Breaking down this year's hottest toys with the Help Me Hank toy test
Which toys do kids like best this year?
DETROIT – Whether you’re shopping online or in the stores, figuring out which toys to buy can be overwhelming.
Help Me Hank chose this year’s hottest toys, picked by industry trend experts from various sources. We then enlisted 15 toy testing experts: kids from the ages of 4 to 10, to test them out!
The Ultimate Toy Test:
Toy Test: Game Edition:
More Behind the Scenes:
Below is our list of toys, the prices we paid, a brief description of what they do, and their toy test results. NOTE: The prices listed here are the ones we paid in October. You may be able to find cheaper tags on toys and games with Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner.
- Toys our testers loved: Mini Hatchimals Eggs, NERF Nitro FlashFury Chaos, Shopkins Vacation Jet
- Games our testers loved: Soggy Doggy, Pie Face Showdown
- Craft our testers loved: 3Doodler
Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme
Description: With extendable wings, multiple projectile launchers, a hidden Batcycle, a voice changer, and real punching fists, your young Super Hero will have a blast defending Gotham City!
Results: Both boys and girls loved playing with this toy. It stands at over two-feet-tall, which the kids really liked.
Because they could all play together, we always found two or three kids playing with the toy the entire test.
You can also use your own Imaginext characters with the toy. (It only comes with 1 Batman character.) (Batteries do not come with it.)
FurReal Roarin' Tiger Pet
Description: It’s an interactive pet tiger that’s ready to play! It makes roaring noises and when you talk, it responds. The tiger responds to sounds and touch with 100 sound and moving combinations. He also has a toy that he responds to as well.
Results: Everyone, even the parents thought this toy was super cute! He’s incredibly soft and furry, which the kids loved when petting the tiger. Parents agreed the toy was bigger than the expected. While it does move it’s legs up and down, contrary to popular belief, this toy doesn’t walk. Because of this…many kids lost interest in it after a few minutes. It’s a pricey one, which had most parents saying…they didn’t feel it was worth it. A heads up…this toy needs 4 C12 batteries.
Hatchimals Colleggtibles 12-Pack Egg Carton
Description: Surprises are in store with this new mini-version of last year’s hottest toy. You rub the purple heart until it turns pink. That means the hatchimal is ready to hatch. You then break it open to find out which one is inside!
The carton is a re-useable carrying case is filled with 10 in-egg Colleggtibles, one out-of-egg Colleggtible and one of two exclusive Flamingeese. Open up the super glittery carton and you'll find nests molded into the bottom of each egg compartment.
Results: It’s official, Hathcimals are still a hit! The kids loved waiting for theirs to hatch. It does take some time rubbing the hearts. Once they’re ready, the kids had to really break into them to get the character out. Warning to all parents: the egg shells are small and leave quite the mess. One parent pointed out, the characters can be used in other things like a dollhouse. And when asked which toy they all liked the most…a majority of the kids answered this toy. (Yes, even over the Fingerling!)
WowWee Fingerling Interactive Monkey
Description: The small interactive baby monkeys are small enough to wear on your finger and respond to touch, sound, and motion with over 40 different sounds and features.
Results: We finally got our hands on one and were dying to see what the kids would say…but it wasn’t much. The kids thought the Fingerling was cute and interesting, but after about 15 minutes…it was left on the ground, without no one playing with it. So while you may be going crazy trying to track one down...remember, it won’t hold their attention too long after they’ve played with it.
Zoomer Zupps – Interactive Puppy
Description: This pet respond to you and the more you play, the happier they’ll be. Pet them enough and they’ll even bark “I love you”. This toy has light up eyes and respond when you pet their heads or press their noses with puppy sounds. You can even play games with the dog as well.
Results: Unfortunately…we don’t even have video of kids playing with this toy! We bought it to test this as an alternative for parents hunting the web and stores for the Fingerling. Since both are considered interactive pets, we wanted to pit them against each other…but none of the kids really noticed the puppy and wanted to play with it.
NERF Nitro FlashFury Chaos
Description: Kids can create awesome stunts as they fire foam cars from a toy blaster. Blast into stunts to go high, go far, go fast! With the NERF Nitro FlashFury Chaos set, kids can create lots of stunts with multi-car blasting, pop-up targets, long-jump ramp and 6 obstacles. The blaster fires 3 cars in a row without reloading. The targets shoot into the air when cars hit them.
Results: This toy was our big hit! We couldn’t get kids away from it. The testers loved that you could shoot the cars and they actually went pretty far. They kept setting up targets, each one new and different from the last. And the gun doesn’t shoot out the cars without being planted firmly on a flat surface. Needless to say, the kids loved this one…and parents loved it for the price as well!
Lego Chain Reactions
Description: Kids can design and build 10 amazing moving machines with the 80 page instructions, 33 LEGO pieces, instructions for 10 modules, 6 plastic balls, string, paper ramps and other components. Using this kit and the Legos you already own, kids can create a machine to toss out a gum wrapper, something to amuse the family pet, ring a bell, or something to deliver a message.
Results: We set this booklet out with a bunch of Legos. When we went to go see what the kids were making, all of them were just making their own building creation. Most of them didn’t want to read a big book of instructions. But if your child has a knack for engineering or likes to stay busy with a creative task, this could be a great gift! One thing they all agreed on…classic Legos are still fun! One boy even said “Good ole’ fashion Legos. They’ll be around a lot longer than those Fingerlings too.” (We thought that was pretty funny!)
Shopkins World Vacation Jet Playset
Description: Shopkins is on Season 8, which is a travel theme. This is a jet playset that includes 3 exclusive Shopkins, 1 food trolley, and 2 suitcases. Also pictured, the Season 8 12-pack of Shopkins.
Results: Girls from the ages 4 to 8 really seemed to gravitate towards the Shopkins. The kids told us that Shopkins are still trendy and fun to play with. Since many of the girls could play together, we found this toy was always taken over with kids. Parents found the door that opens the side of the jet up is really tough to open. It took a little force and were afraid they were going to break it!
Description: Who will get soaked first? Find out when you play Soggy Doggy, the showering, shaking, wet doggy game. Move your players around the board and take turns bathing this pup.
You turn the tub handles. One sprays the dog, the other sprays the player. If Soggy Doggy shakes all over you, head back to the start. The first one around the board wins. (Batteries not included.)
Results: In the commercials, it looks like the dog shakes vigorously and gets everyone wet. Our testers found, this isn’t the case. It’s more of a light shake, but the kids really didn’t mind! They loved that it was a fun game and mainly because it’s a dog! (Most of the kids spent the test, petting the dog.) A heads up for when you take it apart, read the directions on how to properly dry and store this toy. We found after it sat overnight, the dog felt sticky and smelled because it wasn’t properly cleaned.
Description: Share some hilarious and suspense-filled moments as players take turns spinning the toilet paper roll, flushing the toilet handle, and hoping they don't get sprayed with water. The number that turns up on the paper roll spinner dictates how many times each player must flush.
Players are safe if they hear the flushing sound, but no water is sprayed. Who knows which flush will be the one that sprays water, eliminating that player? Continue taking turns spinning the roll and flushing until one player has not been sprayed. That player wins the game!
Results: Parents cringed when they saw their mini-testers playing with a mini-toilet, but the kids loved it! The game is easy to pick up and play. And they all couldn’t stop laughing when the toilet would spray water. This toy actually did spray water at the kids! (Batteries not included.)
Pie Face Showdown
Description: First, players load the arm with whipped cream (not included) or the included sponge. Then each player places their chin on one of the chin rests and at the count of 3, rapidly mashes the button nearest to them, which activates the hand on the throwing arm. The suspense builds as players try to get the arm to move toward their opponent, and when it gets too close to the pie thrower, it'll spring up, and that player will get creamed! The player who doesn't get "pie-faced" wins.
Results: Pie Face has been around for a while now. Three years ago was the original game and this “Showdown” game was last year’s hot toy. We tested this one against the newest Pie Face…but this was our big winner! All of the kids said they’ve played this one before, but love it that much. They said they loved competing against each other…but what they really loved, was eating the whipped cream!
Pie Face Sky High
Description: The hilarious and wildly popular Pie Face game now lets players test their strength as they attempt to give their opponent a face full of whipped cream. (Whipped cream not included).
The game is set up like a strength-tester carnival game -- towering over 3 feet tall. One player stands, looks through the mask, and faces the throwing arm. The other player hits the base plate with the plastic hammer hard enough to "pie" their opponent! The game has an easy-to-adjust difficulty setting, making it fun for young players and adults. Score a point each time an opponent gets whipped cream in the face. (Whipped cream not included.) The player to reach 3 points wins.
Results: Because this was the newest version, kids were very excited to try it out! They loved the carnival feel of the game and thought it was a ton of fun…but they still loved the older version.
Something to remember: THIS GAME IS A BIG STICKY MESS! Both of the games took some time to clean up…but because this one sits on the ground, remember to put plastic underneath it. One mom pointed out, this would be a game she would play with her kids in the summer, on the driveway, in their bathing suits!
Description: It’s a 3D Printer Pen for kids. With the 3Doodler, you just turn it on, insert a strand and start doodling anything you want in 3D- immediately! Safe and clean – there are no hot parts. A built-in rechargeable battery allows you to operate wirelessly or plugged in.
Results: This craft was a massive hit with our testers. Inside the instruction booklet, there’s helpful tips on how to get started and special things you can do with your pen. The booklet is easy to read and also includes templates for several different designs. The templates range from easy to difficult. While the kids weren’t interested in cracking open the book, they picked up the craft pretty quickly and loved it. They’re creations looked like big messy nests, but they didn’t care, and neither did we! It’s a pretty easy clean up as well.
Description: Take an Oonies pallet, place it in the inflator and watch it magically grow into an Oonie! They stick to each other so you can make amazing creatures and designs! No glue. No water, no mess. Just air filled balls of amazing fun!
Results: This craft was a bit of a disappointment with our testers. Many of them said the balloons either didn’t inflate, started to and then deflated quickly, or they popped. Only one balloon successful inflated and stayed inflated. The instructions give you tools on how to create the animals and fun games you can play with the Oonies, but unfortunately, our testers couldn’t get that far.
There’s a list of “trouble shooting” tips in the instruction booklet, but none seemed to help our testers. They were pretty bummed with this craft being a dud. So if you decide to purchase, buyer beware! Pack your patience!
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