1. Nintendo’s Wii U™ System (BUY)
The first upgrade on your list should be the incomparable Nintendo Wii U™ System. Unlike your old console, the new GamePad controller allows you to interact with your games in dynamic new ways through a touch screen interface. You get to experience classic Nintendo games in a whole new way with adventures like "New Super Mario Bros.™ U" and "The Legend of Zelda™: The Wind Waker HD" along with new games starring more of your favorite characters! And the Wii U Deluxe Set now comes with 2 free games! Wii U is definitely the most family friendly of all the consoles and offers the widest variety of games for all ages. $299.99 MSRP*
*MSRP = Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Actual price may vary.
2. Crayola DigiTools Paint Pack (BUY)
As a mom with crayon pieces in every purse I own, I'm so excited to see Crayola's newest DigiTools Paint Pack that allows your tablet device to become a virtual canvas. Just install the app that's included and then let your kids loose with virtual spray painting without any mess. The tools simulate the art experience much better than any finger or stylus could for this age group in another program, with paint that can be swirled and smoothed like real oil paint. Pulling out the tools from the purse allows your artist to practice creativity at all times without the hassle of messy markers and broken crayons!
3. Hexbug Warriors Battle Stadium (BUY)
Back on the living room floor, the Hexbug Warriors Battle Stadium combines the fun of electronic gadgetry and a toy car demolition derby in one! While Hexbugs have been around for a few years fascinating kids and adults as really cool bug robots, there was a pretty big question about how one was really supposed to play with them. This flexible stadium provides an answer in a really creative way, allowing for these new versions of the robots to be customized with various features and then put to battle! It's a perfect way to pull video game action into real life!
4. Just Dance Kids 2014 (BUY)
For the active "get up & boogie" kind of family, Just Dance Kids 2014 is perfect for turning your living room into a dance party with family friendly lyrics and kid friendly dance moves. Just like its adult version counterpart, it's filled with great songs and dance moves, but this time the gameplay and options are all geared for the younger crowd. Kids can easily navigate the options and master the moves a bit easier, and the "non-dancers" in the house will be able to join in and rack up high scores too!
5. Disney Infinity Starter Pack (BUY)
If you've ever wanted to jump into the middle of a Disney movie, then your wish has just been granted with the Disney Infinity Starter Pack! This new video game/collectible lets you become Jack Sparrow and sail with the Pirates of the Caribbean, then swap characters and you're suddenly Mr. Incredible saving the world! The characters have familiar voices and abilities to their moviestar counterparts, and you're immersed in their worlds from the first scene! We've had countless hours of fun playing the story mode games at home as a family, and then creating puzzles and maps for each other in the endless Toybox that mimics the popular game Minecraft, but with a Disney twist. Know that two people can play at the same time, but it will require the purchase of more figurines (i.e. Mrs. Incredible to play with her husband, or Davey Jones to play with Jack), which may lead to an addictive collecting habit as well!
6. Zoomy Microscope (BUY)
Finally, the former science teacher in me must recommend a learning toy that I want to buy for every single kid. The Zoomy Microscope puts amazing technology in the hands of kids to investigate anything they want. You might remember bringing silly objects to school just to investigate them under a microscope, like cereal or leaves from the yard. Now kids have the power to look deeper at any object of their choosing on their own time, and with much more accuracy than what we ever had in the middle school laboratory. Instead of sending your kids to Wikipedia for the answer, just tell them to find it themselves with science discovery tools like this one!
*This post was sponsored by Nintendo