Toy Test 2009 - Part II

Easy Bake Oven
Easy Bake Oven
Electronic Guess Who? Extra
Electronic Guess Who? Extra
Nerf Electronic Flag
Nerf Electronic Flag
Shred Sled
Shred Sled
Zhu Zhu Pets
Zhu Zhu Pets

By Jeff Jumper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – We've got a second test for you which includes some updates to classic toys as well as some of the hottest toys on the shelf.   You'll find all of this in Part II of our "Does it Work?" Toy Test series.  In this round, the toys tested include the Shred Sled, Zhu Zhu Pets, Electronic Guess Who?, Nerf Capture the Flag, and the Easy Bake Oven.

Lauren Keith from KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau has the second toy test.
Toy Test #2 features what's supposedly the "hottest toy of the season" and some new spins on classic toys. Let's see what third graders at Central Elementary in Dexter found.


It's a toss up to see what students in Teresa Wray's class like first. There are five toys in this test that each require a lot of action and maybe even some supervision.

I'm pretty thankful the kids brought their helmets because the Shred Sled is tough to get the hang of at first. It's a skateboard/surfboard. I see some smiles, in between the crash and burns.

"I think I'm gonna get this for Christmas!" says one boy.

We'll see how the kids feel when I return. While they keep practicing, the Easy Bake Oven's pre-heating.

"It's kind of hard to do by yourself. The cleaning up part is not very fun, but it's fun to play with," notes Anna Bishop.

I help the girls load their batter into the oven, with a little spill myself. Oops! Either way, it'll be fun to see if the kids like this classic toy just as much as some of the newest toys. That said, another "oldie but goodie" gets an upgrade. The board game Electronic Guess Who has some new features.

"I didn't know how to play it at first," says Emily Smith.

It might be because the new Guess Who comes with even more characters to choose from and electronic sound effects. It's tough for this toy to compete though with all the other action going on.

"Get it!" we hear coming from across the room.

Nerf also put a new spin on the classic Dart Gun. With the "Capture the Flag" dart game, kids hide the flag, or the yellow stick, which actually serves as a timer. You can see how long it takes your opponents to find it, all the while trying to dodge the foam bullets!

"The vest is cool how they stick on there!" describes one student.

Oh, yeah, hit the target on the vest and your team scores even more points. It's worth noting both girls and boys like playing this game. However, the girls especially huddled around what's supposed to be "the hottest toy of the season": Zhu Zhu pets.

"They're awesome! They move by themselves!" says Emily.

Oh, do they....Zhu Zhu Pets are electronic hamsters with their own specialized sounds and sayings. Kids collect the rodents on wheels and also build their own hamster villages.

"It keeps quitting!" one student notes.

Still, the girls love putting Zhu Zhu pets back on their feet and into the hamster wheel. I wonder though, does the newness ever wear off? Here's what I found once I returned to the classroom several days later.

"My favorite toy was the Shred Sled," says Garrison Collier.

Without a doubt, the Shred Sled is tops amongst the class. I could tell that just by looking at the kids' advertisement posters they made hanging in the hall. Still, the $100 and potential for injuries concerns Mrs. Wray and me.

"Plus, some of the kids might stay with it, but for the most part, I think they'd put it aside after awhile, but they loved it!" says Mrs. Wray.

So, the Shred Sled coasts by us, at least, and gets the kids' approval with an A-.

Meantime, when you're not outside playing with that toy, the class says Electronic Guess Who would be an awesome rainy day activity.

"I already have that at home, and I think it's really fun," says Garrison.

So, no guessing here. It's clear this improved $25 Electronic Guess Who board game gets an A.

"Me, Anna, Macy with an 'I', and Macy with a 'Y' made cake," explains Emily.

Another classic toy also fares well, but remember with Easy Bake Oven, you'll pay $5 each time you need more cake and cookie mix. I guess kids learn early on, cooking in real life costs money, too.

That said, the $25 Easy Bake oven whips up a B+ because of the parental supervision required and continued costs.

"On Nerf Capture the Flag--girls and boys both liked that. I thought $20 is a good deal. My son had one and continued to play with it," notes Mrs. Wray.

No doubt about it then, the Nerf Capture the Flag dart game "captures" an easy A.

Finally, here's what the kids thought about the coveted Zhu Zhu Pets.

"They're so fun and cute!" says Emily.

But remember, each hamster and village accessory will each cost you between $8 and $20. Still, there's no denying how popular these little things are.

"They played with it every chance they got. When you add it up, that's quite a bit of money though," says Mrs. Wray.

With a bit of hesitation, I'll go with the kids' grade A for Zhu Zhu Pets, but parents, remember the constant costs. In fact, it will likely be a rat race in the end trying to find this toy on store shelves.

Web Extra:
  Thanks to Lauren Keith from our sister station KFVS in Missouri for her hard work on all of these tests.  For more information on this test, and more toy tests, follow the link above to the KFVS Does it Work? Toy Test Page.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Check out the other products Jeff has tested by clicking here!