Toys

By Diane Schlindwein

September 20, 2012 4 min read

Furby is back and better than ever; Barbie will be taking a lot of pictures; and Monster High dolls and accessories probably will be smashing all the holiday competition, say experts when describing the "hot toys" for Christmas 2012.

No. 1 on the Mattel top 12 list is the Barbie Photo Fashion doll. The doll is actually a digital camera, and Barbie's shirt is where the digital image will appear. At $49.99, this doll is a little pricier than your usual Barbie, but she can hold more than 200 images and features an internal rechargeable battery. She'll be a hit with your young photographer on Christmas morning and beyond.

"This year, we are introducing an innovative doll that lets girls customize, create and design, all in one interactive toy. The Barbie Photo Fashion doll combines fashion play and photography with a simple click," says Cathy Cline, vice president of U.S. marketing for Mattel's girls brands. "With this digital camera doll, girls can customize their own photos and then display them on Barbie's T- shirt -- allowing them to be the ultimate photographer and stylist."

Mattel also has launched Apptivity, which is a new line of toys made from plastic that interact with iPad games. In other words, Apptivity brings toys to life and turns tablets into moving digital worlds and is compatible with the iPad. Fisher-Price Apptivity items are compatible with the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Games will include "Hot Wheels," "Cut the Rope," "WWE Rumblers" and "Fruit Ninja."

"With millions of households now owning iPads, we sought out a meaningful way to create new play possibilities that both entertain and bring families together," says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of marketing for Mattel's North American division. "Apptivity meets the needs of today's tech-savvy kids while showcasing our trusted brands and best-in-class partners."

Families who want to play a new and fun board game might want to consider giving the "Angry Birds Space Game," says Christopher Byrne, known across the country as The Toy Guy. "The app is now a board game," he says. "This is the latest version from Mattel. It's really selling well."

Lego toys have long been a favorite with boys, but the company has launched a new item in Lego Friends, says Byrne, who is also associated with TimetoPlayMag.com. "This is the first girl-centered line from Lego," he says. "It caused a bit of a stir when it was launched earlier this year, but it's doing very well and is very popular."

One toy that's making a comeback is the odd-looking but fun Furby. "Yes, it's back, but I have to say that they've done a really great job of updating the technology, so the play is better than ever," Byrne says.

The Bounce Bounce Tigger, from Just Play, is a "new version of a toy that was a hit about eight years ago," Byrne says. Seeing as the toy is meant for preschoolers, there is a "totally new consumer base since then," he says. "They've done a great job animating the toy, and it's hilarious."

High-energy boys with time on their hands over the holiday break can play outside with the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire. "This is one of the most high-powered Nerf guns yet. It shoots up to 75 feet and can hold up to 104 foam darts," Byrne says.

Though it is still a little early to know for sure the way all toy sales will go, Byrne makes one prediction on which both he and Mattel agree. Mattel is promoting Monster High High School on its top 12 toy list, and Byrne thinks the toy company is right on the mark. Girls also will enjoy the Monster High Create-A-Monster kit, according to Mattel.

When it comes to the Monster High and Ghouls Rule dolls, Byrne concludes, "You will not be able to get these by Nov. 1, and I'd bet money on that -- or at least they'll be very hard to find. Monster High is completely on fire from a sales perspective."

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