Seeking the perfect gift for Three Kings Day? We did a test-drive of five fabulous toys that inspire imaginative, interactive play while providing endless hours of fun. (And speaking of gifts—one of them can be yours, with an exclusive giveaway offer!)
Tired of the glassy-eyed look your kids get from playing XBox for hours on end, barely saying a word to one another? The BOP-IT XT is the perfect antidote. With its sleek, futuristic look (especially in the Target Exclusive Black Onyx Special Edition) and brightly-colored, textured knobs and buttons, the BOP-IT XT is an immediate and irresistible eye-catcher. The rules are simple: the sassy BOP-IT calls out commands (like “Twist it!”"Shake it,” and of course—”Bop it!”) and players have to keep up. I immediately caught a case of the giggles, which proved to be contagious. Kids can play it solo (there’s the option of using headphones to keep your game play a bit more on the down-low) or two or more players can bop in on the fun, making it perfect for a fun group activity. There’s four levels to up the challenge, so the whole family can take turns pulling, twisting, and shaking to meet the BOP-IT XT’s commands. After a few rounds, I was out of breath from playing and laughing. Now that’s what I call a workout! (Target Stores)
Disney Kids Headbanz Game
This sweet, interactive game brings a little bit of that Disney magic into your home. The game comes with headbands (complete with Mickey ears) and a timer. The objective? You’re the character or object from a Disney movie, and your cartoon card is displayed via headband to all the players—except you. You can ask questions until the timer runs out to try and figure out your card. I loved playing this game with my family—the timer adds just the right amount of pressure (hysterical laughter ensued), and nothing is quite as silly as seeing your loved ones adorned with Mickey Mouse ears. Plus, the game works for a wide age range—and I don’t just mean the kids, but also the adults who never mind sitting down with them to watch a Disney movie. And Hedbanz comes in a non-Disney version, too (minus the Mickey ears). (Target Stores)
Rory’s Story Cubes
Great things really do come in small packages, as evidenced by the bestselling Rory’s Story Cubes. Small, compact, perfect for playing at home or taking with you when you’re on the go, this creative, family-friendly game comes with nine small cubes—like dice—with simple images on each side. It could be a magic wand, a lightning bolt, or a fish—there’s a total of 54 pictures, and they’re just waiting to be made into a story. You can play it by yourself—I found it a very peaceful way to spend time—or play with friends and family. Since the game depends upon storytelling, it really sparks the imagination. The rules are flexible; one player can make up their own story, or each player can take turns adding to a tale-in-progress (making it extra-interactive). You can play for the pleasure of making up a story, or add some competitive flavor by giving the dice points value or setting a time frame. The game is for 8 years and up, but it depends so much upon imagination—and the rules are so flexible—that it really feels like it’s for all-ages (although be advised, the small dice could pose a choking hazard).
The adorable, squeezable Fijit Friends combine a bunch of elements that kids love, making it one of the hottest toys of the season. Wide-eyed and sweet-voiced, the Fijit Friend comes in four different characters—blue Logan, the pale green Sage, pink Serafina, and lavendar Willa. Voice recognition enables Fijit Friends to respond to certain words and phrases, so they’re endearingly interactive (they’ll tell you a joke, offer up compliments, ask what’s happening in your life or even inquire as to how you’re feeling). Feel like playing some tunes? Your Fijit Friend will play its own music or dance to one of your selections—and the wiggling and shaking is sure to bring on a smile. My stepdaughter raved about hers and seemed to particularly enjoy the dancing element. With its friendly demeanor and cute antics (say “Good night,” and the Fijit Friend will burst into a snoring fit), it’s a gift that makes for a sweet companion.
GIVEAWAY! Barbie I Can Be…
I still remember my almost nuclear-level excitement whenever I received a Barbie doll during the holidays. And the variety of Barbies just kept me wanting more. Now the classic Mattel doll ups the ante with Barbie I Can Be. Girls will thrill to the concept that Barbie can be just about anything, including a ballerina, chef, architect, or computer engineer. Each Barbie I Can Be is equipped with the key elements of her craft, encouraging imaginative play and making this toy an absolute winner. Barbie I Can Be… Art Teacher comes with an easel, a switch in Barbie’s back that allows her to “paint,” and a brush that can be dipped in water (which activates the easel, allowing you to paint with Barbie!), as well as still life inspiration, like Blissa the Cat and a vase of flowers.
Mamiverse.com will be giving away one Barbie I Can Be…Art Teacher to a lucky reader for Three Kings Day. Follow us on Twitter to learn more.