For those of us with children in our lives, it is time to explore the toy industry’s hits and misses as we prepare to buy presents for them this holiday season. The holidays are fast-approaching and the window to decide what to buy, and then to go ahead and buy it before it disappears from store shelves.
Regardless of whose child is on the receiving end of your gift-giving generosity this year, being an informed consumer and knowing what’s hot and what’s not is crucial for everyone’s optimum enjoyment. There may be nothing worse than seeing a child’s face light up with anticipated glee only for it to quickly dim from the sting of disappointment.
Parents have a leg up on the childless by knowing firsthand what their kids want and crave. This guide, however, aims to inform everyone, so no duds are unwrapped this holiday season. We’ve done our research and have come up with the hottest trends sure to please the pickiest kid on your list. Read on for the best of the best in time to check them off before they sell out.
We leaned heavily on the winners of the 2018 Toy of the Year Awards presented by the Toy Association. This annual compilation ranks toys in a variety of categories such construction, creativity, innovation and licensing, as well as picks an overall winner. No one should be surprised that movies remain a top draw for toymakers, that nostalgia continues to sell, technology is still king, and a few of last year’s hits are back.
In no particular order, what follows is our list of 2018’s most popular toys of the year.
1. Fingerlings ($18)
The responsive baby monkey that took the toy world by storm last year returns with a baby unicorn and dragon. Made by WowWee USA Inc., and known for grabbing things including fingers (hence the name), the toy walked away with the 2018 Toy of the Year top honor.
2. Lego Star Wars BB-8 ($100)
Touching on the movies and nostalgia trend, this version of the droid from the wildly popular cosmic film franchise is perfect for a budding builder or engineer. The pick for Construction Toy of the Year promises hours of entertainment.
3. GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope ($45)
From Educational Insights, this talking microscope featuring the voice of Bindi Irwin educates as much as it entertains.
4. FisherPrice Power Wheels® Ford F-150 ($365)
For the kid who has everything but needs a set of wheels, look no further than this roomy, rugged truck with two speeds and Power-lock brakes.
5. Nintendo Switch ($299)
Billed as a portable gaming system that kids can take with them anywhere, you cannot go wrong by gifting them this piece of technology.
6. Fingerlings Hugs ($30)
Worthy of another mention by Fingerlings are Hugs, the life-size plush monkey version of No. 1 on the list designed to hug your actual kid, not just their finger. Imagine the same level of interaction and joy amplified on a larger scale.
7. Crayola Color Chemistry Set ($25)
Is there a young chemist in your life? Make them happy and color their holidays happy with this scientific experiment set designed by real Crayola scientists.
8. Hatchimals (Price varies)
They’re back and as in demand as ever. Don’t test your luck this year before snatching them up by waiting for supplies to dwindle. You can be sure they will the closer we get to the holidays.
9. Spin Master Boxer Robot ($79)
This small, interactive and responsive artificial intelligence robot comes right out of the box equipped with 10 activity cards and its own quirky personality.
10. Playskool Friends Sesame Street Let’s Dance Elmo ($39)
No stranger to holiday gift guides, Elmo has been enchanting children for years. This musical version with headphones allows them to get up and move, sing along with him and have a dance party.
11. Barbie Beekeeper Playset ($20)
This iconic doll’s career choices are unending, and she’s now professionally vested in the longevity and health of bees. Inspire children to care about them, too, by gifting them this cool set complete with spinning beehive.
12. The Original Spirograph ($40)
Older than some parents, this creative toy has been entertaining children for 50 years by wonderfully mixing the concepts found in art and mathematics in a dazzling, mesmerizing way.
13. Really Rad Robots MiBRO ($40)
Billed as the “ultimate BFF” by the folks at Toy Insider, this electronic toy aims to engage kids in all types of overt and covert activities.
14. Bunch O Balloons Filler Soaker ($15)
With so many toys filling electronic niches and encouraging kids to stay inside, it’s nice to give them something that requires the great outdoors. Awarded the 2018 Outdoor Toy of the Year, this inexpensive entry by Zuru is for the kid in all of us.
15. Pomsies Plus Interactive Toys ($25)
Here to give Fingerlings a run for their money, but instead of attaching to fingers, this virtual pet will cling to your child’s backpack, clothes and anywhere else deemed popular to display collectible swag.
16. Rubie’s Jurassic World T-Rex Inflatable Costume ($40)
A dual-purpose gift always comes in handy, especially for parents, and this officially licensed costume from the Jurassic World doubles as your recipient’s Halloween costume.
17. Radio Flyer Fold 2 Go Trike ($40)
Resurrecting memories for the older crowd this holiday season, Radio Flyer delivers this fully assembled, portable tricycle set to win fans from a whole new generation.
18. Moj Moj The Original Claw Machine Playset ($50)
A life-size arcade favorite has shrunk itself in order to fit under the tree. Filled with six different mystery prizes, imagine the amount of time your kids will spend clawing for treasures. Bonus: prize packs are refillable and can be customized with your additions.
19. Playmobil Explorers Hidden Temple with T-Rex ($60)
Kids will be wearing T-Rex and playing with him, too. Foster their imagination in the jungle with Playmobil’s popular Explorers Team and watch as they navigate and create hours of play with this feature-filled jungle playset.
20. Marvel Guardians Dancing Groot Figure ($35)
Move over Elmo, you’re not the only dancing toy that’s sure to be hot this holiday season. Look out for this groovy guy ready to shake his limbs and cut a rug.
21. Harry Potter Quidditch Mystery Flying Snitch ($35)
Young Harry Potter fans everywhere will jump at the chance to perfect their wizardry skills with this battery-operated flying snitch connected by a barely-visible thread.
22. Osmo Genius Kit ($100)
Screen time can be good for kids in the case of this educational offering for iPads with fun games that teach them reading, math and other cognitive skills.
23. Pie Face Cannon Game ($20)
Parents may hate us for this, but we would be remiss not to include this messy yet fun twist on the original Pie Face game. Ready, aim … FIRE!
24. Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track ($49)
We love gifts that keep on giving, and that’s exactly what this Hot Wheels gift does. Considering it only comes with one car, you can thank us later when you now know what to buy them on future occasions.
25. Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set ($27)
For the animal-loving kid in your life, inspire emotions such as empathy while exposing them to world of veterinary care. The set includes 24 pieces designed to encourage and foster play around the profession.