Thehas been tough on children everywhere, and we think they might deserve a special treat for no special occasion.
Surprise toys are still hot right now, and the most-sought after ones, like Present Pets and The Animal Truck, even unbox themselves. The cute Baby Yoda remains wildly popular, and the latest L.O.L. Doll hangout continues to top lists. Theis still the (and can actually get, unlike the and ). Read on to discover all the top toys for kids -- including plenty of gift guide choices available for $25 or less.
The hottest toy of the moment 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.
The latest L.O.L. doll hangout is more affordable than earlier models -- remember the $250 Winter Disco Chalet? Parents will appreciate that because little girls are definitely liking this popular toy right now. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Pink or red, your little doll fanatic is bound to love this gift.
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.
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.
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 are challenging to get, anyway. We love that the Switch can be played on the TV or handheld, too.
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.
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.
Among the 30 pieces inside Barbie's two-foot fold-up Dream 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.
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!)
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.
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.
The latest 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 gift that will last.
Read more: Best kid's electric ride-on toys for 2021