Sunday, December 03 2017 15:58

An Early Christmas Morning Preview (Four Hot Holiday Toys) from The Toy Insider!

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In addition to my work here on The Rock Father™ Magazine, I veer off in many directions. As some of you may know, I am a member of The Toy Insider's extended family - contributing to their website as a member of their Parent Advisory Board, and a frequent participant in their excellent toy-based Twitter Parties. When it comes to the holiday season, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Holiday Gift Guide as expansive as the one that The Toy Insider puts together, one that exists in print (together with Family Circle) and online, with selections chosen by a team of experts and sorted by age and interest. Even I chip in with a "Rock Father Pick!" Now, despite the fact that we're often swimming in toys here at Rock Father HQ (much of which we donate), my girls do have a small "wish list," and with that The Toy Insider sent a surprise. In fact, all of the Toy Insider parents received a mystery box, and with ours we did a little early preview of Christmas morning here at home. With just four items, the response from all girls is all that a parent could hope for - and one that makes me really think about the "less is more" approach to Christmas. A few well-targeted gifts will beat the "piles of stuff" any day, and the video below shows just that. Take a look at the video, and then read on for some thoughts on these four Hot Holiday Picks!

Playmobil Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters: I'll tell you straight out that Playmobil is one of the greatest toy collections of all-time, but this year's addition of some cool licenses opened things up to a whole new realm. Playmobil Ghostbusters is one of our favorite toy lines of 2017, and we already reviewed the Ecto-1 right here. Now the girls have the pinnacle of the collection, the Firehouse HQ. They've been asking for this one for months, and now their growing Playmobil City has the iconic NYC base of operations for the world's most-famous paranormal investigators. We have some other big Playmobil sets like the Shopping Mall and Children's Hospital, so this one fits right into the mix! Fun fact: Our girls were Ghostbusters for Halloween. With The Real Ghostbusters on Netflix, they've become well-versed in Tobin's Spirit Guide (which actually comes with this set!).

Playmobil Ghostbusters

Bottle SquadBottle Squad Becca Doll: It's hard to launch a new doll line, but the kids do dig Jazwares' new Bottle Squad, despite similarities to some other things. Listen closely to the video above, and Addie calls it "the girl Will doll." What she's referencing is one of her favorite dolls - Will from Playmonster's Wonder Crew collection. Indeed, Becca here does have similar features, and the superhero motif (which like Wonder Crew pairs the doll with kid-sized accessories) hits the right spot. My wife's take? Looks like Hasbro's Baby Alive, but as a superhero. I can't deny that, but the girls dig it.

alexspaALEX Spa Glitzy Locks Hair Sparkle: Kids love to get crafty, and this pairs that type of play with some "beauty" action. From ALEX Toys, this new set made Amazon's Hot Toy List, and lets kids put some sparkly butterflies in their hair. Never underestimate the power of sparkle. 

nickelodeonslimeNickelodeon Neon & Glow Slime Making Kit: Slime is a trend that I personally have zero interest in - none at all. I didn't even chase the views by adding a slime video to our YouTube Channel this summer, but many did. My personal slime testimony goes back to the 1980s, when my parents bought me the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Evil Horde Slime Pit. It was fantastic (or so the commercial said), and I couldn't wait to slime my He-Man figures. Then my mom realized that there was a warning on the box that the slime could stain almost anything. My Slime Pit was returned to the store without ever being opened, and I've had a poor relationship with slime ever since. Still, my daughters LOVE slime (as most kids do), and they've made a ton of it this year. They couldn't wait to bust into this set, produced by Cra-Z-art under license from those long-time slime masters at Nickelodeon.

The Rock Daughters

Will any of these make it under your tree this year? They might already be on your kids' wish lists!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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