Review of Lego Ninjago Lightning Dragon Set, Moshi Monster Moshlings, My Keepon, Air Swimmers, LeapPad Explorer, Skylander Spyro’s Adventure, Fijit Friends.
I’m a toy freak and here are my opinions on the toys that Toys R Us is hyping for the holiday season. Usually I like toys that require imagination, however I like Wii. If you have limited income, my best advice is to spend your hard-earned money on classic toys like Legos. I also like small figurines like the Moshi Monster Moshlings, but read my reviews of these hot toys for yourself. You know your child better than I do.
1. Lego Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle:
If computers don’t take over the world, Legos certainly will. With this awesome Japanese-Samurai-warrior set, you get a little ninja Lego dude, a Sensei Wu dude, a Frakjaw dude with body armor, and a Kruncha dude, which all come with appropriate accoutrements, like mini-dude weapons. Man, I’m loving this and I’m a Baby Boomer female geek. I love the wicked chopper with skull tats and the Lightning Dragon is fabulous. I’m Year of the Dragon, so I’m a dragon connoisseur, and this flying monster has good ball-shooting moves and awesome claws. If you’ve watched the video, you’re already in love with this set.
The only warning I want to give you about Legos is: Don’t walk barefoot after a kid has been playing on the floor. Step on a Lego and you’ll wake the neighbors with your own ninja screams. Other than that, you can’t have too many Lego sets. They all work together and you can build creative hybrid universes where Star Wars guys and Samurai dudes fight monsters and pirates. What more is there in life?
My tip: Don’t wait until your child is old enough for the suggested age (8-14 years). As long as your kiddo won’t swallow the pieces, and you are able to help out with construction and by suggesting storylines (to get the ball rolling), almost any age is old enough. Well, your tike may break something on the dragon but that is a small price to pay for having an intelligent, creative, artistic, enlightened child.
Actually, dad may play with this set as much as anyone. And, I recommend getting an extra Lightning Dragon set if you have a preschooler, so you can keep the spare as a collector’s item for when he’s older. If I had a little boy (or girl), I would probably have a Ninjago decorating theme throughout my house and I’d be tuned in to the Shogun channel 24/7. Way too cool for kids and definitely worth much more than the suggested retail price.
2. Moshi Monsters Moshlings Mini Figures:
Moshi Monsters is an online game for little gamer dudes and dolls aged 7-12. It’s sort of a British Facebook-for-kids where a tweenie adopts a monster, as a virtual pet, and raises it. (Think Farmville for teenyboppers.) One spinoff of this popular UK game is a line of toys. I think these little figurines are cute, and I spent much of my childhood playing with small dolls and figurines, but I also like the stuffed (plush) Moshi Monsters. These gifts are best for kids who already play the online game, so get ‘em hooked for the Holidays.
3. My Keepon Dancing Robot:
This cult toy looks like a Peeps marshmallow candy or an alien-yellow snowman. Keepon moves to the beat and responds to touch in cute ways, but this little guy is already sold out in many areas so, unless your offspring yell for it, I would steer clear of this toy and get it later.
4. Air Swimmers:
Companies keep trying to come up with robotic helicopters but they can be impossibly difficult to maneuver. Enter Air Swimmers, the fabulous flying fish. There are only a few points that you need to consider:
- Air Swimmers require assembly and you really should put it together before you give it to your child. This requires filling the fish with helium from your own helium tank or at a party shop or florist. And, you’ll have to do this repeatedly.
- Assembly sounds like a Mensa test, requiring an accomplice and a screwdriver.
- Air Swimmers can only be used indoors.
- You need to have enough space where you won’t knock over your great grandmama’s heirloom vase.
Air Swimmers can break, so I wouldn’t have this as the only Christmas gift. If your fish doesn’t swim, your kid (or husband) will cry all day. However, Air Swimmers are cool and most people will find them worth the extra hassle.
5. Fisher Price LeapPad Explorer:
This is a child-friendly version of an iPad. And, while your kid will probably love this, and it’s educational, I hesitate giving this toy a thumbs up because I think young kids should have limited screen time. Also, I want you to spend quality time with your child, where you teach your child how to read…yourself. Old fashioned I may be, but I think I’m right. If you’re on your screen and your kid is on another screen, you are wasting a valuable commodity – quality time. Use technology as an adjunct to mother-child (or father-child) real-world bonding.
6. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack for Wii:
Kids like Wii. I like Wii…although I would prefer that you and your child build a treehouse rather than play Wii all day. Sure, building a treehouse will require you to spend more time with your kid, but that’s the whole point. (The above video is not exactly the same as the starter pack but it gives you an idea of what this game is about.)
7. Fijit Friends:
These look cute, but I’m not big on interactive toys. I like to see your child playing with her toy, not the toy playing with her. I’ve read that Fijits have buggy voice recognition. If your daughter or granddaughter really wants this…well… you’ll probably get it for her.
Other toys from the Toys R Us list are:
- Playskool Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper
- The Trash Pack Trashies Garbage Truck
- Nerf Vortex Vigilon
- Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Dolls
- Air Hogs Hyperactives
- Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo
- Monster High Fearleading Dolls
- Power Wheels Dune Racer