Interactive and Imaginative Toys for the Holidays - Glen Ellyn Public Library
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Interactive and Imaginative Toys for the Holidays

Posted: November 3, 2020

By: Christina Keasler, Youth Department Assistant Director

Suddenly, it’s November. Where did the year go? It’s been the fastest and longest one ever! If you enjoy exchanging gifts at the holidays, it could be time to start planning. We don’t encounter a lot of commercials in our home, so my kids don’t even know what they want – half the time they ask for toys that don’t exist. Weirdly, it’s helped that we’ve recently received some toy catalogs in the mail. I feel the holidays will carry a heavier weight this year. They’re going to be very different, and naturally, I want to overcompensate with gifts. But this is also a great opportunity to start some passive, off-screen learning with your kids. Gift giving can be so overwhelming! But don’t worry. I have some great predictions for what I believe will be surefire successes in your home.

The Child Animatronic Figure

This is it, guys. I think this is going to be hugely in demand. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s the cutest pop culture figure to come out in forever! This one moves and interacts with the user. If you can grab it, do it!

Care Bears Interactive Figure

There are no buttons on these guys, just hidden sensors in multiple areas that can help even the youngest kids learn cause-and-effect. The bears will even interact with each other and know which of the other bears they’re talking, too!

Rainbow Jellies

At the risk of aging myself, I’m going to compare this to the Creepy Crawlers of today – without the burn risk! Kids strategically place colored goop in molds that air dry into squishy adorable creatures.

LEGO DOTS

Lego has made a new line of DIY home décor for kids, and it includes little packs to make jewelry, too. LEGO Dots have already hit a couple of the top toy lists this year.

Play-Doh Slime Variety Pack

Slime is still a big thing, and Play-Doh has officially entered the game. While it’s a little late, they’re making up for it with a great multitextured variety pack. Pro tip: Have an adult mix them before play; they may have settled a bit.

Code ‘n Learn KinderBot

Another interactive coding toy that introduces the concepts to early ages. It’s slightly more advanced than the always-great Code-a-Pillar and includes a challenge mode that gets kids to think critically in simple scenarios.

FurReal Moodwings Snow Dragon Interactive Pet Toy 

FurReal has a great handle on interactive toy pets, and this looks like another success. The eye colors change to reflect the moods and needs of the baby dragon, and it comes with a few accessories as well. 

Squeakee The Interactive Balloon Dog

Similar to FurReal toy pets, but possibly more interactive. It has sensors to recognize touch and has the ability to learn tricks. Sqeakee can “pop” (which is just the toy flopping around on the ground), then you can “reinflate” with the accompanying tool.

Paper Flower Science Kit

Crayola is putting out a STEAM activity line, which I am very excited for. This particular experiment seems to be easily replicated with household products, but the kit might give you the boost you need for the first time. It seems like a great idea that inspires children while not adding clutter to your house.

PAW Patrol Dino Rescue Dino Patroller 

This truck is motorized and drives itself, which I’m sure kids will LOVE. It also shoots a projectile and comes with a dinosaur. Pair that with the beloved and more familiar rescue pups, and you’ve got a winner for any PAW fan. While it might not have any obvious educational features, imaginative play is a vital part of child development.

I recommend downloading a widget or otherwise tracking the cost of the item to make sure you get the best price. With these items expected to be popular during the holiday season, you might not be able to find a discount. Supply might be an issue with some of the higher demand items, too. But no matter what you decide, your loved ones will be happy with whatever you choose, and the memories you make will exceed any gift. Be safe out there, friends!