EZ Gift Picks: For the Kids & Grandkids

Here, our top 6 picks of the season’s hottest toys for the tots in your life.

Sphere BB-8 Star Wars Droid

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Just like a Canadian politician, this robot listens and responds in English or French. reacts to your voice, has an adaptive personality that evolves as you interact and has a programmed app to guide it. But it also has a mind of its own. Even better, kids can record and view holographic videos.  Approximately $190, available at Best Buy and other electronic/toy stores.

Furreal Friends Starlily Unicorn 

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She (for some reason, all unicorns seem to be female which may explain why they don’t exist) responds to voice and touch with more than 100 sound and motion combinations, all controlled with an app. She moves her head and hoof, makes special sounds and lights up her horn. Her wings flutter, her front leg moves; she sits, stands and lies down; and she’ll move when she hears music. What may be most appealing: she has a mane and tail that girls can comb, brush and braid — without an app!

Playmobil

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Want to see the Leafs play the Bruins or the Canadiens? Buy a boy the Playmobil NHL Arena Playset (around $70) and add players for $7.99 a piece. Except for the Bruins goalie which fetches a price of $10.65. Now add a Zamboni ($40) and it’s Hockey Night at Home. All available at amazon.ca and many toy stores.

Girls will love the brand new Playmobil Summer Fun Amusement Park sets, each sold separately, including a working ferris wheel that lights up, flying swings ride and spinning spaceship ride. Price range is $100 to $175 at amazon.ca and many toy stores.

Secret Decoder Rings

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Secrets are to kids what recreational drugs are to grown-ups: they’re fun, they give you a buzz and they’re slightly subversive.

Give siblings a pair of decoder rings and they may even stop fighting and start communicating in code. These rings from amazon.ca cost $21.99 each but could buy you hours of peace and quiet.

Viewmaster

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How about a next generation toy for the next generation? The updated Viewmaster is a virtual reality viewer that doesn’t just present you with a 3-D picture like the viewmasters of yore, but virtually put you in the picture. A Viewmaster Virtual Reality Starter Pack costs around $80 and Experience Packs of 3 reels each – Space, Destinations, National Geographic Wildlife – are about $36 each.

More information at viewmaster.com. Available at amazon.ca

Little Patients

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Okay, so this isn’t your typical toy store toy. It’s made in Germany and perfect for future surgeons – or even just kids who like to disembowel dolls.

Little Patients are plush dolls, garbed in hospital gowns, with zippers that open to reveal their plush organs – intestines, heart, lungs (but not to worry, no genitals). These organs can be removed and stuffed back inside with no ill effects. No need to wait for a hospital bed, either. $76.74 Canadian at uncommongoods.com, which ships to Canada.