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Best toys for 2020

These are the best and hottest toys that kids will be obsessing over this holiday season.

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The holidays are going to look a little different this year. Due to pandemic safety precautions, extended families and friends may not be gathering. But there's one thing that isn't canceled: gifts. If ever there were a time to go big, it's now. And if going overboard isn't your thing (or in your budget), it's even more helpful to know which toys for kids are topping wish lists this year.

So what's hot in 2020? Surprise toys are still big, and this year they even unbox themselves, like Present Pets and The Animal Truck. The Nintendo Switch is still the big gift that everyone wants (and can actually get, unlike the Xbox Series X and PS5). The cute Baby Yoda is wildly popular, and the latest L.O.L. Doll hangout is topping lists. Read on to discover all the top toys for kids to bring cheer this year -- including plenty of gift guide choices available for $25 or less.

Read more: Best Nintendo gifts that aren't a Nintendo Switch 

Target

The year's hottest toy is probably a Baby Yoda plush, inspired by the Disney Plus series The Mandalorian. The Child looks up at you with his big eyes, his cuddly body ready for snuggles. You can just see him poking out from the top of a stocking on Christmas morning.

Amazon

This year's hot L.O.L. doll hangout is more affordable than previous years -- remember the $250 Winter Disco Chalet? Parents will appreciate that because little girls are definitely putting this popular toy on their holiday wish list. The clubhouse for the L.O.L. dolls comes with over 40 surprises to unbox, including two exclusive dolls. When the clubhouse's "shipping containers" are expanded, the whole thing measures 3 feet wide. Mercifully it folds up for storage. 

Dick's Sporting Goods

Schwinn's new 16-inch bike is the perfect gift for active kids to find on Christmas morning. The Krate EVO features classic '70s styling and the brand's rugged quality. Removable training wheels make it a great first bike for kids ages 3 to 5. Available in red, blue, pink and black.

Walmart

An original plaything for 2020, Squeakee the Balloon Dog is an interactive toy that does tricks. Squeakee can be trained with his treat and he can deflate with a pin and inflate with a pump, among other tricks. But we're guessing kids will be most entertained by his farts. 

Walmart

If you've got a kid who says "remember to like and subscribe!" we bet they will love creating digital content with KidiZoom's Creator Cam. It includes a green screen and 20 different backgrounds to make creative videos. There's also a tripod, microphone and special effects can easily be added via the on-screen editing features. There's a USB cable to upload and a microSD card slot (card not included) to increase storage.

Walmart

There are two things kids are forever interested in: Lego and Star Wars. This new set depicts the final duel in Return of the Jedi and it doesn't disappoint. Among the 775 pieces are five minifigures (Luke and Darth Vader are there, naturally), and the set features a rotating throne, reactor shaft, and collapsing stairs and bridge. If this set's $89 price tag makes you blanch, this $25 A-Wing fighter is a more affordable substitute.  

American Girl

There's a new remote control car in the American Girl universe and it's pink and gold. The ultimate driving experience for 18-inch dolls, this baby can be customized with license plate stickers and features luxe accents. Lifelike details include a horn, cupholder and working headlights, and it can even drive in reverse. Preorder the new one (available Nov. 19) or buy last year's model if your child prefers red. Pink or red, your little doll fanatic is bound to love this gift.

Target

Finally -- a truck unboxing toy! Kids will love the surprise element of unboxing a monster truck. And this isn't any unboxing. The whole experience is interactive, from unlocking the crate with an included key to "angering" the truck to make it claw its way out of the box. Once out, the truck's features are fun: retractable claws, sounds, lights and more.

Target

Blume dolls are a popular little toy -- water their flower pots and a big-haired girl "grows" out. Each one is a surprise, adding to the fun. The new Rainbow Sparkle Surprise set comes with three dolls (of 10 limited edition possibilities) that kids can water with an included cloud. We think this gift is going to be big.

Amazon

Nintendo Switch game consoles have been so hot throughout the pandemic they've been hard to come by. Luckily it seems the Switch has been restocked for the holidays at many stores. So if your kiddo is sans Switch you can gift them hours of entertainment playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart, Zelda, Just Dance or whatever games they're into. This is definitely a better console for younger kids than the more expensive Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, which will be nearly impossible to get this holiday season. We love that the Switch can be played on the TV or handheld, too. Read our Nintendo Switch review.

Target

This new Calico Critters holiday offering is a sweet little camper van, great for pretend play and your child's imagination. Your little ones can use fuzzy figurines to emulate a real-life pandemic trend: RV road tripping. The camper van sleeps seven figurines and includes a tiny bicycle as well as a fishing rod among other accessories. Please note: No critters are included. 

Kohls

Keep your kids crafting for hours with this new set from Kid Made Modern. The handy storage box includes more than 1,100 pieces primed for projects. There are beads, popsicle sticks, pom poms, googly eyes, glue, scissors and much more. We love that this gift encourages creativity and is sure to be used.

Amazon

No holiday list would be complete without something from Barbie. This year, the Dream Closet is our top pick. Among the 30 pieces inside this two-foot fold-up closet are five snazzy outfits, a desk with laptop and chair, a spinning clothes rack, mirror and hamper. If your kiddo is into fashion dolls, the Dream Closet will be welcomed with open arms.

Amazon

With many schools still online, games with an educational component are a great gift idea. Osmo's new Math Wizards series (for iPad or Amazon Fire) are fun, self-paced games that teach as well as entertain. Magical Workshop is geared toward ages 6 to 8, and incorporates tactical materials into the magic-themed game to teach addition and subtraction. Secrets of the Dragon is all about learning measurement. (Osmo also makes a great coding game!)

Amazon

Who doesn't love a good old dinosaur toy? This particular T. rex is inspired by the popular Jurassic World animated series, Camp Cretaceous, and he has a mighty roar that kids will love. Not only that, this realistic-looking dino's tail moves, he has a chomping motion and more fascinating movements.

Amazon

If you've got a tech-oriented kiddo begging for a smartwatch, you can give in with this safe option. Little Tikes' Tobi smartwatch is designed for little ones and features a playful, expressive robot face (Tobi) and learning toy function to teach kids to tell time. Kids love the built-in cameras for taking videos and selfies, and parents will love the dance game (and pedometer) that encourages movement. Available in pink or blue.

Amazon

This season's Cry Babies doll is a perfect soothing bedtime companion. Her face even glows! Goodnight Coney cries, but when her pacifier is in she lights up and quiets down. Press her tummy and she plays a little lullaby.

Amazon

Any PJ Masks-loving little superhero will go nuts for this enormous playset. The Transforming 2-in-1 Mobile Headquarters goes from a rolling Seeker vehicle to a 3-foot-tall, five-level playset. The set, based on the hit animated series, also includes one Catboy figure and one Cat-Car.

Amazon

Disney trips may be challenging at the moment, but your family can still enjoy some of the park's magic with a new game based on the famed Jungle Cruise ride. (And get pumped for the upcoming movie of the same name.) Based for ages 8 and up, players must navigate a treacherous journey down the jungle river. And true to the classic ride, cheesy jokes are also included.

Target

This silly sloth is sure to get some giggles. Fifi does her floss dance to three different songs when activated, providing much-needed pandemic levity. 

Amazon

The animated show Scooby-Doo has seen a resurgence, and if your kids are into Scoob and the gang, Playmobil's Mystery Machine set is the most fun they can have recreating the group's sleuthing adventures. The van comes with so many cool accessories, as well as Fred, Daphne and Velma figures. Shaggy and Scooby are sold separately, as are various ghosts, monsters and ghouls. There's even a large, haunted house playset to complete your Scooby play, Adventure in the Mystery Mansion.

Amazon

The latest, greatest unboxing toy is Present Pets, which actually unbox themselves. Pull the tab and a surprise puppy plush breaks out of its box. Will you get Fancy Puppy Princess or Kweenie? Other Present Pets include Glitter Puppies Cocoa and Casey. Once unboxed, these interactive pups can cuddle, wag, bark, give kisses and respond to your child's voice. And bonus: She won't pee in the house.

Lakeshore Learning

Perfect for taking a break from holiday madness or incorporating a new pandemic routine, Lakeshore's Kids' yoga kit is a helpful gift. You get a nonslip, extra-thick mat plus 50 activity cards featuring child-friendly yoga poses. Namaste!

Amazon

Parents may remember a similar flying fairy toy from their childhoods, adding a bit of nostalgia to this cool new product. The Crystal Flyers (available in pink or purple) arrive in a sparkling egg case and they actually take flight. Kids can use their hands to guide the pixie as she flies, and recharge her with the included USB cable.

Amazon

This year's cool Batman toy is a remote control Batmobile with launching action. How can you go wrong? A 4-inch Batman figure is included. Charge the Batmobile with the built-in USB, pop some AAA batteries into the controller, and get ready to protect Gotham City. 

Merci Milo

New costume line Hijinks makes quality make-believe outfits, like this beautiful red mermaid ensemble. Every detail is thoughtfully crafted, from the comfy elastic to the eco-friendly cotton to the quilted tail. The line includes other whimsical characters including a superhero, a unicorn, a bird, a dragon and a knight. A Hijinks costume makes a great holiday gift that will last.

This story has been completely updated for the 2020 holiday season.