The hottest toys explained
A few Christmases ago, I asked my aunt what my younger cousin wanted for Christmas.
She texted me the answer and I walked into Toy Kingdom, approached the first salesman I saw and read out her text, feeling like I was speaking a foreign language, “Do you have… Bakugan?” The guy whisked me off to a huge display of little spheres that turn into robots. Before that day, I had no idea they even existed.
Trips to toy stores this Christmas can be a daunting task. Like fashion, toy trends can be fleeting. Last year’s hottest toys may no longer be hot and kids could have moved on to the next obsession.
Parents, ninong and ninang, this one’s for you—the lowdown on the most coveted toys just in time for your Christmas shopping.
Introduced in 2010, Lalaloopsy dolls continue to be very popular today. Each doll has his or her own story, a birthday, a pet and a personality based on the fabric she was sewn from.
According to MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the dolls, the dolls “teach important life lessons such as diversity, individuality and the idea that everything deserves a second life.” Apart from the original size, Lalaloopsy dolls are now available in Littles (baby versions of the bigger dolls); Mini (mini dolls and plays sets that are just adorable); and Micro (tiny collectibles). Accessories are available, too—the Lalaloopsy bed is so pretty.
Eight-year-old Xeanthel Dogma, a big fan of Lalaloopsy, said, “I like Lalaloopsy dolls because of their colorful hair, clothes, personalities and their pets, even though they’d come up with some cuckoo pets like a peanut, hotdog, cactus and a pineapple bird! I also like how they thought of making the Littles, because then my little sister can also enjoy smaller versions of the dolls that I like.”
When asked why parents should buy Lalaloopsy for their kids, she said, “Moms and dads must get these dolls for their kids because really, they will be doing themselves a favor. See, these dolls are for ages 4-104. Imagine how much they will save for many many Christmases to come, plus the fact that we kids really, really, really lala-love the Lalaloopsies!”
Lalaloopsy dolls are so cute you might want to start collecting your own—I should know, I ended up buying my own set of “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired Mini Lalaloopsies while shopping for inaanak.
Micro Chargers are tiny but powerful racing cars. Kids can charge them for a few seconds and they’re ready to race. According to Moose Toys, the cars can go as fast as “600 miles per hour.” Each car (there are over 30 to choose from!) comes with a small handheld charger. They can be used on the floor but tracks are available too to make racing even more exciting.
“Micro Chargers are really fast. I like them because I can race against my cousins and you can collect them all,” said Ito Lejano, a 10-year-old Micro Chargers collector.
Because the cars are tiny and could be a choking hazard, Micro Chargers are more suitable for kids who no longer like putting toys in their mouths.
Is it an owl? A hamster? A descendant of Mogwais? Who knows?
This is the third coming of Furby, following its very successful 1998 release and its 2005 revival. Released by Hasbro in September 2012, this electronic robotic toy has a mind of its own—it will develop its personality based on how its owner treats it. Furbies offer full interaction—they can talk (they speak Furbish and English), they can dance, they can be tickled, fed and they can interact with other Furbies.
And for even more fun (and to translate Furbish), kids can use the Furby app on their iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone.
Asked why she loves her Furby, 6-year-old Allison de la Cruz said, “Kasi talk ng talk parang ako.”
The Furby is a great gift even for older kids (actually, some adults have it on their wish lists, too)—unless they find it freaky.
Lego has been around forever and for good reason—they’re fantastic buildable blocks that can be enjoyed by kids (and adults) of all ages. And although the plain blocks already offer hours and hours of fun, the special editions offer even more excitement.
Some of the most popular Lego themes are Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel and DC, Lego Hero Factory, Ninjago, Dino and Monster Fighters. We also like the Creator sets—they encourage kids to be more creative. The collectible Mini Fig line remains popular, too—it’s on its 8th series and kids still go crazy about it.
Six-year-old Jvan Morales said he loves Lego “’Coz you can build stuff! ’Coz you can collect and get new ones! I just like it.”
Although Nerf also produces sports balls, their most popular toys are the dart guns—blasters that use ammunition made of Nerf foam. There are many different kinds of Nerf guns. The Super Soaker, Nerf’s water guns, are a big hit, too.
Filmmaker Marie Jamora says Nerf guns are her favorite pick for her male inaanak.
Nerf fans might also love Xploderz, toy weapons created by The Maya Group. Instead of the foam ammunition, Xploderz use water pellets. Polymer pellets are soaked in water for three hours to become water pellets that are biodegradable, easy to remove from clothing and—more importantly—will not cause bodily harm.
LeapFrog LeapPad 2
The first LeadPad was highly successful, even winning awards. This year, LeapFrog has released a new version of this educational tablet, offering more fun and learning for kids. The LeapPad can be used with a stylus or the kid’s finger. There are art, writing and music apps. Additional apps can be purchased from the LeapFrog App Center. The tablet is also equipped with cameras and video recorders. The LeapPad 2 is a great choice for kids from 3-9 years old who have been wanting their own tablets but aren’t ready for grown-up gadgets yet.