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Dream toys help with homework, play games and fetch lemonade

This month, LiveWire went on-line to ask kids about their favorite subject-toys. Our panel told us about their faves for 1998 and the best toys of all time. We particularly enjoyed finding out about the gender-specific toy pics of boys and...
February 1, 1999

This month, LiveWire went on-line to ask kids about their favorite subject-toys. Our panel told us about their faves for 1998 and the best toys of all time. We particularly enjoyed finding out about the gender-specific toy pics of boys and girls-where they differ and share common ground. One major agreement in the favorite toy category? Video games!

What we found:

Best Toys Overall

Although it was a toss-up between Nintendo and Sony PlayStation as the system of choice, video games were voted the best toy of all time by both sexes. An expected girl fave, Barbie, took a back seat to vid games, but hung on to second place on the girls’ list. Coming in third were those huggable, lovable and collectible Beanie Babies.

While girls showed the most interest in progressive, high-tech toys, boys tended to identify with retro stuff. The comeback-toy-of-the-year award goes to the yo-yo, our boys’ second favorite toy of all time, following video games. Third on their list was the Beast Wars collection of animal/robot transformers.

Solo Play

When it comes to defying toy choice gender roles, girls buck the status quo more often than their male peers. A major trend for girls is rising interest in what is traditionally labelled ‘boy stuff.’ When asked about their favorite toys for solo play, a large number of our girls voted for Lego, earning the toy a photo finish second to Barbie. Boys, however, showed great loyalty to their traditional faves. Nintendo came in first, Lego second, and a variety of action figures third.

Group Play

In the area of group play, nearly half of the girls agreed that playing board games was their favorite way to spend time with friends. Boys awarded first place to video games, citing a game of football as runner up.

What kids said:

We asked our panel to invent the perfect toy, complete with all the bells and whistles. We also inquired what this toy masterpiece would cost. Here’s what our inventors had to say:

‘I would invent a Nintendo 64 traveler. You could play with it like you play with Nintendo 64, only it would be as small as a Game Boy. You could take it with you everywhere. It would be free.’ Jennifer, 12, Virginia

‘I’d make a little box that you could play video games with, and it would also help you with answers to homework questions after you scanned them in. It would cost $25.99.’ Michael, 10, New Jersey

‘I would invent shoes with springs on the bottoms, used to play basketball with. They would cost $49.99.’ Kelsey, 8, North Dakota

‘I would invent a computer game made for girls that helps you choose what you want to be when you grow up. You could give it information about yourself, and it would create a character that’s just like you. Then you would choose certain jobs-model, doctor, florist, etc.-and see what it would be like. It could give you information about these jobs. It would cost $29.99.’ Rachel, 9, Indiana

‘I would make a toy that could transform into a spaceship and you could fly in it. It would cost $6.’ Jacob, 11, Georgia

‘I would invent a robot friend that could play board games with me and obey certain commands like, `Go get some lemonade’ or something. It would cost about $2,000.’

Jessica, 11, Louisiana

Note: all figures are in U.S. dollars

Other

winners for the Toys `98 survey:

Best new video game: Zelda 64

Favorite character license:

Tommy Pickles

Favorite toy store: Toys `R’ Us

Next month:

LiveWire checks out kidvid faves for beating the

winter blahs.

Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-415-2992 or e-mail livewire@gbinc.com.

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