5 Weeks Until Christmas and 5 Toys You Need Now!

 

We have a little over 5 weeks before Jolly Old Saint Nicholas is going to come sliding down the chimney to drop off lots of toys for your kids! I’ve come across some really fantastic toys for this season that will appeal to kids of all ages and maybe even adults… can you say… LEGO DISNEY CASTLE! It’s stunning!

These are few of the favorites that are Thomas and Lily approved. As you know, most if not all of these toys have been tested by me and my crew… AKA Thomas and Lily… and usually Jonah gets a hold of something  and after clawing it out of his jaw… we write about it.

Disney Castle LEGO

Disney Castle Playset – LEGO – $349.00 I don’t know about the kids, but I WANT THIS. The Disney Castle play set has 4080 pieces and builds an amazingly detailed Disney Castle. This is a MUST for Disney Fans. Get it while you can… it’s selling quick!

Torch Blazin Dragon

Torch My Blazin Dragon – Hasbro $65 It’s not the Game of Thrones Khaleesi Dragons… but it’ll do for the kids. This dragon blinks and breathes fire and even “toasts’ marshmallows! Also a hot item this season… so grab it!

Thomas and Friends Mini Playset

Thomas and Friends Minis Twist and Turn Stunt Set $20  This entire line in on my Thomas’s wish list. He can’t get enough of these minis. They twist and turn and spiral back up. Thomas and Friends Minis Playset also have a whole new DC Superheros line… Thomas as Batman… believe it!

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Sky Viper Hover Racer $99.99 This hover craft is #1 on Lily’s list. It’s tough to find toys for kids as they get older so I was super excited to discover the Sky Viper. It’s a great, sturdy quality, that can handle rough play and a giant dog going after it!

Love-2-Learn-Elmo

Love2Learn Elmo HASBRO $59.99 – Just when you think you have outgrown the Elmo stage… they reel you back in. This is the new 2016 version that is bluetooth compatible. Imagine Thomas’ surprise when Elmo said his name! There is soooo much this new version of Elmo does that I could write a whole piece on it. It helps with learning alphabet, numbers, colors, silly phrases and songs… so much more! PJ Masks Headquarters Playset

PJ Masks Headquarters Playset – $69.99 Thomas is WISHING for this playset. We can’t find it anywhere!! PJ Masks – which is NOT TJ MAXX –  I thought he was saying this all along… anyway PJ MASKS is Thomas’ favorite show and if you have a toddler/preschooler then you know what I am talking about. This Headquarters Playset is all he wants and it’s sold out practically everywhere. It’s such a fun toy that has spinning parts a slide and whatever else magic that Thomas is into. No really though… if you have a PJ MASKS fan… this HAS to be under your tree. Along with every PJ MASKS toy made!

There is so much. SO PLEASE keep stopping by. I want to have short gift guides this year so as not to overwhelm anyone. We have DIY guides, Craft, indie… all sorts of guides coming up and soooo many toys!

One more thing… from my soapbox… PLEASE try to shop local… I know that some small toy shops don’t carry these toys ( but some might). If you do shop online, please link your shopping spending to a charity many places like Amazon and Target allow you to do that.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Favorite Toys

It’s the big weekend… the last weekend before the jolly ole fat man breaks into your house to eat your cookies and milk and  take credit for all the toys you bought the kids! Silly Santa! To help you navigate your toy list for all the littles this year… I’m here to help. I’ve rounded up my favorite toys for this season… toys that are great for all ages and will keep kids playing for years to come!   As with all my recommendations, these are all toys I have reviewed at home through this sweet blog or through my awesome job playing with toys all day… at TTPM.com. These toys are the a step above the rest and have some pretty amazing features.

I hope you find this list helpful. Merry Christmas!!!

Favorite Toys for Holiday 2015

 

Snoopy Railroad G-Gauge Set Lionel Train sets have been a favorite in our home since as long and I can remember. Thomas has the latest Snoopy Express and loves it. This is a G Gauge train that goes forward and back with a remote control unit. It also has some conductor phrases and a choo choo whistle. This is a large toy and has some pretty fantastic details!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best STEM Toys for Kids

The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guide - Best STEM Toys for Kids

Toys that inspire the science mind are really great for kids on many levels. This year there is no shortage of really awesome toys that look like toys but function on a MUCH higher level than STEM themed toys of last year.

Lily helped me put this list together and even helped design the layout. She said, “Mom let’s tell people about the good toys not just the ones everyone talks about”.

So here ya go… the GOOD toys. These toys are sitting around our house and the kids love them. Thomas and Lily both get a lot out of each of these pieces. And Matt and I are usually tinkering around with them as well!

Best STEM Toys for 2015! 
  1. ROOMINATE TownHouse – Roominate is a building toy geared toward girls (because of the colors) but once you over look the gender specific colors there is a lot more to this toy. These kits come with basic circuitry motor units that allow kids to build fans, doors that open..etc. Additionally there is a whole crafting component to this. Stickers, cutouts and colored stock paper are all included so you can decorate the walls and floors of your fab townhouse. There are tons of kits in various sizes.
  2. LITTLE BITS – OMG you guys. If ever I could sing the praises of a toy… this would be it! Again, it’s simple circuitry for kids with colorful pieces that allow kids to make flashlights, cars that move, buzzers, basically anything that moves. This toy teaches the order of circuitry and setting up a pattern and knowing what circuit makes what this go and the order of placement. It’s pretty neat and if you have a tinkering kid at home, this is for them!
  3. MAKEY MAKEY – this is the toy that could… and should… and the best thing i have seen all year! Can bananas make music… yes they can! can a tree make music… yes! ANYTHING can make music and  Makey Makey is going to teach you how to do that! You can make game boards, banana piano… there is a Makey Makey board, cables, connector wires, alligator clips… OMG you guys… the inventions are waiting! This is a REALLY COOL toy!
  4. BEGINNER SCIENCE LAB – This is Lily’s favorite! we’ve already gone through 2 of these kits and she’s getting another for Christmas. This kit has all the basic mad science gear you need, Test Tubes, volcano kits, potions and a book that teaches you all of it. Give your kids a corner of the bathroom or basement and let them have at it!
  5. WONDER WORKSHOP – This is the new kid on the block this year. Definitely swing by their website to see what piece work for you. Basically you have DOT and DASH … two robots that help kids with coding… yes.. coding. again, they won’t be developing apps when they play with this but it’s the basic order of -what comes after what -for coding that is being reinforced. These little robots have tons of accessories that include a xylophone for music, a camera mount and lots and lots more. read all about it on their site! 
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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best Building Toys for Kids

Building Sets for Kids

 

 Alright… toys for the holidays. It’s time folks. we need to buckle down and get this done. I love building toys, I love making things and so I’ve hand picked my most favorite and REALLY well built building toys for kids.
  1.  LEGO – i mean… it’s LEGO so it’s classic and we know it’s great BUT … did you know that LEGO has a whole CREATOR series that has the COOLEST builds. Not just for kids… for adults. You know how ADULT COLORING BOOKS is a thing… you go check out LEGO CREATOR and get back to me… ADULT BUILDING is going to be a thing for sure. Look at that camper!
  2. KNEX – Knex are for kids who love a challenge. The new MIGHTY MAKERS line is geared toward girls (which i’m not into) but they do have great building themes. It takes time to build these and it’s a whole investment. But for tweens and teens this is so fantastic because it’s a challenge!  So give them a corner of the house to just build and create their awesome structure.
  3. LINCOLN LOGS – These are simple building toys that have totally taken on a hipster vibe lately. Lincoln logs are classic wooden build toys shaped like logs. The themes are mostly ‘cabin in the woods’ based but we love it!
  4. TINKER TOYS – These are great free play building toys where there really aren’t any rules! Pieces bend, wheels attach to make cars, you can make swings for your dollies and so much more. all pieces are plastic and lightweight and easy to attach together with connectors.
  5. MECCANO – The newest kid on the building block. The MECCANO toys are so fun and for all ages. They have various sets for toddlers all the way to this robot set for tweens and even adults. This MECCANO Meccanoid Personal Robot stands about 4 feet tall and has various motors that enable it to move. Of course you have to build it all and attach the motors which makes this even more fun!
  6. PLAYMOBIL – We love Playmobil toys because of their attention to detail in the build. Lily has this fairy building set and absolutely loves it. Playmobil has various levels of build to fit all ages so find the one that’s right for you kiddo!

Have fun shopping! I always think a building toy is the perfect gift for all ages!

 

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MOST WANTED Toys for Holiday 2015

That’s right folks! Tis the Season for gifting. This year let’s avoid getting into a brawl with the other last-minute parental shoppers – over that hot toy that you child just MUST HAVE under the tree. I’ve got you covered with all the top toys, the hottest trends, the new stuff, the specialty stuff and all of it! We start this massive gifting coverage this season with one of my most favorite events in NYC every year! TTPM Holiday Showcase.  

full disclosure, i work for this company and personally review toys and baby gear. TTPM has their finger on the pulse of the toy space. Also this is not a sponsored post. Just sharing the gifting knowledge. 

The most anticipated toy showcase in NYC took place last week in Chelsea. TTPM hosted their Fall Toy Showcase for a select group of national media. The ‘most wanted’ toy list was released and some of my favorite brands and toys made the cut.

I’ve been covering toy trends for a few years and I think that this years the toy industry has hit it out of the park. The toys are smarter, better, gender neutral. The market isn’t saturated with dolls whose proportions are completely ridiculous and tech seems to be prominent but not in a – sit on the couch and play- sort of way. The TTPM Holiday Showcase had an entire ” boutique” toy section for the specialty toys. What a brilliant idea. I love speciality toys, The wooden toys, the creative DIY kits, the eco friendly toys. I love the specialty market and it was really great to see them in the showcase this year. Something for every gift list!

Thomas was my little assistant for the day and immediately took to all his favorite finds.

Lionel Trains had the classic christmas tree set up with one of their trains circling and Thomas loved this. Lionel Trains are a great brand and make quality, detailed trains for collectors and toddler. We love this brand and have an older set that we use under our tree. 

Thomas’s latest obsession has been Hot Wheels. Anything and everything Hotwheels. So imagine his excitement when he saw this huge and very impressive HotWheels garage. It holds a ridiculous number of hotwheels with all the curving racing action we expect from Hotwheels playsets. 

Don’t look behind you Thomas!

The Go Go Smart Wheels display from VTech was probably his favorite… well beside the choo choos. The PR person was so sweet with Thomas and showed him all the features. Thomas at 2 Years Old, took the remote and without so much as a prompt started making it work. He is so in tune with technology but mainly because toy companies are making it easy for little kids to handle remote controls and tech toys. 

We spent some time oohing and aaahing over the KidTrax ride on toys. Thomas was asked to drive the fire truck around the showroom…we declined eeks! . And probably saved a few lives in the process!   The DinoTrux themed toys were really cool. with lots of moving parts and changing parts and well they are dinosaurs and trucks all in one. It’s a little MOTO dream come true!

There was so much to cover at the TTPM Holiday Showcase. Thomas worked up an appetite and then circled the lunch tables until it was time to eat. Whew… all in a days work.

Here is the TTPM 2015 MOST WANTED LIST. I agree with all of these choices!

          INNOVATIONS IN CLASSIC PLAY:  

          TOYS FOR BIG KIDS: 

There ya have it!!

Also look for more The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides coming up on the blog. I have this massive coverage planned because I know how challenging it is to navigate the world of toys. Good news is that this is a great year for innovative toys, DIY kits, toddler toys… all of it. Even the tweens and teens have a great selection this year!

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Jurassic World Toys from Hasbro

 

I am thrilled to be part of the #PlayLikeHasbro campaign and am excited to share our favorite toys with your throughout the year! Jurassic World Toys from Hasbro

 

This summer’s big hit Jurassic World is in theatres now and we looooved this action packed film. Of course Thomas wasn’t able to see this dinosaur movie, but he did love all the toys sent to us from Hasbro!

While choo choo’s are still his everyday obsession, dinosaurs are a close second. And if you have a dinosaur riding a choo choo.. then forget it. His. Mind. Is. Blown!

These Jurassic World toys from Hasbro, have provided much-needed entertainment during these past few weeks of moving. We love the Playskool Heros line from Hasbro that make ‘big kid’ style toys… for little hands.

Here are a few of our fave Jurassic World themed toys from the extensive line that Hasbro has to offer!

  1. Jurassic World Chomping Tyrannosaurus Rex Action Figure $20 – Oh No! The T-Rex is going to chomp down on it’s prey! Push a button to get the real deal chomp action! 
  2. Playskool Heroes Jurassic World Dino Tracker Helicopter $20 – This DinoTracker is scanning the island to find all the runaway dinos. Squeeze the trigger to have the propeller spin for take off! 
  3. Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws $20 – These Velociraptor Claws are a must for any self-respecting Dino wannabe. Whether you are clawing your way out of your habitat or just scratching your back, these come in handy. 
  4. Jurassic World Chomping Velociraptor Head $20 – A hand puppet like none other, this Chomping Dino head is going to take a big bite out of you! This hand puppet is the perfect size for little hands to maneuver. 
  5. Jurassic World Hero Mashers Tyrannosaurus Rex Figure $20 – You can create your own wacky hybrid of a dino with the dino mashers! 
  6. Jurassic World Tyrannosaurus Rex $30 – Tilt the dino forward to hear some chomping and crunching munching noises. He’s going to eat up everything in his path! 
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Nintendo Splatoon event recap in NYC

Nintendo Splatoon

In an effort to get more tech/gaming content here, I’ve enlisted the help of a friend who lives and breathes this stuff. So when Nintendo had a series of releases this past month… I knew exactly who to send in my stead. Meet JACK! I hope to have Jack cover lots of gaming goodness over here on this site!

——————– | contributor – Jack Placidi |——————–

It seems like Nintendo is stepping up its games this summer and “Splatoon” is one that we’re keeping our eyes on. We got to test out the gameplay for it and we think it’s going to be a hit with kids this summer.

Nintendo SplatoonIt’s a 3rd person shooter where you take control of a half human/half squid creature armed with a paint water gun. The single player mode has you jumping around from stage to stage defeating octopus monsters, but the multiplayer mode is where this game seems to shine.

Nintendo SplatoonIn multiplayer, up to 8 players can join in a game and in teams of 4, try to coat the the level in more of their color ink than the opposing team. There was quite a lot shown at the event, including amiibos.

Nintendo SplatoonAmiibos are mini statues that can be used in certain Nintendo Wii U and 3DS games to unlock in-game content (aside from just looking awesome). These Splatoon inspired ones will be able to unlock extra stages and costumes within the game depending on which one you get. They’ll be sold separately with the launch of the game.

Nintendo SplatoonAlong with playing the game, we also had a great time sampling “ink filled” cupcakes, getting faces and arms painted with @faceartbymelissa, and shooting some paint filled water blasters to mark some blank canvases.

Nintendo Splatoon

IMG_3376“Splatoon” was released on May 28th, 2015 for Wii U. Expect a review coming soon!

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New York Toy Fair 2015 trends with Hasbro

Last month I attended the much-anticipated New York Toy Fair here in NYC. This is my favorite show of the year where all the toy companies – big and small display their newest, greatest, latest goodies. I have a few themed recaps coming up but I wanted to share some of my favorite picks from Hasbro. Having two kids… we are IN and I mean totally immersed the toy world. I also work for TTPM – the largest online toy review company. So basically toys ( and baby gear) are my career and world these days. Toy Fair 2015 was an intense 4 days of secret meetings and exclusive previews and embargoed information.. it was exciting and I was thrilled to be included in all the press events and action.

I have a couple of ‘themed’ posts coming up and reviews of my fave toys but wanted to start with HASBRO. Hasbro has some of my favorite brands – My Little Pony and Rebelle… and more. Their swank event was hosted by those fab gals at Litzky PR. Hasbro has lots of exciting toys coming out this year so get your Christmas lists out mama and papa bears! * just scroll or click on each image to get a quick preview of the toy*

Lets start with the GOLDEN Pony!

Stay tuned for reviews of these toys and so much more… Christmas wish lists can begin!

 

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The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – Toys for Tween Girls

Tweens are a tough pick when gifting season comes along. While it is REALLY hard to find non techy ways to engage this demographic.. I am here to say, It can be done! Here are a few of Lily’s favorite things. This is a great list for 8 -14 year olds.

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Melissa and Doug Loom – Weaving is SOOO indie right now. My instagram feed and pinterest feed is full of all sorts of fun woven wall hangings. Lily and I have been loving our Melissa and Doug Loom. It’s really easy to work with and the size of it makes it great for little hands and beginners.

The New York Mom Gift Guide

ROOMINATE – I love the Roominate sets! These are building sets which are geared toward girls only because of their colors – boys can totally get into this. These toys encourage kids to build their own structures like houses, helicoptors and other things. What’s great about this and sets it apart from other building kits is – for example –  you can ‘craft’ your own walls in your dollhouse and decorate them any way you want, with pictures, drawing, glitter..whatever. Also these kits use basic circitry to teach kids how to get propellors to spin or lights to turn on..etc. its STEAM education and we love it!

Roominate

CHARMAZING – Charm bracelets are so IN right now. And so here is the DIY kit to conqor them all. Charmazing DIY jewelry kits come in themes and have a whole techy online world component to them but really they are super cute and easy to make but the kit also allows you to get super elaborate for more of a challenge.

Charmazing

 

DOODLECRATE – I want doodle crates for myself!! this is a monthly subscription crafting box which shows up with some pretty awesome projects. The materials used in the boxes are of great quality so it’s a win.

Doodle Crate

TINKER CREATE – kinda like doodle crate… but for tinkers. This crate gives kids monthly projects which explore science and technology. It’s a hands on building kit which is a mini lab for budding engineers! … like I said.. tinkers! This is geared towrad ages 9 – 14.

Tinker Crate

AQUARELLUM – These art kits are gorgeous and can be worked on to your level of creativity. I especially love the ink pots.. not paint pots which accompany these kits. The whole set is just gorgeous. I love painting kits and this is sure to engage little artists. The kit also provided details on blending the colors and working with fading.

Aquarellum

Make sure you swing by TTPM.com  for lots of gift ideas! 

* I have many more gift guides coming so come stop by again! *

 

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The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guide : Classic Unplugged Toys

The_New_York_Mom_Holiday_Gift_Guide

The holiday season is upon us, folks. We have a ton of loved ones to buy gifts for. Besides Thomas and Lily, we also have nieces and nephews and god children and kids of our dear friends… there is a long list.  Which means, like you, we are overwhelmed.

Here is a handy gift guide for all things unplugged. So no techy items here. These gifts are for boys and girls and all ages. We have all of these gifts in our home and have really loved and cherished them. There is endless play with these classic toys.

 

Art Kits

You can never ever go wrong with art! I usually make my own art kits with my favorite materials and cater it to the age I am making it for. Every year I give Lily a little hodge podge of crafting and art supplies and looove how excited she gets about it all!  Kid Made Modern – found at Target- makes a really awesome ArtTool Box which I love! The materials are really great – bright pigments, soft crayons and acrylic paints! I am a total art supply snob! 

KID-MADE-ART-TOOLBOX

Music:

The gift of music is one which keeps giving. We have this gorgeous Schoenhut Piano for Thomas and he loves it. He’s been playing and singing on it since he was 15 months. Schoenhut is a great company which make top notch products… so think heirlooms when you buy these gorgeous musical instruments. This might not be your grandmother’s piano… but it will probably be your grandchild’s.

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Dollhouses

My favorite toy growing up was a doll house… or rather doll houses… I had multiple. Even as an adult the magic of a dollhouse with little dolls living inside and miniature everything brings back the best memories! Dollhouses encourage play in ways no other toy can ever compete with. A must in every playroom… a dollhouse! This Chalet Playhouse from PlanToys is one of our favorites! It’s all wood and really durable and so funky!

PlanToys

 

Trains

A train set is a classic. We had trains sets with Lily and now they have been passed down to Thomas. Our favorite sets are the wooden train sets. We’ve found Thomas and Friends trains to be our go to. Even if your kids are not into Thomas and Friends, the train sets themselves are great, they are elaborate, whimsical and of really good quality. The sets comes in all sorts of themes and sizes so start with a small one and keep adding through the years!

Thomas and Friends

Blocks

Building blocks are always a win! There are some pretty amazing and creative building blocks on the market so instead of the classic blocks, I say go for a little something different. We picked up a set of Areaware Alphabet Blocks at a local specialty toy store. And we love them. These are not just for kids but make a strong design statement in any decor.

Alphabet Blocks.

 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with gift giving… I hope this little guide helps you along the way!

Also look for more themed guides coming soon!

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