Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Kids’ Gifts Roundup

Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Kids’ Gifts Roundup
By Shandra Hill Smith

Show off those junior baker skills! With Educational Insights Mixer, children three to six will enjoy mixing with both a stand mixer and portable hand mixer serving up realistic sound effects and lights. It comes with two sound sets, two types of beaters and mixing bowl.

She’ll enjoy hours of fun hanging out with and holding on to her new friend from Fairy Tale High®. Her favorite fairy tale characters come to life with this new collection of fairy tale princesses turned fashion dolls. The collection includes teenage Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Tinker Bell and Cinderella — all students in a performing arts high school, who are hip and trendy, including sporting today’s fashions, hairstyles and designer shoes.

Fairy Tale High also includes a series of webisodes and eBooks that showcase each character’s teenage story, revealing the qualities that will eventually make them princesses, and the not-so-perfect flaws that trip them up along the way.

The recommended age is three and up, with the dolls likely most appealing to girls six to 10. They’re available nationwide in all Toys R Us stores, select Walmart stores, at,,, and

Expect endless racing fun with Mario Kart Wii Radio Control karts. Favorite Mario Kart Wii characters Mario and Yoshi, and — new this year — Luigi and Donkey Kong by Goldie International are full-function, four-and-a-half-inch-long (1: 24 scale) vehicles. Each character comes with a radio controller, and in separate frequencies for true racing action! They’re available at Toys R Us, Kmart, Burlington and Barnes & Noble.

He’ll learn while playing with New Sprouts™ Ring It Up! My very own cash register by Learning Resources. Featuring chunky buttons, pop-open cash drawer and five numbered coins, the cash register for toddlers two and up encourages early counting and number skills. It also allows children to explore cause and effect.

For ages six and up, Snap It Up!® Card Games—Math: Multiplication by Learning Resources is a fast-paced card game that provides children with hard-hitting practice in math skills. Players pick and pass cards as fast as they can to make math equations. Each game includes 90 cards.;

With this game, you’re rewarded — in the form of gumballs! For two to four players ages six and up, POP for Addition & Subtraction™ by Learning Resources includes 90 math-fact cards, 10 POP cards, a spinner and guide. Spin to see how many gumballs to take; answer the math facts correctly to keep the gumballs.

A portable, hand held game, Count & Color Electronic Flash Card™ by Learning Resources encourages color identification and early counting. For ages three and up, it’s available at, and specialty stores.

Little ones can learn numbers in Spanish with the Spanish Numbers Sound Puzzle from Melissa & Doug. Place a number in its correct space on the 20-piece wooden puzzle to hear a clear voice pronunciation of each sound. The self-correcting puzzle includes pictures of colorful objects to count.
Kids have fun testing their smarts with Melissa & Doug Smarty Pants cards. The colorful cards offer new facts and funny trivia with illustrated activities such as picture puzzles, math challenges, tongue-twisters, vocabulary builders and more. Cards are developed to curriculum standards of each grade, including kindergarten, first and second.

Children will delight in hearing the names of states and capitals sounded out as they place the pieces of the puzzle to the Melissa & Doug United States of America Sound Puzzle. The 40 wooden pieces contain images associated with each state.

Children four and up can master those numbers up to 20 with the Self-Correcting Number Puzzles by Melissa & Doug.

For the kid who loves dinosaurs, the Melissa & Doug T-Rex Floor Puzzle features a die-cut shape and 48 extra-thick jumbo jigsaw pieces. When complete, the three-foot puzzle depicts Tyrannosaurus rex.

For ages eight and up, Battroborg Motion Controlled Battling Robots take players center ring, with two-handed motion-controlled nun chucks (similar to Wii controllers) that let opponents dictate the robot’s every move with their jabs.

Build uppercase and lowercase letters plus fine motor skills with Letter Construction Activity Set by Learning ResourcesSnap together color-coded pieces to build letters, while practicing letter recognition and pre-handwriting. For ages three and up, the set is available at and specialty stores.

Children will flip over silly creatures from the sea as they dive into worlds of dramatic play, while developing communication skills and practicing real and imaginary dialogue with the Sea Squad™ Puppet-on-a-Stick™by Educational Insights. Puppets include Flipper the anglerfish, Dipper the octopus, Chomper the shark, and Bob the clam  each with googly eyes and in vivid colors. They’re sold individually or in a box of four.

Nature lovers will enjoy getting outdoors and exploring with Nancy B's Science Club Binoculars and Wildlife Activity Journal from Educational Insights. The 20-page nature activity journal features animal, bird and tree observation activities, ecosystem challenges and more.

SuperTooth Freedom stereo headphones feature a wide headband and comfortable ear cushions. Freedom is compatible with all Bluetooth devices, boasts 15 hours of battery life and allows users to answer incoming calls hands-free. It works with an MP3 player, computer and tablet plus mobile phone.