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Top toys that won’t break the bank

Consumer specialist and “Today” contributor Herb Weisbaum shares a look at kids’ favorite toys for $25 or less.
/ Source: TODAY


Often, the toys kids find most appealing are also the most expensive. But there are exceptions. Consumer specialist Herb Weisbaum asked kids to test hundreds of toys and he shares a look at their top choices for under $25. Check out the top bargain toys in “Today’s Toy Test 2003.”


The Wiggles Talk N Sing Characters by Spin Master:

Spin Master

When it comes to hit musical groups for toddlers, The Wiggles are hot! So it’s no surprise that two Wiggles toys made it into the winner’s circle. These four Wiggles dolls (sold separately) are 15 inches tall. Just squeeze their tummy to hear two of that character’s signature songs. Anthony sings “Food, Food, Food,” Murray performs “Music with Murray,” Greg does “Wiggly Park,” and Jeff plays “Wake Up Jeff.” Each song last about 30 seconds.

The Wiggles Musical Guitar by Spin Master:

Spin Master

This guitar is loaded with fun. When kids push one of the character buttons they’ll hear a familiar Wiggles song, from “Yummy, Yummy, Fruit Salad,” to “Dance the Ooby Doo.” But that’s just one way to “play” this guitar. Push the other buttons for musical notes and wacky sounds. Kids love to hold the guitar while they sing along and dance.

Please ‘N Thank You Cash Register by Fisher-Price:

Fisher-Price Friends

Friends It’s easy to see why kids are immediately attracted to this brightly colored cash register with Barney on top. It has lots of fun things to do—push a number and Barney tells you what it is, swipe the credit card through the reader and hear silly sounds, use the electronic scanner to start the “I Love You” song. Parents will like this toy, too because it teaches kids good manners. The words “please” and “thank you” are on the screen right next to Barney. They light up in sync with the “Please and Thank You Song.”


Play-Doh George Foreman Grill by Hasbro

This Play-Doh play set is disguised as one of the most popular cooking appliances in America. With this pretend George Foreman Grill kids can extrude and mold a variety of Play-Doh meals, including: hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, fish, and steak. The grease catcher doubles as a mold for veggies. After the meal is on the grill, little chef’s can close the lid to hear grilling sounds and to put “grilling lines” on the food. The Play-Doh version of the George Foreman Grill is available in red, blue and teal. It comes with four cans of Play-Doh to get things started.

RC Racing Team by Mega Bloks

Mega Bloks

This is more than another radio-controlled racing set. This one is from Mega Bloks, so kids have to build their car before they race it. The kit comes with enough parts to build one of three highly detailed racers: a rally car, an open-wheeled racer or an off-road quad bike. The parts are all interchangeable, so kids can create their own unique designs.


GLOP by Elmer’s Products

Yes, the folks who created Elmer’s glue developed this toy! Before kids can play with it, they have to make it, by mixing together the pre-measured glue-based ingredients. It’s like a mini science project that results in a mass of silly, stretch GLOP. Kids can squeeze it, stretch it and make silly noises with it. When playtime is over, just store it in the mixing container for use again and again.

The Spiral Draw Book by Klutz


This classic drawing toy has been redesigned and given a few cool new twists — translucent drawing wheels and gel pens. The drawing wheels have been designed to whirl around smoothly inside the circular plastic frame. The non-skid feet on that frame help keep it in place on the page. Those color-changing gel pens give the drawings a unique 3-D look. This drawing kit comes with a book of instructions and drawing ideas.

Consumer expert and “Today” contributor Herb Weisbaum has been helping people across the country for over 25 years. His award-winning reports have exposed everything from quack medications to bogus investments. Since 1990, his Toy Test has helped millions of parents and grandparents select the bets toys for their kids. To learn more about Herb Weisbaum and his latest consumer reports, you can visit his Web site at: The ConsumerMan Show: