The Best Toys of 2018

It’s that time of the year again; the time for which children all over the world (and more than a few adults, too) have been waiting: the gift-giving season! In particular, as an adult and parent, you are well aware of the months’ approach, given how often the little one clamor about your feet asking questions about the toy budget this year. Instead of having to conduct hour-long searches on Google, we’ve compiled here a selection of the best toys of 2018 – with a wide range of costs so as to be inclusive of most peoples’ budgets.

Not surprisingly, some of the toys from last year crept on to this list, because of the simple fact that the craze for them has yet to die out. Fingerlings are one of them, and stores constantly complain of being out of stock when new requests come in, despite the feverish pace of manufacturers in keeping up with their end of the supply and demand curve. With that set, let’s jump right into the top toys.

The Fingerlings As Advertised

These little monsters and cute, adorable creatures are still near the very top of any kid’s list of toys this year. The Raptors Untamed is the latest incarnation in the line of finger-attached action figures, which successfully combines dinosaurs with the caricatures that have been thus far reserved for sloths, monkeys and other relatively cute critters. Fingerlings are recommended for ages 5 and up.

Plush Toys With a Twist

It’s not surprising that plush toys would be a big hit with kids within a certain age range; even many adults appreciate their large, plush and furry nature. The thing about the new brand of plush toys known as Grumblies – which are making waves across the nation – is that they’re losing a bit of their cuteness and gaining a rougher edge. For some reason, though, kids are taking to them as a replacement for the unrelentingly cute furries of yesteryear. Just wait until you get a look at their faces! Things sure have changed since you were a kid.

Dinosaurs Are Taking Over – Imaginext Jurassic

Not surprisingly, the reemergence of Jurassic Park on the Big Screen has spawned a resurgence of toys related to the franchise. The Imaginext Jurassic World Jurassic Park, for example, is a definitively hot ticket item that’s certain to fly off the shelves for months to come. It’s large and substantial, which means that it will take up lots of play time as your little loved one cycles through all the permutations and makes his little slice of Jurassic Park come to life.

Pet Vet Play – The Examine and Treat Play Set

For your fledgling veterinarian; this adorable playset starts him on the road to becoming a doctor for the sick animal someday. It’s no wonder that this is one of the best toy sets of the year – toy maker team Melissa and Doug has stocked the bag full of all the little elements that real pet docs use. You even get a pet toy dog and cat in the bag, on which to carefully run your health examinations. With two dozen pieces in all, your little one won’t want for examples of what to do. It comes with a diagram and a checklist, too.

Make Mine Marvel With The Avengers Training Kit

There hasn’t been a comic book franchise as successful on the Big Screen as Marvel’s recent movies, with characters like Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor and Black Panther capturing the imaginations of fans of all ages – especially the young. This toy set lets them use various odds and ends from their super-powered heroes and pretend to shoot repulsor blasts from the lifelike Iron Man gauntlet, or snake through the advanced jungles of Wakanda with the Black Panther mask.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Gun

Never to be confused for a real gun, this colorful projectile toy carries quite the punch – and it’s all in fun, guaranteed to provide the children with hours and hours of fun in any moderately expansive space. Nerf guns tend to dominate the Christmas season among a certain age group, and the company has responded with advancements that will have your boys (and some girls) clamoring for upgrades like the speed-load tech that automatically loads the next foam clip and lays waste to the opponent’s dreams of escaping untouched. Always be sure to get extra darts – they are inexpensive since it’s just colored foam.

We could of course go on and on with the toys that are available this year, but the above are definitely some of the very best.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Read More

How To Keep Your Kids Entertained While Doing A Million Other Things At Once

Being a parent means your life is pretty much full of multitasking. There will rarely be a moment where you only have one thing to do at once. Mostly, you have a million things going on at the same time, and you’re like one of those street performers trying to keep the plates spinning at the same time.

IMG_0575

Normally, entertaining your kids is a constant on your list of things to do. But, how can you do this when you simply have more pressing matters to tend to? The solution is to look for ways in which your kids can stay entertained without you needing to constantly watch over and supervise them. In this piece, I’ve listed a few of my favorite ideas to do this.

Put Netflix On The TV

Normally, I’m not an advocate of sticking your child in front of a screen and letting it entertain them for you. However, there comes a time where you simply don’t have the time to provide personal entertainment. In times like these, Netflix is your best friend. It’s like your virtual nanny, it will help keep your kids entertained for a good hour or so while you do what you need to do. Don’t let them watch it for too long, I personally think this is a great option when you’re making dinner for 30-45 minutes.

Get Them A Playhouse

A playhouse is a really fun toy that your children can pretty much play with by themselves. They’ll lose themselves in their imagination as they play with this toy house, pretending it’s their own. Normally, these are reserved for outdoor fun. However, the best kids’ playhouse can be used indoors as well as out. So, even when it’s rainy, your children can still play with it while you work, cook, clean, or just do whatever you need to do in peace.

tirewithmammaw

Buy A Jigsaw Puzzle

Puzzles are a great way to keep children occupied without the need for constant supervision. A jigsaw puzzle can be placed on a table, and your child is free to try and solve it as they please. This is one of the best ways of occupying a child for well over an hour. They get caught up in trying to put all the pieces together and completely zone out from the world. If you work from home and have a lot to do, then this is a great idea for you.

Let Them Use Your Tablet

Again, I said it earlier, I don’t suggest you always stick a screen in front of your children!! But, your tablet is a great entertainment device for your kids. They can watch videos, play games, but also learn at the same time. My advice is to download educational games and apps that they can pass the time on while you’re busy. They stay entertained, they learn, and you get a little bit of peace and quiet.

pvztablet

Being a good dad is all about managing your time well! If you can keep your kids entertained while also doing loads of other tasks, then you’re doing a pretty great job!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Read More

Kylo Ren’s Day Off

IMG_4269Trying to bring order to the galaxy is a hard job. Kylo Ren can make it look easy, but we know that Ben Solo has a softer side. In honor of Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Kylo Ren took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with St. Louis Dad and talk about some of his favorite hobbies and activities he likes to enjoy when he has some downtime.

St. Louis Dad (dadstl): Mr. Ren, sir, thank you for having me here, let me first start by saying that I can’t help but notice how colorful it is in here.

Kylo Ren (KR): Well, there’s a lot more to me than all of this dark side stuff. People just don’t understand. One of my favorite pieces in this house is right behind me. It’s an original.

IMG_4274dadstl: How about this other picture of the frog?

KR: Chewie gave me that when I was 5. He mumbled something about it being a Dagobah period piece but I’m not sure.

dadstl: So you and Chewie were friends?

KR: (looks silently into the picture of the frog for 15 minutes and then says) Let’s roast marshmallows.

dadstl: With lightsabers?

KR: No you imbecile, in the fireplace.

dadstl: Sounds good to me.

IMG_4282So we roasted some marshmallows and attempted to talk a bit about what else he likes to do during his free time. He gave short quiet responses to questions I didn’t even answer and genuinely seemed disinterested in the interview.

Then it happened. Kylo Ren turned to me and said that he would feel more comfortable if we continued this interview while he completed his night routine. He asked me to follow him into the bathroom so he could get his bath ready.

He was quiet as the tub filled and I honestly felt a little weird with him doing this in front of me. It was even weirder that he kept all of his clothes on while bathing.

If that’s his thing I’m not gonna judge, maybe he is a never nude. I dunno, I didn’t ask.

IMG_4283                   IMG_4286

After bathtime was over, which by the way he wouldn’t answer a single question. He only played with the bubbles. That’s it. So anyways, Kylo Ren wanted me tuck him into bed and tell him a story. This is where I draw the line. I have my own kids, I am their dad. Just because you killed your own father doesn’t mean you get to use me as a replacement. Oops, spoiler alert.

IMG_4289

Hasbro provided St. Louis Dad with this awesome Kylo Ren figure. He is large and in charge. The figure also comes with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber which he can hold easily. The larger figures are great for younger kids that want to play with popular characters but may not be ready for the smaller pieces. You can pick up Kylo Ren and many of the other Star Wars characters at stores all over.

Read More

Equestria Girl Minis!

mlp-playlikehasbroThis dad isn’t a brony by any means, but I have seen the new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic cartoon and also the new Equestria Girls cartoons and toys inspired by MLP. While I don’t mind the show, it’s not my thing but my daughter… Oh boy does she like My Little Pony. When Equestria Girls came out she had to have them. Now that there are smaller, mini Equestria girls sets, she now has to have these as well.

Hasbro sent over one for my daughter to enjoy and for me to review (My Little Pony Equestria Girls Minis Rarity Slumber Party Beauty Set). My Little Pony is definitely a hit in our home and has brand recognition so I won’t go into detail about that, because we all already know just by name alone this toy will sell. But how about the quality… I actually think it’s fantastic. Hasbro puts some serious effort into their toys.

There isn’t a ton of articulation but there is enough for you to have some serious fun with the figure and pose it in various ways. The little accessories that came with Rarity all fit in her hands and are all also detailed very nicely. The set included several cool little accessories that fit with Rarity’s style and the theme of slumber party beauty set. I like the smaller size over the larger ones mainly for storage reasons. But I think the smaller size makes for more play opportunities with other toys as well.

IMG_3467One of the coolest things that I was able to do with this toy that may or may not have been intentional is that I was able to save the cardboard display that was used in the packaging with the toy. Typically when we unbox a toy the toy is so fused with the packaging to prevent theft or whatever that everything but the toy gets cut up and destroyed. I was able to save this one and my daughter uses it with Rarity and many other toys. I am a big fan of the packaging artwork that toys come in and would love it if it could be used with the toy more often like this.

I can see Rarity joining the rest of her Equestria Girls very soon with these Equestria Girls Minis being very popular with Abby. Don’t forget to #PlayLikeHasbro and pick up your own Equestria Girls Minis. Read the official product description below and click here to purchase your own!

What’s one of the best parts of a slumber party? Makeovers! Get ready to imagine makeup and dress-up fun with this My Little Pony Equestria Girls Minis Rarity Slumber Party Beauty Set. Imagine Rarity giving her friends great advice and sharing beauty secrets at a slumber party with this set, which includes a vanity with makeup and hairstyling accessories! This cute, poseable mini-doll also comes with her cute kitty figure.
•Includes doll, cat figure, and 10 accessories.
• Rarity doll comes with makeup and hairstyling accessories
• Doll is poseable
• Includes cute cat figure

Hasbro provided St. Louis Dad with these products as compensation in exchange for an honest review. Please visit Hasbro.com for more toys and other games!

Read More