Top Toys This Holiday Season

Welcome to Day 1 of the
25 Days of Ottawa Life
Christmas Calendar

We’ll be updating with a
new treat daily so be sure
to keep checking under the
OLM Tree to see what’s new.

If you were a young boy with a pulse in the mid-80s you probably had at least two best friends named Eric that you’d gladly trade for a Castle Greyskull and an Optimus Prime. Your entire year was spent drooling over Sears catalogues and concealing jealousy over one of the Erics having accumulated at least one of these coveted prizes before the holiday season.

Christmas, even Garfield would tell you, was not about the giving, not about the getting, but about the loving but, let’s be honest, six year olds live to love to get. When helping mom dig out the old box of lights, tinsel and bulbs that will eventually adorn the tree in the corner of the living room, eyes grow wide. Sure, some of that is because of the glowing festive beauty but most of that is picturing what could rest beneath it all come December 25th.

As we grew, that tree seemed to get small over the years but the memories became bigger. Most of us have at least a few winter reveries of somehow managing both sleepy eyes and excitement as you rushed from bed to see the glorious bounty that awaited you. A kid had to have the patience of Job to not tear into the gifts like a rabid wolverine sending a furry of pine needles and wrapping paper into the air.

Was that the Lite Brite? The Millennium Falcon? Socks! Oh please, not more socks.

While the most wished for items may have changed over the years, one thing remains consistent: toys are as tied to Christmas as Rudolph, enormous meals and kisses from your perfume soaked Aunt Viv.

While I’m still holding out for that vintage Optimus, here are some of the top toys creating holiday memories this year.

Fisher-Price Little People Caring For Animals Farm (1-5 years)

One of the best parts of Christmas as an adult is seeing it through the eyes of a child. Ok, sure, maybe not an impatient child that’s consumed enough sugar to coat Kilimanjaro, but those little moments of wonder and joy are precious and they make us feel young again. Take my niece and nephew. Neil and Juliet love the Ottawa Experimental Farm. There’s a thrill they get in seeing a live animal that isn’t the family dog. This Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm brings some of that excitement home as kids can act out farm play fun. Feed the chickens, tuck in a horse and have Farmer Jed chase around a pig. The set offers lots of sensory-stimulating activities as wee ones open doors, press buttons and listen for fun sounds, songs and phrases. The corn-popping silo is a nice touch.

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Teach 'n Tag Movi (3-6 years)

Back in my 80s toy lovin’ heyday, robots were all the rage. Maybe it was something about a little known film called Star Wars (maybe you’ve heard of it) featuring a beepin’ bot named R2D2. To be honest, I never knew what he was talking about even if Luke did but you won’t have that problem with Teach ‘n Tag Movi. “Let’s play,” says the robot and what kid can resist? Like them, this little bot has a lot of mobility to keep little ones moving. Movi is like your child’s first aerobics instructor, packed with games to make them dance, shake around the silly and exercise. He’ll ask questions, get kids thinking and is sure to bring lots of laughs, too, with over 60 different facial expressions. Take that, R2!

Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set (4 years +)

Take Monster High, weave in a little Disney Princess and whirl it all up in the Littlest Pet Shop and you’ve got the newest toy franchise to burst onto the scene, Enchantimals. This group of loveable girls have such a bond with their animal friends that they even share some of the same features. This playhouse brings some of their adventure into your home with favorite Prue and her panda friend Nari. There’s a few floors of fun, too! After you’ve tried the slide and swings downstairs take the nest elevator up to the tree-top lookout above!

Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set (5 years +)

As a kid I collected quite the museum of Hot Wheels cars. My brother and I would build tracks in our backyard, race our favorites over ramps and through tunnels. This continues with my nephew. It’s hard to spot Neil without a car in his hand. The Hot Wheels Roto Revolution track set provides some of that smash and dash play car lovin’ kids like him go crazy for. With two launches, you can go head-to-head with a friend (or an uncle!), plotting out your timing to see how long you can loop before…whamo!

Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway Track Set (4 years +)

Speaking of racing, I can’t think of a four wheeled friend that has been more popular in the eyes of kids these days than Lightning McQueen. If your kid likes Cars you’ve probably seen the film and sequels about 400 times. Well, turn off the television and bring the action of Disney-Pixar’s Cars 3 to life with a set so big it had to be called ultimate. At 5 feet long, it’s the biggest racetrack the franchise has ever put out. Yeah, you better clear up some floor space. Act out the movie’s climatic race with boosters, diverters and rapid turns at a you blink and you miss it pace. Of course, it includes Lightning McQueen ready to zip towards the finish line. Ka-Chow!

Mega Construx Pokémon Charizard (8 years +)

I think we snagged my daughter’s first Pokémon themed gift when she was three. She’s now in her 20s and the popularity of Pikachu and his three million “gotta’ catch ‘em all” friends has never wavered. Merging with Mega Construx, now you have to BUILD them all. With 198 pieces, kids can make Charizard from his wings to flame-tipped tail. Very flexible, the toy can be posed in his classic positions ready to battle against other Pokémon in the lineup. How many can you build on your way to becoming a Pokémon Master?