When it comes to holiday gift ideas for kids, you must prepare for the utter assault that Nickelodeon presents. They have a huge array of good stuff, which we will endeavor to take you on a tour of...the first part of which is starting now.
We begin with the massive Battle Shell Donatello, naturally of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. (All four Turtles have been recreated in this super-sized form, but Donatello was the one that came in the box, so we focus on him.) People who are old, like me, will probably remember the original comic and not, like me, be used to the fact that the Turtles have pupils now. (Well, they have had them for a while, but it's still a bit weird.) But seeing as how these are for the Nickelodeon series, so be it. They each come with their signature weapons as well as bonus bits, which can be stored in their flip-open shells. The sculpts appear to be fairly badass, with all the muscles, nicks and older damage that a good ninja should have. Articulation is decent: neck, shoulders, wrists, hips and knees. And when posed, Don holds the pose (and holds the weapons), so that's good for when you want to set up a tableau and have it stick. The only hesitation I have about this figure is that...well, it's huge. It seems to me for the older TMNT fan because...have kids really moved to this size of action figure? An 10.5" model? That being said, I just remembered the jumbo Godzilla and (was it) Grendizer figures...the ones that would shoot their fists...maybe I'm losing my mind. Regardless, whatever age fan wants to snag this, they will be pleased. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Keeping with the TMNT theme for a moment, we have two other items of note: Nickelodeon and Playmates also have Ninja Combat Gear. You get your Turtle's weapon of choice, a mask of their chosen color and (oddly, though this isn't the case with Raphael)--you get two throwing stars as well. I think my favorite thing about this particular offering is that not only do you get easy role playing costume action--but apparently it makes kids look really, really serious...
Man, don't you remember what it was like to be able to get that serious about something? Yeah, well, me neither. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
And lastly in the TMNT corner of the Nick world, let's say you want to remind your kids of a time when you couldn't just check your smartphone or Google Calendar in order to find out what day of the week a particular date was going to fall on: there's a 16 Month 2013 Calendar as well. Fairly straightforward, you get art that features the Turtles in various action poses. Kids who are fans might be happy with this on their wall. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Next we have the Gak Copier...now, I wasn't on board with Nick or Gak when it first came around. I recognized that this was a known "franchise" and saw that they're reviving something that was around in the early 90s. For people of older years like myself who haven't been introduced, think of a very sticky Silly Putty, in that one of the awesome things about Silly Putty was making copies of the Sunday funnies. Kids, ask your parents what those were. In this case, the name of the toy basically says it all: you draw something on the "lid" of the copier (don't panic, it was designed for that), fill the inside with the provided Gak and close the copier lid...and the image transfers onto the Gak. Then you can manipulate your now decorated and customized Gak. It's for people who can't tolerate plain Gak, I suppose. I'm actually pleased if this is the sort of toy that kids would go for these days, since it's a fairly simple premise--and I always figured these days kids would be building nuclear reactors and such. But the plastic nature of the toy itself feels cheap--but small kids won't care--and the Gak itself is a bit of a mess--but small kids will probably not care about the former and find the latter a bonus. It's the latest advancement in transferring-line-art-to-malleable-goo technology. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Along those same lines we have the Floam Factory playset; the difference here is that even my aged self has heard of Floam. I think when I was aware of it, it didn't have the Nick branding on it. Floam, of course, is a substance made up of "microbeads" which you can mold into different shapes. I've never seen anybody do one as neatly as in the photos--but then again, I have been around few "Floamers" and I'm sure there's a contest held every year in which they create entire buildings and such. Anyway, the object of this playset is to let you create different patterns and shapes in your Floam, the better to then make it part of a larger Floam sculpture. This comes with the base upon which to place thy Floam and then five different rollers with differing patterns upon them. You might, because you are wise, worry about something that has tiny beads in it as far as cleanup goes--and having not had previous versions of Floam to compare it to, I cannot speak to how well the "New EZ Cleanup Formula" fares. But it's like any other moldable product--whatever you can imagine kids will do with it, they can. I can see where kids might enjoy this slightly longer than the Gak Copier above simply because younger kids might enjoy just rolling patterns into the Floam for a while before even trying to mash the stuff into shapes and whatnot. YMMV. Regardless, if you need to accessorize your Floaming, then this might be something to check out. As with any of these things, "non-toxic" does not mean "leave your small child with it unattended so he can test this." (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
More Nickelodeon choice items to come. Stay tuned.