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The 27 hottest holiday toys of 2021


Toys are going to sell out fast this year. These promise to be some of the favorites.

Toys are going to sell out fast this year. These promise to be some of the favorites.

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If you’ve been feeling like holiday shopping keeps getting earlier and earlier, you’re not alone. It has been. And this year it’s for good reason. With online shopping the preferred way to buy for many this year, and with predictions that toys will sell out early, the sooner you get your holiday shopping done the better.

Amazon recently released its annual Toys We Love list, Macy’s shared their Hot Toy list and Walmart revealed their Most-Wanted Toys list. All three showed that character toys, including CoComelon, Super Mario, PAW Patrol and Bluey will continue to be popular and that kids are looking for a little bit of magic, creativity and interactivity in their toys this year. We consulted with some of our favorite toy forecasters, and also did a healthy bit of research on our own to help you get a leg up on this year’s trends. Here are our favorite toys that will help make Christmas morning magical.

1. Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron

All it takes is a little magic to make these enchanted creatures.

All it takes is a little magic to make these enchanted creatures.

Recommended ages: 5 to 15

According to Chris Byrne, aka The Toy Guy, an independent toy analyst, researcher and consultant, unboxing will continue to be huge, and this fun toy puts a magical twist on the trend. “This toy makes the whole concept and feel of unboxing part of the play.”

Add the special “potions” to this magical, mystical cauldron and stir it with the spell-casting wand to magically create a furry, fluffy friend. When you tap their jewel with your wand, you reveal if they have the powers to make your wishes come true.

Get the Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron at Amazon for $69.99

2. PAW Patrol Movie Tower

So many levels. So much fun!

So many levels. So much fun!

Recommended ages: 3 and up

Byrne calls this the Barbie Dream House of PAW Patrol and, from where we are standing, that sounds about right. Inspired by the recent PAW Patrol movie, this is an action-packed toy that brings the Adventure City headquarters from the big screen to your playroom. At an impressive 3 ft. tall, this is the tallest PAW Patrol tower yet, and it brings the fun on every level. This toy is filled with amazing discoveries and cool features including a transforming light-up rescue ramp, command center, vehicle lift, pup elevator, holographic city maps and so much more!

Get the PAW Patrol, Transforming Ultimate City Movie Tower at Walmart for $149

3. Bluey Caravan Adventures

For when the campsites are all booked, a fun play set from one of our favorite shows.

For when the campsites are all booked, a fun play set from one of our favorite shows.

Recommended ages: 3 and up

Bluey may just be the most charming kids’ show on TV and is one of the few kids’ TV shows that parents profess to love as well. If you have Bluey fans at home, they’ll love the new Caravan Adventures Playset. It folds open to reveal a seriously souped up RV with bunks, a kitchen and a hangout area, as well as a mini campfire and tiny toy marshmallows for roasting. With camping and outdoor adventures being such a popular family pastime these days, this toy is perfect to take on outdoorsy getaways or to play with at home while dreaming about them.

“It’s a toy that’s all about family time and it’s a great little toy for kids to express themselves with,” says Byrne.

Get the Bluey Ultimate Caravan Adventures Playset at Amazon for $49.44

4. CoComelon J.J. Doll

This little cute sings, plays and even eats all of his peas.

This little cute sings, plays and even eats all of his peas.

Recommended ages: 2 to 8

Byrne expects that all CoComelon toys will be popular, but one that’s getting a lot of chatter is the interactive J.J. Doll. It’s already listed as low stock with some online retailers, so if you have a CoComelon fan in your home, it’s best to buy this one sooner rather than later.

Kids will love “feeding” this interactive doll whose peas will disappear from their spoon when he eats them. He’s also fun to dress and cuddle, and sings songs from the popular show such as “Yes, Yes Vegetables,” “This is the Way” and “My Name Song!”

Get the CoComelon official Deluxe J.J. Interactive Doll at Walmart for $58.88

5. Got2Glow Fairy Finder

Catch all the fairies in this magical fairy finder.

Catch all the fairies in this magical fairy finder.

Recommended ages: 5 to 15

Fairies are having a moment, and this might be the most fun fairy toy we’ve seen. It’s both interactive and imaginative, and it takes technology and makes it playful.

Use the magical jar to find, catch, interact with and trade fairies who appear on a glowing LED screen where they show their style and express their personalities. Collect 100 different fairies, each with different looks and personalities.

“It’s virtual but there is a lot of play. What I love about this is that the play is more important than the technology. It’s imaginative, interactive and it feels like real magic, which I love,” says Byrne.

Get the Got2Glow Fairy Finder at Amazon for $39.97

6. Squeakee the Balloon Dinosaur

This dino roars, stomps, dances, and deflates!

This dino roars, stomps, dances, and deflates!

Recommended ages: 5 to 15

Playing off the success of last year’s Squeakee the Balloon Dog, this year’s hot toy is a stomping, roaring and dancing dino. These interactive toys are just hilarious. They respond to your voice and your touch and kids will get a kick out of this ferocious balloon-style toy.

“Last year’s dog version was so popular and this is a really fun upgrade and it plays on the dinosaur trend, which is always popular with kids,” says Byrne.

Get the Squeakee the Balloon Dinosaur at Amazon for $69

7. House Monsters

These cuddly monsters are anything but scary.

These cuddly monsters are anything but scary.

Recommended ages: 3 and up

It’s hard to be scared of monsters when they are this quirky, cuddly and cute. This collectible set of six silly monsters arrive in a shoebox-style habitat that mimics a spot in your home and represents all of their favorite things.

Sudsy lives in the dishwasher, eating soap bubbles and is always cleaning all around the house. Fluffy is all about fashion and loves to hide inside the closet. Their friends live in places like your dryer, under your bed (of course) and in your refrigerator. All come with a little card explaining their likes, dislikes and distinct personalities.

Byrne calls these toys “sweet, silly, entertaining and funny” and we agree.

8. My Squishy Little Dumpling

These little dumplings are silly, addictive fun.

These little dumplings are silly, addictive fun.

Recommended ages: 4 and up

For a mini interactive toy, My Squishy Little Dumplings are sweet, adorable and silly. They come with names like Dip and Dot and each dumpling “wakes up” and jumps up to reveal its legs and body when you “squeeze” its cheeks. They giggle and glow and they chatter about in their own language. These are collectable and silly and wildly entertaining. Be forewarned: If you have one, your kid is going to want them all.

Get My Squishy Little Dumplings at Amazon for $14.99

9. Barbie’s Dream House 2021

This dream house has been updated for 2021!

This dream house has been updated for 2021!

Recommended ages: 3 and up

Barbie’s Dream House just got an upgrade! If you remember this three-level townhouse from your youth, it got a full gut job to make it the place to be in 2021. This new model offers 360-degrees of play and 10 living areas, including a pool, a roof deck (complete with bar and disco ball), an elevator, a swing chair and more.

Get the Barbie Dream House at Walmart for $199

10. Lego Super Mario Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle Building Kit and Expansion Set

These are some of the most interactive Legos around.

These are some of the most interactive Legos around.

Recommended ages: 8 and up

Legos are always popular. Super Mario is always popular. This brings the two iconic toys together. Byrne says that you really can’t go wrong with a Lego set, but this, and the accompanying Super Mario sets are going to be the popular Lego sets of the season, thanks in part to their interactive nature.

After being built, this Lego set is like the video game come to life, with all sorts of flipping, shaking and balancing challenges that are rewarded with fun, video game-style sound effects. This also works with the Lego Super Mario app that comes with building tips and ideas.

“A lot of the Lego experience has become model-building, but these Mario sets are really fun to play and interact with. They take the game off the screen in a really cool way,” says Byrne.

11. MicroMachines Corvette

This cool race park folds up to be a sleek Corvette.

This cool race park folds up to be a sleek Corvette.

Recommended ages: 4 and up

Back to the “mini” craze, this will appease both any mini and/or car obsession your child may have. MicroMachines are tradable and collectible and this cool Corvette pop-open raceway just makes them all the more fun. It pops open to be assembled into a multilevel raceway with lots of tips and turns and drag race functionality. It’s cool, it’s compact and it packs away easily, making it the perfect toy to take with them on family trips.

“It’s just a really fun toy and the design is great,” says Stephanie Oppenheim, co-founder of ToyPortfolio.com.

Get the MicroMachines Corvette racetrack at Target for $39.99

12. Pixicade

Pixicade lets you draw your own video games and bring them to life.

Pixicade lets you draw your own video games and bring them to life.

Recommended ages: 6 and up

Do your kids dream of making their own video game? Do you wish they would do something more creative? Everyone’s dream will come true with one of the coolest toys we’ve seen this year: Pixicade. Pixicade takes your own drawings and transforms them into a video game you can play. This is based on popular 8-bit games from the ’80s and allows kids to transform their art into an interactive, play-based medium that they can share with their friends.

“There is so much play and interactivity with this game. It really takes their drawings to the next level and it allows them to be engaged in the creative process,” says Byrne.

If you think you’ll love this toy as much as we do, USAToday readers will get 15% off their entire order through November 30 with the code USATODAY15.

Get Pixicade Game Makers at Amazon starting at $24.99

13. Bluey Family Home Playset

The Bluey house has four rooms of fun.

The Bluey house has four rooms of fun.

Recommended ages: 3 and up

Not to be outdone by life on the road and the Bluey Caravan, another hot toy will be the Bluey Home Playset, that comes with a posable Bluey character, four rooms for play, and loads of furniture. What’s so fun about this set though is it’s just as fun when traveling to Grandma’s as it is for playing at home. It closes up tightly to be a travel case for the whole Bluey family and has a sturdy handle to tote around.

Get the Bluey Family Home Playset at Amazon for $30.49

14. Funko Snapsies

Once you collect a few, you can even mix and match pieces to make your own unique creature.

Once you collect a few, you can even mix and match pieces to make your own unique creature.

Recommended ages: 4 and up

The “mini” trend shows no signs of stopping. The Zuru 5-Surprise Minis are still as popular as ever, but other brands are starting to jump on the trend. Funko’s Snapsies line falls into the mini trend, but with a twist (or a snap). Each ball opens to reveal mystical creatures you can snap together to assemble. After you’ve collected a few, you can mix and match pieces to create new creatures.

“Collectibles are so much fun for kids, and they really have a social element. Kids love to compare and trade, and this is a fun toy for that,” says Byrne.

Get Funko Snapsies at Amazon for $8

15. Motorized bumper cars

This bumper car has a light up rim!

This bumper car has a light up rim!

Recommended ages: 1.5 to 6

“Ride-ons are always really, really popular,” says Byrne. While other motorized ride-ons are all about the ride, this one is all about the collision. For little kids who may not yet have control over their steering, this takes away the discouragement and turns up the fun. If you’re looking for a big-ticket hit, Byrne recommends something like this.

Get the Kidzone Electric Vehicle Bumper Car at Amazon for $194.97

16. Papaton Shadow Theater

This shadow puppet toy really encourages narrative play.

This shadow puppet toy really encourages narrative play.

Recommended ages: 3 to 8

This beautiful toy has been racking up parenting and toy-maker awards, and for good reason. It’s a beautifully designed shadow puppet set that’s perfect for developing narrative storytelling skills, and it’s just right for family time.

The shadow puppet kit comes with over 30 characters and props to enact four well-known fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise & The Hare and The Lion & The Mouse. You upload the accompanying app to your phone that narrates and sets the story to music, while also shining a light on the stage. Children take over and act out the stories for your enjoyment.

“Here’s why I really like it: It engages kids in narrative creativity and storytelling. It’s a gateway to writing, creative thinking and problem solving. And kids love puppets—I think people are really going to like this one,” says Byrne.

Get the Papaton Shadow Theater at Amazon for $59

17. Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu

This Grogu toy has even more interactivity than last year's.

This Grogu toy has even more interactivity than last year’s.

Baby Yoda (AKA Grogu) just keeps getting cuter. If your kid is a fan of the Mandalorian, they’ll love this upgrade to last year’s hottest toy. This one is just as interactive, but comes with four accessories for some seriously stellar fun, including a bowl of soup, a space cookie, a spoon, and a shiny silver toy ball.

Get the Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu at Amazon for $79

18. Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse

A purrfect dollhouse!

A purrfect dollhouse!

The magic of DreamWorks Gabby’s Dollhouse comes to life with this seriously interactive Dollhouse. This impressive toy stands over 2 feet tall and looks exactly like the dollhouse from the NETFLIX original series, which will suit any Gabby fan purrfectly. It comes with four floors, seven rooms, and a fully functioning elevator and Gabby and Pandy Paws figures to play with.

Get Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse at Amazon for $141.40

19. Tamagotchi Pix

The 90s favorite is back!

The 90s favorite is back!

Tamagochi are back, and this time they are both more interactive and more social! Tamagotchi Pix is the next generation of your virtual pet—it still needs to be cared for and fed, but this time around you can find Tamagotchi friends and have characters go on playdates, to help keep your character happy.

Get the Tamagotchi Pix at Amazon for $39.46

20. Toniebox

The Toniebox inspires kids to really listen to what they're hearing.

The Toniebox inspires kids to really listen to what they’re hearing.

Recommended ages: 2 and up

Screen-free listening systems are starting to really take off. Parents want their kids off their tablets, but we still aren’t fully free to completely shed all social distancing restrictions, so there’s still a large amount of “stay-at-home time” where kids are craving entertainment. These small story-telling speakers are the screen-free answer.

There are a handful of these kinds of speakers on the market, but Byrne recommends the Toniebox for the cute design, the adorable “Tonies” that tell the stories, and for its very cool partnerships, including Disney, Peppa Pig, and LeVar Burton.

“This is just the cutest box and makes a really great gift,” says Byrne. “I really think it’s important for kids to have tools to help them build their listening skills. These are great for that.”

Get the Toniebox starter set at Amazon for $99

21. Play-Doh Rising Oven play set

This toy really brings the "wow factor" to Play-Doh.

This toy really brings the “wow factor” to Play-Doh.

Recommended ages: 3 and up

And you thought you knew Play-Doh. This fun toy is filled with “wow factor” when kids create cakes that magically “rise” in the play oven, with a bell that ding when it’s ready. This fun set allows you to create all sorts of fun creations that would make bakers at MilkBar and Flour Shop swoon: including surprise rainbow sprinkles-filled desserts and multi-layer rainbow cakes.

Get the Play-Doh Rising Cake Oven play set at Amazon for $20.99

22. LetsGlow Studio

Give their TikTok videos a glow up!

Give their TikTok videos a glow up!

Recommended ages: 8 and up

Give their TikTok videos a glow up with this cool kit. Both of the experts we talked to love this toy, and so do we. This fun kit allows them to unleash their inner costume and prop designer by creating reflective fashion and accessories. Then, simply dim the lights, clip the accompanying 16-color LED glow light to your phone and set their scene in motion.

“It’s just such a fun and creative toy,” says Oppenheim. “Tweens can be hard to shop for but this is one that we think will be really popular.”

Byrne adds that he likes that it’s sort of subversive STEAM toy for an age group that may otherwise roll their eyes at STEAM learning.

“It touches on exactly what they love to do, but it makes it creative. It’s arts and crafts and it’s technology,” says Byrne.

Get the LetsGlow Studio at Amazon for $29.99

23. KidiZoom PrintCam

Print out color or black and white photos or photo stickers.

Print out color or black and white photos or photo stickers.

Recommended ages: 4 to 11

This kids’ camera has all the creative fun of other KidiZoom cameras, including selfie and sticker functions, and it also lets you print your photos in either framable prints or sticker formats. The creative options of this cool, kid-friendly camera are limitless, and it comes in a durable, kid-friendly package.

Get the KidiZoom PrintCam at Walmart for $71

24. Thames & Kosmos Mega Cyborg Hand

Letting them turn themselves into a cyborg is a pretty cool holiday surprise!

Letting them turn themselves into a cyborg is a pretty cool holiday surprise!

Recommended ages: 7 and up

The Toy Association named this cool, hydraulic-powered toy the STEAM Toy Of The Year. It not only lets your child feel like they’re a cyborg, this kit is loads of fun and will help kids learn about hydraulics and robotics. They’ll learn how to assemble the hand, piece-by-piece and the fun will continue as they conduct experiments, picking up objects of different shapes and sizes.

Get the Thames & Kosmos Mega Cyborg Hydraulic Hand kit at Amazon for $29.99

25. Crayola Paper Butterfly Science Kit

Kids will learn about osmosis as they make beautiful art.

Kids will learn about osmosis as they make beautiful art.

Recommended ages: 7 and up

If you’re looking for a STEAM-inspired toy this holiday season, this is a favorite. You create a butterfly display with this fun color-wicking art project that teaches about both physics and nature, while they’re having fun.

“It’s STEM and STEAM, which are building blocks of learning. It teaches osmosis and it’s a really fun and beautiful art project as well,” says Byrne.

Get the Crayola Paper Butterfly Science Kit at Amazon for $22.99

26. Koosh Balls

They're back! And they're as popular as ever.

They’re back! And they’re as popular as ever.

Recommended ages: 4 and up

Remember Koosh balls? They’re back! And they are just as popular the second time around as they were the first. Retro toys are always big and sensory toys continue to be popular. Koosh balls offer both in one and make for fun stocking stuffers.

Get the Koosh 3-pack at Amazon for $19.49

27. Pop-its

Pop-its will definitely continue to be popular this holiday.

Pop-its will definitely continue to be popular this holiday.

Recommended ages: 4 and up

The popularity of Pop-its show no sign of waning, so you better plan to have at least one in their stocking this year. Pop-its are a hot commodity on the school bus and the playground where kids compare and trade them, and where they pop out all of their daily frustrations in the forms of dinosaurs, unicorns, llamas, avocados and more.

Go keychain size or super size—they’ve even developed board games with dice that you can pop to the win.

Shop Pop-its at Amazon starting at $7.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed: The most popular toys for boys and girls



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