Santa has come and gone, and in the days after Christmas the greatest delight is discovering the wonders of new toys. My nine-year-old and I have opened most of the toys the Jolly Old Elf brought down the chimney, and the fun part – after the excruciating process of cutting through the layers of thick plastic packaging, undoing security ties, and inserting batteries – is actually playing and experimenting with these toys.
Before getting to the list of top ten toys, I must point out that Santa has changed in two salient ways since I was a kid – he is making much cooler toys and he has become exceedingly more generous. I do not deny my son the benefits of these changes in St. Nick, but I am a bit envious.
The following list represents my son’s choices in order from ten to one, with one being his favorite toy. The narrative attached to each toy is my paraphrase of my son’s words used to explain why he likes each one. In some cases, I have thrown in my own two cents, but this list mostly represents his opinion about each item and a brief description.
- Mega Construx Destiny
This toy comes with a figure and features a “gladiator battle” scene. I thought it was kind of a LEGO imitation, but my son did put this on his list to Santa and he seems to like that the playset features multiple accessories and very vivid colors. Judging from what is included in the set, it offers many opportunities for creative play. Oddly enough, he likes the packaging so much he has yet to play with this toy, so the fact that it has made his top-ten list is pretty impressive.
- Laser X – Laser Tag Set
We have gone out to the large and rather crowded and annoying arcades where prices for a few games are quite expensive, and the gear can be heavy and cumbersome. Somehow Santa has come up with this cool set that comes with two blasters and two attached vest sensors. Now we can play as long as we like and have our own adventure in the basement, attic, or in the yard. The blasters have about a 40-foot range and – at least it happens to me – you can get shot from behind if the signal somehow bounces off a mirror or glass panel. I love this game because it gets my kid moving and keeps him active. Daddy gives thumbs up to this one!
- Marvel’s Spider-Man and Vulture Action Figures
We both loved the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie that actually made us both fans of the Web-crawler once again. These figures are beautifully sculpted and feature vibrant colors and come with accessories. As you can see both remain sealed in their packages, so we have not had an actual play experience with them yet. For some reason my son likes the packaging and has been displaying them. As with the Mega Construx set, I am surprised that these figures have made the list.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi BB-9E Electronic Droid If you like master pilot Poe Dameron’s adorable droid BB-8, you might also like his “evil” counterpart – the First Order’s cunning BB-9E. This little fellow makes all sorts of noises and races around the room knocking over other toys and ramming into people’s legs. It is a beautiful looking toy in a sleek, cool, smooth black and illuminates with multi-colored lights. I’m not too keen on this one, but my son loves it which gets it on the list.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Plush Porg
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi there are a number of new creatures, but my son’s favorite was the little bird-like creatures called the Porg. They are really cute and find their way in Chewie’s – and ours – heart as he sits by a fire and gets ready to eat one of their roasted brethren. The toy makes a number of little noises and waddles across the floor. My son did not put this on his Santa list but did express a wish to get one after seeing the movie, and that Santa somehow knows everything for goodness sake.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker Action Figure
While my son has been into LEGO figures over the past couple of years, he did express interest in getting some action figures after seeing the movie. The one he wanted most was Luke Skywalker, and this figure did not disappoint. Featuring an impressive likeness to the character, removeable hood, and accurate representation of the clothing, this is one fine figure that could be displayed or played with. It comes with one accessory – a boring staff and not a light saber – which still didn’t stop it from landing on this list.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Chewbacca Action Figure with Porg
While my son has always loved Chewie, he really likes this set because it comes with a Porg. As you can see from the picture, Porgs are tiny compared to a Wookie, but they had a big impact on Chewie and gave us insight into his character in the film. My son thinks that Chewie is just a big old softie, and the proof is that the Porg get him to adopt them (and their babies). He wanted this figure more because of the little Porg than Chewie.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rathtar Escape (75180)
While I thought this Christmas would have been all about The Last Jedi, my son still likes The Force Awakens and especially remembers the scene on Han Solo’s freighter when the Octopus like Rathtar’s escape from their holding pens. This LEGO set lets him recreate that scene and it has great details and features like opening and sliding doors and comes with Han Solo, Chewie, and BB-8 as well as two of those ravenous creatures. He assembled it all by himself and rather quickly. It has provided him an opportunity to creatively change some aspects of the scenes from the movie, and Daddy gives two thumbs up for this one.
- LEGO Star Wars Rebels Phantom (75048)
The last two items on this list came as a surprise and beat out an X-Wing and TIE fighter from The Last Jedi; however, I should have expected it because my son loves the TV show Star Wars Rebels and would want to have vehicles used by the characters. The Phantom is an attack shuttle from the Ghost, the mothership, and is used as a transport and to interact with adversaries on the ground. My son loves the opening cockpit and spring-loader shooter. Included with the vehicle are Ezra Bridger (with blaster) and Chopper (a droid). This is a beautiful toy and attaches to the next item on the list.
- LEGO Star Wars Rebels Ghost (75053)
The best way to describe the Ghost is as the Millenium Falcon of Star Wars Rebels. It is used in the battle against the Empire but is also home to the crew. A significant portion of the show’s action takes place on the ship. This item has been discontinued by LEGO but is available online or, as in our case, from Santa. It is a very attractive and intricate toy but, with almost a thousand pieces, it took us about five hours to build it. If you have patience, you will be rewarded because it is a wonderful toy. If you have the shuttle The Phantom (sold separately), it fits into the bigger ship just as in the TV show. The set comes with Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Zeb Orrelios, and a new Stormtrooper (five figures with a vehicle seems quite generous) and features two escape pods, two gunner turrets, and opening cockpit. Despite the long building time, we have played with this toy a lot and enjoyed recreating scenes from the show. Daddy gives three thumbs up for this one.
There is my son’s very subjective list of favorite toys, and I agree with him for the most part except regarding the two unopened items. I like to see and feel a toy and also gauge its playability factor, so I reserve my judgement on those until we play with them.
I’d like to give honorable mentions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter and Poe Dameron’s X-Wing, both of which I can’t believe didn’t make the list since he has already played with them. They are fabulous toys and I have enjoyed when we have played with them.
Since seven out of the ten list items are Star Wars related ones, I guess it is good that my son has interest in other things besides the galaxy far, far away and LEGO bricks. We have come such a long way from Bob the Builder, Barney the Dinosaur, and Mickey Mouse. In a way I miss those days even though I am enjoying how we play now, sadly realizing that one day I will be missing these days as well.
As this will be my last article for 2017, I would like to wish all my readers Happy New Year and all the best in 2018.