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Fab Gear: Toy Insider Names Best in Play for 2016

toy insider mom, laurie schacht, toy insider, toys, family circle, holiday of play

Adventure Publication’s Laurie Schacht and the Toy Insider team gave Holiday of Play attendees the lowdown on the latest & greatest modes of play.

Andy and Pete Say…
Once again it was our pleasure to join The Toy Insider team for the annual reveal of their choices for best toys for the holiday season lists. The HoliDAY of Play event highlights products in three categories, Hot 20 Toys, 12 Best Tech Toys, and 10 Best S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Toys.

You probably know “Toy Insider Mom” Laurie Schacht from her numerous television appearances demonstrating the operation of those products. The Toy Insider 2016 Catalog can be found nested inside the current issue of Family Circle Magazine, and you can get comprehensive details on each item at the Toy Insider Website link above.

Things to Make and Do….
There is probably no greater satisfaction for youngsters, really for anyone, than building something that works. That appeared to be the major theme this year at The HoliDAY of Play event. As we’ve seen in the past, from Lincoln Logs to LEGOS, the honing of dexterity skills, deciphering of instructions, assimilation of concepts, peaking of imagination and recovering from missteps, all make the final product a very personal thrill. The accomplishment makes the object all the more valuable to the builder.
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Into The Woods: Folkmanis Hand Puppets

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.

Wanna Talk Turkey? You can with this Folkmanis hand puppet.


This past weekend CBS2 Sunday Morning News in New York featured Toy Insider Mom and Founder Laurie Schacht’s presentation of playthings of note for the 2014 holiday season. To keep Black Friday commandoes fore-warned and fore-armed with information Laurie spotlighted a cross-section of goodies from the electronic and ergonomic to the eco-friendly and economic.

Along with the ubiquitous singing Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen there were fun entries from Crayola, Dora The Explora, the new Flick-n-Stick Bungees game, Paw Patrol, the Nintendo Amiibo toy-based video game and the Kurio Xtreme Tablet especially curated for kids. I was especially happy to see she included some examples from one of my favorite toy producers Folkmanis Puppets.
Lend A Hand…
Puppets are a wonderful method to give the young entertainer in your house a voice for their imagination. Think of them as non-digital avatars. From behind the theater curtains, or more likely the living room couch, your kids can stage any number of creative scenarios.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.

Just a small sampling of the menagerie of friendly faced Folkmanis puppets.


Folkmanis has an expansive line of puppets that range from finger to dual hand styles with hyper-realistic to fantastic designs. The baby owl puppet featured on the CBS segment reminded me of how much fun it was to peruse the beautiful Folkmanis display booth at Toy Fair with its cornucopia of engaging creatures peering out from every nook and knothole in their fantasy forest setting. I’m always tempting to bring a sleeping bag and just move in. Take a peak at the images below and I think you’ll agree.

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