hogs Switchblade.

8) Barbie Fashionistas: Barbie does street glam with pop-fashion outfits. Barbie was my #1 toy when I was a little girl, but sadly enough, The Pea seems to have moved on from Barbie. Maybe these dolls will bring her back.

9) Rocky the Robot Truck: A moving, grooving truck with a personality, this is something that would definitely have been on my boys' Most Wanted lists three years ago.

10) Candy Land Sweet Celebration: It's an updated Candyland that, unlike other "updated" versions, actually improves upon the original! Now you can set your own path -- great for parents who want to slit their throats because the game goes on forever.

11) Lego Star Wars: Everybody's favorite building toys meets everybody's favorite sci-fi movie. What's not to love? Well, maybe the fact that the Legos always break off and get lost once 3Po and Jammy build them (with considerable adult help at this point), but give it a few years and I'm sure we'll be up to our ears in Lego x-wing fighters and AT-AT's.

12) Girl Gourmet Sweets Candy Jewelry Factory: The product is sweet, sweet, sweet, and girls will love using it. But the apparatus is bulky, bulky, bulky, and parents might hate storing it.

13) Air Hogs Switchblade: A flying remote-control toy that can hover like a UFO and fly like a plane. I didn't get a really close look at this one, but I'll bet that Alfie, I mean 3Po and Jammy, would love to get their hands on it.

Clockwise, from left: Dora's Explorer Girls, Star Wars Lego, Transformers Constructicon Devastator, Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles, Battle Strikers, Bakugan 7-in-1 Maxus Helios, Zhu Zhu Pets.

14) Dora's Explorer Girls: I have mixed feelings about the idea of the new, tweenie Dora; I think she looks much better than the old, big-headed Dora, but I'm concerned about the over-sexualization of preschool cartoon characters. I know the introduction of New Dora is supposed to make little girls grow up with Dora, not out of Dora -- but I wonder whether the older girls will continue to shun Dora in either form while the 3-year olds simply abandon Old Dora for New.

15) Zhu Zhu Pets: I'm not surprised this made the list; these cute, chattering hamsters have already found their way into my kids' hearts, and I hear they're already sold out at Target and Walmart.

Clockwise, from left: Crayola Crayon Town, Rocky the Robot Truck, Barbie Fashionistas, Candy Land Sweet Celebration, Lego Star Wars, Girl Gourmet Sweets Candy Jewelry Factory, Air Hogs Switchblade.

16) Crayola Crayon Town: A cute, inexpensive craft activity that lets kids use crayons to color in the town background and set, then stick the crayons onto plastic pieces to make play figures for pretend play on the town.

I'll be reviewing some of these toys in the near future, so watch out for more detailed descriptions and opinions!

I received product samples but no monetary compensation in conjunction with this event and post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

1 Comments, Leave yours here:

Deanna on October 6, 2009 at 11:42 AM said...

Great post. I need to get a head start on Holiday shopping this year! I saw the battle Strikers toy you wrote about, it is really a lot of fun. I have a review/giveaway to win one going on now...

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