How many times have you heard from someone who bought one of the hottest toys of the holiday season, only to have their children give them the cold shoulder?
That's why Local 4's Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer gathered a team of young toy testers to put the hottest toys of the season to the test.
This time around, the young toy testers ranged in age from 6 to 10 years old.
Here are the toys and the prices the consumer unit paid (prices may vary):
- Zoomer the Robotic Dog -- $79.97
- Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave Laughing Action Figure -- $34.97
- The Ugglys Pug Electronic Pet -- $27.95
- The Crayola Marker Maker -- $14
- Flutterbye Flying Fairy -- $27.44
In this non-scientific experiment, the Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave Laughing Action and the Ugglys Pug Electronic Pet didn't get a lot of love from testers.
"I sort of think it's a little boring after a while. The first time I squeezed I thought it was fun, but then its gets like a little boring," said 10-year-old Katie about the colorful Minion toy, based on a character from the hit movies.
The toy testers told Ruth Spencer that the Ugglys Pug looked more fun on television than when they actually played with it. They also thought younger children might find the gross sounds more amusing; especially younger boys.
Flying Fairy lifts spirits, raises safety questions
The Flutterbye Flying Fairy is a pretty amazing toy, but received mixed reviews from the toy testers. They loved when it was the fairy was flying around, but they were less impressed when the toy crashed to the ground.
The toy had the occasional broken wing and it even crashed into some of the girls. At one point, the Flying Fairy was caught in one girl's hair. No one was ever hurt while playing with the toy, but the girls expressed concern the fast-fluttering wings could somehow do some damage.
Company responds to questions
Spinmaster manufactures the Flutterbye Flying Fairy. A spokeswoman said the toy has passed a battery of rigorous testing and is 100 percent safe.
The statement she released also said, "...as with all remote control planes with spinning props, it is important to play with the toy away from the face or hair, given that tangles can occur if the blades make contact with long hair." (You can see the company's entire statement at the end of this article)
Robotic dog zooms to the top!
Coincidentally, Spinmaster also makes Zoomer, the robotic dog marketed as "Your real best friend."
Zoomer scored high points in the Local 4 toy test. The dog can learn tricks and responds to a child's voice commands.
"I like Zoomer the best," said 8-year-old Rachel. "Right now, I don't have a dog and I really love dogs, so it feels like a pet to me."
"If you kept charging him, he could probably live longer than a real dog too," said 10-year-old Tyler.
However, the popularity comes with a price; Zoomer costs around $80.
Rave reviews for least expensive toy
It was the least expensive toy in the toy test that came in second place: the Crayola Marker Maker. This creative kit costs only $14.
The Crayola Marker Maker allows kids to create their own colored markers. Just snap a sponge inside a plastic tube, mix the colors they want and use their own marker to draw whatever you like.
"I really like the Marker Maker because it's really fun to play with and you can make markers and it doesn't matter what label you put on it," said 6-year-old Lilly.
During the toy test, Local 4 found children playing with the Marker Maker and Zoomer probably need a little adult guidance to get started.
Local 4 did toy test other toys for children ages 18 months to two years old, and three to five years old. To see the results from that test, click here.
Spinmaster's entire statement:
"Thanks for your inquiry related to your safety concern on the Flutterbye Fairy. For Spin Master, the safety of children is of paramount concern for us and we ensure that all of our toys are designed and tested with the safety of our customers in mind. We submit our toys to rigorous independent testing prior to shipping them to retailers and with respect to remote control products such as the Flutterbye Fairy or any of our other flying products, we make sure that we meet all international and North American safety requirements. In many cases, we actually exceed those requirements. In terms of the Flutterbye Fairy, as with all remote control planes with spinning props, it is important to play with the toy away from the face or hair given that tangles can occur if the blades make contact with long hair. Though not specifically a safety requirement, Spin Master has this caution/warning information available on our websites as well as instruction sheets that are included with all of our products. Additionally you can also see online videos and tutorials of how to properly operate the Flutterbye Fairy."
Rachel H. Griffin
Director of Global Communications