Stacy Talks & Reviews: Hot Toys for the Holidays

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Hot Toys for the Holidays

If you're like me you always end up needing to shop for toys this time of year. My daughter is 12 now so she's really scaled back on her toy requests. Of course that doesn't mean I'm off the hook when it comes to toy shopping. I still have other kids in the family to shop for as well as the kids we sponsor for Christmas drives. So that leaves me with the big question...what should I get them? Well if you're in that same boat I've put together a nice list of toys that just might fit your needs.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Hatchimals from Spin Master are on the top toys list again this year. Even though my daughter doesn't really play with toys she still has them on her list. She says they their Hatchimals Colleggtibles are just "so cute". And she's one of those that likes to collect things so these are just her style. Speaking of cute Twisty Petz are really cute too. They are dazzling bracelets that turn into adorable petz with a simple "twist". To turn into a pet, simply twist the front and back legs. To transform into a bracelet, pull apart and connect the two ends. You can even make them into a necklace by connecting three together. Another fun collectible from Spin Master that would make a great stocking stuffer.

The top toys list wouldn't be complete without something new and hot from the Air Hogs line. And that's why you'll find the Air Hogs Supernova from Spin Master right there too. It's equipped with an intelligent on-board system and motion-sensitive lights and sensors. It responds to your every movement – no remote control or touching needed! To activate, just toss to launch and Air Hogs Supernova will levitate mid-air, awaiting your command! Master 30 moves and 9 super tricks, ranging from simple to complex. Definitely a mind consuming toy that will keep any kiddo busy.

Speaking of mind consuming, that's exactly what GOtrio is. GOtrio is tic tac toe with a twist, and a travel version of the award winning Otrio also from Spin Master. Players choose a color and then take turns placing pieces into the playing area until someone gets 3-in-an-“O” and yells “Otrio!” There are three ways to get an Otrio. Get three circular pieces of your color in a row in order from big to small. Get three pieces of the same size in a row. Or get three concentric pieces in the same space. Now this is a game that will take some practice for sure. And keep your mind hard at work!

This is one of those gift ideas that any Star Wars loving kid (young or old) will want to get their hands on. Okay, I have to start off by saying I just love it when one of our favorite brands like LEGO partners with another brand to create fun things like this Star Wars Microfighters Set. It's not only great for kids that love LEGO's it's also great for Star Wars collectors too.  The set includes everything to build your own Millennium Falcon Microfighter, 2 stud shooters, and Chewbacca Star Wars mini-figure with his bowcaster. This and other Star Wars themed sets are available on the LEGO website.

Know any kiddos that are always saying they want to be just like mom and dad and drink coffee or lattes? Well the Creative Café Barista Bar from RoseArt is just the gift for them. Kids will have a ton of fun creating their own kid-friendly “lattes” made with frothed milk using the Creative Café Barista Bar. Cups of frothed milk adorned with powered chocolate or cinnamon hearts (made with the included stencils) are perfect for any mini-me. Includes Frothing Unit, Frothing Pitcher, 3 stencils, 2 shaker bottles, 2 spoons, 4 paper cups, chocolate and strawberry flavor mixes and 4 recipe and tip cards so you're little barista is ready to get started right out of the box.

For the kids that like to get outdoors and explore this set of Talkabout T100 series two-way radios from Motorola Solutions is a great choice. They feature 22 channels and up to a 16 mile range. Perfect for those times you don't want kids using their cell phones, like on organized camping/hiking trips. Or to provide reliable two-way communications when out of cell phone range. I remember having a set like this one growing up that my cousin and I used every time we were together. It was a lot of fun being able to "hide" from each other and still be able to talk. These are even small enough they will fit in your pocket so you don't have to carry them around all the time too. Not only are they are compact and easy-to-use they are also affordable at only $34.99. They come in blue and bright pink.

Speaking of toys you can use with a friend. The Adventure Force Thermal Tracker by Buzz Bee Toys is a day full of fun just waiting to happen. It's heat-seeking scope detects a heat source up to 60 feet away, and its cross-hairs will turn red when on target! Coupled with blasting power of up to 100 feet, your opponent's escape is near impossible. Now this is something even my 18 year old son still gets excited about. All I have to do is mention the words "dart gun" and he's all ears. Then when I said "thermal tracker" he got even more interested.  Includes blaster, 10 long distance darts, 10 count dart clip, heat-seeking scope and rail adapter.

Continuing with the squish craze comes a new Smooshy Mushy line is full of exciting, super S-Q-U-I-S-H-Y, slow-rise surprises! From pets and besties to Bentos and Frozen Delights to the new Smooshy Mushy BABIES! And let's be honest what could be cuter than a squishy Smooshy Mushy Baby? Of course if you ask my daughter no Smooshy Mushy is the wrong one. If it were up to her she would have them ALL!

The world’s most poop-ular Emoji just got wee bit stickier! Meet Sticky the Poo from Hog Wild. This poo sticks to the floors, the walls, even the ceiling. It’s super squishy, sticky surface and moldable middle let it “splat” and stick to just about any flat surface. Then pull it off and start all over again. And if Sticky Poo gets dirty, just wash it with water and it returns to its original sticky surface. Available in three different faces, collect and “splat” them all!

Grab your friends and put your skills to the test with Cut the Wire from YULU. Players compete to see who cuts the right wire, defuses the device, and saves the day. Use secret clues for hints to help figure out how to avoid cutting the wrong wire and losing the game. It’s the ultimate race to see who can defuse or lose... before it’s too late!

Pull it, swing it and fling it like a pro with the Helix Power Swing from YULU. Thanks to its unique “hyper spin,” the football-shaped Power Swing can launch over 350 feet! Helix Power Swing is designed to help kids unleash their ultimate throwing power. Defy new challenges like the Apollo Shot, Helix Ring Shot, Power Catch Challenge and others. It's the toy that will get them on their feet and moving!

Shopping for those teens and college kids in your life just got easier with Pacemaker Extreme from YULU. In this multi-player game, players try to outwit their opponents by thinking quick and keeping the pace. Players need to pay close attention to how many times the other players are tapping their paddles since that will set the pace of the pulse. Tap your paddle once and the pulse moves to the next player, tap twice to reverse the pulse and tap 3 times to skip the next player! Be careful – if you tap when it’s not your turn, you get shocked and you’re out!

With the success of the Spy Code games of 2017, YULU expands the spy line with the introduction of Hackathon. One player, the operator, is trapped in a virtual room trying to hack into a top secret government hard drive. The other players are the ‘Experts’ who must give the hacking instructions to break through the 8 different modules by deciphering the information found in the instruction manuals. But there is a catch: the experts can’t see the hard drive and the operator can’t see the manuals. So everyone will need to talk it out – fast. The perfect multi-player game for the whole family!

Joining the world of Stikbot from Zing Toys are the new Stikbot Monsters and Dinos that let aspiring stop-motion animation movie makers create themed pop-up movie scenes right at home. With over 360 million views on YouTube, Stikbot continues to turn kids into creative stop-motion animation movie-makers, letting their imagination run wild. Stikbots are easy-to-pose figures, built with suction cup hands and feet, which can stick to almost any flat surface. With the free Stikbot Studio app, available on iOS and Android, kids can snap individual photos and stitch them together into a film, complete with built-in music and sound effect options. Your kids will be animation movie-makers in no time!

Whether you love sushi or not - Flying Sushi Kitchen is sure to cause a ruckus at kitchen tables  everywhere. Flying Sushi Kitchen puts your competitive skills to the test as you pluck pieces of floating sushi rolls from mid-air. It's a mad dash scramble to fill your sushi order and rack up enough tickets to beat the competition. With kid friendly chopsticks even younger kids will enjoy this sushi filled adventure!

Who remembers the shape sorting cube from their childhood? I know I do! Well now you can play a game featuring a shape sorter, but with a twist. Phil The Fridge from TOMY is just waiting for you to fill his fridge with all of your colored food pieces. To start the game just push Phil’s head down to set him spinning. Each time he stops, quickly fill him up with your colored food pieces. It's a game that is sure to have everyone laughing when Phil stops and dumps out colored pieces making the game even more fun!

And what boy out there doesn’t love to talk about farts? TOMY knows boys well so this year they've launched Stink Bomz, a line of collectible fart friends, each with their own silly smell, three unique fart noises and individual fun personalities. The perfect stocking stuffer for all the boys on your list!

Build better, build bigger and build MORE with new Max Build More Blocks construction bricks from ZURU! Compatible with Lego® and other standard brick brands, Max Blocks is a premium quality, value-priced toy brick line. Start off with the Max Blocks 759 Pieces pack to build the ultimate Max Blocks world (SRP $24.97). Then add the Max Blocks 15 Figures pack featuring favorite characters such as cowboys and pirates (SRP $9.97) to make your town complete. Max Blocks sets come in a variety of sizes allowing you to expand for even more brick building fun!

As I mentioned my daughter is 12 and growing out of asking for toys. She actually asks for more books than anything these days. Which as a parent I have to say I'm totally okay with. So for her I would pick up things like these books from Workman Publishing.

Paint by Sticker: Cats brings 12 irresistible cats to life, piece by piece. Create gorgeous illustrations of felines in low-poly (geometric polygon shapes) style, one sticker at a time.

The Kid’s Awesome Activity Book is a book that begs to be doodled in with 96 wacky prompts, games, and crafts, and adorable creatures to boot.

50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: features an innovative approach to drawing instruction. The illustrators from Flow magazine open up their tool kits, sharing secrets and techniques to teach the creatively curious how to draw. The lessons, 50 in all, curated from the best of Flow's two special drawing issues, show how to render the kinds of things we see every day: a bouquet of flowers, colorful mittens, the kitchen table, a bike, jam jars, a cat, an apple tree.
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