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Safety precautions with holiday toys

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Toy store aisles and online searches can get exhausting for parents trying to find that perfect holiday gift.

But experts say this year, the hottest toy isn't one item.

Claudia Towles, owner of aMuse Toys in Maryland, says rather, it’s a category.

“What's hot right now is math, STEM, anything teaching science," Towles said.

She says toy companies are reinforcing science, technology, engineering and math in their products, filling toy aisles with education.

“The reactivity of the magnet is a very interesting idea for kids,” she said.

Even though MagnaTiles are nothing new to store shelves, Towles says it's a classic favorite that promotes early math concepts. As a child ages, add to the collection so they can build more complex structures.

“Think about it, with Legos, the more pieces they have the more they can build,” she said.

It's never too early to start learning.

The Noggin Stick is one of the hottest toys for babies.

“This changes color every time you shake it,” Towles said. “It helps with visual tracking. It’s educational. Now does the baby know they're being educated? Of course not, but it teaches cause and effect.”

Even Barbie is hopping on the STEM wagon.

“Barbie something very familiar to kids,” Towles said. “But STEM and engineering concept may not be. So this is trickery.”

And don't forget family game night. Klask is a skill game with magnetic control.

“This is one we sell to college kids and 5-year-olds,” Towles said. “It's kind of like air hockey but without the danger. And it doesn't take that much space. I scored.”

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