What? The School Holidays are still in their final few hours and we’re already looking towards Christmas?
Yep, if you’re a Trade Me seller, now’s the time to start rolling out your Christmas selling programme — you’ll see the big retailing chains throwing up the tinsel and dusting off those trees even earlier than ever in 2009, as they work hard on offsetting the lousy sales of earlier months and bidding a less than fond farewell to the recession.
And if you’re a Trade Me buyer, now’s the time to start planning your purchases — early bird gets the worm (not just a ‘Sold Out’ sign) at a hopefully healthy discount.
So, as a public service, allow us to tell you about the year’s hottest toys, as designated by US toy megaretailer Toys R Us:
THE TOYS”R”US 2009 HOLIDAY HOT TOY LIST
From Baby’s First Christmas to Big Kids, the Toys”R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List represents the top new toys for 2009 in each age group:
3-in-1 Smart Trike from little tikes
From babies to beginning riders, even the tiniest tots will enjoy taking a spin on this adjustable tricycle. Featuring a full metal frame, handle and shade canopy, parents can push their little ones while strolling the neighborhood and then pop out pedals when a child is old enough to ride on their own. Two included seats can be swapped out to accommodate different aged riders, including a harnessed version to keep babies safely strapped in. A storage bucket also lets kids take their favorite treasures along on any neighborhood adventure. No batteries required. Ages 10 to 36 months.
Laugh & LearnLearning Farm from Fisher-Price
Babies and toddlers can have fun on the farm as they learn about animals, the alphabet, counting, opposites, colors and more in this double-sided role-play activity center. The magic begins when little ones open the barn door and crawl through, triggering sing-along songs, lights, music, sounds and fun phrases. In learning mode, kids are introduced to animal names, the sounds they make and the food they eat. While in music mode, a crop of songs will delight even the tiniest tots, with a selection of classics and fresh tunes. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 to 36 months.
Little Superstar Jammin’ Band Musical Microphone from Fisher-Price
Young tots can get rockin’ with a musical activity center designed to prepare them for their first pretend concert. Filled with instrument play and other fun activities, this working microphone lets toddlers amplify their voices as they sing along to six songs and four karaoke tunes or explore their creativity with “build a song” mode. As budding superstars grow, the microphone can be adjusted from a sit-and-play activity into a toy where kids can stand and dance while proudly showing off their performance. 4 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 6 to 36 months.
Color Me a Song from Crayola Beginnings
Combining Picasso and Miles Davis, tots can strike up a band and create their own tunes while exploring their first artistic expressions. Toddlers can exercise their creativity by drawing on a blank sheet of paper with the eight included Crayola Washable Triangular crayons, while the speed of their scribbles determines the pace of the music. The faster kids color, the more the tempo increases, and toddlers can mix sounds from a piano, banjo, trumpet and drum, while switching between different musical styles such as salsa, rock, swing and country. Built-in storage for eight triangular crayons allows kids to take their masterpiece-making-band on road trips. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 24 months and up.
Little Momm Baby Ah-Choo from Fisher-Price
Baby Ah-Choo sneezes, wheezes and sniffles as kids squeeze her tummy in an attempt to nurse her back to health. Toddlers will love making Baby Ah-Choo “all better” with accessories, such as “a spoonful of medicine” and a thermometer that interact with this baby doll to elicit fun reactions. Featuring over 30 sounds and phrases, such as, “Can I have a tissue?” and “My nose is running,” Baby Ah-Choo comes with a box of tissues and medicine bottle, offering kids everything they need to “cure” the common cold. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 2 years and up.
Sesame Street The Original Tickle Me Elmo from Fisher-Price
After more than a decade of bringing laughter to kids of all ages, The Original Tickle Me Elmo is back, exclusively at Toys”R”Us. Tickle him once and he’ll giggle. Tickle him twice and he’ll laugh. Tickle him three times and watch him convulse with laughter! This classic toy started a phenomenon when it was first released and still brings smiles to little ones today. When Elmo’s tummy is squeezed, he’ll let kids know, “That tickles!” as he breaks out in laughter. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 18 months to 4 years.
Tonka CHUCK & FRIENDS CHUCK MY TALKING TRUCK from Playskool
Chuck is a friendly little dump truck with the gift of gab, chatting while he works on his construction projects. With more than 40 phrases, sounds and actions, kids can lift his dump bed, press his roof or push his bumper to hear Chuck say phrases such as, “Time to find some dirt!” Chuck is fully interactive, featuring sound recognition that lets him roll his tires when kids call him. An accompanying storybook, “Get to Work,” lets kids explore Chuck’s world, which includes his construction vehicle friends. 3 “C” batteries required (included). Ages 2 years and up.
Disney-Pixar Toy Story Interactive Buddies Talking Action Figures from Thinkway
Buzz Lightyear and Woody are back from their owner Andy’s toy box, and just like in the movies, they banter and bicker like real pals. With this Toys”R”Us exclusive, kids can choose between three different interactive modes to hear these buddies speak individually or with each other, using their actual voices from the movies. Between Buzz and Woody, the duo can say over 100 phrases, including lines from Toy Story and Toy Story 2, along with additional buddy interactions. 3 “AA” batteries and 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up.
Disney Princess: Just One Kiss Princess Tiana Doll from Mattel
Stepping out of this holiday season’s highly-anticipated animated theatrical release from Disney Studios, The Princess and the Frog, Princess Tiana is ready to find her prince, even if she has to kiss a frog or two first. Dressed to regal perfection, Tiana is a vision of loveliness with a tiara, necklace and blue ball gown adorned with firefly lights that sparkle and shine. She’s accompanied by the frog prince, who desperately yearns for a kiss to transform him back into a man. When girls bring the frog up to Tiana for a kiss, she will turn her head away and say one of the phrases from the movie. The fourth time the frog is brought up to her, Tiana finally agrees to kiss the prince. 3 “button cell” batteries required (included). Ages 4 years and up.
Imaginext Dragon World Fortress from Fisher-Price
With action at every turn, this fortress world allows kids to open gates, make lightning crackle, and unleash a powerful dragon with a fierce roar. Two medieval-themed action figures activate all of the castle’s secret abilities, including a launching cannon to ward off intruders and a boulder that can be released down the dragon’s tail to attack invaders. With fantastic accessories and battle sound effects, kids will believe they’ve been transported to the age of swords and sorcery. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 3 to 8 years.
Paperoni Deluxe Studio from Spin Master
With a dash of imagination and this Deluxe Studio, young artisans can create 3D artwork using tiny, colorful paper rolls. This mess-free set lets kids devise and craft animals, friendly faces and more using a child-friendly cutter that helps them effortlessly cut Paperoni paper rolls into six different lengths with the turn of a dial and the push of a lever. Offering additional depth to every work of art, crafty kids can design dozens of creations with 600 1/2-inch Paperoni pieces, 32 9-1/2-inch Paperoni pieces, one 2D self-adhesive template, one 3D template, Tweezers, eight gems and additional embellishments. No batteries required. Ages 4 years and up.
SCATTERPILLAR SCRAMBLE from Hasbro Games
Preschoolers can challenge their friends in a race to climb to the top of a giant Scaterpillar as it dances and grooves to its favorite music. As kids move their marbles, one at a time, into the Scatterpillar’s hands, it squiggles and squirms, dropping marbles and setting players back. The first player to get all eight marbles to the top wins. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up.
Text & Learn from LeapFrog
Because we all want our littlies to learn to get addicted to crackberries from an early age! Little learners can explore in a grown-up way by mimicking how mom and dad use their Blackberries with this oversized version that provides educational fun through three different modes. Whether exchanging text messages with their puppy pal Scout or checking Scout’s planner to see his weekly schedule in pretend browser mode, toddlers will learn the basics of communicating while using a real keyboard. Additionally, children can match letters, identify shapes, learn letter names and more. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 3 years and up.
BAKUGAN BATTLE BRAWLERS NEW VESTROIA Maxus Helios 7 in 1 from Spin Master
Fans of Bakugan Battle Brawlers beware – the Maxus Helios Mega Bakugan has arrived This ultimate fighter is formed by connecting seven different Bakugan marbles: Helios, Scraper, Klawgor, Foxbat, Fencer, Leefram and Spindle. Maxus Helios can battle as one united force, or individually, to give kids a variety of combat options to help them excel in Bakugan, which combines trading card game play with collectible marbles. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.
Barbie Fashionista doll collection from Mattel
Decked out in the best outfits, shoes and accessories, this collection of fashion-forward Barbie dolls each feature their own distinct fashion personality, including Glam, Cutie, Girly, Wild, Sassy and Artsy. With 12 points of articulation, these Barbie dolls can bend their elbows, twist their wrists, bend at the waist and roll their heads, allowing them to pose over 100 different ways. Each doll comes complete with one stylish outfit, and endless possibilities, for hours of fun. No batteries required. Ages 3 years and up. Each doll sold separately.
Battle Strikers Turbo Tops Tournament Set from MEGA Bloks
Battle Strikers Turbo Tops put a new spin on battling tops by letting kids launch without ripcords or pull strings, while offering unprecedented control. Kids rev up the handheld turbo launcher, which reaches speeds of 6000 RPM, and release their Striker top into the battle arena to compete against an opponent. Once the Battle Strikers are launched, kids can direct their tops with the flick of a fingertip through a magnetic controller that fits over two fingers. With 16 types of Strikers to collect, players can mix and match components to customize as they prepare for battle. The 17-piece Tournament Set includes two Turbo Launchers, two magnetic Controllers, two exclusive Strikers and one Battle Arena. 6 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.
ChixOs Pink Design-A-Luxury Loft from Spin Master
The ChixOs Design-A-Luxury Loft offers the perfect space for an amazing party, but the fun can’t begin before kids decorate their stylin’ pad. To prepare for the festivities, kids can dress and style three ChixOs dolls from 243 possible choices of mix and match body parts, then give them a dusting of glitter for the finishing touch. Junior interior designers can also decorate the loft by building 3D furniture and accessories when they join PixOs with water to create couches, tables or anything imaginable. No batteries required. Ages 4 years and up.
Egyptian Pyramid from playmobil
Kids can bring home one of the seven wonders of the world with the Egyptian Pyramid, available exclusively at Toys”R”Us. Featuring a 14-inch high pyramid, which kids can construct, young architects will be able to assemble tricks and ambushes with removable plastic walls, a collapsible staircase, chute, scorpion trap, secret treasure chamber and trapdoor with slide. Now, children have everything they need to help the Pharaoh safeguard his jewels against treasure hunters. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.
Harumika RUNWAY SHOWSTOPPER SET from Bandai
Future designers create fantastic fashions by folding fabric over a dress mannequin and locking the swatches in place. Once a new dress is formed, kids can capture images of their garment with an included USB camera before uploading them to the Harumika website where their styles can join an online fashion show. The set comes with everything needed to design runway perfect couture, including a pink dress form mannequin, stylus tool, several rolls of foldable fabric, accessories, rhinestones, stickers and two Harumika charms that hold special codes that unlock exclusive content on www.harumika.com. Even the handle on the display case offers fashion forward opportunities, transforming into a bracelet. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up.
Matchbox Rocky the Robot Truck from Mattel
This hard-working, interactive dump truck is ready to roll with sensors, motorized movements and 100 phrases. Quickly becoming any child’s best friend, Rocky tells jokes, dances and flashes his headlights as he speaks. With a rugged design and a full-tilting bed, kids can even use Rocky for construction projects like loading up, moving out, hauling and dumping. When the work is done, Rocky even sleeps and snores. 4 “C” batteries required (included). Ages 3 years and up.
Moxie Girlz Jammaz dolls from MGA Entertainment
Breaking into the fashion doll scene, Moxie Girlz are ready to help empower girls to express themselves with courage, determination and energy. Since there’s no better place for kids to have fun than at a rock-themed slumber party, all dolls in the Jammaz line, Lexa, Avery, Sasha and Sophina, come decked out in their favorite pajamas with accessories guaranteed to help show off their inner rock stars. A wig, heart-shaped guitar, microphone, tiara and glasses complete the transformation from doll to pop princess. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up. Each doll sold separately.
NERF N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 from Hasbro
Ready to take on any dart challenge, this NERF blaster has the capacity to hold up to 35 NERF darts at once, ensuring kids will have a blast long before ever needing to reload. Providing versatility, the NERF RAIDER can instantly switch from “single” fire mode to launch one dart at a time or “slam” fire mode to unleash a rapid stream of 35 darts. A removable stock and Tactical Rail System complete the package, allowing players to customize their blaster for every scenario. As an added bonus, the NERF RAIDER features a collapsible stock and a drum magazine that can be used with additional NERF products. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Clone Turbo Tank from Hasbro
When the Clone Army protects Jedi during a rescue mission or helps overcome an attack from the Separatist Droid Army, the Clone Turbo Tank is part of the action. This heavily armed and armored ten-wheel vehicle features a Tank Gunner action figure, cannon pods with firing missiles, a rotating gunner station, doors that can open and close, a removable command center and room for an entire squadron of Clone Troopers. To help the troops chase escaping droids, an included Speeder Bike can launch into action from the rear of the vehicle. Lights, sounds and Clone Trooper phrases complete the battle scenario for kids who are playing “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 and up.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN CONSTRUCTICON DEVASTATOR from Hasbro
Kids can take control of the ultimate weapon in the evil DECEPTICON army with this monstrous TRANSFORMERS action figure that can be built by combining six different construction vehicles known as the CONSTRUCTICONS. Before converting into DEVASTATOR, children can pretend they’re waiting to ambush the heroic AUTOBOTS at a construction site with these Robots in Disguise, including LONGHAUL, MIXMASTER, SCAVENGER, RAMPAGE, SCRAPPER, and HIGHTOWER. After changing into its ultimate form, DEVASTATOR can unleash its weapons with lights and sounds that bring the excitement of this summer’s blockbuster film TRANSFORMERS: Revenge of the Fallen to life. 2 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 5 years and up.
Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster from Cepia
These adorable, furry, interactive hamsters double as the perfect family pet and a best friend. With five hamsters to choose from, kids can select one that reflects their personality, including Patches, the flower-lover; Chunk, a laid-back surfer; Pipsqueak, a tiny titan of power; Mr. Squiggles, who loves to explore; or Num Nums, who loves to eat. With more than 40 different sound effects and artificial intelligence, these pets will dart around the house, play in hamster tubes, run on wheels and more. Zhu Zhu Pets also make fun sound effects, such as toilet-flushing, teeth-brushing sounds and sleeping noises. 2 “AAA” batteries required (included). Ages 4 years and up. Each hamster sold separately.
Barbie b-nails digital nail printer from Mattel
Young fashionistas can glam it up like Barbie with a spa-like manicure in the comfort of their own home. This new digital nail printer allows girls to select designs from over 1,000 available images or upload their own creations from their computer. Whether using the printer to add decals over polish or directly onto a nail, young manicurists can place their fingernail into the printer after using scaling and sizing tools to select the perfect style. Printing takes only a few seconds and the designs last for days. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.
Disney Netpal from ASUS
Available in Princess Pink and Magic Blue, this Disney-themed netbook computer was designed with Internet safety in mind, allowing parents to create a web-safe computing environment for their kids with more than two dozen parental controls. Once kids turn on the netbook, they’re logged on to the Disney Desktop, an intuitive software program that offers simple operation for children, along with easy access to the Disney web browser, which is preloaded with several kid-friendly websites. The Disney Desktop also comes with a “gadget tray” with icons for easy access to applications and a collection of 15 widgets, including a stopwatch and a digital memo pad. Rugged and durable, this has a spill-proof keyboard and a 16GB SSD drive that can withstand bumps. A preinstalled card allows the Disney Netpal to access networks wirelessly. 1 “4200mAh Polymer” internal rechargeable battery is required (included). Ages 6 years and up.
EyeClops Mini Projector from JAKKS Pacific
Children can create their own big screen entertainment with this pint-sized projector that can display an image up to 60-inches when connected to a DVD player, multimedia player, video game console or other video device. Once kids plug the unit into the A/V jacks of any home entertainment device, they can turn their ceiling into an arcade, the side of their house into an outdoor movie theater or the seat in front of them into a TV screen. Children can also take their big-screen experience on the road by plugging the projector into an outlet with an AC adaptor while inside or powering it with an included battery pack while outdoors. 4 “D” batteries required (not included). Ages 8 years and up.
Fast Lane JLX OVER DRIVE RADIO CONTROL ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE from Toys”R”Us
Remote control drivers can take the wheel of the ultimate R/C experience with this miniature ATV that reaches scale speeds of 225 MPH, performs awesome stunts with self-propelled flipping action tires and has the ability to drive on almost any terrain, including land, water or snow. Kids can even take this Toys”R”Us exclusive to the air with a ramp-assisted jump that can propel the JLX more than 6 feet. The JLX features a recyclable Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack, offering a longer battery life with each charge. 1 “9V” battery and 1 “12V” rechargeable Ni-Mh battery required (included). Ages 8 years and up.
Liv from Spin Master
This new collection of dolls, designed to look like real teenagers, merges the world of fashion play with an online community. Using a code provided with each doll, children can peer into the daily routine of the Liv girls, Daniela, Sophie, Katie and Alexis, when they visit www.livworld.com, which offers daily diary entries, virtual closets filled with fashions, webisodes, games and more. Beyond offering a real teen perspective, each Liv doll comes with realistic glass-like eyes, 14 points of articulation for greater poseability and wigs that allow children to switch their doll’s hairstyle or color easily. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up. Each doll sold separately.
Mindflex from Mattel
Mindflex challenges players to test their mind-over-matter skills by levitating a soft foam ball in order to move it through an obstacle course, using only the power of their mind. Kids just strap on the included headset that contains sensors for the forehead and earlobes to measure their brainwave activity. With deep concentration, the ball rises on a stream of air, and when the mind relaxes the ball begins to descend. Players must master these mental maneuvers to guide the ball through an obstacle course that they design from hundreds of interchangeable combinations. Up to three friends can challenge each other with five unique game modes, including multiplayer games, to prove who is the most accurate mental warrior. 4 “C” batteries and 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 8 years and up.
Star Wars Fan’s Choice Anniversary Edition Home One Mon Calamari Star Cruiser from LEGO Systems, Inc.
Modeled after scenes from Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, this 789-piece construction set contains enough pieces to build the classic Mon Calamari Star Cruiser’s command deck, briefing room and repair hangar. Developed after it was voted by fans as the most sought after Star Wars spacecraft never before produced as a LEGO model, this massive set also comes with an A-wing fighter that kids can build, featuring an opening cockpit, rear doors and two flick missiles. Six mini figures, including Admiral Ackbar, a Mon Calamari soldier, Mon Mothma, General Lando Calrissian, General Madine and an A-wing Pilot let builders take control of the ship by directing Admiral Ackbar on his command seat to plan an attack on the Empire with the Death Star hologram. No batteries required. Ages 9 – 14 years.
Bakugan Battle Brawlers from Activision
Now video game players can heed the “call to brawl” with the first Bakugan game developed for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PlayStation2, Wii and Nintendo DS. Taking control of their favorite Bakugan characters from the animated series, players can participate in intense battles and create their own Bakugan Battle Brawler in an environment featuring cartoon quality graphics and multiplayer combat. No batteries required. Rated “E” for “Everyone.” Video game systems sold separately.
DSi from Nintendo
Building on the popular Nintendo DS platform, this updated system combines the fun of handheld gaming consoles with the ability to take pictures and search the Internet. Available in black, blue or pink, the Nintendo DSioffers dual-screen, touch-sensitive play, and comes with a stylus to help control in-game action. Users can play any of the hundreds of existing DS titles or grow their gaming library with Nintendo DSi-specific titles and downloadable DSiWare content, including games and applications. The sleek, folding design easily fits in a hand or pocket, so users can listen to music as they walk down the street, get directions to the nearest restaurant or snap pictures they can edit, send to friends or upload to Facebook. One “lithium ion” rechargeable battery required (included). Ages 6 years and up.
Reader Pocket Edition from Sony
With the capacity to store approximately 350 standard eBooks in a device that can easily fit into a pocket, this Reader lets anyone flip open their favorite books in the car, on a plane, at a restaurant or even in a library. Sporting a five-inch electronic display, and available in a variety of colors such as navy blue and rose, this device offers clear and crisp pages for easy readability. Users can also take the Reader on all of their trips, long and short, with up to two weeks of reading enjoyment on a single battery charge. The Reader comes equipped with a USB cable that can connect to a computer to download books from a variety of online sources, as well as public libraries across the country. One “lithium ion” rechargeable battery required (included). Ages 12 years and up.
Wii Sports Resort from Nintendo
This sequel to the popular Wii Sports takes the action out of the console and onto a virtual island resort, filled with a dozen fun activities. Using the Wii Remote and Nunckuk controllers, players can take control of their Mii characters to compete against the computer or their friends in archery, basketball, bowling, golf, table tennis, fencing, air sports, canoeing, cycling, Frisbee, power cruising and wakeboarding. Adding to the challenge, Wii Sports Resort comes with one Wii MotionPlus accessory that attaches to the base of a Wii Remote, enhancing players’ precision by recognizing the slightest twist or turn of the Wii Remote. No batteries required. Rated “E” for “Everyone.” Wii system sold separately.
A couple of final observations from TOYS R US:
- There is no ONE hot toy for every child – While attention may be paid to one specific hot toy each year, that item is not necessarily appropriate for every child. The hottest toy for a five-year-old girl may not appear on an eight-year-old boy’s wish list. The age and interests of a child are key factors in determining the perfect gift.
- Quality AND Value matter – Value has two components: what consumers pay for an item and what they get for that price. Toys that last for years to come and provide open-ended play are among the most sought-after items during the holiday season.
CHRISTMAS DOWN UNDER
From what we understand, most of the above goodies will be available in New Zealand. For those that are not — Trade Me sellers, you know an opportunity when you see one! Happy trading and a Ho Ho Ho to you!