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Best toys for big kids 2013

The best toys of 2013 for big kids — tried, tested, loved.

By Today's Parent

Best toys for big kids 2013

Toy Guide: Big Kid

Kid-tested and approved toys

It took 75 families, 136 kid testers and nine months, but, at last, we bring you the absolute best new toys for big kids this holiday season.

Produced by Leah Rumack

Prop styling by Daniel Onori

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Bead Studio

Kids can roll out some trendy accessories at home. They'll mix coloured modelling clay to create coiled beads, then add glittered glaze, ribbon and pendants.

Where to buy?
Crayola, $23, canadiantire.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Panosphere 360-Degree Spy Cam

Future James Bonds can run perfect ops with this high-def camera. It records 360-degree videos, takes photos and can be stuck on a wall for extra stealth.

Where to buy?
Spy Gear, $60, canadiantire.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Chima Cragger's Command Ship

Set sail with this 609-piece command ship complete with missiles, detachable mini boats and a helicopter.

Our toy testers say...
“My son loved all the details on the ship and there were plenty of characters and vehicles for hours of play.”
— Lisa, mom of Jakob, 10
“I've never had a Chima kit before. It was fun to build, and Shima is the Lego everyone at school wants right now.”
— Ben, 9

Where to buy?
LEGO, $100, shop.lego.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Kendama Pro

Got kids who love yo-yos? They can take it up a notch with this popular Japanese toy. Beginners learn to catch the ball on the various-sized cups. After that there's no end to the tricks they can do with this toy and their mad new hand-eye coordination skills.

Where to buy?
Yomega, $20, mastermindtoys.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Twister Dance Rave Game

Players can dance battle their friends (or just practise their moves for the upcoming school social!). They can learn steps to popular songs by following the projected spotlights, or plug in their own MP3 players.

Our toy tester says...
“The kids loved showing off their moves and trying new songs. Plus, it was great exercise for them.”
— Haley, mom to Joey, 8, and Ryan, 6

Where to buy?
Twister, $40, hasbro.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Terzetto

Players outplay their opponents by copying the coloured marble sequence in the shaker and placing it on their playing boards. Whoever gets everything to fit on their board first, wins. (And the loser has to take the garbage out for a week!)

Where to buy?
Gamewright, $22, gamewright.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow

Let your little rebel pull her best Katniss with this bow-and-arrow set. Send darts flying up to 75 feet in the air with “real” bow action.

Where to buy?
Nerf, $25, hasbro.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Mindstorms

Build a robot of your own to command with thousands of customizable programs and designs (like animals and machines) with an intelligent microcomputer and infrared, colour and touch sensors.

Where to buy?
LEGO, $400, shop.lego.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Marker Maker

Kids can follow the recipe booklet to make classic hues or mix their own colour concoctions to create up to 16 markers. Includes everything they need for bottling and assembling their new art arsenal.

Our toy tester says...

“I was dreading this because I thought it was going to be messy and complicated, but it was so fun. It was cute when they tried to think up creative names for their markers.”
— Tracy, mom of Anna, 7, and Avery, 4


Where to buy?
Crayola, $25, walmart.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Forbidden Desert

In this co-operative strategy game, kids and their teammates work together to find a mythical flying machine, without getting trapped in the desert themselves.

Where to buy?
Gamewright, $25, gamewright.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Bejeweled

Bring the addictive computer game to life with this tabletop version. Trade and collect 3-D gems to create matches and win coins.

Our toy tester says...
“This is a fantastic strategy game, and comes at the right time because my kids are just starting to get into chess. It makes you think — and think fast!”
— Kelvinder, dad to Jasleen, 10, Krithika, 8, and Jeevan, 5

Where to buy?
Hasbro, $25, hasbro.com

Best toys for big kids 2013

Tapefitti Handbag Design Kit

Aspiring designers can use patterned Tapefitti to cover clear vinyl clutches, coin purses and a cosmetic bag. Comes with 12 rolls of tape, a dispenser and an easy-to-use cutter.

Where to buy?
Fashion Angels, $18, chapters.indigo.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Jenga Boom

A twist on the classic, this version is sure to get your heart racing. Start the detonator and see how high you can build before time runs out and the whole stack crumbles.

Our toy tester says...
“Perfect for kids who like to beat the clock.”
— Kerrie Lee, mom of Connor, 8

Where to buy?
JENGA, $20, hasbro.com

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Even Steven's Odd!

You can count on making math fun with this fast-paced card-and-dice game. Mini mathematicians can work their way through challenge cards, rolling the dice to complete various equations.

Our toy tester says...
“This was the most-requested game at the cottage.”
— Julie, mom of Nathan, 8

Where to buy?
Educational Insights, $27, scholarschoice.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

Elite Helix X4

Four-rotor fans make this radio-controlled helicopter fast and manoeuverable, so it's easy for newbies to learn, and skilled pros to master flight. Crash-resistant materials mean it can take a beating without being compromised.

Where to buy?
Air Hogs, $80, target.ca

Best toys for big kids 2013Photo: Tony Lanz

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