Help Me Hank Toy Test: Testing some of the most popular toys before the holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, there are several toys generating buzz. The Help Me Hank Toy Test gathered some of those toys to see if children believe they deserved the attention.

DETROIT – With the holidays right around the corner, there are several toys generating buzz. The Help Me Hank Toy Test gathered some of those toys to see if children believe they deserved the attention.

Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball

  • Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball with Interactive 8 inch Pink/Blue Plush Toy and 80+ Sounds and Reactions ($64- $85) Amazon.com

Out of all the toys tested, girls gravitated toward this one the most. Children wave a wand to conjure up a fortune telling pet.

While it was the most expensive on our list, parents do not see potential for it. Parents believe that children would only use the crystal ball once before being tired of it.

“It’s a one-and-done,” father Dustin Fitzgerald said. “I think it would open up and that was it.”

The stuffed animal was given the most attention, so some of the parents said they would just gift them a normal stuffed animal.

“She is really enjoying the stuffed animal that came out of that,” mother Coutnie Squirewell said. “So I’m feeling like we could just buy a stuffed animal just be done with it.”

Connect 4 Spin Game

  • Connect 4 Spin Game, Features Spinning Connect 4 Grid, Board Game for Kids and Family ($15-$21) Connect 4 Spin Game, Features Spinning Connect 4 Grid, Board Game for Kids and Family - Walmart.com

Connect 4 Spin is a twist on the classic two-person board game. The twist is after every move, a player must spin that row.

Ranging in price from $15-$21 puts the price tag a little higher than the original, but is it worth it? Kids and parents agreed that you cannot improve on a classic. When trying to spin a single column many ended up spinning several.

“That one looks a lot harder,” mother Darra Basil said.

That was a shared consensus among parents and children.

Pop It Pro

  • Pop It Pro ($20 dollars or less) Pop It! Pro Game by Buffalo Games - Walmart.com

Fidgets are very popular, so this pop fidget takes it to the next level. This toy is a light-up, pattern-based game.

Many of the children stated that Pop It Pro was more than just a one-and-done toy. While the kids loved the toy, it may require reading the directions first.

Fashion Fidgets

  • Fashion Fidgets ($7.99-$10) Amazon.com: Fashion Fidgets Sensory Toy Dolls – Push Pop Fidget Toy Includes 1 Mystery Doll – Anxiety and Stress Relief for Kids : Toys & Games

Fashion Fidgets looks to be a great stocking stuffer. Simple, yet fun. The dolls each have their own unique fidget features. A common sentiment that children shared is the love for the clip allowing them to place Fashion Fidgets on backpacks or clothes

Learning Resources Big Feelings Pineapple

  • Learning Resources Big Feelings Pineapple - 30 Pieces, Ages 3+ Social Emotional Learning Toy ($10) Amazon.com: Learning Resources Big Feelings Pineapple - 30 Pieces, Ages 3+ Social Emotional Learning Toy For Boys and Girls, Body Awareness, Toddler Learning Toys: Toys & Games

A modern-day Mr. Potato Head is here. It is a tactile toy that can get the kids away from the screen. Kids who are creative enjoy this gift. Parents approved it, especially because the expressions can go inside the pineapple for easy clean up.

The Floor is LAVA

  • The Floor is LAVA ($17.99) The Original The Floor Is Lava! Game by Endless Games - Interactive Game For Kids & Adults - Walmart.com

With 27 challenges to do the floor is lava is a great game for 2-6 people. This game encouraged all of the kids to play with one another.

MinnARK Foam Axe Toss

  • MinnARK Foam Axe Toss ($6-$8) Amazon.com: MinnARK Sports MinnARK Foam Axe Toss: Foam Axe Throwing Game for Kids/Families - Includes Two Lightweight Axes with Easy Stick Target: Toys & Games

Axe-throwing is a trending activity for adults and now kids can try it, too. The axes are a firm foam with Velcro where the blade would normally be. A challenge was to get the axes to stick to the target, but once you find the trick it becomes very easy.

Legends of Akedo Powerstorm Triple Strike Tag Team Arena

  • Legends of Akedo Powerstorm Triple Strike Tag Team Arena with 40+ Battle Sound Effects, Light Up Scoreboard and 2 Battling Warriors Exclusive to The playset : Toys & Games ($49.99) Amazon.com: Legends of Akedo Powerstorm Triple Strike Tag Team Arena with 40+ Battle Sound Effects, Light Up Scoreboard and 2 Battling Warriors Exclusive to The playset: Toys & Games

This toy was a hit with the boys. A three-on-three battle with warrior action figures. The toy includes two figures to start and have more available separately. It has a similar feeling to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Parents enjoyed it as well.

“I like something like that because I like to play with her,” said Dane Ziemba. “So much of her life is spent on a screen now, so it’s good to have things to do with her.”

Orbeez Sensation Station

  • Orbeez Sensation Station, The One and Only, 2000 Non-Toxic Water Beads, Includes 6 Tools and Storage, Sensory Toy for Kids ($20) Amazon.com: Orbeez Sensation Station, The One and Only, 2000 Water Beads, Includes 6 Tools and Storage, Sensory Toy for Kids Aged 5 and Up (Packaging May Vary): Toys & Games

The Orbeez Sensation Station was a massive hit with children but may leave a mess. Kids can roll them, shoot them, and crush them.

It was a very satisfying experience to play with. By the end of the play, Orbeez ended up all over the studio floor. Parents’ advice is to make it an outdoor toy.


About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.