Not too low, not too high – gifts for a medium budget.
Kid Pix Deluxe 3D
4 & Up
Why we like it: Younger users will need some handholding to get started, but if kids set off with the spirit of exploration, they’ll find lots to tap into their creative juices. The art tools include backgrounds, stamps, drawing and painting tools (both 2D and 3D), and lots of different patterns to choose from. To make animations, there are simple motion paths that can be created visually. Players can also use their computer’s camera and microphone to put themselves into the video.
SceneIt Harry Potter
13 & Up
Why we like it: Besides testing your knowledge of Harry Potter trivia, the game exercises memory muscles and greases social interaction, making for a spellbinding evening for those steeped in the storylines and details.
Mystery Case Files
Why we like it: Younger players will love this mystery. The drama and suspense is palpable, and parents will be blindsided by how great a game this is.
3 & Up
Why we like it: Both Twickety and Blueper will motivate children to compose original and creative stories to tell to their friends and family members (if they can get these puppets away from the adults long enough to do so).
Lazer Stunt Chaser
4 & Up
Why we like it: Kids loved it. With all that this toy includes at under $50, it’s quite a bargain compared to other remote control cars of this type.
10 & Up
What it is: Every level of Super Scribblenauts is a puzzle featuring the main character Maxwell. To solve the puzzle, players type in an object that will be placed in the scene or played with by Maxwell.Super Scribblenauts adds a new dimension to this gameplay with the addition of adjectives. Now, not only can you create a robot and a zombie, you can make a robot zombie.
2 to 6 Years
Why we like it: Jungle Jam inspired longer lasting interest in our children testers than any other recent musical instrument set. This will be a big hit during family gatherings over the holidays.
Recycled Cardboard Zoo
4 & Up
Why we like it: For a family who loves to color and create, this set is a dream come true. Our little architect was in charge of putting together the animals’ habitats, our artists colored, and our designers put it all together. There is something for everyone in the Recycled Cardboard Zoo.
9 & Up
Why we like it: This may not have much educational content, other than learning about your competitive side, but there’s something to be said for good not-so-old-fashioned, family fun, which is exactly where Wii Party specializes.
5 & Up
Why we like it: One could spend joyful hours opening, closing, rotating, flipping, and stacking the blocks into endless structures. They serve as a new way to challenge builders.
Hexbug Nano Elevation Habitat Set
3 & Up
Why we like it: The best aspect of the Hexbug Habitat sets is that each piece is interchangeable. This permits innumerable ways to set up the track, and if one piece is lost or misplaced, the track is still just as usable.
Why we like it: It’s difficult to grasp how realistic and fun this game is without seeing it firsthand. Its realism and interactivity is a hint of where videogaming is heading in the no-so-distant future.
5 & Up
Why we like it: The beauty and simplicity of the story of Chanukah is perfectly complemented by Robert Sabuda’s signature style of pure white pop-ups that soar beyond the boundaries of the page. His clever use of materials, embossed textures, and intricate die-cuts add additional dimension. Unexpected details will delight readers: finding the gold flames in each scene, observing the monkeys climbing on a rooftop, or discovering the laundry hanging from the windows of a tenement building. This is Sabuda at his best.