Hexbugs ($10-20) are “micro robotic creatures” that respond to sound, lights and objects in their path. Their little legs move and they skitter around until they run into something with their delicate, wire antennae, then they back away, make a turn and try again. These aren’t really for the little kids, but my 3 1/2-year-old son and my “mostly golden retriever” love them. The crab even hides from a flashlight beam in a dark room and races away to a dark hidey hole. While they remind me of the cockroaches we had in my college dorm, the “creepy factor” is really minimal. They’re intriguing little creatures that are surprisingly smart.

— Kristen