2013 Holiday Toy Guide

Here are our favorite new toys for Ages 5-8

Don't forget to check out our lists for Baby and Toddlers, Preschool and Tweens, plus great stocking stuffers!

Boom Boom Balloon Game by Spin Master will keep you in silly suspense. Roll the die and watch this funny faced balloon change shape with each new click. Don’t be the one to pop the balloon or you’ll lose. Once you run out of balloons, regular balloons can be substituted. Ages 8 and older. At most retailers. $19.99

Micro Chargers Hyper Dome by Moose is fast-paced fun. Kids charge the mini car (batteries required) and then launch it into the dome, where it whips around the interior. It’s fun to watch, and the car works on flat surfaces as well (it made big circles at top speed!) To have a battle, you need to purchase an additional car, which we would recommend to get the most out of this toy. Ages 6 and older. At major retailers. $29.99

If Barbie seems a bit too much, Lottie dolls from Arklu are a wholesome alternative. Developed by British academics, Lottie dolls have childlike bodies and don’t wear makeup or high heels. They’re all about girl power, with the slogan: Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You. Ages 3-9. At BeanHead Toys and MOMO Toys. $19.95

Adjustable and lightweight, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Combat Shell is a good fit for fans of the TMNT. It’s got spots to hold any combat weapons, and can transform into a shield with its interior grip. For pretend play, it helps kids find their inner Leonardo; a great addition to the dress-up bin. Ages 4 and older. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $14.99

Create Your Own Scratch ‘n Sniff Storybook from Creativity for Kids has everything kids need to write a story – a hardcover book, markers, scratch ‘n sniff stickers in scents such as chocolate and popcorn, plus instructions and ideas. Ages 5 and older. At local craft stores. $19.99

Put together a 108 pieces to create Quercetti’s Migoga Marble Run Double Spiral, race your marbles, then put the tracks together in a different way to create another race course. Ages 6 and older. At amazon.com. $49.99

Our family giggled our way through Blue Orange Game’s new card game Ooga Booga. Players take turns adding to a chain of cards with cave man words (Kana, Yonka, Zee!) or actions (bang your fist, clap your hands), and reciting the whole chain from memory. Ages 7 and older. At blueorangegames.com. $12.99

Make Lolly Crayons by sprinklling crayon crumbles in the molding tray in any creative pattern you wish. Add the sticks, then let Dad (or Mom) bake your creation. Our tester had a lot of fun making and drawing with these uniquely designed crayons. The small molds made the crayons just the right size for small hands too. Ages 5 and older. At alextoys.com. $15.40

Hasbro’s B-DAMAN Crossfire Break Bomber Battlefield Arena is a fun interactive battle game for two players. Shoot marbles with your B-DAMAN action figure knocking yellow and red blocks into your opponent’s territory. Kid testers found it easy to assemble and fun to play. Ages 6 and older. At major retailers. $29.99

Design beads and pendants using ice water and hot water with Color Splasherz Ice Station. String the pendants and beads to make a bracelet and up to three necklaces. Our tester felt quite creative. Ages 5 and older. At major retailers. $19.99

Young artists will have everything they need to draw on the go with the Faber-Castell Do Art Travel Easel. The 37-piece set has beeswax crayons, markers, chalk, white board marker, colored pencils and pencil sharpener, sponge and drawing pad. All the materials fit inside when not in use. Ages 4 and older. At fabercastell.com. $34.99

Fans of Thinkfun’s Rush Hour game will love LaserMaze, a science-based single-player logic game that uses light and mirrors to direct a laser beam through a series of mazes. Beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert challenge cards invite a player to figure out how to get the laser light to hit the target to win (solutions provided). This game made our testers think, and learn how to redirect and split light beams! Ages 8 and older. At thinkfun.com. $29.99

Playmobil’s City Action Cargo and Passenger Aircraft has 134 pieces to spark imagination, including the plane and air traffic control tower. Load cargo in the front of the aircraft or take off the removable roof to seat passengers; set includes five figures, cargo container and accessories. Ages 4-10. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $109.99

Kids can mix and match colors when making their own markers with the Crayola Marker Maker kit. The actual marker maker unit doubles as a storage unit for all the pieces. This kit comes with a color mixing guide but kids can also create their own colors. Ages 8 and older. At major retailers. $24.99

Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope & Activity Journal from Educational Insights lets kids examine anything they want to study, from leaves to bugs to fabric with a 30x-100x-400x magnification scope. The scope works two ways with a top and bottom viewing light, so you can view the inside and outside of any specimen. The scope impressed our young scientists with its strong magnification and it sparked their interest in a closer examination of nature. Ages 8 and older. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $39.99

The Hot Wheels Car Maker by Mattel was a hit with kid testers. The kit includes wax to create ten Hot Wheels. Kids loved mixing wax colors and customizing the cars. Patience is a must with this toy – it takes 5-7 minutes to heat the wax and then another 8-10 minutes for it to cool. Adult supervision is necessary. Refills available. Ages 8 and older. At major retailers. $49.99

The Angry Birds Playground game is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Players choose one of 48 challenges, then take the four playing pieces and cover up all the pigs that are not in your challenge. Our 7-year-old tester liked this strategic thinking game because it was challenging – she feels like it makes you smart. Ages 5 and older. At amazon.com and smarttoysandgames.com. $17.99