wanna play? BEST TOYS

fun • toy box wanna play? BEST TOYS We’ve never met a talking toy like this: Speak into Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBo and he repeats your phra...
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toy box

wanna play?


We’ve never met a talking toy like this: Speak into Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBo and he repeats your phrase to a danceable beat. It’s hysterical! 9 to 36 months, $40; fisher-price.com

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Here at Parents we get the year’s new toys sent to us months before the holidays (lucky us!) and invite kids of all ages to come in and give them a whirl (lucky them! ). Turn the page and see the others that came out on top. by JESSICA HARTSHORN photographs by JEFFREY WESTBROOK


45 P A R E N T S


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Birth to 12 months

Three activity rings on the adorable Skip-Hop Explore & More Rocking Owl Stacker are chunky and especially easy for the littlest hands to work with. 6 months+, $16; skiphop.com

We’ve loved their teether necklaces, and now we’re impressed with the Chewbeads Baby Gramercy Stroller Toy that looks chic even as your baby chomps it. Birth+, $15; chewbeads.com

A 6-month-old tester was fascinated by Yookidoo Gymotion Robo Playland, unique for its two battery-operated vehicles, one dangling a toy above her and the other whirring along the side. Birth to 12 months, $70; amazon.com

Babies love but can’t always hold a round ball; grabbable rings on the Tiny Love Rock & Ball give them more of a shot. 3 months+, $15; amazon.com

Playskool Fold ’n Go Busy Elephant is portable and easily tucks into your diaper bag so you have it handy when you’re desperate for a baby-distractor. 3 months+, $25; hasbrotoyshop.com


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Hand-knit from organic cotton, Estella Baby Security Blanket takes a lovey a step further with a built-in finger puppet. Birth+, $30; estella-nyc.com

Described by one parent as a “tough mudder for babies” minus the mess, Little Tikes Lil’ Ocean Explorers 3-in-1 Adventure Course provides crawling, sitting, and standing entertainment. 6 to 36 months, $80; littletikes.com


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Ages 1 and 2

For five of the last six years, this guy has made our list! The 2015 Playskool Play All Day Elmo knows when he’s hugged or bounced, and leads games like “Red Light, Green Light.” 18 months to 4 years, $60; hasbrotoyshop.com

We like a sports set that doesn’t require much adult help, and the Chicco Fit & Fun Mini Golf set delivers. Even tiny tots were able to sink a ball by themselves. 2 years+, $25; chiccoshop.com

Pop-open playhouses abound, but we love this variation: Haba Croco Kuno Dragon Crawling Tunnel, which had testers wiggling and giggling right through. 12 months+, $70; habausa.com

Kids gravitate toward kitchen toys, and LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven bakes math into the fun with food divided into fractions plus phrases about time and temperature. 2 years+, $25; toysrus.com

Ever see a child dragging her tipped-over toy pup behind her on its leash? Tomy Push Me Pull Me Puppy solves that with a leash that zigs as your toddler zags, so the dog stays upright. 12 months+, $30; amazon.com

The caboose transforms into a separate wagon that your toddler can push or pull on the updated VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train, and new counting, time, and letter games make this one educational ride. 12 to 36 months, $50; vtechkids.com


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toy box This remote-control hero flips around impediments by waving his big arms in a circle; our testers gleefully followed Jakks Pacific Hulk Smash like it was one of the craziest things they’d ever seen. 4 years+, $70; walmart.com

Ages 3 and 4

win toys! We give them away at parents.com/ win-toys. See page 189.

Spin Master Bunchems! are an innovative art form—soft, small burrs that kids stick together to make cool creations. 4 years+, $25; toysrus.com

Master builders, unite! With 790 pieces, Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box is the most vast, open-ended collection in years. 4 years+, $60; lego.com Girls in our testing room went straight for the Mattel Barbie Color, Cut, and Curl Deluxe Styling Head, eager to try nail art and neon clip-ins. Parents take note: She comes in three shades of skin and hair. 3 years+, $30; kmart.com

Mesmerizing movement! Fisher-Price Spinnyos Giant Yo-ller Coaster lets your kid direct spinning discs around a track. They’ll crash through barrels and bounce back up, seeming to defy gravity. 3 to 6 years, $50; toysrus.com


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Enhanced graphics elevate the huge catalog of learning games on the Android-based LeapFrog Epic Kids’ Tablet. 3 to 9 years, $140; bestbuy.com

This toy got no downtime on testing day! Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center begs for stuffed animals to visit as patients, and several kids can share the “office.” 4 years+, $80; toysrus.com


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A kid holds a stamp to a glowing color on Crayola Color Wonder Light-Up Stamper, then it works on Color Wonder paper (but nothing else in your house). No ink to dry, and you can switch colors anytime. 3 years+, $25; crayola.com

No, it doesn’t pop! Players win International Playthings Buddy’s Balloon Launch game if they make the balloon lift off when it’s their turn to crank the arm. 3 years+, $20; intplay.com

Fans of the Nick Jr. TV will love the Spin Master Paw Patrol Patroller, which is long enough to fit all their favorite characters inside (doubling as toy storage). 3 years+, $60; target.com

Ages 3 and 4 Puppet fun: We bet parents will slip a Hasbro Jurassic World Chomping Velociraptor Head on their hand as soon as their kid lets go of it. 4 years+, $20; hasbrotoyshop.com

Our testers couldn’t get enough of wielding a kiddie drill to make patterns with Educational Insights Design & Drill BrightWorks; at least one mom went home with the deets to pass along to Santa. 3 years+, $40; amazon.com

We like that Lakeshore Learning Fully Furnished Adventure Treehouse—in addition to being sturdy and good-looking—attracted both boy and girl testers wanting to play “family.” Sweet! 3 to 6 years, $50; dolls sold separately; lakeshorelearning.com


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Hasbro FurReal Friends StarLily, My Magical Unicorn is a new FurReal star. She’s big, with blinking eyes, fluttering wings, a glowing horn, and a berry to “eat.” 4 years+, $120; hasbrotoyshop.com


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Ages 5, 6, and 7

feed me!

We love these toys that are kind enough to tackle tough emotions! Your child can write down a fear or a concern and feed it into one of Gerd Hahn’s Worry Eaters. It’s up to you whether to peek later. 3 years+, $16 to $23; haywiregroup.com

Answer dino trivia, then gently remove the bones—without touching the sides—with Uncle Milton T-Rexcavator. 5 years+, $20; unclemilton.com

The new Zing Firetek Zeon Bow includes glowing arrows that stick to windows and can clear the height of a house. That glow helps you find them on the other side! 5 years+, $15; walmart.com


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Testers delighted in posing a question to Jakks Pacific Aladdin Magic Genie Lamp and then spinning its top for a funny answer. 5 years+, $17; target.com

No parent will have to help transform Hasbro Super Bumblebee from robot to car; at last, it’s easy enough for your child to do frustration-free. 4 years+, $50; hasbrotoyshop.com

Remote-control Spin Master Zoomer Kitty will dazzle kids by chasing a ball and otherwise acting like a real cat; there’s a black-and-white version too. 5 years+, $100; toysrus.com

Kids (and, okay, our staff members) got a little addicted to Smak-a-Ball. The hoops make catching and returning the blow-up ball easy, so your kid and her partner can get a good volley going. 6 years+, $24; fatbraintoys.com


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Ages 5, 6, and 7

Disney Playmation Marvel Avengers Starter Pack has Ironman-inspired gear that relays missions. The wearer ducks and runs to battle the bad guy; Captain America’s help is optional. Stay out of the way! 6 years+, $120; disneystore.com

Crafters can fairly quickly create scarves and headbands with minimal assistance from you, using Lakeshore Learning My First Weaving Loom. 6 to 11 years, $30; lakeshorelearning.com

These size-adjustable ice skates turn into in-line skates, featuring Elsa and Anna! Our 5- to 8-year-old testers could master PlayWheels Frozen Convertible Ice Skates. 3 years+, $50; toysrus.com

Go behind the scenes of our toy testing! Watch at parents.com/ 2015-toys. More pieces! That’s what kids building their own contraptions need, and the new GoldieBlox Craft-struction Box delivers. 6 years+, $40; goldieblox.com

This year Mattel View-Master partners with Google and works with your phone to deliver stunning 3-D, 360-degree images that make kids feel like they’re standing in a city or even in outer space. 7 years+, $30; target.com

For children who love the challenge of a long blueprint, assembling the Lego City Spaceport has a cool payoff. 6 years+, $120; lego.com


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Download the free app for Crayola Color Alive Action Coloring Pages, and your child’s drawings leap off the page and move around your device’s screen, even posing for selfies with your kid. 4 years+, $6; crayola.com


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Ages 8 and up Is your child hooked on Minecraft videos? He can create his own storyline, using Mattel Minecraft Stop-Motion Movie Creator and your own smartphone that takes still shots, streamed together with the free app. 8 years+, $33; mattelshop.com

It’s all the DIY rage: Klutz Finger Knitting helps kids master this needle-free, take-anywhere craft skill. 8 years+, $22; klutz.com

The vast new American Girl Truly Me collection of dolls and accessories allows more customization than ever; we appreciate this service-dog accessory kit that helps ensure everyone can be included. 8 years+, $115 per doll; americangirl.com

The fun of Educational Insights Read My List! Game is trying to remember a list or creatively adding to it. Bonus, say our testers: It’s portable for trips! For 3+ players, 8 years+, $15; amazon.com

Tech-adorb-osaurus: WowWee MiPosaur works with an app, but it’s not required; he’ll follow his ball or owner too. Our testers begged to take him home! 8 years+, $120; target.com

Don’t toss the Yomega Kendama Pro box; it lists eight variations of “catch” that we bet your child hasn’t tried, making this ancient game new again. 8 years+, $20; yomega.com


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Race a friend or a virtual rival using the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit. Games start on the free app but take place on track, such as the piece above, designed by your kid. 8 years+, $150; anki.com