In 2020, online sales are projected to boom nearly 20% as consumers turn to online shopping during Covid-19. Consumers will need to negotiate this changing environment, find great deals and make sure they find and buy the toys they want in a safe and timely way, as they try to make the holidays as “normal” as possible.
Chris Byrne discusses the unique challenges for consumers this year. Some of the hottest toys that parents and gift givers will be clicking for as they make holiday purchasing decisions include:
Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course from LEGO: The perfect mash-up of favorite play patterns and characters, LEGO’s Mario sets combine an interactive Mario figure with a lot of whimsical play so that Mario’s world comes alive in a kid’s world. The 231-piece starter set replicates a typical Mario experience where you have to beat enemies, get around obstacles and collect coins. There are action bricks that trigger different reactions in the Mario figure, some skill-based game play, and it can all come together with the app that provides cool building tools.
STEAM Flower Power Science Kit from Crayola: Is it art? Or is it science? How about both! This fun craft kit is part of the Crayola STEAM Science Kits collection. Create paper flowers, then, place the “stem” in colored water. Capillary action (aka “wicking”) draws the water up the stem and into the leaves, creating all kinds of beautiful designs. The kit comes with 12 flowers that you can assemble and watch “bloom” right before your eyes. Kids can also “rewick” the flowers to change colors. This is part of two trends we’ve been following this year: STEAM without screens and learning toys that are actually fun. When kids are playing, they’re experiencing the thrill of creativity, but they’re also creating an opportunity to understand how the science works. Other sets in the series include kits about Space, Liquids, and Gross (which is a fun way of saying chemistry). Great design and lots of immersive (literally and figuratively) play make these excellent choices for curious kids.
Hairdorables Hair Art Series from Just Play: This super-hot doll line has been expanded with 26 new dolls to collect in a brand new theme. The addition of printed hair extensions gives them a truly arty look, and new accessories make the styling play engaging and outrageous thank to great hairstyles and eye-popping colors. The story behind this collection is that Noah and the Hairdorables are all about making content for YouTube—a popular play pattern for the target age. (Vlogger is the answer to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question for lots of little kids today.) The Hairdorables come in blind packages, so you never know who you’ll get till you unbox it. It could be the ultra-rare Kat Mascot. These are great dolls for imaginative and fashion play for either solo or co-play. Collecting is as much fun as playing, and these girls get along with all their friends from previous Hairdorables collections.
Strike from Ravensburger: This is an exciting, fast-paced family dice game that’s pretty addictive…in a good way. The game has an arena, and the goal is to be the last player with dice in your hand. Open the box and toss a die into the arena. The first player tosses another die in, and if both dice have matching numbers, take them out. Play then passes. Now there are a lot of things that can happen. If you toss in a die and there are no matches, you can try again—hence the name as you strike one die into another. But there’s a risk. If you run out of dice you’re out. If your die bounces out of the arena your turn is over. So, it’s simple, but risky. And, yes, there’s a little skill involved as you learn to toss the dice. We also like it because it’s great for people of all ages to play together
Marvels Avengers from Square Enix: Get ready to spend hours in your customized Marvel Universe. Assemble your personal team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, embrace your powers, and live your Super Hero dreams. This is a dramatic—and gorgeous—third person game that has both single player and co-operative gameplay. You can assemble an online team of up to four players, and defend the Earth, as usual. What makes this so exciting is that players control so much of the content, from mastering extraordinary ability to customizing your Hero roster, to unlocking new skills and gear, and more. Plus, there is new, free, content that is being developed and delivered regularly. It’s really the ultimate game for the Avengers fan who wants to feel like they live in a world of Heroes. Long-term, evolving play and the ability to customize this to an individual play style, make this epic game and epic choice.
Marvel Battleworld: Mystery of the Thanostones from Funko Games: Leave it to Funko and the Funko Games division to come up with a game that’s a perfect blend of game play and collectibles. In Marvel Battleworld, kids work together to pick favorite Heroes, rescue friends, and win battles to defeat Thanos! Plus, players get to crack open the mysterious Thanostones during the course of play to reveal one of more than 30 mystery Marvel superheroes inside. The Marvel Battleworld includes Battle Balls, Mega Pack, Thanos Ship Showdown and a Travel Portal. We like how expandable the game is, so players who are really engaged can continually refresh their play—and that makes it somewhat different every time it’s played, which we always think is one of the hallmarks of a good game.
Disney Princess Comfy Castle from Hasbro: Inspired by the scene in Wreck-It-Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet when Vanellope meets the Disney Princesses “backstage,” this glamorous doll castle is the perfect combination of classic Princess magic and contemporary BFFs. It’s the perfect place for the young ladies to lounge about. It stands about 32-inches tall and comes with 6 pieces of furniture and 16 accessories. It’s reimagined princess play for thoroughly modern kids, but there’s just the right amount of glamor, too. We’ve been enchanted by this collection since we first saw it, and you’ve got to love how Disney was willing to update some of their most iconic characters.
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