Top Educational Toys of 2011

WNN Last Minute Holiday Toys

Lauria Schacht - the Toy Insider Mom - has the inside scoop of the hottest toys from 2011.

Here is more information on each product:

PlasmaBike (Plasmart)

  • The PlasmaBike is a two-wheeled, no-pedal balance bike.
  • It has a unique wide wheel shape that encourages balance development and helps avoid the need for training wheels when learning to ride a pedaled two-wheeled bicycle.
  • The shape provides children a fun, more stable ride than traditional standard-wheel sized balance bikes and helps to avoid many of the falls, bumps and scrapes.
  • Ages: 3+
  • MSRP: $79.99

Lite Sprites (WowWee)

  • It begins with an all powerful Lite Wand that can magically capture color and light from any flat surface and cast color spells onto the Sprites and play sets of Lite-Topia, while emitting enchanting sounds.
  • This unique play pattern empowers a girl to color her play world in whatever way she chooses.
  • Includes 3 interactive games: Color Hunt, Color Mix, and Memory.
  • The Sprite Sisterhood includes four Sprites: Prisma, Astra, Meadow and Brooke. Bleak, the naughty one, rejects color and uses her powers to eliminate and disrupt the color of Lite-Topia.
  • Each Sprite comes with a Lite Pod.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: Lite Wand and Prisma and Pod: $29.99; Tree of Lite: $39.99; Deluxe play sets: $19.99

Discovery Kids™ Solid Wood Castle Block Set (MerchSource)

  • Build elaborate castles with bridges, turrets, arches, and towers with this classic solid wood block set.
  • 69-piece castle-themed block set for hours of creative fun.
  • Each block is made from solid, natural wood.
  • Includes a variety of sizes and shapes for endless configurations and possibilities.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $19.99-$29.99

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Activision)

  • An innovative adventure game where players can literally bring their toys to life, collecting and using real-world interaction figures that are teleported directly into the game by placing them on a magical "portal of power."
  • Starter pack includes game, a portal of power, three Skylander Character Interaction Figures (Spyro the Dragon, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy), a poster, three trading cards, sticker sheet, three web codes for the world of web, batteries and a USB cable.
  • The Skylanders are toys with brains, each interaction figure can remember shared experiences and level-up abilities. There are over 30 unique collectible interaction figures.
  • Players can play with friends by joining forces when they place two interaction figures on the "Portal of Power" at the same time. As they play together players can drop in and out of a level throughout the game.
  • Ages: 6+
  • MSRP: $69.99

LeapPad (LeapFrog)

  • LeapPad is a personalized learning tablet for kids. It's like an adult tablet, but with endless fun experiences housed in a durable package that can handle a little rough and tumble play.
  • This will include the largest launch library of more than 100 learning games, books and apps for educational value and fun videos.
  • Curriculum covers everything from spelling, phonics skills and mathematics to creativity, science, music, geography, and more
  • Includes stylus to let kids practice writing.
  • Camera and video recorder are built in with a robust library of educational apps, eBooks and personalized creativity suite for creating and sharing stories.
  • Tilt-sensor for game control and 5? brilliant color, finger-touch.
  • LeapPad Explorer can help kids learn vocabulary, phonics skills, and improve reading comprehension, but it also features interactive elements such as embedded games and animated stories to make reading even more fun.
  • Parents can tune into their child's progress and track achievements with the LeapFrog Learning Path. Parents receive regular e-mail updates so they can share their child's accomplishments.
  • Age: 4+
  • MSRP: $99.99

Happy Feet Two Freezing Frenzy Game (Pressman Toy)

  • A follow up to the 2006 Academy Award-winning Best Animated Feature Film, Happy Feet, Happy Feet Two made its theatrical debut on November 18.
  • Happy Feet Two Freezing Frenzy is an action-packed game that features a battery-powered Erik, star of Happy Feet Two, who shivers and shakes, tossing ice cubes everywhere!
  • Each player chooses a color and tries to collect all six matching ice cubes. When your color ice cube pops off the game base, you must try to grab it. But you must be fast! If another player gets to it first, they'll put it back … and keep you waiting.
  • Be the first to collect your six colored ice cubes to win!
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Ages: 5+
  • MSRP: $19.99

"Kinect: Disneyland Adventures" (Microsoft)

  • Discover Disneyland park through Kinect for Xbox 360.
  • Step into many of your favorite Disneyland park attractions. Embark on fantastic adventures - fly through Neverland at Peter Pan's side and take up your sword to fight Captain Hook, battle your way to the island in Pirates of the Caribbean and partner with a friend to enjoy the fascinating world of Alice in Wonderland.
  • "Kinect: Disneyland Adventures" is an experience the whole family will enjoy.
  • Fans of all ages can explore Disneyland park at their own pace, enjoy attractions, engage in challenging adventures and interact with beloved Disney characters using their full bodies and voices, no controller required.
  • Interact with iconic Disneyland characters - hug Snow White, high-five Mickey Mouse, collect autographs and accept adventures.
  • Capture Photo Moments in Disneyland park or with Disneyland characters and share them with family and friends.
  • Rating: ESRB 10+
  • MSRP: $49.99

Let's Rock Elmo (Hasbro)

  • Elmo comes with his very own microphone and two instruments - a tambourine and a drum set.
  • Preschoolers can choose which instrument Elmo plays, and he "magically" recognizes which one you give him.
  • For even more rockin' fun, Elmo also interacts with other LET'S ROCK instruments (each sold separately); he knows when you're playing the LET'S ROCK Guitar, Keyboard or Microphone and plays along with you!
  • The LET'S ROCK Elmo toy sings six rockin' songs, so grab an instrument and join Elmo's band!
  • Figure comes with microphone, tambourine, drums and instructions.
  • Age: 18 mos+
  • MSRP: $69.99

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