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The Nice List: Hot Diggity Media’s Toy Tester Favorites of 2018

Your Guide to Holiday Giving

The play experts and toy testers at Hot Diggity Media spend a good part of the year unboxing, testing and playing with hundreds of toys and games from companies across the globe. Only the best of the best receive a Hot Diggity Award seal-of-approval, based on quality, entertainment, and educational value.

 

Here’s the coveted list of their absolute favorites of the year:

 

Birth to Toddlers

 

 

crayola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crayola Kids@Work Action Blocks Crayon Tube by Amloid

$22.98

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Amloid.com

Ages: Toddlers and Preschool

 

Great sized blocks for little hands that are sturdy and fit together nicely. The gears teach cause and effect and the building opportunities are endless.

 

 

 

flor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flora Animated Plush by GUND

$39.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.gund.com

Ages Birth to Toddlers

 

Toddlers will love Flora, with her interactive peek-a-boo game and her dancing ears. She is made of a super soft plush material, which is what GUND is known for. Entertaining and adorable, and the perfect baby or toddler gift!

 

 

 

gear zoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GearZooz™ GearBuddies Lion & Mouse™ by VTech

$9.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.vtechkids.com

Ages: Birth to Preschool

 

Anything with gears is a hit with preschoolers! This toy teaches cause and effect and fine motor skills while entertaining with songs and phrases. It's also the perfect size to take on the road.

 

 

 

aquarium

Learn & Spin Aquarium™ by VTech

$14.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.vtechkids.com

Ages: Birth, Toddlers, Preschool

 

Toddlers will love this cute aquarium with fun sounds and songs. It’s packed with content and features big buttons that are easy to press and manipulate. Great for developing fine motor skills.

 

 

 

donkey

Les Amis Small Regliss the Donkey by Kaloo

$29.99

www.kaloostore.com

Ages: Birth and up

 

Kaloo makes the most adorable and softest plush animals and this little donkey is no exception. He comes in an elegant box that doubles as a comfy bed.

 

 

 

Preschool and Kindergarten

 

botley

Botley™ the Coding Robot Activity Set by Learning Resources

$69

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.learningresources.com

Ages: Preschool and up

 

Botley makes coding fun and easy for kids and their parents! So many coding kits are intimidating to parents, but not this one … no experience necessary! The different levels of play make it fun for older kids too.

 

 

 

hugs

Fingerlings HUGS

$29.99

www.fingerlings.com

Ages: 3 and up

 

Life-size Fingerlings? Yes, please! They’ll wrap their arms around you for lots of cuddles, and then swing them around for tons of giggles! Record your voice for playback and interactive fun.

 

 

 

unicorns

Fingerlings Light-Up Unicorns ($17.99), Baby Dragons ($14.99) and Glitter Pandas ($14.99)

www.fingerlings.com

Ages: 5 and up

 

Additional characters to the Fingerlings toy line include these beloved creatures: unicorns, baby dragons, and pandas! All feature Fingerling technology plus an overdose of cuteness.

 

 

 

geomag

Geomag Spin 10 by Geomagworld

$5.95

www.geomagworld.com

Ages: 3 and up

 

Construct a top with magnets and rods then watch it spin! Collect all six colors. Great “incentive” gift, stocking stuffer or party favor.

 

 

 

herodrive

HeroDrive DC Super Friends Batman Racer by Funrise

$39.24

www.funrise.com

Ages 3 years and up

 

A Bat-mobile designed especially for preschoolers that features lights, engine sounds, and music. Push the windshield forward and wings magically appear. Sturdy and engaging for hours of imaginative play.

 

 

 

motorcycle

Lux Motorcycle / Car 2-In-1 Kit by Lux Blox LLC

$19.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Formwww.luxblox.com 

Ages: Preschool/Kindergarten and up

 

A really fun build that creates two beautifully designed models. Easy-to-follow instructions with images that illustrate building steps clearly. It's amazing to see a motorcycle or car appear right before your eyes!

 

 

 

pj masks

PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket by Just Play

$39.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.justplayproducts.com

Ages: Preschool and up

 

PJ Masks fans will love this rocket! The pieces are extremely durable, and the sounds make playtime so much fun. The figurines are easy to place in the cockpit and there's so much detail on the rocket with folding wings and lights.

 

 

 

rad mibro

Really RAD Robots MiBro by Moose Toys

$39.99

reallyradrobots.com

Ages: 5 and up

 

MiBro is the perfect partner for pranking and spying. Easy to operate with a straightforward remote control. Comes with serving tray, foam finger, gun, ball and net for “less mischievous” play.

 

 

 

rescue runts

Rescue Runts by KD Kids

$19.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.rescuerunts.com

Ages: Kindergarten and up.

Not only is this toy super fun, but it teaches kids a lesson that with a little TLC, something beautiful can shine through. Kids can go through the process of "beautifying" their rescue pup by removing tears, washing her paws and plucking out fleas. From scruffy to spectacular right before your eyes!

 

 

 

sharing land

Sharingland Cardboard Playhouse Kits

$99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.sharingland.com

Ages: Preschool/Kindergarten and up

 

The entire family can pitch in to assemble this beautifully illustrated, brightly colored playset. The sets are easy to put together and come with fun props for dress up. The materials are sturdy and all the pieces fit nicely into the box after playtime is over. Great for photo ops and birthday party fun.

 

 

 

tangle

Tangle Jr. Classic – Set of 3

$ 11.99

www.tanglecreations.com

Ages: 4 and up

 

These original fidget gadgets have been around for more than 37 years! They’re hard to put down and provide hours of fun, twisting and turning.

 

 

 

untamed

UNTAMED Jailbreak Playset w/Exclusive Dino by Fingerlings

$24.99

www.fingerlings.com

Ages: 5 and up

 

This new line from Fingerlings is fierce! This playset makes a perfect carrying case and comes with new character, Infrared whose glow-in-the-dark features, chomping jaw and sound effects are awesome!

 

Other ferocious friends include UNTAMED T-Rex Skeleton Dinos, Doom and Gloom, AKA The Boneheads (exclusive to Walmart), four UNTAMED baby T-Rexs, UNTAMED Direwolf (exclusive to Amazon), and UNTAMED Sabretooth (exclusive to Target). All are sold separately.

 

 

Elementary, Tweens & Teens

 

aerobie

Aerobie Pro Ring™ by SwimWays Corporation

$9.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.aerobie.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

Love the "loft" you get with this flying disc. Kids can use this as a beginner tool (or never go back). The distance and ease of throwing straight are very satisfying!

 

 

fortnite characters

The Battle Royale Collection by Moose Toys

$4.99 - $19.99

https://www.moosetoys.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

If you know a Fortnite fanatic (and who doesn’t) you’ll want to add these to your shopping list! This brand new line of Fortnite skins, vehicle and playsets are sure to bring this popular video game to life. 16 figures are included in this first collection, with new figures revealed each month in 2019. The two-inch figures are pose-able and come with swappable weapons and accessories.

 

 

droid

Droid Inventor Kit and up Coding by littleBits

$99.95

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.littlebits.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

This blends two favorite STEM skills -- coding, and electronics -- masterfully.  The build is challenging but the end result is terrific!  

 

 

 

tattoo kit

Fairly Painless Tattoo Lounge for Charity by Renegade Made

$22.99

www.renegade-made.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

Renegade Made crafts combine street art with random acts of kindness. Each kit focuses on “anonymous altruism,” teaching kids to be kind when no one’s watching.

 

This kit contains everything you need to set up a neighborhood tattoo shop – tablecloth, signage and lots of temporary tattoos. Collect donations in the included moneybox then deliver to your favorite charity.

 

 

 

airplane 2 in 1

Lux Race Car / Airplane 2-In-1 Kit by Lux Blox LLC

$24.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.luxblox.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

It's really fun to see simple connectors become a large-scale model of a car or plane. Great for builders of all ages and the end result is VERY impressive! Instructions are very well laid out and the pieces are durable and each to connect. Great activity for the entire family.

 

 

 

mad hattr

Mad Mattr Meteor Monsters by Relevant Play

$9.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.relevantplay.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

Mad Mattr has added a collectible component to their toy line which makes for even more fun! Line the meteor with Mad Mattr dough and when it’s cracked open, a surprise creature breaks loose!

 

 

 

made you look

Made You Look Kit by Renegade Made

$21.99

www.renegade-made.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

Renegade Made crafts combine street art with random acts of kindness. Each kit focuses on “anonymous altruism,” teaching kids to be kind when no one’s watching.

 

Get a box of funny flyers and postcards that are sure to produce smiles and laughs in your community.  The “Take What You Need” and fortune dispensing posters will get the attention of neighbors and the “Double Dog Dare” flyer will bring out the silly in everyone!

 

 

merge vr

MERGE Goggles $29.99
https://www.mergevr.com/goggles Ages: 10 and up

Super comfortable and adjustable virtual reality goggles made from a squishy-soft material. Just pop in your Android or iOS device and be BLOWN away! This trend in virtual reality play is just beginning.

 

MERGE Cube $14.99
https://www.mergevr.com/cube Ages: 7+
You’ve got to see it to believe it! Hold the cube in your hand and explore a whole new world of holograms. A great enhancement to use with MERGE Goggles.

 

 

 

morf board

MorfBoard Skate/Scoot Combination by JAKKS Pacific

$99.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.morfboard.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

What a great bang for your buck! You get two play experiences with this awesome board! The scooter and skateboard wheels are easy to swap out and you know it's done correctly with the audible click. The versatility of this toy will guarantee years of use.

 

 

 

not parent approved

Not Parent Approved

$24.99

www.notparentapproved.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

A non-digital game that tweens and teens will love. Created just for their developing minds, this game is edgy, silly and hilariously "PG" inappropriate!

 

 

 

odditeez

Odditeez™ Ballz by ORB

Price varies by size $3.99-$14.99

http://orbodditeez.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

An awesome tactile toy on so many levels! These transparent balls are filled with Slimi, Beadiballz™, Pearlized Slimi, or Sparkle Ribbons and come in various sizes, colors and textures. Stress relieving and fun!

 

 

 

random

Random Acts of Flowers by Renegade Made

$20.99

www.renegade-made.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

Renegade Made crafts combine street art with random acts of kindness. Each kit focuses on “anonymous altruism,” teaching kids to be kind when no one’s watching.

 

Make 12 brightly colored paper flowers and a homemade hanging vase and then spread kindness by making them available to neighbors. Each flower has a tag that suggests paying it forward.

 

 

 

science kit

Science Academy Kits: Squishy Ball Lab by Peaceable Kingdom

$24.95

www.mindware.orientaltrading.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

Study science and relieve stress at the same time! This kit comes with all the materials needed to make six stress balls and a mini mindfulness jar. Detailed explanations of the science behind slime, oobleck, and ooze are also included and making learning fun.

 

 

 

sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Kit by Renegade Made

$24.99

www.renegade-made.com

Ages: 8 and up

 

Renegade Made crafts combine street art with random acts of kindness. Each kit focuses on “anonymous altruism,” teaching kids to be kind when no one’s watching.

 

This is probably the only time that “tagging” is A-OK! This kit comes with make-at-home chalk paint, stencils and brushes – all the materials necessary to tag your neighborhood with uplifting and humorous messages like, “The best things in life aren’t things,” “Dance Spot” and “Make art, not your bed!”

 

 

 

toki dough

Toki Dough Bento Box by Relevant Play

$24.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.relevantplay.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

Kids love everything miniature and "kawaii" (cute). This kit comes with bright colors and all the tools needed to create cuteness. The dough is easy to form and isn't messy at all!

 

 

 

toilet paper

Toilet Paper Blasters™ Skid Shot™ by JAKKS Pacific

$19.99

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.jakks.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

This toy is so fun you’ll want to get two! TP wads go flying through the air and stick to selected targets. A nice (and cleaner) alternative to paintball guns. Surprisingly okay for indoor play.

 

 

 

urban playset

Urban 2.0 and Space Base Playset by ReadySetz

$95

For all ages

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

www.readysetz.com

 

A detailed set appears right before your very eyes, providing great scenery for cars, dolls, and figurines. Makes a great backdrop for stop-motion animation for future filmmakers. Easy to assemble and just as easy to fold up and store.

 

 

 

whats that smell

WHAT'S THAT SMELL? The Party Game That Stinks

$19.99

www.wowwee.com/

Ages: 14 and up

 

 

Ew, ew … EW! Get ready to be grossed out with this party game that literally stinks! Players guess what disgusting smell their sniffing, out of 48 Mystery Whiff Cards! Enhance the fun by downloading the app and capturing reactions on the ReekCam.

 

 

 

yoobi

Yoobi x Adelaine Bundle: Holiday Glam

$30

www.yoobi.com

Ages: Elementary and up

 

Influencer Adelaine Morin has teamed up with Yoobi on some great school supply gift bundles. For every box purchased, Yoobi will donate seven school supply items to a child in need in the U.S. The Holiday Glam bundle includes the Heck Yes Spiral Notebook and zip pouch, pencils and pens, a pink velvet journal, coin purse and more! A $40 value!

Julie Kertes is the product expert for Kids in the House and oversees the Hot Diggity Awards, a national seal-of-approval program that recognizes the best products for families. To see the latest products she’s playing with, testing and/or assembling, follow her on Twitter at @HotDiggityMedia.