By Julie Terrone
Check out our guide to toys for ages 5 to 9. Most of these toys are available online or in local & mass retailers.
For Girls and Boys:
Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo Nintendo DS game: If your children are familiar with the online social game, then this Nintendo game is going to be on their wish list. The world of Moshi Monsters is a comical and magical place, so you should fit right in with all the zaniness around here! The Moshling Zoo offers fans a fresh new take on the Moshi Universe, including brand new content and a new way to interact with their favorite characters. The game features new locations and an exclusive new Moshling – Nipper the Titchy Trundlebot! There are 52 Moshlings to collect from the common to the rare and even the elusive ‘ULTRA-RARE’. Children can also play new mini-games and educational style puzzles,- plus win awards and trophies to take back to their zoo. This is a one player game and it is rated E for everyone. My 4 1/2 year old son and 6 year old daughter love both the website and this game for the Nintendo DS and DSi XL game consoles because they can create their own characters and decorate their homes.Cost: $29.99 Age: 4-12 Availability: Mass retailers
Disney Appmates is a new toy line that comes to life digitally when used with an Apple iPad by allowing kids to use the tablet’s screen as a virtual play mat. The Appmates toy line features Disney Pixar Cars2 vehicles like Lightning McQueen, Holly Shiftwell, Mater, Francesco Bernoulli, Shu Todoroki and Finn McMissile. I was afraid my son (4 1/2) and daughter (6) were going to scratch the iPad screen with the car, but that was not an issue at all because the car has sensors on the base that are recognized as a unique footprint by the app. There is not much need to slide these cars around on the screen because the roadway in the app moves, not the car so much. There might be some issues if you have a screen protector on your iPad. The best thing about these cars is that there is no cable or bluetooth connection required. Simply download the free Cars2 Appmates app from the iTunes app store, place your favorite Appmates toy character on the screen and play. My son was able to figure this app out by himself and had fun maneuvering the Lightning McQueen race car on the screen, while my daughter enjoyed playing as Holly Shiftwell, the purple car. They liked how the headlights lit up on the car while playing. Disney Cars2 Appmates are available with one car or two cars per package. Collect all 6 from the Cars2 collection.
Cost: $18.99 for 1 car, $29.99 for 2 cars Age: 4+ Availability: Mass retailers
Hess Toy Truck and Car — Appropriate from ages 3 up to 7 or 8, the Hess Trucks never disappoint! This year’s model features two vehicles: a flatbed truck and a race car that fits inside. The flatbed truck has working lights, 4-wheel independent suspension, push button activated ignition, horn and backup alert sounds and a hidden driving ramp with hydraulic sound. The Race Car features a pullback motor with 4-speed engine sounds and working lights.Our little testers went crazy over it (from ages 15 months to almost 4 years old to 6 years old). It’s durable and kids will think they’re getting two presents (because of the truck and race car). Both boys and girls will enjoy it. Requires 2 C-size batteries, which are included.
Ages: 3 – 8
Availability: Hess Gas Stations and online
PopCap Games are compatible with the PC or MAC: the following 4 games are lively, popular, addicting and, yes, even educational!
Excellent fast-paced strategy game. A mob of fun-loving zombies is about to invade your home, and your only defense is an arsenal of zombie-zapping plants. Fun for the whole family – anyone age 5 to 105 can enjoy this game! Plants vs. Zombies is a compelling and very addictive game! My kids 9, 6 and 4 1/2 loved it and and were cheering as they defeated the zombies.
Build words and battle monsters in this spelling sensation. Kids come away loving vocabulary and spelling! Bookworm Adventures Deluxe is a fantastic, family-friendly game for word fanatics. You will encourage your kids to play on the computer because this is a game that will have you quickly be racking your brain to come up with words that have x’s z’s or v’s in them and having a great time doing it. We definitely recommend the game if you are a fan of word puzzles; you will Bookworm is the perfect kids game with serious adult appeal.
Wow – I could not stop playing this game! My kids were begging for a try. Each level of Peggle challenges the player to shoot a limited supply of balls at a field of colored pegs to clear out specifically marked pegs while attempting to achieve a high score through skilled shot planning. Peggle is a great game which has a rhythmic, hypnotic quality that makes you want to keep playing to get to the next level. Fans of other Peggle is a colorful, addictive game whose simplicity only adds to its charm and appeal, so give this game a chance.
Adults of all ages have already logged 9 billion hours playing Bejeweled, and it’s on the road to complete gamer domination with one copy sold every 4.3 seconds. This game is fun and challenging; encouraging and addicting. Bejeweled 3, the hottest version of the most beloved match 3 game in history, is coming to Xbox, Play Station 3 and Nintendo DS on November 15, 2011, just in time for the holidays. Price: $19.99Cost:$2.99 to $14.99 depending on platform Age: Anyone
Uncle Milton Fireworks in My Room: This new product from Uncle Milton lets your child create an incredible fireworks light show with booming sounds effects right in their own room. This handheld device projects images of fireworks onto walls or ceilings of any dark room. Pumping the handle trigger will cycle through the different fireworks on a disc, choose your firework pull back on the launcher and look and listen to a personal light show. Simple to use and requires 3 AA batteries to work. So hit the lights and have 4th of July any day of the year. Pretty cool toy to have.Cost: $22 -36.00
Voice Rockrz Microphone: The microphone comes with matching ring and bracelet that when tapped against the microphone unlocks the voice changing effects of the microphone. Tap the ring to the target spot and it activates the crazy high-pitched Hi-Note effect. Tap the bracelet and it starts the Echo-Tastic effect. Tape one and then the other and you get a Robot-Riffic voice.The microphone also has an input so you can plug in an MP3 player to sing along with your favorite songs. It’s a pretty cool feature, especially considering the price point of the microphone. Choose from two colors: Blue or Pink; 3 featured buttons: on/off, mic, or sound effects. My 4 1/2 year old loved rockin’ out with this mic.Cost: $24.99
Crib Life Dolls: With seven fashion forward tots to choose from, there is a unique personality and style fit for every girl’s wish list. Each girl is good at her own skill, whether it be dancing, singing, good with fun tech gadgets, playing the guitar and singing or liking princesses and everything pink and little girls can relate to them. They are very cute dolls. The world is these dolls’ playpen. Girls should come take a look inside their funky, fashionable world. Each CRIBS LIFE doll comes with a key chain and a doll charm featuring a special online code that unlocks a CRIB LIFE character’s world of fun and adventure. These collectible dolls, outfits and accessories are great gift. So get inside the “crib” with your online code to play fun-filled games, customize a crib and view videos at CribLife.com.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD-Small parts. Not For Children Under 3 YearsCost: Doll $14.99; clothing/accessories $7.99 Age: 3 – 12
Hearts for Hearts Doll: Each doll represents a real girl who wants to make a difference in her life, community or this world. When you buy a Hearts For Hearts Girls doll, a portion of the purchase price is donated to children’s causes in those countries. Choose a girl from USA, Laos, Belarus, Ethiopia, Mexico and India and learn about life their eyes. The mission behind this product is to invite all girls to become agents of change, to improve the lives of girls around the world. Let the world know that every girl deserves a chance to make a difference. Each 14-inch doll is dressed in authentic clothing reflective of her culture and comes with a book telling her story. My 6 year old loved this doll. She got the message too — which was to try to do better for others to make the world a better place.Cost: $29.99 Age: 6-12
My Little Pony Rarity’s Carousel Boutique Playset: Rarity pony and her friends will love taking a whirl on this carousel. To make it work your child will slide the heart lever in front of the carousel, music will play as the ponies go ’round. At this carnival, Rarity is serving up popcorn, french fries, ice cream and a lollipop to her friends. The rotating balcony atop the carousel is a great place for a pony’s animal friend to wait for a ride. The set includes one RARITY figure, a unicorn friend, mouse friend, 2 carousel pony seats and has room for 5 pony friends, which are sold separately. Comes with 2 AA batteries.
WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD-Small parts. Not For Children Under 3 YearsCost: $29.99 Age: 3+
Orbeez Soothing Spa: This is number one on my daughter’s list this year. A nice treat for your feet – now little girls can have their own comforts of a foot massage! This unique toy also offers girls a bit of science too; the Orbeez start off small and hard, then with the addition of water, the Orbeez swell to more than 100 times their size and become bouncy, squishy, and translucent. You watch them grow before your eyes! You can add scents to them in the foot tub for the full effect of being at a spa. With the Soothing Spa, girls can now enjoy the unique tactile sensation by immersing their hands in the removable hand bowl or their feet in the foot tub. Orbeez do not stain, they are not messy and they are easy to pick up because they do not stick to clothing and carpeting. Orbeez are slippery and should be removed from the floor to prevent slipping. Orbeez are non-toxic. They are, like all small parts, a choking hazard and should be kept out of the reach of children under age 3. Requires 2 “C” batteries, not included.Cost: $24.00-35.00
3D Break Through Puzzle: Spiderman: This is a puzzle that really pops out. For any Spiderman fan, this is a great puzzle for display. This 100 piece puzzle 3D BreakThrough Puzzles lets you combine puzzle-solving and construction to end up with a 3-D work of art that’s suitable for framing. The 3D part is made by folding and clipping pieces together to make the 3D image which sticks out about 3.5 inches. There are many other designs to choose from even for girls. This set comes with 110+ piece jigsaw puzzle, puzzle glue, an instruction booklet, an applicator, 3D model pieces, attachment clips and joining clips. Since this is such a work of art, it is a one-time build, but a great puzzle for display when framed. The MEGA company came up with 3 skill levels to choose from: Level 1EASY for age 6 + which include a small amount if simple folding techniques for the 3D portion of the puzzle and a puzzle piece count of 110-150; Level 2 MODERATE: for age 8+ which includes a large amount of simple folding pieces and a puzzle piece count of 150-300; Level 3 ADVANCED: for age 12+ includes a large amount of complex folding techniques and a puzzle piece count of 300+. TIPS: Give yourself plenty of time. This is supposed to be relaxing and fun. When you glue the flat puzzle, give it about an hour on each side to dry, and place it on a non-stick surface and move it around several times while drying. This is a one-time use puzzle. Once it’s put together, you’re done—except for proudly displaying your creation.Cost: $14.99 – 19.99 Age: 6+ with 3 skill levels
Nerf Proton Vortex: This powerful, single-shot blaster is compact enough to hide away when needed. This blaster comes with 3 discs for long range targets. Discs are loaded quick and easy with the very cool designed snap and load sliding mechanism. This XLR disc shooting gun is the best bargain of the line! Discs easily reaches 70 fleet shot flat and has some decent speed to it. So, what’s the downside? It only takes one disc at a time. For the price and the ease at which it works, it is a great entry level blaster from a great company. More discs are sold separately. My boys loved this and chased after the discs that landed far away.
REMINDER WARNING: Don’t aim the ammo at the eyes or faces of anyone.Cost: $9.99 Age: 8+
Squinkies Boys Squinkies for boys are now available in your favorite in robots, aliens, ninjas, soldiers, mystical heroes, and dragons, along with Hot Wheels, Marvel, Cars 2, and Toys Story characters. Aliens take on Commando characters; you can line up mini cars and trucks too.Bubble Packs Price: $9.99 each
Cars 2 Bubble Packs Series 1 and 2: comes with 12 Squinkies characters and 12 bubbles. These Bubble Packs feature your favorite characters from the Disney/Pixar Cars 2™ movie! You’ll find Lightning McQueen, Mater, Guido, Luigi and more all ready to race around in their very own bubbles.
Marvel Universe Bubble Packs Series 1: comes with 12 officially licensed Marvel Squinkies and 12 bubbles. These Bubble Packs feature all of your favorite heroes and villains from the comic books! Join forces to battle your archenemies and show off your super powers!
Hot Wheels Motor Madness Packs Series 1,2 and 3: Get your race on with the with the coolest cars around in our exclusive Squinkies style. Collect and display all your favorite rides including Twin Mill, Urban Agent, Rocket Box, Arachnorod and more. Race them in their bubbles and trade them with your friends! Includes 12 Squinkies Hot Wheels cars each with their own bubble!
Commando Force Pack Series 6: Meet the toughest soldiers in the universe! Complete your infantry with captain, sniper, frogman and even a double barreled Gatling gun! Land, sea and air, these soldiers will fight the good fight no matter where your imagination takes them. Includes 14 Squinkies characters and 2 authentic Squinkies battle dice. Very cool looking.
Cosmic Defenders Pack Series 5: Defending the cosmos can be an adventurous task – good thing Cosmic Defenders are here to maintain order. You’ll find all kinds of futuristic robots and alien soldiers to create your own space alliance. Includes 14 Squinkies characters and 2 authentic Squinkies battle dice
Myths and Monsters pack Series 4: Get ready for some epic duels with the Myths and Monsters Bubble Pack. Match your heroes against the mythical ice monsters, dragons and creatures from the depths of your imagination. Includes 14 Squinkies characters and 2 authentic Squinkies battle dice.
Squinkies Rides: put your Squinkies in a bubble and take them for a ride, then stash them away. Squinkies Rides are mini-dispensers shaped like vehicles that have places to display and interact with your Squinkies. Price: $6.99 each Choose from the following:
- Xtreme Rides features a rad half-pipe with 3 skater dudes. Once you’ve kickflipped, ollied and slid the rails all day, you can store all three exclusive characters in their bubbles inside.
- Low Rides features a tricked out street racer with 2 street fighters and their trusty bull dog. When you’re done cruisin’ the town, you can store all three exclusive characters in their bubbles inside.
- Space Ride features a futuristic spaceship with 2 astronauts and an awesome alien. After exploring new frontiers, you can store all three exclusive characters in their bubbles inside.
- Tuff Ride features a heavy-duty tank with 3 soldiers armed and ready for combat. When you’ve won the battle and are ready to head back to camp, you can store all three exclusive characters in their bubbles inside.
Squinkies Skull Cavern Dispenser: Finally a place to stash all the Squinkies bubbles. Go deep inside the wickedness of the Skull Cavern Dispenser! Load up to 20 Squinkies in the top, insert magic Squinkies coin (or nickel or dime) and turn the dial for a Squinkies surprize! Opens to reveal two top-secret thrones to display your Squinkies power! Comes with 6 exclusive Squinkies. Price: $19.99
Other dispensers are available: Marvel Spiderman Head, Cars 2, Crazy Crane and Hot Wheels.Age: 4+
Uncle Milton’s Star Wars Science Luke Skywalker Lightsaber Room Light: This is a very cool looking room light with authentic lightsaber sound effects. The light is turned on and off by a remote control. First your child can construct his own lightsaber and then mount it to the wall. **Warning** This product does not emit enough light to light up a room. It is a mood light and should be used for decoration. This blade lights up green, but it is available in different colors and different characters like the Obi-wan Edition or the Darth Vader Edition. Any child who loves the Star Wars movies will love this gift – the force will be at his finger tip! It includes a wall mount and mounting hardware, a blade, a remote, a battery pack, an electronics pack and a fun informative learning guide. My sons thought this was awesome and it added a nice dim light to their room at night!Cost: $19.99 – $26.99 Age: 6+
Xploders Face Off 400: This is number one on my 9 year old son’s list this year. It’s a unique toy that bridges the gap between sling shots and dart guns. The Xblaster 200 allows kids to achieve record distances with each shot without compromising safety. Kids watch their ammo grow in front of their eyes, which is a little time consuming, but really intriguing. Place the hard pellets in the ammo clip and add water; after four hours, the pellets will have grown into soft and squishy balls. This set comes with 2 Xblaster 20o, 2 Xploderz clips and 400 Xploderz ammo – so now you can play with a friend! The H2OGrow ammo Technology gives you the power to create hundreds of rounds by just adding water. The ammo technology is safe, mess free, is non-toxic and non-irritant and is a green product because it hydrates the soil. The ammo is strong enough to fire up to 50 feet yet it is soft enough to disintegrate on impact of a hard surface. It is like playing paintball without the pain. My son and a friend were so excited to test with these blasters outside. The ammo didn’t always explode on contact, but maybe they were shooting them at each other too close? They were happy that they could pick them up and reuse them when they did not explode, so it was not a problem at all. Moms will love the fact that there is no mess, kids will love that fact that they can shoot farther and it is a cool toy to have fun with their friends. Ammo refill packs are sold separately. As long as you don’t mind buying new ammo after you run dry (a 500 round pack runs between $5.00 and $5.99 depending on where you shop), this is a great toy blaster to add to your arsenal.
REMINDER WARNING: Don’t aim the ammo at the eyes or faces of anyone.Cost: $24.99 Age: 8+