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Over the past few weeks, the ramp-up to the holiday season has kicked-in, and with that comes speculation on what will be the hottest toys for 2017. Each fall, retailers, experts and speculators alike weigh-in with their hot toy lists, but the two best are ones I'm very partial to: The Toy Insider's Holiday Gift Guide and THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine's Holiday Wish Guide™ (coming soon). As a member of The Toy Insider Parent Panel, for the second year I've contributed a "Rock Father Pick" to their guide, joining my colleagues in highlighting a favorite from the 42 toys featured in the Hot 20, STEM 10 and Tech 12 lists. But that's just the start of things! Beyond those 42 toys, this year's print guide features more than 230 toys from nearly 100 different manufacturers, and an additional 150 toys can be found online, representing more than 130 toy companies in total (you won't find a more comprehensive list). Look for the print guide in the November issue of Family Circle magazine, on newsstands on October 10th. Preview the 42 top picks below!

Ready to go into the night so you can save the day once more? Well, even if you aren't, I bet your kids are! Here at Rock Father HQ, we're always ready for some fun with PJ Masks, and with that I'm excited to tell you that I will once again be joining The Toy Insider for another #PJMasks Twitter Party! On Friday, September 15, 2017 from 11am-12pm EST we'll be talking about the latest PJ Masks toys from Just Play, many of which are rolling into stores right now - just in-time for Holiday 2017! It's important to note that you must RSVP to be eligible for prizes!

According to The Rock Daughters™, the characters from Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom are friends of Peppa Pig and her family. Not sure how that works in their fictional worlds (or if they ever truly collide), but the kids are onto something - both come from the folks at eOne, both originate from the UK, both have become big hits Stateside, and now they both have toys from Jazwares. This Friday (9/1/17), I'll be joining The Toy Insider as we talk about the new Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom toys, available now exclusively at Target! Of course, we'll also have some to give away, but you must RSVP and participate in the #benandhollyparty to be eligible! 

It's not too early to be thinking about the holidays, and when it comes to gift-giving for tech-savvy kids, the folks at KD Interactive have a full suite of products that are worth of a look! Join The Toy Insider this Friday, August 4, for the #KDInteractive Twitter Party taking place from 11am-12pm ET for a chance to win some of the hottest new kid's tech! The Kurio Watch 2.0 Smartwatch, Kurio Snap Camera, Kurio Next Tablet and Aura Drone will all be featured as The Toy Insider shares information on each, along with serving-up chances to win! You must RSVP to participate: http://bit.ly/KDIntRSVP

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As a big kid that plays with a lot of toys, I tend to see a lot of radio controlled vehicles here in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™. For the most part, it's always the cars and trucks that score the biggest points, with the more unique ones (motorcycles, for example) tending not to live up to expectations, or coming with a learning curve so big that kids lose interest. Sure, they look cool, but I've seen so many R/C vehicles fail to perform as advertised that when the prospect of an R/C skateboard came up, even my wife scoffed at the notion. Now, I'm here to tell you that when it comes to the new XPV Xtreme Performance Skateboard from JAKKS Pacific, there's finally a unique R/C ride that not only works as-promised, but completely blows the expectations right out of the water. Simply put: this thing is badass!

At Sweet Suite '17, otherwise known as "The Biggest Night of Play," I had the opportunity to host a segment on The Toy Insider's live stream - straight from Chelsea Piers in New York City. The task at hand? Unboxing a few of the newest toys from K'NEX. Expected to be among 2017's hottest holiday toys, I took a live look at the Budding Builders Tub from Kid K'NEX, along with the Power & Play Motorized Building Set, and the all-new Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set from the K'NEX Thrill Rides Collection. Captured during the livestream, the full video can now be viewed below!

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