Dec 1, 2008

Lifestyle - Modern Monopoly, child-friendly MP3 among kids' favourite toys this year

Washington, November 16 (ANI): Tech-savvy kids' top toys this year have been found to be a richer, greener Monopoly game, a "cool" dinosaur set and a child-friendly MP3 player.

These are some of the names that find mention in a list of 11 choice playthings prepared by the Canadian Toy Testing Council, a non-profit group that ranks toys by farming them out to youngsters.

Also on the list is Monopoly Tropical Island, the inflation version of the Hasbro-Parker Brothers classic, with all the traditional values, rents and payouts multiplied by 1,000.

It also has some new twists as the old-style utilities like the water and electric companies have become a solar station and a wind farm. Boardwalk and Park Place have become Vista Beach and Gentle Sands.

A seven-year-old boy gave top marks to the Playmobil Dinosaur's hefty reptiles, human action figures and other accessories.

"It has cool dinosaurs and a realistic volcano to play with. The volcano, you press the little button and it explodes," quoted him as saying.

Another hit item on the list was a 1950s-era diner produced by the company Step 2, which comes complete with juke box and retro tunes. While one side is a kitchen where kids can pretend to whip up burgers and fries or sundaes, the other side is the diner booth.

"They're incorporating the old theme of the kitchen type, but it's also for boys and girls. They've incorporated electronics with it. The kids really love that, right to the juke box," said Leigh Poirier, executive director of the council.

A junior DJ set called the Vtech Kidijamz, which combines the familiar electronic keyboard with other features that allow kids to mix their own music, was also found to be hit amongst kids.

"They've jazzed it up, and they have the turntable and they have the headphones for it and they have the different music and the kids really enjoyed that. It's the same kind of idea where you have the old, but it's got the new techno to it," said Poirier.

SweetPea3, the council's battery-operated toy of the year, is a sturdy, simple MP3 player that lets parents download up to four hours of music and songs.

The council has also enlisted certain books ranging from the time-honoured The Little Engine That Could to Alien Invaders, a handbook on invasive animal species around the world.

The council has been producing its annual lists for 55 years, and over 40,000 children are said to have tested toys over the years. (ANI)

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