With the holidays on the horizon, chances are Santa and his helpers are already gearing up for Christmas Eve; and this season, good girls and boys of all ages have much to look forward to come Christmas morning, according to toy expert Christopher Byrne.
Byrne, who is known nationally as "The Toy Guy," says some of his favorite picks for the little ones are from Fisher-Price. "Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space is a delightful interactive toy that rewards kids as they explore and learn," he says. "The touch technology is like the mouse pad on your laptop and brings the toy to life." He also likes the Imaginext Ultra T-Rex, calling it "terrific interactive fun for kids." They can "imagine all kinds of great stories as the 'monster dino' seems to come to life."
Little animal lovers will appreciate the Paw Patroller, from Spin Master, which is the latest vehicle from the popular "Paw Patrol" show. Young parents will feel sentimental about gifting Care Bears stuffed animals, from Just Play. "They're back and as adorable as ever," Byrne says. "What else can you say about this classic?"
For girls, Barbie accessories are as hot as ever. Byrne says young would-be equestrians will be asking for Barbie Saddle 'N Ride Horse, from Mattel. "Barbie jumps on the saddle and rides away," he says. "It's hilarious and fun." If you don't mind spending a bit more on your little Barbie fan, give her the Barbie Dreamhouse, also from Mattel. It is redesigned and easier to assemble than ever, Byrne notes, so everyone wins.
Girls will also appreciate the FurReal Friends StarLily My Magical Unicorn, from Hasbro. "It's a beautiful unicorn that interacts with and responds to kids," Byrne says. Another interactive toy is from "The Peanuts Movie." Happy Dance Snoopy, from Just Play, is going to be a "huge hit."
Finally for girls, he recommends "the value-priced and highly prized" Shopkins Fashion Spree Boutique collectibles, from Moose Toys, along with the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven, from Wicked Cool Toys.
Boys will once again be asking for toys that are fun to drive. "The Anki Overdrive is an app-based AI that drives on what is probably the most gorgeous racetrack that you will ever see, for kids and enthusiasts alike," Byrne says. "It is super-easy to learn, but you will want to invest some time in mastering these cars."
Byrne also likes the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage, from Mattel. "It's the 'Dreamhouse for boys,' an amazing hub for Hot Wheels play that will hold as many as 80 cars," he says, and it "has all kinds of interactive features." Radio control car enthusiasts will get a kick out of the Hulk Smash Xtreme Performance Vehicle, from Jakks Pacific. "It's a great RC truck, with the Hulk riding on top, that does all kinds of stunts and Hulk-like tricks. It's hilarious."
Sky-watching boys will be asking for Sky Viper HD video drone, from Skyrocket Toys. "This is the best drone we've tested, and it has a camera that allows you to take videos," says Byrne. If you are looking for a less pricey flying machine, try the Star Wars Millennium Falcon remote control quadcopter, from Spin Master. "It's a value-priced flying toy that's easy to use and really looks like the iconic ship from 'Star Wars.'"
Finally, Byrne says boys will very likely be asking for Playmation, from Disney and Hasbro. "Video game-style action comes off the screen and into kids' worlds as they engage in imaginative missions as Avengers recruits," he adds.
Kids won't mind getting educational toys if they're fun. That's why Byrne recommends Dash and Dot, from Wonder Workshop, which are "super-smart, super-cute robots" that engage kids in both programming and coding. He also likes Kurio Xtreme 2, from KD Interactive, which is an Android-based tablet for kids. Or you can choose the Star Wars Science Jedi Force Levitator, from Uncle Milton, which he describes as "basic physics and science all in the context of training to be a Jedi Knight."
Don't forget to place family games under the tree. Byrne likes Pie Face, from Hasbro; Chrono Bomb, from Patch Products; and Cranium Disney Family Edition, from USAopoly. "And then there is one of my personal favorites: Snoopy Flying Ace game, from Wonder Forge -- a fast-paced preschool matching game featuring Snoopy on his Sopwith Camel," Byrne concludes.
(For more information on toys that Santa and parents will need to pick up in time for the holidays, check out TTPM.com -- which features Byrne's advice, as well as photos and prices of all kinds of toys.)