The 2021 Toy Trend We Didn’t See Coming (But Makes So Much Sense)
For the past few years, fidget spinners, slime and surprise packs (often featuring micro takes on grocery store products) have topped every kids’ wish list. But, after scouring the latest launches in preparation for this year’s Happy Kid Awards, a new trend emerged: the return of fantasy and sci-fi toys. Sure, sure, unicorns and mermaids were hot a few years ago, but the latest batch of toys is so much more than that—they foster kids’ imaginations, helping them become storytellers as they play. (Plus, acting out storylines with these toys can improve their emotional competence and cognitive development.)
It’s a trend we didn’t see coming, but in hindsight, makes so much sense: After the past year and a half spent largely at home, we’re all craving a little escapism, kids included. Who couldn’t use a little magic in their lives? So, without further ado, here are the best fantasy toys you can find online.
1. WowWee Got2Glow Fairy Finder Jar
Remember when kids (and adults) everywhere started running around town, trying to catch every Pokémon in sight? We’re predicting a similar reaction when the Got2Glow Fairy Finder jars hit stores. Kids open the jar and wave it around, and depending on where you are and the lighting in your home, you’ll be able to collect different fairies, which you can then feed and care for. Three different jars are sold, each allowing you to catch a different set of 30+ fairies (and trade them with friends). They officially launch on Oct. 1, but you can preorder one now, so you don’t find yourself in a Jingle All the Way-style scramble during the holiday season.
2. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Magical Minis
The Boy Who Lived Lives On! Only this iteration is more anime-esque than Daniel Radcliffe. Magical Minis are three-inch versions of Harry Potter characters, but that’s not all—you can also buy replicas of classrooms and sets from the series, including a nearly 2-foot-tall Hogwarts dollhouse.
3. Harry Potter Catch the Snitch Game
At this point, Harry Potter could be its own sub-genre. It may be 14 years since the Deathly Hallows was published, but this year brings a flurry of new toys, and we’d be remiss in not including your chance to play Quidditch. Catch the Snitch is a fast-paced card game where, at any point, the golden Snitch could spring from its box and shoot into the air, causing a scramble to catch it as the game ends.
4. Treasure X Monster Gold: Mega Monster Lab
Let your kids channel their inner mad scientists as they fish through gooey ooze and wispy spiderwebs to assemble their own monster and reveal a gold-dipped treasure. The lab features 20 different activities to keep kids busy, as well as two different figures (the scientist and monster) to play with, so your little ones won’t tire of this toy after 15 minutes.
5. Crystalina dolls
Fairies are trending big-time right now. These four-inch-tall Crystalina dolls each glow a specific color, but as their powers change (say, from wisdom to healing), so does the color they emit. You can even pass the color from one doll to the next, or between the (included) amulet jewelry.
6. Dream Seekers Dolls
Looking for a cuddlier fairy? Try Dream Seekers, a set of soft-bodied dolls that come with a pocket in their moon packaging for storing kids’ dreams and wishes. Each of the four dolls corresponds to a different type of wish to manifest—say, happiness or passion—and has removable shoes and brushable hair.
7. Dungeons & Dragons/Magic: The Gathering Adventures in Forgotten Realms Bundle
Amazon’s top-ranked new release in the games section is a classic, repackaged for newbies. The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in Forgotten Realms set is a Magic: The Gathering crossover that gives you everything you need to get your geek on. We’re talking 40 land cards, three oversized dungeon cards, 10 draft boosters, an oversized d20 die and a storage box—and that’s just the basic bundle. Hardcore fans may want to spring for the $126 gift set, which includes three core Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks (with special foil covers) and a Dungeon Master screen.
8. Barbie Dreamtopia Fairy Doll
Of course Barbie’s going to stay ahead of the trend. In the Dreamtopia series, you can buy pastel-haired dolls dressed as fairies, mermaids and princesses.
9. BABY ALIVE GLO PIXIES DOLL
As if her glittery wings, Pixieprint cheeks and pastel-colored hair weren't cute enough, this little pixie starts to glow as you feed her. Kids will have fun guessing which color she'll light up—just don't be surprised if they want to collect all three styles (and the miniature version too).
10. House Monsters
It’s hard to be afraid of the monster lurking in your closet when it’s this cute. Each of these six collectible plush monsters comes with a shoebox-esque “habitat” that mirrors a spot in your house—like a fridge, attic or dishwasher—and an ID card breaking down their likes, dislikes and backstory.