Toy Testers Week 1 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Toy Testers Week 1

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 By Lauren Keith - bio | email

(KFVS) - It's Toy Testers 2010!  We kick off Toy Testers with what many markets analysts say are the hottest toys of the season.  But are they? 

Toys that sing together, toys that scamper, toys that transform themselves, but does it all work?

"On your mark, get set, go!"

First graders in Ms. Kim Crader's class have four of what is being called the hottest toys of the season, aside from all the popular gaming consoles, that is.

We think these kids are up for the challenge.

"Yay! I did it!"

Immediately a crowd gathers around the spinoff to last year's hottest toy--Zhu Zhu pets.

This year, Furry Frenzies are a copycat, literally, except this product is more than Zhu Zhu hamsters. You get bunnies, squirrels, cats and more, all of which scurry and scamper through this playset.

But we'll see if this variety is enough to hold the first graders' attention.

Right now, more are interested in another spinoff. Check out Zoobles. They're much like the popular Bakugan with their pop open action.

"Yay, I did it."

And no trouble spotting the next toy. You can hear it from across the room.

These are the harmonizing Singamajigs. Let them croon out loud on their own or press their tummies and let them sing 'n' sync.

Meantime, it truly is like a kid in a candy store in here. The kids just can't get enough of a teapot that works like a gumball machine.

"It gives you something, you put it back and you do it again, over and over!" said Aidan.

Yup, that's it and the best part is you don't use real money, just little plastic coins and out pops little toys called Squinkies.

You can trade with your friends and keep twisting the knob to see which one comes out next.

Now, I'd get bored with that, but let's remember the first graders think this is pretty nifty.  

Every time our cameras zoomed in, we saw little spats like this.

"I had it first!"

"It's only for two people! you're not sharing!"

"My friends did not share the toy where you put the coin in and get the animal."

Each time we asked the kids what their favorite toy is so far, Squinkies topped the list.

"The little guys in the teapot."

"I like that teapot, but they won't let me play."

But, what did they actually play with the most?

Here's what we found after returning to the classroom one week later.

"I think they played with Furry Frenzies the most. Always a huge group of friends over there."

You really can't go wrong with this toy. It's easy to put together and this $30 playset comes with one scurrying, battery-powered animal. You can buy more pets separately, including clothing and accessories.

"My favorite toy is the Furry Frenzie."

The spinoff rivals its predecessor, Zhu Zhu pets, and remains at the top of the list with an easy "A".

As for the other playset, it's not looking so good.  Ms. Crader says the kids liked the Zoobles figurines themselves, but rarely touched the playset.

"They'd take it and put them on the chairs but not with the Zoobles playset."

I gotta knock it a little more, the playset should be interactive and have a point.  Zoobles however. Well, the dolls pop on their own, you don't need the slide.  Let's not forget, I paid $20 for this little set they barely played with.

"don't think it's worth $20."

The dolls are $10 a piece. I say get the little figures and skip the playset. Zoobles pop open an average "C".

Meantime, are Sing-a-ma-jigs nailing that high note?

"I liked the singamajigs. I'd give them an 'A' for myself, but a 'B' for them because they weren't super-excited for them," Crader said.

That is the case for the majority of the class.  As predicted, the newness wore off, except for one little girl who insists Santa bring her some of these harmonizing characters, even over a video console.

Whoa! Sing-a-majigs are $13 each, so not much of a cost even if your child ends up playing with them every once in awhile.

We'll go with a good 'B.'

Meantime, we're worried about safety issues with our final toy.

"The little tokens could easily be swallowed," Crader said. "They were a pain. I don't think they'd be worth it."

We agree.  In fact I give the award for "most likely to be sucked up in a vacuum sweeper or swallowed" to Squinkies, not to mention the little coins and dolls could easily get lost.

Still, there's no denying how popular this toy still is among the kids.

So, keep all that in mind, but we still don't think this is a prized $12 toy. Squinkies earn a disappointing "D" from us adults and we predict later in our toy testing, it may even fail this does it work toy test.

"I think the Squinkies will eventually break."

That said, we are putting these toys right back into the same classroom.

Stephanie and I will go back at the end of the month and see where things stand again.

After all, they are some of the most popular toys of the season, aside from gaming consoles.

Next week---dogs that walk, spinning playdoh, spiders that crawl on the wall....all kinds of interactive toys and a test you don't want to miss.

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