December 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 12
Smarcks Smart Blocks by SMART BLOCKS INC
This new set of Smarcks Smart Blocks has 70 standard building blocks and four new smarter talking blocks. Each new Smart Block uses a higher capacity microprocessor and is equivalent to three of the original; so four blocks in this new set is equivalent to having 12 of the original. The new blocks have been programmed with a new progressive learning function to enable children, as they get older, to play differently as the blocks are programmed to react differently. Very young children can press the buttons in the blocks or stack them one block at a time. This is a discovery stage as they sing, play nursery rhymes, play sound effects, laugh, and talk about color and good manners. As children develop fine motor skills they begin to stack two blocks at a time. Play moves to a higher level as they sing nursery rhymes, like Old MacDonald, with 7 different animals and learn spelling, counting, math, and puzzle solving providing years of entertainment and learning.
Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Toys 9/11/2012 (MSRP: $64.95; Age: 1 to 6)
Star Trek Catan™ by MAYFAIR
STAR TREK CATAN® transports the timeless game concept of the world’s most acclaimed board game—THE SETTLERS OF CATAN—into the exciting Star Trek universe. The popular characters of the Starship Enterprise come into play through novel new “support cards.” Build, trade and settle where no one has gone before. Launch date: 2012.
— As of 09/13/2012 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 2 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Same playing concept as the old Catan, but uses fun Star Strek elements; New development cards enhance the game. 9/13/2012 (MSRP: $55.00; Age: 10 and Up)
GeoTrax Christmas In ToyTown RC Train Set by FISHER-PRICE INC.
Kids of all ages can experience traditional holiday fun with the Fisher-Price GeoTrax Christmas Train. The train features working lights in each of the cars and automatically activates lights in the mini-sites as it passes. There are 2 moveable street lights, a bridge that plays holiday music, and a skating rink with spot lights. The Easy-Rail Station lighted features include: a 3-faced clock tower, 2 lamps, 2 street lights, and station windows. Pull into the station to unload passengers and listen as they are welcomed by a fun holiday tune. The station's lights and music can also be activated by pressing the button on the clock tower or either of 2 buttons on the track. This cool set includes 16 pieces of durable, Snap-Lock track, holiday decor that snaps onto the guard rails, street lamps, a bridge, a station, and signs that can be placed throughout the set. Compatible with other GeoTrax train sets. 9/14/2012 (MSRP: $129.99; Age: 2 to 4)
Tinkertoy® Transit Bldg Set by K'NEX BRANDS
The Tinkertoy® Transit Building Set is designed to encourage young builders to play and learn. Builders ages 3+ can create a train, garage, bridge and more or accelerate their imagination with other ideas. The colorful guide provides a variety of ideas for all building skill levels. The Tinkertoy® Transit set includes 150 durable, plastic pieces including spools, straight rods, bendable rods, wheels, eyes, two buildable figures and more. Comes in a durable box with lid for easy storage and portability. 9/17/2012 (MSRP: $43.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Playmobil Magic Castle - Princess Fantasy Castle by PLAYMOBIL INC.
This castle features a grand staircase and a lot of rooms. The tower has a secret hiding place, and inside the castle there is a revolving dance floor. Includes a jewelry box, tiara, bracelet and ring for the child. Dimensions: 29.5"x 28"x 26" (L x W x H).
— Grafton Stine, owner of Toys on the Square in Hummelstown, Pa., told TDmonthly in a June 2013 survey that Playmobil dollhouses and furnishings are their best-selling furniture item. 9/17/2012 (MSRP: $149.99; Age: 3 and Up)