Holiday Toys: How to shop to ensure your gift isn't a flop

Posted at 7:36 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 07:36:56-05

Everyone has a list — a Black Friday list, the hottest tech list, the best toys to buy your kids.

I’ll be honest — we have a list to link you back to. It doesn’t mean you should use it. In fact, the folks over at Toyology told 7 Action News that lists are good, getting toys in your child’s hands are better. The idea is that what’s good on paper isn’t always what’s good when it gets wrapped and put under your Christmas tree.

“You don’t want something that’s going to last 15 minutes,” said Arik Klar, the owner of Toyology. “You want something they can continuously go back to.”

Klar owns a handful of stores throughout Metro Detroit — and each seems to have a unique flair, a lot of that is because regardless of what time you walk into one of his stores you’ll find a variety of customers, and most of them are playing with the toys inside the store.

“Let the kids in and let them play, let the adults in and let them play, heck let the aunts an uncles in and let them play!” said Klar. “It’s important to create an experience because experiences are what people remember.”

That’s something he said parents should keep in mind when it comes to holiday shopping.

Klar released a hottest toys list for toddlers, elementary-aged children and older kids recently. He considers it a starting point.

His blog “Power of Play,” allows parents to get ideas of what types of toys can empower their child to future success. Some toys are focused on building, others are more focused on electronics, and of course; some are just fun.

7 Action News had the chance to put his store’s toys to the test recently — we invited in children early in the morning to test out some of the hottest items. Klar was spot on, on a lot of his hottest toys. We quickly realized that different toys spoke to different kids.

“It’s not done yet!” shouted one young boy, pointing out he was only half-way done with his castle as we started taking video for a story that aired on 7 Action News this Morning on Thursday.

He was playing with something called Gecko Blocks — they stick to each other but aren’t sticky to the touch. They’re also washable, colorful and can be bought in bundles as you grow a collection.

It doesn’t take the kids inside Toyology long to have fun. Klar said the real goal is to get adults to buy into the power of play — so far, it’s working. It’s why at a time that big box toy stores are closing up shop he’s expanding. It’s a personal connection that both adults and kids can enjoy. It’s not unusual to see adults pick up retro toys off the shelf, or play with their kids before buying toys.

If you’d like to learn more about Klar’s take on the “power of play” you can check out his blog:

** Toyology’s Top Toys For You Elementary School Child

- Bend Bricks: A bendable surface that allows Legos to be built sideways — the tape can bend and adapt to any landscape allowing your child to take Legos to a new level. It’s also reusable — the sticky part of the Bendi Bricks can be cleaned and used again.
- Snap Circuits: A safe way of allowing kids to learn about electricity. Kits can be bought to continue to add on, and take the difficulty level up — there are multiple projects in each set. It’s like a new-age Erector set.
- Slime Factory: Mess-free, just add water! The slime comes in multiple sizes and colors, and kids can add stuff like glitter to change the look and feel of the “slime.”

** Toyology’s Top Toys For Your Toddler

- Draw & Build Dollhouse: Take a dollhouse to the next level — kids can build it to be three-dimensional thanks to magnetic pieces, but they also get to use dry-erase markers to create a new dollhouse each time.
- Magna-Tiles GLOW: Magnetic tiles that connect to promote building and creativity. They glow in the dark and are compatible with the original Magna-Tiles that your child may already own.
- Sqigz: Sqigz are meant to get kids building at a young age — they don’t need instructions, suction cups can connect them to nearly any surface, and they’re washable. You can take them in the car, or into the bath — they’ve been a top seller for quite some time.

You can read an expanded list of top-toys as we head into the Holiday season on Toyology’s website — or find the nearest location next to you by visiting the online shop: