Toy Test #4: Thirteen Toys for 3, 4 and 5 yr. olds - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Toy Test #4: Thirteen Toys for 3, 4 and 5 yr. olds

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By Lauren Keith - bio | email

ORAN, MO (KFVS) - It's all smiles and much anticipation at the Oran Early Learning Center, but will parents be smiling once we see which of these 13---up 13 toys---actually work? The three, four and five-year-olds have been playing with these toys for two weeks now. Let's finish our homework and assign grades right now.

The entire time the 22 children played, a big group always gathered around the newest board game, Scatterpillar Scramble.  Kids pick some colored balls and matching plastic tweezers, then press "on." The caterpillar shakes as kids race to the top. However, the little balls end up going everywhere. Still, the instructors agree it's a great way for kids to learn colors and enhance motor skills.

"They absolutely love it!" said Stacey McIntosh, co-director.

The $15 Scatterpillar Scramble game shakes its way to a grade A+!

Next up, these toys are so new there's not even a matching play set to go with it yet. Still, the kids liked switching out the weapons on the toy's hands. They both pass the test with a grade 'B', but go with the Electronic Astro Boy over the smaller model. He has more to offer.

The little girls had to take turns playing with Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo, they loved her so much. Don't let the innocent face on the doll fool you either. Baby Alive goes "number one and 2" after you feed her water and special food. Just like a real baby, that food and little diapers will cost you more money each time

"If you didn't have the diaper on--watch out--because it went on the floor!" laughs McIntosh.

There's no denying how much these little girls love "playing mommy." The $24 toy works, but there are reports her little system can get pretty clogged over time.

"I like her because we feed her," said Katie DeBrock, student.

Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo's not crying over a grade B+.

"I'm tryin' to find the hole to put the hair in," said another student as she played with the next toy.

At first, the girls' second favorite doll was the Cabbage Patch Pop 'n' Style kid. Find the special spots on the doll's head and pop in some fancy extensions. I'll admit though, even I found it a little tough to find all the holes.

After a few days, the instructors noticed this trend.

"Nobody played with that. they tried but they could never find the holes."

It's looking like a bad hair day then for the $24 Cabbage Patch Pop 'n' Style kid.. it styles up a disappointing 'D'.

"She did smell good, but that's about it."

The next doll didn't fare so well either. Sweet Surprise Strawberry Shortcake was more like a diva! In order for her to makeup to magically disappear, the special wand had to be frozen. Otherwise, it was a drippy mess.

"She was not played with at all."

However, if your little one loves Strawberry Shortcake, this is an OK toy.  It's just not the favorite of the variety offered here. At only $15, the doll gets a C.

Back to the little boys who tried and had a hard time getting the Transformers Bumblebee to change out. It also comes with Sam the Human Alliance. So, as long as parents are willing to help, this toy will work.

"We gave it a 'C', they did like it. They played with it a lot. It was hot but like I said you couldn't get the pieces to come out and adults had to help a lot," said McIntosh.

I'll go with that. The $30 toy twist and transforms to an average 'C'. Next, some toys that are less than average.

"That was a big preparation, even for adults, too."

In honor of 25 years of the classic Candy Land game, makers switched it up a bit. With Sweet Celebrations, you can make your own game board each time with 3-D pieces. The kids here are in the age range recommended, but they couldn't play without adult help. To be fair, I also had the teachers take this game home to their older elementary age children. They got bored after it took too long to get the game set up and started.

"I would not recommend that at all. I gave it an F," said McIntosh.

Not a sweet finish then for this new $17 version of Candy Land. Here's something else not played with a bunch.: the baby dinos of Kota and Pals. 

"They kind of looked neater to play with than it actually did," said McIntosh.

The toys just growl. They don't walk or "even fight" as one little guy put it. Perhaps, toddlers would like the $25 toys better? 

"We gave it a 'D."

Onto the next toy, which is a spin on one of the hottest toys of the season from year's past.

Elmo now has Tickle Hands, so they're called. These furry red hands vibrate when you clap and more. The $30 set also comes with a DVD, but we found the kids liked the DVD even without the hands. Some were a bit scared of the furry red things!

"It didn't keep their interest very long," said McIntosh.

So, an average grade 'C' then...and now, just two more toys to go. First, my personal favorite. VTech's Bugsby reading system. It's almost identical to the Leap Frog toy I featured last year. It's still a hit this year. Simply scroll Bugsby over a word on the special books and it reads aloud. The pictures even tell a story, too. Here, someone always played with this $30 system.

"It was educational and I do suggest that," said McIntosh.

VTech Bugsby gets our approval with an 'A'...now here's the overall favorite among all the kids.

"The Splatster!" said Emma Kate Priggel.

Just hook up Fisher Price Splatster to your TV and use the special paint brush to create your own pictures or even wash off the ducks in one of the games. 

"It's fun!" said Emma.

Parents agreed and said the $45 system wasn't hard to set up either. It paints an 'A' and puts the finishing touches on our masterpiece: this Does it Work mega Toy Test!

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