KARE checks out hot toys this holiday season

4:45 PM, Nov 12, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - With a little over two weeks from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers are starting to look for toy deals.

However, Christopher Byrne of Time to Play Magazine , says when it comes to shopping for the hottest or newest toy, you don't need to wait.

Here is the list Christopher talked about on KARE 11 News at 4:

(Note: All information provided by Time to Play Magazine.)

Ages 4+

LeapFrog is expanding its line of children's learning tablets with the latest release, the LeapPad Ultra. What makes it ultra? Here are a few of its "ultra" features:

This kid-tough tablet has a bigger seven-inch, high-resolution touchscreen that is designed to help children write using a stylus while also supporting interactive touch experiences. The included stylus is tethered to the tablet so that you don't lose it. It also features a rechargeable lithium ion battery that gives kids up to nine hours of play. It can be charged using a USB cable or AC adapter, both of which are included. And the LeapPad Ultra features 8GB of memory, more than on previous LeapPad tablets.

This new tablet also includes LeapSearch by Zui, a proprietary kid-safe web browser that kids can use to browse age-appropriate videos, images, and websites that have been reviewed and approved by LeapFrog's Learning Team. The tablet's Wi-Fi access also allows parents to easily purchase and download content to their child's LeapPad Ultra and offers kid-safe peer-to-peer play across devices when two or more LeapPad Ultra tablets connect to the same local Wi-Fi network. This means that two kids can play a game together at the same time on their respective tablets. Intuitive parental controls with a four-digit security code means that parents are in control of what their child is able to access. As with previous LeapPads, the LeapPad Ultra also features front and back cameras and video recorders. And the LeapPad Ultra is compatible with LeapFrog's learning library of more than 800 games, app, ebooks, videos, music, cartridges, and more that remember your child's progress and auto-level to adapt to your child's pace. Parents can connect to the LeapFrog Learning Path to see details of their child's play.

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Ages newborn and up

An upgraded version of the original sleep aid for baby, The new Twilight Turtle Tunes (T3) features three modes, which you can rotate through by pressing the turtle-shell-shaped button. Turn the T3 on by locating the on/off switch on the turtle's belly then press the shell-shaped button.

Mode one is classic mode and features the simple nightlight and star projection. As with the original Twilight Turtle, T3 will project anywhere in a room to light up a soothing display of stars is an array of three colors: amber, blue, and green.
Press the shell-shaped button twice to switch into Bluetooth Audio Mode. Download the free Twilight Turtle Tunes app and choose from a preset library of melodies and sounds. Parents can mix and match three songs and sounds to create a custom mix to soothe baby to sleep. There is also a premium app available for download for $1.99 that gives parents access to their own music libraries to play through T3. Make sure your Bluetooth is enabled on your phone to connect to T3. Then you can set programmed melodies to play for up to 24 hours for baby. The app features a timer so you can set how long you want the mix to play. The mix currently playing will be displayed at the top of the screen. The colors will morph every five seconds.

The toy's third mode features one pre-recorded track of soothing ocean sounds that plays on a loop for 45 minutes after which it will shut down automatically.

Ages 3+

The Chatter Phone Talking Game is based on Fisher-Price's iconic Chatter Phone toy. It has been reimagined as an electronic interactive matching and memory game that guides children to learn about animals, animal sounds, and numbers and counting.

When the phone rings, pick up the receiver, and the Chatter Phone will ask you to dial a game: 1, 2, 3, or 4.Game 1 is a numbers game where kids are asked to dial numbers on the phone; Game 2 is a sounds game; Game 3 is a mix and match game; Game 4 is a countdown game where players work together to beat the clock and pick the right answer.

The Chatter Phone will prompt kids to insert a numbers card or an animal card. Then the countdown clock will start to tick, and players have 15 seconds to make their selection. If the card inserted is correct, the players keep the card. Once five cards have been collected or three incorrect guesses have been made, the game is over.

Educational Insights
Ages 3+

Dino Construction Company Wrecker the T-Rex Skid Loader combines dinosaurs and construction play. Wrecker rolls onto the scene with dino track treads that leave dino prints in the sand or dirt. Wrecker has a large movable jaw that opens to showcase white teeth. The dino's segmented, swinging tail moves in multiple directions. Kids can scoop up water, sand, and toys in Wrecker's mouth. This toy is all about imaginative play that will appeal to preschoolers who like dinosaurs and construction play. It's great for the sandbox, the beach, or the playroom.

Disney Interactive
Ages 8+

Disney Infinity is the most ambitious gaming initiative that Disney has ever launched and the whole thing revolves around character figures from different Disney and Pixar movies. When any of the figures are placed on the Disney Infinity Base, they pop into the game and become the playable characters. Infinity literally begins with a single spark that you control. As you move around, you light up a world and bring it to life. In the distance, there's an arch and without any instructions, you know to head towards it.

You will find Mickey Mouse waiting and the words, "Imagination becomes reality" appear. All of this is the game's prelude and happens before you even place a figure on the base. It's enough to show you that this is going to be a huge game.


Zing Toys
Ages 8+

The Air Storm Z-Tek Bow comes with three soft foam Zarts. Two will make a whistling noise as they fly and bounce off the walls. The third Zart will stick to any smooth surface. The bow includes storage for all three Zarts. This is really easy to use. This bow has the same construction as other Zing bows, where there's no bow-string, but rather you hook an arrow onto the two elastic loops, pull back, and fire. The Zarts can fly up to 100 feet. The Air Storm Z-Tek Bow is available in orange or green. When we tested out our Air Storm Z-Tek Bow, we got the Zarts to fly more than 100 feet. They actually flew closer to 120-125 feet. Kids will really be impressed with how easy it is to load and launch the Zarts and the great distance they can get.

Ages 6+

Nearly half a century ago, a pair of battling robots created a toy industry sensation, and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots became a memorable part of many Baby Boomers childhoods. Now this classic play concept gets a 21st century upgrade with Battroborg from Tomy.

The charger doubles as a controller that attaches to a Battroborg battling robot. Before battling, kids must use the controller to charge up their robot for about 20 minutes. Then, kids and their robots are ready to battle.

Set your robots in the ring arena and go to it. Turn on the controller and pair it with the robot. The robot will flash blue until it's paired, and then it will flash green. As you punch with your hands, the robot will punch, too. Punch with the left hand to move forward and turn clockwise. Punch with your right hand to move forward and turn counter-clockwise. The elastic cords on the sides can be used to configure the ring for different play modes. Practice with the ring set up with four drones on the side. Then, challenge an opponent to a dual in the gauntlet by moving around the elastic cords. When you've got the hang of it, open up the arena fully for complete battle action.

There are five levels of play in each battle, and you'll know how you're doing by the light on the back of the robot. The lights will count down from green to blue to white to yellow to red. When the light flashes red and your robot won't move, well, you've been KO'd. But just press the robot's face mask to start again.
There are also other modes of play that are great for solo play when you don't have an opponent.


Ages 6+

Friendship bracelets have long been a fun and favorite pastime for kids. Cra-Z-Art's new Shimmer N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker builds on this trend and offers kids the chance to create their own personalized rubber band bracelets in a fun new way.

Making the bracelets is alot like crocheting with a single hook. To make the basic single loop rainbow bracelet, start by placing the bands on the pegs that make up the loom shown in the guide. Then turn your loom around and use the hook to pick and loop it over in the pattern, which is indicated by the guide. The loom's pegs make it easy to guide you under each band. Continue picking and looping until you reach the end of the loom, tie a slip-knot with a loose band, slide the bracelet off, attach an s- clip, and your bracelet is complete. The trend of wearing and trading rubber band bracelets is one that isn't going away anytime soon. So we think the ability to make and personalize bracelets with the Cra-Z-Loom adds a fun new element to their collectability.

For more on other toys, head to Time To Play Magazine.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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