15 top toys sure to elicit squeals of delight on Christmas morning and get hours of play in the months to come.
While experience-gifts, books and new socks are great Christmas choices for kids, what they get really hyped about is, of course, the toys.
Here are 15 options sure to elicit squeals of delight on Christmas morning and get hours of play in the months to come.
Celebrate braininess early with the Uncle Goose Elemental Blocks ($38 at Retroactive Kids, Columbia City, and unclegoose.com). Each of the 20 basswood cubes contains six elements from the periodic table, including their atomic numbers, symbols and names. Ages 2 and up.
The Green Toys Dumper, Mixer and Scooper ($17 each at Clover, Ballard, and Whole Foods) are made of the same recycled milk-jug material as other Green Toys, but are a new, smaller size for little hands. Set up a construction site indoors this winter, and move the set to the sandbox come summer. Ages 2 and up.
The Hape Gourmet Kitchen ($130 at Top Ten Toys and hapetoys.shptron.com) provides imagination-based fun through the years. Toddlers will enjoy opening doors and turning knobs, while older kids can create a restaurant or kitchen experience. And it’s attractive enough to have in any room of the house. Ages 3 and up.
Smart toys, which respond to verbal and physical cues, are exploding in popularity. One new option, Fisher-Price’s Smart Toy Bear ($100 at Toys R Us), is cute and cuddly enough to stand alone. But it also asks questions, understand simple answers, plays games, and remember names, favorite colors and more. Ages 3 and up.
It doesn’t get much cuter than the new Calico Critters Red Panda Family ($19–$20 at Clover and shop.intplay.com). The family comes dressed in vintage clothing that can be removed and mixed and matched with other Calico Critters sets. Ages 3 and up.
Expand her world with the new Stargazer Lottie Doll ($25 at Retroactive Kids and lottie.com). The poseable 7.5-inch doll comes dressed to gaze at the night sky, and has a telescope and tripod as well as solar system cards featuring notable constellations. Ages 3 and up.
Kids can build sleek ice castles or “invisible” space ships with the new Magna-Tiles ICE 32 Piece Set ($50 at Top Ten Toys and amazon.com). Featuring clear panels with black magnets, the set takes the popular building toy in a cool new direction. Ages 3 and up.
Blast off to fun with the new Lego City Spaceport ($100 at amazon.com), which includes a space shuttle, an ejectable fuel tank and boosters, a mobile launch pad, towing vehicles and a load of other fun accessories. Ages 6 and up.
What if that asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs had missed Earth? That’s the premise of the new Pixar movie “The Good Dinosaur,” and inspiration for hours of make-believe fun with The Good Dinosaur Arlo with Spot Action Figure ($13 at Disney Store). The little boy attaches to the dino’s back for fun on the go. Ages 3 and up.
If your child is clamoring for a pet, but you’re on the fence, get them Little Live Pets’ Clever Keet ($45 at Toys R Us), an interactive bird that responds to its name, talks, sings, dances and even rides around in a little cart. Ages 5 and up.
Work together on the Thinkfun Maker Studio Gears Set ($20 at Retroactive Kids and amazon.com) to build a race car, motorcycle or cable car out of household materials. The kit comes with the engineering parts, including gears, connectors, wheels and rods. Ages 7 and up.
Kids can create their own amusement with the K’Nex Mighty Makers Fun on the Ferris Wheel Building Set ($35 at Top Ten Toys and knex.com). The 324-piece set includes instructions for two other builds with the same pieces, plus two figures. Ages 7 and up.
The Revell Millennium Falcon Build N Play Set ($20 at Target) snaps together quickly with no glue required, but will provide hours of “Star Wars” play with moveable landing gear, hatches and wings, as well as lights and sounds that simulate battle action. Ages 6 and up.
What’s old is new again with the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set ($23 at amazon.com), based on the classic 1965 toy. The set includes 19 wheels, two rings and three pens to start the spiral-design fun. Ages 8 and up.
They can race alone or with friends on almost any surface — including carpet — with the Wow Wee Rev set ($70 at amazon.com). Two vehicles are included, and up to 16 can play at once. There’s also a single-player mode, with the other car controlled by an artificial-intelligence character. Ages 8 and up.