Remember a few years ago when that ginormous dinosaur that cost a ton of money was the must-have toy for Christmas? If you are like me, there was no way that you were going to pay an arm
and a leg for a prehistoric creature that would probably wind up extinct after just a few short weeks of being played with. Ever since then, I have been pretty skeptical of toy lists that claim to know what my kids think will be the hot toys for the holiday season...until now.
I recently had the pleasure of being able to chat with Laurie Schacht, co founder of the uber helpful site: The Toy Insider
. Laurie co founded The Toy Insider
to help make parents' and gift givers' lives a little easier as they are searching for the perfect toys for their kids. The Toy Insider includes an extensive list of the best of the best of hot toys. I love that they include a skill key so that you can make sure that each toy is a fit for your child's individual needs and passions, and the toys are broken out by age so you can navigate through them easier.
Here are some of Laurie's tips for buying toys this holiday season:
1. If you see something that you think your kids will like, buy it now. Popular toys are guaranteed to sell out. Some popular toys this season are: Squinkies
, and Paper Jamz
2. Think about buying games for your kids. Games are a nice alternative to toys and they help bring families together.
3. Avoid buying "watch me" toys. All of the toys on The Toy Insider list are toys that kids can play with and not just sit back and watch.
All of the toys that are on The Toy Insider list are selected by toy industry experts, parents and most importantly kids. All of the toys can grow with your child and offer value at an affordable price point. I guarantee that you will be able to find a toy for every type of child; from the girly girl to the tomboy to the sports lover to the techno guy, there really is something for everyone.
While all of the toys on The Toy Insider list are great options for hot toys, here are a few ones to keep on your radar; all are under $60:
Explore N' Grow Musical Gear Center
Best for: ages 9 months+
Spinning, colorful gears and fun music captivate curious babies. Drop the ball through the shoot, then press the
cheerful critter to make it twirl and pop out for baby to chase after.
Starting at $18.97
Magic Window Talking Farm
Best for: ages 1+
The Bilingual Magic Window Talking Farm features a unique color LCD display that brings the farm animals to life with smooth animation. The toy features 3 levels of play to keep the fun engaging while your child learns by listening, watching and interacting with the animals on the farm. The child also learns to sing the first letters of the alphabet and the first numbers, both in English and Spanish.
Starting at $49.99
Thomas and Friends Adventures on Misty Island
Best for: ages 3+
Join Thomas and James on a fun-filled trek to Misty Island with this buildable play set! Based on the movie Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue, Thomas and James must travel through mysterious mountains, facing breakthrough barricades and rock slides.
Starting at $37.49
Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory Playspace
Best for: ages 3+
Keep it moving and keep the fun coming with the Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory Set. Load your Play-Doh in one end and turn on the conveyor belt to stamp out pretend toys or food from one of the 2 gear molds. It's non-stop imaginative action.
Starting at $19.99
Disney Princess and Me Dolls
Best for ages: 6+
Princess & Me Dolls bring the classic Disney Princess characters into a contemporary world that girls can relate to and share royal adventures with. These beautifully sculpted 18-inch large dolls are all about fashion with a variety of outfits and accessories.
Starting at $50
Bop It! Bounce
Best for: ages 8+
You've got to bounce your best to win in this awesome BOP IT Bounce game! This ball bounce game features an electronic voice command to cue you through six different challenging games: Max Bounce tests how fast you can bounce in 30 seconds, Infinite Bounce tests how long you can keep bouncing, Hang Time tests how high you can bounce, Right Height challenges you to match the shots called by the electronic voice, Little-Middle-Big challenges you to bounce at exactly the right height and Free For All lets you bounce it out freestyle.
Starting at $12.99
Best for ages 9+
My oldest daughter asked for a guitar for Christmas, so we bought her this guitar from Paper Jamz. If you've ever dreamed of walking onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans, pick up the ultra thin, innovative Paper Jamz Guitar Style 2 and become an instant rock star. This guitar comes with an internal speaker, three unique hit songs and four modes for jamming. Active Graphics technology lets you play like a pro by simply touching the circuit-embedded paper surface.
Starting at $20
Best for: ages 9+
With over 10,000 brain-busting puzzles, the Rubik's Slide by Techno Source is a challenge for all ages. The object of each puzzle is to rearrange the pattern of lights by shifting and twisting until they match the solution for that puzzle. With two ways to play and multiple challenging levels that train your brain, it's the game that's easy to learn and impossible to put down.
Starting at $19.99
AIR HOGS R/C HAWK EYE VIDEO CAMERA HELICOPTER
Best for ages 12+
Hawk Eye is capable of taking clear and steady video recording even while it is flying. There are two separate buttons on the controller, one for picture and the other for video. It can shoot clear and steady video and its video eye-in-the-sky camera is positioned for forward-looking aerial surveillance.
Starting at $49.99
Truth be Told Game
Best for ages: 14+
Truth Be Told is the revealing new laugh-out-loud, pretend to know your friends party game! Each round, one of the players in the Host, and plays a question card such as, 'Truth Be Told, my favorite snack is "X.' The Host writes a truthful answer and all of the other players pretend to be the Host, and write bluff answers which seems like something the Host could write. The Host collects and reads all answers aloud, and players try to guess the True Answer to score points.
Starting at $19.46
For a complete list of hot toys, broken out by age, check out The Toy Insider.
Check out more cool toys:
FOR BABY: Fischer Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse
($14.99) | Manhattan Baby Winkel Activity Toy
: Melissa & Doug Toy Cupcake Set
($19.95) | FurReal Friends Furry Frenzies
(from $9) | Send Away Storybook
($19.95) | Discovery Sticker Maker
FOR HIM: John Deere Preschool Deluxe Talking Tool Belt
($16.99) | Melissa & Doug Chomp & Clack Alligator Push Toy
($59.95) | R/C Flying Saucer
($24.95) | MythBusters Science of Sports Kit
What are the hot toys that your child is asking for this holiday season? Leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook.
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