Every year there are popular toys that seemingly every kid wants. For those who haven't already been instructed by your youngsters, here are some tips on the must-have toys of the season.
• The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet has quickly become most popular toy for kids 6 to 10 years old. Yes, kids at this age know what an iPad is (trust me, my 6-year-old wants one), and while the cost of an iPad is far too steep for a child's gift - the LeapPad is the perfect substitute. It's a personalized, kid-friendly learning tablet complete with a built in camera and video recorder, along with more than 100 games and reading applications. The LeapPad sells for about $100.
For toddlers VTech has introduced the InnoTab Learning Tablet. The tablet combines interactive e-books, tilt-sensor learning games and activities applications. The tablet runs for about $80.
• If you have a grade school-age girl then the Justin Bieber Tour Bus and Concert Stage is a must have. It features a Bieber doll, a pop-up concert stage with lights, a MP3 connection and a speaker so everyone in the family can sing along to all of Bieber's hits - all this for just under $100.
For the grade school-age boy, the Geyser Rocket Car is good bet for fun and learning at a reasonable price of $30. The Rocket Car harnesses the power of Mentos candy and soda in a two-liter bottle that can travel more than 200 feet.
• For the toddler boy you can't beat a good old fashioned Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set. The tracks attach to a wall using 3M strips and your toddler can adjust their racing tracks as needed by simply removing the strips. The track set costs $50.
For non-gender specific toddler toys there is always building sets, like Legos or new on the market Deconstructive Blocks, which are oddly shaped wooden blocks that allow kids to learn with open-ended exploration. Blocks are also great for younger kids ages 1-3.
Small children love ride-on toys and one of the most popular for 1-4 year olds is the ScrambleBug Friendly Ant Ride-On for $50. This ride-on moves 360 degrees and has stabilization legs to prevent tipping over.
Also a safe bet is Elmo, who continues to enthrall the next generation of young children. The Sesame Street Playskool Let's Rock Elmo is widely popular because of its interactive components, which feature a tambourine and two drums.
• If your kids are 10-12 years old there is a plethora of popular toys on the market. More than likely you are well aware of what your older child wants but just in case:
The Nintendo 3DS is big hit, with a hefty price tag of $170. On the cheaper end though there is the Spy Net Stealth Video Glasses. These glasses record video and take still pictures, for only $20.
One of the coolest toys around is the Air Swimmer Remote Control Inflatable Flying Shark. Once filled with helium, the shark can fly through the air and can be controlled from as far as 40 feet away.
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