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Top 10 holiday toys you don’t know about

by By Elizabeth Werner /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY contributor

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Never heard of a Zoobie? What about Meatball Madness? Elizabeth Werner of highlights the top 10 holiday toys you or your kids may not have seen yet, but should keep your eye on this season.

1. Musical instruments from First Act
Light Up Drum SetAges recommendation: 6-12Suggested retail: $99.99

30” Acoustic GuitarAge recommendation: 7+ Suggested retail: $29.99

Portable Electric Guitar (boy or girl)Age recommendation 7+Suggested retail: $79.99

What could be a better gift than the gift of music and creativity? The cool Light Up Drums, rocking Acoustic Guitar and easy-to-travel-with Portable Electric Guitar by First Act encourage our children to make a band and jam together. We have these set up in our playroom and my kids spend hours “practicing” and I get called in periodically for show time!

2. Zoobies
Bubba the Black Bear and Lilly the LadybugSuggested retail: $32-$35Age recommendation: good for all ages

My children and I fell in love with Zoobies the minute we saw them. These adorable stuffed animals also serve as a lush pillow and a yummy soft blanket. Now, when you are driving to grandma and grandpa’s for the holidays, you only have to pack a Zoobie — leave the bulky pillow and blankets at home. Bubba the Black Bear and Lilly the Ladybug are among the newest additions to the Zoobie line and big favorites at my house.

3. ‘Squeek and the Monster in the Bubble’ storybook
Suggested retail: Plush $21.50; Book $14.99Age recommendation: 3+

“The Monster in the Bubble” storybook and Squeek, the-11-inch WorryWoo stuffed animal, are part of a new family of monsters called the WorryWoos that help children face and overcome loneliness and insecurities as well as help them understand and embrace innocence and honesty. Squeek, the Monster of Innocence, is afraid to try new things and hides in his cozy bubble dreaming of the world of possibilities that awaits him if he could only step outside. When Squeek is presented with the opportunity to be outside his bubble, he learns a great deal. The 67-page, hard-cover “Monster in the Bubble” storybook will take children of all ages on a beautiful journey.

4. Tier Toys Noah’s Ark Stacker
Suggested retail: $49.99Age recommendation: 3+The Tier Toys Noah’s Ark Stacker is an incredible unique stacking toy and puzzle all wrapped up in one. The Ark has 12 stackable layers and 44 detailed animal figurines that store within the 12 layers which, when put together by your child, make Noah’s Ark. My daughter and her buddies pull this toy out on a regular basis and thoroughly enjoy taking it apart, putting it back together and playing with the numerous animals. This toy remains out on the coffee table and hasn’t made it into the toy closet yet, which means it’s a major winner.

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6. Tara Toy Meatball Madness
Suggested retail $19.99Age recommendation: 5 and up

Meatball Madness is a game that gets our kids up and active, helps them with their eye-hand coordination and provides hours of fun play for both boys and girls. Kids (and grown-ups) use the air-powered ladle to float foamlike brown meatballs about the size of a golf ball through a series of goofy kitchen obstacles on the three upright game boards. Kids will race against the clock to see who can get the meatballs from the pot to the plate in the least amount of time. This game is so creative and fun and should be added to everyone’s game closet.

7. Clue: Secrets & Spies
Suggested retail: $24.99Age: 9 and up

Clue: Secrets & Spies is a great new version of the beloved game Clue that we played when growing up. In this new version of Clue, Agent Black is plotting and we have to stop him by going undercover, completing missions, attending secret meetings, responding to actual texts sent to our cell phones and uncovering secrets using a spy light. My son is 11 and he and his friends have been playing and enjoying this game a lot. They especially get a kick out of the cell phone texts they get. Visit to see Text Terms and Conditions for Clue: Secrets & Spies.

8. Baby Mat by Best Ever
Suggested retail: $45.00Age recommendation: 0 and up

The Baby Mat by Best Ever is by far the best baby mat I have ever seen — or, more importantly, that I have ever touched. These HUGE cushiony baby mats come in the shape of frogs, giraffes and pink or blue teddy bears and are perfect for babies to lie on during awake time for play, tummy time or looking around and exploring with their eyes. The absolute magic in these Baby Mats is the heavenly soft fabric of which they are made. When you feel how butter silky smooth these Baby Mats are you, will be e-mailing me asking for an adult-size one. These “baby mats” really are for kids of all ages because my daughter has slept with hers for three years now and she is 8 years old. Can you tell I love these?

9. Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC Game
Suggested retail $16.99Age recommendation: 3 and up

Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC Game by I Can Do That! Games is a fantastically fun way to teach and reinforce letters with our kids all while bending, twisting and stretching on a huge play mat that features all the letters of the alphabet, fun objects that start with each letter and Dr Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2. The kids spin a tornado spinner and then learn where they will have to place their feet, hands and ears on the crazy play mat. I played this with my kids and we were absolutely hysterically laughing watching each other try to pretzel our way to victory.

10. Musical Tin Tea Set Suggested retail $22.99 Age recommendation: 3 and up

The Musical Tin Tea Set by Schylling is a very special new tea set for our gals to enjoy for years to come. When our girls wind the key on the bottom of this beautiful tin teapot and tip it over, they will hear it play the song “I’m a Little Teapot.” I love the retro look of the Tin Tea Set, and the music adds such a fun, special touch. This 15-piece set includes one teapot with lid, one serving tray, four plates, four teacups and four saucers. Get ready for hours of great imaginative role play and fun tea parties.

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