Monster High Freaky Fusion™ Catacombs
I first saw the Catacombs toy at Toy Fair in February and my immediate reaction was “Wow! This is the coolest playset ever!” Standing at 4ft tall, the three-story Freaky Fusion Catacombs playset really is something in person! This playset is based on the new Monster High movie, Freaky Fusion. At the riveting climax of the movie, the beast ghoulfriends of Frankie Stein rally around to give her back her spark deep in the Catacombs below the howlways of Monster High. Once the toy is built, start out on the top floor and enjoy a snack at the café table. Give it a spin to reveal creepy cool effects on the pillars and in the party rooms: eyes peek through cracks and the chandelier rotates. Take the gravestone elevator down one floor to the hybrid lounge to chill out then use the stairs on either side to go down one more flight to get to the bottom. The lowest floor features a party room with a secret passage that leads to the underground lab where you can perform experiments just like in Freaky Fusion. All you do is place the clock hands on “1” and “3” to open the hidden door and enter. When you’re finished experimenting, head back to the party room where the pool flips to reveal a dance floor so the ghouls can have a clawesome good time. The Freaky Fusion Catacombs playset is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for $82.47 at www.walmart.com.
The world is your construction kit! Ever play the piano on a bunch of bananas!? No? Then you must try a new invention kit brought to you by Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver (watch embedded how-to video at the end of the gift guide). The kit includes MaKey MaKey, Alligator Clips, USB Cable and a call for creativity! MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touch-pads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in-between. How does it work? Alligator Clip two objects to the MaKey MaKey board (that’s connected to the computer), for example, you and a banana. When you touch the banana, you make a connection, and MaKey MaKey sends the computer a keyboard message. The computer just thinks MaKey MaKey is a regular keyboard (or mouse). Therefore it works with all programs and webpages, because all programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse input. A fantastic idea to jump-start your child’s imagination and creativity this Christmas! The MaKey MaKey original box retails for $49.95 and is available on their website at www.makeymakey.com.
ALEX Toys Ultimate Glitter Tattoo Party
Kids love tattoos especially glitter ones! They are all the rage at the kids parties my daughter attends. The ALEX Toys Ultimate Glitter Tattoo Party is everything you need for the perfect tattoo party. With this kit you can create sparkling body art with ten reusable stencils and six colors of glitter, mix and match bracelets and necklaces with 135 press-on jewelry tattoo chains and charms. In addition to the glitter and stencils, the kit also includes two brushes, 135 press-on tattoos, tattoo glue & sponge. Tattoo ink washes off with soap and water. The kit is recommended for ages 8+ and it retails for $32.95 at www.alextoys.com.
Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome
If you have a car fanatic on your shopping list, he/she will love a DVD of Hot Wheels’ first animated feature – Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome. In the movie, Gage, Wyatt, Brandon, and Rhett are kids born to ride. They are skilled racers, but together they become Team Hot Wheels. When a mysterious black car roars into town, the boys aren’t sure what to think. The mystery car creates incredible orange track wherever it goes, but it also creates rampaging monsters. Team Hot Wheels needs to stop this masked villain before it’s too late for their town. Your child will definitely enjoy this wild ride with Team Hot Wheels! The DVD is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for $19.99 at www.toysrus.com.
There’s a bunch of cool new Barbie dolls that launched this year. Two of my favorites include Barbie® Endless Curls™ Doll and Barbie® Fashion Design Maker. Barbie® Endless Curls comes with three different types of no-heat curling tools (two irons and a set of traditional rollers), which girls use to easily create countless styling possibilities, transforming Barbie® doll’s hair without heat or water. Styling the doll’s locks is simple with the two barrettes and three rubber bands, which allow your little stylist to experiment with braids, ponytails, pigtails and more. Want a new style for your doll? All you do is straighten out the curls with the hairbrush and start all over. This doll is recommended for ages 5+ and it retails for $24.99 at www.toysrus.com. Barbie Fashion Design Maker will bring out the fashionista in your little girl. All you do is download the software, which is Mac and PC compatible, onto your computer or tablet, and watch as your child designs and creates cool new looks for the doll. Barbie doll comes with a molded slip to help fabric fashions go on smoothly. Eight sheets of printable fabric allow your little one to create many rewearable fashions for the doll. After printing the fashions, the clothes peel off and stick easily onto Barbie. Barbie® Fashion Design Maker is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for $49.99 at www.toysrus.com.
Scooby-Doo Mystery Mine Game
Scooby was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. I get to enjoy it all over again since my daughter really likes the Mystery, Inc. gang too!! We had a blast playing this game and guessing the villain. To play just spin the spinner, move up the path of the mystery mine and along the way get clues about who is trying to keep you away! Eight exciting traps (the fall away bridge, the falling staircase, swinging gate, web flinger and more) can get activated at any time, sending you flying back. Be the first to get to the top of the mine and reveal who the monster is to win! The game is recommended for ages 5+ and retails for $16.99 at www.toysrus.com.
Frozen Sing-A-Long Storybook
Frozen is definitely one of the best Disney movies ever. I mean who didn’’t love this story as well as the music?? The Frozen Sing-A-Long Storybook is a deluxe picture book featuring a full retelling of Frozen, plus lyrics to your favorite songs! As an added bonus, the book includes a CD featuring three instrumental tracks! This book is recommended for ages 6-8 years and it retails for $10.52 at www.walmart.com.
FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo, My Walking Pup
This adorable new pup will be your child’s new best friend!! The Get Up & GoGo, My Walking Pup pet brings lifelike puppy play to children as she sits and speaks on command, and even comes when you call her, wagging her tail as she walks. This pup even reacts when other FurReal Friends pets are near, such as Pom Pom, My Baby Panda pet (sold separately), and will bark to say hello when she hears her! There’s even a free FurReal Friends app available for a whole new way to play with your pet. Using the FurReal Friends app, children can virtually care for their pet. The Get Up & GoGo, My Walking Pup pet will respond to all the on screen action with movement and happy barks! Within the app, kids can also play fun games, and even meet other virtual FurReal Friends pets. FurReal Friends require 4 “C” batteries, which are not included. FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo, My Walking Pup is recommended for ages 4 and up and retails for $59.99 at www.kmart.com.
Littlest Pet Shop Style Set
When Blythe Baxter moves to Downtown City above the Littlest Pet Shop, a day camp for all kinds of amazing pets, including doggie diva Zoe Trent, head hedgehog Russell Ferguson, and resident artist monkey Minka Mark. Blythe discovers something that a lot of people wish could they do- talk with these awesome animals! The Littlest Pet Shop Style Set is pulled right from the animated series; it’s the hub of all activity for Blythe and her pet friends. Fans can create and decorate this stackable and customizable set with 135 pieces, including wall panels, accessories, reversible scene backdrop, stickers and Deco Bits –unique, small accessories that plug into Littlest Pet Shop pets and style sets for a little added glamour. Then fans can style their own pet shop, with colorful curtains, fabric rug, bookshelf, and other decorative pieces. This set comes with three exclusive Littlest Pet Shop pets, including Minka Mark monkey, Sunil Nevla mongoose, and Kittery Banter cat. Littlest Pet Shop Style Set is recommended for ages 6+ and retails for $39.99 at www.target.com.
LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutation Chamber Unleashed
The Mutation Chamber Unleashed finds Raphael in the Kraang’s lab where he’s discovered the chamber that turns humans into mutant creatures. Kids can make Victor “mutate” into the fearsome Spider Bytez, and then help Raph outwit the giant creature and escape before it grabs him. Includes Victor and Raphael mini-figures with weapons and accessories, plus a Spider Bytez figure. This LEGO set is recommended for ages 6+ and it retails for $24.99 at www.toysrus.com.
Angela Meju debuts a beautiful new book and family tradition that encourages good behavior at Christmastime. The book comes in a keepsake box, which includes a Reindeer 1 and Reindeer 2. The story is centered on Gus and Sam, two of Santa’s reindeer, who decide to help Santa by visiting little girls and boys to report back on who is naughty and who is nice. When the pair realizes there isn’t enough time to visit all of the children, they call on their friends for help. The reindeers are sent off in pairs of two and are assigned a home to visit. Reindeer 1 is in charge of going back to Santa to report naughty children while Reindeer 2 stays to keep watch. Children and siblings will keep a close eye to make sure their reindeer stay together until Christmas Eve, when they leave to help Santa deliver presents—until returning next year to keep watch! Roaming Reindeer is recommended for ages 4+ and retails for $34.95 at www.roamingreindeer.com.
Bogs offers durable, warm, waterproof and comfortable all weather boots for people who work (or play) in the most uncomfortable conditions. Being that I live in Northern New Jersey where we get hit with some major storms (rain and snow), it’s important to have a boot like this especially for your kids. The Kids’ Boga Waterproof Boot is a great style for girls. The boot features waterproof suede upper with a soft fleece lining, rebound cushioning keeps feet warm, dry and comfy as a slipper all winter long. My daughter put these on the first time and she said they were very comfortable and warm. She didn’t even need to break them in! The Boga boot comes in four different colors and retails for $95 at www.bogsfootwear.com.