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Best Toys for Kids of All Ages

  • Amazon.com

    Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven
    The 2011 update to the classic (no more light bulbs!), iconic toy is on countless wish lists this holiday season. It’s perfect for baking up sweet treats for your kid’s next tea party, like mini red velvet cupcakes or chocolate chip cookie bites. Ages 8 and up.

    Easy Bake Ultimate Oven, $49.99, available at amazon.com

    Tags: Toys
  • lowes.com

    Red Toolbox Toolset
    Perfect for any junior DIYers, the tools in Red Toolbox kits are specifically designed to fit a child’s grip. Available in a variety of sets—from toolsets like this one (10 pieces, including a hammer, handsaw and safety goggles) to kids’ woodworking kits for building everything from birdhouses to a tabletop air hockey game—Red Toolbox products help to create great parent-kid bonding time. Ages 8 and up.

    Red Toolbox Kids’ 10-Piece Toolset, $14.97, available at lowes.com

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  • fatbraintoys.com

    Worx Toys Police Helicopte
    For the curious kid who always wants to understand how things work, the Worx Toys vehicles (there’s also a racecar and fire truck) and storybook systems allow a child to do just that. Each vehicle is made of durable translucent plastic that allows kids to see what’s happening inside, and has more than 20 light and sound features triggered by entering codes that activate different parts of each vehicle. The police helicopter also comes with a remote control that can be used in tandem with the storybook (which tells of an exciting mountaintop rescue).

    Worx Toys Police Helicopter, $42.95, available at amazon.com

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Dragon's Dungeon
    Toys of the Year pick
    The early school years can be a tough age for playsets. They all seem either too babyish or a little over kids' heads. This medieval-themed one hit the mark, engaging our kindergarten and first-grade knight wannabes.
    5 and up; $74.99, playmobil.com

    "It really encourages his imagination." -Carol Rieger, mom of Gavin, 6, Union, OH

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Finn & Maeve Far Away Land Great Adventure Paper Doll Set
    Toys of the Year pick
    Sturdier and more inventive than typical paper dolls, this set got top marks for inspiring creativity in minimal space.
    5 and up; $15, eeboo.com

    "She took it out herself four times this week. She really enjoys it."-Jenny Ebben, mom of Emily, 5, Oshkosh, WI

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Make 'n' Break Challenge
    Toys of the Year pick
    Just build the structure shown on the card. Not so hard, right? Oh, you have to use tongs. And do it faster than everyone else. It's so fun, you'll be begging your kid to play!
    8 and up; $29.99, ravensburger.com

    "An honest-to-good-ness family game. It evolved into a tournament." -Cathy McCaughan, mom of Amy, 8, Knoxville, TN

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    Loopz
    Toys of the Year pick
    This memory game gone tween-tastic proved captivating. Replicate the pattern of lights and sounds by moving a hand in and out of the correct quadrants-it gets harder as you go!
    7 and up; $29.99, mattel.com

    "Innovative! Fun! Challenging! Portable!" -Met Estrella, mom of Beatrice, 9, Guam

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Cahootie Animal Planet Sea Creatures
    Toys of the Year pick
    This game lets kids learn about the ocean's denizens through silly questions, wacky dares and funny fortunes.
    7 to 12; $6.99; amazon.com

    "She likes playing it with her friends. I like that it's low-tech and educational."-Sonia Tekeyan, mom of Marina, 12, Suffern, NY

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Paper Jamz Guitar
    Toys of the Year pick
    Aspiring rockers can play popular songs simply by touching the surface of this cardboard six-string Kids can also create their own songs.
    8 and up; $24.99, wowwee.com

    "He is in absolute love with it." - Maria Perrine, mom of Sean, 8, Wichita, KS

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Hide and Eeek!
    Toys of the Year pick
    A mouse needs to navigate a game board populated by 100 numbered elephants. Players in this fast-paced game (shh!) may learn a little math as they go.
    8 and up; $13.99, gamewright.com

    "She was thrilled, laughing and yelling 'Eeek!' Fun and educational." - Catheline Ahmed, mom of Anjali, 8, Miami

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    RC Rattlesnake
    Toys of the Year pick
    If RC cars are same-old, same-old, trot out an RC snake! It's surprisingly realistic: The tongue even flits in and out. The remote proved easy to understand and operate, nixing any potential frustration.
    7 and up; $39.99, wildcreations.com

    "Cool! It really slithers fast. It is unique, for sure." -Jannelle Peterson, mom of Lauren, 7, Wales, WI

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    The Big Box of Fuzzoodles
    Toys of the Year pick
    Kids can create—and re-create—a cast of fuzzy, fluffy, funky characters. It's easy: Pick your parts and then build your creature by wrapping ginormous pipe cleaners around and through them.
    5 and up; $24.99, giddyup.com

    "She plays for hours at a time and has not lost interest." -Leigh Ann Gutierrez, mom of Isabel, 6, Kyle, TX

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Wild Science Luxury Soap Science Lab
    Toys of the Year pick
    Our testers had a ball-and needed next to no help-making fancy soaps. Some of the resulting bars were pretty enough to wrap as little gifts.
    10 and up; $19.99, intplay.com

    "I love any sneaky way to get kids interested in chemistry."-Amy Kendall, mom of Zoe, 10, Franklin, TN

    Got a budding scientist in the house? Hone his skills with 6 Super Science Toys.

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  • Jarvis Oxley

    Flickin' Chicken Tournament Edition
    Toys of the Year pick
    Imagine a round of ringtoss—but with a flock of rubber chickens! Land on the target with the fewest tries and you win. Easy, silly, fast: a winning combo for our flickers
    6 and up; $29.99, haywiregroup.com

    "He has fun. And I like that my kid appreciates a simple game." -Erica Rualo, mom of Colin, 7, Staten Island, NY

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    Twister Hoopla
    Toys of the Year pick
    Those iconic dots have been replaced with rings. Instead of putting a hand on green, say, you grab a green ring-which may already be on another player's foot. A new level of comedic closeness!
    6 and up; $19.99, hasbro.com

    "He tried all the variations. His favorite is racing with rings." -Kristen Yeh, mom of Nathan, 6, Ada, MII

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    Creationary
    Toys of the Year pick
    For Lego fans who are looking for the next great thing, consider this board game that can be built and played. And then rebuilt and played again, in a new way, with a new theme.
    7 and up; $34.99, lego.com

    "The look of satisfaction on his face when he succeeded in the game was priceless." -Lori Raso, mom of Dante, 9, Morrisville, PA

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    Crayola Model Magic Presto Dots to the Max
    Toys of the Year pick
    A major advancement in modeling compounds: This kit lets kids easily make cute critters with a bumpy, marshmallowy texture.
    5 and up; $13.99, crayola.com

    "My husband and I wanted to make one! I'd definitely buy it as a gift." -Andee Pfeiffer, mom of Leyla, 6, Aliso Viejo, CA

    Tags: Toys
  • Jarvis Oxley

    Bendaroos Creativity Center
    Toys of the Year pick
    What could kids like better than Bendaroos? A station that stores supplies, shows off projects and comes with cool crafting tools and plenty of sticks, too.
    5 and up; $19.99, bendaroos.com

    "Virtually no mess. Very exciting for a mom!" -MaryBeth Blair, mom of Ella, 5, Cleveland, GA

    Tags: Toys
  • chasing-fireflies.com

    Hoppy Aliens
    A throwback to some of our silliest times as kids, we love these bouncy toys (and are excited to see that they'll hold up to 220 pounds; this one might go on Mom's Christmas wish list too!).
    6 and up; $38; chasing-fireflies.com

    Tags: Toys
  • automoblox.com

    Automoblox
    We just can't get enough of these wooden cars. Yes, they're plenty cool individually, but we love that beyond the pushing-them-all-over-the-house stage, kids stay interested in them over the years by interchanging the parts between models to make their own creations. And this brand new hot rod collection? Simply smokin' hot.
    3 and up; $45-50; automoblox.com

    Tags: Toys
  • hearthsong.com

    Pallina Ball Dropping Game
    A fun new addition to family night, Pallina is both strategic and suspenseful. Players pick a color and try to remove their color sticks from the basket without letting any of their color balls fall. Whoever has the most balls in the basket by the end wins (although sometimes just getting everyone together for game night makes us feel like winners). Comes with an 8" x 10" bamboo basket, 20 sticks, 16 wooden balls and purple felt mat. For 2 to 4 players
    4 and up; $39.98; HearthSong.com

    Tags: Toys
  • tutupourmondeux.com

    Design Your Own Tutu Shirt
    Calling all parents of ballerinas and princesses! You're sure to get a heartfelt thank you (and maybe even a curtsey) if you design one of these tutu shirts for your daughter. Select a long-sleeved shirt or tank from a range of colors, choose an appliqué (everything from a monkey to a guitar to a seriously cute skull!), a tutu color and accent ribbon, and voila! A star is born. (Don't say we didn't warn you!) Bonus: One-third of the proceeds goes to Children's Hospital Boston.
    18M to 6T; $34-38; tutupourmondeux.com

    Tags: Toys
  • spoonsisters.com

    Tickle Monster Book & Tickle Mitts
    Ready for a visit from the "happiest, silliest and zaniest" kind of monster? In this interactive book, author and actress Josie Bissett helps ramp up the giggle factor in any house. Adult readers can become the Tickle Monster by slipping on the accompanying tickle mitts (finger holes allow for easy page-turning), and kids quickly learn that this is one kind of monster they won't want to run away from. One size on the tickle mitts fits most.

    Available at amazon.com

    Tags: Toys
  • fatbraintoys.com

    Zipfy Mini Luge
    Meet the coolest sled colder climes have ever seen. This compact, sporty-looking conveyance is super easy to use and steer (and also lightweight at just 3.5 pounds, making it simple to ferry back up the hill for another zoom down). Coolest of all? It holds up to 250 pounds, making it fun for the whole fam.
    6 and up; $39.95; fatbraintoys.com

    Tags: Toys
  • pylones-usa.com

    Tambourine
    With these snazzy tambourines, you can finally get that family band going! We love the 10 whimsical designs of everything from silly rabbits, snakes, chickens and octopi, to the ever-popular fairies and pirates. Dimensions: 5.5"D x 1"W.
    $18; pylones-usa.com

    Tags: Toys
  • hearthsong.com

    String GamesTRING GAMES
    With all of the snazzy new technology available to families these days, we get nostalgic for the simpler games of our childhoods (and when it comes to string, the childhoods of our parents, and grandparents and...). Kids can find hours of entertainment with this set of strings, which includes instructions and photos for a variety of games from cultures and countries around the globe. Note: the games range from basic to pretty challenging, and some of the games require two people.
    8 and up; $14.98; HearthSong.com

    Tags: Toys
  • chasing-fireflies.com

    Crayon Apron
    We're crazy about the sweet, vintage style of this pink cotton apron, featuring slim sewn-in pockets for 24 Crayola crayons (included, of course). And we're even wilder about the new fridge art that's bound to come our way.
    2 to 5; $28; chasing-fireflies.com

    Tags: Toys
  • Plantoys.com

    Balancing Monkeys
    It's rare to find a kid who's not tickled or fascinated by monkeys, which is one of the reasons we love this balancing monkeys game from Plan Toys. Made from sustainable rubber wood, this eco-friendly pick isn't just fun, it can also help your child learn about math and how to achieve and maintain equilibrium.
    3 and up; $23; plantoys.com

    Tags: Toys
  • shop-fat-tie.com

    Bifford Shirt
    We could take or leave most boys' clothes these days, with their silly sayings or in-your-face manly motocross graphics. This line of shirts from Fat Tie, however? We'd like to take 'em all. Super soft cotton tees (yep, he'll be comfy and cute!) are paired with jersey knit ties, leaving your little man ready for just about anything, including being voted "Most Stylish" at school.

    Tags: Toys
  • chasing-fireflies.com

    Wooden Stilts
    Granting kids' wishes immediately is often a challenge, but when your grade-schooler wishes to be "big like you," you can make that come true courtesy of these retro stilts. Seriously silly fun (and an aid for developing balance and coordination), these hardwood stilts come in three sizes, each adjustable to four heights as kids get more comfortable using them. Small 44", ages 6-8; medium 52", ages 8-10; large 60", ages 10-14
    $69; chasing-fireflies.com
     

    Tags: Toys
  • custommadeforkids.com

    Custom Made For Kids Book
    We've seen plenty of personalized children's books, but The First Adventures of Incredible You is an extra-special one. With the ability to enter up to 20 details about a child and her family and friends (as well as traditions like trips to her family's fave beach, local park and zoo), the book reads distinctly about her life. The bright, whimsical illustrations apply to kids of either sex and all races, and is sure to be a favorite keepsake.
    Birth to 8; $36.95; custommadeforkids.com

    Tags: Toys
  • LEGO.com

    Lego Creator Ferocious Creatures
    Ferocious crocodile...prehistoric dinosaur...dangerous sea fish. Yep, this single set is three models in one (and while that doesn't quite mean three separate presents, it does equal three times the kiddie entertainment value). Bonus: The croc's powerful jaws can be opened and closed using the lever on its back, and its tail can whip from side to side. Watch out! Measures over 18 inches long
    7 and up; $29.99; LEGO.com

    Tags: Toys
  • etsy.com

    Tic-Tac-Toe Chalkboard Wall Game
    There's something about tic-tac-toe (or noughts and crosses, as they say in the UK) that brings us right back to childhood. For that reason (and the hours of fun ahead), we love this matte chalkboard vinyl. Used with chalk, it's easily erasable with a damp cloth or sponge. Removable (but not repositionable), it can be applied indoors or out. We call 'X's! Approximately 23 inches square.
    $25; etsy.com

    Tags: Toys
  • spoonsisters.com

    Design Your Own Lamp
    Kids will love this customizable lamp, where they can slip artwork or photos between the dual-layer shade to make their work really, um, shine. It's not quite their name in lights, but it's a close second! Uses a 40 watt bulb; not included. Measures 12"H x 4" in diameter.
    $24.24; amazon.com

    Tags: Toys
  • creativetoyshop.com

    The Clever Detective Game
    Math=fun. No, wait! That equation is true, at least when it comes to the Clever Detective, one of several great games from the Young Learners line, made by Italian game company Clementoni (we also love the "Eat Your Words" game, kinda like an early Scrabble). The object is to answer questions requiring addition, subtraction, multiplication or division correctly so that players can gain accessories like hats, sunglasses and mustaches to dress up a character on a "Wanted" poster. Players can verify the correct answer with a little magnifying glass. Whomever completes his poster first wins. For 2 to 4 players

    Tags: Toys

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