Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Kids pick hot holiday toys

The Associated Press

        In anticipation of the holiday season, parents and retailers are beginning to make their bets on what will be the new hot toys. Why not just ask the kids?

        FamilyFun magazine did just that at 18 KinderCare Learning Centers across the country, putting 519 toys - whittled down to 71 finalists - to the test for more than 30,000 hours of play. More than 1,000 children, ages 3 to 12, participated.

        The top toys include:

        For 3- and 4-year-olds, Magnetic Theater-Caillou (BJ Toys) for quiet play; Dancing Deedle Dudes (Imagiix) for playmate play; Sweet Magic Kitchen (Fisher-Price) for imaginative play; Honey Bee Tree (International Playthings) in the games category; and Tonka Radio Control Bobbly Boys ATV (Hasbro) for active play.

        For 5- to 7-year-olds, Bratz Stylin' Salon n' Spa (MGA Entertainment) for playmate play; Barbie Bank With Me Savings Bank-ATM Machine (KIDdesigns) for imaginative play; Monster Stomp (Aristoplay) in the game category; Color-In Tattoos (BJ Toys) in arts and crafts; and Rescue Heroes Ultimate Robotic Vehicle (Fisher-Price) for active play.

        For 8- and 9-year-olds, Hot Wheels Octoblast Track Set (Mattel) for active play; Queasy Bake Cookerator (Hasbro) for imaginative play; Hershey's Chocolate Magic Molding Kit (Spin Master) for arts and crafts; and Old Century Baseball (Old Century Classics) in the games category.

        For 10- to 12-year-olds, Stunt Hopper (Nikko) in the radio-controlled category; Table-Top Cotton Candy Maker (GC Toys) for imaginative play; Ultimate Spider-Man Electronic Pinball Machine (Funrise) in the games category.

        All the winners of the 11th annual FamilyFun toy awards appear in the November issue of the magazine.

        Find a few minutes for family storytime

        The National Center for Family Literacy is challenging families to spent 15 minutes a day together reading aloud.

        The goal of the campaign is both to promote family bonding and improve children's literacy skills, self-confidence and academic achievement.

        The literacy center has partnered with Snuggle Fabric Softener, which is featuring tips and activities on its Web site, Snuggle.com.


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