Bottom Line Secrets/Personal, December 15, 2001



           As children grow, parents have a tougher time selecting gifts that

           satisfy the needs of both the child (fun) and the parents (education).


           These interesting toys will entertain older kids for hours while

           helping them learn, improve communication and expand their

           imaginations. And even adults can let loose and have fun.


           FUN FOR KIDS


           Build Your Own Robotic Reptile Kit. Assemble 130-piece set

           of robotic components. Three-foot cobra, Tyrannosaurus Rex or

           lizard moves when you touch the wireless remote. Control works up

           to 25 feet away. Requires one nine-volt and four AA batteries.

Ages eight and up. $39.95.* Hammacher Schlemmer, 800-543-3366,


Get Real Girl dolls emphasize action and adventure. Choose a

           soccer player, basketball player, backpacker, scuba diver or

           surfer. Accessories vary by doll, but all include passport journal,

           travel stamp, postcards, friendship bracelet, sports clothing, water

           bottle, hairbrush, sunglasses and digital video journal. Coordinated

           Web site offers on-line “adventures” to different countries and

           cultures. 11 1/2 inches high. Ages six and up. $19.95 to $24.99.

           Get Real Girl, 866-474-4747,


            LGB of America Cow Starter Set. Spark imagination with

           cow-motif train set that includes more than four feet of brass track,

           transformer, farm worker figures, cows and calves. Build farm

           theme with dwarf trees, pastures and ponds. Ages eight and up.

           $189 and up.

           LGB, 800-669-0607,


            Mini Windowsill Garden. Growing things is always exciting.

           Paint the two pots and the handles of the three tools. Plant

           assorted seeds in soil provided. Watering can included. Ages

           seven and up. $14.   Creativity for Kids, 800-311-8684, ext. 3037,



            Power Zone Plus Notebook. Portable computer for preteen

           computing. 53 features, including word processing... language arts,

           math and trivia activities... and personal calendar. Download

           applications free from the company’s Web site. Requires four C

           batteries, or use its nine-volt AC adapter. Ages seven and up.

           $99.99. VTech Industries, 800-521-2010,


            Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jr., Board Game. 950

           questions about people, places and things. Categories include TV,

           sports, science and history.. Two or more players. Ages eight and

           up. $24.99. Pressman, 800-800-0298,


           FUN FOR ADULTS


            Claymania. Fast-action party game in which players have 45

           seconds to sculpt clay into an object. Teammates guess what you

           are making. Encourages creative skills, nonverbal communication

           and social development. Four or more players. Ages 10 and up.

           $17.99.  Gamewright, 800-638-7568,


            Ferris Wheel Challenge Set. 1,000-piece construction set

           includes different sized rods and connector pieces with instructions

           to build a three-foot-tall ferris wheel. Interesting decoration for

          home or office. Ages eight and up. $49.99.   K’Nex, 800-543-5639,


            Magnetic Poetry Kits. Hundreds of magnetized words,

           fragments and shapes. Create ongoing family fun by keeping the

           set on the fridge for composing spontaneous poetry, messages or

           stories. Choose from 30 different themed kits -- dogs, cats, sign

           language, Spanish, first words and more. Ages five and up. $9.95

           to $19.95 per kit.

           Magnetic Poetry, 800-370-7697,


            Pop Smarts. Fast-paced party game. The emcee reads four

           clues, such as actors from the same movie or songs from the same

           band. Topics include TV, books, pot-pourri. Players compete to

           find the common thread. Ages 12 and up. $29.99.

           Endless Games, 201-386-9465,


            Sea Serpent. Plush hand puppet is five feet long, with

           scaley-velour skin, red movable tongue, movable eyes, wings

           along the back and a long scaley tail. Ages three and up. $59.99.

           Folkmanis, 800-654-8922,


            RocKit Robot. Build a working robot. Touch/sound sensor

           prevents it from rolling into walls or other hurdles. Ages 10 and up.


           OWI, 800-638-1694,


            Spirit of America. Be the first to reach Washington, DC, by

           answering up to 1,500 trivia questions. 50 destination cards and

           game board showcasing the US. Ages 10 and up. $24.99.

           Funosophy, 800-454-5251,


           *Prices are manufacturers' suggested retail. Discounts may be





Holiday Shopping Made Easy -- Cool Toys for Big Kids (Grown-Ups, Too)

           Stevanne Auerbach, PhD



          reprinted from

Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, a San Francisco based consultant on child development, toys and play. She is author of several books, including Toys for a Lifetime (Universe) and Dr. Toy’s Smart Play (St. Martin’s).

Bottom Line Publications publishes the opinions of expert authorities in many fields. But the use of these opinions is no substitute for legal, accounting, investment, medical and other professional services to suit your specific personal needs. Always consult a competent professional for answers to your specific questions.

Copyright © 2001 by Boardroom Inc.

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