As you may have read, due to ongoing supply chain issues throughout the world, the time to start shopping for Christmas gifts is now. Unfortunately, because of this accelerated timeline, it is too early to develop a finely tuned sense of what the year’s most popular gifts will be. Last year we did not know what the hottest holiday toys were until November! This year, that will be way too late. So, we are just going to have to do our best by relying on items that we know have been among the top selling in 2021 so far. Below are the toys that we’ve covered, along with a link to the first time we wrote about them:
Reversible Octopus Plushie – original article
The reversible octopus plushie continues to be the surprise hit of the COVID era. Turns out people relish the idea of being able to convey their moods to others without having to actually speak to them.
Baby Yoda – original article
Is this the Christmas your child finally gets “The Child” in his or her stocking?
Fidget Bubble Pop – original article
Fidget bubble pop comes in about a million varieties, from the ubiquitous rainbow color pictured above to American flag and Tyrannosaurus rex themed. There is even a version with dice that is dubiously marketed as a form of “chess.”
Squishmallows – original article
The eminently TikTok-able Squishmallows went from being difficult to find to being impossible to avoid.
Dyson Toy Vacuum Cleaner – original article
I still don’t get this one. Let the kids play!
Squeakee the Balloon Dog – original article
Want your son or daughter to grow up to be the next Jeff Koons? Then this is exactly the toy for you.
We Strongly Recommend ‘Chronology’ For Family Game Night
We Know Products readers know that we love games. Over the years titles we have recommended include …I Should Have Known That, 5 Second Rule, Half Truth, and Trivillenial. Now it is time to add another to our list—Chronology. I received it as a Christmas gift, and we have already played it so many times that we may be close to exhausting every card in the set.
I had never heard of Chronology until the week before Christmas. I was at a holiday party, and several guests referred to the game as a recent favorite of theirs. They described the rules: Each player starts out with an historical event, complete with the year it occurred. As the game progresses, they are dealt additional cards and challenged to place the date of its happening in the timeline in front of them. In the beginning, this task comes easy. It does not take a history buff to know that Kelly Clarkson winning the first season of American Idol took place after the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
But as your timeline grows, so does the level of reasoning required. Even if you have a sense that the NASA launch of Apollo 17, the debut concert of the rock band Kiss, and the the invention of the Rubik’s cube all took place in the 1970s, would you be able to correctly slot them in that order?
The best part of this game is that anyone can excel at it. The events tackle a wide range of topics, including not only history but also sports and pop culture. When I played over a dozen times with family over the break, I think every player won at least one time. It is also a great springboard for conversation. For example, the elder statesmen in the group will be unable to resist the urge of telling about how they remember when their households first got color TV.
There is only one issue with the game, and it is a minor one because it does not affect very many cards. For some reason, the B.C. dates are not affixed with that information. Ergo, Julius Caesar’s death is listed as “44” instead of “44 B.C.” and the first Hanukkah as “164” instead of “164 B.C.” In other words, if you didn’t know better, you would think that the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire somehow happened after it was already in the dominion of Rome. (Chronology makers, if you are reading this, please fix this for future editions!)
With sometime like 99% of the dates being after the birth of Christ, this small error hardly diminishes one’s enjoyment with the game. Chronology gets the WKP seal of approval and a “strong recommend” for your next family game night.
The Flashing Cube Will End Up In Many Stockings This Year
Are you sick of all the pop-its accumulating around your house? Are you skeptical of the claims that the colorful fidget toys are anything more than an educational distraction? A new bestselling toy might help. The “Flashing Cube” (or “Flashdash”) is basically an electronic fidget. Yes, it does light up and make noise, so on the surface it may seem more annoying than its analogue counterparts. On the other hand, it offers actual built-in games to help children develop important skills like memory and dexterity.
The Flashing Cube offers four games, called “Chase Me,” “Catch Me,” “Follow Me,” and “Remember Me.” The latter two are essentially an update of the classic Simon, though obviously with more buttons to press there are many more combinations. The abundance of gameplay possibilities is a huge selling point of this toy, since in theory it should take longer for your child to become bored of it and demand something new.
As you can see from the image above, it is possible to mute the volume, though ideally there would be some parental control option so your young one can’t just crank it up as soon as it is in his or her possession. Still, the Flashing Cube is shaping up to be one of the most popular stocking stuffers for Christmas 2021—Amazon is selling out of them fast, so you (or Santa!) would be well advised to act fast.
Give Out The Perfect Prizes At Your Halloween Party
Like the retail stores that already have Christmas trees on display, it is true that we have begun the transition from Halloween to holiday season content. But Halloween is still more than a week away, and though you may not be able to buy your dream costume if you haven’t already, there is still Halloween paraphernalia out there that can be delivered to you in no time. One such item that caught our eye was this cute set of skeleton statuettes.
As you can see from the above image, this 4-pack comes with stickers so that you can award winners of “Funniest Costume,” “Coolest Costume,” “Sparkiest Costume” (whatever that means), and of course “Scariest Costume.” However, since these titles are stickers that can be applied, you can give them as prizes for all sorts of Halloween-related contests. Do you work at a school or apartment building and want to give out a prize for best door decorations? Here is the trophy you need. Or perhaps you are throwing a Halloween party for your child that will feature classic games like wrap the mummy or find the hidden pumpkins. Sadly, bobbing for apples is probably a no-go this year for sanitary reasons, but to be honest that is one COVID casualty that we could probably continue to go without.
These cool trophies measure 6.7 inches high, so they are about half as tall as an Oscar statuette. There is no doubt that the winners will give them pride of place in their bedrooms or wherever they choose to display their accomplishments. And at just $18, these plastic figurines are cheap enough that you can buy several packs if you are one of those “everybody gets a trophy” families.