Toy Stores – Top Toys

Many stores such as Walmart, Amazon and Target release their annual list of hot toys for the holiday shopping season.  The stores themselves are not just guessing – they have the ability to predict the hot toys based on early buying patterns, such as for birthdays and other holidays.  So you have to take these lists seriously if you want to make sure your kids find the top toys waiting for them this year.

We  took a look at various store-based toy lists and we’ve picked out some products that we think will rise to the top of many kids’ wish lists.

LEGO Ninjago Building Kit

LEGO Ninjago Green Mech

LEGO Ninjago Green Mech

The latest LEGO movie Ninjago extends the popular dragon-based characters from the Ninja series.  This Ninjago Green Ninja Mech building kit has a fantastic 544 pieces and it puts kids right into the middle of the action.  This large figure sports a minifigure cockpit, articulated snapping jaws, posable body, and a wheel-activated swooshing tail.

The kit include four additional mini-figures The Green Ninja, Wu, Garmadon and Charlie, as well as an array of weapons.

We really like these LEGO building kits that kids can actually play with, rather than static kits that you pretty much put on a shelf and stare at.

K’NEX Thrill Rides Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set

K’NEX Thrill Ride Roller Coaster Kit

There are over 430 pieces in this exciting K’NEX Thrill Rides Roller Coaster building set.  After you receive the satisfaction of completing your build you then get to actually run the air-powered car around the track.  This looks like a really fun set similar to other K’NEX building sets such as the giant Ferris Wheel.

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox – Building and Coding

LEGO Creative Toolbox

With the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox you and your child can build one of five multi-functional robots and control them with the easy-to-use coding blocks on your tablet.  LEGO has come a long way into creating a robotic building set that combines technology education with the fun of building and reaching the final creation.  

This set is recommended for ages 7-12 years old.

Nickelodeon – Paw Patrol – My Size Lookout Tower

Nickelodeon – Paw Patrol – My Size Lookout Tower

The Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Lookout Tower is more than two and a half feet tall and features interactive lights and authentic sounds. Hear each character’s signature phrase with the press of a button.   There is also a rotating periscope and a central elevators that takes the mini-figures up and down.  And finally there are vehicle launchers along the base – ready for some exciting fun.

This set is recommended for ages 3 and up.

Lulu Jr. My Comic Book Making Kit

My Comic Book Building Kit

Enough with the high-tech toys and building kits.  This is the very unique My Comic Book Making Kit. Okay yes – it is technically a building kit, but in this case it gives you various tools to help you create your very own 18-page full-color comic book.  This kit will boost your child’s creativity and give them a sense of self-esteem when they’ve completed their book.

Recommended for ages 6 and up.

 

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New LEGO Sets for 2016

Year after year the LEGO company keeps kids enthralled and entertained by creating building sets that are relevant to the hottest trends.  2016 is no different – there are many new LEGO sets representing popular movies and other fun themes, as well as well-loved LEGO series like City and Friends.  Both kids and adults have a nice selection of sets to choose from this year.

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

Doctor Who LEGO Set

We absolutely love this Doctor Who LEGO set.  It is the perfect gift for Doctor Who fans of all ages, and great for parents to pass on that Doctor Who love to their kids.  The central element (of course) is the TARDIS which measures over 4 inches high.  The set is actually the control room and includes Clara, Daleks, and a Weeping Angel.  This set was designed by a Doctor Who fan-designer, which makes it even cooler.  Recommended for ages 10+.
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LEGO Ghostbusters Set

LEGO Ghostbusters

LEGO Ghostbusters

One of the hottest movies of 2016 was the remake of the 1980’s classic Ghostbusters.  The Ghostbusters Ecto 1 & 2 LEGO Set features both the Ecto 1 vehicle as well as the Ecto 2 motorbike.  The vehicle has a removeable roof and seats for 4 Ghostbusters heroes.  There are also some weapons such as the 4 proton packs, a proton sidearm, and an ion shield gun.  5 mini-figures are included in this set. Recommended for ages 8-14 years.

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LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

LEGO Friends Amusement Park

The LEGO Friends Amusement Park set continues the hugely popular Friends line of building sets.  There are an amazing 1124 pieces, which are used to construct an amusement park with many different functional attractions including: roller coaster, ferris wheel, drop tower, entrance booth, and dining area.  Four mini-dolls are included as are other accessories.  This is a great set for kids in the 8-12 year old range.

(Note: There are lots of other new LEGO Amusement Park sets – Find them when you click the button below)

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Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO Set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman Killer Croc Sewer Smash LEGO set

Batman is always a popular topic for gift-giving.  Kids just love super heroes.  So this Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash building set should be a big hit.  There are 759 pieces, which combine to form a Bat-Tank and the killer croc’s Battle Chomper.  There are also weapons and mini-figures included.  This fun set is recommended for ages 8-14.

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NINJAGO LEGO Set – Samurai X Cave Chaos

LEGO NINJAGO Set

LEGO NINJAGO Set

The NINJA and NINJAGO line of LEGO building sets may not be widely known, but many kids know the sets from the TV shows.  This Samurai X Cave Chaos building set is pretty cool.  It features 1253 pieces which are used to build an opening skull entrance, inventor launchpad, buildable jet and laser prison.  It comes with 8 mini-figures.  Recommended for ages 9-14.

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LEGO Angry Birds

LEGO Angry Birds Set

LEGO Angry Birds Set

This LEGO Angry Birds King Pig’s Castle building set turns the hugely popular game app, and movie, into a really fun toy that kids can get their hands on.  It’s got 859 pieces and this includes 5 Angry Birds figures and tons of accessories.  It’s getting really good reviews, which we always love.

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LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter vs. A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing Starfighter

Finally any list of LEGO sets would be incomplete without a Star Wars set.  We are in the midst of a multi-year resurgence of Star Wars popularity around the globe.  Episode 7 was released in 2015, followed by Rogue One in 2016.

The LEGO TIE Fighter vs A-Wing set features Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter as well as an A-Wing Starfighter.  These fighters can battle using spring-loaded shooters, and the set also includes accessories such as Darth Vader’s helmet and 4 mini-figures.  The fighters are very detailed, and are great for role-playing by imaginative kids. Recommended for ages 9-14.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Tegu – Best Educational Toys

tegu-pocket-setWhat is Tegu?  We at Hot Toy Guide wondered the same thing when we first discovered them a few weeks ago.  The simplest way to describe Tegu is that they are well-design wooden construction pieces that attach magnetically to each other.  The best thing is that the magnets are inside the wood, not exposed.  This makes the pieces safer, more aesthetic, and longer lasting.

Other Advantages to buying Tegu

Although Tegu toys are clearly well designed, premium products (and which come with a higher price tag) they are made with social responsibility in mind.  When you buy a Tegu product you are given the opportunity to direct a portion of the proceeds to two Tegu initiatives: reforestation and education for the impoverished.  Tegu products are made in Honduras, from non-endangered wood.  The company is dedicated to be a good corporate citizen.  They are so transparent with their operations that they even invite people to visit the manufacturing site in Honduras.

42-Piece Tinted Set

Tegu - 42 Piece Set

Tegu – 42 Piece Set

The Tegu 42-piece tinted play set is a great starting point.  It offers enough pieces to build some interesting objects, but not too much to break your bank.

8-Piece Pocket Set

tegu-pocket-set

Tegu 8-Piece Pocket Set

This 8-Piece Tegu travel set has enough pieces for some casual playtime when you’re on the go, such as in a car or on a plane.  The handy carrying case keeps everything together (and it looks great too).

Tegu Skyhook Block Set

tegu-skyhook

Tegu Skyhook

Not all Tegu sets are free-form construction sets.  The Tegu Skyhook is a mini-helicopter that enhances the play experience of the other Tegu construction sets.  It’s a fun addition that kids will love.

Other Tegu Sets

There a tons of other Tegu sets to choose from.  Here are a few more, but you can easily search on Amazon for more Tegu Sets.

52-Piece Natural Set

52-Piece Natural Set

Tegu Robo Block Set

Tegu Robo Block Set

130-Piece Classroom Set

130-Piece Classroom Set


 

Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.

Best Tablets for Kids and Adults 2016

There are a tremendous selection of tablets that are appropriate for kids in 2016.  We find them broken down into two categories: General tablets, and Kid-designed tablets.  So let’s find out which are the best tablets for children in 2016.

Google Pixel C

Google Pixel C Tablet

Google Pixel C Tablet

The Google Pixel C Android tablet has a compact and slim aluminum design that feels very sturdy, and when kids are using a tablet sturdiness is what you need. It has a long-running battery and its performance is very quick.  You do have the ability to attach a keyboard, but for kids that is rarely needed (just maybe if they need to sue this for homework in the higher school grades).  In summary this is a very good tablet for the money.

Display: 10.2 inches, 2560×1800 pixels

buy-amazon-buttonApple iPad Mini 4

ipad-mini4

Apple iPad Mini 4

The Apple iPad Mini 4 comes with all the power and features of the iOS operating system that Apple is known for, with the smaller design that works better for kids’ smaller hands.  It has the 7.9″ Retina display, a dual-core A8 chip with quad-core graphics – all combining to yield top-rate performance.  The 8MP camera is world renown.  In summary we love this tablet for kids, especially if the parent are already immersed in the Apple product line.

Display: 7.9″, 2048×1536 pixels (Retina)

buy-amazon-buttonSamsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8-inch tablet is a very respectable device, with a lower price point that makes it quite attractive as a kid’s tablet, even compared against the iPad Mini. It is thinner and lighter than the iPad Mini 4, and has more internal storage as well.  The HD screen is very crisp and clear. For an Android tablet this would be a very good choice for a child.

Display: 8 inch, 2048×1536 pixels

buy-amazon-buttonAmazon Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon Fire HD 8

There are three levels of the Amazon Fire Tablet (6, 8, and 10), and they all are generally less expensive than all of the other tablets listed above.  The least expensive is the Fire HD 6 with a display of only 6 inches.   We recommend at least the HD 8 if you can afford it.  We suggest you dig into the specifications of all three tablets before purchasing, but one thing to be aware of is that all three models have the same number of display pixels (even though the displays are different sizes), and they all have the same processor.  The differences are seen in the additional features such as camera quality, WIFI capability, colors, and weight.  Also, all tablets can be purchased in different memory capacity (go for the larger if you can).

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Disclaimer: This post may contain Affiliate links. Prices may change at any time. Do your own research before purchasing.