From the December 2015 issue

On-Trend Toys for the Holiday Season

From dinosaurs and pets to small-fry chefs and STEAM geniuses, Metro Parent's 2015 Holiday 'It' List hits on the hot sellers – with a southeast Michigan spin.

Holiday wish lists are holy grails of sorts. And, often, there’s one coveted item that bolts to the top. For little Ralphie in the iconic ’80s flick A Christmas Story, it was that official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle (with a compass in the stock). Today’s kids are more likely into Jurassic World and celeb chefs than cowboy antics – at least according to 2015 stats from a pretty popular toy chain (surely you “R” familiar). The bestsellers? Dinosaurs, STEAM (that’s STEM plus “Art”), chefs and pets. We took the hunch and turned it over to the real experts – local toy stores! With their Santa-caliber smarts, combined with our crack team of reporter elves, we scooped up unique selections for each trend. And while you will find a bunny, rest assured, Ralphie: It’s not those pink pj’s!

Our 4 Stores

Genuine Toy Company, Plymouth
Owner/manager: Elle Dare

Great Lakes Hobby & Toy, Sterling Heights
Owner: Tom Kavulich

Just Imagine, Chelsea
Owner: Bill Harris

Toyology, Howell, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield
Owner: Aric Klar

Dinosaur Toys

Dinosaurs still rule the Earth – and kids’ imaginations. These toys won’t go extinct.

 

Papo Figurines

A line of mega-detailed dinos including this Parasaurolophus, a mighty T. rex and much more. Ages 3+. $22.99+.
Genuine Toy Company

 

Dig a Dinosaur Skeleton

Play paleontologist with this kit. Store offers Triceratops or Stegosaurus. By 4M Kidz Lab. Ages 8+. $9.49.
Great Lakes Hobby & Toy

 

Dino ZipBin

Unzip this backpack to reveal a map with a volcano, jungle and lava-filled gorge. Includes a mini dino (and room for his buddies). By Neat-Oh! Ages 3+. $23.
Just Imagine

 

Remote-Control Machines Animals

Kids can build an R/C T. rex, flying Pteranodon and six other moveable models with this 100-piece set. By Thames & Kosmos. Ages 8+. $49.95.
Toyology

 

Hot Toy! Jurassic World Toys

Hasbro stomps the competition – and celebrates the year’s runaway blockbuster action film – with a “chomping dino head” hand puppet ($19.99), cool “Indominus rex” and T. rex action figures ($34.99 each) and raptor claws ($19.99). Ages 4+.

STEAM Toys

Science, technology, engineering and math + art = awesomely creative stuff.

 

Salt Water Fuel Cell Motorcycle

Kids create their own chopper, spider and more – and make those creations move with the power of salt water. By OWI Robotikits. Ages 10+. $24.95.
Great Lakes Hobby & Toy

 

Play-Doh Classic Style Fun Tools

This nostalgic kit (and its “Fun Factory” counterpart) has eight colors of dough plus wooden mallets and presses to add pizazz to putty designs. By Kahootz. Ages 3-10. $29.99.
Genuine Toy Company

 

Metal Earth Black Pearl Model Ship

Sculpt a 3D structure from small pieces of metal. Picks also include various small works of architecture, instruments, vehicles and more. Ages 14+. $7+.
Just Imagine

 

Roominate Townhouse

Featured on Shark Tank, this brand aims to get girls geeked for engineering. This is one of its latest. Bonus: Toyology stocks hard-to-find basic, deluxe and chateau sets. Ages 6+. $29.99-$39.99.
Toyology

 

Hot! Cubelets Six Kit

It’s hip to be square with this clever robot-making kit. Using six interlocking cubes, each with a high-tech function, kids invent 500 simple robots that spin, flash – even move when breathed on. By Modular Robotics. Ages 4+. $159.95.

Chef Toys

Got a budding foodie? Sate their culinary chops with these tasty fun finds.

 

Let’s Play House! Stainless Steel Pots & Pans Play Set

With a realistic look and feel, these mirror-finish pots, pans and wooden utensils nurture the next five-star chef. By Melissa & Doug. Ages 3+. $30.
Just Imagine

 

Playmobil Food Truck

The German toy maker offers this rad restaurant on wheels – among other neat buildable food play sets (find an ice cream version at Great Lakes). Ages 4-10. $29.99.
Great Lakes Hobby & Toy

 

Spaghetti

Kids can whip up a perfect plate of pasta without the mess. Adorable set includes noodles, plate, fork, spoon, slice of garlic bread, mushroom, onion and tomato slices. By Plan Toys. Ages 3+. $14.99.
Toyology

 

Dream Cakes! The Creative Cake-Making Game

Two to four players decorate multiple confections – spin the wheel to determine the icing and décor. The best ones rack up ribbon cards. By Ravensburger. Ages 4+. $16.99.
Genuine Toy Company

 

Hot Toy! Wicked Cool Toy Ovens

Bake up Girl Scouts cookie faves like Thin Mints (included), caramel-coconut and “Chocolate PB” ($59.99/oven, $6.99/refills) – or a cowabunga-licious treat with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza oven ($49.99). Ages 8-12.

Pet Toys

These creatures need cuddles – or, in one case, insects. Adopt one for your tyke!

 

Bashful Bunny

Tykes will love nuzzling this super-soft plush so much, you might need to buy a back-up in case it becomes the “lovey” they can’t be without. In gray, pistachio and more. By Jellycat. Ages 0+. $24.99.
Toyology

 

AquaBot Seahorse

These tropical beauties have joined this ever-popular line of tiny robotic creatures – which, in this case, swim in water. By Hexbug. Ages 3-15. $14.99.
Genuine Toy Company

 

Carnivorous Creations

Kids raise 10 “meat-eating” plants in this terrarium, including a Venus flytrap, that need care like pets. Comes with “Larry the Lizard.” By Dunecraft. Ages 8+. $24.99.
Great Lakes Hobby & Toy

 

Panther Lifelike Stuffed Animal

Standing nearly three feet tall, this striking faux pet is soft and smooth, giving it a lifelike animal feel. By Melissa & Doug. Ages 3+. $70.
Just Imagine

 

Hot Toy! Furbacca

The coolest reboot in the galaxy hits theaters Dec. 18. And this hybrid Wookie-Furby, a fully integrated toy and app, ensures the toy “force” is with your little Star Wars fans. By Hasbro. Ages 6+. $79.99.

Compiled by DeJanay Booth, Kristy Case, Christina Clark, Jessica Schrader and Kim Kovelle

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