Are you on the hunt for a great holiday gift for your son or daughter, but aren’t sure what the must have toys and games are this season? Or are you looking for a great game the whole family will enjoy? If so, you’re in luck! Toy expert, Shannon Eis joined me recently to dish on the hot list holiday toys and games for kids of all ages (and their parents too)!
Candace Rose: What’s new and hot in gaming?
Shannon Eis: “We have PlayStation. It’s been on the market only a month, and it’s already sold two million units in the console. We think an entry point to parents is really important to these new gaming consoles. Knack is a great game for parents to really start that conversation and engagement on the platform. An important thing to note about this game and what makes it so unique is that this virtual experience on this PlayStation is like you are navigating a Pixar game- it is that contextual. It has this really nice vibrant color palette to it and that just brings all these games to life in a new way for families and for kids.
One thing we like about the game is this sort of drop-in drop-out feature. The primary player and other players can join and exit quickly without disrupting the primary play. There’s a lot of cool functions like that really bring the PlayStation to life, and we think Knack is going to be a great opportunity for parents and kids to game together.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any other suggestions for toys and games that the whole family can enjoy together?
Shannon Eis: “Sure. Lego is a classic brand that kids and adults of all ages love. We’re really excited to help them celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Castle and Kingdom’s line. What we’re showing you here (please see video for details) is the Crown Jewel in that line, which is the King’s castle. This is a great building experience, and at the end you have this fantastic play set that’s great for role play. You’ll have a draw bridge that you’ve built, battering ramp, catapult…you of course have your white knight. There are seven figurines in all and it’s a fantastic, very detailed play set from Lego. It’s going to bring hours of fun to a family.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other twists on old classics?
Shannon Eis: “There are. So the board game category is often the first time that families start playing, and that can happen at a very young age for the earliest players. Wonder Forge has done a great job at bringing familiar faces back to life such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Flying Attack game. This is a strategy game with the very famous Ninja Turtles really helping to bring Shredder back down to size. We like this for ages five and up.
There’s also a very popular preschool game – Jake and the Never Land Pirates Shipwrecked game. This is a game about exploring an adventure and helping the kids leave the game, go explore and come back and share their discoveries.
And that’s a nice segue to a different kind of game for preschoolers which is Sofia the First Magical Tea Time set. This is exclusive to Toys R Us. Believe it or not it’s a fun way to teach manners. They don’t even know they’re learning manners which makes it even more fun.
From there we can go to Disney Infinity. Disney (better than anybody) knows how to bring virtual and real worlds together and really put their characters in the center of that experience, is the Infinity system. You can buy the starter set which is a tremendous value at $75- you get three characters and the base, which lets you pour into these characters worlds and really have an immersive experience as Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Carribean. My favorite component is the toy box which is a virtual area that you create, where you mash up all the different parts of the Disney World – characters and environments and you can really create something different and unique. The great part is you can upload user generated content. The kids and families can create new worlds, and other families can download and play it. It’s a great extension and a great value for this platform.
And from there we look at some reinvented classics. Razor has done an excellent job reinventing the ride on category. This (please see video for details) is their take on a go kart- the crazy cart! It comes with this great drift bar, so it goes up to 12 mph and it is electrical powered. You pull the drift bar and it sends you into 360 degree spins, which is how all the fancy race car drivers are parking these days. We like this for kids, it’s outdoor play, it’s got a great value and it is a big ticket item that’s only available at Toys R Us…so you want to make sure you grab it when you see it, because it is going to go fast.
And then, sort of as a plug for my six year old son, the Gooey Louie is going to be a hot ticket item, it is in my house. Think about Hot Potato done differently…the kids take turns pulling gooey strands out of Louie’s nose and the unlucky player who pulls the wrong strand sends his eyes flying, his head pops open…his brain flies across the room. It’s a really cool take on a really old play pattern of basically Hot Potato.
But it’s another example of a balanced toy box. You want to have a little blend of traditional, technology, independent, group play…and we think there are some good options here for parents this holiday season.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much Shannon, we appreciate it. Where can we go for more information?
Shannon Eis: “Sure, you can go to ThunkNews.com/HotToys for more information about all of these items.”