This holiday season, your kids and grand kids want a creature they can feed, play with and otherwise take care of. Don’t worry—we’re not talking about a baby, a cat or a dog. No, your kids are looking for a Hatchimal, a toy so popular that stores all across the U.K. can’t keep it in stock.
Hatchimals give your kids a pet to care for without leaving any of the nasty mess that real animals cause. You don’t even have to feed them real food either. These animatronic toys pass through several stages from egg to baby to toddler to kid, and your children help it mature along the way. Kids get to watch Hatchimals emerge from an egg and then teach it to walk, dance and much more.
There are even four fun games that they can play with their creatures. A Hatchimal can keep a child entertained for hours while helping boys and girls learn to care for it.
As a plus, there’s not much effort for the parent. Get the children a real pet, and you’ll probably be the one feeding it and taking it for a walk. There’s none of that with a Hatchimal.
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What sets Hatchimals apart from many other toys is that they will actually interact with whoever touches them. Hatchimals respond to touches and sounds, and your children and grandchildren use movement and noises to guide them from the egg stage to the kid stage.
Hatchimals come sealed in an egg and actually poke through the shell not long after the egg is removed from the package. To make the Hatchimal come to life and begin the process of exiting the egg, there are two plastic locks on the bottom of the egg that have to be removed.
The time it takes for the Hatchimal egg to hatch varies from Hatchimal to Hatchimal, and it depends largely on the amount of interaction that the toy has with another person. Moving and rubbing the egg will hasten the creature’s emergence, and it will do things such as responding by tapping on the shell if you tap on the shell yourself.
Hatchimal parents are even responsible to make sure that it stays warm while it’s in the egg, and you do so by rubbing the bottom of the egg when it makes shivering noises and its eyes shine through the shell in the colour of light blue.
In any case, it takes anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes for the Hatchimal to fully hatch once it has been activated. After hatching, the Hatchimal is trained in similar ways, through touching, tapping and even speaking to it. Children—and their parents and grandparents—who are playing with the creature learn what it wants and needs based on the sounds it makes and the changing colour of the eyes.
The detailed instructions that come with the Hatchimal explain what the eye colours mean at each of the three stages of growth—baby, toddler and kid. At each stage, the Hatchimal may look for the person interacting with it to play with it, feed it or teach it a new skill. Once the Hatchimal reaches the kid stage, it becomes even more interactive, challenging the person interacting with it to four different games:
Hatchimals come in five different varieties, and their names indicate their appearances:
How do you know which Hatchimal is inside? You have to wait until the Hatchimal hatches to find out what colour its fur will be, but egg colours reveal the species that will emerge.
The Penguala will hatch from either a purple and pink egg or a purple and green egg. Draggles come from eggs that are blue and green or blue and purple.
A pink and light blue egg houses a Owlicorn, while you’ll get a Burtle from a light blue and light purple egg.
Bearakeet eggs are pink and black.
Some have called Hatchimals dragons and other fantasy creatures. Others refer to Hatchimals as dolls. In reality, they’re really a combination of both.
Kids who love crazy but cute animals love these creatures, and those who really enjoy playing with dolls love them as well. Part of what makes them so exciting to boys and girls is waiting to see what will emerge from the egg. You might know which Hatchimal species will come out of a green egg, but you won’t know its exact characteristics until it finally hatches.
If you remember the Tamagotchi craze from the 1990s, you’ll also understand why these Hatchimals are popular. Hatchimals are made by Spin Master, the same company that made the Tamagotchis, and they’re really just a more realistic version of those original virtual pets.
Hatchimals are best suited for kids in primary school, specifically kids who are five to seven years old. Kids older than that can certainly enjoy these toys, and to be honest, plenty of adults find them intriguing and entertaining as well.
When the Hatchimal emerges from its shell, the shell breaks into several small pieces. For that reason, Hatchimals aren’t recommended for children younger than age five who might try to eat the pieces of the egg’s shell.
Given all the excitement about Hatchimals, we can’t fail to ask the all-important question: Is it really worth it buying a Hatchimal? Sure, many children have been entertained by these toys, but are they a worthy purchase? Does the fun last or do children grow bored with them quickly?
What we liked?
There are certainly many positives about these toys. As noted, they definitely hold a child’s interest well, and that’s about the best thing you can hope for as a parent when you buy a toy. And we’re not just looking for a toy that will give adults some quality time to themselves—though let’s not kid ourselves, we really like it when that happens. More important is what the child thinks about it.
What we did not like?
Honestly, while there are some negatives, there really isn’t a whole lot to complain about when it comes to Hatchimals. Two negatives are worth mentioning, however. The messiness factor is the first of these. Although it’s not a big deal, when the Hatchimal breaks through the egg, there will be pieces of the egg that have to be cleaned up. It’s not a hard mess to deal with, but it’s still there.
More significant, the hatching time for the Hatchimal may be longer than advertised in some cases. Some Hatchimals take longer to hatch than the 40 minutes the company says is the longest it should take to see your Hatchimal. This is true even when you pay a lot of attention to the toy.
Hatchimals were released in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2016, but they’ve since gone on to sell out in many places. Several stores are out of stock, but Spin Master is rushing back into production to meet the high demand.
Many stores will restock at the end of November, but some customers many stores won’t have any more Hatchimals until early 2017.
In the meantime, some are going to the secondary market to buy the toys, though Spin Master has encouraged customers not to pay inflated prices for the items because the company is working to make enough for all who want a Hatchimal.
Hatchimals are in high demand, which makes it incredibly difficult to find them at local stores.
Fortunately, Hatchimals are available at several online retailers. This makes buying simpler, for you won’t have to fight large crowds of people to get your Hatchimal if you buy online, and online retailers may offer the lowest price on the toys when they’re in stock.
It’s worth noting, however, that many online retailers have sold out of their Hatchimals, or their stock of the toys is low. Thus, it’s helpful to have a basic idea of the different places where Hatchimals can be purchased online in the U.K. and what the status of their stock is.
Argos has been having trouble keeping Hatchimals in stock both online and in traditional stores. The company has announced two anticipated restock dates, however. The Pengualas pink egg will be available on November 19 and the teal egg version on December 4. If you want a Draggle, you will have to wait until February 2017.
Visit the Tesco Direct store frequently to check stock of the Hatchimals. The retailer frequently runs out of stock, but restocking is happening every couple of days. Aside from the secondary market, Tesco is the only place where shoppers can find the Bearakeet Hatchimal.
Faced with low stock at many retailers, many shoppers are turning to eBay, where Hatchimals are frequently available. You will pay a higher price, however. On eBay, Hatchimals can cost double the normal retail price or even more.
Unlike many of the other retailers who have both an Internet presence and traditional brick-and-mortar stores, Toys R Us doesn’t make Hatchimals available for purchase online. You have to visit a Toys R Us store in person to buy one, though customers are limited to one Hatchimal per person, and some stores do not have any of the toys available. Aside from the secondary market, Toys R Us is the only place in the U.K. where you can buy the Owlicorn.
Smyths is another retailer where Hatchimals are available only in store and not online. Even then, the stock is very limited and won’t be available until the week of November 24–December 1. Those who have preordered will get theirs first, and remaining stock will be available first come first serve.
Currently, Hatchimals are sold out on Very. It’s unknown whether or when there will be a restock, but it’s recommended that you check the site often so that you do not miss the Hatchimals should they become available once again.
Hatchimals are also sold out on Amazon UK in the Amazon store, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely unavailable on the site. Many individuals are selling them via Amazon Marketplace. As with eBay, however, the cost to buy them through a Marketplace Seller is usually higher than the normal retail price.
George at ASDAdoesn’t have any Hatchimals in stock at the present, but a restocking is supposed to happen online on December 2. Check back on the site on that day to see if any Hatchimals have come available.
Although Hatchimals are out of stock on the John Lewis site, officials from the company say they expect a restock within the next couple of weeks. You can sign up for an email alert with the company that will let you know once Hatchimals can be purchased again.
Like many other online retailers, The Entertainer doesn’t have Hatchimals in stock. There should be a restock by the middle of December, and customers can sign up for an email alert to be notified when they can purchase the toys.
It’s unknown whether Hatchimal eggs will be back in stock at Debenhams, but some believe it’s likely since they only started carrying the Hatchimals recently. Check the site frequently so that you don’t miss a restock if it happens.
Hatchimals haven’t been seen online at Hamleys, but there are several reports that they’ve been available in stores. Call or visit your local Hamleys to find out if they’ve any in stock.
Harrods doesn’t sell Hatchimals online, but several customers have said that they’ve seen these toys in the stores. Check with your local Harrods to see if they’re available.
Hatchimals are not available on the House of Fraser webstore, and there haven’t been any reports of them being in stock in local department stores either. It’s recommended that you call your House of Fraser to find out if they will be carrying Hatchimals.
Despite the few negatives, Hatchimals really seem to have earned their spot as the most-desired toy of the 2016 Holiday Season. Your kids or grandkids should love their Hatchimal.
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