14 Hot Toys to Gift Kids This Year, from Stress-Reducing Activities to Fashionable Fun
If only our anti-aging serum could turn us into kids again. This year, the coolest gifts bring online obsessions—from hit Netflix series to what's trending on social media—magically to life. Behold, that futuristic football you saw on Russell Wilson’s Insta. De-stress like a YouTuber with two pounds of rainbow Kinetic Sand (ahhhh). Also trending? High-tech interactive toys, from an animatronic purse that blinks and blows kisses to a tricked-out Batcave that’s taller than your toddler. Our mission is bringing your kids an amazing holiday haul, and we didn’t come to play.
1. Cool Maker Go Glam U-Nique Nail Salon
If you’ve ever had your nail supplies raided by a pint-size pedicurist, this gift is for you. Its cutting-edge beauty technology invites your little nail tech to custom stamp each finger or toe with trendy prints (leopard!), icons (cupcakes!) or letters (spelling practice!). Thanks to their patented pattern pods, you’ll never again have to fail at painting tiny flowers on a minuscule toddler nail with a nail polish brush. It also includes non-toxic nail lacquers and a built-in air dryer, so they’ll get a perfect polish every time.
2. Kinetic Sand Sandisfactory Set
The wizards behind Kinetic Sand dug deep and tapped into the needs of STEM-loving kids everywhere. This jumbo set comes with two full pounds of squishy sand so you can fill your entire sensory table. Ten transparent tools enhance the experience, inviting kids to watch the sand ooze around. It also includes the full rainbow of sand colors, all without the mess of slime or the one-time-use limitations of clay. Finally, sand we actually want in our castle.
3. Air Hogs Jump Fury
A remote-control car for ages 4 and up that jumps 22 inches in the air, does epic 360s, flips and wheelies but won’t break your grandma’s porcelain vase? Kids, start your engines. This tough-looking monster vehicle with mega-huge wheels is made of impossibly lightweight plastic. This, of course, helps it catch extreme air. But since it’s also soft and squishy, it’s ideal for indoor play. That means it won’t scratch marble surfaces, freshly painted walls or nearby siblings or grandparents it inevitably crashes into.
4. Batman Bat-Tech Transforming Batcave
At first glance, this 33-inch tall action figure is a child-size Dark Knight. But open him up, and behold ten different activity areas (The Batcave! The garage! A jail cell for super villains!). It’s also chock-full of crime-fighting accessories like batarangs and grappling hooks, plus a bat-a-vator that sets off a symphony of super-heroic lights and sounds. The citizens of Gotham have never been safer.
5. Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse
If you live with a fan of this TV hit, you already know all about its star: A delightful cat-enthusiast with a penchant for headbands, sprinkles and shrinking herself down to dollhouse proportions. Preschoolers will delight in bringing Gabby’s world to life with their very own replica of her dollhouse. All six of Gabby’s tricked-out spaces are here in their full feline glory, ensuring hours of pretend play.
Meet Peek-A-Roo: An adorable, panda-kangaroo hybrid with a pouch that contains a mystery baby, so they get two new friends for the price of one. The magic begins when you press Momma Roo’s foot, and her pouch opens to reveal one of three possible babies. Much like the Hatchimals that blew our minds in years past, this toy is smarter than your average bear: It features 150 sounds, actions, games and songs, and reacts to how you play with it—singing, dancing, cuddling and more, in response to your kid’s commands.
7. Paw Patrol: The Movie Ultimate City Tower
Ready for the biggest PAW Patrol toy ever? Check out this 36-inch tall, vehicle-compatible command center inspired by the blockbuster movie. It comes with all the bells and whistles you saw onscreen: a state-of-the art ramp, a suit-up station complete with uniform storage and pup cubbies, a helipad and an elevator that’s built for our K-9 heroes and their signature rides. Order now so it can be there on the double.
8. Orbeez #Challenge
This is the first-ever official Orbeez playset, inspired by the explosively popular social media trend in which kids squish, mash, layer and slice their beloved water beads in the coolest combinations. It includes everything you’ll need to recreate the trend: 2000 of the beads that blow up when soaked in water (and shrink back down when dried out), plus six unique tools so kids can conduct—and film—their own oh-so-satisfying experiments.
9. Monster Jam Grave Digger Freestyle Force
Thanks to its revolutionary balancing technology, the latest version of this infamous beast can perform tricks you never thought possible with a remote control vehicle. We’re talking wheelies on its front AND back tires, nose spins while driving and epic flips. Click on beginner or advanced mode so kids of any experience level can direct up to 12 mind-blowing stunts. Basically, the only thing this truck can’t do is drive you to the Monster Jam arena and buy you a popcorn.
10. Mermaid High Fashion Dolls
Another onscreen spin-off (this time from YouTube) is about to make waves. These mermaid friends come with a spunky glam aesthetic (rainbow hair, punk-rock makeup, fin-tastic fashions) and removable tails. But these gorgeous creatures have hidden depths: Each comes with a seashell that reveals an aquatic accessory when you drop it in water.
11. Disney Sidekicks
Bored of board games? Time to sprinkle a little pixie dust on the whole experience. This game, for two to four players, ages 6 and up, invites the whole family to play in the magic kingdom, but there’s an unexpected twist. This time, it’s the Disney sidekicks (think Pumbaa and Timon, Tinkerbell, Lumiere) who are the stars. Each player’s mission is to rescue their hero and defeat at least one villain. Along the way, detailed cards inspire the action: sidekicks have to strategize, work together, battle baddies, explore new lands and collect the keys to fairy tale castles. The winner is crowned when they rescue their hero.
12. P.Lushes Pets
If you like your lovies luxe, P.Lushes won’t disappoint. Each glam, globe-trotting fashionista, from Ba-Bah Noir (hometown: Beverly Hills) to Pinkie Monroe (she’s from Moscow) has a signature style and empowering message. Their collars sparkle. Their eyes twinkle. Their fashion slays.
13. Aerobie Sonic Fin Football
Outdoor play just got way more interesting thanks to this ultra-lightweight torpedo that can fly up to 100 yards and is endorsed by QB Russell Wilson. Rotating fins mean it’s adjustable for right- and left- handed kids. And it creates a cool sonic sound when whizzing through the air, which enhances the experience.
14. Purse Pets
These animatronic handbags with unique purse-onalities like Fierce Fox or Leoluxe are interactive. They respond to touch commands: blinking when you walk, purring, giggling, blowing kisses and more. Hold down a button to switch between mute, sleep or magic mode. When that one is activated, you can press their foreheads to play runway music, roaring applause or camera clicks.