5 Christmas ideas for the young, or young at heart, on your list

There is no single must-have toy for Christmas this year, according to Charlottetown independent toy store Owl's Hollow, but there are some general themes that gift givers can keep in mind.

Magic, animals, Harry Potter, and a perennial favourite

Animal-themed toys are available for a variety of age groups. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

There is no single must-have toy for Christmas this year, according to Charlottetown independent toy store Owl's Hollow, but there are some general themes that gift givers can keep in mind.

Some old favourites are back this year, says Steve Balderston. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Steve Balderston, of Owl's Hollow, identified five main themes that are running through Christmas toys and games this year.

Spirit drives an interest in animals

Animal toys, figures, veterinary kits, just about anything to do with animals is popular this year, said Balderston, especially horses, and one horse in particular.

"One thing that's really popular this year is the horses theme, the Spirit movie and TV show," he said,

"Playmobile put out a whole line of Spirit horse stuff and there's Spirit stuff from Breyer."

Veterinarian kits range from play kits for the young to more scientific kits for older kids. A pet travel play set for stuffed toys is also popular.

Keeping the magic in Christmas

The magic of Christmas this year includes card tricks and pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

"Magic has been popular with all ages. Adults and kids have been in to get that," said Balderston.

There are magic kits aimed at different age groups. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

There are a number of magic sets available, mostly with a focus on tricks that can be learned fairly quickly.

And speaking of magic …

Harry Potter is still popular. A Harry Potter version of the Codenames game has been selling well.

"The main game, not themed, last year was our best seller and now this year they've come out with a Harry Potter version of Codenames and it's been selling really well," said Balderston.

Harry Potter items include a themed version of one of last year's most popular games. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Codenames is a card game where players work co-operatively to solve a puzzle.

There has also been a new Harry Potter Lego release.

Board game resurgence

An interest in board games is returning, said Balderston.

"We find a lot of our customers are in for these sort of things because they want the kids off of the computers or phones and to actually communicate," he said.

Popular board games include an opportunity to play a Disney villain. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

One of the better-selling board games this year is Villainous, a new Disney game that gives players the opportunity to take on the role of different Disney villains.

A perennial favourite: Getting grossed out

Kids have always been into the gross, and this year is no different.

"Slime has been really big this year. The kids are really into slime. Anything that can make something gross," Balderston said.

Various varieties of poop are always popular with a certain age group. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

That includes gross science experiments and Don't Step in It, a game where players walk around a mat blindfolded trying to avoid stepping in something messy.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Matt Rainnie


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