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2009 Awards
Hot Wheels Color Shifters Blaster
( Mattel $22.99 Score: )

Hands down one of our favorite toys of the year.  If you have a child in the Hot Wheels zone, this is a must have toy.  Because the play experience involves water (and more the better!) we'd say this is a better choice for outdoors...or parents that don't mind water all over the counter.  The cars react to cold and hot water - and will turn a different color when put into either temperature. Seriously cool.  Best yet, it comes with a squirt bottle so you can change the cars by squirting them.  If you don't want to buy the whole set - we'd suggest buying one of the cars - you can use your own squirt bottle and have the same experience.   The car that turns from blue to yellow is much more dramatic than some of the other color changes (yellow/orange).  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in  a lab.

We waited with great anticipation for the bigger and more tricked out Custom Color Shop ($37.99)...it includes a launcher that sends the car either through a waterfall at the top of the toy or down a ramp.  Here's the deal, we found the launcher somewhat hard to do (to get it to hit the waterfall point consistently was challenging to say this least)...and the water at the top and bottom will need more adult intervention than the Color Shifter Blaster.  It looked like it would be really great, but our testers preferred the less expensive version -- that they could handle more independently. Nice when the less expensive toy comes out on top.

SNAP IDEAS: Quite apart from the "magic" of changing the colors of the little cars, this is a great toy for working on developing hand stregnth. Squirting the water calls for sqeezing the spray bottle and if you want to add to the fun, how about counting to see how many squirts it takes to abra-ca-dabra the change of color. Buy the whole set up or look for the color changer cars that are sold separately. Any clean sqqirt bottle will do the trick!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Review Published: Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.


Comments: None posted
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