Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Elmo Tickle Hands

Manufacturer: Fisher-Price

Brand: Sesame Street

Age Recommendation: 2 and up

MSRP: $29.99

Intro Year: 2009

Put Elmo's Tickle Power in your childs hands with Elmo Tickle Hands from Fisher-Price!

These big, furry, red Elmo hands (featuring Elmo's friendly face on one side) allow your kids to tickle and dance just like Elmo does! The Tickle Hand gloves easily slide on to little hands and when Elmo's nose is pressed, the fun begins! When your child touches a surface to tickle, the Tickle Hands start to vibrate and move allowing your child to feel like he can tickle just like Elmo! But thats not all! Touch Elmo's nose again and its time to dance! Elmo will give instructions on how to do his brand new dance called, "The Tickle Hand Groove!" This new dance encourages kids to get moving and grooving!

The hands also come with an instructional DVD that teaches kids how to do the new dance step by step! The DVD features Elmo and his mystery friend! Your child will be tickling, wiggling and giggling in no time at all!

This Week's New Video Games

compiled by Jeff McKinney (follow me on Twitter)

Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Nintendo DS, Wii. rated Everyone)
In Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, players can play as Alvin and The Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, Theodore) or The Chipettes (Brittany, Jeanette, Eleanor). Musical sparks ignite as they jet around the world, rock the house in 25 concert locations on Wii and 11 in the Nintendo DS version, and perform together in the ultimate concert finale. Featuring songs from the Grammy and American Music Award-winning Alvin and The Chipmunks library, the game lets players use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk or Nintendo DS stylus to keep the rhythm in the main game and in three mini-games.

Avatar: The Game (All game systems. rated Teen)
Step into a dazzling world from the imagination of James Cameron and take your stand in the battle to determine the fate of a civilization. James Cameron's Avatar: The Game allows you to step inside the world of the feature film and go deep into the heart of Pandora and its people. Choose to fight for either RDA or the Na'vi, arming yourself with any of dozens of customizable weapons and a variety of clan-specific skills. Acquire new skills as you advance through the game, giving your all in the epic battle for a planet and a people.

Space Station Tycoon (Nintendo Wii. rated Everyone 10+)
Follow the adventures of Shawn and Tam on an intergalactic journey through Pirate infested space, meteor fields, supernovas, and countless dangers as they seek out fame and fortune in the high-stakes world of Space Station management Station Tycoon is a fast paced, simulation game focusing on character interaction and humor, light puzzle solving, and customization in a free form, non-linear world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: Trio Building Set with Storage

Manufacturer: Fisher-Price

Brand: Trio

Age Recommendation: 3 and up

MSRP: $29.99

Intro Year: 2009

Fisher-Price's Trio building system is specially designed to make building easier for even the smallest of hands. Three "grow with me" building levels make building a snap. Kids can feel and hear the click when they've connected the building pieces and the pieces will stay together throughout play, only coming apart when kids are ready to take them apart. Each set can be built and rebuilt in a variety of ways, letting kids build whatever they can imagine! And the pieces from the different sets can be mixed and matched for even more imaginative building.

The Trio Building Set with Storage comes with bricks, sticks, and panels that click and hold together for big building play. The set comes in bright colors and includes custom parts such as figures, wheels and chassis, and a durable tub for convenient storage and portability. The storage bin lid also doubles as a building base! Kids can build suggested designs or use their imaginations to create something all their own! This 100-piece set is a great way to get kids started with the Trio building system.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review: Shred Sled

Manufacturer: Shred Sled

Brand: Shred Sled

Age Recommendation: 8 and up

MSRP: $119.99

Intro Year: 2009

Are you ready to SHRED!? Start shredding in no time with the Shred Sled, the next generation caster board. The first 4-wheel, dual-deck inline caster board, the Shred Sled makes it smoother and easier to start carving up the streets. How it works: Shred Sled's two boards and flexible connector allow both boards to rotate around the vertical and horizontal axes so it's easy to maneuver the board. The best part is you don't even have to push off! For better control and traction, each deck has a grip surface to maximize traction and stability while the concave decks make for better foot control. The 4 x 80mm polyurethane wheels and ABEC-5 bearings are smoother and stronger than standard hardware and unlike other boards, rarely need to be replaced. Riding the Shred Sled feels like a combination of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing and it's much easier to control than older 2-wheel generation boards. Great for strengthening the legs and waist muscles, Shred Sled encourages kids to get off the couch and get active outdoors. Available in black, blue or red. Weight: 8.7 lbs; Dimensions: 9.055"W x 32.87"L x 4.72". Be sure to wear a helmet and safety gear when using the Shred Sled.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Toys R Us Holiday Express

Here is the ad for the new Toys 'R' Us Holiday Express. Has anyone seen this in their mall yet?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reviews: EyeClops Night Vision Goggles

Manufacturer: Jakks Pacific

Brand: EyeClops

Age Recommendation: 8 and up

MSRP: $59.99

Intro Year: 2009

For fans of the original EyeClops Night Vision Goggles, get ready for an improved, action-styled handheld design and the power to see with both eyes! Go into stealth mode as you sneak around in the dark, but still have the ability to see where you're going! The new handheld Night Vision Goggles allows visibility up to 50 feet in completely dark environments. Covert operations, nocturnal maneuvers-with EyeClops Night Vision Goggles, kids rule the night!

Thanks to advances in technology, Jakks has been able to redesign one of the coolest toys of 2008 into this new format that delivers all the play value, but costs $20 less. If you waited to buy this product last year, you're in luck. This is still one of the most fun items we've found for after-dark play.
Naturally, you'll want to set ground rules with your kids for how they use these and when and where they play.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Ride & Learn Giraffe Bike

Manufacturer: VTech

Brand: Jungle Gym

Age Recommendation: 1.5 and up

MSRP: $49.99

Intro Year: 2009

Refresh the jungle of toys in your child's playroom with VTECH's Jungle Gym line. Products in this line are a smart way to give rambunctious toddlers active play because they provide an engaging experience with colorful animals and interactive features sure to tame any wild child. Inspired by mom's own exercise equipment, kids can get moving with these active toys small enough for their growing bodies.

Young learners can pedal their way to smart play with the Ride & Learn Giraffe Bike. Kids can ride the stationary bike through a safari of letters, objects, numbers, animals, and melodies. The more kids pedal and bounce, the more they learn! The bike features five rewarding modes of active play including racing, ABCs, numbers, music, and animals. Children can learn letters and word association by cycling on the giraffe's pedals and watching the built-in LCD screen as they chase their favorite animal friends. The adjustable grow-with-me bouncy seat adapts to three different positions with a wide, stable base for lots of riding fun. This is a great way for kids to learn, have fun, and get active!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: Super WHY! Touch and Learn Super Duper Computer

Manufacturer: Learning Curve

Brand: Super WHY!

Age Recommendation: 3 and up

MSRP: $39.99

Intro Year: 2009

It seems like everyone has a touch-screen these days and kids are no different. The Touch and Learn Super Duper Learning Computer, features a fully interactive touch screen and keyboard in a laptop-like design. It comes loaded with storybook adventures and more than 35 learning games that teach alphabet skills, reading comprehension, word families, rhyming, letter sounds, spelling, phonics, problem solving, and fine & gross motor skills. This laptop also features a grow-with-me curriculum, which makes it appropriate for all skill levels!

Because so many kids are on their parents' laptops and home computers from an early age, toy computers are really only relevant to kids who are too young to use those and who want to engage in role play as much as in learning play. That's why this is such a good choice for families. It combines the Super WHY! curriculum of reading and exploration with a laptop that mimics what mom and dad do.

The learning games are appropriate for the 3-4 year olds who love the TV show, and the touch screen is easy to use.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors (DS, Wii, PS3, Xbox360 rated Everyone 10+)
Battle to Victory in a World where Might Equals Right! Enter the realm of Chaotic and assume the role of one of its Creatures in this turn-based arena combat fighting game. Engage in explosive animated onslaughts that combine brutal melee attacks with vicious ranged assaults.

Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5 (DS, Wii rated Everyone 10+)
Play as all five Battle Force 5 characters in unique battle and racing zones featuring locations and settings from the hit Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5 TV show.

Lego Indiana Jones 2. The Adventure Continues (DS, Wii, PC, PSP, PS3, Xbox360 rated Everyone10+)
LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues combines the fun and creative construction of LEGO bricks with the wits, daring and non-stop action of one of cinema’s most beloved adventure heroes. With a unique, tongue-in-cheek take on all the Indiana Jones films – including for the first time ever Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – LEGO Indiana Jones 2 follows Dr. Jones’ escapades from the jungles of South America to the Peruvian Ruins and beyond.

Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution III (Wii rated Teen)
Now you can face off against competitors from all across North America over the internet. Featuring an all-new storyline and updated cast of characters from the NARUTO Shippuden series, NARUTO Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 is sure to re-ignite your passion for an ultra competitive, ninja fighting experience.

Planet 51 (DS, Wii, PS3, Xbox360 rated Everyone)
Based on the new animated movie from the writer of "Shrek" and "Shrek 2", Planet 51 revolves around astronaut Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker who lands on Planet 51 thinking he's the first person to step foot there. The game will allow players to test their skills in a series of action-filled adventures that are out of this world. Try to outrun and outwit the Planet 51 Police and Army, find Chuck's spaceship and help Chuck return home to Earth.

The Princess and the Frog (DS, Wii, PC rated Everyone)
Join Tiana on an exciting journey through jazz-infused 1920s New Orleans with the official video game for Wii, inspired by the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures release of The Princess and the Frog.

Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! (PS3, Wii, Xbox360 rated Teen)
Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! is the ultimate movie trivia game for the trivia masters and casual gamers alike.

Tony Hawk: Ride (PS3, Wii, Xbox360 rated Everyone10+)
Experience the true thrill of skateboarding as never before through the revolutionary new skateboard controller in Tony Hawk: Ride. Bundled with the Ride game, the unique motion-sensitive board controller redefines the action-sports genre by translating your body motions into the game. No buttons, no thumbs, no analog sticks, just you on the board. For the first time in video game history, anyone can jump on a skateboard and feel the freedom, creativity, and accomplishment of skateboarding.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Toy Review: Crayola Crayon Maker

Manufacturer: Crayola

Brand: Crayola

Age Recommendation: 8 and up

MSRP: $29.99

Intro Year: 2009

Did you know that the average kid will wear down more than 750 crayons by the age of 10? The Crayola Crayon Maker is the perfect solution for what to do with all those crayon bits that kids accumulate. And it's a great way to get creative.

Just place the crayon bits (with all paper labels removed) in the covered melting tray, turn the Crayon Maker on, and then pour the melted material into the crayon mold. The end result is a brand new crayon mix of whatever colors you choose to use. The Crayon Maker requires a 60w candelabra bulb to produce the heat.

This maker is a reintroduction of a very popular toy from 1999. It's been designed so the cover won't open until the wax is cool to the touch.

The whole process takes about 20 minutes or so, and we found that kids were engaged both in watching the melting and then loved pouring the melted wax into the molds. We found that it works best for them if they're coloring and creating while the molded crayons cool. We also found that this is something they like doing again and again and they even liked using fresh crayons because a huge part of the fun is making the swirled and mixed colors.

Because the crayons that come out of the molds are slightly shorter than a traditional crayon, Crayola has included an ingenious clip that allows two of the freshly made crayons to be put together to create something that's easy to draw with.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Toy Review: Battle Strikers

Manufacturer: MEGA Brands
Brand: MagNext
Age Recommendation: 6 and up
MSRP: $14.99
Intro Year: 2009

This is a classic play pattern revved up for a new generation of kids.
Say goodbye to the strings and ripcords of traditional tops. Now kids can experience turbo-powered battling. Here come Battle Strikers, the ultimate kid-controlled spinning top battling system!
The Battle Strikers tops attach to a handheld unit-aka the Turbo Launcher. With the push of a button they spin and are revved up. Learning just the right amount of power to give them is a key strategy. When the tops are spinning, a quick flick of the wrist drops them-and they're ready to take on all comers.
But that's not all. Once the tops are spinning, a magnetic finger cover, featuring MEGA Brands' MagNext technology, lets kids guide their tops into attack mode -or dodge an oncoming opponent. As always, the last top standing is the winner.
With the Battle Strikers Starter Pack, kids can power up the Battle Strikers Turbo Launcher, load it with a themed Striker, and get ready to battle! As the Striker accelerates to 7,500 RPM, kids will feel the magnetic power as they use the controller to command the Striker to do battle. The Starter Pack includes the Turbo Launcher, a controller, and one exclusive Striker.
This is classic play-competitive, collectible, creative and absorbing. It's an excellent value, and collections are easily extended to add play value.

Monday, November 09, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Jonas (DS. rated Everyone)
Inspired by the latest hit Disney Channel Original Series, JONAS allows fans to play as the Jonas brothers and band members, Nick, Joe and Kevin in a non-stop, hilarious adventure. Play as any one of the Jonas brothers and help them tear up the stage, juggle school and friends and still make it home in time for dinner.

NBA 2K10 (Wii. rated Everyone)
The #1 selling NBA video game set the standard for all basketball video games, and NBA 2K10 aims to surpass that that by delivering an even better basketball experience this year with all-new gameplay components, out-of-this-world graphics, even more realistic Signature Style animations, all-new presentation elements and an unrivaled online system -- this season you won’t just play the NBA, you’ll live it.

New Super Mario Bros. (Wii. rated Everyone)
Taking advantage of the flexibility and power of the Wii and Wii Remote,
New Super Mario Bros. Wii manages to preserve the retro experience that fans love about the series, while adding new game features. Notable additions among these include, expansive play levels and new powerups and characters, but by far the most important, and in fact game-defining new feature is simultaneous multiplayer. At the end of each stage during the simultaneous multiplayer mode, you are ranked based on your score, the coins collected and the number of enemies defeated

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Toy Review: Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABCs

Manufacturer: I Can Do That! Games

Brand: Dr. Seuss

Age Recommendation: 3 and up

MSRP: $19.99

Intro Year: 2009

I Can Do That! Games has done it again with another zany and hilarious children's game that keeps kids active and helps reinforce basic learning.

In Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABCs, kids will twist, turn and stretch as they try to touch spaces on an over-sized and colorful floor mat with their feet, hands and ears. Thing 1 and Thing 2 get in on the fun with the "toy-nado" tube, a clever spinner that deals out the letter to body part challenges. Kids earn tiles when they successfully complete challenges that are both physical and instructional as they help develop word-building and early letter and picture recognition skills.

Adults may realize how super stretchy they are NOT, but kids delighted in playing this and in challenging themselves. They were very proud when they were able to do things and thought it was hilarious when they or their friends couldn't quite reach. This is an engaging game that children wanted to play again and again-always a sign of a good game.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season One

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season One is now available on DVD and high-definition Blu-ray Disc from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Warner Home Video.

This four disc set contains all 22 episodes including seven extended Director's Cuts and companion featurettes for each episode. Expect to pay $44.98 for DVD and $59.99 for Blu-ray.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Toy Review: AniMagic: Honey My Baby Pony, Dotty My Cute Puppy, Snowflake My Cute Kitty

Manufacturer: Vivid Imaginations

Age Recommendation: 3 and up

MSRP: $49.99

Intro Year: 2009

We don't often describe a toy as cute AND hi-tech but that is just what the AniMagic pets are-some of the cutest stuffed animals you will ever see that happen to be stuffed with some incredibly cool robotics. Each lap-sized pet interacts with you and features multiple movements such as Honey's blinking eyes, Dottie's wagging tail, and Snowflake's clapping paws. These adorable pets also feature realistic, life-like sounds and come with a favorite snack for you to feed them.

What makes these unique in a crowded field is that they are larger than many other animatronic pets, have more functionality, and are actually cuddly to play with.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This Week's New Video Games

Band Hero (DS, Wii, PS2, PS3, Xbox360. rated Everyone 10+)
Brought to you by the makers of Guitar Hero, one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, Band Hero features the hottest chart-topping hits from everyone’s favorite acts including Taylor Swift, Lily Allen, The All-American Rejects and Jackson 5. Band Hero allows fans to create the band they always dreamed of using any combination of guitar or drum controllers and vocals, providing rockers and performers of all ages the chance to experience and interact with their favorite music.

Barbie And The Three Musketeers (DS, Wii, PC. rated Everyone)
It’s “All for one and one for all” as Barbie and her friends star together in Barbie and the Three Musketeers, a classic story with a girl power twist! Join Barbie on the adventure of a lifetime! Play as Corinne, a girl from the French countryside who dreams of becoming a musketeer.

LEGO Rock Band (DS, Wii, PS3, Xbox360. rated Everyone 10+)
LEGO style and humor take Rock Band to an all-new level; experience fun for the whole family on a wild journey to rock stardom culminating in the ultimate rock gig that will take you out of this world! Songs You Know and Love rock out to everything from current radio hits to past favorites the whole family will enjoy.

My Baby First Steps (DS, Wii. rated Everyone)
Take care of your baby from his 1st birthday until they'll be 3 years old. Your baby will discover its environment and learn from it, they will walk, babble and speak, try to catch every object they can, and put everything in their mouth ... Your baby will be the apple of your eye!

Ni Hao, Kai-lan: New Year's Celebration (DS. Rated Everyone)
Ni Hao! Get ready to enjoy the greatest Chinese New year celebration ever with Kai-lan and her friends! Join in the fun with Kai-lan, Rintoo, Tolee, HoHo, LuLu and YeYe as you help them craft paper lanters, cook Chinese dumplings, march in a parade, play in a band and much, much more!

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (DS, PSP. rated Teen)
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron is the deepest and most action-packed Star Wars Battlefront game ever. Experience battlefronts that span ground, space and capital starships, a robust original storyline and expanded gameplay features that deliver endless replayability.