The holiday shopping season is here. But all the toys, gadgets and games can be confusing for Santa. So we're helping you out with a Toy Testers series. We begin with 4 and 5 year olds.
"How about this toy?" Amy Jacquin asks as she holds up a Bratz doll. The Jackson Kindergarten class responded enthusiastically.
Amy monitored various websites, toy stores, and magazines to see which toys were tops on lists this year. Some were golden oldies - others, newer to the scene. But she found it impossible to pick-out toys that many of the kids didn't already have!
This is her strategy - let Jana Scott's Kindergarten class have a free hour to play with what they want - three new toys, or ones already on classroom shelves. That should show us if the advertising lives up to its claims - or if these new toys are over-hyped.
Here are the toys we chose for our Kindergartners - GI Joe at $10, a Bratz doll at $15, Tekno Robotic Puppy on sale for $20, and a Jack Stone lego set for $15. You can see we limited our toy selection to affordable options, and crossed the expensive ones off our list.
All the toys found a home right from the beginning. While GI Joe was busy making friends, a couple of other boys soon discovered that his knife and rifle are fun to use on each other.
Tekno Puppy barks and wags its way into the hearts of these kindergarten - even though many of them already have this toy at home. This pooch was not left alone for a second.
Lego started off strong, but the fact that it only builds one thing quickly led several of the boys to give up, and turn to other things. Plus, it's kind-of hard!
For the most part, Miss Jana's class shared the toys unselfishly. We're not sure which the girls enjoy the most -- the Bratz doll, or her wardrobe accessories. But after just a few minutes, children tire of clamoring for a turn with the new toys, and figure out other ways to have fun.
The Tekno Robotic dog holds their attention constantly. But many of the kids have chosen old, but tried and true favorites that are in the classroom every day. Some listen to audio books. Others play the game Operation with friends.
Meanwhile the lego truck kit is down to just one brave boy. The Bratz doll is tossed onto a table - but Tekno Puppy continues to lead the pack. And GI Joe holds his own in this battle for popularity.
Commercials may make kids want these toys. But it takes more than slick ads to keep them interested. And you don't have to spend a fortune to get some fun.