i guess that i can't really make a gift guide without mentioning this last toy. this is what tate is asking for from santa this year:
"slingers" are something like yo-yos (does anyone remember those automatic yo-yos we had when we were growing up? i can't remember the name but these are like those...). the nice thing (for kids like tate) is that they automatically return to your hand.
each slinger is associated with a marvel comic book character. there is spiderman, iron man, the hulk,captain america, and wolverine, etc.
the slinger also comes with medallions that can magnetically attach to the slinger when you "sling" it down just right. this allows for a wide variety of play and competition between people wielding slingers. while we were at the chicago toy and game fair, we ourselves played 3 or 4 different games. you can see who is the first person to get the medallion with a certain character. you can see who can be the first to get four (or any other agreed upon number) medallions. or you can see who can pick up the most medallions within a certain amount of time. there is even a game to play that was explained to me twice (and i'm still confused); somehow you can set a counter on the slinger and the "power" goes down for each time you hit the ground. getting medallions of a certain type can raise your power again. each hero has different power and speed levels (i recommend spidey or iron man if you care about those things--i think the hulk may be strong but he is slow).
based on the popularity of the booth, i really thought this was going to be the "it" toy for christmas, but now i have heard next to nothing about them.
i think it is a worthwhile game, though on the pricey side for what you get ($14.99 for one slinger, $27.99 for a "battle pack" of two; $6.99 for 10 extra medallions (which you really need to have very much fun--the single slinger only comes with three medallions)). it is a great and fun way for kids to develop eye/hand coordination. it provides some version of exercise, and it really is just a lot of plain old fun. we returned to this booth again and again, each of us trying to collect as many medallions as we could.
for boys or girls, this is a worthwhile option for gifts for christmas or for birthdays in the coming year.
while upper deck was a major sponsor of the chicago toy and game fair, they did not give us free slingers, which i was very disappointed about! i finally went ahead and bought one so tate can get his wish for christmas. while i received a free pass to the chicago toy and game fair and some free trading cards from upper deck, i have in no other way been compensated for this post. the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.