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Local Toy Shop Owner's Top Picks for Holiday Gifts

Brian Miller, owner of San Diego-based toy store Geppetto's, picked out some of the hottest toys for the 2012 holiday season.

Not all toys were created equal. With the holidays rapidly approaching, finding the perfect gift for the toy lover in your life can be confusing and overwhelming. Luckily for us, Geppetto's toy store's experts created a list of the hot toys of the 2012 Holiday season just in time for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Geppetto’s is not a big box retailer with a warehouse-size stockroom. Owner Brian Miller hand selects toys for his eight San Diego County stores based on quality and fun factor. He stocks the "best of the best."

Patch met up with Miller just before the big rush of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday for the scoop on the top toys for the 2012 holiday season.

Miller, who often tests the toys with his own family, said top toys in 2012 are heavily focused on imaginative play, multi-generational interaction and creative crafts.

“I pick out every toy we sell and I really focus on picking the best for each age group,” he said.

Top Toy Picks by Geppetto’s:

For creative builders:

  • LEGO Friends for ages 5 and up ($6.99 and up)—Think LEGO for girls. LEGO Friends Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie can work and play at the ice cream shop, City Park Café, veterinary office or drive around in their convertible to the dog show. Miller said this is just the third time LEGO has done and all-girl’s line and the first time it has been highly successful. LEGO Friends made it to the shelves in August.
  • Q-BA-MAZE Big Box for ages five and up ($39.99)—Build your own maze with cubes and sliding connectors in any shape. Then drop a marble in to test if each pathway flows with no dead ends. You can take it apart and put it back together over and over again trying new routes and maze shapes.

For little ones:

  • Tranquil Turtle for all ages ($49.99)—This plush turtle projects a gentle underwater glow on the ceiling and plays two melodies that make bedtime just a bit easier. Three AA batteries are included.

For game lovers and kids on the go:

  • Speed Stacks StackPack for ages 5 and up ($17.99-$34.99—Think Minute To Win It, but at home with your friends and family. This high-speed stacking game challenges contestants to stack or un-stack in the shortest time. The game includes a mat and timer for contestants. Smith pointed out this game travels well and is fun and fast for all participants.
  • Y Pewi for ages 9-36 months ($59.99)—The Y Pewi is designed to help little ones master balancing and walking. Once your baby is moving fast on their feet, it becomes a great bike for toddlers up to 36 months.
  • Spontuneous Game for ages 9 and up ($24.99)—Players write trigger words and then try to sing a song with them. This game is great for players of all ages, said Miller, and great for teams and four to 10 players.

For arts and crafts lovers:

  • Loop De Doo Kit for ages 8 and up ($34.99)—This creative spinning tool makes twisted friendship bracelets, necklaces, anklets and more in minutes. The kit includes colorful thread and instructions. Geppetto’s also sells additional thread packs.
  • Duct Tape Party for ages 7 and up ($29.99)—Make indestructible jewelry bags, headbands, belts, wallets and more from 12 different colored Duct tape. The kit also includes ready-to-decorate accessories, tools, templates and stencils.

San Diego-based toymakers:

  • Spooner boards for ages 4 and up ($44.99-$54.99)—Learn to surf, skate and snowboard at home on a practice board. The Spooner board comes in two sizes for little ones to adults and helps users go from learning to balance to learning to land a kick flip.
  • Doink-It Darts for ages 6 and up ($29.99)—Powerful magnetic darts stick to a 16-inch dartboard. The game does not have any sharp bits and saves your walls from holes. Fun for participants and homeowners.

Geppetto’s is located at The Forum in Carlsbad, Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar, 4S Commons Town Center, Del Mar Highlands, La Jolla, Fashion Valley Mall, Old Town San Diego and Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista.

Michelle Mowad December 06, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Brian also told us about San Diego-based Infantino infant toys. Little rattles and activity toy sets.

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