43ºF

Ruth to the Rescue's 2014 toy test results

photo

Every year at this time, your children might be asking, begging, or even pleading for the hottest toys of the holiday season. How do you know if the hot toys are worth the price you'll pay? That's where the second annual Ruth to the Rescue Toy Test comes in. Once again, the consumer unit has rounded up some of the hottest toys of the season and the Local 4 junior toy testers to see which toys are the most popular.

For this portion of our unscientific consumer test, we had a group of children who range in age from 18 months to 5 years old. They played with eight different toys.

(See complete list with prices at the end of the article) 

Battle of the race tracks 

We purchased both the V-Tech Go Go Smart Wheels Amazement Park Set and the Fisher Price Little People City Skyway. Both are very colorful, with tracks that twist and turn. Our junior toy testers seems to enjoy playing with both tracks. However, we noticed they gave a slight edge to the V-Tech model. The children who favored that track cited a loop that made the cars go upside down.

While the toys are similar in price, the Little People City Skyway was less expensive and it came with two cars. The V-Tech Amazement Park came with just one car. The children in our experiment were taking the cars from the Little People set and using them on the other track.

photo

Another thing we've noticed over the past two years, while you might think certain toys are "for boys" and others are "for girls," the toys seem to cross gender boundaries in our tests.

Tonya Berry's 3-year-old daughter Addison was definitely interested in the Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Singing Doll and the Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart, but she also enjoyed playing with fast cars. 

"I would have thought that would have been more her brother's style, but she likes how fast the cars went. So, I think that was a good one for her too," said Berry.

Elsa and Doc McStuffins

Speaking of Elsa, the girls in the group did enjoy the singing doll. Unlike some other toys, this product definitely skewed toward the girls. However, you may want to remember today's biggest craze can cool quickly. One little girl told Local 4's Karen Drew, she was already getting tired of "Frozen." 

photo

The singing doll costs less than $35.

Parents might want to ask if that's a good price for a toy that could fall out of fashion, although Elsa is pretty hot at this moment in time.

The children in this group also enjoyed pulling the Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart around the studio, but our parents weren't impressed with the quality of the toy's construction. Some pieces seemed to fall off pretty easily and needed to be re-attached a few times. This Doc McStuffins product didn't seem to be as popular as last year's Doc McStuffins Get Better Checkup Center, but the Checkup Center is about $35 more expensive, unless you find it on sale.

Barbie, turtle, puppy and a dinosaur, oh my!

Our final four toys were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Stretch and Shout Leonardo, the Barbie Endless Curls Doll, FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin' Pup Pet, and Zoomer Dino.

Three of those toys took top honors as the group's favorites. The most popular being Zoomer Dino. Last year, it was the Zoomer robotic dog that stole the toy testers' hearts. This year it was a dinosaur that roared when it got "angry."

photo

Local 4's Karen Drew was surprised to see very young children mesmerized by the dinosaur as it ran about the studio. She wasn't alone.

The mother of our youngest toy tester, 18-month-old Kyle Ash, was surprised he was so interested in the dinosaur. "That caught his attention when he was rolling around," said Jackie Ash. Drew said she might consider the dinosaur for her girls, after seeing the way the children responded to the toy. (For more on Zoomer Dino, watch for Part Two of the Ruth to the Rescue Toy Test)

Two boys named the Ninja Turtle as their favorite toy, making it another popular pick.  At less than $25, it was also one of the least expensive toys in our experiment.

The FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin' Pup Pet did get his share of attention from the toy testers, but it seemed to get eclipsed by the popularity of Zoomer Dino. No one in this group picked the pup as their favorite toy, but the dog does cost about half as much as the dinosaur.

Products and prices

A few words about the prices for the items in our test. The prices in this article are what Ruth to the Rescue paid for the toys the week of Nov.10. One of our producers has already noticed the prices going up and down on certain items, so be on the lookout for sale prices and also be aware the prices can also go up. 

  • V-Tech Go Go Smart Wheels Amazement Park Set -  $49.96
  • Fisher Price Little People City Skyway- $29.99
  • Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Singing Doll - $34.99
  • Doc McStuffins Mobile Cart- $44.99
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Stretch and Shout Leonardo  $20.13
  • Barbie Endless Curls Doll  $17.49
  • FurReal Friends Get Up & GoGo My Walkin' Pup Pet   $39.88
  • Zoomer Dino   $79.88