Thursday, August 30 2018 23:09

Walmart Announces "America's Best Toy Shop" as they Unveil Annual "Top Rated by Kids" Toy List

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I do believe that the toy wars have begun... and that's a great thing for kids, parents and everyone who loves play! Following the sudden and spectacular collapse of Toys "R" Us earlier this year, a huge void was left and that means that other retailers have been ramping up to serve their customers while capturing a part of that business (fact: TRU still sold $11 billion in toys in 2016). Walmart (an affiliate) is one of the first out of the gate, rebranding their toy departments as "America's Best Toy Shop," promising an expanded assortment that includes 30 percent new toys in stores and 40 percent more toys online. That means new brands that kids may not have seen before, and they're adding some fun new experiences and special in-store events to get families excited. Along with this news comes the unveiling of Walmart's annual hot toy list, their 2018 "Top Rated By Kids" - 40 must-have items for this holiday season - and layaway is back! Check it out...

New toy brands now available at Walmart include Pomsies, Fancy Nancy, Boxy Girls, Grumblies and Hairdorables. This year, the retailer has added hundreds of new exclusive toys in stores and online. Just one of the hundreds of new exclusives includes Ryan’s World (reviewed here), a line of 11 toys from first-grade internet toy sensation Ryan of Ryan ToysReview, available exclusively at Walmart until Sept. 30. The excitement continues on Walmart.com with new online-only exclusives such as the DC Comics 6-Volt Justice League Batmobile and KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen with 30 Piece Play Food

Hear ye, Hear ye: The Kids Have Spoken!
America’s Best Toy Shop launches with a little help from the real toy authorities – kids! Walmart engaged hundreds of youngsters to test and play with dozens of toys. Their favorites resulted in Walmart’s Top Rated by Kids list. Up from 25 toys in previous years, this list of 40 toys will help guide parents on the "it" toys kids are wishing for. Straight from kids themselves, here is a look at the top 40: 

Power Brands: These brands have been household names for generations and continue to be popular with kids today. Whether it’s a twist on a classic, or a fresh new way to play with beloved icons, these toys are tops with kids:

  1. Barbie Dreamhouse
  2. Fisher-Price Little People Take Turns Skyway
  3. Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage (Walmart exclusive)
  4. LEGO Creator Pirate Roller Coaster
  5. Nerf Laser Ops 2 Pack
  6. Playmobil Hidden Temple with T-Rex (reviewed here)
  7. Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper (Walmart exclusive)
  8. Razor Ultra Spark Scooter
  9. Sing & Spin Scooter Minnie

Entertainment Properties: Toys that enable kids to play with their favorite characters from movies and television are all the rage. Here are the characters – in toy form – that kids will be buddying-up with off-screen:

  1. Disney Princess Rapunzel Tower Vanity (Walmart exclusive)
  2. Harry Potter Wizard Training Wands
  3. Imaginext Jurassic World Jurassic Rex
  4. Incredibles 2 Jack Jack Doll
  5. Paw Patrol Fire Truck Ride-On (Walmart exclusive)
  6. Paw Patrol Fire Truck
  7. Peppa Pig Fun Fair Playset (Walmart exclusive)
  8. PJ Masks Romeo’s Lab Playset

Collectibles: Few things can replace the sheer joy of discovering a surprise toy inside a mystery box. Kids may not know what they’re going to find, but that’s the delight! And, be sure they’ll want to collect them all:

  1. New product from Hatchimals, hatching Oct. 5
  2. Little Live Pets Wrapples
  3. LOL Surprise House
  4. Lost Kitties
  5. Moj Moj Claw Machine
  6. Fingerlings Hugs
  7. Num Nom Silly Shakers Maker
  8. PikMi Pops Super Flip
  9. Ryans World Giant Mystery Egg
  10. Treasure X Single Pack (reviewed here)

Innovative Items: The future is here! As kids embark on new adventures, these innovative toys offer uncharted areas of play:

  1. Air Hogs Supernova
  2. All Star Hover Board (Walmart exclusive)
  3. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn 3-in-1 Smart Car
  4. Kumi Kreator
  5. Little Live Pets Rollie My Kissing Puppy
  6. Polaris 1.5 RC (Walmart exclusive)
  7. Really Rad Robots Mi-Bro
  8. Rideamals Scout Interactive Pony (Walmart exclusive)
  9. STEM Jr. Wonder Lab
  10. Drone Force Terra Sect RC
  11. Trail Buster RC (Walmart exclusive)
  12. VTech Explore & Write Activity Desk
  13. Zoom Tubes Car Trax

Stay tuned to The Rock Father™ Magazine for more holiday toy news in the weeks and months ahead!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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