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IPods invade this year's list of hottest toys

Move out of the way, kids, because some of the hottest toys for this holiday season may have Mom and Dad eyeing your present underneath the tree.

This year for the first time, iPods and other digital music players made an appearance on the National Retail Federation's annual list of the top 10 categories of toys, which was released Wednesday. Though Barbie once again was the winner, iPods debuted in sixth place for girls -- right behind video games. For boys, video games came first, followed by ''Star Wars" merchandise and Legos.

The inclusion of iPods in the survey is another sign that the line between children's toys and grown-up gifts is becoming increasingly blurred. Last Christmas, the gadgets were all the rage among adults. Now they are trickling down to the younger set -- along with cellphones, digital video cameras, and portable video players.

The Xbox 360 gaming console, to be released Tuesday, is predicted to be one of the hottest adult items of this holiday season -- and the NRF survey ranked it as the sixth most popular toy for boys.

''That's one of the things that technology has done," said Christopher Byrne, an independent toy analyst. ''It really has erased the barrier between what is a kid product and what is an adult product."

IPod-friendly toys and knockoffs of adult electronics also show up on hot lists in trade magazines and among toy sellers. Analyst John Taylor of Arcadia Investment Corp. said the trend is part of a broader sociological change that he calls ''age compression."

''Kids are getting older younger," he said.

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