Yes, it’s that time of the year again. You know… the time you do holiday shopping for the kids early, so you don’t run out of the good toys like what usually happens during crunch time. While new toys will undoubtedly come out by the time December rolls around, getting the kids covered early is a great way to make sure the holidays run a whole lot smoother. Plus, there’s that supply chain thing that could make Christmas shopping a whole lot more stressful the longer you wait to get it done.
So, what toys should you get the young ones? Here are some of the best toys we’ve seen on the shelves this year.
Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper
For that energetic kid that just can’t sit still, this pogo stick gives them a way to expend that energy, all while training their physical coordination, balance, and gross motor skills. Unlike traditional pogo sticks, though, it uses bouncy foam to get kids airborne, making it way quieter than the creaky sticks of old. And because the foam allows for more controlled jumps, it’s both safer and a lot more suitable for playing with indoors. Once kids get the hang of the foam jumper, you can then level them up to the outfit’s full-fledged pogo sticks for even more exciting jumps.
CoComelon is one of the big ticket toy franchises this year. If a kid watches the show on Netflix or YouTube (they all do), chances are, you can get away keeping them happy with any toy sporting the Cocomelon brand. Our pick for this list is the toy replica of the musical school bus, which comes with seating for up to six characters (it only comes with one) and plays a clip of the song “The Wheels on Bus” as you push it along. We know, you’re going to hate that clip playing over and over 30 minutes into your kid playing with this thing, but if they’re already hooked on CoComelon, chances are, your house is filled with those nursery rhymes already, so nothing’s really changed.
Claw machines are a conundrum. They’re almost always impossible to win. Yet, they always look so good, both kids and adults can’t help but try their luck on the darn things. This STEM toy from Thames & Kosmos lets kids build their own claw machine, so they can scam the neighborhood kids and take all the candy money for themselves. Kidding aside, it’s a building toy that will teach a kid to build their own version of the arcade staple, allowing them to learn about gears, levers, belts, cranks, linkages, and other mechanical concepts. The toy comes with six lollipops that kids can use as prizes, although they’ll probably end up eating through those before this toy is even built. Good thing you can, pretty much, use any candy as prizes, too, along with any small toy that can be gripped by the claws and fit inside the spring-loaded trap door.
For kids that love dinosaurs and won’t play with anything else, maybe this stacking game can make for a nice break from making their T-Rex figure fight a triceratops figure for the 100th time. It’s a classic balancing game that sees them stacking wooden blocks on top of a teetering curved base platform, except with the wooden blocks clad in the shape of the prehistoric creatures. Naturally, they can make the wooden dinosaur fight each other once the balancing game gets stale, so all is well with the world.
Experience the mystical ancient craft of concocting magic potions with this witching toy, which includes a large cauldron, a magic wand, and a variety of potion ingredients. It comes with a plush doll that will be birthed inside the cauldron using a mix of the included potions and some wand work, with the potions creating foam, bubbles, and mist throughout the conjuring process. The cauldron will provide prompts about which potions to add at any time (it has a rechargeable battery), so you simply follow the instructions to get the full mystical experience. And yes, the mist gets heavy with this toy, so you might want to have the kids play with this away from the smoke detector.
While each cauldron can only produce one plush doll, kids can use it over and over to concoct potion mixes with the same foam, bubble, and mist effect, provided you buy them refills (available separately). They can also hide items in the cauldron’s secret compartment that they can pretend to materialize using their own brand of kiddie magic.
This one’s tough to find already. Even Amazon has nothing but second-hand sellers with marked-up prices, so we’re including a link to Target, which has them on stock.
Instead of giving you plastic bricks with connectors to build your castle model, this set uses porous terracotta blocks and a corn-based mortar (really, some kind of glue), so kids can build a miniature castle similar to the way people build things in real life. Even better, it’s reusable, as you can simply soak the finished structure in water to weaken the “mortar” and pick individual bricks apart. According to the outfit, it comes with instructions for three different structures to build. Given that it’s bricks, though, we imagine more imaginative kids will be designing their own structures, too.
Yes, LOL Surprise Dolls are still a big thing this year. And this dollhouse is the big ticket toy for its young, adoring fans for the holidays, with its four stories, 10 individually-furnished rooms with six of them able to spin to reveal an entirely different room, working elevator, and functioning lights. This being LOL Surprise, there are 85 random things to unbox, so each set will have something special to set the experience apart.
If your kid enjoys playing with toys in the tub a little too much, you can let them indulge in water play out of the tub with this water park kit, which comes with a river they can set in motion by turning the hand crank, allowing them to race little boats, rubber ducks, and whatever plastic toys they have that can float on water. Set includes floating rafts and boats, as well as people and animal figures you can add to ride them.
This plastic jar comes with a square display that you use to find fairies floating in the air. Once you find one, you catch them by opening the lid, drawing them inside, and closing it to let them settle inside their new home. Each jar can hold a total of 30 fairies, all of which you can take care of similar to Tamagotchis. There are over 100 different kinds of fairies, by the way, each one coming at one of four different levels of rarity, so the rarer the fairy you find, the more special they are. If you get two or more of the same kind of fairies, you can even trade them with other players. Yes, it’s, basically, Tamagotchi with an even more whimsical twist.
Beyblade Burst Surge Speedstorm Motor Strike Battle Set
For the Beyblade enthusiast, this battle set gives them a full-fledged battle stadium with a motorized rotating panel in the middle that can redirect the tops randomly (and adds more spinning power), adding a new quirk to every battle that makes them just that much more exciting. It’s the first motorized stadium the brand has released, making it a likely big seller for the holidays this year.
It’s a functional purse clad in a cute animal face, which is already fun on its own. More than that, though, it’s an interactive toy that can blink its eyes, make animal noises, and even play the kind of music you’ll hear on a fashion runway. Yeah, kids can model the purse while the purse blasts the musical accompaniment, making for one toy that can lead to plenty of silly fun. It uses three AAA batteries.
Pokemon has never stopped being hot. Somehow, though, it’s even hotter this year and this 25-year anniversary set is easily one of the most coveted collectibles this season. The set comes with 13 TCG: Celebrations four-card booster packs, six TCG 11-card booster and energy packs, 45 TCG Energy cards, a special foil card, a beautiful collector’s box, and more. It’s the kind of toy you can’t understand, but any Pokemon-loving kids will absolutely go nuts over.
Finding this at retail price will be very, very hard, so good luck if you’re going to try.
If a kid loves Disney princesses, why not get them all? This set lets you give the gift of a dozen Disney princess dolls, each one standing anywhere from 10 to 11 inches tall. You get the full Disney experience here, with Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Merida, Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Tiana, each with clothing and accessories customized to their individual stories.
For kids that already own a big lot of those Disney princess dolls, this fairy tale castle dollhouse offers the next logical addition. Standing four feet high, with three stories and six individual rooms, it’s a massive play toy, giving your dolls a place to hang out and bask in that wonderful Disney magic. It’s fully furnished and comes with a bunch of accessories, too, all while integrating built-in Disney music and a fireworks-style light show.
For the creative kid who likes making stuff, this 3D printing pen lets them bring whatever’s in their imaginations to life in both 2D and 3D forms. From the robot of their dreams to the monster of their nightmares, they can turn them into real-world toys they can hold and play with over and over. It comes with multiple colors of plastic rods, so kids can put different colors in their creations. If you weren’t enthused with 3Doodler before, know that it’s come a long way and works a lot smoother now than ever. Of course, you still need to clean it regularly, lest be subjected to the occasional jams, but other than that, it allows for a wonderful way to let kids express themselves in a creative way.
The latest Tamagotchi not only allows for a lot more interactions and a lot more characters (you can breed up to 16 generations), it’s now in full color, too. Even better, this new model for the 2021 holidays come with a camera that allows kids to take their pictures and put it onscreen with their digital pets. That way, the pets can hang out with their humans in the digital realm, making for an all-new way to spark children’s imagination. Using the camera, you can also pose your pets in various areas of your home, as well as feed them real food by taking pictures of your own meals. Yes, that’s weird, but this is Tamagotchi, so it’s really nothing new.
This set comes with four Hot Wheels cars that can be customized with new wheels, engines, mags, windshields, and more. Even better, it has LEGO-like connectors that lets you add all sorts of designs using construction bricks, allowing kids to turn an erstwhile regular Hot Wheels car into any kind of absolute monstrosity. For kids who geek out on toy cars, this is going to be a lot of fun.
Kids love foam. They love making it, they love blowing on it, and they love playing in it. This toy allows them to fill entire backyards with bubbly suds, allowing them to turn an erstwhile humdrum afternoon into a whimsical bubble party. Do note, this is not a cheap toy. Worse, refills for the foam solution are not cheap, either, at $20 a pop. If you want to treat your kids to the occasional bubble party weekend, though, this gets them that at a relatively reasonable price.