A lifelike baby Triceratops that children can ride on, a Wall-E robot that responds to your voice, a dancing game that eliminates wires and mats.
Toy makers are upping the "Wow!"-factor in new products in an attempt to capture children's and parents' attention amid a holiday season likely overshadowed by a difficult economy and turmoil in the financial sector.
"There's a lot of innovation this year, we see technology being used in new ways," said Wendy Smolen, editorial director of the trade magazine Toy Wishes, which unveiled its "Hot Dozen" toy list on Tuesday. "In the past, there have been a lot of copycats."
The dinosaur, called Kota the Triceratops and made by Hasbro Inc.'s Playskool division, retails for about $300 and the Ultimate Wall-E doll by Thinkway Toys is $249. Hasbro's U-Dance game that eliminates a dance mat and wires is $74.99.
While parents may get sticker shock at these prices given the state of the economy, Toy Wishes executives say they took time this year to choose toys that will last and offer "great play value."
"We chose toys that can be used in lots of ways and promote lots of open-ended play," Smolen said. "Especially in these recession years we looked for toys that can be passed down and used by siblings, not just one child and then 'I'm done with it' in six months."
There are also more affordable toys on the list, including Spin Master Ltd.'s Bakugan game popular with boys that includes marbles that morph into figures and magnetic cards. Prices start at $4.99.
Aimed at girls is Techno Source's Clickables Fairy Collections, which includes bracelets and charms that click together and contain information that can be uploaded to a virtual fairyland online. Charms start at $5.99.
The rest of the "Hot Dozen" are:
- Wild Planet's Animal Scramble, which retails for $19.99 to $29.99. It is a modified game of tag for preschoolers that features a hand-held tagger and says it promotes social and developmental skills.
- MGA's Bratz Girls Really Rock, which sells for $19.99. It includes four different dolls sold separately with two rock-star outfits and a guitar.
- Crayola's Crayola Glow Station, which retails for $29.99. It allows children to create glow-in-the-dark art.
- Jakks Pacific Inc.'s Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker, priced at $29.99. The kit is to make real cupcakes in the microwave and frost them.
- Lego's Mobile Command Center, which retails for $89.99. It includes blocks to build a truck that opens into a command center and other pieces including a jet-boat, plane and two cars.
- VTech's Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train, which sells for $49.99. The train can be used for floor play, to push along as a walker or a ride-on toy.
- WonderPets' "This is Serious!" Ming Ming, priced at $34.99. The plush duck dances and sings songs from Nickelodeon's Wonder Pets! series.