Coolest Inventions 2004: Playtime

From tiny digital tops to wily kung fu bots, kids get the darnedest things

E-L-M-O

Elmo dolls always balance on the fine line between genius and insanity. This year he spells his name with big-arm gestures to a variant of the Village People's classic YMCA. fisher-price.com ($20)

Robosapien

A fast walker and a big talker (if Caveman can be considered a language), this one is more excitable than your average toy. Just beware its kung fu fury--and audible bodily functions. wowwee.com ($100)

Playskool VideoNow Jr.

With a color screen and a chunky design suitable for small hands, this videodisc player can be a road-trip pacifier. Titles include full-length episodes of The...

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