The day – Top toys of 2021: games, puzzles and activity kits are the stars

Even the North Pole has not been spared by the global coronavirus epidemic. Santa’s elves work very hard to make and deliver enough toys for the next holiday. But the creativity to imagine this new bag of toys seems to have stopped in 2021 as the pandemic drags on.

“There are a lot of wonderful products out there, but no real game changers – no design or technology innovations that will mark this year as particularly notable in the toy field,” says Stephanie Oppenheim, an expert in what. is hot and what’s not in the US $ 32 billion toy industry. .

His company, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, reviews thousands of toys every year, giving advice on what’s worth your time and your parents ‘or grandparents’ money when buying toys.

For 2021, says Oppenheim, the toy companies have decided to stick with what worked well for them in 2020. “You’ll find more games, puzzles and activity kits this year,” she says. “Families are looking to have fun together” and reduce screen time. “This year we’ve seen a lot more great puzzles,” she notes.

There are also more toys and games focused on emotional well-being, diversity and inclusion. The Barbie family of dolls, for example, come in different skin tones, hair colors and body types, and a new Ken uses a wheelchair and has 22 movable “joints” for exercise.

The key for toy makers, Oppenheim says, is “to find products that are fun and engaging.”

Below are some of its top picks for 2021. Prices are manufacturers’ suggestions. For more information on these and other toys, visit the website.

– Ka-Blab!

Hasbro, $ 20.99

10 years and over

Roll the dice to see how many items you need to list in a given category. For example, how many Disney Princesses can you name? But be careful. Don’t delay too long, because there’s a time bomb that might end your turn faster than you can say “Cinderella”.

– Color by number puzzle – Jungle animals

Faber-Castell, $ 15.99

6 years and over

The jungle comes to life in this 100 piece puzzle that starts off as a coloring project. Use the 12 washable markers to recreate the fun picture on the box or draw your own. Separate the pieces and now you have a difficult puzzle. Can you find the five hidden frogs? (Hint: They glow in the dark.)

– Olivia’s electric car (and other Lego Friends toys)

Lego Friends, prices vary

6 years and over

Here are three new players in the Friends 2021 lineup:

Olivia’s electric car kit includes a buildable car, wind turbine charging station, two mini dolls, and a puppy (183 pieces, $ 14.99).

The Heartlake City Veterinary Clinic features eight animals and three mini dolls, one of which is blind and has a guide dog (258 pieces, $ 39.95).

The Heartlake City Cinema features a hinged playset that opens to reveal a screening room and popcorn kiosk for three movie-crazed mini-doll figures (451 pieces, $ 49.99).

– All about me Empower Flower

Craft-tastic, $ 16.99

8 years and over

Think about what makes you special, then choose from over 250 words that best describe you. These shiny bands become the petals surrounding a dome filled with confetti on your unique flower. Display it with pride. No one else has one like it.

– Mega Mouth: the lip reading game

Large Creative G, $ 13.99

8 years and over

Players try to guess what their teammate is saying silently behind a large, magnifying window. The words are printed on cards and each correct answer earns a token. The first team to collect 21 tokens wins. (This set is also a good reminder to floss regularly.)

– The moving stones

Game author, $ 17.99

8 years and over

A family game night challenge for up to five players. Shift the nine stone tiles to match the cards you have in your hand. It sounds simple, but there is a lot of strategy involved. Experienced players suggest watching a practice game on YouTube before trying it. So go ahead and give it a try!

– Paint your own porcelain Christmas decorations

MindWare, $ 22.95

8 years and over

Paint, bake and enjoy these porcelain ornaments for years to come. The kit includes six patterns, 12 paints, a brush, a ribbon and a guide for mixing colors and creating special effects. Adult help may be needed when cooking. For younger artists, MindWare offers a 12-piece (no bake) coloring version ($ 26.99).

– The Imperial Shuttle from Star Wars

Lego, $ 69.95

9 years and over

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are ready to board once you’ve finished building their shuttle. Then, in Han Solo’s words, “Let’s see what this piece of junk can do.” The 660-piece shuttle kit is expensive, just like real space travel. But if Grandma can afford it, you may be able to convince her to add an Imperial Light Cruiser to your fleet (1,336 pieces, $ 159.99).

– Happy city

Game author, $ 14.99

10 years and over

Like Monopoly, only better, toy testers said. Build your own city, attract residents, earn money, balance the budget and elect the mayor. It sounds like a real success story. The catch is, you only win if yours is the happiest town around. Gamewright calls this a “delicious” building game. We let you judge.

– Square puzzle of 1000 pieces of astrology

eeBoo Piece and Love, $ 21.99

13 years and over

You don’t have to be an astrologer to foresee that hours of fun await those who tackle this puzzle that promotes patience and problem solving. Each of the 12 signs of the zodiac is represented by a bird, a flower, a gemstone, a currency and its place in the sky. Each member of the family can in turn become a star puzzle solver.

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