Toys are essential to the development of babies and children. Play and entertainment are fundamental elements that form the foundations for reading, writing, numeracy and creativity. Age-appropriate games and toys keep a child focused on an activity and provide them with much needed entertainment. Over the generations, favorite toys have emerged but with each new generation, comes a new and exciting toy. Boys and girls of all ages can always find something to play with that appeals to their personality and favorite pursuits.
Hasbro’s PlaySkool Lullaby Gloworm
This is an adorable item that doubles as a night light and musical accompaniment. The idea is for your child to gently hug the Gloworm to activate its special features and it is designed to help little ones make a smoother transition from busy time to bed time. Priced from around $10.
The award winning and fabulously inventive Build-A-Bear toys are custom-designed by the purchaser and ‘manufactured’ in store, or to the customer’s specifications if ordered online. Not only can you create a Build-A-Bear with a heart and virtual wishes inside, but it comes with its own personalized birth certificate, a Lifetime Paw Pass and a Find-A-Bear tag. With locations all over the world, and a massive range of clothing and accessories to fit all the toys, a Build-A-Bear is an ideal choice for a toy from birth to adulthood, for male and female. Priced from approximately $15, you can add optional sounds such as lullabies or puppy dog noises.
Fisher Price Amazing Animals Sing & Go Choo Choo
Chasing an incredibly animated train around the room spells hours of fun for a crawler or try-hard walker. The Fisher Price Amazing Animals Sing & Go Choo Choo provides just such a treat with its technicolor animals that click and move while traveling on a singing, tooting train.
Made for Me Mp3 Music Player
As New Millennium gadgets go, the Made For Me Digital Music Player must be the ultimate in nursery entertainment. This attractive MP3 unit has been designed for the youngest musical fans and comes with software that enables parents to shuffle tunes and organize songs either downloaded from the Internet or transferred from CD’s. Moms and Dads can even record their own voice for baby to listen to. Priced at around $80.00, this item is from Hasbro’s PlaySkool range.
18 months-3 yrs
T.M.X. Tickle Me Elmo
The hottest toy for the 18 months to 3 years age group is the Elmo T.M.X. by Fisher Price. Since the first Tickle Me Elmo toy was introduced in frantic style in 1996, variations have been created on an almost yearly basis. Elmo’s latest incarnation is billed as “the most ‘x-treme’ Elmo yet” and features many more movement sequences than ever. At around $40, it’s this year’s must-have for tiny tots.
Chicco Bilingual Talking Farm
One of American toy giant F.A.O. Schwarz’s top sellers in the 18 months and up age group is the award winning Bilingual Talking Farm by Chicco. It’s a colorful and interactive toy that teaches children, in English and Spanish, new words for sounds, colors, animal names and numbers. Priced at $30.00, it’s very popular with parents and children. Chicco is an Italian company who has been making beloved toys since 1958.
Tupperware Shape-O Toy
Not only famous for bowls, Tupperware’s well-loved Shape-O toy, first added to the range in 1964, remains a firm favorite the world over. Partly nostalgic but mostly clever, simple and educational, the Shape-O has fans spanning 2 or 3 generations. Featuring 10 yellow shapes to insert into corresponding holes in the red and yellow ball, it keeps toddlers’ attention for many happy hours. Priced from $25.00.
Mr Potato Head
The ‘classic, face-changing friends’ began with Mr Potato Head around 46 years ago and despite a gazillion technological advances in toys, he still shows up in toy boxes around the world. Children love to create silly faces with this Playskool favorite and parents revisit their own childhoods at the same time. Priced at less than $10, it represents unbeatable value for a toy that will last for decades and give great pleasure.
Mattel Matchbox Cars
Every boy dreams of driving a car one day and until he’s old enough, Matchbox Cars suffice beautifully. Introduced by the Lesney Toy Company in the U.K. in 1953, these miniature sets of wheels are staples in little boy toy boxes. The concept behind the product was born when Lesney co-owner Jack Odell invented a toy for his daughter because her school only permitted children to bring along toys that were able to fit inside a matchbox. These days – since 1997 – Matchbox Cars are produced by Mattel and are part of their Hot Wheels range. Always affordable and most definitely collectible, Matchbox Cars are toy treasure, for boys and girls.
From Fisher Price comes a high-tech stationary cycle that utilizes television plug-and-play technology. Similar to an interactive arcade-style game but produced for home, 3 to 5 year old girls and boys are climbing aboard and having a great time while learning their numbers, letters, shapes and colors. They’re able to time themselves and race against other vehicles on the television. Additional software featuring Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and Barbie can be bought at any time. Recommended retail is around $100.00.
Hasbro’s range of lifelike and life-size toy animals amazes and entrances. For $400, pick up Butterscotch the Pony who stands over three feet tall and who blinks, ‘eats’, whinnies and snorts. The FurReal Newborn Lamb and Newborn Piglet, both priced at around $19.00, mean children can pretend they live on a farm and feed and look after their pets. The latest in the FurReal range is Squawkers McCaw, an amazingly real-looking parrot who repeats words that it hears. Priced at around $70.00.
Since 1959, Mattel’s Barbie Doll has earned many millions of fans. Still the number one doll in the world, Barbie is facing competition from MGA Entertainment’s Bratz Dolls. What makes Barbie so special is that she evolves with the times, changes career every season, has an enviable wardrobe that wouldn’t fit into a real person’s average sized house and still breaks records on a regular basis. No little girl should grow up without at least one Barbie doll.
Danish toy manufacturer Lego began producing their famous interlocking bricks in 1949. Nowadays, the Lego name encompasses a dazzling array of toys from the original bricks through to the 2006-launched Mindstorms kit which features new Bluetooth and ultrasonic sensor technology. For the 5 to 8 year old market, Bionicles and Transformers continue to entertain Lego enthusiasts. In 2007, Lego is as popular as ever and provides wonderful bonding opportunities for parents to play with their children.
Famously featured in Adam Sandler’s movie ‘Click’, the I-Dog, by Sega Toys and marketed in the U.S. by Hasbro is a new generation toy that confounds parents. Basically, it is an accessory to be used with an MP3 player and comes in the form of a dog – or cat (I-Cat), or penguin (I-Cy). It moves, features a variety of ‘personalities’ and even has ‘moods’ that change with the kind of music played through it. Pricing starts at around $30.00. Originally introduced in 2005, it is available in a range of colors and even a Dalmatian print.
There is no escaping Spiderman, whether at the grocery store, the cinema or the toy store. There are Spiderman action figures, Spiderman 3 Monopoly, footballs, Play-Doh packs, jigsaw puzzles, and the list goes on and on. For the 8 to 12 age group, seeing the movie means Spiderman anything is on their wish list but the favorite has to be the Spi-Dog (Spiderman version of the I-Dog). Since the first Spidey movie was released in 2002, the merchandising activities have gone full steam ahead to today’s market saturation … but the kids are not complaining!
Whether it’s Wii, Playstation, Gameboy or Xbox, by the time a child is old enough to see his or her friends playing with one of these high-tech games gadgets, they’ll start asking for their own. With a vast and never-ending catalog of games and software, the compulsion to buy the latest, greatest game is on par with the need for food! Among the most popular console game themes for this age group are Spongebob Squarepants, SingStar, Guitar Hero, Shrek and Barbie.
Although it may seem sometimes that the high-tech toys are the ones preferred by our technologically literate sons and daughters, it’s still true that some youngsters will be happily amused for great periods of time by the boxes in which they are packaged! Sometimes, the simplest things in life really are the best, however it’s also important for children to keep up with the times – even in their play time – or risk being left behind when faced with technological challenges at school and at work. Variety is as important at play as it is at the dinner table.