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Educational toys and accessories under $25

16 Sep

Kids are officially back to school!
Earlier this week The Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht talked about some of the school gear kids will love as well as some educational toys that will keep them thinking. And the best part? They of the toys on the list are less than $25!

To see full segment click here.

Penguin Young Readers (Penguin Books)
Penguin early reader books are offered in a variety of fun and loveable preschool character including- “Butterfly Girl, “Skippy Jon Jones”, “Corduroy” & more.

MSRP: $16.99 each for the books; $9.99 each for plush
Ages: 2+

I Spy Ready to Read Game (Briarpatch)
Get ready to read! Develops verbal, pre-reading skills and letter, shape and pattern recognition.

MSRP: $16.99
Ages: 4+

Time and Space Projection Alarm Clock (Blue Hat)
This rocket-shaped alarm clock projects a digital clock display against vivid galactic images on any wall or ceiling.
MSRP $19.99
Ages: 3+

Angry Birds Multi Pocket Backpack (Accessory Innovations)
Head to class in style with Angry Birds backpacks featuring smart details and spacious designs, including extra durable zippers, multiple pockets and organizers to keep everything close at hand.
MSRP: $24.99
Ages: 3+

Shains Notebook (Shainsware)
Personalize the cover with your name, class subject, or decorate and change it whenever you want.
Comes with 60 elements for personalization.
MSRP: $16.00
Ages: 7+

Uglydoll School Planner (Ugly Doll)
Makes it easy to get and stay organized!
MSRP: $14.99
Ages: 10+

Squinkies™ Bubble Packs (Blip Toys)
Squinkies are great as pencil toppers, too
Collections include your favorite Disney® Princesses, Barbie® and Hello Kitty®, as well as themed sets boys will love too; from monsters to aliens, to Cars 2, to Marvel super heroes
MSRP $9.99
Ages: 4+

Counting Money Jar (Summit Toy)
This handy jar will count your coins and digitally display your savings.
With Balance Guard ™, it remembers your balance…even if you have to replace the batteries.

MSRP: $9.99
Ages: 5+

Scruble Cube (RSV Entertainment)
Players rotate and twist rows and columns of the cube, with the goal to rearrange letters to create new words.
One word is formed per turn and can range from 3 to 16 letters spelled horizontally, vertically and, uniquely, around multiple faces of the cube. Each of the 96 letter pegs is assigned a point value.

MSRP: $24.99
Ages: 8+

20Q™ (Techno Source)
The new 20Q is an updated version of the best-selling electronic game of twenty questions.
Players think of any animal, vegetable, mineral or other object, and 20Q magically reads their minds by deducing the answer in twenty questions or less.

MSRP:  $12.99
Ages 6+

Inkoos (The Bridge Direct)
Inkoos are funky, quirky characters that are drawn to life with a little “Inkspiration”!
By using the Inkoos’ amazing washable markers, creative tweens can express themselves by drawing, designing and decorating their Inkoos into anything they imagine.
Then with a spin in the washing machine, Inkoos are ready to be designed all over again!
MSRP: $7.99
Ages: 4+


Traveling with kids this spring break? We have tips!

22 Apr

With the weather warming up and the kids on break and looking forward to summer, many families are beginning to plan their family vacation.

Traveling with kids can be challenging- especially when the trip is long- but if you are prepared with all the right toys and travel gear your traveling experience can be headache free.

The Toy Insider visited “Money Matters” this morning to give her very best tips on how to occupy kids on the go!

Toy Insider Mom Travel Tips:

– Start with a great mom bag that keeps all of your travel toys and gear in one place,
always ready to go!

– Pack lots of healthy snacks and something to drink—no-spill cups and containers are

– Look for toys that are portable and small enough to throw in any carry on bag;
storage compartments are key if there are tiny pieces.

– Toys that make noise should have volume control

– Keep travel toys separate from house toys to make them new and exciting for kids

For families traveling on spring break, here are some great toys and games that will keep the
kids entertained without breaking the bank:
Graco Carina Flap Messenger (Baby Boom Consumer Products)
Spacious interior holds everything needed for your outings
Lots of pockets (7 total) to keep you organized and allow for easy access
Removable changing pad for on-the-go diapering
Adjustable strap for comfy carrying
MSRP: $19.00

Snack Catchers (Munchkin)
Easy access for little hands, with no spills
Holds 9 oz. of dry snacks
Protective bottom keeps tabletops scratch-free
A place to write child’s name on the bottom
BPA free
Top rack dishwasher safe
Ages: 12+ months
MSRP: $7.50 for 2-pack

Nûby No-Spill™ Easy Grip Cup (Love n’ care)
Valveless, leak resistant spout ensures no spills! Made from the same safe, soft silicone material as Nûby™ nipples, gentle on your child’s tender gums  Unique contour shape easily fits small hands
BPA free
Ages: 6+ months
MSRP: $2.99

Are We There Yet? Keep Me Comfy Neck Rests & I.D. Tags (Aurora)
Neck Rests: Makes long trips easier with soft & cuddly support for sleepy heads.  Ideal for napping on planes, trains, buses and automobiles
Ages: 18mos+
MSRP: $13
ID Tags: Clip on kids bags and backpacks, in case they get lost.
Ages: 3+
MSRP: $ $6.00

Beat the Parents (Spin Master)
Parents and kids go head to head in this fun filled family trivia game that puts your knowledge of the other generation to the test Adults answer questions about kids’ stuff, and the kids answer questions their parents should really know
A perfect travel card game for families to play in the car or while on vacation
Ages: 6+
MSRP: $5.99

Mini Games to Go (Briarpatch)
“Play’em, Clip’em, Take’em, Collect’em!  Mini Games to Go are compact card games you can play anywhere
After you play, just clip’em to your backpack or belt. Assortment includes: I Spy Memory Game, I Spy Shadow Match Game, Fancy Nancy Game, Dino Duel Game, Pirates Brawl, Princess Matching Game
For 1,2,3, – 4 players per game
Ages: 4+
MSRP $4.99 each

Fun on the Run Games (Hasbro)
Fun on the Run Games are compact, travel-size versions of the classic games we love
Assortment includes Connect 4, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, Battleship and more
For 2 players
Ages: 4-7+
MSRP: $5.99 each

SpongeBob SquarePants Clam Catching Game (Cardinal)
Mini fishing game perfect for the car, plane or bus
Catch the moving clams while the board is spinning
The player with the most clams wins!
For 2 Players
Ages: 4+
MSRP: $2.00

Elmo Travel Songs and Games on DVD (Warner Home Video)
Lots of travel fun starring Sesame Street favorites Elmo and Abby
Follows Elmo and Abby as they embark on a fun-filled road trip to the zoo with Elmo’s Dad
To help pass the time, they play stimulating travel games featuring the alphabet, counting, shapes and rhyming
Sing along with them to family favorites “Let’s Go Driving” and “The Bear Went Over The Mountain,” as well as the new “Are We There Yet?” song
Don’t forget to buckle up and go to the bathroom before you go on your trip, Elmo shows you why that is important!
On DVD May 3, 2011
MSRP: $14.98

Mad Libs On The Road (Penguin Books)
Help create car songs, spot some historical sights, even stop at a roadside diner–with a Mad Libs® twist, of course!
Includes 21 stories to fill-in-the-blanks – educates and entertains simultaneously
There is also an iDevice app edition that allows fans to email their wacky stores to friends from the car ride itself!
Ages: 8+
MSRP: $3.99

3D Dry-Erase Activity Set (Crayola)
Unique surface lets kids draw cool, eye-popping art and amazingly bright messages
Images appear as if they are floating without 3D glasses!
The board comes with Crayola Washable Dry-Erase Crayons in bright colors that burst off the board with boldness for doubly dazzling drawings!  Washable dry-erase crayon formula makes it easy to remove marks from walls, clothing and skin  convenient built-in crayon holder on front keeps contents organized
Includes: 5 Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons, E-Z erase mitt and crayon sharpener
Ages: 5+
MSRP: $12.99

Spring and Easter Basket Toys

21 Apr

The weather is finally warming up, the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom and spring is in the air. This week The Toy Insider Mom, Laurie Schacht visited ABC World Wide News to give her suggestions for some great spring time fun!

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Gardening Tools

Why we love them-

With these adorable tools, getting help in the garden just got easier!
The plastic tools are just right for little helpers and easy to keep
organized in this durable fabric tote with sturdy woven handles.

Sunny Patch Blossom Bright Tote Set
Ages 3+ MSRP: $14.99

Sunny Patch Be Good to Bugs Gripping Gloves
Ages: 3+ MSRP: $4.99

Sunny Patch Blossom Bright Watering Can.
Ages: 3+ MSRP: $12.99

GrowUms (by Preferred Commerce)

Choose from to grow a Taco Garden, Pizza Garden or even a Ratatouille Garden and teach kids how to grow their own food and help the environment.

It’s simple: just add water, plant your seeds and watch them grow! Gives kids gardening knowledge and shows them the skills it takes to become a successful gardener – no matter what their age.

Ages: 5+ MSRP: $9.99 each

Lazer Light Bug Vacuum ( by Backyard Safari™ Outfitters)

Become the ultimate bug wrangler by capturing bugs with more precision.
Find a light up bugs and suck ‘em,  look at bugs up-close with the built-in magnifying glass.
Ages: 5+ MSRP: $19.99

Are We There Yet? Keep Me Comfy Neck Rest (by Aurora)

Perfect for long napping on long trips via plan, trains or automobiles.
Ages: 18mos+ MSRP: $13

Zip-It (by Bananagrams)
Zip-It is a crossword race that can be played anytime, anywhere in as little as 20 seconds!
2 players
Ages: 7+ MSRP: $14.95

Chick and Bunny Easter Bags (by MEGA Bloks)

Let your child unlock her imagination and create charming Easter creations with detailed sticker sheet and 20 decorative pieces. When it’s time to go, put your creations away in your handy tote and continue the fun wherever you go!

Ages: 1+ MSRP: $9.99

Peeps Plush (by Commonwealth Toy)

Look just like the soft, squishy marshmallow characters – without the sugar! Peeps plus come in a variety of materials and sizes, sold individually and as 4-pack gift sets
Ages: 3+ MSRP: $3.99 to $12.99

Play-Doh Treat Without the Sweet Bunny and Chick Stampers ( by Hasbro)

These bunny and chick figures hold a couple of surprises just for you. Open each one up and you’ll find Play-Doh hidden inside! Then, look under their feet — you’ll find stamps for creating fun shapes! Stamp, mold and shape all kinds of imaginative creations with these two little pals.
Ages: 3+ MSRP: $3.99 (2-pack)

Wheel Pals Animal Tracks Spring Friends (by Hasbro)

Egg and bunny vehicles feature easy-rolling wheels so your little one can zip and zoom them all over the floor.
Sized just right for little hands, this squeezable pair loves to go, go, go
Ages: 12mos+ MSRP: $4.99 (2-pack)

Playskool Weebles Spring Basket (Hasbro)

Little ones will love the excitement of these two animal characters, who sway and wobble with glee — but never, ever fall down! Weebles 2-pack includes yellow chick and blue bunny figures in the classic, easy-to-grab shapes.
Ages: 12mos+ MSRP: $6.99 (2-pack)

I Spy Wonder Tubes (by Briarpatch)

A collectible game that’s self contained! Among the glitter and the sand swirl lots of items to find in order to
solve the different riddles that are included with each Wonder Tube. 6 different colors of Wonder Tubes, 3 different sets of riddles
Ages 5+ MSRP: $5.99 each

EggBods (by Bluw Toys)

Egg-shaped mix ‘n’ match collectible characters r.ange of characters for boys and girls including Captain Hard Boiled,
Egg Bot, Eggalina Ballerina and Fairy Tinkershell
Swap heads, arms and accessories to create new characters, wind up function, collect them all!
Ages: 4+ MSRP: $5.99 each

HOP Easter Basket

Assorted toys, apparel and candy based on Universal Studio’s new spring family movie HOP. Available exclusively at Walmart.

Justin Beiber Gets His Own Doll & Wax Figure Too!

22 Feb

When our Toy Insider Mom visited The Today Show 2 weeks ago, she gave a sneak peek at the new line of Justin Beiber dolls to hit shelves in 2011.

photo credit: The Toy Insider

And, today it was announced that in addition to The Justin Beiber Hair Doll and Tour Bus, The Beib’s is also getting his very own wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s!

photo credit: OK Magazine

We visited Madame Tussaud’s last year during Blogher, and let me tell you- those figures are scary-real!

The wax figure Beiber  is set to be revealed next month!

Can you imagine the swarm of tweens and teens that will be b-lining it to grab a picture with a life size Justin?

12 Simple, Affordable Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids & Tweens

21 Dec

3 More shopping days to go! Do you have your stockings ready to be stuffed?

Yesterday, our Toy Insider Mom visited ABC Now You Know and gave her suggestions for stocking stuffers kids will love!

All of the items mentioned can be found for under $25 and she even has some suggestions for Tweens!

Take a look-

(Click image to view)
ABC Now you know stocking stuffers


Below (from left to right) are items suggested in the segment-

1.) Thomas & Friends Buildable 2- in-1 sets $5.99

2.) Furreal Fuzzy Frenzys $7.99

3.) Grab and Go Games $11.99

4.) Diary of a Wimpy Kid $7.99

5.) Rubik’s Slide $19.99

6.) Color Blanks $12.99

7.) Hello Kitty Glow Board  $19.99

8.) Groovy Girls $19.99

9.) Sharper Image Photo Keychain $20

10.) Steif Plush Keychain $14.50

11.) Carolle Babi 11.99

12.) Lennon Sisters Best Pals $25.00

Fall Toys

21 Sep

Toy Insider Mom Blog Post

Fall means new toys!!  Some of this seasons new items seem to be disappearing just as quickly as they are appearing on shelves, so you may want to check them out and scoop them up before the holiday rush.

I spoke about many of these items in my latest segment with ABC World News.

Toy Insider Mom talks Fall Toys 2010

I selected toys like Fuzzoodles, Zoobles, Paper Jamz, Hexbug Nanos and Animal Master Mind for the segment specifically because they carry a great price value.  When I say price value, I’m not just talking about how much it cost, but how much value you and your child get  from the toy.

Questions to ask yourself before making a purchase…..

* Is this something my child is interested in?

* Are there additional pieces to increase the value of the main toy in the package?

*  Is it a “grow with me toy”, in-other-words, will it last more than just a few weeks? Are there levels of play so that as your child understands the toy there are more challenges to keep them engaged?

*  Will they love it? -Remember….it’s only a hot toy if YOUR child loves it!

I will continue to share lots of toys this holiday season, but yesterday on ABC I shared some of the new hot items that are hitting store shelves right now.


The Toy Insider Mom

The Toy Insider Mom: Making Her List, Checking it twice…

26 Aug


Can you even believe we have almost finalized our holiday toy list for The Toy Insider?? It’s true!

But “it’s just August”– right? Here it doesn’t matter!

The toys that are listed we’ve been watching grow since October 2009… and some even from 2008!! That’s how long it takes to get from idea-to first showing- to production and then to store delivery.  Crazy right?

Sometimes my team and I will have been watching a toy during that process for so long that we look each other and say “hey, that’s not new for this year…” but then immediately realize that it is- because its new to you and your kids! 

So even though there are many thing on our list that you have yet to see, our list is just about complete- and this season is going to be FUN! (well what else? I am talking toys right??)

We cannot share the list just yet but cannot wait til’ we can! -Because when the kids get excited about the toys, add them to their holiday lists- that’s when the fun really begins!

The kids are going to be excited. We are excited.

Not just because of our list (though that’s a big part) but because there is so many new things to come from us this year.

This year, The Toy Insider will be partnered with Walmart and Woman’s Day, which is where you will be able to find our published list & all of the toys listed first (look out for the Nov. Issue).


Our sites are relaunching with new easy to use designs.


So soon you will be able to find all information on the toys listed on The Toy Insider list on our new and improved site- (not live yet, but bookmark it and check back! 🙂 )


This site, (The Big Toy Book) is also undergoing some changes, making it easier for you to purchase many of the toys listed on The Toy Insider right here, as well as include some GREAT  private sales you will not want to miss.


I will be sure to keep you up to date on the toys and when we are ready to announce our list (closer to when you are ready to begin buying).

And for now, I will continue to talk about some of this years trends and as always, love to receive emails asking for suggestions and advice. or Laurie@thebigtoybook

Oh! and for our Twitter and Facebook fans, we of course, we expect to have some great giveaways @TheBigToyBook twitter chats and parties as well- a great place to win some of the hot toys for the holidays.


– Laurie