Toy Testers #1: Toys for the Boys (6-10)
By: Lauren Keith
Each day this week, I'll test some of this year's hottest Christmas toys. First, I focus on toys geared for boys between the ages of 6 and 10. Both Fisher Price and Mattel sent me some toys, and I took them into area classrooms to see how well your children really liked them.
First, we start in Mrs. Kim Chism's first grade classroom in Cape Girardeau. Almost immediately, I can tell what might be at the top of the boys' wish list.
"The Mega T-Rex!" shouts one excited boy.
"Lightning McQueen!" yells another.
I set the pile of toys out, and the boys go at it! The mega T-Rex moves, roars, and it's a dinosaur of a hit with these guys. However, the new Superman inflatable suit isn't so super, just yet. It's a bit tricky trying to get the inflating device hooked into the suit. Once we finally get it in place, the little guy wearing it has never felt so strong! He has no problem flexing his super-inflated muscles!
Everyone can certainly get their hands on the Hot Wheels Radar Gun. It actually records the speed of your Hot Wheels cars and anything else that moves, just like a real radar gun. However, adults might want to take some time to "slow down" and read the instructions because these little speeders had some trouble.
"I didn't know how to work the radar gun," admits one of the boys.
Meantime, the RC Airblade powers up and steals the show. It's a mini, radio-controlled hovercraft. The boys love it, even though it's a bit hard to maneuver
"I didn't know how to keep it from spinning!" says one little guy.
The big surprise here---the mini hovercraft makes the popular Lightning McQueen car eat its dust, easily overpowering the "Cars" movie star, which leads both Mrs. Chism and I to this conclusion.
"They want something in their hands to control. All the attention was on the hovercraft and the bug."
Yeah, about that bug--- the hovercraft easily took the top spot, until the huge bug finally reached a full charge. You really have to see it to believe. It's a really cool toy that shoots Styrofoam weapons. It even has claws to pick up items. You control Tyco's INSECT by remote. However, this bug has to charge initially for up to ten hours, before it's ready. Plus, both the INSECT and the RC Airblade required special tools. I had to buy very small screwdrivers just to open up the battery compartments! Still, I can't deny how much these guys---and gals--- really love it. I notice the girls even sauntered over to take a turn with the INSECT.
Now it's time to hand out some grades-- will the top toys right now still be popular one week later? That's when I return to the classroom to see what really is hot this year.
"The INSECT--everyone wanted to play with the bug," says Mrs. Chism.
She says the kids still wanted to play with it, even though it doesn't hold its charge very long!
"It only kept a charge for ten minutes, but we shot the weapons all the time, so that's probably why it ran down so quickly," says Mrs. Chism.
That factor, and the $100 price tag leads both Mrs. Chism and I to give the Tyco INSECT a B+. Again, it was the most popular toy here. Remember the little boys who shouted out the "Mega T-Rex." Well, one week later, that $30 moveable dino is still tops. It easily gets an A. Mrs. Chism also says the Radar Gun gets high marks, even though it can be tricky to operate. That just proves, once gain, anything these guys can control with their hands seems to be hot, so the Hot Wheels Radar Gun clocks an A-minus.
A remote control could have been the ticket for the Fast Talkin' Lightning McQueen car. It moves, but you have to push buttons on the car. Lighting McQueen seemed to get lost in the tracks with all of these radio-controlled toys to choose from. This $35 toy works well, and may be more popular in a one on one session, but on this Toy Test, it gets a B.
The $80 RC Airblade zooms in as second most favorite. It gets an A minus; remember it has to charge awhile, too.
As for Superman's inflatable suit, it's definitely not one size fits all, but those who could wear it, loved it. This $20 inflatable suit gets a B+.
Remember, this year's toys seem to require a lot of assembly, so you might want to take them out of the packaging before you place them under the tree.
"Have tools and be ready to charge!" advises Mrs. Chism.
Tomorrow, we see what the first grade girls like, and you might be surprised!