Coolest Inventions 2004: Playtime

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


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. ($20)


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. ($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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