Magazine article USA TODAY

Squirt, Spurt, and Shrink. (What's New? Holiday Gifts Galore)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Squirt, Spurt, and Shrink. (What's New? Holiday Gifts Galore)

Article excerpt

Kids love to mess around the kitchen like their parents do. All too often, though, the word "mess" becomes the operative one. Fortunately for household tranquility, a bunch of new toys allows them to experiment with child-friendly treats without--it is to be hoped--injecting too much chaos into the kitchen.

The Hershey's Chocolate Magic Molding Kit ($14.99) from Spin Master Toys, Toronto, Canada, basically converts chocolate chips into assorted candies, thanks to a series of molds that snap into place where the slide mount would be if this microscope-shaped device were a real microscope. The chips go into a receptacle at the top and, after the heating element powered by four D batteries reaches the proper melting temperature, the top knob is pressed down and liquid chocolate flows out of the barrel and into the molds. After it cools, the candy is popped out of the molds and, invariably, into the youngster's mouth. Inserting a stick into the cooling mixture allows the making of lollipops, and--with the right mold--one can even create a replica of Hershey's Kisses from Hershey's chips, sort of an incestuous culinary round-robin.

The Incredible Shrinky Dinks Maker ($24.99) from Spin Master produces all the fun of cooking without the ultimate eating. This classic toy makes shrinkable plastic sheets which, when colored with the enclosed pencils and then heated, shrink down and bond the color, allowing kids to produce keychains, jewelry, medals, or whatever else their imagination dictates. …

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