Anyone else’s child already making holiday gift wish lists? Just ours? Cool. This year, you can beat them to the punch by impressing them with your knowledge of the hottest toys dotting the shelves. From an Encanto karaoke machine to a land-locked Great White Shark, here are 23 favorites guaranteed to surprise & delight.
Mark Our Words: These Will be the Hottest Toys of Holiday 2022
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1. Manhattan Toy Celestial Star Explorer Activity Center (1+)
This three-tier setup, which comes with 8 wire bead runs, a springy crescent moon and a rover solar panel, is selling out fast! Ideal for motor development, cause and effect learning and imaginative discovery, there’s another perk: Sharing! This setup can accommodate up to four kids playing at once.
Even if you already have the screen-free story-telling box, this forever favorite is announcing a slew of new characters for the holiday season. From Peppa Pig’s younger brother George to Eloise, Doc McStuffins, My Little Pony and more, it’s an amazing stocking stuffer—and a collection your child can continue to build upon.
It takes just five minutes to inflate these silly hopping creatures—which are definitely 2022’s answer to the Rody Horse. It’s great for active play, but also for burning off energy on days when everyone is cooped up inside.
4. Play Maysie Cozy Case Portable Travel Dollhouse (3+)
Imaginative play made portable—these clever sets make it easy to transport that beloved dollhouse (and the tiny accessories that come with it) wherever your child wants to take it. Choose from a variety of setups, too—for example, this one with a bedroom and bathroom. (FYI, dolls are sold separately.)
melissa and doug
From the hand-crank conveyer belt to the beeping scanner with a working calculator, kids will love playing grocery store clerk and customer with this sturdy wooden set that takes the play kitchen to the next level. We’re extra smitten thanks to the grab-and-go rack at the register (think gum, granola bars and a magazine).
As any parent who has ever ordered a double scoop of imaginary cookies and cream will tell you, kids love playing ice cream shop. This playroom ready truck comes with twelve dough colors, along with a soft serve machine, scooping station and sprinkle maker. The truck pipes classic ice cream jingles as it goes, a feature you may or may not want to advertise to your children.
Even if we still don’t talk about Bruno, we can talk about this playhouse, which is full of film-inspired moments—like Aunt Pepa’s weather-changing elevator and a music and light show activated by Mirabel’s unique footprint.
Speaking of Encanto, this karaoke machine makes it a cinch to blast your kid’s favorite tunes from the hit film with the touch of a button. (You can also sync and sing along to anything on your go-to streaming service using Bluetooth.) Our favorite feature: The ability to record—and save—your singing performances.
Who doesn’t love a makeover? The latest from the L.O.L. doll franchise comes with styling tools that allow for runway-ready hair in 30 minutes or less without using any heat.
Calling all Octonauts fans: This Octoray playset—best known as the mobile HQ for Captain Barnacles, Peso and the rest of the crew—features 25 sounds, phrases and lights from the hit Netflix show. There’s also a removable mini-ray and three creatures that need rescuing.
11. Crazy Forts (5+)
This 69-piece building kit makes it possible for your kid to construct an igloo one day, a castle the next—minimal parental involvement required.
You know the brand for their subscription-based project kits, but KiwiCo also sells a large variety of STEM, STEAM and science-based activities for all ages a la carte. A few favorites: The Crayon Recycler Project (what kid doesn’t want to experiment with melting their crayons in the sun?), the marine biologist in-training starter kit and the balloon racing car kit. We strongly predict this will be the activity-box gift of the season.
This isn’t your average marble shoot. With 135 building pieces included, there’s a spinning Ferris wheel, musical light-show cone, fast tracks, extreme launchers and more. Better yet, there are easy-to-follow guides (and color coded blocks) that make three different builds extra user-friendly to construct.
15. Bratz Minis (6+)
A gift that works as the main event or a stocking stuffer, these micro-versions of the beloved Bratz dolls are all the rage right now. (Honestly, anything in miniature form really is.) There are two dolls in every package and each package features a major surprise factor since the dolls included are shielded from view. You don’t find out which ones you got until you unbox them.
Using six washable gel markers, kids can trace glowing designs—or sketch their own—for an art experience that you have to illuminate to see. When you’re ready for the next design, simply wipe clean and start again.
Help your kids take their love of Super Mario to the next level with this LEGO starter course featuring Peach, who can share expressive responses thanks to an LCD screen and speaker and be connected to Mario or Luigi via Bluetooth.
18. Pounce (6+)
This classic game of cat and mouse is currently going viral on Tik Tok. And we have to admit it sounds pretty fun: The player who takes on the role of the cat calls out two numbers and rolls the dice. If one of the numbers called gets rolled, the mice players have to yank their tails in an effort to scatter before the cat pounces. (This video does a great job of demonstrating.)
This dual-function projector will bring full-color prehistoric life to your kid’s room complete with fun facts about each one. There are 35 dinosaurs in total—perfect for your budding paleontologist.
Steve Spangler Science
Proof you’re never too old to love bubbles, this kit invites kids to become bubble-ologists as they test the capabilities of bubbles. For example, did you know you can bounce a bubble? Squeeze it? Use it for tricks? This easy-enough-for-kids-to-do-on-their-own offering comes with special magic-making gloves and enough concentrate to mix a gallon of bubble solution.
The ultimate for the Bey fan in your life--the first-ever 4-in-1 top, which means you can configure it four different ways for the most epic battles yet.
22. Nintendo Switch Sports (10+)
Remember Wii Sports? Meet the 2022 version, which is primed to be at the top of every gamer-kiddo’s list. Simply sync these Joy-Con controllers to your Nintendo Switch and your kid can get moving playing soccer, volleyball, bowling, tennis and more. Every motion activates game play, and truly does mimic the real sport. Compete against family and friends—or players everywhere via the new online mode.
This just might be the most elaborate Pikachu construction set to date. It includes a display case, an animated rocky path and a crank that activates moving legs, feet and a tail when the build is complete. Ie: It’ll keep ‘em busy.