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Kids Give Thumbs Up to Preferred Toys

Holidays * A magazine surveys children to see what they liked best, and the list could benefit parents when Christmas shopping.

November 02, 2000|From ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ready, set, go.

The race to buy the hot holiday toys has begun.

But the dilemma many parents face is whether to start slow and plan for a shopping sprint in a crowded field at the end of December, or to burst out of the gate with the possibility that the toys they've chosen will lose their appeal before the holiday finish line.

In an effort to give parents some guidance, Family Fun magazine conducted a nationwide "kid test" and came up with its predictions of what will be this year's hottest toys. Twenty-three products for ages 3 to 12 were picked for the Toy of the Year Awards after months of play-testing by 700 children at KinderCare Learning Centers nationwide.

The radio-controlled F-150 Hercules truck by Nikko America was ranked No. 1.

The four-wheel drive vehicle modeled after Ford Motor Co.'s F-150 will be on Ameer Khan's wish list.

"It's cool, and not a lot of kids have it yet," said Ameer, 12, who played with the truck for the first time at the unveiling of the toy awards in Manhattan. Ameer liked the easy-to-navigate control box and monster truck-size wheels.

Jake Conners, 3, and Eric Szulansky, 5, faced off in a soccer game using the Championship Challenge by Lego. Children can build the field with Lego blocks and then use the miniature players to move around the ball.

Eric, who plays soccer, said he liked it because the players can use their hands--which is not allowed in real games.

The best part about the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Bar Factory by Wham-O is that you can add toppings to the ice cream bars, said Shyreca Kindanen, 7.

The hand-cranked ice cream maker includes two ice cream flavors, chocolate and strawberry dipping shells and an assortment of sprinkles.

"As adults we've lost the magical ability to sense what kids like," said Alexandra Kennedy, Family Fun's editorial director. "But the kids know what works. And it's a great moment for them to be asked their opinion, and they make very careful choices."

The KinderCare testers logged more than 23,000 hours playing with almost 500 toys to produce a list of 69 finalists, three in each category. The children then voted on their favorite of the three.

Family Fun's top 10 list:

* F-150 Hercules (suggested retail price $190).

* Wiggle & Giggle by International Playthings ($20), a game reminiscent of Twister that requires players to balance foam balls on different parts of their bodies.

* Dragonfly by Toymax Inc. ($70), a remote-control vehicle that's part car, part bug.

* Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Bar Factory ($30).

* Championship Challenge ($50).

* Golden Retriever by Folkmanis Puppets ($60), a plush puppy with a movable head and mouth.

* Slithering Jake the RC Snake by Fisher-Price ($40),a radio-control quivering cobra with glowing red eyes.

* Makeup Mindy by Hasbro Inc. ($17), a doll with a hair dryer, facial mask and nail polish.

* Love to Dance Bear by Fisher-Price ($30), the character from "Bear in the Big Blue House" sings and dances the "Bear Cha-cha-cha."

* Apples to Apples Junior by Out of the Box Publishing ($16), a card game that (creatively) matches objects and descriptions.

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