Top 15 Toys this Holiday Season

12/05/2016 11:12 am ET Updated Jan 24, 2017

The holidays are upon us and it’s time to shop for gifts. This season I did some of the leg work for you. Here’s a list of some great toys and gear for kids....of all ages.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has a wide variety of gifts for kids and parents alike. One great gift idea for your child this year is a new bike. Check out Dick’s Diamondback Girls' Clarity 20" Hybrid Bike. This bike is a step up from your child’s first bike as it has 7 speeds which allows the user to easily change gears using its twist shift movers. My kid tester who is seven years old, had to practice for about a half hour to get the hang of it but after that it was smooth sailing. The Diamondback Girls' Clarity 20" is a hybrid bike which means kids can use it on the road or on the trails. My kid tester’s family loves going on long bike rides and this bike is the perfect edition to the family. The Diamondback Girl’s Clarity features a lightweight alloy frame; 20" dual sport wheels; and Shimano shifters. My kid tester’s Dad really liked how light the alloy frame is – which makes loading and unloading easy. He also really appreciated the fact that Dick’s Sporting Goods provides a free in-store assembly service. Completed by a certified technician, parents just need to bring in the bike and pick it up fully assembled and ready to go -- a win-win for parent and child.

Dick’s Diamondback Girls' Clarity 20" Hybrid Bike.
Dick's Sporting Goods
Dick’s Diamondback Girls' Clarity 20" Hybrid Bike.

Have a girl that you’re shopping for this season? Consider, Gel-a-Peel Deluxe Craft Kit (5 Pack). The kit includes 24 design templates; 5 gel tubes; 7 designer tips; clear drawing sheet, cleaning took and accessory hardware for earrings, headband and keychain. My kid tester absolutely loved this kit. She spent an hour working on making bracelets for her friends using the design templates. One tip is to make sure the gel is completely dry before trying to lift the creation…or it could be ruined. Also, it’s a gift that’s best designed for older children. My kid tester’s little sister got frustrated using it.

Gel-a-Peel Deluxe Craft Kit (5 Pack)
Gel-a-Peel
Gel-a-Peel Deluxe Craft Kit (5 Pack)

The Power Wheel Wild Thing is pretty darn cool. Designed for kids ages five and up, the max weight on this is 100 pounds. It’s probably best for kids ages 5 through 7 but that’s just my own personal thoughts. What’s cool about the Wild Thing is the fact that kids can go in circles (360 degrees) – what kid doesn’t like to get dizzy? The Power Wheel Wild Thing goes up to five miles per hour when going forward and up to three miles per hour when going backwards. Parents can control how fast they want the Wild Thing to go by selecting speeds maximums. The good thing about the Wild Thing is the fact that it has large tires that help keep it balanced and stable – a stability sensor also helps to prevent tipping and a seatbelt is also included. Kids can’t operate the Wild Thing unless they are sitting down – sensors monitor the child and if their weight is not in the seated position the Wild Thing will not start. My kid tester is seven years old and she enjoyed using The Wild Thing at max speed (five miles per hour) and also had the most fun when doing 360 spins.

Power Wheel Wild Thing
Fisher Price
Power Wheel Wild Thing

Let’s face it; technology is the toy of the now. And with Fisher Price’s new tablet powered by Nabi, toddlers can get in on the action too. Fisher Price’s Nabi Tablet comes with a seven inch high resolution screen and can do most everything a regular tablet does but it also comes equipped with parental controls, named Mommy and Daddy mode for parental peace of mind. The tabletcomes with a custom bumper that helps protect the tablet from falls and also has extra hard screen cover that provides additional protection because let’s face it, we’ve all seen our kids drop our smart phones and tablets accidently. When using the tablet, parents or kids can fasten the screen cover to the back of the tablet. Fisher Price designed six custom wallpapers that users can choose from as well as fun chimes and sounds that are sure to entertain. What my tester’s mom liked the most was the fact that the Fisher Price Tablet comes with over 35 learning apps and games, including Storytime Rhymes and Little People Videos, Wings Learning System’s Pre-K and K lessons. The Fisher Price Nabi is a great first tablet for your little one; and parents can even use it, as the tablet runs on the latest Android OS for a fast and seamless experience and comes with Google Play and has access to over one million apps, games, music, movies and books.

Fisher Price’s new tablet powered by Nabi
Fisher Price
Fisher Price’s new tablet powered by Nabi

Another great gift idea is Num Noms Deluxe Packs. A favorite is the Freezie Pops Family Pack. It comes with six freezie pop Nums, two motorized Noms, one freezie pop accessory and one collector’s menu. Kids can use the scented Num Noms to make their own iced creations. My tester loved the fact that the Num Noms are scented and she loves collecting these different collections.

Num Noms Deluxe Packs — Freezie Pops Family Pack
Num Noms
Num Noms Deluxe Packs — Freezie Pops Family Pack

Crayola brand is typically popular with kids. This year, Crayola’s Air Marker Sprayer is worth checking out. Just like a real airbrush, Crayola’s Air Marker Sprayer is electric powered – so there’s no batteries needed. My kid tester loved making air projects with this gadget and used the stencils that came with it until she got more comfortable free styling it. The Sprayer is easy to use, kids just need to insert the marker in the sprayer and push or pull the trigger to activate the ink. The system uses Pip-Squeaks washable markers so the ink doesn’t stain; this toy is designed for kids ages 8 and up.

Crayola Air Marker Sprayer
Crayola
Crayola Air Marker Sprayer

Furby Connect is an interactive magical creature that was designed for kids ages 6 and up. Combined with the Furby Connect World App, kids have access to a virtual world where they can nurture and feed their Furby as well as hatch Furblings – a favorite past time of my kid tester. According to the company, this year’s Furby Connect features enhanced technology that makes its movements appear more natural than before, and multiple sensors throughout its body that allow it to respond to touch in fun and surprising ways. Furby Connect features over one thousand phrases and communicates its moods through sounds, motion, body language, and its LED eyes which display more than 150 animations. My toy tester loved the fact that her Furby Connect can even go on play dates; remember other Furby Connect friends that it meets and greeting them by name. How cool is that? Furby Connect is available for purchase on Amazon.com and at most major toy retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com.

Furby Connect
Hasbro
Furby Connect

Pie in the Face Showdown is a fun but messy game that kids love. Geared towards kids ages five and up, Pie in the Face Showdown Game is easy to play – if you don’t mind getting a little messy. Players simply place their faces in the mask and see who can hit their button the fastest in tug-of-war style. The motive is to move the loaded arm closer to the opponent and avoid getting a face full of whipped cream. But my kid testers actually loved getting a face full of whipped cream – go figure! The Pie Face Showdown Game includes button activates, head-to-head throwing arm, two chin rests, two plash guard masks and a sponge. Pie in the Face Showdown is available at most major retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.

Pie Face Showdown game
Hasbro
Pie Face Showdown game

KidKraft has some fabulous activity tables for your child. Available in different sizes and price points, KidKraft’s inventory is sure to wow. A favorite is the company’s Waterfall Mountain Train Table Set – made of real wood. Slightly larger, the Waterfall Mountain Train Table Set measures in at 48.75"L x 34.38"W x 16"H; and includes over a hundred pieces. Kids will be enthralled with the accessories which include trains, people, trees and street signs. The top of the play surface is covered with colorful cityscape artwork; and has a one and a half inch lip that helps keep all the accessories off the floor. Parents should know that the table and some of the pieces require assembly – my parent tester said to set aside two hours to be safe. My kid tester fell in love with the helipad, helicopter, small airport runway; and his mom loved the three plastic bins that house the pieces when not in use. This is one of those holiday gifts that will wow your kiddo. According to the company, the table is designed for kids ages three and up. Available for purchase online at KidKraft.com.

KidKraft’s  Waterfall Mountain Train Table Set
KidKraft
KidKraft’s Waterfall Mountain Train Table Set

Rollerblades' Spitfire XT Skates are a fun gift to consider for your child this season. Made of high quality materials, Rollerblades’ Spitfire XT Skates are comfortable and use real urethane wheels which make them grip and roll much smoother than most kids skates on the market. These are great skates to consider for beginners as they have taller supportive cuffs which make learning to skate easy. My kid tester’s mom really liked how these skates are size adjustable, meaning that both her daughter’s were able to use them; as well as that the skates will be useful for years to come since they can grow with your child. She also loved the fact that the skates got her kid outside and out of the house having fun and exercising at the same time. Her kids are ages 7 and 9 and didn’t have any trouble learning to skate; she did recommend that safety gear is worn as well as a helmet for safety.

Rollerblade's <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.rollerblade.com/usa/products/spitfire-xt/?gen=30" target="_blank">Spitfire
Rollerblade
Rollerblade's Spitfire XT skates

The baby biOrb Aquarium is a unique gift that is also aesthetically pleasing. The Baby BiOrb is perfect for small spaces and is made from clear acrylic that is 10 times stronger than glass. It also features some cool technology like its patented filtration system and media gravel. Equipped with a low voltage LED light, the Baby BiOrb lets off a soothing night light for your child. My mom tester was impressed that it comes with water chemicals, spare light bulb and food. Additionally accessories are available for separate purchase. My kid tester loved how the Baby BiOrb added a cool new lighted element to her room and also fell in love with her new pet fish. The switch for the light is located on the power line making it easy to turn on and off; while the filtration system is hidden on the bottom of the orb – so you don’t have to look at it like typical aquariums.

baby biOrb Aquarium     
biOrb
baby biOrb Aquarium 

Kids will get a laugh out of this game, Not Parent Approved. The name itself made me stop and think before saying I would try it out with my kids but this game is about all funny preadolescence humor. Parents will be happy to learn that Not Parent Approved has won three awards including Best Game for the Entire Family by the National Parenting Awards. It’s easy to play and starts off with a burping contest…yes, you read that correctly. If your kids are like mine, potty humor and bathroom talk crack them up and this game has it all. The game accommodates three to 10 players and it’s pretty easy to play, each round, one player asks a question from a red card and everyone else answers with the funniest blue card; the player asking the question gets to pick the winner. Available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Not Parent Approved Game
Not Parent Approved
Not Parent Approved Game

Perhaps the must-have gift this season, the Razor Hovertrax 2.0 is pretty darn cool. The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 meets sports the company’s exclusive EverBalance technology which ensures a state-of-the-art, self-balancing experience for an easier mount and smooth ride. Parents will be happy to learn they can even use the Hovertrax 2.0 – just as long as they are less than 220 pounds. Designed for kids ages eight and up; the Hovertrax comes in red, blue, white, black and green. My kid tester loves her Hovertrax and didn’t want to get off of it. It actually caused quite a ruckus with her sibling who also wanted to take a turn. The Hovertrax weights 27 pounds so kids younger than eight shouldn’t be carrying it – in fear it might be dropped. It comes with a battery charger and parents can rejoice, no assembly required. The Hovertrax self balances and can be used for 60 minutes when fully charged – a LED indicator shows battery power and riding modes. It goes up to eight miles per hour and has a training mode for beginningers and is steered by foot control. The Hovertrax is made with a shatter-resistant polymer and fender bumper protection but kids should wear a helmet when riding. If you’re looking to impress your kid this season, consider getting him or her the Razor Hovertrax 2.0.

Hovertrax 2.0
Razor
Hovertrax 2.0

Does someone need a new pair of sunglasses? REKS Optics has a wide selection to choose from. A favorite is the REKS’ Sling Blade Lumolux; Black frames with blue mirror lens color and soft touch. According to the company the Rippin’ rimless Base Curve 8 design and Satin Touch finish make for scandalous comfort, fit, and function. Available in nine frame colors, seven SOLUX lens colors – there’s plenty of options to choose from. Made from some of the strongest material ever used for eyewear, the SLING-BLADE sunglasses are nearly indestructible – making them great to wear for sports and for wearing under a helmet. Memory-flex polymer frames bend but don’t break. Satin Touch finish means pro-level performance while the sunglass’ unique lens retention groove is designed to allow for removal of lenses for cleaning or swap. The REKS LUMOLUX polarized lenses filter 99 percent of glare; while mirror coating offers a pop of color pop. These sunglasses are also 100 percent UV 400 protection.

Sling-Blade Lumolux
REKS
Sling-Blade Lumolux

The Bosebuild Speaker Cube is recommended for kids ages eight and up. This cool speaker allows the user to build and customize their own Bluetooth speaker. The mom of my kid tester was super impressed with the Bosebuild and how it incorporated a learning process as well as sense of accomplishment for her son. Building the Bosebuild is easy. My kid tester really loved how he could change the color of the speaker by selecting from the different LED color light options. Assembly is easy; kids just need to follow the iOS app’s directions step-by-step. You don’t need any special software or off the wall materials.

The speaker has 3.5 mm auxiliary input and produces an impressive sound quality, typically associated with Bose. Parents should note that the Bosebuild requires a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPod or iPad running iOS 8 or newer. Once built the Bosebuild will work with any wireless device with Bluetooth 3.0 of higher – including Android devices and laptops. Once assembled, the Bosebuild doesn’t need to be charged, it works by simply plugging it in to a regular outlet with the provided power cord. The Bosebuild comes with a two year warranty.

Happy shopping everyone!

BOSEbuild Speaker Cube
Bose
BOSEbuild Speaker Cube

Disclaimer: I and/or my testers were provided with product samples and/or loaner samples but all opinions are solely theirs and/or mine.

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