I was recently in Dallas
for a Toys ‘R’ Us marketing promotion, and when my materials didn’t arrive on time, I was forced to spend more than an hour browsing through the store. I say ‘forced,’ but this was actually a fascinating experience, because the concept of ‘toys’ has changed astranomically since I was a child.
As I looked through the shelves of toys, I began a mental list of the top ten of Christmas 2005. They are in no special order, as I thought they all were revolutionary.
1. X-Box 360
I suppose that this should go on the list of all lists for toys up to date. I never had a video game system as a child, but after seeing the ones my friends played on, and the ones released over the last several years, this one certainly takes the cake as the mother of all gaming systems. The graphics are absolutely phenomenal, with details that I never imagined could be displayed on a video screen. I played one of the war games, and the clouds were moving as I fought my enemy, and the kinks in the uniforms actually moved as my character did. Amazing.
2. YOUniverse ATM Machine Bank
Parents no longer have to worry about their children learning the value of a dollar. This machine teaches them for you, as it acts like an actual ATM. It comes with an ATM card for which the child determines his or her own PIN number, as well as an alarm system if someone punches in the incorrect PIN. It has an alphanumeric keypad, electronic sound effects and lights, and slots for the ATM card, bills and coins. The owner can make deposits and withdrawals using his or her ATM card, and can also check their balance. The machine keeps track of all of the transactions, and emits a loud sound if you try to withdraw more money than you have. The face looks almost exactly like an actual ATM. Ingenious!
3. Bling Bling Barbie
Yes, it would appear that Barbie has gone “Bling Bling”. I actually thought that it was ridiculous, but my roommate insists that I include this doll. She comes with a purse, a cell phone, a “Bling Ring” for the child owner, and she is dripping in feaux diamonds and jewelry. Her outfit is, of course skimpy, and she also comes with a glamerous evening gown (I guess for when she needs to drop some of the “Bling”.
4. Fly Pen Top Computer
Computer power on paper! This revolutionary devise comes with a pen and special Fly paper. The pen actually has a computer built inside it, and it can help solve anything from math problems to spelling questions. It talks to you, and even has its own language!
5. Power Wheels Escalade with FM Radio
This is just crazy, but apparently, they’re flying off the shelves. This is a an exclusive version of the Cadillac Escalade for Toys R Us. A two-seat vehicle with two working doors and all the detail of the Cadillac Escalade EXT. The realistic additions include a real working FM radio, an amplified wired microphone, molded windows, windshield, grill, and side-view mirror detail. It boasts chrome hubs and grill for a realistic effect and a real working stereo soundbox in the back. This is a twelve-volt vehicle with grass performance with a maximum speed of 5 mph. Now, your children can ride in style.
6. Jump ‘N’ Slide
Kids love moonwalks, and now they can have one in their own backyard. This bouncing playmate is made by Little Tikes, and sports all the fun of a traditional moonwalk. Recommended for kids age 3-6, it can be toted around in a blue duffle bag and includes stakes, heavy-duty blower, repair kit and storage bag. Two mesh doors feature hook-and-loop closures to protect children, and allow parents to watch the fun. I wish I’d had one!
7. Santa Fe Train Set
I had a train set as a kid, but it was small and wound around the Christmas tree. This is a whole new ball game! The Santa Fe train set allows your child to drive himself, and goes up to 1.5 mph. It takes up about twelve square feet, and electronic train sounds include: “whoo-hoo, steam engine, and crossing gate.” There is cargo space on the back link for your child’s toys, and you will probably need it, because this toy takes up quite a bit of space. But what child doesn’t want to ride his own train?
8. Dora the Explorer: Magic Hair Fairytale Princess Doll
This toy is a must-have for all Dora fans. Dora the Explorer has jumped on the royal bandwagon! This intrepid explorer is now a fairy tale princess with magical hair that grows when the jewel in her crown is pressed with a wand. Dora talks and sings, too, in both English and Spanish: “Vamanos! Let’s go to fairytale land! Will you brush my hair?” The 14-inch-tall plastic doll is not designed to be cuddled so much as played with and groomed. She is attired in a satiny yellow gown trimmed in pink and purple, and has a brush, barrettes, and magic wand. The magical tresses emerging from the hair-growing tube are quite realistic, although grownups, at least, might be a little unnerved at the sleek brown hair oozing in and out of Dora’s head. Still, children are experts at suspending disbelief and accepting weirdness in the world, so they probably won’t mind a bit.
As seen in the USA Today, iZ is the ultimate fusion of music and toy! Twist and turn iZ’s ears to create new combinations of rhythm and lead tracks; press his belly to change-up the beat. iZ’s eye’s bounce to the rhythm of whatever music you are playing, and his horn pulses in rainbow colors to the beat. You can also use the included cable to plug in your iPod or any music source to listen to iZ play your songs his way.
10. Mickey Fire Engine Team Activity Ride On
And for the younger ones…the Mickey Fire Engine employs electronic genius even for the toddler. Geared towards children of 12-24 months, this toy Includes a recording microphone with an ingenius voice playback function. It also features a real bubble blower, realistic engine & siren sound, and a helmet for fun and safety.