Top Ten Most Popular Toys for the 2013 Holiday Season
This year our list includes an exciting new debut in the Skylanders franchise, electronic gizmos, the latest in animatronic toys, creative play toys, and the emergence of cool action toys for girls that help put them on an equal footing with their male siblings.
Of course, you don't have to take our word for it. Also check out a great handful of other reviews and resources to discover more hot toys for 2013 picked by toy experts around the Web...
Is your child a Skylanders fan? Then be on the alert for Skylander's Swap Force, the newest entry into the $1 billion franchise that will debut during the upcoming 2013 holiday season.
This time around, Skylanders Swap Force features 16 new characters with a twist -- interchangeable parts (a split at the waist with a magnetic connection holds the upper and lower bodies together) that lets players combine figures and their abilities.
With 16 new characters, that means a total of 256 creative combinations for endless hours of Skylanders fun.
In addition, Swap Force features sharper graphics, eight new LightCore characters, 16 new versions of "fan favorite" Skylanders from previous games, and characters that take on new abilities like flying, climbing, digging, bouncing, and teleporting.
Like any new iteration of Skylanders you need to play it with the new characters but it remains backward compatible. The new game will launch this fall on Nintendo Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
Skylanders Swap Force, ages 7 and up, approx. $50-$79 In stores: Fall 2013
Nerf Rebelle Crossbow
With the much-anticipated "Hunger Games" sequel opening in theaters November 2013, Nerf has cleverly paired a bow and arrow set for girls that really appears to hit the bullseye.
A successor to the Original Nerf Bow 'n' Arrow, the Nerf Rebelle Crossbow features darts that shoot up to 75 feet away. In a flash, players can also transition between single shot and multishot mode for a rapid fire nonstop stream of darts!
The bow comes with collectable darts in different colors and designs, It also comes with an iPhone dock and an app that allows kids to create their own avatar and play virtual games with other Nerf Rebelle fans.
Nerf Rebelle Crossbow, ages 8 and up, $24.99 In stores: Fall 2013
Flutterbye Flying Fairy
Here's another standout in the 2013 girls' holiday toy line that promises to make all little brothers jealous.
What makes The Flutterbye Fairy so cool is that it's skirt spins like a propeller which appears to make it fly as if by magic -- with no remote control or strings attached. Better still, the Flutterbye Fairy's built-in infra-red technology allows control of the fairy's speed and altitude with just a child's palm held beneath it.
The Flutterbye Fairy can be either launched off a "jewelry box" base (included) or sent to pirouette off into the sky by the child herself. In its 2013 debut, the Flutterbye Flying Fairy will come in two versions, pink and purple or blue and purple.
Flutterbye Flying Fairy, ages 6 and up, $34.99 In stores: Fall 2013
Zoomer Robotic Dog
"The most technologically advanced robotic dog ever made" heralded the arrival of Zoomer Robotic Dog who famously debuted in February at the 2013 New York Toy Fair. There he charmed kids of all ages with his robotic smarts and fun-loving personality.
Due out in August, Zoomer promises -- just like any real-life canine -- to be eager to please and can be taught to rollover, play dead, and come when you call him. He will even "go pee-pee" on command.
Packed with more than two dozen pre-programmed voice-activated commands on arrival, Zoomer becomes more easily trained as you interact with him. Zoomer sports a Dalmation-like spotted coat and expressive LED eyes that comically turn into X's when he plays dead!
A full charge of Zoomer's rechargeable lithium battery via a USB cable supplies around 40 minutes of play.
Zoomer Robotic Dog, ages 5 and up, $99 In stores: August 2013
Big Hugs Elmo
For every holiday season it seems there's another interactive Elmo. And just when you think it can't get better, it does!
Unlike the hard-cased robotic versions of the past ("Tickle Me Elmo" or "Let's Rock Elmo") this one is soft, cuddly and, well, really huggable. Better yet, this one also hugs back. Big Hugs Elmo also talks, sings, and will interact when he's being rocked, bounced around, or held upside down.
Big Hugs Elmo measures 22 inches, small enough for little kids to hug and hold, and requires 4 "AA" batteries (not included.)
Big Hugs Elmo, ages 18 months and up, $59.99 In stores: Fall 2013
Cuddles My Giggly Monkey
Here's another new entry into the animatronic market from Furreal Friends by Hasbro. Packed with electronic sensors, Cuddles reacts to feeding, diaper changing, cuddling, tickling, and swinging.
Gently rock her in your arms, and she'll slowly close her eyes and begin to quietly snore as she falls to sleep.
Cuddles comes with a bottle, pink bow, and removable diaper, and requires four "C" batteries (not included).
Cuddles My Giggle Monkey, ages 4 and up. $79.99 In stores: Fall 2013
Razor Trikke e2
Along with its popular line of hi-tech scooters, Razor has come up with more fast fun this year with the newly introduced Razor Trikke E2. The Trikke E2 takes the idea of an electric scooter and bumps it up a notch with a tricyle-shaped rider with a two-footed platform for extra stability.
The easy push start system and variable speed control will have kids revving up to a whopping 9mph! They will also enjoy the lean-to-steer motion similar to carving around a mountain on a snowmobile.
The Razor Trikke e2 comes with a 24V rechargeable battery motor for up to 40 minutes of continuous use. It also includes the charger.
Razor Trikke e2, ages 8 and up, $279.99 In stores: Spring 2013
Skyrocket Toys Quick Attach Microscope
Compared to the usual video games found on smartphones, the Quick Attach Microscope is something almost revolutionary. It might even get kids out in the fresh air and sunshine once in while!
Just clip it on to your iPhone any brand of smartphone or tablet -- and zoom into objects 30x their actual size. The Quick Attach Microscope enables close-up views of bugs, blades of grass, water droplets or anything else that captures kids' imaginations.
The Quick Attach Microscope also allows kids to take pictures and videos they can send to their friends.
Skyrocket Toys Quick Attach Microscope, ages 6 and up, $14.99 In stores: Fall
Crayola Photo Mash-Ups
Touted as "Photoshop for kids", Crayola has introduced a new digital photo application allowing kids to morph and mash photos together for hours of silly fun.
The software allows kids to distorting faces or create entire collages of their work to show off to friends and family. LOL!
Crayola Photo Mash Ups will be Available for iOS and some Windows 8 tablets
Crayola Photo Mash-Ups, $19.99 In stores: August
Boo Plush Toy
What do you get when you combine an Internet sensation with plush toy maker Gund? A winning combo that takes cute to new levels.
While Boo "The world's cutest dog" features no electronic wizardry, this pretty Pomeranian looks just as adorable as it does in his mega-popular YouTube videos, and Boo is predicted to be the impulse buy of the year at holiday merchandise counters.
Standing at 8" tall, Boo's front paws are weighted which allows it to sit up at attention. Boo is also machine washable if its luxurious fur gets dirty from too much handling.
Boo Plush Toy, ages 1 and up, $22.00 In stores: NOW
Elsewhere around the Web, browse even more top toys on other "hot" lists recommended by major toy stores and parent associations, plus
reviews from comparison shoppers sites, and additional ideas for that perfect gift, game, or educational toy for everybody on your shopping list...
Toy News International - The hottest, latest and greatest in action figures coming down the pike, with reviews, feature stories and industry reports, a Top 100 list, and related resources
Dr. To's Guide on the Internet - Find recommendations by an expert PhD in toys covering the current market with a list of 100 best, a review of classic toys still found on store shelves, toy history, trivia & fun facts, related resources