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Top Toys for 2011

by Erica Bauwens

First came Tickle Me Elmo. The Furby craze followed, then Zhu Zhu pets, Webkinz, innovative Xbox games and more. Every holiday season, a trendy new toy your kids simply must have is bound to surface. Just in time, we’ve compiled our top 10 list of this year’s hottest toys, gadgets and dolls, including where you can find them during the busy season.

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet
(pictured) Your little one is growing up in a technology-driven world, so why not get them ahead of the curve? LeapFrog’s touch screen tablet is one of the hottest toys of 2011, selling out in stores all over the country. With a built-in camera, and memory that can accommodate more than 100 available apps, e-books and games, your kids will learn in style.
$169 for the bundle pack at Leapfrog.com

Angry Birds Knock on Wood
Take the virtual obsession, Angry Birds, off the screen and onto your table. Kids take turns launching birds from a mini-catapult in the attempt to knock out the poor little piggies waiting for their next move—just like the game taking over smartphones everywhere.
$24.99 at Happy Hippo, 201 Kings Highway E., Haddonfield, (856) 429-2308

Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo
Everyone’s favorite Muppet is getting a little wild this holiday season. Decked out in his rock ‘n’ roll bests, Elmo sings six different songs and performs with an interactive microphone, tambourine or drums.
$80 at ToyZam in the Moorestown Mall, 400 Route 38, Moorestown, (856) 231-4444

Animal Planet Air Swimmers
The ferocious great white shark might seem a little less menacing after you see it swimming past … your couch. These helium-filled creatures, available in shark or clown fish forms, are remote-controlled and designed to swim inside of your home as they would in the deep blue sea, no fishing pole or bait required.
$49.99 at Toys“R”Us, 500 Route 38, Cherry Hill, (856) 665-8339

Cloud B Twilight Sea Turtle
When the night comes, give your child the chance to snuggle up with the stars. The sleepy sea turtle illuminates the night sky out of his shell, acting as a full-functioning nightlight with three different color choices and a sleep timer. This lovable friend, also available in a lady bug, comes with an educational bedtime storybook and an adoption certificate for your child to cherish for years.
$32.99 at the Garden State Discovery Museum Discover More Store, 2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, (856) 424-1233 ext. 303

Fijit Friends Interactive Dolls
The four different Fijit friends available to your child, each with their own name and fun color, all provide their own unique form of interaction. The cuddly dolls are programmed to answer 30 different voice commands with 150 different jokes, responses, dances and songs, including a glowing belly night light when it’s time for bed.
$69.99 at ToyZam in the Moorestown Mall, 400 Route 38, Moorestown, (856) 231-4444

Pillow Pets
In forms of ladybugs, bumblebees, puppies and even the Phillie Phanatic, these convertible toys change from beloved plush to comfy pillow in seconds. A hot-button item for several years running, their continued success proves some trends have staying power.
$18.99-$34.99 at Young Minds, 127 Route 73 S., Marlton, (856) 810-1122

Chuggington Trains
This fleet of locomotive friends are quickly becoming the newest trend for train lovers everywhere. All of the trains from Chuggington have their own unique personality, like Dubar the helpful engine and Emery the speedy transport train, but together they combine to create one interesting group of characters.
$13.99 at the Toy Train Emporium, 41 Coles Avenue, Cherry Hill, (856) 482-2700

Crayola Crayon Maker with Story Studio
Every little artist is, at some point, faced with a handful of leftover crayon pieces and nothing to do with them. This mixology lab takes your scraps and melts them together to create new swirly crayons filled with your child’s favorite colors.
$19.99 at Young Minds, 127 Route 73 S., Marlton (856) 810-1122

Playskool Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper
With its shower of high-flying, bouncing balls, this toy is just what your baby would put at the top of their Christmas list—-if they could write one. This fun-filled toy grows with your baby, as you can adjust his trunk to stand still for younger ones or have it rotate to entertain walking and crawling toddlers.
$34.99 at ToyZam in the Moorestown Mall, 400 Route 38, Moorestown, (856) 231-4444

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 10 (December, 2011).
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