It doesn’t really matter if it’s Christmas or not, right? Your kiddos are still asking for some kind of toy or game each and every day. There are a bunch of newly released options already, but sometimes new doesn’t always mean the best. I’ve rounded up some great options for all different kinds of kids at so many different ages and stages!
THE TOP 3
So many options, such little time! Even worse, what will you still be able to find in stock and delivered to your door by the time you need it?! We’re all in this together.
The Major Toy Themes This Year
Due to the pandemic, all the changes we’ve all endured and trying to keep everyone busy, toy sales are actually up 37% from last year. While action figures are actually down in terms of sales, things like indoor/outdoor “things to do,” puzzles, activity games, and the like are way up. Kids are going back to basics, too, which is a nice change of pace.
This year some of the most popular categories include things like:
Ugh. And That Toy Shortage!
We’ve recently covered the toy shortage this year due to major supply chain issues. Some experts are suggesting that not only will many toys (like LOL Surprise) be tougher to come by, the prices could actually increase by at least 10% as compared to last year. All of this will make some of the his years must-haves be even more difficult to come by. So, our advice? Shop early!
How We Chose Our “Top Toys” List
We’ve combed through some of the top toy lists of the year, from major retailer like Amazon, Walmart, and Target and even some smaller niche brands like FatBrainToys and Learning Express. We’ve read reviews, picked up a bunch of these, have gifted many of these to our nieces and nephew, and then narrowed down our recommendations that were personal faves and made sense for so many different age groups and stages.
As we inch closer to the big day, we continually stay on top of new releases and what’s be buzzed about on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat and TikTok – especially TikTok.
So since this is quite the interesting year, to say the least, we’ve come up with some really fun options that are still popular, but totally attainable. If you’re tired of the same old “must have toys” list that’s the same on every site, give these a whirl that are perfect for this season.
And to make things easier, we’ve added ages and stages! Keep in mind, we’re not fans of labels so please only uses these age groupings as a guide. So many of them are really perfect for a wide variety of stages, so we suggest scanning our entire list (don’t worry – it’s not too long).
Introducing the Ultimate Toy Guide of 2022. Drumroll please…
1. Disney Encanto Singing Mirabel Doll
Theme Trend: Interactive
To no surprise, just about anything and everything from the Encanto movie is a big hit this year. Mix it with an interactive doll and you’ve got yourself a winner. One of the stars from the movie, Mirabel, not only sings songs from the movie, but she can also actually play her accordion too.
- For an interactive doll, she’s pretty affordable.
- Mirabel sings and plays her famous accordion.
- She’s outfitted in clothes and accessories inspired from the movie.
- Get ready to hear the songs over and over (and over) again (and again). Can get annoying!
The Best Surprise Toy
2. Magic Mixies Magical Misting Cauldron
Theme Trend: Interactive, Surprise
We are calling it as one of the biggest picks of the year! Magic Mixies allows kids to use some real magic, potions, and ingredients. Follow the book of spells, add everything in, tap the cauldron, say the magic words and wait for the mist to actually appear and then an actual Mixies Pet will appear in the cauldron. Which will they get? That’s part of the surprise fun!
- It has more than 50 sounds and reactions.
- The cauldron will actually create magical mist.
- They can play with this over and over again.
- Which pet you get is part of the magical surprise.
- You’ll eventually need to purchase refills if your kids use it a ton.
The Best Baby Yoda Toy
3. New Galactic Snackin’ Grogu
Ages: 4 – 12 (uh, or adults!)
Theme Trend: Baby Yoda, Interactive
Already slated to be the “must have” of the year, meet the new animatronic “Galactic Snackin’ Gogru.” He’s totally interactive with more than 40 motions and sounds and “The Child” even comes with four really fun interactive accessories like a cookie, a bowl with tentacles, a shifter knob, and even a spoon. He even will raise his hands when he wants you to pick him up!
- He’s only 9-inches tall, so not too big.
- More than 40 sounds and motions.
- Comes with 4 different accessories to use.
- A bit on the pricey side.
- Some small parts make it not suitable for kids 3 and under (potential choking hazard).
The Best Interactive Toy
4. Got2Glow Virtual Fairy Finder
Theme Trend: Interactive, Surprise, Fairies
This year one of the most popular toy themes is centered around fairies, so this is a must-have. Introducing the Got2Glow Fairy Finder. Your kids will have a blast collecting more than 100 different virtual fairies in their magical jar. They can even trade with their friends. Even better? They can interact with their fairies too.
- You don’t need an internet connection/wi-fi.
- It’ll keep your kids busy for hours.
- There are 30 unique fairies in each jar.
- 100 different discoveries to encounter.
- You need to download an app for additional functionality.
- Only two different colors to choose from.
The Best Mini Toys
5. The 5 Surprise Disney Mini Brands
Ages: 3 – 8
Theme Trend: Collectibles
Yep, they’re still into everything mini. These are the latest mini collectible from 5 Surprise; Disney mini brands! They’ll be able to collect popular Disney items like mini Buzz Lightyear, mini Spiderman, mini Else, mini Minnie Mouse, and so many more.
- They really are super cute.
- 70 different mini products to find and collect.
- There are some rare and ultra rare and even gold ones to find, so it makes it more exciting.
- You may not know which you’re getting until you open it (potential duplicates, etc).
- Some kids may have a tough time keeping these all together once they’re done playing (goes missing!).
The Best Collectibles
6. Crystalina Light-Up Fairy Doll
Theme Trend: Fairies, Collectibles
The fairy trend continues and now Crystalina is not only one of the top collectibles to have, but she also lights up, comes with a light up amulet you can wear, and each one is named after an inspirational thought like Courage, Optimism, Strength, and more.
- Their names/messaging is positive.
- You can pass the light color (powers) to other Crystalina dolls.
- Actually pretty cheap!
- There are only 4 different dolls to collect.
- Outside of lighting up and the necklace you can wear, they don’t do too much.
The Best For Anti-Anxiety
7. Pop Fidget Toy (2-Pack)
Theme Trend: Sensory, Stress
Remember the fidget spinner craze from a few years ago? Now it’s all about the Pop Fidget. Perfect for those who have some sensory needs or just need a little help relaxing and de-stressing. These are currently the top sellers on Amazon today. They come as a 2-pack too!
- May help relax your kids (and you) a bit.
- Great for all ages.
- Comes with different games you can play directly on your Pop Fidget.
- Eventually these will go the way of their old fidget spinners they were obsessed with for 3 months.
- Some reviewers were upset the colors weren’t in the official rainbow order.
The Best From LOL
8. LOL Surprise World Travelers
Theme Trend: Surprise, Collectible
Yes, LOL is still going strong and these little cute world travelers are all the rage. Apparently even your kiddos miss traveling! Each surprise doll will come with 8 different surprises to discover – like a secret message, fashion accessories, stickers, a water surprise and even more. There are 9 different ones to collect. Which one will you get? Well that’s part of the fun!
- Totally affordable.
- Comes with 8 different surprises to discover.
- Kids will have a blast with the water surprise.
- It’s hard to keep up with all the releases that LOL comes out with, so the cost does eventually add up.
The Best Sound + Motion
9. Peek-A-Roo Panda Roo
Ages: 4 – 8 yrs old
Theme Trend: Surprise, Interactive
Definitely one of the top picks of the year (so far) comes Peek-a-Roo the panda/kangaroo interactive mom with more than 150 sounds and actions and her mystery baby that’s hiding inside her little magical pouch. Your kids will have to love her, play with her, pet her, and be kind to her to help coax the mystery baby out. Which one will you get? That’s part of the fun!
- Has more than 150 actions and sounds.
- Really find to find out which baby is inside the kangaroo pouch.
- 10 different games you can play along with.
- Actually comes with the required batteries
- Some of the moods can be a bit annoying – especially if you’re a parent who has to hear it all the time.
- A bit pricy – personal opinion is it should be in the $49.95 range.
The Best Race Car
10. Air Hogs Zero Gravity Car
Theme Trend: Classic Fun
This is such a super cool race car! They’ll use the laser guided gun to point where they want to car to race to and then, well, it’ll race right to it! It actually can climb walls and the ceiling without leaving any marks. They’ll love it!
- Super light-weight (only 8 ounces).
- Really does drive up and down the walls.
- The “laser” is chargeable so you can use it again and again.
- It definitely takes some getting used to, especially when driving on walls and the ceiling.
- Your walls and ceiling really have to be flat for it to work well (popcorn ceilings = no).
- Some parents didn’t love they had to recharge the laser so often.
The Best Game of the Year
11. Throw Throw Burrito
Ages: 7 – 14
Theme Trend: Family Fun, Activity Game
It’s one of the top sellers (already) of the year and currently has more than 4,400 reviews and ratings on Amazon This one is basically a dodgeball card game when you, legit, throw a burrito. From the makers of the famous Exploding Kittens game, this is a total must-have this season.
- It’s a really fun party game for kids, teens, and/or families.
- Super quick to play – each game runs only about 15 minutes.
- After a lot of play time, your burrito can kind of wear out after a while.
- Some parents didn’t love how aggressive the throwing can be with their competitive kids.
The Best For Motor Skills
12. Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
Theme Trend: Learning + Fine Motor Skills
This cute and helpful hedgehog is super fun to play with, will help them with their fine motor skills, color recognition, sorting, counting and so much more.
- Perfect to help with logical thinking, color recognition, motor skills, sorting skills, etc.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Easy to store away when playtime is over.
- The quills are plastic and not rubber.
- If your kids are still chewing things, they could put the quills in their mouth a lot.
The Best Tech Toy
13. The KidiZoom Creator Camera
Ages: 7 – 9+
Theme Trend: Tech, Creative
This is one of the coolest tech toys they’re going to become obsessed with! This kid-friendly camera allows them to take selfies, create super cool creative videos with realistic backgrounds (like the beach, the local weather, award shows and more), and even comes with easy to use on-camera editing. They love making home movies so this will bring it to the next level.
- Comes with 20 different green-screen backgrounds.
- Will keep your kids busy for hours (literally).
- Help with their creativity and tech-skills.
- While kid-friendly, some younger kids may struggle with some on-camera editing.
- Some parents didn’t love it came with a few video games, which can make some kids easily distracted.
The Best Unboxing Toy
14. The Animal Unboxing Toy Truck
Theme Trend: Unboxing
Here comes The Animal! Since they’re still obsessed with unboxings, this one is right up their alley. It’s totally interactive, has a retractable claw, and a variety of fun lights and sounds.
- Finally an unboxing geared towards boys (but it’s really a toy for anyone).
- If they love loud things and smashing things up, they’ll love The Animal.
- The price is pretty decent (under $40 and regularly on sale).
- Your kid(s) have to hit the box and yell at it (for real) to “wake it up” and “make it angry” so it unboxes itself. If you need quiet time, pass on this one.
The Best Sensory Toy
15. The Sensory Pop Tubes
Theme Trend: Sensory
One of the most popular and best selling of the year, especially those who experience sensory issues, ADHD, austism, and generally fidgeting and anxiety. They currently have more than 700 ratings and reviews on Amazon! They pop, stretch, connect, and even provide help with fine motor skills and more!
- Perfect for those with sensory issues.
- Will keep kids busy for a while.
- Colorful, easy to use, and pretty study/durable.
- Decent price (under $15).
- Some were disappointed the tubes didn’t make noise to help soothe.
- Some little kids (4 and under) struggled a bit to disconnect them).
The Best Squeezable
16. The Heroes of Goo Jit Zu
Heroes of Goo Jit Zu
Theme Trend: Squishy, Fun
This is the second year that these are top sellers and now they’ve released the two-pack of Tritops vs. Shredz. You can stretch them (like, a ton), squish them, and feel all of their insides (yes, really). You gotta see these in action.
- Really squishy and oozy without the mess.
- Now that they’ve been redesigned, you can squeeze, pull, tug, etc without breaking them!
- Squishing them an also be pretty relaxing.
- Older kids (11+) may get bored easily.
The Best Flying Toy
17. Hatchimals Pixie Crystal Flyers
Theme Trend: Interactive
Get those cameras rolling because these Pixie Crystal Flyers are about to fly right out the window! The latest from Hatchimals, you can choose either a purple or pink flyer and this magical fairy will actually fly on her own all over the place. She’ll even follow your hand when you move it around so you can instruct her to fly high or low. Something tells us she’ll be taking a trip in the fireplace before the day is over.
- They really do fly and land on your hand!
- Easy to recharge with the USB that comes with it – so you can fly over and over again.
- You can’t bring her outside because she may fly away.
- Some kids had a tough time getting her to land and she crashed into the wall (ouch).
The Best Funny Game
18. Not Parent Approved
Theme Trend: Family Fun, Activity Game
Everyone is obsessed over this family-friendly game! It’s like ‘Cards Against Humanity’ but for children and 100% family friendly. It’s the perfect game to bust out during the holidays too!
- It actually is so funny to play
- You can play with anywhere from 4 – 10 plays at the same time.
- Comes with 455 different cards so you won’t get bored of this any time soon.
- Some answers/situations can be a little age inappropriate – but still harmless fun.
The Best Blooming Doll
19. The Blume Dolls (Series 2)
Theme Trend: Surprise, Unboxing
This year one of the hottest toys is slated to be these new Series 2 Blume Dolls. They come in a flower pot and when you water them they start to actually sprout up! It’s a total surprise on which Blume Doll you’ll get and there are over 20 different potential dolls to collect. Their hair is giant funky soft foam that can be taken off, placed on other dolls, and more. Plus you can decorate their flower pot with special stickers and accessories that come with it and use it as a play-set.
- There are 10 different surprises to discover.
- Their foamy/squishy hair actually changes color in the sunlight.
- The price is shockingly low, when compared to other surprise-type toys.
- Some felt like after a while there wasn’t much more to do with them.
- Not really for older kids (better for the younger ones).
The Best Paw Patrol Toy
20. Motorized Paw Patrol Jet to the Rescue
Theme Trend: Interactive
It’s the latest toy from Patrol Patrol they’ll be asking you for right about…now! The Paw Patrol Jet to the Rescue is totally motorized so all they have to do is push the button and watch it light up, make sounds, shoot those launchers, open its wings and more.
- The jet easily transforms with one quick press of a button.
- The three batteries are already included.
- Fun lights and sounds activated.
- Some didn’t like that the missiles could be launched.
The Best Playset
21. The Diner Restaurant Play Set
Melissa & Doug
Theme Trend: Imagination
They’ll have a blast playing restaurant with this 41-piece set! They cook up some of their favorites for breakfast, lunch, or diner. Someone pour us a coffee!
- 41 pieces of food/restaurant fun.
- A great way to use their imagination and creativity.
- The quality is pretty great, especially with wooden pieces as opposed to all plastic.
- The price is a bit on the higher side, when compared to all plastic food playsets.
The Best Building Toy
22. Magna-Tiles Building Tiles
Theme Trend: Building Activity
If you want the kiddos to be able to learn a bit while they’re playing, this is the STEM option for them! This award winning building set comes with 32 colorful tiles that will help them work their creative and problem-solving muscles and build something really cool.
- Comes with 32 really colorful pieces to use.
- The perfect STEM toy option that mixes educational development with fun.
- Really durable and safe to use.
- Since some pieces are on the smaller side, they can considered possible chocking hazards for kids under 3 yrs old.
- Some parents wished the power of the magnets was a bit stronger for the price.
The Best Monster Truck
23. “Grave Digger” Monster
Theme Trend: Classic Fun
It’s the biggest remote control Monster Truck to date at over 2 feet long! It’s super powerful, can easily drive over just about any obstacles your kids set up, and is surprisingly light-weight.
- A total monster, with a size of more than 24-inches in length.
- You can control it from up to 250 feet away, which is a pretty far distance.
- It has a built-in USB charging cable so it’s easy to power up and play with over and over again.
- Fun for both indoor (but more importantly) and outdoor use.
- The price is a on the higher side.
- The battery typically only last for about 30 minutes before you need to recharge.
- Some wished it was a bit more powerful.
The Best Classic Toy
24. The Pop-Up Pirate
Theme Trend: Classic Fun
Super fun toy/game for kids and the family. Everyone takes turns placing colorful swords into the barrel and no one know when or which sword will make the pirate pop up and out. It has that same panicky feeling as ‘Perfection‘ did in the 80’s.
- You never know when the pirate is going to pop up, so excitement is key.
- It’s really fun for kids as young as 4 years old.
- Play with anywhere from 2 to 6 people at the same time.
- The price is pretty affordable.
- Some felt like it startled the little ones when the pirate popped out.
The Best Robot Kit
25. The ‘Build Your Own’ Robot Kit
Theme Trend: Collectibles, DIY
We love when they get to think while they play. They’ll have a blast building three of these run little robots. Each one comes with a max of 28 different pieces so it’ll keep them busy, quiet, and proud of their accomplishment when they’re done.
- Comes with 28 pieces to build 3 different robots.
- Perfect way to work on creativity and building skills.
- Price is great (under $20).
- Small parts that could be choking hazards for some kids under 3 years old.
- Once the robots are built, the fun is pretty much over.
The Best Bubblemaker
26. The Lawnmower Bubble Machine
Theme Trend: Outdoor/Indoor Fun
Now they can officially “help” mow the lawn with this fun walking-helper bubble machine that plays music, has all sorts of sounds, and can automatically make hundreds of bubbles in a minute! This one comes with three bubble refill solutions too.
- Makes more than 2,000 bubbles per minute.
- Comes with three bubble solutions.
- Really lightweight, weighing in at under 3.5 lbs.
- You need three AAA batteries, but they’re not included.
- More of an outdoor toy so, depending on where you live, may need to wait until the warmer months to use it.
The Best Surprise Pets
27. The Blume Petal Pets
Theme Trend: Surprise
They loved their Blume dolls and now they’re going to love their Blume Petal Pets even more. All they have to do is add a little water, their flower will begin to bloom, and then suddenly they’ll discover which collectible pet they’ve grown. It even includes a charm bracelet too. This one comes as a set of two.
- There are 12 different styles to collect.
- Adding water helps your Petal Pets grow.
- You can bloom them over and over again.
- Some felt the price was a bit too high based on what the toy actually does.
The Best Mystery Case
28. Ryan’s World Secret Agent Mystery Case
Theme Trend: Unboxing, Mystery
They’re still obsessed with all things “Ryan’s World” and now his Mystery Box is selling out fast. They’ll unlock the code to open the case, find super secret messages, unbox some fun toys, stickers, collectibles, and so much more.
- Comes with walkie-talkies, flashlight, goggles, and more.
- Kids will feel like they’re really solving fun mysteries.
- A bit on the expensive side.
- It doesn’t come with the required AAA batteries, so you’ll have to pick those up separately.
The Best For Little Ones
29. The Leapfrog Scoop + Learn Ice Cream Cart
Theme Trend: Learning + Fun
Keep the learning and the fun going with the latest must-have from Leapfrog. This “Scoop and Learn” ice cream cart plays music, has sounds, helps to build memory and sequencing skills, and so much more.
- A great learning toy that introduced colors and memory skills.
- Comes with 51 different “ingredients” in the set.
- It plays music, the ice cream scooper “talks” and so much more.
- Some parents had a hard time getting it out of the packaging to set it up.
PATRICK VARONE – Editor in Chief / Product Editor
Patrick has been co