Summer is a hot time for toys

Just for kids

Toy Test

July 26, 1999

Summertime sales are the second biggest for toy makers and sellers -- second only to the winter holiday season. That's about $6 billion worth of bats, balls, sprinklers and bubbles, says toy expert Chris Byrne.

So which toys should you check out? Yak's panelists put some of the summertime toys to the test. Here is their report:

Bubble Faces (about $4 from Little Kids). All our testers said blowing bubbles through a silly mouthpiece was fun. They thought it would be really good for little kids.

Spy Secret Messenger (about $12 from Wild Planet). The Wild Planet gizmo sends secret messages in a little rocketlike capsule.

Canned Heat (about $20 from Tyco R/C). Here's a great toy to take on vacation because it's easy to pack. The little radio control car comes in a can. It's bigger than a soup can, but smaller than a coffee can. To play, twist off the lid and you're holding your remote control. The car and antenna are in the can. Dump them out, screw your antenna on the radio control and zoom -- you're ready to go! Our testers loved the cool packaging.

Koosh Vortex T3 flying football (about $12 from OddzOn). "You can look good even if you don't know how to throw," one tester said of the soft, flying football.

-- Janis Campbell

and Cathy Collison

When shopping for toys, make sure the one you choose is something you can share. Summer is all about playing together.

Can you see yourself playing with it over and over again? Even throughout fall?

Can you take this toy on a car trip or family vacation?

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