It’s beginning to feel a lot like . . .
Everyone loves toys. Even kids.
We sought out and played with scores of products that promised fun. Some sucked. Some didn’t work. Some were great. Here they are.
We found the best of the best: Those toys and games that have presence and are sure to please anyone on your gift guide this holidaze season. We left out prices. Why? Simple: Between Friday and Cyber Monday and all those Green Days in-between, prices drop faster than Santa down a chimney
It was a tough call, but Petrucelli Picks for the best gifts have been found. You can also found our picks for the two best mail-order catalogs products here: http://lodeplus.com/dead-celebrities-in-national/petrucelli-pick-s-the-holiday-gift-guide-to-the-two-best-mail-order-catalogs and our picks for more gifts here http://lodeplus.com/stage-and-screen-in-pittsburgh/petrucelli-picks-we-did-the-shopping-for-you-here-the-best-of-the-best.
Now taking center stage . . .
What a charade
Continuum Games,Reverse Charades is a hilarious twist on a classic stand-by. With Reverse Charades, a team of layers has 60 seconds to act out as many words as one person can guess. It’s a fast-paced, fiercely fun team competition that had our staff on the floor laughing so hard we wept. Be warned…you’re in for big and dangerous doses of fun! There’s also a version for the younger set.
One of our favorite video games has been turned into a table top strategy game that’s fun for the whole family. Tetris Link Drop and link Tetriminos of the same color to earn points, while blocking your opponents from linking and scoring. Learn in a minute, play for hours and prepare to become addicted.
Forget David and Harry and Criss and Penn and Teller. The Complete Magician: Everything You Need to Put on a Show can turn anyone into a prestidigitator. We cannot give away the secrets, but budding illusionists will learn more than 100 amazing tricks. The set includes the book is Magic: The Complete Course, which combines expertise, full-color photographs and step-by-step directions for each trick is broken down into the Effect, the Secret, the Set-up, and, most important, the Performance. Learn lessons on what to say, how to direct the audience’s attention, where to keep your hands and how to modestly accept applause. There’s a DVD that demonstrates 35 tricks, showing both how to do them and how to perform them convincingly. And the props are classics: four metal 4-inch linking rings, one Svengali Deck, one Paranormal Deck, one Magic “Pen-etrating” Pen, and one false thumb tip. Call this legerdemainist largess.
Color my world
GLOB arts and crafts products bring out the kid in us. They are sourced from natural and biodegradable materials, specializing in paints made from fruits, vegetables and spices with natural ingredients and organic extracts. They smell, well, yummy. The collage kit contains lemon verbena, blueberry, pomegranate and basil paints (as well as 2 mixing tins; leaf skeletons, rice paper-cutouts and other assorted natural collage materials; 8 handmade plantable greeting cards with wildflowers seeds; envelopes and a bamboo brush), with which you can c More (+)reate textured greeting cards you can actually plant and watch grow into a beautiful wildflower garden. We dug this at www.globiton.com.
Netting a winner
Fishing for the perfect gift for a fishing fiend? The Bass Pro Shops Strike Tournament Edition allows Wii users to grab their favorite rod, reel and tackle box and enter the cut-throat world of competitive tournament fishing. You’ll face some of the world’s best anglers as you navigate a series of ten tournaments, situated on some of North America’s most amazing lakes.
Hello? The Chicco Hello Baby Animals Phone is all you need to help your wee one become bilingual. While adults grumble about not having time to master a new language, tots approach it naturally as they learn their own mother tongue. Oh mother! This clever talking phone makes the most of this by guiding little ones through numbers one to nine in both English and Spanish. Baby can speak into the handset, flip through the animal friends in the phone book and dial different numbers while the phone talks and sings in both languages. The phone boosts memory and logical skills and caters to all stages of development. Hola?
Married with children
Watch the series. Play the game. With Modern Family, you can join the fun of three related families as you test your trivia knowledge and play some interesting side games. Be the player to visit each household and get back to your TV viewing couch and you’ll be crowned the winner. You may not win an Emmy, but you score with your teammates.
The Chicco Fun Travel Activity Nest is the ideal product you can take with you wherever you go: this comfy, practical and light-weight product becomes a wonderful nest where your baby can relax and also an entertaining gym to keep them happy at home and when traveling. The pop-up breathable mesh canopy helps keep baby cozy during playtime; the all-in-one carry case folds flat for playtime on-the-go. The colorful toy bars connect to suspend toys above baby for interactive playtime at home.
When we pulled this out on game night, the crowd went nuts. And devoured the fun. Pressman’sHappy Feet Two Freezing Frenzy is a frantic action game—turn on Erik and watch him send ice cubes popping out all over as he jumps and moves around the game base, kicking out colorful ice cubes along the way. The goal? Quickly grab your color cubes and try to put the other players’ cubes back in the base before they can grab them. Good luck.
Eye Can Art is a great name and a great company who make great craft kits. Our two favorites (both are packed in cardboard “cans”): Layered Wax Drawing Kit, in which the young and young-at-heart create a layered picture with melted beeswax; and Art Collage Printmaking Kit, with which aspiring artists can create dramatic prints from a collage of cut paper. These kits were developed by art teachers who know just what children need, both in terms of actual materials and the right amount of challenge. Some of best gifts you can get the crafty set.
Sensing a winner
Get ready to touch, time, see, smell, balance, bluff, listen, locate and laugh your way through this outrageous board game. Senseability teams players who must race to perform all kinds of fun, easy-to-play challenges spread over 10 sensational categories. Can you identify a hidden symbol using only your fingers? Catch a dropped stick real quick? Detect how many balls are in a box using only your ears? Be prepared to be knocked, well, senseless.
Why didn’t we have a Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike when we were growing up? Just think: We would never have had nasty scrapped knees. The Red Bullet helps children quickly learn how to get the balance they need to ride a two-wheeled without any fear or difficulty. The bike boasts an ergonomic and adjustable lightweight frame and an adjustable handle bar and seat.
The secrets to being a classic rock star? It’s as easy as A-B-C . . . rather, M-I-C-K-E-Y. The Disney Rock Star Mickey from Fisher-Price features the famous rodent kicking across the floor, bobbing his head to tunes and dropping into a Mickety-Split. During his performances, Mickey features four moves: The Head-Bop, the Kick-Step, the Mickety-Split and playing guitar with his nose! These moves keep him dancing all over the floor. If you want to learn how to rock out like Mickey, all you have to do is push his nose and he’ll show you himself. As you learn move after move, you’ll find yourself thinking: Now, that’s one talented mouse. And goofy too.
We had race cars when we were as tall as an elf. These days, kids have Hexbug Nanos, weird mutations that are as popular as candy canes at Christmas time. The Nano Raceway Habitat Set comes with 2 extremely rare Nano mutations, special Nano Speed Shells and 28 easy-connect pieces, giving you the freedom to get creative and customize your Nano Raceway. The starting gates and magic track hold Nanos in place until you release them and then the race is on. Each Raceway Habitat Sets
Hide and seek
Long name, huge fun. The Apisphere Geomate Jr. Handheld Geocaching GPSis the easiest and quickest way to get in on the geocaching fun. Just switch it on anywhere in the U.S. and be directed to your closest geocache. With more than 250,000 pre-loaded geocache locations in all 50 states, it’s an outdoor adventure just waiting to happen anywhere, anytime, straight out of the box. There are no downloads to buy, no internet connection needed, no typing in coordinates necessary.
Eyeing some fun
Spot It! comes in a teeny round tin, and proves that great things do indeed come in small packages. This is a fun, fast-paced, and simple circular card game in which cards are drawn and symbols match (think hearts, light bulbs, dragons, snowmen, puppies) are matched, but with one catch—only one matching symbol exists between any two cards. The first person to spot the matching symbol and call it out wins. How can there be so much excitement in such teeny a tin?
What a doll
American Girl has issued two new 18-inch poseable must-haves: Cécile and Marie-Grace. Both dolls are collectibles. Both are decked out in authentic styles from 1853: Cecile wears a teal satin dress with black velvet accents and rosette adornments, white pantalettes, knee-length stockings and black boots, and her dark brown hair is styled in ringlets and tied back with ribbons. Marie-Grace opens up a whole world of play with a plaid taffeta dress in summery shades of pink and tangerine, featuring a wide neckline, puffed sleeves and lace trim, white pantalettes, knee-length stockings and two-tone boots. Her long brown tresses are braided and tied back with ribbons. Both come with hard-bound books that enhance playtime with background of both beauties. Barbie who?