Before buying gifts for the little ones in your life, check out these toys topping Santa’s list nationwide.
Lumi Gaming Drone
The future takes flight with this technological marvel that puts the remote control helicopters many of us had as kids to shame. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a drone! And it’s a surefire hit at the next birthday party or sleepover. Lumi Gaming Drone is definitely not your grandpa’s remote control airplane. A downloadable app serves as the remote control and allows you to not only fly it but also put it in game mode or have it perform tricks to music. $80, www.toysrus.com
Young Architect City Planner
Never miss a local story.
Boys and girls can create the city of their dreams with this set that includes a grid, plastic buildings and bridges, decals for the building facades and windows, and traceable templates to draw roads, parks, sports stadiums and other aspects of city life. Maybe it’ll lay the foundation for a lifelong interest in architecture and design. Ages 8 and up. $64, www.target.com
Marbles: The Brain Store has done it again with its updated version of the classic Connect Four. In the newly released Newton, you not only drop pieces into the columns, but you also can grab pieces from the bottom of the columns, so the board layout is constantly changing. Using spatial strategy and reasoning, it’s a great challenge for kids 9 and up. Adults will find this game fun as well. $35, www.marblesthebrainstore.com
Remember Cabbage Patch Kids or Tickle Me Elmo? Brace yourself, parents, the latest toy craze has hatched. Hatchimals are large speckled eggs with furry, magical creatures inside that eventually crack out of the egg but only if given enough human attention. As you rub the egg, it lights up and makes sounds. Eventually, the baby animal inside begins to peck away and break free. Kids can watch it develop its own personality as it matures from a baby to adulthood, where it can repeat words and play games. Hatchimals landed in stores on Oct. 7 and are already hard to find. A Toys R Us spokesperson said they’re currently limited to one per customer. I called several stores, and they were all sold out. They were also out of stock online. Sellers on Amazon are asking $190 for a toy that’s listed for $50 at Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, and that’s if you can actually find it on the shelves.
Razor Hovertrax 2.0
Hoverboard hysteria is going strong, with the toy topping many holiday lists this year. No, it doesn’t levitate, but it does take some skill to master this cross between a Segway and a skateboard. I tried riding one and feared I’d fall on my head. It’s not how I roll, but for coordinated kids, it’s a sweet ride. Razor Hovertrax 2.0 comes with a rechargeable electric battery that lasts up to an hour per charge. Battery indicator lights tell you exactly how much time you have left before needing to recharge. Blue LED lights make for fun entertainment at night. Just make sure to include a helmet, knee and elbow pads with this gift. Ages 8 and up. $350, www.toysrus.com
Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set
Thank Silicon Valley billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for making code cool. Once the domain of tech geeks, computer coding is now standard in many kindergarten classrooms. Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set provides a great introduction to coding. Build a maze with the enclosed grids, walls and tunnels, then program the mouse to follow the pattern to reach the cheese. It’s a fun problem-solving activity that uses skills associated with writing code. Plus, the mouse is supercute! $60, www.timelesstoyschicago.com