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Holiday Toy Time Party Part 1!

November 22, 2012

Great Gift Ideas...from the Experts!

By: Julie Follansbee
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Julie Follansbee

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting the first ever Macaroni Kid Johnstown/Laurel Highlands Holiday Toy Time Party! Parents and kids ages 3-12 got to test out toys specifically selected by Macaroni Kid National!  Thanks to all of those who helped with this!
As one of our testers Amanda said, the best part of this day was the "Mandatory Family time" together!!  Most of these toys encourage that and your kids will benefit from that the most!
Here is a list of all of the toys to help you with your Holiday planning!

by Asmodee
Recommended for ages 4 and up and 2-4 players. The kids had a lot of fun playing this game!  The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 3 cards and their corresponding food items.  The grill itself is cheerful looking and well made, but sensitive enough so that as the kids place their food items on to be "grilled" or have to remove them, there is a possibility that it will jump if they aren't careful.  That's part of the fun!  The pieces are a nice size for small hands and very easy for the kids to match up with the cards. The foods are familiar for kids...hot dogs, chicken legs, broccoli, corn, tomatoes, mushrooms and fish.  There were lots of sueals of laughter as the Barbeque Grill rack popped up and all of the pieces fell off!  It's a short game, too and I think that helps with little ones.  They can play it again and again!
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Julie and Trevor play Barbeque Party

"The next step in the evolution of kick scooters".  Part Scooter, part, skateboard, part bike!  The Sbyke is a three wheeled scooter that uses a large front BMX wheel and patented rear skate truck to give the rider a smooth ride and precision control. We didn't have one to physically review but Sbyke USA provided a DVD with information about it and examples of it being ridden for us to watch.  


I can tell you that everyone seemed to be captivated!  Several even watched it twice!  Developed by 2 brothers and their inventor friend, the Sbyke was made to be durable and grow with your child.  A point that was made on the DVD that I found interesting was that a vehicle like this actually exercises a child's brain as well as his body because he has to make judgements with every move. Oh yeah...and it has a hand brake!  (whew!!) I think I saw visions of Sbykes dancing in some little heads!  I have a coupon exclusive to Macaroni Kid for free shipping if this is something that would interest your child!
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 Watching the informational DVD

Edited by Laura Laxton and Illustrated by Kathi Dery from Gryphone House  
When my son was a tot, we ALWAYS had a cardboard appliance box in our playroom!  We designed ours to be a little cottage with a sliding board coming out of it, but it could have been anything!  I was glad to see that this type of play still appeals to kids in the age of electronics!  This charming book provides lots of ideas to encourage your child's natural curiosity by building projects from common things you probably have around the house (newspaper, cardboard, margarine tubs and more)!  Geared for kids ages 3-6, it appealed to all of our parents! Our 9 year old tester Abbie put it on her wish list!  A good choice too because it was selected as one of Dr. Toy's Top 100 Children's Products!What's unique to "Budding Builder" is that they give you suggestions of books to read to go along with your building projects.  Like the "Wizard of Oz"? Build your own "Yellow Brick Road"!  Want to teach your child about measurements in a language that is understandable?  Play "As Tall as the Toy" (page 41) and read "Measuring Penny" by Loreen Leedy as you do so!  A word of warning though...you may never throw anything away again because Budding Builder has a use for it!  It goes with our family philosophy...use what you have to make what you need!
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Amanda and her "Budding Builder"!

by VTech Toys
Recommended for kids ages 4-7, these little creatures are hilarious!  They are only about 4 1/2" tall but keep you hopping! You can choose a cat, a dog or a bunny and your child can customize their faces.  They move back and forth, talk, dance, want to be fed and washed and even function as a clock.  The funny thing is that when they detect another KIDIMIZ toy, they will talk to each other...and sometimes never stop!  Here's the trick on that...push the button on it's head until you see the clock appear on it's face!  It needs to nap too!  The little kids LOVED this toy!  
I also have a coupon from VTECH Toys for 15% off.  
E-mail me if you'd like one!
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Molli and Trevor with VTECH Kidiminiz

by Jakks Pacific
Stella is a magical fairy who with her 5 best friends have fun and adventures to battle darkness in the animated television series THE WINX CLUB on Nickelodeon.  Known as the "Fairy of the Shining Sun", Stella is a beautiful, 11 1/2" pose able doll with lovely long blond comb-able hair and wide fluttering, colorful wings!  The girls at our Toy Testing Party loved her!  She also comes with a hairbrush and a membership card to the Winx Club!  Parents liked the message of "The Magic Is In You!" that she promotes.  I know a few little girls who might find her under their tree!
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Sidney with "Stella" the Winx Doll

Money management is a skill all of our kids need to learn (and maybe some adults!) and TYKOON is a free virtual money management system to help kids learn it in a fun way.  TYKOON introduces them to the system of earn, save, spend and give. There is even a "Wish List" feature to help them understand the concept delayed gratification.  It's never too early to start!  This could be the best gift you give your child!
Sign up now here!

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Christine, Anthony, Missy and Amanda check out TYKOON

Hasbro has taken this classic game and introduced the use of the IPad!  They've also contemporized the money values.  No longer do we have $10,000...it's now called just plain 10K.  Our toy testers all took turns playing this one and I saw it on more than a few "Wish Lists"!  Recommended for ages 8 and up. 
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Melissa, Amelia and Linden play "The Game of Life zAPPed"!

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