Play list

December 06, 1993|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Staff Writer

It's beginning to look a lot like . . . that same old seasonal power struggle. Do you give kids the presents they want for the holidays -- or what's appropriate according to their age, interest and ability?

This roster, based on general toy categories and age-appropriate groupings from the Toy Manufacturers of America, serves both masters: the children in your life and your conscience.

Culled from independent toy studies and retail forecasts, the toys listed here are hot and developmentally correct.

They've passed muster with kids and with the adults who evaluate them for play value and durability.

They're not only popular, they're toys designed to last past Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas, after the holiday vacation, even after New Year's Eve!

Each toy is listed by name, manufacturer and suggested retail price.

Sorry, batteries are required for much of this kidstuff.

Birth to age 1

Infant learning toys

1. Little Smart Baby Bear Phone. Listen to animal sounds, phrases and nursery rhymes. VTech, $20.

2. Lights 'n Sounds Piano. A toy with three keys that light up and play notes at baby's touch. Fisher-Price, $30.99.

3. Activity Table. Offers colorful table-top amusement for babies and toddlers. Fisher-Price, $29.99.

4. Activity Garden. Small-scale garden includes carrots, flowers and a gate. Little Tikes, $60 to $80.

5. Rolly Polly Penguin. Stacking toy. Today's Kids, $13.

6. Stim-Mobile. Black and white mobile features a face and shapes. Wimmer-Ferguson, $19.95.

Ages 1 to 3

Dolls and stuffed animals

1. Kids of Color. A rag doll. Playskool, $9.99.

2. Baby Beans. Machine-washable soft baby doll that sits. Meritus Industries, $9.99.

3. Talking Barney. An interactive purple dinosaur. Playskool, $34.99.

Electronic toys

1. Bumble Ball. Battery-run ball that bounces and rolls by itself. Ertl, $14.99.

Learning toys

1. Mailbox Shape Sorter. Fit pieces through same-shape mailbox holes. Little Tikes, $16 to $20.

PD 2. Hide Inside. Soft, dump and fill toy. Discovery Toys, $16.98.

Push/pull and ride-on toys

1. Rocking Rider Horse. Palomino horse that bounces and rides. Today's Kids, $80.

2. Calliope. Pull toy with bright whistles. Holgate, $20.

3. Double Fun Wagon. Comes with three bright panels and convertible seat. Today's Kids, $40.

Ages 3 to 5

Activity toys

1. Howdy the Talking Pony. Battery-run hobby horse that chats with its rider. Mattel, $30.

Art supplies

1. Sparkling Play-Doh. Glittery modeling clay. Playskool, $3.99.

2. SparkleLights. Make illuminated drawings with colored pegs. Ohio Art, $12.99.

3. 2-Sided Magna Doodle. Magnetic drawing toy. Tyco, $20.

Board games

1. Alphabet Soup. Match letters to images around a soup bowl. Parker Brothers, $8.99.

2. Things in My House. Lotto-like game that encourages memory and storytelling skills. Ravensburger of Germany, $11.95.

Computer games

1. MathSafari. A game that makes math fun. Educational Insights Inc. $99.95

Construction

1. Wooden Railway Set. Train construction kit. Brio, $21 to $360.

2. Duplo airport series. Airport construction kit. LEGO Systems Inc., from $5.49 to $35.99.

Dolls

1. My Size Barbie. Three-foot-tall Barbie. Mattel, $125.

2. Baby Walk and Roll. Doll in radio-controlled walker. Mattel, $45.

3. Cabbage Patch Baby Cries So Real. A weeping doll. Hasbro, $33.

4. Baby Giggles 'N Go. Doll in two-speed walker who giggles when she bumps. Tyco, $35.

Educational

1. Little Smart Dr. Doctor. Electronic talking activity. VTech, $48

Electronic toys

1. Big Frank. A friendly Frankenstein that tells kids how to repair ,, him. Playskool, $29.99.

2. Toby Terrier. Interactive pooch responds to videotape cues. Tiger Electronics, $49.99.

Farm, village, house and other play sets

1. Drive-Thru Garage. Elaborate play garage that accommodates most kid vehicles. Step 2, $110 to $120.

2. Farm Set. Intricately detailed farm play set. Playmobile, $77.99.

3. Playskool Preschool. A miniature schoolroom complete with cubbies. $39.99.

Games of skill

1. Tyrannosaurus Rocks. Place bones on dinosaur skeleton withoutwaking him. Mattel, $20.

Stuffed animals

1. Awesome Toss 'Ems. Brightly colored critters that crow, oink and moo. Playskool, $19.99.

Wheeled toys

1. Big Digger. Sturdy push/pull truck. Little Tikes, $35 to $40.

2. Radio Control Racer. Remote-control car. Fisher-Price, $39.99.

Ages 5 to 9

Action and hero figures

1. Batman figures. Fantasize with Batman and his foes. Kenner, $7.

2. Jurassic Park dinos and figures. 'Raptors and their prey. Kenner, $7.

3. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. From the hot TV program. Bandai America Inc., $10 to $15.

4. Star Trek figures. They're baaack. Playmates, $4.99.

Construction toys

1. K'Nex Connector Set. Unique construction kit with complex XTC possibilities. Connector Set Toy Co., $9.99 to $99.99.

2. Wizbits. Colorful and fanciful construction kit. The Wizbits Corp., $17.50 to $69.50.

3. Dragon Masters collection. Medieval LEGO kits. LEGO Systems Inc, $17.99 to $57.99.

Doll houses

1. Dream Doll House. Victorian mansion with veranda. Fisher-Price, $79.99.

Educational

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