The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has announced the winners of its annual competition to find the hottest toys for the holiday season. Ten top toys were selected by a panel of children, including a moldable Styrofoam-like compound called “Bubber.” October 19, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ballots have been cast; do not be the last to know. Young visitors voted for their favorite new toys of the season at the 15th Annual Kid-Tested, Kid-Approved Exposition.

The toy experts scoured The Children's Museum Store with thoughtful insight into selecting 2013's hottest holiday toys. The top ten tested and approved surely spark imagination and creativity making this year’s perfect gift a no-brainer.

Without further ado! The annual Top Ten Kid-Tested, Kid-Approved toy list is… And the winner is… BUBBER!

Below are toy descriptions from the manufacturers.

1. Bubber (Assorted color and shapes)

Bubber is an excellent source for tactile stimulation, improving gross- and fine-motor skills in a satisfyingly gentle way. Startlingly light, it feels like a cross between marshmallows and silky Styrofoam. It leaves clean, sharp edges when cut and precise impressions when imprinted. Bubber and your cookie cutters are all your young aspiring baker needs to create dozens of light-as-air cookies. Then use Bubber to create castles when studying the Middle Ages; your child will retain so much more when it is reinforced by building. Children enjoy working with Bubber because it is not sticky or gritty; it actually feels warm in their hands. And because it is so very soft, even the tiniest or weakest hands can shape this compound. Bubber never leaves a residue, never dries out, and it cleans up quickly and easily.

2. Kidoozie Super Spiral Play Tower

This Super Spiral Play Tower provides fast moving fun for little ones. Talk about fun for little ones who love action. Froggie slides down the tower and whistles as he goes. Penguin and two colorful balls spin and race down the spiral ramps and tracks to their designated spaces. Features super spiraling ramp. Press the button to release the frog and hear a bell ring. Super Spiral Play Tower is a great toddler ball toy that enhances hand-eye coordination. Ages 18 months and up.

3. Hand Held Hoops Game

Presenting Hoops – this is basketball like you’ve never seen before! Turn any room or party into a basketball arena complete with a cheering crowd. Hoops™ is twice as much fun as regular basketball because it really keeps you on your toes. Once you make your first basket you must sink another one on the opposite side before the crowd stops cheering to keep playing. Its hours of fun for all ages and plays in 3 different light show modes to add to the excitement. Hoops has been designed to fit comfortably in your hand and has a NON-SLIP RUBBERIZED grip. Great for developing hand eye coordination. For ages 8 and up.

4. Do-A-Dot Art

Parents like to encourage children in creative art activities, but sometimes painting projects can be a little overwhelming. (The bottles, the brushes, the inevitable spills, etc.) This handy-dandy art set provides six bright paint colors in sponge-tip bottles that serve as the paint applicators. Best of all, these paints are spill-proof with no mess at all. Each 5-inch bottle contains 2.5 ounces of paint in purple, green, red, yellow, blue, or orange. The sponge tip creates a neat dot of paint about .5 inches wide, and the paint dries quickly so colors can be layered. There's a wide range of creative possibilities here, including creating borders for school projects and using the paint markers for patterning activities that reinforce math concepts. An art idea sheet is also included with the set. Creative play for artists age 3-6.

5. Weird and Wacky Contraptions

Smart Lab's Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab has 66 mix-and-match pieces to create and test nearly any crazy contraption your child's imagination can conceive. Your child can play the architect, builder, or engineer using the variety of wacky parts, gears, levers, and tracks along the Velcro-like play surface. Kids will learn fundamental physics concepts, such as gravity, momentum, and velocity, and problem solving in a fun and interactive way. The easy-to-read manual includes five course designs to get the experimenting–and fun–off to a start. Teaches concepts of gravity, momentum, velocity and problem solving.

6. Living Sands

Introducing the most amazing unique learning and play material to enter the market in years: Living Sand. Consisting of sand and other natural ingredients, the only way to describe the feeling of this material is sublime. The sensation is somewhat similar to cookie dough, yet it is totally dry to the touch. Mold it into hard durable shapes and with a soft touch, it will break apart and appear to move. Almost as if it were alive. 100% non-toxic and anti-bacterial, Living Sands won't stain and easily removes from your hands. Perfect for creative building and sculpting.

7. Rainbow Loom

Rainbow Loom is a fun way to make jewelry using the traditional concept of a loom, but updated with colorful rubber bands. Children will develop concentration and spacial skills without realizing they are learning. The Rainbow Loom uses a modified crochet hook to loop the rubber bands, which helps children master fine motor skills. The kit makes up to 24 bracelets and replacement bands are sold separately. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

8. Water Wizard/Buddha Board

The Water Wizard is the kid’s version of the Buddha Board; you can create a masterpiece over and over again by simply painting on the Water Wizard surface. Watch as your design comes to life with a swish of the water wand and then transforms into something different as it fades away. It also comes with a water pen that stores water in the handle so there's no mess!

9. Playmobil Princess Take Along Castle

The miniature worlds of Playmobil encourage children to explore and learn while having fun. Children's imaginations are transported to medieval times with the Playmobil castle, to the adventurous seas with Playmobil pirates, and many other themed playworlds. The figures can bend, sit, stand, and turn their heads to make realistic role play possible. Each set is equipped with figures and accessories. The lockable gates and doors mean that the toys are packed away quickly and can be taken along anywhere thanks to the practical carrying handle.

10. R/C Snake

Orange, Gold & Black Mamba R/C Snake – This RC snake is the coolest around with its realistic slithering action! The unique snake egg remote control sends it across any hard smooth surface. You’ll swear it is the real thing! Snake Egg 4-way remote control; Light-up eyes; Over 20 inches long! Batteries required (not included): Snake requires 3 AAA batteries; remote requires 2 AA batteries. Ages 6 and up (adult assistance recommended).

Santa will no doubt be checking this list twice as will adults in need of holiday gift ideas for the children in their lives.

“Our award-winning store offers a wide range of engaging and educational toys that encourage creativity and kindle the imagination,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “This season let our employees be your holiday helpers as they share the results of the test geared to many age ranges.”

Also for the holidays, a Black Friday 30 percent discount will be available on Nov. 25, 2013 from 8:30-10 a.m. for all purchases made within the Museum store during the Children’s Museum Annual Santa’s Big Arrival event. Shipping and gift wrapping are available.

In addition to purchases within the Children's Museum Store, museum memberships also make a great family or grandparent holiday purchase. Memberships may be purchased at the museum, online at, or by calling (317)334-4000. Museum admission is not requi

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