If you’re looking for the perfect presents for young children this holiday season, bypass the stuffed toys and clothing and seek out the battery-powered gizmos.

According to reports from toy industry leaders, many of the hottest toys this season move to some degree.

Reidin Goode, senior marketing manager for Girls at Mattel Canada Inc., says that while tech toys have been popular among “tweens” for a few years, this year they’re reaching an even younger demographic.

“What we’re seeing this year is that a lot of the tech toys are trending downward in age,” she said. “Previously you might have seen tech toys for the nine- to 12-year-old target group, whereas now we’re seeing a lot of tech innovation in some of the toys targeted at younger kids.”

An example for boys is the Tyco R/C Stunt Psycho, a battery-powered, remote-controlled car that performs flips and wheelies on a variety of surfaces, including grass, sand and pavement. For girls, there’s the Little Mommy Baby Achoo doll, which can speak, sneeze and blow its nose.

Disney FamilyFun magazine has released a list of the year’s best toys, as determined by test families across the U.S., annually for the past 18 years. Topping this year’s list is Invasion of the Bristlebots by Klutz, which enables kids to turn old toothbrush heads into motorized, cockroach-like robots that can race and navigate mazes.

Executive editor Mary Giles notes that there is also an increasing interest in “active,” kid-powered toys, such as the RipRider 360, a reinvention of the classic three-wheeler, now updated with dual-inclined casters to allow for resistance-free drifting and spinning. Another is Melissa & Doug Sandwich Stacking Games, which requires kids to run and jump around while creating giant sandwiches with large, bread-shaped gloves and sandwich-filling layers.

“We continued to see an emphasis on active toys, as more and more parents are making sure their kids get plenty of physical activity,” she said.

Both Goode and Giles agree that the economic downturn has not had a significant effect on the year’s top toys, as they usually consist of a broad range of prices.

“Our cheapest Top 10 toy came in at just $3, the Hot Wheels Color Shifters,” said Giles. “But then we also do have some that are still over $100, sort of the big-ticket, special toys that we’re hearing people are still interested in getting for their kids.”

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