Step up your winter snow sports game with the Arctic Force Snowball Blaster ($30) — capable of making and launching the perfect snowball. This blaster is the ideal tool for when the weather turns white and the competition gets serious, thanks to its removable and reversible built-in snowball maker. Able to make three snowballs at a time, the blaster can launch a snowball up to 80 feet at high velocity (much farther than you ever could with your own hands). The ergonomic design makes it easy to use, carry, and fire, while its blue, white, and orange design is well-suited to your winter get-up.
Ever have one of those toy tape recorders as a kid? If so, the iRecorder Speaker ($50) should immediately spawn memories of packed lunches and horrible, thankfully-lost recordings of you singing along to Bon Jovi records. This novelty system features a built-in speaker, a pull-out handle for childlike ghetto blasting, working buttons, the ability to run off micro USB or 3AA battery power, and a "tape compartment" for your iPhone. The only thing that's missing? A built-in mic and a record button — although that might be a good thing.
Ever since we first watched Robot Wars, we've wished for a fighting 'bot of our own. Our wish has been granted with Attacknids ($70-$80). These roughly one foot-tall robots feature six legs that can move through water and mud up to three inches deep, 360-degree rotating heads, and weapons that fly up to 30 feet. You control all the action via a 2.4GHz wireless remote with a range of up to 200 feet — and don't worry about not being able to tell who won the battle. A direct will cause your armor to explode off your body; three hits and your 'bot shuts down, saving itself for the next fight. Sure, they look a little creepy, but they are based on spiders, after all.
Magnifying glasses are great for examining ancient texts and burning ants — but if you really want to see what's going on at a small scale, grab this NPW Pocket Microscope ($42). Measuring roughly 6" x 4", this pocket-friendly tool offers sharp 30x magnification, letting you see close-up details of everything from flowers and fibers to smartphone screens and counterfeit bills. We're kidding, of course — we think.
Most skateboards — and certainly most electric skateboards — are designed for use on the smooth, man-made trails we like to call sidewalks and roads. The Emad Dirt Rider Electric Skateboard ($650) lets you leave these paved paths behind. Thanks to large off-road tires, a powerful 800-watt motor, and flexible trucks, this versatile board can handle sand, mud, gravel, and dirt with the best of them, propelling persons up to 330 lbs. at speeds of up to 19 mph. Just don't forget to wear a helmet — word has it that hitting a tree going downhill at 20+ mph is a lot rougher than simply bailing off the rail at the local skatepark.
America's most beloved mustachioed newscaster seems to be everywhere of late, and now he's been immortalized in the form of everyone's favorite toy. The limited edition Ron Burgundy Lego Minifigure ($20), while not an official Lego product, is pad printed on genuine Lego parts, and features everything you love about the highest rated man in news. From his unmistakeable burgundy suit, to his magnificent 'stache, to his well-coifed hair, right down to his bottle of scotch — they got every detail exactly right.
While Baseball season may be winding down to a close, and your head is likely filled with thoughts on your Fantasy Football draft, it's never too late to show allegiance to your team. Topps Archive Prints ($65 and up) are wall-sized art prints of your favorite players in their prime (whether they played in the 70s, 80s, or 90s), framed and ready to adorn the walls of your man cave, living room, or garage. Each print is painstakingly recreated from the original baseball card design, and made to look like its source material, down to the worn edges and printing pattern.
At the intersection of do-it-yourself and playful childhood nostalgia, you'll find the Hot Wheels Car Maker ($40). Just turn on the press, melt down the wax, and form a custom car of your choice using the included molds and rolling bases. Once you're done, you can add decals, stage elaborate race scenes, or just roll them across your kitchen floor. Extend its capability with optional add-ons, including hot rod molds, muscle car molds, and additional wax colors. The only things standing between you and your dream (toy) car are a little bit of imagination, time, and the ability to act like a kid again.
We love a good, competitive game of Ping Pong, but usually the look and feel of a traditional table doesn't work well outside of your basement or a rec center. The You & Me Ping Pong Table ($TBA) has other plans, as the Swiss Army knife of tables that also happens to have a pretty sharp looking design. It features a high density HPL surface supported by Iroko wood legs and steel supports treated with cataphoresis coating and powder polyester paint. It's available later this month, looks nice in game mode, but also easily converts into a dining table, desk, or conference table just in case you actually have meetings in the office as well.
Bring games on your mobile device into the real world with Sphero 2.0 ($130), the Bluetooth-controlled baseball-sized robot. Powered by an internal smart robot, this little ball is capable of rolling at speeds up to seven feet per second — so you can drive it at full tilt with your iOS or Android device, jumping it off the included ramps, taking it off-road, and even through water. With dozens of games available in app stores (games like Rolling Dead, Color Grab, and Sphero Golf), you can play on your phone or tablet like never before. Bright multicolor LED lights make playing at night even more exciting, while an available nubby cover gives it the ability to take on the toughest terrain.
You all know by now that Legos aren't just meant for kids — there are grown men (and women) all over the world building incredible things out of these little colorful bricks. Beautiful Lego ($18) highlights the amazing creations made by Lego enthusiasts that really transcend the medium. This book features photos of Lego replicas of everyday objects and famous buildings, ships, creatures, and more, as well as interviews with the artists that give you a window into their creative minds. It might be just the inspiration you need to pull that box of bricks out of your basement and start building.
Combine the tactile nostalgia of paper plane folding with the hands-on enjoyment of RC flight using the PowerUp 3.0 iPhone-Controlled Paper Airplane ($50). This iOS app controlled device is a Bluetooth wireless receiver and a motor connected to a propeller by a carbon fiber shaft that you can attach to nearly any paper plane. Just build a plane out of a piece of standard paper, attach the motor, and open up the app on your phone — it'll fly for up to ten minutes on a single charge. Available this month.
When you have something valuable to protect in your home, only the best security will do — that's why you need the Spy Gear Lazer Tripwire ($25). It uses invisible LED beams projected from three units, so you can form a perimeter that even Catherine Zeta-Jones can't dip beneath. When an intruder breaks the beam, the receiver unit alerts you with an alarm, so you can quickly assess the situation and respond appropriately.
Relive fond childhood memories of building models out of balsa wood with the Tait Turbo Flyer ($15). These high-flying airplane models are each printed and assembled by hand, and are capable of soaring up to an impressive height of 50 feet. With incredibly-detailed screen-printed designs and one-foot wingspans, they'll look great screaming across the skies. Buy them individually, or get the set of four and compete with your friends on who can stage the best aerial show. They come in environmentally-friendly cardboard cases and are made right here in limited batches in the USA.
Build a terrifying, albeit miniature, arsenal to defend your small space with Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction ($13 each). This series of books includes detailed instructions for building tiny weapons that fit perfectly on your desk or in your cubicle, all made with commonly-found office supplies and household items. While calling them weapons of mass destruction may be a bit hyperbolic, they'll certainly provide plenty of entertainment on a shrunken scale. Each book contains more than 30 weapons, ranging from trebuchets and catapults to blowguns and crossbows. Also included are strategic guidelines, clear diagrams, and safety tips (you could put an eye out with that).
Anki Drive ($200) is a new kind of racing game — part new-aged slot car, part iOS video game, part exercise in artificial intelligence — it brings the sort of racing interaction usually relegated to the virtual world, into (quasi-)reality. Each set includes two slot cars (designed by the Hollywood automotive artist who brought us the 1996 Batmobile), a vinyl racing mat embedded with special ink the cars can sense, and an iOS app that lets you control and customize your vehicles. The cars are powered by artificial intelligence, with the option for users to steer or fire upgradable weapons. Each car develops a unique character over time, depending on what skills and attributes you choose to upgrade, giving them advantages out on the track. It's the perfect combination of racing, robotics, and interactivity you look for in a game on the screen, but you can play it right on the floor of your apartment.
Relive the glory days of your childhood with this Adult Size Big Wheel ($650). Reinforced for grown-man-sized individuals — 275 lbs max on this model — these puppies feature hardened steel frames, metal flake glossy paint, alloy rims, a fully adjustable seat, and all the power slides you can handle. Oh, and we won't need to remind you to remove the bell and tassels first thing.
While the rest of your friends and co-workers do battle with blasters that can barely throw a dart across the room, you can show up toting a Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster ($50). At nearly a yard long, this blaster can launch a mega dart up to 100 feet. It comes with a six-round magazine, and six mega darts to fill it up. A removable bipod stand helps improve your accuracy — especially if you're the sort who likes to camp out and snipe.
With Bandit Rubberband Guns ($25-$35), you can build your own arsenal of rubberband-firing shotguns. Each kit comes with laser-cut wood pieces, plastic fasteners (and a package of 130 rubberbands), so you can assemble your gun without glue or tools. Choose from two designs, either the sheriff shotgun, or the outlaw shotgun — or get both and have a duel with your buddy. Both guns have multiple firing modes like single shot, rapid shot, and shotgun blast, and can fire rubberbands up to 25 feet.
"Roads, where we're going, we don't need roads," Doc Emmet Brown famously said to Marty McFly in Back to the Future — and when you build your own Lego Back to the Future Time Machine ($48), you won't need roads either. This set, based off of a Lego Cuusoo submission, has every piece necessary to build all three DeLoreans from each movie in the trilogy. It includes plenty of fan-pleasing details like a flux capacitor, an "OUTATIME" license plate, the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor, and very accurate Marty and Doc minifigs.