By Marissa Mitchell, Kylee McDonald, Sophia Lopez
DEC 15, 2016
This December, there’s a new must-have item topping many children’s Christmas lists: the Hatchimal, an interactive toy created by the Spin Master company. Spin Master is also responsible for such classic toys as the Etch-a-Sketch and innovative toys such as Zoomer, an interactive robot dog.
So what is a Hatchimal? CNN tech’s Parija Kavilanz reported that prominent toy expert Jim Silver described this toy as a Tamagotchi virtual pet “brought to life.” Hatchimals can be purchased as any one of five species: Pengualas, Draggles, Burtles, Owlicorns, and Bearakeets. Each Hatchimal comes in speckled egg. Children need to hold and continuously nurture the egg in order to begin the hatching process. Because the Hatchimal’s shell features touch technology, the toy responds to the shell being rubbed with chirping and pecking. The hatching process can take up to 25 minutes to begin, but the Hatchimal should take no longer than 40 minutes to hatch. When it is ready to hatch, its eyes will flash with rainbow colors and it will peck through the shell until the egg has cracked open.
In the Hatchimal’s baby stage, children can care for its wants and needs. Most notably, they can feed the Hatchimal by touching its beak to the floor. The Hatchimal will continue to develop into a toddler, and finally, a child. During these stages, the Hatchimal is capable of repeating words, playing games such as Hatchimal Says or Tag, and eventually walking and spinning.
Hatchimal reviews varied. While some parents praised Hatchimals as the best toys of 2016, others complained that their children quickly became bored with the toy, or that the hatching process took too long to maintain the attention of preschoolers.
As of October, Hatchimals are available at Toys ‘R’ Us, Amazon, and Walmart. Since they sold out very quickly, some parents have resorted to paying exorbitant prices to purchase the toys from non-authorized sellers. Select stores will receive shipments of the toys in December, but Spin Master has launched the website Hatchimals North Pole because they will not be available in most places until early 2017.
Although availability is limited, current sales reports indicate that on Christmas morning a large number of children will be overjoyed to discover a Hatchimal underneath their tree.