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Tween Gift Ideas: Skylanders Primer for Moms

We were introduced to Skylanders last year when one of the tween’s friends brought her collection over for a sleepover, but we didn’t really learn much about it until this year. When the boy got Skylanders Giants for his birthday, he and the tween played pretty much nonstop for the rest of the summer.

Then Swap Force came out, and it went to the top of our kids’ Christmas list. They also wrote “Skylanders characters” on the list, with a helpful tally of what we already own. I went to the store and was blown away by the gigantic wall of Skylanders figures. Even with the short list of what not to buy, I was clueless. So I set out to learn about Skylanders — at least enough to shop for the tweens in my life.

And now, I’m here to help because Skylanders is a fun game with staying power. Kids love it because it is a video game with real and actual toys they can play with off-screen. Moms love it because it’s the perfect blend for tweens who are not quite ready to give up toys but, well, ready to give up toys. Plus, it gives them something fun to research and play, even when they aren’t in the video games.

Here is what you need to know:

The Skylanders world is fun on- and off-screen. The characters can be played with just like action figures at any time. Place them on the Skylanders portal connected to your gaming console, and it allows kids to play as that character. Kids will display figures, play with them, and use them for video game time.

Each character has it’s own power scale and is attached to an element. I don’t know about all the powers the way my kids do, but if your child is asking for a certain character, it isn’t for the looks. It’s all about what that figure can do or unlock in the game. For my nephew who is just starting out with Skylanders, I was careful to buy an element that did not come in the starter pack.

Earlier game characters will work on later games, but not the other way around. Except when they do. Skylanders Spyro figures and Skylanders Giants will all work with the Skylanders Swap Force game — because the characters were already created and included in the new game. Skylanders Swap Force characters will not work on earlier game versions, unless the character was already a part of that game. Check the back of the character package or place a figure on the in-store demo video to see a list of games that it is compatible with.

Skylanders Swap Force allows you to create new characters by swapping tops and bottoms. The newest figures were created as two halves with a very strong magnet in between. You can take them apart and switch them out to make new characters that will be recognized within the new game. However, these created characters will not be recognized on older versions of the game. Only whole characters that already existed in previous versions will be compatible.

Skylanders Battleground will recognize every character — past and future. Battleground features a bluetooth portal and an iOS download for play on an iPad or iPod. Because Activision simply provides a new app update in the iTunes store when additional games & characters are created, this particular version of the game is compatible with every action figure available.

This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to all our holiday giveaway winners!

We were provided with SKylanders Swap Force starter packs to facilitate this post and giveaway, but the opinion (and our kids’ love of Skylanders) is 100% real.

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Article by justheather

Heather Sokol is the married mother of many amazing, active children through birth, adoption, and foster care. They have created in her a Sports Mom, Scout Mom, Band Mom, Dance Mom, Allergy Mom & avid coupon clipper. Is that miscellaneous enough for you? She shares her deals & tips at Inexpensively.com and reports progress on learning to be a grownup at JustHeather.com. justheather tagged this post with: , , , , , Read 94 articles by

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60 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Katie says:

    I like both on Facebook.

  2. HilaryGarza says:

    Thank goodness for this article. I played Nintendo and artari when I was young, simpler times. So when my son started raving about skylanders, I had no clue. I bought a starter pack and figures without even realizing there might be compatibility issues. I bought him the spyro game! I need swap force, apparently haha

  3. HilaryGarza says:

    Liked and shared on Facebook!

  4. HilaryGarza says:


  5. Satchuel says:

    We LOVE Skylanders. DS has this on his Christmas list. We have the first two versions. The graphics are much better than centipede from when I was a kid.

  6. Hmm, I’m not sure I played too many video games when I was a tween but as a kid it was definitely Math Magic on the TI-99 with voice synthesizer box. 😉

  7. Megan says:

    We had an Atari so my fav was PacMan!

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