Pre-Toy Fair Buzz: Barbie Digital Nail Printer

barbie-digital-nail-printerHard to believe that another toy season is just around the bend.  While most consumers are recovering from the holidays, toy makers are busy at work getting ready to launch their new lines for 2009.  Toy Fair officially begins in mid-Feburary in NYC–but many of the companies have previews to get all of us excited about the new season.

The first toy we “previewed”  was the Barbie Digital Nail Printer.  Now we’re usually not big on nail kits that have fake nails that are intended for your seven year old to glue on…but this is really different and if it works will be a hit with girls (and some not so little girls as well).  You place your finger in the printer and then it hooks up to your PC—you can then select an image (I selected a repeating pattern of pink Barbies)….and it is literally printed on your fingernail. (The software allows you to adjust the image to exact a custom fit of the image.) Thankfully, I had just had a manicure and was good to go for my Barbie overlay.

That’s right you’re basically putting your finger into an ink jet printer. Once the image is printed on, you add a clear top coat and you’re good to go.  If you’re having a sleepover party–or any situation where you have a bunch of girls…this will be a real crowd favorite. We’re looking forward to testing this one!

Trends from Toyland: EyeClops BioniCam

attcdae11.jpgOne of my favorite toys last year was Jakks Pacific’s EyeClops, a magnifier that you can hook up to your tv and see anything really up close (your skin, the rug, anything that you can reach or bring to the EyeClops).  Seeing your skin that blown up is really, really interesting (and delightfully gross).  Everyone wanted to play with this product when we tested it.

This year the company is bringing out Eye Clops BioniCam that allows you to move around and capture images at 100x, 200x or 400x magnification.  You can record the images and  view them on the color LCD screen.  Best yet, you  can then take them back to your television or computer and look at the images on a larger screen.  When hooked up to the computer you can print or email your discoveries.  Fun for science projects! (Yes this is another USB opportunity!)  The suggested age range is 6 & up–but I think it will be most enjoyed by the 9 & up crowd.  Suggested retail is $79.99.

We look forward to testing this one!

Best Digital Camera for Kids: Vtech's Kidizoom Camera

If you’re not thrilled about handing over your expensive camera to your five year old, we highly recommend the new Kidizoom Camera from VTech. Priced at $59.99 this is a much more affordable (and safe) way to introduce your kids to photography. Features include dual eye viewing (a plus for young photographers), a 1.8 LCD screen, 16 MB of memory and an auto flash. Our testers also liked the added features of the zany faces and hats you can add to your work on the camera screen or when you put your picture on the computer. Marked 3 & up, but we’d really say more like 5 & up. We also liked that the chunky orange/yellow camera will be enjoyed by both boys and girls!For more information, visit

Besides taking their own photos at family events, you can make a book together. Of course you can make a book about anything but here are some topics to get started: favorite pet alphabet book with objects found around the house
3.a book about shapes (share a Tana Hoban book for inspiration) day