Gift Picks for the Grandkids
Some of the hottest, trendiest toys this season either aren’t available in Canada or are already sold out for 2014. They’re being called “phygitals” because they combine physical play with digital play on a tablet or smartphone.
The one that’s not available in Canada and can’t be shipped here (but can be purchased in the U.S.) is the Lego Fusion Town Master. It sells for $35 U.S. and is recommended for ages 7 to 12. “It lets you scan your creations into a city-building game.”
Even more sophisticated but sold out until 2015 is Dash & Dot — robots that can be programmed to do almost anything kids want them to do (except clean up their rooms).
Dash & Dot can function simply as a fun, obedient robot toy for little ones. But supposedly, the program is so simple that even 5 to 7-year olds (and 65-year olds) can learn to code. The gizmo is sold out ‘til January and pre-order pricing ranges from $169 to $309 U.S.
Here are a dozen top toys that should be available in time for Christmas at Canadian stores or online:
Zoomer Dino Boomer ($69 to $120)
Last year there was Zoomer the dog (no relation to Zoomer the magazine), a remote-controlled pet that does tricks like rolling over, chasing its tail and lifting its leg to pee. The new and deliriously desired Dino Boomer robot does tricks too but is far more aggressive than its affable canine cousin. He roars! He chomps! He whips his tail! His eyes change colour with his moods. He follows you around. And only you, fortunate enough to receive this plastic prehistoric creature on Christmas morning, can tame him — or so says the promotional material.
K’NEX Supernova Blast Roller Coaster ($62 to 70)
Like all monster coasters, this one is scary. So I’ll just repeat what the promotional material says and you’ll see just how scary it is for your average grandma without an engineering degree: Use over 800 K’NEX pieces including classic flexi-rods to build a model over 3 feet high! The specialized blaster motor launches your car on an out-of-this-world adventure through 22 feet of NEW glow-in-the-dark track!! For more fun, download instructions for a 2nd coaster, the Sonic Boom. Requires 3 “C” batteries (not included). See what I mean?
Holiday Collector Barbie ($40)
It’s the 25th year for Holiday Barbie but she still has that tight-skinned, wide-eyed immovable expression that comes from too much plastic infusion, er, extrusion. For 2014, she’s wearing a glam red dress with gold trim and comes in a blonde or African-American version.
DohVinci Art Sets ($6 to $20)
It’s Doh as in Play-Doh, not the Simpsons’ Doh. This update of the update of plasticene is more like soft icing that you squeeze out to make artistic designs and then when it hardens you have a masterpiece for the ages — ages 4 to 8, that is. But kudos for the clever name.
Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch ($49 to $60)
You may be wishing for a Rolex on your wrist this Christmas but chances are your little one will show the same appreciation for this brightly coloured time piece that lets the wearer take photos, videos, play learning games and even tell time.