Friday, September 21, 2018

15 Toy Picks for the Holiday Season: Highlights from The Toy Insider's HoliDAY of Play

The hottest toys of the holiday season are here! The Toy Insider recently held a fabulous event in New York City called The HoliDAY of Play. They unveiled their Hot 20, STEM 10 and Top Tech 12 toys, and I've picked a few of my favorites to share with you today. They're not just great holiday ideas, but fantastic gift ideas for kids in general. Check it out!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend The Toy Insider's HoliDAY of Play, but I was not asked to write this post or monetarily compensated for it. All opinions are my own! This post contains Amazon affiliate links. You can read more about my affiliate links on my Disclosure page.

No time to read or think you'll forget all of these cool suggestions by the time the holidays roll around? No sweat! Just Pin this image for later!


1. At Home Arcade from Arcade 1Up 

These authentic looking arcade games from Arcade1Up stand just under 4 feet tall and made The Toy Insider's Hot 20 list. Available with games like Galaga, Asteroids, Centipede, Rampage and more, they also have sound, high-resolution displays and they're surprisingly lightweight, too. You can even order a riser to make the console taller if you prefer. I'll be honest, I totally want one!  Get 'em while you can through Gamestop, Target, Walmart and other retailers. My guess is they are going to be hard to find! Averaging at about $299.00 and up.



2. Sensors Alive from Thames and Kosmos

I have never seen anything quite like the Sensors Alive set from Thames and Kosmos. This is an amazing way to bring Physics to life for kids. It's app-based and uses sensor data to create different creatures. Kids can use the sensor pods to learn about light, temperature, and volume. This helps them care for their creatures and collect them. It was really amazing to see it in action! Sensors Alive was one of The Toy Insider's choices for Top Tech 12, and it's recommended for ages 9 and up.


3. Lil' Gleemerz by Mattel

I know there are a lot of animated toys on the market, and plenty of furry critters that do fun tricks to get your attention. But there was something about Lil' Gleemerz that I just loved. The little cooing noises and the light up eyes and tail (the tail will even blink in conjunction with your voice) were adorable. I liked that they were not entirely plastic- the tail is furry and flexible. At under $20, you can't go wrong!



4. My First Yoga Mat - InfiniFUN

I loved this First Yoga mat  from InfiniFUN (I even joked that I needed it for myself, to learn yoga moves, too). Kids can develop body coordination, balance, and practice fine motor skills with the help of the BitsyBot yoga instructor. It even has three different game modes! It's recommended for ages 2 and up, and retails for about $49.99.


5. When in Rome - Voice Originals

Just when you were getting bored of your Alexa device, along comes When in Rome, a game that you can actually play with her! You need an Alexa, Echo, or Echo Dot device (sold separately), and with it, Alexa will become your hostess for this fun, educational geography game. One of the first Alexa games of its kind, it was chosen as one of the Top Tech 12 toys from The Toy Insider. Retails for about $19.99, for ages 13 and up.


6. Fuzzy Wubble - Wubble Ball

Kudos to Wubble Ball for taking their Wubble magic one step further! You can now have your own Fuzzy Wubble, which is almost like a Wubble Ball pet. Blow it up to your desired 'squishiness,' too! They are available in six different animal choices, but I'm partial to that piggy. Retails for about $19.99, and you can find them on the Wubble Ball website or at your favorite retailer soon.



7. Hairdorables - Just Play Products 

There are over 36 different Hairdorables dolls to collect. Each one comes in a surprise package (peel and reveal), with its own personality, accessories and hairdo (of course). My favorite is named Rayne, and she's an ultra rare, so lucky you if you find her! Hairdorables made The Toy Insider's Hot 20 list, and you can find them at most retailers, including Amazon. Recommended for ages 3 and up, retailing for about 12.99.




8. Rollie the Puppy - Moose Toys

If you're a fan of Little Live Pets you'll love Rollie the Puppy! There are three different versions of him available (Wrinkles is exclusive to Amazon and Stella is exclusive to Target). Rollie behaves just like a real puppy, complete with wagging tail, licking tongue, and even movements while he's sleeping (and dreaming!). Recommended for ages 5 and up, he really stole my heart at the show.


9. Silly Scents Sticker Maker - Crayola

The 80's kid in me just LOVED the Silly Scents Sticker Maker from Crayola. Use the Silly Scents markers to color in your images and create little stickers out of them. Piece of cake! Recommended for ages 6 and up, you can't go wrong for holiday or birthday gifts with this one! Retails for under $20.



10. Lil' Nature Babies - HexBug

HexBugs have always been fun to play with, and I loved how they've branched out with Lil' Nature Babies. Featuring different versions of endangered animals, each Nature Baby comes with its own habitat of some kind. They have motion sensors and can make sounds in response to petting and holding. They come with a little keychain, too. Recommended for ages 3 and up and available at most retailers soon.




11. Starshine Bright Lights Unicorn - VTech

Starshine Bright Lights Unicorn from VTech is sure to be a hit with the little ones. She comes with a variety of plastic gems and jewels, perfect for tiny hands. Her wings move, her horn lights up, she blinks, and she plays different melodies. She can even speak in english or spanish! Babies and toddlers can learn about colors, shapes and phrases. Available at most retailers, she's recommended for ages 18 months to 4 years.


12. Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu Pokeball Plus for Nintendo Switch

These guys made The Toy Insider's Hot 20 list for a reason! Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu (or Eevee) Pokeball Plus for Nintendo Switch could very well be the must-have video game for the season. Not only is it a new Pokemon game, but it also contains an actual Pokeball that lights up, vibrates, and makes noises. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Available for pre-order.


13. Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit - Kano

Now kids can build a wand just like Mr. Oleander did for Harry Potter. The Harry Potter Coding Kit includes step by step coding instructions and software, along with more than 70 wizarding challenges. The wand then becomes a tool to create with, using wand gestures. Make your own music, apps, games and more. Recommended for ages 6 and up, this awesome toy made The Toy Insider's list of Top Tech 12, too.


14. Creator Winter Village Fire Station - LEGO

I know everyone loves LEGO, and you really can't go wrong with a LEGO gift. Their holiday sets are sought after every year, and become hard to find after a while. They also look so cute as holiday decorations in your home! This year's Creator set is the Winter Village Fire Station, and it's available now to VIP members. October 1st for everyone else! Recommended for ages 12 and up.


15. Beaker Creatures - Learning Resources

Beaker Creatures from Learning Resources are collectibles and science combined! Drop a Reactor Pod into the chamber, pump in some water and watch the pod bubble and fizz (much like a bath bomb), revealing a little collectible creature inside. There are science experiment ideas included, as well as ways to examine and identify your creature. Recommended for ages 5 and up, this set made The Toy Insider's list of STEM 10 toys. You also might have seen my video of it in action on Instagram!




For more of The Toy Insider's Hot 20, STEM 10 and Tech 12, visit their website, or search #weknowplay on any social media channel!

And for more of my favorite toy picks, check out my Amazon affiliate links below!




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