Toys inspire the fun and imagination in children and adults. Because of them, we learn how to play and how to share.
Over the years, toys have become more and more high-tech. The little wooden car doesnt just scoot around anymore; it can follow commands and spin in circles. But keep in mind as this seasons gift giving begins, that some of those old favorites are still an excellent choice. As always, make sure the choices are age appropriate.
For the little ones on
this years list:
Little fish that jiggle and spin keep baby busy in the car this season with the help of the Lamaze 2-in-1 Traveling Guppy ($19.99) activity by Learning Curve International. It adjusts for both front and rear facing car seats. www.rc2corp.com.
Building is fun and easy with LEGO Quatro ($9.99-$19.99). Pieces are larger and softer for little hands, and packed in a handy storage container. On the Web: www.lego.com.
Theres so much to do on Busy Street ($49.99) from Parents Magazine Play&Learn. Moving gears, puzzles and peek-a-boo activities will keep baby stimulated for hours. On the Web: www.parents.com.
Give a big hug this season to Furreal Friends Luv Cubs ($29.99) by Hasbro. The panda, polar and brown bear cubs open their arms wide for a hug and to play peek-a-boo. www.hasbro.com.
Kids can construct the Eiffel Tower or a spaceship with Magna-Tiles ($49.50) from Valtech. Theyll have fun building with these magnetic tiles while developing fine motor skills and shape recognition. www.magnatiles.com.
For the little inspiring Picasso, why not consider the Magna Pad ($19.99) new from Takara. Little artists draw freestyle on the magnetic sketchpad that is now in vivid color. www.takara-usa.com.
Projects from I Made That, like the toolbox ($24.99) or the step stool ($39.99) offers kids 4 to 8 a chance to build and paint on their own. www.imadethat.com.
Crayolas mess-free Color Wonder line of fingerpaints and paper ($10) lets kids have some good clean fun while creating special pieces of art. www.crayola.com.
Cars, trains and automobiles:
Taiyo Edge toy company has come up with RaceKarts ($49.95) inspired by NASCAR favorites like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Radio controlled and scaled to one-sixth of the real thing, the drivers come dressed in removable clothes and hat. www.taiyoedge.com.
Sponge Bob is tooting the whistle of his very own train set ($249.95) from MTH Electric Trains. This die-cast metal, wireless remote control locomotive has three freight trains and a real working smoke stack. www.mthtrains.com.
Corgi Classics celebrates six decades of the Batmobile ($10-$40). These replicas are high quality, realistic models that any Batman enthusiast would enjoy. www.corgi-usa.com.
Just like the pros, young kids will have a ball in the battery-operated PGA TOUR Golf Cart ($229) from National Products Ltd. It comes complete with golf bag and clubs. www.nationalproductsltd.com.
Dolls and other
Colorful and full of spunk, Blinkies ($19.99) from Playmates are a girls best friend. These virtual wonders offer advice on anything from boyfriends to makeup. www.playmatestoys.com.
Girls can discover the amazing lives of inspirational women like Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman and Olympic gold medallist Dot Richardson, with huggable and bendable inspired dolls with book ($65) from Girls Explore. www.girls-explore.com.
The royal highness will approve of the Disney Princess CD and Karaoke Player ($79.99) from Disney Electronics. Shaped to resemble Cinderellas carriage, it has a monitor for singing along with on screen lyrics and two magic wand microphones. www.disneyelectronics.com.
Wild Republic has a unique way to send greetings. Say &Send Friends ($9.99) are lovable, huggable bears with a re-recordable sound box that records a personal message for that special someone right around the corner or far away. www.sayandsendfriends.com.
For those wanting a little
They wont need to leave the house with the ESPN GameStation ($189.99) from Fisher-Price. It features more than 20 arcade style games like basketball, baseball, and soccer with real sound effects and music. Folds easy for storage. www.fisher-price.com.
Teen Titans Launch Tower Playset ($29.99) from Bandai America, Inc. features missile firing action and cool sounds, and launches the Teen Titans team from capsules in the tower into their vehicles below. www.bandai.com.
Watch out for Robosapien ($99) by WowWee Ltd. Hell hit the town this season as a 14-inch robot with humanlike functions. He can whistle, high five and lots more sporting 67 pre-programmed functions. www.robosapienonline.com.
Scientific guys and gals will love the National Geographic See &Spin Rock Tumbler ($24.99) by Science Tech. It has a window to watch while ordinary rocks turn into beautiful treasures. www.nationalgeographic.com/kids.