Toys nowadays are just far cooler than they were 40-50 years ago. Not to say there’s anything wrong with a classic, but if you have the choice between “Silly Putty” and a “Star Wars Spinning Electric Lightsaber”, I’m thinking you’re going to take the latter.
So to help you decide on the best toys for 2011, we got the lowdown on the coolest new gadgets, games, and action figures for the upcoming year. (Ages 5-12, and maybe up... I guess it all depends)
Star Wars Spinning Electronic Lightsaber
• Glows different colours
• Makes battle noises
• Spinning capabilities
• 4 different configuration possibilities
Verdict: A must have for any Star Wars fan. It’s quite hard to imagine a better lightsaber than this one and the price is more than fair.
Text and Chat Walkie-Talkies
• Voice chat, text message, and e-card capabilities
• Bulit in games
• Standard range of 1km
Verdict: In the age where cell phones are used for everything but the phone feature, it’s fitting now that walkie-talkies have gone a similar route. Taking a classic toy and making it better is generally a recipe for success, and VTech appears to have it a home run with their latest kids gadget.
SmartLab Toys’ All Natural Spa Lab
• Cosmetic-grade glitter
• 24 page full colour book that helps you understand the science behind the spa products
• 4 bath bomb molds
Verdict: Any toy that’s fun and educational is generally a plus. The toy was awarded the Children’s Choice Award in the “8+” category and was among the finalists for the Top Toy Award by the Canadian Toy Testing Council. At $19.99, there are definitely worse things to spend your money on.
Playmobil’s Heavy Duty Mobile Crane 4036
• 2 Playmobil workmen
• 2 flashing beacons
Verdict: This is definitely the priciest item on the list so far. While the toy has received excellent reviews from nearly everyone who has tried it, it does cost quite a bit for a toy that’s designed for younger kids. The toy looks like a lot of fun, but whether or not it is worth the price remains to be seen.
Manhattan Toy Company Automoblox Minis
• Changeable parts
• Several cars in the series including sports cars, mini vans, and sedans
Maker: Manhattan Toys
Verdict: These toys are an absolute classic and fall under the category of a “can’t go wrong gift”. While obtaining the whole set would be ideal, each car on its own is sure to provide plenty of fun for the user. Our personal favourite is the Automoblox Mini M9 Sports Van, as it’s a nice change from the classic toy sports car that can be found in every toy store shelf.