Just in time for the holidays, we are putting this year's hottest toys to the Deal or Dud test! And, the best part is that our *expert* advice comes from a group of local preschool students.
We chose three toys that are anticipated to be popular this season-- the magical Teddy Ruxpin for $90, Tickle-Me-Elmo for $25, and Fingerlings for $15.
The classic Tickle-Me-Elmo is made of soft, super huggable material, and when you give him a squeeze, the result is giggles galore! However, he was definitely a bigger hit with the girls in the group.
"I think the girls will be more loving to him versus the boys," said Martina Miller, a preschool teacher at Huntsville Childcare Center.
But even when the tough guys tried to play it cool it didn't take long for the giggles to burst out!
Next-- a modern spin on the original Teddy Ruxpin comes with LCD-animated eyes and a compatible educational app. His eyes light up with different animations to convey emotions and parts of the story or song he's telling and touch sensors allow children to control the story and song he sings.
"I think most of them have seen a Teddy Ruxpin before, but never had one," Miller said. "So I think it's really exciting for them to see his eyes move and hear his voice."
But Teddy Ruxpin gave us the vibe that he'd be better for a time when kids are winding down, perhaps as a bedtime companion.
The overwhelming favorite was the Fingerling toy! Fingerlings are tiny animatronic animals, in this case a monkey, that hangs on to your finger and anything else!
They react to your touch by petting them, swinging them, and rocking them to sleep. This particular Fingerling was blown a lot of kisses, and to make them dance and sing, clap loud!
"I think he just caught their eye more," Miller said. "They were trying to get him to do different things. The kissing, the burping was a hit. All kids love to hear burps...the blowing, the clapping, the rocking him to sleep. I think that was amazing."