Mark Our Words: These Will be the 15 Hottest Toys of the Year

Barbie’s Dreamhouse and AI robots included

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hottest holiday toys 2023
Digital Art by Alexia Dellner

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but figuring out which toys your kid will actually play with for more than five minutes is no easy task. Enter our list of the hottest toys dotting the shelves that are worth the price tag. From reader favorites (like the budget-friendly Picasso Tiles) to TikTok sensations (have you tried the #KanoodleChallenge yet?), here are 15 toys guaranteed to surprise and delight this holiday season.

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hottest toys surprise box
  • Recommended age range: 6 to 12 months

Buying gifts for babies is a bit of a crapshoot since they haven’t exactly figured out what they’re into just yet. But this Happy Kid Award toy is baby-approved so you can rest assured that the infant in your life will be entertained long enough for mom to have a shower. Small hands will love fiddling with the different elements and listening to the various sounds (it's actually five toys in one!), not to mention putting the toys into the box and taking them out again… over and over and over again.

  • Recommended age range: 2 and up

We know what you’re thinking—sure, these sorting rocks look cool but will my toddler actually want to play with them? PureWow readers say yes! This colorful set was a best seller for Amazon Prime Day this year and we’re not mad about it. Each one of the 36 blocks is a different-shaped polyhedron, meaning they can be stacked in unique and interesting ways to challenge your kid’s creativity, resilience and persistence. We also love that they’re made from wood and coated with eco-friendly paint.


3. PicassoTiles

Picasso Tiles

  • Recommended age range: 3 and up

This PureWow reader favorite (this 100-piece was another top seller during Amazon Prime Day) is flying off the shelves and for good reason—it’s a more affordable alternative to the O.G. Magnatiles, which sell for three times the price of Picasso. But just like the original tiles, this plaything is endlessly versatile, fun for just about any age (we’ve seen both 1 year olds and 11 year olds play with them for hours) and cleans up extremely quickly.


 4. Barbie’s Dreamhouse

The Barbie Store

  • Recommended age range: 3 and up

Barbiecore is still going strong, and kids will want to dive right into Barbie’s ultimate pool Dreamhouse. It features a three-story slide with ten areas to explore—and it even includes a pet paradise with a puppy slide and pool. Not only does the top floor transform into a sleepover space for four dolls but it also comes with more than 75 accessories, so you can customize every space from the kitchen to the bedroom. The best part? It’s fully equipped with lights, sounds and a working elevator to make the house as life-like as possible.

  • Recommended age range: 3 and up

Boasting more than 12,000 five-star reviews, it’s no wonder that this family-friendly board game got scooped up on Amazon Prime Day this year by PureWow readers. What makes this game so popular? It’s easy enough for a preschooler to understand but fun enough for older siblings and parents to get a kick out of it too! The goal is simple—keep Phillip the Penguin on top of the ice blocks but as each player takes their turn to tap the ice, the blocks start falling! The last player who hasn’t made Philip fall wins.

  • Recommended age range: 4 and up

Miniature toys are all the rage this year, but sometimes bigger is better. This massive 4-in-1 Batman playset can transform into three (!) Batman vehicles, plus a 30-inch mechanical Batman. It also comes with a 4-inch action figure that fits into the cockpit of the vehicles and features more than 40 sounds and LED lights. No wonder it kept our 4-year-old entertained for hours.

  • Recommended age range: 5 and up

Prepare to be amazed at this This Toy Foundation award winner that lets kids cast a spell so that Mixie emerges from the mist inside this crystal ball. Once Mixie is conjured, your little magician can use their wand to cast spells and tell fortunes to bring their new plush pet to life.

  • Recommended age range: 5 to 10

Love it or hate it, your kid’s biggest dream in life is to become a YouTuber. Support their interest (and control what they do with their content) with this nifty camera for kids, a PureWow reader favorite, that lets them create their own videos with cool special effects like animated backgrounds (watch out, there's a T-Rex chasing you!), time lapse and stop motion. It also comes with a tabletop tripod, selfie stick and a wrist strap. Recorded videos can only be uploaded to a computer via the included USB cable, so parents have ultimate control over who gets to see the final products.

  • Recommended age range: 6 and up

When we came across this plaything, we were blown away by how fun it was—for us, that is. And when our 5-year-old played with it for hours, we knew it was a winner. How does it work? Kids select a picture, choose stickers and apply color using the sparkly foil sheets. “I have now gifted it to three different kids in addition to my son, and I keep getting texts from parents freaking out about how amazing it is!” one PureWow editor shared. We love how creative it is without any mess.

hottest toys tech deck
  • Recommended age range: 6 and up

Were we surprised that this 10-pack of collectible fingerboards for skate lovers was one of our bestselling toys on Amazon Prime Day this year? A little. But then we remembered how fun these were to play with back in our day, and, well you can’t mess with a classic. Featuring iconic designs and real-feel grip tape, think of these playthings as the O.G. fidget spinners.


11. Kanoodle

Educational Insights

  • Recommended age range: 7 and up

Have you seen the #KanoodleChallenge on TikTok? This brainteaser has gone viral on social media as players pick a challenge card and then try to build the 2D or 3D shape in record time. It’s fun, engaging and guaranteed to be a hit with all the cousins this holiday. 

5 second relay
  • Recommended age range: 8 and up

This family party game won the Toy Foundation’s coveted Game of the Year prize and is an updated version of the “name it as fast as you can!” game. The twist? Now you have to name things (pizza toppings, forest animals, reasons why you didn’t do your homework, etc.) as quickly as you can before the time runs out and you can pass it on thanks to the relay baton that senses when you pass off from one player to another and resets the clock.

  • Recommended age range: 10 and up

Why did this AI robot win the Toy Foundation Specialty Toy of the Year? Because the six-legged, app-enabled robot “learns” from physical gestures and sounds (yes, really). It can walk on six legs and rotate its body 360 degrees, plus has a light-up face that can be programmed to show different expressions and scrolling messages. You’ll likely need to sit with your 10-year-old to help them get set up, but makers say 12-year-olds can build the robot on their own.

hotteset toys 3d pen
  • Recommended age range: 14 and up

Teens are notoriously difficult to shop for. But even the surliest of adolescents will be impressed with this 3D printer pen that lets them craft DIY fixes to everyday problems (broken pen? No problem!), make art, design items (like a totally unique pair of earrings) and customize their space. They can draw freehand or use one of the hundreds of free online projects to make super cool 3D creations. Also comes with plastic refill strands, nine Maker Challenge Cards and a 3Doodler Create+ Mini DoodlePad.


15. Bark Phone


  • Recommended age range: no age recommendation given

Your 6th grader has been begging you for a phone for months but you’re not ready to hand them their own device and everything that comes with it just yet. Enter: The Bark Phone. This smartphone has built-in parental controls, such as a monitoring tool that scans your child’s texts, emails, social media and apps for digital dangers and sends you alerts accordingly. Plans, which are separate from your existing phone plans, start at $29/month and include unlimited talk and text. “If you are wanting to keep tabs on your child and have the ability to be in touch, and you’re concerned about social media, endless text messages that you would otherwise not be privy to and basically everything on the world wide web coming at your youngster 24/7, I would highly recommend the Bark,” our reviewer raved.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...