Holiday: Popular toys

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By: Diane Schlindwein

What to expect on those holiday lists.

For many folks, it just isn’t Christmas unless kids have their holiday lists in hand. And Christopher Byrne, of The Toy Guy website, says this year those lists might be long and varied.

“In preschool, it’s all about the characters,” Byrne says. “Peppa Pig from Jazwares is a global sensation, and anything Spin Master makes from Paw Patrol is on fire. For infant toys, the Murari line from PlayMonster is really outstanding.”

Of course, stuffed animals are always going to be hot. “The trend this year is toward outrageous, interactive figures,” Byrne says. Three of his favorites are Zuru’s Boppi the Dancing Llama, Hasbro’s FurReal Friends Cubby and Spin Master’s Juno My Baby Elephant. “Boppi is just hilarious to watch and set into action, and both Cubby and Juno have much more interactivity.”

Both Byrne and Kaitlin Anilonis, an account coordinator from Coyne PR, agree that kids and parents alike will be enamored by Juno. She has over 150 lifelike movements, including an animated trunk, floppy moving ears, expressive eyes and a wagging tail.

American Girl is releasing the Smart Girl’s Guide Kit, which aids girls in times when growing up gets them down. Each kit contains an advice book and special accessories. Marketing representative Susan Jevens says the kit addresses anxiety, friendship troubles, social media, self-confidence, cooking, sports and fitness.

Also new this year are the American Girl Gift Trunk and an updated American Girl historical line. The new historical line includes refreshed covers and interior illustrations, plus authentic accessories to inspire the imagination. Of course, there is still a whole line of dolls for the girl who dreams of finding a special doll under the tree. The newest addition is Blaire, the 2019 Girl of the Year.

Fathers might want Santa to bring their children something that reminds them of their own favorite childhood toys. That’s why longtime fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in luck. Representatives from Playmates Toys are expecting “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” action figures and bobbleheads to be on many Christmas wish lists this year.

“For older kids and adults, Marvel Avengers from Hasbro, virtually anything from Funko and other collectibles are doing well,” Byrne says. “The 35th anniversary of ‘Ghostbusters’ has inspired some great stuff from Playmobile and LEGO.”

Byrne is always a fan of games that bring kids and families together. “For games there are many that are going to be big. Uno Flip from Mattel is actually the first real innovation I’ve seen in this game for a while. I thought that played very well.” He also likes Meltdown from PlayMonster, King of the Ring from Yulu and Fortnite Monopoly from Hasbro.

However, if you want a game that will be fun for all, Byrne recommends Pictionary Air from Mattel. “It’s one of my favorite games for this year,” he says. “It’s a stylus that connects wirelessly to a tablet or TV, and the players draw in the air, and the lines they’re making show up on the screen. I think it’s the party game of 2019. It’s great for the whole family.”

Byrne has seen many toy frenzies over the decades, but in 2019 he doesn’t foresee any toy being so “hot” that it is unattainable. “There are trends worth mentioning. But frankly, I don’t think there is going to be one,” he says. “By that I mean, with such a diverse and fragmented marketplace, and the ability to get almost anything if you’re willing to pay the price to resellers, the media frenzies that have driven products in the past are unlikely to be repeated.”

Whether you’re looking for a family board game, a stuffed animal or a wacky bobblehead, The Toy Guy has you covered. Children of all ages will jump for joy when they discover one of 2019’s hottest toys under the tree on Christmas morning.

Copyright 2019 CREATORS.COM

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