Hot Toys for the Holidays 2014 - Quicken Loans Zing BlogMy grandparents used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas at Thanksgiving dinner. Now, ten years later, it seems like they’ve started asking right after my birthday at the end of March. Retailers have already started putting up the holiday toy guides, and we want to help you beat the rush.

Skip the Google search and pick out the best items on the hot toy lists so you can get the jump on everyone when it comes to awesome mommy and daddy nominations. Beyond the lists, we’ve found some things that’ll make you long for childhood again. Here’s a breakdown by category and age range. These toys are available at Toys R Us, Wal-mart, Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Ages 3-6

The Active Child

Here are some suggestions for those children that are always on the go.

Your kids might be hyped up in the house, but there are days when it’s too cold to send them outside. For those instances, LeapTV™ might be the way to go. Designed to exercise both body and brain, the console uses games with some of your child’s favorite characters to get them off the couch and learning along the way. It’s a bit on the pricey side with a $150 price tag and $30 for additional games.

Sometimes the old standbys are still the best. Diecast toy cars and trucks provide quite the thrill for young and old alike. They have some really cool designs now, like this and these.

As much fun as it is to have the kids loudly cooped up in their rooms all winter, eventually you’ll probably want to kick them outside. When that time comes, you’ll want to have something for them to do.

Power Wheels have been around a while now, but they now have some absolutely awesome models available on their website for a variety of ages and price points.

Active Imaginations

Your little girls will love these MagiClip dresses that allow them to change doll outfits with a simple squeeze. Disney also has a Frozen play set, in case your children have an Elsa obsession and can’t let it go. (You’ll be singing that in your head all day.)

For boys, check out this Supernova Battle Rover. They get to re-enact alien battles.

Another popular toy is the Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart. Based on the TV series, this Disney toy allows children to heal toys wherever they go.

7-10

The Active Child

For this age group, take a look at all sorts of active hobby equipment. Bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and scooters are always a good option. Just make sure to give them the helmet, as well.

The Hot Wheels Street Hawk is the toy that makes me want to take a time machine back to my childhood. It’s a remote-controlled car that doubles as an airplane that can perform maneuvers up to 200 feet in the air. It all sounds very Inspector Gadget-like.

Kids love movie characters, and the heroes in half shells are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. If your kids are into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you might get them something totally rad from the movie.

Active Imaginations

By now, kids have developed their fine motor skills enough to build things. Lego has made a transition over the last several years, and now has a few products that blend the digital world with the physical one.

The Lego Fusion series allows children to build on a special base and import their creations into Lego’s smartphone and tablet app for further adventuring.

Disney has also jumped on this bandwagon with its Infinity series. Although they seem to be heavily promoting all things Marvel at the moment, there are figurines for “The Incredibles,” “Monsters University” and “Toy Story,” among others. Your characters are imported and you can unlock new storylines for use within the game. The figurines operate in tandem with the game, which is available for all major gaming consoles.

This slime experiment set teaches kids basic principles of science and wave theory through slime-based activities. Plus, we all know life’s more fun if it’s just a little messy!

11-13

The Active Child

By this age, there are times when kids are ready to wreak havoc. You might as well let them do it responsibly – let them go wild outdoors with NERF darts. The NERF Mega ThunderBow Blaster can shoot five darts simultaneously up to 100 feet high, which allows your kids to cause long-range chaos.

This is also a great age to start with remote-controlled airplanes, helicopters and model rockets, under supervision. You can even teach them how a car works by building a model.

I’ve held off on mentioning any video games to this point because certain games are not appropriate for every age group. But “Just Dance 2015” gets kids off the couch and grooving to the beat. You can even ignore your kids and get in on the action yourself.

Active Imaginations

For kids in this age group, there are a couple of awesome video games coming out including “Super Smash Bros.” and new tracks for “Mario Kart 8”. Other big video games out this year are “Destiny” and “Call Duty: Advanced Warfare”. Those last two examples are first-person shooting games, so judge according to your child’s maturity level.

Bonus Tip

Check out Fathead. They sell reusable wall decals and other products that feature sports stars, entertainment industry figures and movie characters that make great decorations. I wish these pieces had existed when I was younger, because there is so much cool stuff available.

Do you have anything I’ve missed that your kids really want this holiday season? Share them with us in the comments section.

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