If you’re in the market for a toy to wrap under the tree, big name retailers have released their hot toy list for 2015, but do the items live up to the hype and where can you get the best deal?
Global News turned to playologist Kirsten Anderson for answers.
“The main thing is for your dollar, your value. How much is it per playtime? If it costs $20 and they’re playing with it for years on end then you’ve got excellent return on your investment. But if they’re only going to play with it for a short time then it’s not a good investment,” says Anderson.
The most important factor to consider first, she says, is to know the child’s interests.
“Because if they are interested in science then that’s where the toys should be reflected.”
Anderson says you also need to consider if the toy is passive or not. For example, if a toy is just singing and dancing and requires no interaction from the child, then the child may lose interest quickly.
“When you’re looking at the top list, each one needs to be looked at carefully.”
Global News combined the hot toy list from major retailers.
“What’s old is new again,” says Anderson, “The parents loved Star Wars so now the kids love Star Wars.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the hottest toys this year are Star Wars items. The ‘Jedi Master Lightsaber’ and ‘Lego Naboo Starfighter’ are expected to be big hits with both boys and girls. What makes the Lightsaber so great for kids, according to Anderson, is it allows children to do “imaginative role playing.”
READ MORE: Holiday gift guide for kids: Top toys of 2015
In addition to toys that allow children to use their imagination, Anderson says you should include games and crafts. Anderson believes the ‘Crayola Paint Maker’ will be a big hit with kids this year.
When you’re about to make your purchase, Anderson says do your research and price check. Global News took five toys from the holiday ‘Hot Toy’ list of big name retailers and did price comparisons online to find the best deal. We looked at major Canadian and American retailers and found the highest and lowest price.
Getting advice from friends, other kids and reading online reviews will help you determine the best fit so you don’t fall prey to catchy advertisements.
“Don’t necessarily buy what’s advertised on television, that’s not necessarily what they are going to play with. Could be just that it’s a flashy ad and it lures the children in,” adds Anderson.
Ultimately what makes a great toy, according to Anderson, is one that you are going to “pass down to the next generation.”