Get ready – it’s that time of year again. Starbucks cups are red again, and trees are adorned with glittering holiday lights. Yep, holiday shopping season is upon us. The Toy Insider, an annual consumer holiday toy guide, was released on Nov. 1. It features nearly 100 toy recommendations, including the “Hot 20″ – the panel’s picks of this seasons must-haves.
Toy expert Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of The Toy Insider and founder of The Big Toy Book filled us in on some of the big themes for children’s gifts in 2010 – and tipped us off to what will most likely be on your son or daughter’s wish list this year.
Hide and Seek JoJo Interactive Bunny
18 Months and up
Technology and interactivity top the list of trends you’ll see in toy stores this year, and this high-tech pet is a prime example. JoJo can also serve as a babysitter to your toddler – he actually plays hide-and-seek! The bunny comes with a magic carrot, which attracts the bunny to its playmate. The child takes the carrot in his or her hand and turns on JoJo, who then counts to 10 and says “ready or not here I come!”
Hexbug Nano Set
3 Years and Up
These little robotic creatures will serve not only as entertainment for your youngster, but as a secret science lesson as well. Hexbug Nanos come in test tubes and run on vibrations. Schacht also mentioned the lesson-learning that comes with the trend of collectible toys we’re seeing in 2010. The collectible parts are between $5 and $10, so kids can earn and save up their allowance to keep their collection going.
Scene It? Disney Magical Moments
6 years and up
2010 has seen a surge in both games and movie-related items, according to Schacht. It’s no surprise, then, that Scene It? Disney Magical Moments is likely to be a hit this year. The game is suggested for children ages six and up, but as the expert points out, parents will love this too. It’s classic Disney Pixar, so even grown-ups will know the clips and music.
Toy Story 3 Blast-Off Buzz Lightyear
6 Years and Up
According to Schact, the Toy Story toys are flying off the shelves – and this one literally flies. In fact, this version of Buzz Lightyear has all the bells and whistles: lights, sounds, movie phrases. At $39, it’s one of the more expensive items on the Toy Insider list.
9 years and up
While the older children are more difficult to shop for, the same themes of technology and interactivity are behind the popular items for the kids entering double-digits. Paper Jamz earns its name because it’s a paper-thin guitar – but it’s not actually made of paper. It’s a stringless guitar where you can create your own music or play along to pre-downloaded songs. Under $24.