COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

by Laurie Schacht, Toy Insider Mom

zombieLast year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback.   

Who will you be this year? The Marvel superheroes will be strong sellers. Lets face it: what kid doesn’t want to save the world—and what adult doesn’t want a few hours to be “that hot” at a grown up party dressed up as Iron Man or Wonder Woman!

For little girls, if you haven’t purchased their Doc McStuffins or Sofia the First costumes yet, good luck finding them. I’ve yet to meet a 4-year-old girl that hadn’t loved one or both of these new favorite characters. Boys are loving Jake and his Never Land Pirates, Skylanders, Trash Pack Kids, and Slugterra.

But it’s not just in the costume. There are some great additions to the two hottest video games with Halloween themes this year that I need to share. Skylanders Giants released their special Halloween edition called Eye-Brawl. It’s sports a pumpkin head and a skeleton head at his feet. Disney Infinity will let kids build their own Halloween town in Toy Box mode, with the Pumpkin King throwing pumpkins at other characters, including the newly released Jack Skellington. [Read more...]

Long Island Newsday Picks Up the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 List of Holiday Toys

Check out Long Island Newsday’s slideshow of the Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list!

The Toy Insider’s ‘Hot 20′ list of 2013 via Long Island Newsday!

COMMENTARY: Get Your Party on with the Newest Member of the Furby Family

Looking back, I remember being terrified of Furby when I was younger. Whenever a Furby commercial came on, I either ran into another room or attacked the TV with pillows. To my dismay, neither of these methods saved me from the Furby Fever that everyone around me seemed to be succumbing to.

fussby-front-largeWhen these fuzzy little creatures were relaunched last year, I was cautious and, truth be told, still a bit frightened. That’s not the case for the new Furby Party Rocker, a smaller, less expensive Furby that I tested out for the spring edition of The Toy Insider. Used in conjunction with a free app, this little rocker performs for you, speaks in Furbish—which, according to a fellow editor hailing from Honolulu, oddly resembles Hawaiian—and is sure to delight you with her sassy behavior. While the Party Rocker is entertaining on its own, the app takes it to another level and appeals to today’s digi-obsessed kids.

I’m not hopping aboard the classic Furby Ferry just yet, but I am ready to get my party on with the new Furby Party Rocker.

Editor in Chief Shares Hottest Holiday Gifts on Fox

Check out The Toy Book‘s Editor in Chief Jackie Breyer as she shares her picks for hottest holiday gifts for kids on Fox & Friends First.

Check Out The Toy Insider’s Music Video

This fun music video is a sneak peek at some of what are sure to be the most popular toys of the 2012 holiday season, according to The Toy Insider.

The full list, which includes more than 100 toys, will be available in the November 2012 issue of Woman’s Day.

Enter to win a room full of toys this holiday by entering the holiday toy sweepstakes at http://www.thetoyinsider.com.

Skylanders Giants Debuts 16 New Characters, Tech with October 21 Release

Portal Masters everywhere will once again face the evil Portal Master Kaos in a brand new adventure in Skylanders Giants, which is poised to prove that bigger really is better when the game hits store shelves in North America on October 21 for Nintendo’s Wii system, Nintendo 3DS, the Xbox 360 game and entertainment system, and the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system.

Check out the trailer!

[Read more...]

Toy Insider Attracts Thousands at NYC Woman’s Day Event

The Toy Insider was on hand for Woman’s Day’s Make It A Woman’s Day event at New York City’s busy Grand Central Station on October 5 to preview the hottest toys of the holiday season. Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht spent the day demonstrating toys for various age ranges. Thousands of event attendees walked away with handfuls of toy giveaways and a copy of the The Toy Insider gift guide, along with special offers and coupons. One lucky entrant in The Toy Insider’s sweepstakes received $500 worth of hot holiday toys.  The event celebrated Woman’s Day’s 75th anniversary. Schacht is contributing toy editor for Woman’s Day magazine. The Toy Insider also appears in the November issue of Woman’s Day.

The Toy Insider Announces List of HOT 20 Toys for Holiday 2012

The Toy Insider, the leading holiday gift guide for toys and gifts, announces its list of the HOT 20 toys for the holidays. This year’s list features My Magical Wand Cinderella, Monster High’s High School, and the Batman Bat-Pod, among many others, providing gift-givers with the inside scoop on the best toys and gifts for this holiday season.

The HOT 20 is the kick-off section of the Toy Insider holiday gift guide, which will appear in the November issue of Womans Day magazine, as well as www.theToyInsider.com . Now in its seventh year, this year’s Toy Insider guide is the biggest ever, filled with a list of 116 toys and gifts from more than 80 manufacturers. The Toy Insider offers toy and gift ideas for all ages and both genders, broken down by age group (0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+ years old) with an in-depth description of the developmental needs and interests for each specific age group. A unique toy skill key provides consumers even greater convenience to help them pick not only the hottest toy, but also the right toy for the special child in their lives.

In addition to Laurie Schacht, the panel of toy experts includes Jonathan Samet, Publisher of The Toy Book, the leading trade publication in the toy industry, Jackie Breyer, Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book and Reyne Rice, a leading toy trend expert.

This years HOT 20 are:

0-2 Years
Bright Starts Having a Ball 5-in-1 Sports Zone – Kids II
Cruise & Groove Ballapalooza – Fisher-Price
Lil’ Princess 3 Story Enchanted Castle – Mega Brands
Rocktivity Sit to Stand Music Skool – Playskool [Read more...]